Saving Money On Model Trains – Summary

It doesn‟t have to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to start building your model railroad. By making your own scenery, shopping around and choosing the right type of train for your space you can save a lot of money. The great thing about model railroading is that you can always add to it. No matter if you purchase a full kit or the individual pieces, do your homework before you buy. If you buy online, check out the dealer before you purchase from them to ensure you are getting a good deal from a good dealer. If you purchase from a store make sure that you know their return policy should you get it home and realize it wasn‟t what you thought it was or it‟s broken. Taking the extra time can save you a lot of hassle in the end. Even if your budget to start is small you can still have a great railroad if you just spend the time to make it your own.

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Saving Money On Model Trains – Budget

Before you can start looking for the pieces you need (or want) for your railway system you need to have a firm budget in mind. This is when you need to sit down and figure out what pieces you need, what your railroad will look like upon completion, and how realistic or detailed you want to make your system to begin with. All of this information will help you to come up with that all important budgets. Obviously, you also need to know how much money you have available to start your hobby. Once you have a firm budget in mind it‟s time to start researching the nit-picky stuff.

To determine how your budget is going to be spent you need to decide what kind of scale you have in mind. There are so many different scales to choose from and the prices vary between them. Determining the scale will affect many aspects of your railway as all things will have to meet the scale you‟ve chosen in order for it to look good. If you are trying to stay within a tight budget you may have to choose a scale that doesn‟t have all the popular features some other ones do. Budget shouldn‟t be the only thing that determines the scale of your train, you should also be aware of how much space will be available to accommodate your railroad. The amount of space should be your ultimate deciding factor.

Another consideration that you should make when you are trying to determine the budget expenses is the electronics. Of course, you want the train to move and you want it to move under its own power but the types of switches can make a difference in the price of your railroad. The simpler the switch the less you‟ll spend on it, the more complicated and the more it will cost. Another reason to consider the electronics is a simpler switch might not only be cheaper it might also be easier to fix or replace should a problem arise. But the electronics don‟t just make your train go, it will also control the signal lights, any lights that are in or on the train itself, and other features that you may include in your layout, like house lights or signal arms. How detailed you want to be on those extra types of electronics will also play into your expenses.

A great way to determine if your starting budget is a reasonable one is to simply talk to the experts. Head out to your local hobby shop and speak with one of the staff members. Be aware though, in a lot of those stores their goal is to sell you something. Most of them will be honest with you but there are some that are only interested in how much commission they can make. If you want to ensure that you are getting an unbiased opinion (or at least not biased by money) then check the internet. There are many chat rooms and clubs that can help you figure out exactly what you need to start your model railroad project. You‟ll find that there are many enthusiasts out there that are willing to be your “guide” to getting started.

 

N Scale Model Railroading for Beginners

A lot of new modelers are confused between ‘scale’ and ‘gauge’. Oftentimes, they use these terms interchangeably but you see, these words mean two different things. The scale is defined as the proportion of the model (e.g. locomotive) in relation to a real train. On the other hand, gauge is defined as the distance between rails. The N scale is really quite popular today and the locomotives for this scale are 1:160 as well as the roads, trees, figures, automobiles, and buildings. Most of the N scale models make use of the standard gauge tracks wherein the rails are 4’ 81/2”.

If you want to create the best model railway layout for the N scale, you need to enjoy the hobby. There is no sense in doing something that you don’t love or when you’re not having fun. It is possible to create a functional and realistic layout with the N scale. Even if you’re not that experienced yet, you can develop new skills as time passes by. As a beginner, it would be a good move to do a lot of things for the layout. You should explore the many ways, techniques, and materials that you can use for your layout. If you see any mistakes, you need to correct them at once. Starting out with a small model railway layout is ideal and you must keep it simple. N scale layouts are not that hard to create.

Why don’t you make use of the existing resources that you find online? There are already copies and instructions on how to build a simple N scale layout which includes the detailing and scenery. You can stick with a certain technique first but as you gain experience you can now try new ones.

If you see mistakes in your layout, correct is at once. For instance, if you are not satisfied with the mountain’s appearance, you can change or improve it. There are many brands that you can choose from and you just need to stick to only one brand. That way, you can have a realistic model railway layout in the N scale. There is no right and no wrong when designing the layout. The requirements and needs of modeler vary and you’re free to choose your own designs or concepts.

Since the N scale is a bit small, this might be a challenging scale to work on especially for beginners. Still, if you don’t want to use the bigger scales, the N scale can be a great choice. Hobby shops are not always present in local areas, so if you can’t find one you can start shopping online. There are many online stores that offer a reasonable price for N scale model trains and accessories. Set aside a budget for the model layout and start shopping online. You can experiment on DIY sceneries. Start with simple ones like trees, grasslands, lakes, etc. The raw materials can save you lots of money and will bring out your creative side.

Hurry and have fun creating your N scale model railroads.

Quick Guide To Model Railway Layouts


Who wouldn’t be familiar with the model railway layouts? Even children are already interested in building their own layouts. Some modelers even started with their model railway Matchbox pieces and Lego toys. Soon, the model railways became more realistic and with complex designs. Creating the entire layout can take time but this will depend on the size of the layout. You can even modify if you wish to add more details.

Depending on the space that is available in your home or office, you can already determine the appropriate size of your locomotives and tracks. For instance, if you have large available space, you can opt for the O scale but if you have a much smaller space, you might want to use N scale or the Ho scale. So far, the latter is the most popularly used by most professional modelers.

Today, modelers are using OO, N, HO, and O. The OO is widely used in the United Kingdom. The accessories for these popular scales are also available worldwide. It’s up to you whether you will create an ordinary model railway or the ones with complex designs, landscape features, and perfectly-scaled architecture.

You can find modelers who don’t give much importance to the scenery because they are simply after the model trains and tracks. The surrounding designs are merely additions. Children can start learning to make the model railways especially if they have great interest in locomotives.

Sharing the model railway layout with others is probably one of the best ways to enjoy your project. If you want others to see your beautiful masterpiece, you can place the layout in the living room or any other place where others can see it. Just make sure that the table is strong enough to handle the usual bumps coming from viewers.

If you’re that serious with model railway layouts, you can try making a replica of a real railway. All you have to do is to get a picture of the railway and copy it as is. This can be time consuming and expensive since you will need to get all accessories that looks the same as the model railway. Even the tiniest detail should be given much attention. Creative modelers also try to create their own model railway that is uniquely theirs and can’t be found anywhere in the world.

Finding retailers that sell model railway accessories is also very easy these days with the help of the internet. The accessories include automobiles, people, buildings, and trees. Over time, modelers have learned to create their own people and other accessories. All they need are some raw materials and they can create the accessories from scratch. This will take a lot of creativity and time but it’s worth the effort. You will need things like board pieces, paint, glue, Styrofoam, glue, grater, and many others raw materials. Ponds, mountains, hills, and cliffs are usually made the modelers themselves. You too can create these structures by simply following some great tips online.

So, have you decided to build your own model railway? Getting started is not as hard as you think. Why don’t you get the starter kits? Beginners are not that good yet and the starter kits may be an excellent choice. As you gain experience, you can now create better and more realistic model railways.

A tabletop is necessary to get started. You can choose a Z or N scale for the tabletop since the larger scales will require more space. Make sure that the location of the model railway is clean, dry, and has adequate source of electricity. To make things easier, you can work on the sceneries first before you lay down the tracks and the locomotives. Building mountains and other features can get really messy and so you can avoid a messy track if you lay them down last.

O scales are also quite popular these days despite their larger size. Detailing is much easier with these larger scales and it’s also suitable for those who are just starting out. Working out on the features and sceneries is easier because of the much bigger size but it can also get expensive.

Learn everything you can about model railway layouts and you will find it easier to invest on this kind of project.

HO Scale Layouts

The HO model railway scale is the most popular in the world, and for good reasons. It is small enough that you can make elaborate layouts even in a relatively small space, and it’s also large enough that you can see the wonderful details that make a model train layout so enchanting.

To maximize your enjoyment of your model railway, you should get a basic setup going, and then gradually add to it as time and money allow. When do you stop? Probably never. Model railway fans tend to be devoted for life.

Here are some of the basic pieces you’ll need for starting your HO scale layout.

Make sure you have a good DC transformer. The one that comes with a basic train set is OK, but if you can get your hands on a decent transformer, your train will run better. Have 6 to 10 wheel sets. Keep half a dozen or so couplers handy, and a couple of packs of rail joiners. Also make sure you have some insulated joiners. Terminal joiners work better than plain terminal track and allow wires to be kept hidden. You should also have a collection of ‘odd straights,’ which are exactly what they sound like: odd sized pieces of straight track.

Get some rerailers. These are sections of straight track that look like road crossings. And you’ll need a few basic tools and supplies. You should also have a roll of three-strand wire from an electronics store, a pair of needle nose pliers with a wire cutter, and a couple of screwdrivers ‘“ slot and Phillips head.

When it comes time to actually start putting down track, start small with maybe an oval with a couple of sidings. You can add to the complexity infinitely, but this design will get you going.

Model Railway Supplies

Model Railway building is a hobby in which almost all of the supplies you need are fun. It is like constructing a little world, and you get to build it as you see fit. It can be as realistic or as abstract as you want. It is best to start with a small layout and gradually add to it. There are infinite variations on model railway layouts, and you’ll probably never grow tired of adding on. Here are some of the supplies you’ll need for building a model railway.

When buying an engine, you should consider things like how fast it goes with and without pulling wagons and freight, how realistic it is, and how detailed. Beyond that, go by what your realistic budget dictates. You can spend $1,000 on an engine, but if you’re just starting out, that’s probably not the best idea, unless you are very wealthy. On the other hand, an engine that is bewilderingly low in price is probably not a good bet, either.

You’ll need a transformer, which will probably come with a model railway starter kit, and a few basic tools like slot and Phillips head screwdrivers, needle nose pliers, and a wire cutter. A soldering iron is useful, but not totally necessary.

With tracks, you’ll want enough curves to make a decent oval, and you’ll want a box of what are called ‘odd straights,’ bits of straight track in varying lengths. Get a couple of rerailers, which are straight pieces of track that look like road crossings.

It’s perfectly OK to start with a model railway in a kit if you’re not quite ready to design a nice layout. Some people starting out will ask someone working at a hobby shop to recommend a good engine, a few cars, and a good starting assortment of track.

One of the best things about building model railways is the help and enthusiasm other hobbyists have and will use to help you get started on the right track.

N scale Track Plans

The N scale ranges from 1:148 to 1:160 which means that the real train is over 100 times larger than the model train.

In other words it’s a lot smaller than O scale trains but not quite as small as Z scale trains.
N scale trains are even smaller than HO scale trains, but that can be a good thing. The size of the N scale makes finding space for a fairly large layout of small trains fairly easy. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t spy just the perfect spot for an N scale track layout. It could be a bedroom or a large closet off the kitchen, but wherever it is one thing is clear: those spaces would be much improved with an N scale track layouts quick.

n-scale-track-plans
So get yourself on the Internet and find one of those sites with a bunch of layouts, or better yet come up with your own layout and build it all yourself.

That’s the thing about toy trains. The joy one gets in them is equal to the work one puts into them. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard from parents that the brand new train set they got their child is collecting dust in the basement on top of the unused ping pong table.

Well, with the N scale you could have a train set in a bedroom and you could continue to build and add to it for years. Soon it’ll become a source of pride for your child and the family in general. It feels great when your child does something constructive. Neighbours will likely be enthusiastic about the new train layout too. N scale works great for those with small rooms, or who live in apartments or condos. It’s the ‘fun size’ model train.

O-Scale Layout

The pastime of building and running model railways has been around at least since the turn of the 20th century. In the beginning model railroading was primarily for children and the trains were built with that in mind. The earliest model railroad layout were O-scale, which are a bit larger than the typical trains older children and adults focus on these days when they do elaborate model railway layouts.

That said, the actual definition of the O-scale is not really standardized, and American and British model trainers each have slightly different specifications. In fact, Soviet and other European countries also had the own particular versions of the O-scale. This meant that trains and accessories don’t always match up if they are bought in other countries or from different manufacturers.

Over the last twenty years there has been an effort to standardize the scale so that it would truly be to scale. The earlier O-scale layouts were not true to their 1/48 scale.

This is important because the recent focus of model railroading is on accuracy and interchangeability. This means you may be able to use the products from different companies in your O-scale layout. In the past the British used a slightly different O-scale for their trains which were more for adults. With the new improvements in the O-scale, these differences might disappear.

The O-scale layout has a very long and convoluted history, but things are getting a little easier for the model railroader who demands a true standard to get behind when starting out on the adventure of railroading. Perhaps it will spawn a new generation of Internet international railroading where trains, buildings, landscapes and props could be traded across the ocean. It would certainly allow a greater range of choice in products if there were truly an international O-scale layout standard.

Model Railway Layout

There are as many model railway layouts as there are model railway enthusiasts, and then some! There are model railway builders who create replicas of real world track layouts that are perfect down to the tiniest detail. And there are others who make a model railway layout that only exists on the train table. Both ways are fine: there’s enough room for every design when it comes to model railroads.

There are a number of retailers selling accessories for every scale train layout. You can buy trees, buildings, automobiles, even people that are made for a certain scale model railway layout. You can even order custom made accessories built to your exact specifications.

But you can also build your own landscaping for your model railway layout, and there are some model railway hobbyists who wouldn’t have it any other way. You can, for instance, build your own berm on either side of the tracks using Styrofoam, a grater, glue, paint, and pieces of board to put it on. Did you know that you can create a realistic pond by cutting out wax paper and painting it? The smooth surface gives it a realistic look.

A pebble makes a fine mountainside boulder, and you can imitate cultivated fields with dry coffee grounds (smells nice, too!). You can even make your own trees using steel wool for the canopies and bits of wire for the trunk and branches. Realistic snow is not always easy to make. Some people use talc, and some people make snow that looks realistic, but actually forms a solid layer on the scenery. This, of course, produces less of a mess. To do this, you mist the scenery you want snow on with water, then sift small amounts of white gypsum cement over it. If you keep doing this in thin layers: mist/sprinkle/let dry several times, you can get a realistic looking snow scene.

The most important thing when building your model railway layout is not to be afraid to try something new. You may not be great at making papier mache mountains yet, but with practice you could become an expert.

How to Get Started Building Model Train Layouts

The ride home from obtaining your first model train layout and accessories is an amazingly slow journey if you’re itching to get home and start running model trains. Fortunately, there are enough train enthusiasts that obtaining the things you need to build a model train layout is not difficult. But the steps of how to get started building model train layouts actually begin before you start setting up.

You need anything from a clear tabletop to an entire room for creating your model train layout. For little N-scale or Z-scale models, a generous tabletop is enough for a fairly elaborate layout. For larger models, like O-scale and G-scale, more room will be necessary. The place you choose for your model train layout needs to be dry, fairly clean, and have adequate electricity. And you need to choose a location where people won’t trip over electrical cords.

If you want to be practical about it, you should set up your scenery first and then add the tracks and trains. This way you’re less likely knock trains and tracks askew when adding mountains, buildings, or other features. Realistically, however, most model rail enthusiasts are more interested in getting those tracks put down and actually running the trains on them.

If you are not sure what kind of layout to create, there are dozens of websites with suggestions and instructions on exactly how to replicate a certain layout. If you plan to create a model railway layout as a replica of an actual rail line, you might start with photos from Google Earth. Joining a train enthusiast web forum will hook you up with other model railway builders, most of whom will be happy to share their expertise and tips with you. One of the greatest rewards for all your hard work building model train layouts will be sharing it with others who are just as excited about it as you are.