Need help getting started with N or HO size

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tblt44

New Member
Hello everyone I'm new and want to get started building train sets with grandson. I know nothing about them.
Looking at either N of Ho size.
What's good brands ? Tracks, trains ect.
Want real lights that work ect.
I found a complete set used I will include pics is, I'm sure it's worth more than the 125 she is asking but it defeats the purpose of designing and building our own.
Any opinions or comments appreciated.
Fully enclosed Table size is 48 x 28
 

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tblt44

New Member
More pics, this also includes the table as well
 

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tblt44

New Member
I'm not seeing my posts on new threads I'm wondering if anybody else is seeing them please let me know
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
While this layout makes a nice conversation piece, I would not recommend it for a layout with your grandson, as it is too complete, unless you and he just want to watch a single train run round and around. That will bore both of you pretty quickly.

You need to ask yourself several questions: First, how old is your grandson? How is his dexterity...and yours? Your eyesight may also be a factor. (At 77, I may need some cataract work eventually!) While N scale permits you to get twice as much in the same space as HO, handling the smaller N-scale trains can be a problem. While HO equipment also requires some dexterity, it isn't nearly as much as N.
How much space do you have for a layout? Where will the layout be placed...your home or his? If he really gets into the hobby, will there be room for expansion from, say, a 4' x 8' starting point?
With used locomotives and rolling stock, you don't really know what the condition of the items are. Even if you encounter a problem with new equipment, you can go to your local hobby shop (LHS), or to the manufacturer for help, repairs, replacement, etc. HO will give you a wider variety of rolling stock, buildings, etc. Cost-wise, you will need to decide on whether to acquire DC equipment, or DCC and DCC with sound. The latter will be the most expensive. Some "train sets" may give you enough to get started, but you are probably better off to buy a locomotive (diesel or steam) and a few cars, plus flex track and a few turnouts (track switches) and cork roadbed, or EZ-trak. You will need to buy the proper electric power equipment. A DC power pack will be the least expensive, but will limit you, in case you decide to go to DCC and sound. Buy a few books on basic model railroading, wiring, and DCC BEFORE you start buying stuff.

Feel free to ask general or specific questions. There are lots of people with a lot of experience (and with opinions of their own...including mine)! :)
 

ianacole

Well-Known Member
I would recommend attending a train show in your area, and take your grandson. You can see what he gravitates to, and get a feel for the differences in size and required space for each scale. Don't be surprised if he gravitates to the Lego trains ;)

You also might find that Lionel provides more interest, space allowing. Lionel has a lot of interactive accessories that can entertain youngins.
 

otiscnj

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the group, first of all.

If you haven't considered O gauge, or scale trains, such as Lionel or Williams, or MTH, among others, you may want to do so. These days, the equipment and locomotives in O, could be almost the same prices as good quality HO locomotives, and cars. There's something about a larger scale, that smaller scales can't replicate. Track and switches can be expensive in O, however availability issues of track and track components can frustrate your efforts to complete your mainline. I'd also say that the larger trains are less delicate than the smaller trains, and easier on the eyes.
 

tblt44

New Member
Thanks for the info
We will be going to hobby shops and will go to a local train show in 3 months.
From what I read on internet keto is a real good brand.
I want something that will last and function proper
 

Patrick

GNRR Mechanic always fixing stuff
Welcome to here. I went through this same thing with my 9 year old grandson and fell into N-scale. I bought an auction lot of approximately 45 pounds of train stuff that included 2 engines and 10 cars in n-scale.

It came down to space and his ability. He can work and see the trains readily and with the amount of space needed can actually have a nice layout in a small space. We are using DC instead of DCC, but that is always something that can change in the future.

I do agree with ianacole that taking him to a train show and seeing what he thinks and likes will keep him in the hobby longer. At the last train show, he wanted N-scale and gave his grandmother and myself a pretty convincing argument as to why. Until I actually had the n-scale stuff were weren't sure which way we were leaning. BTW: he is helping us old folks to help pay for some of his train stuff. I think they appreciate it more.

And Kato is a good brand. Bachmann and Model Power tend toward the bottom of the quality scale, but they do have upscale lines as well. Once you get into it and as you look through train shows and estate\garage\yard sales and flea markets, you tend to see what brands are better quality.
 

Emperor of the North

Active Member
Thanks for the info
We will be going to hobby shops and will go to a local train show in 3 months.
From what I read on internet keto is a real good brand.
I want something that will last and function proper


Keto may be a good diet but no train gear..... :)

I own Athearn and Atlas, the Athearn Genesis units are top notch.
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the info
We will be going to hobby shops and will go to a local train show in 3 months.
From what I read on internet keto is a real good brand.
I want something that will last and function proper

Kato locomotives are the benchmark for N Scale! They have a lot to offer, and are pretty much an exclusive N scale manufacturer. For HO their offerings are pretty limited. If you are getting started, take a look at their sectional track system, its as bulletproof as you can get. Scaletrains also has top quality locomotives too, I'm not in N scale anymore, and cant vouch for their N scale locos, but I have a bunch of their Ho models, and have several more on pre-order.
 
M

MHinLA

Guest
Don't buy that 'conversation piece'..The idea is to learn how to build your's and his own RR, together; not watch someone else's..Especially this one !
My suggestion is to buy/order books with titles like "Small Model Railroads You Can Build" ,"Benchwork for MRRs"..If there is a MRR club near you, visit it if you can..You'll see tons of great things and be able to ask questions.. Look into small shelf layouts and switching type layouts. A MRR does not have to run in a loop..It depends on how realistic you want it to be..The 1:1 scale doesn't. Far as control, I'd say to buy a DCC throttle such as an NCE PowerCab, or Digitrax, and buy an engine/s with 'sound on board'..Old analog/power pack control is much more difficult to wire up and to run more than one train at a time..But if you really don't want sound and don't see running anymore than one train, analog is fine. You must consider steepness of grades and sharpness of curves which add drag to a train.
It's a long learning curve, true. But there's nothing you do that cannot be changed/reconfigured. If HO, go code 83 rail. If N, go code 55.. Have fun...M
 
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tblt44

New Member
I may go HO scale, I have the room and the trains look to have more detail and everything looks easier to work with.
I have a loft I can use against one wall.
I have a area about 17 feet long 2 to 3 feet wide I can use.
 
M

MHinLA

Guest
With that much space and length you could build a 'point to point' RR line with one of the 3 turning facilities at either end like the 1:1 scale does, using a wye, a turntable, or balloon track..And in your case 3' wide in HO will demand overly tight radius if you're thinking of looping back to from whence you came. In HO one needs a minimum of 4' width to produce a 22" rad. curve. 3' is really too narrow unless you plan a switching layout where you can get away with it running shorter engines and 40' freight cars to shove/pull around into yard or spur tracks..You then could employ 16"-18"r curves to make a 180+ Deg. turn..
Consider going with 2' wide (or less)..This will make it very easy to work on and or to rescue a derailed/stalled/split train..It actually can become a shelf layout at that depth. And shelf MRRs are very popular now..If you still wish to have trains just roll and roll (a 'continual' or 'roundy-round' ), again you're up against the 18" curves at a 3' width.. I prefer a 'point to point' line. Why ? Because it forces me to have to operate like the 1:1 boys. But some might find that tedious...Solidly built benchwork is a must; open grid, L girder, or a shelf.
 
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tblt44

New Member
We ended up getting a Ho size Bachmann for our first test build.
This one is going to be on a rolling piece of plywood that can be put under a twin bed.
It's just the cheap one with the ez track.
this is just learning experience on how to build mountains and Water & Bridges excetera.
once we get this down pat I will go to higher-quality track that look natural and trains Etc when we start building it in my loft area.
him and I have been watching all kinds of YouTube videos on the different layouts people have can't wait for the next train show found one next month.
 

riogrande

Active Member
I may go HO scale, I have the room and the trains look to have more detail and everything looks easier to work with.
I have a loft I can use against one wall.
I have a area about 17 feet long 2 to 3 feet wide I can use.

Even if you go 4' wide at the end for a loop back, 22" radius curves are still pretty sharp in HO. If you ever want to run scale length passenger cars, they need broader curves, ideally 28" or more.

While you can fit HO into a 17' long space with decent turn back, you can fit much more N in that space.

A word about Bachmann. The quality of older Bachmann, older than 8 or 10 years was not very good. It has improved in recent years but fidelity to the real thing is lower than brands like KATO, Atlas Athearn, ScaleTrains, Intermountain, Rapido, Walthers etc.

Historically Bachmann has been trainset quality or just a bit better, which isn't a good thing as train sets have always had "cheap" rolling stock. Train sets have gotten better in the past 15 years it's true, but you can have better rolling stock by hand picking items, of course cost is more too. If you go to tran shows you can find bargains.

Bachmann also has made a line of Engines called Plus and Spectrum, which were a little better detailed. I dont care for Bachmann myself and haven't owned any except a couple Spectrum and sold those 20 years ago. YMMV
 
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