Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My guy has a birthday coming up, and he's been endlessly fascinated with trains since we moved to this house, which is right near a train yard. So, I want to get him something to start with, because he enjoys working with his hands. We don't have a huge amount of space, though I expect that to change in the future. But we do have a garage outside, and a decent amount of space in the living room (which we hardly use).

So, here are a few questions:
1. What's a good brand name?
2. What scale should I get? The z looks pretty small. His eyes are pretty good as long as he has his contacts in, but his hands can shake at times, so maybe z is too small? Maybe n or ho?
3. What's good, price-wise, to start with? I don't want to spend too much to start out, maybe around 100 bucks or something. Is that not enough to get something good to start with? I've seen some pretty pricey stuff, but also some inexpensive sets at the Walther's site. We're on a tight budget right now, but that will change in the near future, so if I could find something reasonable now that he can build on, that would be perfect.
4. Speaking of building on, that's something I haven't really read anything at all about. I don't want to get something that's going to be a definitive set or anything, I would like to find something he can add to and enjoy for years as we make the turn into our "golden years." :)

I've been reading around the internet, but there's SO much information everywhere that I am confused. Any help you guys could give me would be appreciated.

Thanks!
dee
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Oh, I see that I posted this in the wrong section of the forums, sorry about that! :) Reading the wikipedia link that someone linked to from the forum I was supposed to be posting in, it looks like HO scale is probably they way to go for my guy. So, now that I know that, I'm still not sure exactly what to get. lol! I think I will hit ebay and see what I can see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
Reading the wikipedia link that someone linked to from the forum I was supposed to be posting in, it looks like HO scale is probably they way to go for my guy. So, now that I know that, I'm still not sure exactly what to get. lol! I think I will hit ebay and see what I can see
Yes, HO scale is a good scale to work with... I am only into O scale though, so I can not recommend anything to you... I am sure that your husband will be happy with whatever you get him though :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I keep seeing the Life-Like brand name, reasonably priced. Has anyone had any experience with this brand, good or bad?

Thanks,
Dee
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Dee;

I don't particularly care for Life-Like. They are inexpensive. That's all one can say for them. And don't limit yourself to HO, look at other scales. N scale might be better for him. It's in between HO and Z scale. Good quality manufacturers include Kato, Atlas, and Athearn. Lionel produces good qualty too, but they are in the larger O scale.

Here is a list of good quality starter train sets:

http://modeltrains.about.com/od/modelrailroadtrains/tp/Top-Model-Railroad-Sets.htm

The title says "For less than $500", but most of them average between $150 and $200.

Take a look at some of the other pages on that site. There's a lot of information for beginners there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks. :) After seeing comparison pics, I'm pretty sold on the HO scale. Not sold on anything else, though. :)

I am running out of time, though. I should decide in the next couple of days. I'll do some more research and check back in here. Thanks! :)

Dee
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Dee,

Sorry for the late reply, I was working on my taxes.

I would definitely recommend HO scale for most people. It's a good mix of size & detail, and still has the largest selection of accessories, cars etc.

Lifelike is an entry level brand, but for your pice range I think it's going to be hard to beat. If it was me, I'd buy a lifelike Power Loc train set in the $50 to $75 price range and then buy the figure 8 expander, to make the layout more interesting. The Power Loc track will be nice because he can set up the train and run it on carpet, and then take it back a part.

Once he gets a taste of the hobby, he'll develop a real preference for different railroads, steam or diesel and level of realism. Then he can pick and choose each item individually. In the mean time the starter set will keep him
entertained.

HO Train Sets $50 - $75

Power Loc Figure 8 Expander

I hope this helps, one final thing to keep in mind is that if you're planning to buy online (from any store) you'll want to keep in mind that often times it can take over a week via standard mail to receive your items. You'll want to allow yourself plenty of time so there are no dissapointments. If you buy locally you can pick it up right away but will have higher prices + lower selection. It's a trade-off every model railroader has to make. I want it now, but I'm not paying that! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
If I were buying online I'd buy from "sptrains". Josh has excellent prices. My preference would be one of the Model Power sets he listed. But Life-Like does have the figure eight expansion set. If you are out of time and can't order online Toys 'R Us does carry a very limited selection of Life-Like sets (I think the store near me has two choices).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Lownen,

I agree that model power makes a good train set, but we don't have any sets from them that have locking track like Bachman, Lifelike or Kato do. I think for someone setting up their first train set, the go anywhere nature of the integrated track and roadbed is really important. I would have recommended a Bachman set, or ideally a Walther's Trainline, but they are all over $100.00

I really like this one the Trainline Power Pro , it's $103.82, so just slightly above the $100.00 budget but it includes the Bachman ez command track, and knuckle couplers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
You guys are awesome, thank you so much. I went with your first suggestion, Josh. I think he'll like that track expansion, and the look of the steam train. His birthday is the 27th, so I think that should be time for it to ship. :) I'm excited about it. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Dee,

I received your order and just got off the phone with our distributor. You'll definitely have both items by the 27th. Most likely by the 23rd.

Thanks again!

Josh
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Beautiful! You'll definitely get more business from us, assuming he decides to collect more (and I'm pretty sure he will, and I know him pretty well. :) ).

Thanks again :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
I agree that model power makes a good train set, but we don't have any sets from them that have locking track like Bachman, Lifelike or Kato do. I think for someone setting up their first train set, the go anywhere nature of the integrated track and roadbed is really important.
I agree completely, I didn't realize that Model Power didn't include integrated roadbed track. Here's a page on integrated roadbed track. It doesn't list the Life-Like track though. Do you know any good links with information on it?

Dee; if you're still listening, you need to be aware that these integrated roadbed track systems from different manufacturers don't work together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
That's true, but luckily there are adapters for Lifelike to Bachman and to regular (no roadbed). It would have been nice if the manufactures would have standardized on it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Kato offers an adapter to standard track also. I think Bachmann's E-Z track may be the most widely used. I have two ovals of it, and it hasn't impressed me. I still love my Kato Unitrack in N and HO... and my Tillig Bedding Track in TT scale. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
See, now y'all are getting too technical for my tastes, but this is just the sort of thing he'll enjoy about trains. He'll probably join us here on the 27th or shortly afterwards. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Eh. It didn't get here till days after his birthday, so I resorted to showing it to him online on his bday. This was no fault of Josh's, let me be clear. He sent it in plenty of time. Anyway, he played with it for about an hour and the engine just stopped working. So, we've sent it back for a replacement (this might have to do with the fact that the box was very banged up. USPS obviously ignored the huge FRAGILE warnings, and jumped up and down on it or something).

Meanwhile, he's been over to the train yard and has gotten a ton of pics of the trains there, and he's making a video with it and a Johnny Cash song. I think he wants to get some pics of Folsom prison to go on the video, so I'm not sure if he's posted it to youtube or not. I'll find out, and let y'all know if he has; the pics are pretty cool.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top