Model Train Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi there;

So first off, I'm new to the boards. Now that that's out of the way, I've got a two and a half year old son who is completely obsessed with trains. For a while now, I've been thinking about picking up the hobby, and his newest obsession has given me the opportunity to start a good project that we can hopefully both enjoy.

I've done a little looking around, and I think I will be working in HO scale. I've been reading a handful of online guides and whatnot, and have a good idea of what I'm looking at as far as size, monetary investment, etc. I still have a good number of questions that getting an enthusiast's opinion on can be a hard thing to do.

1. Flextrack vs normal. The flexible tracks I have seen online and at my friendly neighborhood hobby shop seem like a no-brainer. They sound like they take alot of the hassle out of designing a layout that works well and enable you to focus more on the scenery, etc. Is this true? Are there any downsides to the flexible track that outweigh this...well, this 'flexibility'?

2. I've also read alot about the SubTerrain foam risers and other materials and they also sound like a awesome line of products that can take some of the grind out of things.

3. Online Resources. Aside from eBay (which I don't really use), what online resources do you folks recommend for purchasing materials? The hobby store in town has a pretty basic selection of stuff, and while I'm more or less completely green in the model train department, having a good idea of where to go when I outgrow the basics would be a good thing.

Well, I know I'll think of more things to ask as soon as I hit submit on this, but thanks in advance and I'll see you around the boards!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,256 Posts
Welcome to the forum.

I have a links section on my blog that will take you to a variety of pages that will help you along. Thor's is a good place to start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
new train guide.

My grandson is the same age, getting him started also, in HO scale. Flex tracks are nice, less joints to dsiconnect. However, they must be nailed down, otherwise stress on joints will cause open circuits. There a a lot of single chassis engines with the drive wheels built in the frame. Allthough these can stop at switches, they are a good tough engine for youngsters to start with. Streetcars are also very tough, wheels built in and no couplers to get broken when dropped on the floor. Scenery: as you progress down the road, a bucket of joint compound for a couple of bucks will build you lots of mouintains, using lots of screes wire underneath. Adding brown or grey paint to the joint compound before applying, saves labor later when painting Youngsters like tunnels, mystery where is the train?. Tunnels can be made out of anything and painted with local scenery colors. Kids love this. Hope you have fun as I will with my 2&1/2 year grandson.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Hi there;

So first off, I'm new to the boards. Now that that's out of the way, I've got a two and a half year old son who is completely obsessed with trains. For a while now, I've been thinking about picking up the hobby, and his newest obsession has given me the opportunity to start a good project that we can hopefully both enjoy.

I've done a little looking around, and I think I will be working in HO scale. I've been reading a handful of online guides and whatnot, and have a good idea of what I'm looking at as far as size, monetary investment, etc. I still have a good number of questions that getting an enthusiast's opinion on can be a hard thing to do.

1. Flextrack vs normal. The flexible tracks I have seen online and at my friendly neighborhood hobby shop seem like a no-brainer. They sound like they take alot of the hassle out of designing a layout that works well and enable you to focus more on the scenery, etc. Is this true? Are there any downsides to the flexible track that outweigh this...well, this 'flexibility'?

2. I've also read alot about the SubTerrain foam risers and other materials and they also sound like a awesome line of products that can take some of the grind out of things.

3. Online Resources. Aside from eBay (which I don't really use), what online resources do you folks recommend for purchasing materials? The hobby store in town has a pretty basic selection of stuff, and while I'm more or less completely green in the model train department, having a good idea of where to go when I outgrow the basics would be a good thing.

Well, I know I'll think of more things to ask as soon as I hit submit on this, but thanks in advance and I'll see you around the boards!



hi there, im 14 and i have a layout

i used peco flexi track. its good in the long run, but it involves a lot of cutting the outside rail and all that difficult stuff. get the bachmann digital commander set. its a good starter. the foam inclines seem good, i wish i knew that before i did my flat one. aahah. yes the guy at my hobby shop seems like a bit um queer.
anywho, good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
My son was 2 when I got him his first HO set. Here's what I did, and why I did it.

1 - I purchased a Thomas the Tank engine Bachman EZ Track System. This gives you a nice little oval of track, the track all snaps together for ease of use and doesn't require a platform, it works great on carpet, hardwood or even a table top.

2 - Then I purchased the figure 8 expander This turns the oval into a nice over under figure 8. Now we're getting somewhere.

With this basic system, he's able to put the trains on the track, get them running and begin designing the layout like he wants. For more complex systems you can just start adding switches, moving crossing gates, and all kinds of additional track.

I'm a firm believer in sectional track for starting off. Flex track is great for gentle curves and limitless design, but needs to be cut properly to link together, and requires a level of skill to make sure curves are a consistent radius, don't kink and other operational issues.

The thomas engine and cars are all rugged, with only 2 wheels on most cars, they're very easy to put back on the track, and with the moving eyes are very very cool.

Once your son's around 5 or 6 then it's time to move up to the next level and build scenery and stuff, but at this point you want something that will get you both running trains quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
As far as where to purchase, may I humbly suggest www.sptrains.com :eek:

We have the complete selection of risers, engines and are happy to answer your questions. I think you'll like our prices compared to the corner hobby store as well.

Josh
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
My son was 2 when I got him his first HO set. Here's what I did, and why I did it.

1 - I purchased a Thomas the Tank engine Bachman EZ Track System. This gives you a nice little oval of track, the track all snaps together for ease of use and doesn't require a platform, it works great on carpet, hardwood or even a table top.

2 - Then I purchased the figure 8 expander This turns the oval into a nice over under figure 8. Now we're getting somewhere.

With this basic system, he's able to put the trains on the track, get them running and begin designing the layout like he wants. For more complex systems you can just start adding switches, moving crossing gates, and all kinds of additional track.

I'm a firm believer in sectional track for starting off. Flex track is great for gentle curves and limitless design, but needs to be cut properly to link together, and requires a level of skill to make sure curves are a consistent radius, don't kink and other operational issues.

The thomas engine and cars are all rugged, with only 2 wheels on most cars, they're very easy to put back on the track, and with the moving eyes are very very cool.

Once your son's around 5 or 6 then it's time to move up to the next level and build scenery and stuff, but at this point you want something that will get you both running trains quickly.
I agree with sptrains. However, if you're looking at real-life prototypes and not Thomas, I'd recommend Kato Unitrack over Bachmann EZ Track (I hope sptrains sells it, I believe in supporting sponsors). In HO I'd go with a Unitrack WGH Set and pick up a locomotive and cars that look like ones your son sees going by on tracks in your area... Amtrak maybe. If he's really into Thomas, I think you can buy the HO Thomas separately. I know you can in N scale, but they're made by Tomix, not Bachmann.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
kato I'd a really nice product and we carry it. I'll take a look and see if we have any sets of it that will have everything to get you started
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
well, I realize this is an old thread and the OP hasn't been back, but it's a good thread for me because I have a 2 y/o and 1 y/o and was thinking I'd have to keep them away from my trains except just to look once I get them going.

you all are saying they could actually get involved in this hobby with me/us from the beginning? I was allowed to play with my dad's O27 trains and track early on, but that track is a lot tougher than HO.

and are you saying that this EZ track type stuff is going to be do-able for a 2 y/o? easy like the wooden train sets that go together like puzzle pieces like they sell at Toys r Us?

I'm looking forward to making mountains out of joint compound and tough papertowels again. when I was younger my dad had these awesome plastic reinforced papertowels to use. what fabric type stuff do you all use with joint compound?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Peggy;

E-Z Track is Bachmann's brand of integrated roadbed track. Integrated roadbed track is far and away better for children to work with than standard track. I personally think that two may be a bit young to start children with electric train sets, but as long as you're there and participating that's the important thing. I've written a series of articles for parents on starting children with model trains.

Instead of using joint compound and cloth many people today use cloth that is pre-plastered and only needs to be dipped in water. There is more than one brand available, but Woodland Scenics may be the most popular. If you want to make your own using joint compound or plaster, I'd use a light gauze or cheesecloth. And Woodland Scenics' Hydrocal will result in a lighter weight finished product than joint compound or plaster.

Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,256 Posts
The EZ Track and others like it will hold up to a 2YO but you'll have to assemble it. It has a series of secure clips that take a little oomph to pull apart and put together.

The plaster wrap recommended can be found for half the price of WS at Hobby Lobby if you have one of those in your area. It is a much neater product to use than plaster or joint compound. Odd to think that they used to make a plaster concoction that used asbestos in it when I started out:eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Peggy - my youngest is 4 ('4 and a half' if you ask him) - he has worked
with those wooden tracks for a long time now (since he was 1 or 2 - I'm kind
of bad with time). I started getting electric train stuff semi-recently. we have
not yet started a proper layout, but we do get out the ez track and setup on
the living room floor now and then, He still has trouble with the ex track - as
there are little metal tabs that make good electrical connection for the rails
between the 2 pieces you are putting together. He has a hard time with
those, so I end up setting up the track (no problem, and I'm sure in time
he'll get it.)

Also, I would recommend reading Lownen's articles he mentioned. I did
and I found them to be great practical information.

You 3 (?) have fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
thanks everyone! I'll be sure to check out those websites. I agree that the little metal pieces that connect the track would be hard to connect for a kid.

I remember the pre-plastered stuff. it was expensive.

now for a new question I guess I'll go start a new thread...

thanks again.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top