Originally Posted by firescales22
so im a newbie
and i was wondering if somebody could tell me what trains/train brands would be good for me (13 yrs) also if somebody could help with what rolling stock would be good
thx in advance
Welcome to the forum! As for a good train brand, you can't beat Kato. Their quality is excellent across the board. I'm (71 yrs) and have been modeling in N-scale for at least (40 yrs) and have yet to see a bad Kato product. On the bad side, I avoid Bachmann, and I recommend you do too, at least for now.
Bachmann has a very mixed history, during which they have churned out many truly lousy products, and a few decent ones.
Old Bachmann stuff was pure junk. I gave up on the brand years ago. I have read on the forum that they "have upped their game" and "the new Bachmann locomotives are much better" , but I remain skeptical.
One current-production, lousy-quality, Bachmann product is their EZ-Track "turnouts."(track switches) They came in dead last on a quality comparison I did recently. The attached PDF file, "All about turnouts" has lots of useful information, and the quality rankings are at the end. I suggest you read a thread on this N-scale section of the forum titled "Are Kato #4 turnouts still problematic?" For some discussion on "Roadbed track" turnouts", including Kato and Bachmann.
"All about turnouts", and the other attached PDF files, are some I wrote to help new modelers or "newbies", like you, in building their first layout.
You asked if Rapido couplers were any good. Well, that depends on what you want to do with the couplers on your trains. If all you want is for them to stay firmly coupled, then Rapidos are very good at that. However, If you want to be able to uncouple cars for switching operations in a yard, or on sidings, then Rapidos are very bad at that. They stay together so well, that it's quite difficult to get them apart.
Rapido does make an uncoupling ramp, which lifts the couplers enough to uncouple them. The problem is, a train can only uncouple a car, and leave that car sitting on the ramp. It can't move the car anywhere off the ramp without re-coupling to it. This means you need a whole lot of ramp track sections. One, not only for each yard track, but also one for each spot on a long, multi-industry, siding, where you want to deliver a car.
A much, much, better coupler is Micro-Trains brand. They look like real couplers instead of gigantic square hooks, like Rapidos do. They somewhat resemble a human hand, and are called "knuckle couplers" for that reason. Micro-Trains couplers are magnetic. They can be uncoupled on a magnet ramp, and then pushed anywhere along a yard track, or siding, without re-coupling. Many modelers don't use magnetic uncoupling ramps at all. Instead they uncouple cars anywhere on their layouts with a simple stick, or small screwdriver.
Whichever way you choose to use them Micro-Trains couplers are the best N-scale couplers available.
These days most new cars & locos come with some brand of "knuckle couplers" attached. These knuckle couplers are all supposed to work with other brands of knuckle couplers, but some "don't play well with others." Oddly Kato couplers fall into this category. They work great with more Kato couplers, but not-so-great with other brands.
Most experienced modelers use Micro-Trains couplers on every car, and locomotive. For now you might like to use a "transition car." This car would have a Rapido-coupler-equipped-truck at one end, and a Micro-Trains truck/coupler at the other. This way, you could use your present cars, which have rapido couplers, and also use any new cars, or locos, that have knuckle couplers. I recommend you use whatever brand of knuckle couplers come on your newer cars, unless they give you trouble. Gradually, you could convert one car at a time to Micro-Trains couplers.
WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf
All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf
1 How to build a better first layout.pdf
2 How to build a better first layout.pdf
3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf
5 How to build a better first layout.pdf
6 How to build a better first layout.pdf
MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf
Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf