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beginner advice

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beginner advice
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 1:32 AM
Hi Guys,
2 months ago i bought a lifelike ho trains set and i got hooked on the hobby right away, i soon realize that i didnt buy the right thing for me(im 26 years old), I want to seriously get involved in modelling from scratch but the more info i get the more i get confuse on where to start. And finally can I do something with the trains set I bought.

Thanks in advance.

Jeff, Chicoutimi, Canada
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 4:41 AM
Well yoru gonna have to be a little more specific!What scale do you model?What era do you like(steam,modern etc)What type of space do you have available?And do you want to model prototype or free-lance(your own rr)?Need to answer the basics first.Then you should find its easier to progress from there.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 4:41 AM
Jeff, you have come to the right station and you receive an abundance of infor from the this forum.
I can't give too much, since I'm still in model rr
101. However for starters, click on model trains, top of this home page for tips & ideas. Also go to
www.nmra.org and look for the beginners topic. You can practice weathering techniques on the life like set.
Use the power pack to run segregated accessories.
To understand the range & scope of products, selections available you should look at the Walthers reference book.
You will find it overwhelming.
What about the projected size of the layout??
WELCOME ABOARD
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 5:52 AM
Jeff,
Someone once said the longest journey starts with the first step (or something like that). Your doing the right thing by reading and scanning the net but it is best if you pick a scale, era and theme (mainline/branchline/logging etc.) and purchase or make things that suit. Buy a couple of easy to build car kits (Athearn, Walthers, etc) and building kits (Atlas, Walthers, etc.) and then look out for easy to scratch build articles in magazines and start there. If you jump into a huge or complex project to early you could become overwelmed. Most model railroad magazines have articles suitable for beginners with drawings, step by step instructions and tips.

Have Fun,
Darren
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Posted by MAbruce on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 8:09 AM
Hi Jeff:

Welcome to the Hobby! I hope that you will find it as enjoyable as countless others have over the years.

Starting out is always the toughest part. Information is abundant, and sorting through it to get to what you are looking for can be a challenge. These forums are a good place, but I would recommend that you first invest in a good starter book on the hobby. If you drop by your local hobby store, they are sure to have what you are looking for. There is beginner information on-line, but I have found that it mostly takes you only so far. Not too many sites are willing to give away everything for "free".

As far as the forums go, I'd suggest (in addition to this) you visit the Atlas and Trainboard forums.

http://forum.atlasrr.com/default.asp
http://www.trainboard.com/

The key is to first look through threads (within the past 30-60 days) that relate to the subjects you are looking for information about. If you post a question that has already been recently addressed, it could effect the quality of reply content you get back.

The bottom line is to read read read. There are so many different ways you can go, so the more you know about it before you jump in, the wiser you will spend your money.

My personal suggestion is to start small. Don't overwhelm yourself with a large project you are not yet ready for.

Good Luck!
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 10:06 AM
Thank you guys, I guess im doing the right thing by not bying anything else before i know what i want. For some of your question i want to build a freight yard in a coastal setting. I live near a harbor with huge container ship. So I want to build something along that line. Like most of you said I want to start small. I havent decided between Ho and N scale it probably be N since I want it maybe to include a bit of a passenger line nearby and I dont have a lot of space. Funny I has write this i realize that I already took some decision. I will surely ask for some book for christmass, which would be the best for beginner, I guess the next step after the book is gonna be to design my layout.

Thanks again

Jeff
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Posted by MAbruce on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 10:38 AM
Jeff,

I didn't say this before because I didn't want to "sell" you on anything, but I'm into N-scale.

It's a great scale with a lot to offer.

I am also in the process of planning a layout. I've been out of the hobby for 17 years, so I've been doing a lot of what you are now starting.

Once you have studied up on basics, and are ready to select a plan, keep DCC (Digital Command Control) in mind and read up on it. It's a relatively new feature that can offer a lot of freedom in operation.

One other thing about layouts. If you are running passinger trains, keep in mind the size of the cars. They don't do very well (or look very realistic) on tight radius turns. So you would be advised to select a layout that dosen't have a lot of these kinds of turns.

Atlas (amoung others) offer some good layout books. They also have free track planning software you can download from their website.

And above all - HAVE FUN!


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Posted by MAbruce on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 10:39 AM
Jeff,

I didn't say this before because I didn't want to "sell" you on anything, but I'm into N-scale.

It's a great scale with a lot to offer.

I am also in the process of planning a layout. I've been out of the hobby for 17 years, so I've been doing a lot of what you are now starting.

Once you have studied up on basics, and are ready to select a plan, keep DCC (Digital Command Control) in mind and read up on it. It's a relatively new feature that can offer a lot of freedom in operation.

One other thing about layouts. If you are running passinger trains, keep in mind the size of the cars. They don't do very well (or look very realistic) on tight radius turns. So you would be advised to select a layout that dosen't have a lot of these kinds of turns.

Atlas (amoung others) offer some good layout books. They also have free track planning software you can download from their website.

And above all - HAVE FUN!


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  • From: US
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Posted by MAbruce on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 10:40 AM
Jeff,

I didn't say this before because I didn't want to "sell" you on anything, but I'm into N-scale.

It's a great scale with a lot to offer.

I am also in the process of planning a layout. I've been out of the hobby for 17 years, so I've been doing a lot of what you are now starting.

Once you have studied up on basics, and are ready to select a plan, keep DCC (Digital Command Control) in mind and read up on it. It's a relatively new feature that can offer a lot of freedom in operation.

One other thing about layouts. If you are running passenger trains, keep in mind the size of the cars. They don't do very well (or look very realistic) on tight radius turns. So you would be advised to select a layout that doesn’t have a lot of these kinds of turns.

Atlas (among others) offer some good layout books. They also have free track planning software you can download from their website.

And above all - HAVE FUN!
  • Member since
    November, 2001
  • From: US
  • 1,720 posts
Posted by MAbruce on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 10:46 AM
Jeff,

I didn't say this before because I didn't want to "sell" you on anything, but I'm into N-scale.

It's a great scale with a lot to offer.

I am also in the process of planning a layout. I've been out of the hobby for 17 years, so I've been doing a lot of what you are now starting.

Once you have studied up on basics, and are ready to select a plan, keep DCC (Digital Command Control) in mind and read up on it. It's a relatively new feature that can offer a lot of freedom in operation.

One other thing about layouts. If you are running passenger trains, keep in mind the size of the cars. They don't do very well (or look very realistic) on tight radius turns. So you would be advised to select a layout that doesn’t have a lot of these kinds of turns.

Atlas (among others) offer some good layout books. They also have free track planning software you can download from their website.

And above all - HAVE FUN!
  • Member since
    November, 2001
  • From: US
  • 1,720 posts
Posted by MAbruce on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 10:48 AM
Sorry for all the duplicate replies. The website was acting funny and posted it four times!!!
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Posted by snowey on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 11:57 PM
that's ok. I've had the same thing happen to me once!
"I have a message...Lt. Col....Henry Blakes plane...was shot down...over the Sea Of Japan...it spun in...there were no survivors".
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Posted by snowey on Wednesday, December 12, 2001 12:01 AM
be sure and check out some of the exellent Model Railroading books from KALMBACH. They're either available online (WWW.KALMBACHBOOKS.COM) or at your hobby shop.
"I have a message...Lt. Col....Henry Blakes plane...was shot down...over the Sea Of Japan...it spun in...there were no survivors".
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Posted by mnwestern on Wednesday, December 12, 2001 4:11 PM
Jeff,
If it isn't Life-Like's Proto 2000 series trains, how about doing this with it — chuck it and start over.
For more on the hobby, check out your public library. The library in my hometown has several Kalmbach (the publisher of Model Railroader and Trains magazines) books or can get them through its interlibrary loan program. That way you can browse through them and find ones you really like before laying out cash for them. They are some good ones on building a beginning layout. I would seek out ones that aren't too specialized at first. Check out ones that provide a good overview of many of the aspects of the hobby — track plan design, scenery, structures, rolling stock, loco tune-ups, etc.
Seek out a local club, attend area model railroad shows (those with layouts on display, and not just flea markets). Join the National Model Railroad Assoc. Once you are a member, you can seek out other members in your area for help, or to attend NMRA gatherings in your area.
Some hobby shops are helpful — some are not. You'll have to find the ones in your own area that are.
Good luck, and welcome to the hobby.
T
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 12, 2001 4:43 PM
The lifelike set is not a complete waste, that is where I started just 1 yr ago. As was suggested before, practice your weathering and scratchbuilding on it. The set is not a waste, if you have a decent power-pack and good track you can make the engine behave itself (it won't be perfect, but not a constant frustration either). The cars are ok for the most part, just weight them down. Eventually as you progress and your stockpile of equipment grows, this stuff will become handy for parts and for filler in your layout. Don't chuck it, it is not as bad as people say...as with everything, there is always going to be something better. Starting small is a good idea, you definately don't want to overwhelm yourself or become depressed if what you are modeling doesn't look like what you see in Model Railroader, above all this is only a hobby...just have fun with it.
Either scale (HO or N) will probably satisfy you, but make your choice early, before you invest tons of money into the wrong scale buying what "looks good" in the hobby shop. If you want a large layout, definatly go "N", but if scratchbuilding, super-detailing and that sort is what you enjoy, you will be happier in "HO". A layout in both will really run the same $ in the long run anyway (though "N" may seem cheaper at first).
Again, ahove all have fun with it, go at your own pace and do what feels right for you while keeping in mind the suggestions of others. The online forums are a great place to get answers to your questions and even suggestions.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, December 13, 2001 3:42 PM
Welcome Jeff,check out www.ebay.com. You`ll find some bargains there,and some equipment is still new in the box.Watch prices before you bid to see what the item usually sells for.Stay away from the "Buy it today" price because that`s usually what you`d pay for it anyway.Once you get into ebay type model railroad in the search box or HO trains or N trains etc.On one occasion the reserve price wasn`t met but the seller contacted me via email and offered it to me at the last bid price.Don`t get carried away with bidding or you`ll pay too much.Don`t worry that item you think you`ll never see again will return eventually.Have Fun! Gerald
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, December 13, 2001 9:49 PM
Jeff,
Looks like you're getting some very solid and good advice here. I can tell you that I was into model railroads some 30 odd years ago and the biggest layout I made back then was on an old 4x8 sheet of plywood. I had alot of fun with that layout. I recieved a small HO scale train set for Christmas last year and the bug bit me hard. I have the good fortune of a having a friend who gave me his recently deceased Father's collection of Model Railroader. Issues beginning in May of '48 through August of '95. I cannot begin to tell you amount of excellent information about Model Railroading I've seen in these magazines. I have started on a buying binge and have enough equipment to field a very nice layout right now but I have'nt laid the first rail, (my wife says I have more money than sense and at this point I have to agree with her). I guess the point I'm trying to make is follow the advice these guy's are giving you and decide what you want to model before you do what I did, spend money frivolously.
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Posted by sumpter250 on Sunday, December 16, 2001 9:28 PM
Jeff,
I think you will find that, in the long run, you bought the right thing. It got you to ask for advise.
You're dissatisfied with what you have?, make it better! Couplers, wheelsets,handgrabs,weathering!
Buy the parts, build your own where you can,use this train set to develope the techniques, and skills that you will use as long as you stay in the hobby.
You want to learn how to strip paint from a plastic shell?,you have a car to practice on. You want to learn how to airbrush?,you have a stripped car to practice on.
Whatever you do, I'd recommend keeping the set. Every once in a while, take it out just to see where you started. I have several of my earliest works packed away. I don't run them anymore, but now and then, I get them out and remind myself that 40 years ago, this was the best I could do.

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