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Old 12-17-2009, 11:46 AM   #1
Hojack_Line
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HO vs. O Scale for newbie

OK, well first post here, so hi to all. I am a 40yr old father who has a soon to be 4yr old son who loves trains. Loves to see them, loves to talk about them, and loves to play with them. When I was a kid I had a typical 4x8 setup in my basement HO scale. It has been 25 years at least since I had that setup maybe longer. I also love trains and really enjoy watching them and seeing my son play with them.

Ok, that being said. He wants a trainset for Christmas, but I do not want to just buy him a box set and throw it on the floor and have it stepped on and broken. So I am going to setup a minimum space of 4x8 maybe go bigger if need be. Problem is I just don't know what scale is the best. I went into a local Hobby store and the owner told me go with Lionel. I agree the Lionels look great, but the "modeling" looks generic when I look at some setups in person and on youtube for example. Just something about it looks toyish and the trains are never to scale with the building etc. HO is smaller and more delicate, but it seems easier to model. Mind you this isn't just for him, I am being a little selfish and also thinking if I am going to do this with him I want to enjoy it also. So the though of making some scenary etc is appealing.

What do you more experienced people think would be the best path to follow. The clock is ticking and Santa is coming so I am running out of time. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. I am started to get confused looking at all this stuff.

Thanks in advance and Happy Holidays!!!!

Derek - Fairport, NY
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:17 PM   #2
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My opinion shouldn't count for much, since I don't run HO or O. *L* However, I do have experience with kids. Children are very touch-oriented: your son will want to pick them up and handle them. He's also going to need to be able to get the wheels to the rails. If it's too delicate or difficult, he'll get frustrated and lose interest. So...buy both. Do a simple loop around the perimeter with his train, the (inexpensive) Lionel. He then can reach his big train without reaching across the HO set (yours) on the interior. He can run his train and derail without taking out your train and buildings. You can play together. When he gets old enough, remove the Lionel and share the HO setup. Can you afford to do both?
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:18 PM   #3
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...and by the way, welcome to the forum, Derek!
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:20 PM   #4
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welcome.
best scale is the one you like the best.

scale arguments can get flame'ey and with that in mind - for me its HO. and from what i see HO is more "model" scale while O is mostly "toy"

since this forum is populated by mostly 3 railers, tankist sees all the rotten tomatoes flying his way and hides behind riot shield. ( starts fueling the flamethrower :evil: )
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:27 PM   #5
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tankist is right---you do have to be satisfied with the setup, or you'll be frustrated and give up, too. However, think of how nice a two-tiered setup would look with the big Lionel racing around the bottom and your HO inside that loop, winding thru tunnels and up inclines. I'm still down for both sizes. Just think of it this way...three rails for children, then two for grown men. It's like training wheels on a bicycle. *LOL* Run, Tankist, they're coming for us!!!
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:28 PM   #6
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Thank for the replies. To answer the question of running HO and Lionel. I could afford it, didn't think about that option. Might be something to consider for sure. I love the size and the look of the Lionels, but the buildings and accessories just seem a little too unrealistic to me. I am sure they are much more durable though and also more expensive. I don't have a gigantic room to put it in either. I would think I could do 10x15 or so at most for now. I would like to have at least 2 trains going on different lines at a time also. The DCC trains I love. My son would love that also. Brings a new "real" element into the whole thing. Thats why I want this on a board so there will be no moving the track around. He does like the hands on thing, but we have tons of stuff already around the house train related so I was going to explain to him that this set was more for display and that he can operate it. That plan might backfire, but it sounds good right now. For those who use HO track is Atlas 83 the most realistic? I like that as opposed to the kind where the bed is attached to the track like on the snap on stuff. Any suggestions there?
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:45 PM   #7
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i use code 100 atlas, its pretty realistic if you ask me, certainly more so then old school "O" with 3 sleepers per section ( no ofence Tman ) . i also don't like integrated roadbed track, BUT toy layout for a child i think it (integrated roadbed) is the optimal solution as it adds ruggedness.

however if i ever start over i would use 83 or even 70-75 despite them being harder to find.

i don't like the idea of using 2 scales on same layout, besides the expence, its not really realistic. IMHO
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:59 PM   #8
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Tankist, I see you have foam under your tracks. Curious as to why you use it there? How did you decide on your layout? Did you find it somewhere or create it yourself?
Thanks
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hojack_Line View Post
Tankist, I see you have foam under your tracks. Curious as to why you use it there? How did you decide on your layout? Did you find it somewhere or create it yourself?
Thanks
with foam i got the ability to dig in and lower the track (so to fit under my bridges). able to shape the "terrain" - i hate flatness . it also noise supressor, coupled with cork roadbed it is really nice.

deciding on layout was hard, i started with double loop with one double crossover, didn't like that and looked at how to improve. somehow it evolved to what i plan now.

Last edited by tankist; 12-17-2009 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:53 PM   #10
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I see a flame war is brewing!

First off welcome too the site.

Second your post should be O verses HO
Not HO verses O.

If you don't have the room HO is for you then. Just teach him that the trains will break and you got to be very care full with them. Also let him give you a hand building it. Even the smallest thing I think he would enjoy it.

Heck reckers I have a hard time putting the wheels on. lol
I never looked for one but I have a ramp thing for my N scale that you put the cars on and it just rolls down onto the track nice, no fidgeting around with the wheels. Don't they sell these for HO too? All it is is a plastic ramp.

Kids will be kids but if you teach them right they will respect the trains.
Accidents will happen. Heck I have broke some through out the years myself. And I'm sure others have too.lol

Now let the flame war begin!
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