Showing posts with label Train. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Train. Show all posts

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Model Train Layouts - Choosing a Theme For Your Model Railroad

Model Train Layouts - Choosing a Theme For Your Model Railroad

In the model train hobby, a lot of what you'll do will flow from the theme that you've chosen for your model railroad. From scenery to rolling stock, from track to power supplis, everything will depend on your theme.


When it comes right down to it, theme is all about what you want to do.


Choosing a theme is all about:


an era
a setting
an operating style

Model Train Eras:


There are three main eras for model trains: steam, modern, and transition.


1. The Steam Era covers everything from the Wild West (1870s) up to World War II (1940s), but for most people the steam era pretty much covers the 1930s to 1940s. The visual appeal and nostalgic elements of intricate models of steam engines pulling a train of rail cars are tough to beat.


2. The Modern Era generally means today's trains, although it could conceivably cover anything from the 1960s to today. The modern era can cover everything from ultramodern diesels pulling intermodal trains to commuter trains and everything in between, but for most people a modern era train layout will show locomotives, rolling stock, buildings, and scenery that you would expect to see on the rails today.


3. The Transition Era is that peroid between the 1940s and 1950s when both steam and diesel locomotives travelled the rails as steam was being phased out and diesel was being phased in. The transition era is best for modelers who want to run both steam and diesel engines on the same tracks true to prototype--in short, modelers who want the best of both worlds.


While you're considering your choice of era, you may want to factor in the availability of material for the different eras at the hobby and online retailers. There tends to be much more modern-day rolling stock and model kits available to the consumer than steam-era, and often at much lower prices as well. Even train sets, which can be a great source of lower-cost locomotives and rolling stock are usually modern-era. Even the second-hand market, such as ebay and flea markets, tends to have a lot more modern-era items available.


You will also want to consider how much of a model-railroad purist you want to be. Although many model railroaders start out being happy to mix elements of many different eras, such as blending steam-era locomotives with the diesels of today, many people in the hobby tend to become more purist as they grow in skills and enthusiasm. Call it "prototype fever"--modelers who catch it end up becoming more and more interested in modeling a particular era to the exclusion of others. They find that their 1930s-era logging railroad just doesn't look right with a 21st-century diesel locomotive running on its tracks. So, if you end up with a layout that isn't set in the era that you want, then you'll have to pull out and replace the items that don't fit, which will cost you both time and money.


Model Train Setting:
After you've chosen an era, you can start looking at the setting for your layout. With the Steam era, you can choose from a wide range of setting including, for example, the Rockies with lots of mountains and trees. Or you could choose the Prairies with lots of wide-open spaces broken up only by tiny farm towns. Or, there's the Midwest with its bigger cities and heavy industry. Or you can choose the Coast with small fishing towns and big ports. The settings are pretty limitless--and universal. Although the regions I've listed are more suited to North American railroads, the same types of regions exist pretty much anywhere in the world that rails have been laid.


Now, while you may want to try something pretty unique for a layout, keep cost and availability in mind. Narrow gauge layouts, for example, while stunning to look at and operate, demand a lot of time, effort, and money to set up. More mainstream settings are cheaper and easier to model for beginners. When you're starting out and learning the hobby, avoid spending too much money if you don't have to.


Operating Style:


The most important factor in choosing your layout theme is your operating style.


By operating style, I mean the aspects of the hobby that you really enjoy the most. If you really enjoy scenery construction, then your model railroad should give you lots of opportunities to show off your scenery. On the other hand, if you really enjoy coupling together trains and switching, then you should really look at a yard module, with lots of track, rolling stock, and switches. And if you enjoy operating your model railroad the same way that a real railroad would operate, and playing with items like schedules and "fast clocks," then you should look at putting in lots of model industries, sidings, and destinations for your trains.


Now, I have talked about cost in choosing an era and a setting for your layout, but I'm going to suggest that you give cost less priority when it comes to operating style. Your operating style is the reason why you're in the hobby. Plaster's cheaper than track, but scenery heavy modeling may not have the same appeal to someone who is really interested in setting up and operating a railroad yard. And if you're not going to enjoy a particular operating style--then why do it?


Hobbies are supposed to be fun. Yes, watch your budget when you're starting out but at the same time make sure that the reason that you got into model trains in the first place is also your guide for choosing the theme of your model train layout.


Now, once you've considered the era, setting, and operating style you want, you have pretty much narrowed down the theme and you can move on to more detailed planning. Keep working on your theme and refining it until you have a good vision of what you want your model railroad to be.



RJ Andron is a filmmaker and web designer, and has been involved in the model train hobby for over thirty years.

Friday, November 10, 2017

How to Set Up Model Train Layouts

How to Set Up Model Train Layouts

The world's most popular hobby with thousands of collectors and hobbyists, modeling railroad trains and the entire layout demands skills. Yet to be able to see the lovely landscape and the products of labor, it is such a fulfilling experience for the hardcore train model hobbyist.


With this hobby of modeling railroad trains, there are a lot of options in layout, train products, accessories, and details to work on. And with the advancement in the layout of model trains, the scales and range of products have also increased.
The following are the guidelines that you must consider in setting up the model train layout. Novice collectors and even extreme hobbyists can acquire important tips in making their train layout a one-of-a-kind one.


The first thing that you have to keep in mind is the budget involved since there are a lot of potential railroaders that have been discouraged to pursue the model train hobby upon learning of the money involved. If you are one of these people, then you might want to consider scaling down the project that you find ideal.


You may also like to explore other opportunities in having a budget-friendly model train layouting activity like befriending experts and networking to get some ideas on smart modeling as well as to get discounts and trading or bartering accessories with one another. A number of opportunities in trading are available online so start doing your research online and learn how to utilize the one you have.


In composing a model train layout, make sure that your carriages and locomotives will suite and go well with your rail. You must put extra effort in creating a layout that's interesting since an interesting layout often serves as an attraction and this will surely make a great impression.


Some of the detailed things you should consider in working your model train layout include infrastructures, establishments, buildings, mountains, or hills that you are planning to use. Take note to have them in their proper sizes to make it proportionate to the passing locomotive.


Make a specific layout and era fixed in your mind and use specific things based on that era you thought of, don't try to mix the old ones with the modern to come up with a credible setting for the layout.


A tip about tunnels, be sure that it is the right size so the locomotive can pass through it. Plus, if you intend to make it more real, then you can paint the interior with black to make the inside appear darker.


Lastly if you can ask for some help from your friends who are experienced in this kind of hobby, they may have some fresh ideas that can be very helpful to you and some advice to maintain your locomotive in its top performance.


Bear in mind that these are only some of the whole lot of tips that you can follow when making the layout. Feel free to explore.



Find out more about Model Train Layouts by checking on Model Trains Info.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ho Scale Train Layouts and Its Essence

Ho Scale Train Layouts and Its Essence

For those who are into scale train layouts who have yet to try immersing in the hobby, they may need to know that it's the HO scale that is the most popular and well-known railway scale in the modern world both for the English and even the non-English communities. The HO scale's standard ratio dimensions is one real foot is equivalent to 3.5 millimeters.


 The term HO comes with a distinct derivation as it doesn't stand for a specific word using the exact letters. "H" stands for half in HO as the "O" actually stands for zero but is pronounced that way since half of the zero or O scale is in fact an approximation of 1:87. The O scale derived its name from the preceding bigger scales as 1, 2 , and 3 and the colloquial term remains to be pronounced as "aitch - oh" to stand for aitch-zero even today. During the onset of the twentieth century the O gauge model for modern railways with the standard width of 32mm and a standard model scale of 1:45 became popular.


The real reason behind the HO scale train layout was development and introduction even before World War II is that there has been a clamor for people not having ultra large houses to have a train scale which is half the size of the O gauge. Aside from being suitable for smaller home setups, it would be more cost effective to manufacture and faster to make and because of these goals that the HO scale train layout or the HO gauge was conceived.


You might be taken aback that as early as 1922, a Nuremberg, Germany-based company called Bing has been topping the sales on tabletop railway scales for a couple of years now and they have been using the gauge of about 16.5mm for their quasi-ballasted raised tracks while this scale wasn't yet introduced as OO and HO. A company called Kibri designed and sold scale train accessories that will complement Bing's scales and measurements in response to the effort of the company. At the same time these scale trains run on with a clockwork drive but beginning 1924, most scale trains run on electricity.


The OO gauge or otherwise known as the half naught gauge became the talk of the town at the 1935 Leipzig Spring Fair and it was named the Trix Express. The rails became tin ballasts in what came about as the Marklin version and it is in contrast to the system of Bing wherein the tracks were attached and directly stamped on the ballast making the track and the ballast a single sheet of metal.


The HO scale trains was brought to life out of necessity because the Depression caused a lot of industries to downsize and people had to settle with what's available and more affordable, hence the HO smaller scale which is cheaper and easier to manufacture in general and hobbyists in the United States had fun making the HO scale better since it allows modelers to fit a lot more details and more scale miles into a small given area.



Find out more about HO Scale Train Layouts by checking on Model Trains Info.




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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Making O Scale Train Layouts

Making O Scale Train Layouts

Building model trains in the eyes the non-hobbyists may seem to be simple, a stuff that can be done even by fumbling ten-year olds. However, if they just sit and observe closer at how this is done, they will surely realize that this not just any hobby but rather serious and meticulous way of having fun. Indeed, this is not a small boy's task. The skills and creativity involved in the entire process could only be seen from adults. Therefore, if you are already beyond the childhood age, building small model trains can be just the kind of hobby that you will want to do in your spare time.


One of the fun things about building model trains is when you are trying to make O scale train layouts. This is actually the part where you can prove the point that this hobby is only good for boys who are already in their adult years. Making a layout, after all, is not much different to designing your own home or planning a city. It needs to a clear sense of detail and organization. In fact, you should not sit down, bring out everything from the model train kit box and start busying yourself with it. Just like any architect or engineer, the first thing that you should lay your hands on is a piece of paper and a pen.


Actually, you should not even limit yourself with just a design that can fit into just a piece of paper. You could have a lot of wonderful ideas that you may just be confused about what you should do next. If the kit allows you to create as many designs as possible, then spend more time putting your ideas into paper first. It is actually less tiresome to change or improve your ideas while these are still on paper rather than when these are already in the form of miniature trains and structures already.


Most train model kits already have the layouts included in the box. This means that you do not have to trouble yourself thinking about the right O scale train layouts. However, if you just stick to these only, you will certainly be bored constructing and seeing the same designs after some time. What you certainly need to do is to free yourself from the imposed designs on the model train kit. Instead, you should learn how to broaden your mind and create your designs as freely as possible. It is only when you do so that you will really get to enjoy the hobby more.


Of course, brilliant ideas for scale train layouts do not just appear in your imagination. These are also inspired or influenced by what you have seen previously. The key, therefore, is to read books or to surf the web and visit model train hobbyist sites. Study as many layouts as possible and think of way that you can modify these. Once you are done with this part, it will be a lot easier for you to come up with your own original design.



Find out more about O scale train layouts by checking on Model Trains Info.