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Old 10-16-2019, 09:10 PM   #1
GeorgeMendes
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Where to start comparison browsing?

Hello everyone,,,
First, Thanks for having a great place for a total new guy like me to come and read about Model railroading. Really just trying to wrap my head around all the different aspects involved, and trying to figure out what I'd like to do for a layout. I'm thinking HO, early Stream has caught my eye... maybe an 8x12 space.

I'm the type of guy that actually likes to read the instructions.. To read, research and compare the products I want to buy. Theres a wealth of knowledge here, but while I try to decipher and ingest all I'm reading, I'm looking for more info about the different tracks and trains available. I guess I'm old school enough that I love to browse a real catalog.. I went to Walthers, but the 2017 is sold out, they have the 2016 available, but on top of the $16 for the catalog, its $11 for shipping.. Is it worth it? I realize print isn't cost effective, but sometimes I just want to flip some pages.

What sites do you go to browse, thats easy to navigate and that offer real information about the products?

Thanks for any pointers to help me start the journey..
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:22 PM   #2
Old_Hobo
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The 2019 is still out, and they are talking about the 2020 catalogue now....

Why do you want old ones?
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:23 PM   #3
CTValleyRR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeMendes View Post
Hello everyone,,,
First, Thanks for having a great place for a total new guy like me to come and read about Model railroading. Really just trying to wrap my head around all the different aspects involved, and trying to figure out what I'd like to do for a layout. I'm thinking HO, early Stream has caught my eye... maybe an 8x12 space.

I'm the type of guy that actually likes to read the instructions.. To read, research and compare the products I want to buy. Theres a wealth of knowledge here, but while I try to decipher and ingest all I'm reading, I'm looking for more info about the different tracks and trains available. I guess I'm old school enough that I love to browse a real catalog.. I went to Walthers, but the 2017 is sold out, they have the 2016 available, but on top of the $16 for the catalog, its $11 for shipping.. Is it worth it? I realize print isn't cost effective, but sometimes I just want to flip some pages.

What sites do you go to browse, thats easy to navigate and that offer real information about the products?

Thanks for any pointers to help me start the journey..
If you want the most information available in one place, it's hard to beat Walthers. Their 2020 Sourcebook should be out any day now. HO and N are combined into one volume these days.

I used to get one every year. If you gotta have pages, then the catalog is worth it. Most definitely. Me, I've moved on to digital editions. I don't even get paper magazines or books anymore, but if I hadn't, I'd still be getting their catalog. The "Magic of Model Railroading" section always has good photos, too.

Sometimes Walthers is the only place you can find something, but since they're primarily a wholesaler, they always sell at MSRP so as not to undercut their dealers. It's usually best to find what you want on their website (or in their catalog) and look for it elsewhere, where you may get a discounted price.

The biggest gap in Walther's inventory is that they don't sell Horizon Hobbies products (notably Athearn locos and rolling stock). There are also a lot of independent small businesses out there who sell direct to the customer. If you can get to a good-sized train show, that's a great way to see a lot of stuff in a short time. You don't say where you are; in New England, your best bet is the Amherst Model Railroad Hobby Show, held at the Big E in Springfield the last weekend in January every year.
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:46 PM   #4
MichaelE
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They also almost never stock the Roco, Viessman, or other German and Austrian products they claim to sell. They sometimes have some structures from Kibri and Faller in stock, but that is a big exception.

Of course, they advertise it all hoping you'll order something they will never get and use your money interest free while waiting for a product to come that will never arrive while your money is tied up on a pre-order or back-order.
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Old 10-17-2019, 12:02 AM   #5
GNfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeMendes View Post
I'm thinking HO, early Stream has caught my eye... maybe an 8x12 space.
I assume you mean "steam", not "stream". What is "early steam" to you? The Stourbridge Lion and Best Friend of Charleston (ca. 1830)? The Civil War and Wild West era? (You might be in luck there - HO models of the two "Golden Spike" locomotives are still available); or something like the "Gilded Age" (1890's) with its heavyweight passenger cars?

I would tell you that most of us here in HO and N shop at either modeltrainstuff.com or hobbylinc.com; but I can't say that either site is going to help you comparison shop between brands. The Kalmbach books on "Getting Started" may be dated (I don't know whether John Armstrong lived to see DCC or not) but may be worth looking into.

Welcome, and good luck.
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Old 10-17-2019, 03:47 PM   #6
DonR
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George

Glad to have another new guy to come on board.

The Walther's catalog is a year round wish book for
modellers. Walther's is the Nationwide wholesale
supplier to most local Hobby Shops. If you are near
any of these, they might have a current catalog available
to browze.

I suspect, however, that a large number of the hobby
use 'on line' shopping, Amazon and Ebay. You can simply enter 'HO model trains' in your Google and get a good number of
sources. You can browze these and make notes.
Then, if you see something you like, you can ask our
members for opinions or you can also phone the dealer
for more information.

You are fortunate to join the hobby now. The quality of
the train products is the highest it's ever been. There
is little difference between makes. The price is generally
based on the visible details of the locos and cars. You
can expect to pay more for a DCC or Sound loco, however.

While there are many still using the familiar DC power
system, perhaps, even more have moved on to
use DCC, Digital, Command, Control. It simplifies
wiring and makes possible running 2, 3 or more trains
at the same time with just one controler, each individually controlled. No need for panels of switches and yards or wires.

There are several DCC systems available, all built under
standards of the NMRA. The best known are Digitrax,
NCE, MRC and Bachmann. All are quality products that
have the power to run multiple trains. Bachmann's less
costly system, however, is not capable of fine tuning loco
decoders. You can run any DCC loco on any DCC system
regardless of make. Just connect 2 wires to the track
put the train or two on it, and you can immediately run them.

There are various track systems available. Perhaps most
of the serious modellers prefer to use flex track, tho. It
comes in 3 foot sections that you can cut or bend to
fit in your track plan. You have a good choice of
track accessories such as turnouts and crossings.

Track systems, with rails on road bed, on the other hand,
limit you to the sectional pieces they offer. It is with
difficulty that you can use turnouts, for example, from other
makes. Instead, these systems require that you buy their turnouts and other track accessories.

There is a gold mine of information in the 'pages' of our
Forum. But by all means, come to us with the
questions that you have. Our members have decades
of experience in all gauges and systems and will enjoy
helping you enjoy your hobby.

Don
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:12 PM   #7
traction fan
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West Welcome aboard!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeMendes View Post
Hello everyone,,,
First, Thanks for having a great place for a total new guy like me to come and read about Model railroading. Really just trying to wrap my head around all the different aspects involved, and trying to figure out what I'd like to do for a layout. I'm thinking HO, early Stream has caught my eye... maybe an 8x12 space.

I'm the type of guy that actually likes to read the instructions.. To read, research and compare the products I want to buy. Theres a wealth of knowledge here, but while I try to decipher and ingest all I'm reading, I'm looking for more info about the different tracks and trains available. I guess I'm old school enough that I love to browse a real catalog.. I went to Walthers, but the 2017 is sold out, they have the 2016 available, but on top of the $16 for the catalog, its $11 for shipping.. Is it worth it? I realize print isn't cost effective, but sometimes I just want to flip some pages.

What sites do you go to browse, thats easy to navigate and that offer real information about the products?

Thanks for any pointers to help me start the journey..
George;

Welcome to the forum! The other responders have answered your original question about browsing. I'm attaching some files for new modelers that may help you get started on your layout.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

again welcome;

Traction Fan

WHERE DO I START rev 4.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

All AboutTurnouts rev 4.pdf

MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf

Choosing a Scale.pdf
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:45 PM   #8
CTValleyRR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelE View Post
They also almost never stock the Roco, Viessman, or other German and Austrian products they claim to sell. They sometimes have some structures from Kibri and Faller in stock, but that is a big exception.

Of course, they advertise it all hoping you'll order something they will never get and use your money interest free while waiting for a product to come that will never arrive while your money is tied up on a pre-order or back-order.
The sell it; that doesn't mean they stock it. And they collect on pre-orders because too many people were making pre-orders and then changing their minds, resulting in dealers with lots of excess stock. Dead stock kills merchants. That's why the industry has moved away from large inventories.

And your whole point is kind of irrelevant to someone who is asking where they can go to find information; not necessarily to purchase.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:20 AM   #9
GNfan
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The 2020 Walthers HO/N/Z Reference Books are now in stock @ $17.98.
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Last edited by GNfan; 10-18-2019 at 01:01 AM.. Reason: added the year
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:10 PM   #10
Eilif
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One more vote for getting to a shop or show to compare. You might not find the exact livery you want but you'll be able to see how the paint and details compare on different companies' versions of the same equipment.
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