WWII train layout

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by mikey, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. mikey

    mikey New Member

    Hello all:

    This is my first post as I am new to the site and don't even have a train set yet.

    I do a lot of WWII armor modeling and am interested in getting into the railroad hobby. My thought would be I would like to build a layout with a WWII theme to it. I have found tons of armor accessories in the HO scale which would be great but I am not sure how to find the trains to go with the time period.

    I think I want to build a German setup with flat cars carrying tanks, possibly some troop transport cars, etc.

    Can someone point me in the direction I need to go to find out if locomotives, box cars, etc. used in this period are available for purchase?

    Many thanks in advance!

  2. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    A great place to start would be the Walthers catalog--available at any model railroad hobby shop. There are several European model train manufacturers that sell extensive lines of appropriate engines and structures. There are also many manufacturers of HO scale military equipment, including lots of obscure and little-known armor.

    www.walthers.com will get you started (they have an online catalog) but I still recommend picking up a print copy for some real inspiration!
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think Flieschman (spelling?) makes WWII vintage German trains.
  4. mikey

    mikey New Member


    thanks for the scoop!

    The Fleischmann tip led me to this:


    This site has a lot of euro stuff and a lot of WWII goods as well.

    Are these trains compatible with everything here in the U.S.? I prefer to purchase stuff from my LHS as we have several very good ones where I live. I wll probably stop by there today and check there stuff.

    Many thanks again! Now I just gotta get the CEO of the house to buy into this one
  5. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Welcome to the-gauge, Mikey! The Fleischmanns I have run OK on code 100 track ("standard" for HO), but the wheel flanges are large, and I fear they would bump along the ties if you tried code 83, 75, etc. BTW: The "code" of the track is rail height in thousanths of inches, so code 100 is .100" tall, code 83 is .083", etc.

    Check trainworld.com,they have some real bargains. I bought a 40's US Army caboose there for $3 a couple of years ago. Ended up giving it to a friend, or it would be yours. I believe the US Army had 44 tonners and Plymouths, both currently available at trainworld and of the bachmann brand. The Plymouth won't be real accurate. I'm going by very high milage memory cells, so teh plymouth and 44 tonner should be verified.

    You may find some Army, Navy, AF loco's by scouring the pages:

  6. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Mikey, welcome to the Gauge.

    The steam engine shown in your link above is a Liliput model (Austrian manufacturer). They are well-running models, but as Jon said, look out for the high wheel flanges. On code 100 rail they should run ok, however.

    BTW, Liliput has also a few 4-wheeled freight cars in WW II camouflage colors of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, a gondola and a boxcar with an elevated brakeman hut.
    Fleischmann hasn't any camouflaged cars, but they have lots of freight cars out of the WW II years.

    Another general snag with European models is that they don't have knuckle couplers. The European couplers are operating and looking somewhat clumsy, but they can be replaced by American Kadee couplers.

    One time there also existed a nice H0 plastic kit of a German steam loco, type ("Baureihe") 50, made by Italeri (I think). It was quite a fine model and could be 'modified' for a shot-up loco after a fighter attack in a diorama. Perhaps you could find something like that in e-bay. (Likewise there were Airfix kits for British steam engines.)

    Hope this helps a bit.

  7. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    The only German manufacturer to avoid (if seeking compatibility) is Marklin. Their equipment is legendary for quality and detail, but it runs on three-rail AC instead of two-rail DC. It also costs more...they do have a DC brand (Trix) which will work fine.

    If you want to model the Eastern Front, there are also a lot of Russian tanks available--and a Russian armored train with multiple tank turrets!
  8. JBBVry

    JBBVry Member

    I have seen a beautiful german steam engine a few times on Ebay it is kind of high end in price but if you are going to do it do it right. i think it is a 2-8-2 but not sure may have been a 2-10-2 but any way it is beautiful. if you get a chance look there for one.
  9. justind

    justind Member

    If you are modeling the Eastern front, you could easily use Soviet engines and cars, as the Germans tended to use the rail lines and supplies already in place when they invaded the Soviet Union. I may not be right on this, but I think some of the soviet locomotives (like the Decapod) were actually built by American manufacturers and Lent/Leased to the Soviets.

    As far as compatibilty, everyone has pretty much covered that, but keep in mind that European loco's and cars will have European couplers, not compatible with our North American couplers, and that is likely the majority of what you will have access to at the hobby stores.

    My recommendation would be to look for a complete train (loco and cars) on Ebay (you will likely have to paint the camo yourself, but as you are already doing that for your armor, I don't think that prospect will bother you). Then you can add the missing cars one at a time. I think finding a European set at the local hobby store will be very pricey $$$.
  10. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    the "Russian Decapod" was actually built for Czarist Russia--a few had been built and sent when the Russian Revolution took place, and the US ended up keeping most of them. And yes, one would have to use exclusively Russian equipment if modeling the Eastern Front--Russian railroad gauge is 5 feet.
  11. justind

    justind Member

    What would the German gauge be?
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Track gauge for almost all of Europe is standard, 4' 8.5" .Spain is a major exception. There are also a number of narrow gauge lines, usually running off up a mountain or down a valley. A meter is popular for these (39+").
  13. mikey

    mikey New Member


    Thanks again everyone for all of the great information! I really appreciate it.
  14. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Express your thanks by showing us pics of your layout once it is up and running!!

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