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Discussion Starter #1
Would a L shape o gauge take up alot of room. I have a 7×7 mancave to put this in. Any suggestions. Keep in mind this is the size of the room i have a desk in there to do small wood working. Im bldg my own bldg for my layout.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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Hi, welcome to the site.
A 7x7 is not that big, and you have a desk in it.
That would be better for HO or better yet N scale.
 

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The best thing about o is the in your hands size and the ac with digital control is a breeze. But scale to room size is not so hot, and it's can be pretty pricey.

Meanwhile ho is cheaper and lots of details, manufacturers etc. In the hands a bit delicate. The digital control comes from multiple sources -- a strength and weakness. Meanwhile n ... Space efficient, similar digital control to ho but very tiny -- oddly it seems pricier than ho which is it's closest relative.

Ho starter or n starter sets I've seen have all been bachmann. Pretty nice really but analog ... Which is ok to start. These days a lot have sound, smoke seems rare whereas in o you are more likely to have both.

And so starter sets for o are Lionel Lionel and Lionel, and a smattering by mth. I've never seen an mth starter set box in person but there's value there or so I hear

For Lionel, the lionchief line is pretty good and the newer versions of lionchief have many more options... That's a digital control system.

That's about all I think I know.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thats great. Ill definetly check out the h o then sounds like that will work better and im ready to make the move extremely soon. Thanks
 

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I think in the ideal you might would get something that has sound and is at least DCC capable. Well I just did a very quick search.

This is very appealing to me at least.


Now I also checked modeltrainstuff which does a lot of ho ... But they only had a few starter sets.

I've also seen ho and n sets at hobby lobby. Well maybe those are going to be minimal in nature but hobby lobby also has that wonderful 40% off coupon that MAY be applicable so you might check that out.

In bachmann...ok everyone has some bachmann. The gray track is better than the black track. But a lot of folks move on from bachmann too.

Ive got some bachmann and even some old Tyco stuff.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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N scale would work even better if you can work with the smaller size.
7' x 7' is not that big for O scale.
Plus you have to plan for putting your work desk in, a dog bone shaped layout might be the best for you?
 

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If you're building an L shaped layout and considering going DCC then your best bet is probably not to buy a packaged train set and instead purchase individual items.

However, if you want the train set experience, Athearn sets come with DCC-READY locomotives. That means the loco is DC but it has a socket so you just have to plug in a decoder to make it DCC.

The Athearn loco (GP40 I think) is also one of the best detailed locos of comparably priced train sets.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for sending the bachman digatil commander link thats most likely what im looking for. From all the comments ive been getting it actually leads right to that
 

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Man such a major decision. Im craming everybodys points into one. And really narrowing down. Im going to go with the dogbone layout will fit better and i really like 40% off hobby lobby. I measured out and i can put in a 40"×60" layout. The only reason i looked at a starter was because it seems a little cheaper track wise then buying separtly is this true? I appreciate all help. Thanks guys
 

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Would a L shape o gauge take up alot of room. I have a 7×7 mancave to put this in. Any suggestions. Keep in mind this is the size of the room i have a desk in there to do small wood working. Im bldg my own bldg for my layout.
Rockin amputee;

Since you have a small space model in, you might consider a shelf layout. Shelves, mounted to the walls leave more room for your desk (partially under the layout, like my workbench?) and whatever else you have in that room. My own layout is a shelf type attached to two walls of my garage. It's an unusual "Bookshelf Model Railroad" design that I copied from an old article in Model Railroader Magazine. The top shelf holds books, (or whatever) and the railroad is below the shelf. (See Photo) The arches supporting the upper shelf are very strong, so no front supports are needed. This makes possible an uninterrupted panoramic view across the whole railroad. My railroad is N-scale, but an HO-scale version could be fitted into not much more space. My layout is two level so, from the top, its train book collection, railroad, railroad, and more shelves for general storage on the bottom. The layout is sectional, (highly recommended) and my standard section is 4' long, 16" deep and 16" high. I have deeper sections at each end to hold the loops necessary for continuous running. No section is more than 3' deep though. That's where N-scale has a real advantage over HO or O scales. The minimum depth for an HO-scale, 180 degree turn, to fit is four feet, and four and a half feet would be better. In a 7' x 7' room, that would leave only 3' - 2'-6" for anything else!
Shelf layouts can also be point-to-point switching layouts, which eliminates the need for bulky return loops. Even a large scale like O could be used on a shelf switching layout 2'-3' deep. However, any way you slice it, a smaller scale is going to let you do more in a small space.

The files below are some I wrote for new modelers. They have lots of information on several model railroad subjects. They are written in an open style with no preaching along the "This is the best way to do it" line. Instead I tried to present alternatives, list the advantages & disadvantages of both, and let the individual reader decide for himself what he wanted. Look through them if you like.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you so much for your input. All my married life ( 38 years ) ive always talked about doing that through out my home. Of coarse my better half always shut it down. Thats why she said you can do whatever you want in that room haha and i never really give it a thought. I really think thats a great idea. I just have to see how high i can reach in my wheelchair being a double amputee.appriaciate everything you sent me. Big help! Thanks!
 

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Thank you so much for your input. All my married life ( 38 years ) ive always talked about doing that through out my home. Of coarse my better half always shut it down. Thats why she said you can do whatever you want in that room haha and i never really give it a thought. I really think thats a great idea. I just have to see how high i can reach in my wheelchair being a double amputee.appriaciate everything you sent me. Big help! Thanks!
Rockin amputee;

I also have been married for 38 years. Those "all over the house layouts" are made by a particular group of model railroaders called bachelors! Yeah, my wife won't let trains out of the garage either. Since you are "matrimonially challenged" into that seven foot square room, I suggest giving N-scale serious consideration. Using their tightest radius curves (9-3/4" radius) N-scale can just turn around on a two foot deep shelf. HO-scale would need four+ feet of depth, and O-scale even more. I suggest to new people that before commiting a lot of dollars to a scale, they try this. Buy and build an Intermountain boxcar kit in N-scale, and HO-scale. This will give you some practical hands on experience with handling both scales. Intermountain makes the same kits in O-scale too, if you want to try all three.
As for layout height that can be as high, or low, as the individual modeler wants. Now that I'm old, and slightly disabled, (still have all my body parts, but they don't move very well, and some don't move at all.) I wish I had mounted mine lower. I'm 6'-6" tall and when I was young I mounted my layout with the upper level at my standing eye level. Even the lower level is a bit too high to operate from a chair.
I gather that you have lost both legs and are in a chair for that reason, or is one arm missing? If both arms and hands still work, you should be able to build and operate a model railroad from your chair, as long as it's built at a workable height. Two levels may not be practical, but a single level layout could work well. Will your desk/workbench be in the way? If you want any help planning, let me know and send a scale drawing including the desk, door windows and any other significant barriers. Also check out our "Layout design" forum.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂


,
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I had my below knee left leg and half right foot amputated. Thanks for you info. So you know what im talking about. No use is the same as amputated practically. I feel for you. Esp. Getting into this hobby but it what keeps me going. I think i enjoy research and input more. I started doing dioramas which is great and i said what am i going to do with the stuff i build and ive always liked trains. My dad had a train set( garden) every xmas. When he passed away about 10 years ago my sister took it and totally destroy ed it. I wish i new what it was now. But i wanna say thank you my major problem is space. I really like the shelf idea but might be a little hard at this point. As far as n scale i think all the bldgs ive made from wood are more slightly bigger then ho but i can still use and maybe o scale which i dont have the room for. I think i backed myself in a corner. Thank you and be well.
 

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I had my below knee left leg and half right foot amputated. Thanks for you info. So you know what im talking about. No use is the same as amputated practically. I feel for you. Esp. Getting into this hobby but it what keeps me going. I think i enjoy research and input more. I started doing dioramas which is great and i said what am i going to do with the stuff i build and ive always liked trains. My dad had a train set( garden) every xmas. When he passed away about 10 years ago my sister took it and totally destroy ed it. I wish i new what it was now. But i wanna say thank you my major problem is space. I really like the shelf idea but might be a little hard at this point. As far as n scale i think all the bldgs ive made from wood are more slightly bigger then ho but i can still use and maybe o scale which i dont have the room for. I think i backed myself in a corner. Thank you and be well.
Rockin amputee;

OK. So your in a wheelchair, but still have full use of both arms and hands. That means you should be able to build something to "keep yourself going." if you want to, and have basic woodworking skills & tools. Nothing fancier than a drill, saber saw, & hand tools required.
I suggest you use what I call the Three-'S' system, in designing, & building, your railroad. Keep it Small, Simple, and Sectional. The available room space just about guarantees it will be small. 😄 Simple would be a single or double main line with sidings along the way. Sectional makes building, and maintaining, it immensely easier for any modeler, and I think would be especially helpful for you since you're in a wheelchair. By the way your not our first wheelchair member. There have been other guys in chairs who have built model railroads. They just mount them lower so they can access them from a chair. Other than that, there's no real difference in their layouts and those of guys who can stand & walk. That includes me. I can stand and walk. Maybe not too far, certainly not at all fast, and I stagger, & flop around & sometimes fall, but wearing ankle braces, and using a cane, I can walk.
My disability is pathetically minor compared to yours. I have some kind of nerve disorder in my lower spine. This means that my feet don't tilt up like most people's do. They hang there like dead meat, and I can easily trip over my own feet without the braces. I also have two artificial knee joints and can't balance all that well. I can't stand still without holding onto something. This is because the nerves in my feet don't feel the floor normally. I tend to do a n old white geezer's version of "moonwalking" backwards, because it feels like I'm going to fall, when really, I'm not.
Finally standing for any more than say 30 minutes is painful, so is crawling, which means working under my layout hurts and I try to avoid it.
I moved all my turnout motors, & other electric gear, to the front of the railroad where I can get at them when needed. (see photo #1)
The only things ff still underneath are the track feeder wires & simple rod-in-a-tube mechanical linkages.
(see photo #2)
Neither is likely to need maintenance, but if they do, I can remove that section & lay it upside down on my workbench to repair it.

I would like to see photos of your prospective layout room, and also of the dioramas you have built. Could you please post some. Directions for attaching photos, or pdf files, to your post, are at the beginning of the "Forum News Updates & Help" section of this forum.

The bookshelf type of layout I built is nice, but if you don't need the storage/bookshelf on top, a plain, single, shelf would be simpler. Since you have a small space to work in, as well as for mounting your railroad, you might want to have smaller sections, say 2' x 3' or even 18" x 2' . They would be easier to handle during construction, and by using a larger number of small sections, you could end up with the same size railroad.

The original "Bookshelf Model Railroad" was in a Model Railroader Magazine article back in January and February 1977. I liked the guy's clever idea, but did not like his choice of materials. He used 3/4" plywood arches, and particle board commercial shelving. Each of his 4' long sections must have weighed about 40- 50 pounds! I wouldn't want to handle those!
He also used commercial shelf supports, which you might copy, if you decide to build any kind of shelf layout. They were the kind that has a half inch aluminum channel with pre-drilled screw holes & screws to fit. They also have rectangular holes designed to accept the hooks of the mating aluminum shelf support brackets. He screwed his railroad sections to those shelf brackets, & lifted the whole assembly to hook it onto the channels screwed to the wall. I certainly wouldn't want to try doing that with a 50lb. section!
I went to the other weight extreme. I made my arches from 1/4" Luan plywood glued around Styrofoam.
(see photo #3)
This was very strong, and super light, but unless the layout is being built to travel to train shows, it's more work than necessary. My later sections use 1/4" Luan plywood glued around a simple 1 x 3 pine frame. They are just as strong, and nearly as lightweight, as the earlier styrofoam-filled version.

Good Luck, Have Fun, and let me know if you have any questions;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Rockin

I've been following your thread with a great deal of interest. I am aware of
your limitations that would make some work on a layout especiallty difficult.
Only you would really be able to assess those. I bring this up now after
noting in one of your posts that a reason for considering a 'starter' train set
was the lower cost of track. Starter sets come with 'sectional' track. Some
come with sectional track that is not compatible with other brands of track, and is,
usually much more expensive. Most of us use flex track that comes in 3 foot
long bendable sections. It mates with most makes of turnouts and other
track accessories. You can bend it to the curve radius you desire and you
are not limited to the radius of 'sectional' track. Generally speaking, you
will likely have better electrical conductivity and smoother train operations
on 'flex' track which is the reason so many of use prefer it.

Having said that, have you considered whether sectional would be easier
or would it be more difficult for YOU to work with as compared to 'flex' track? This could
be a major factor in your decision of how to get started.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks don never really knew about flex track seems like that might be the way to go and yes easier also. I really been narrowing i know im definetly going with h o and maybe even bachman if this sounds good so far. Im really starting to serious search now and the flex track sounds great will that work with dcc or any suggestions is welcome. Ive been putting everything together from everybodys thoughts. Thanks
 

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Traction fan thanks as always you really have alot of info for since you can relate. I believe you would have a harder time since mine dont get in the way. I do need something a little narrower i really do live a full life i really dont let this hold me up or stop me from doing things. Dont laugh guys but i still help my wife around the house. I vacuum, do dishes help with cloths etc. And then from about 7pm til around 2am i work on my projects. I like the pixs you sent ill trry to get some up as soon as i can. Im still trying to figure this full forum out. If i miss anyone i apoligize. Thanks again. One of these days ill have all this model railroading down. Its not brain surgery but everyones got some really nice tricks!
 

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Traction fan thanks as always you really have alot of info for since you can relate. I believe you would have a harder time since mine dont get in the way. I do need something a little narrower i really do live a full life i really dont let this hold me up or stop me from doing things. Dont laugh guys but i still help my wife around the house. I vacuum, do dishes help with cloths etc. And then from about 7pm til around 2am i work on my projects. I like the pixs you sent ill trry to get some up as soon as i can. Im still trying to figure this full forum out. If i miss anyone i apoligize. Thanks again. One of these days ill have all this model railroading down. Its not brain surgery but everyones got some really nice tricks!
RockinA;

Nobody's laughing dude. We support all our "newbies", including you. I've also seen some folks in chairs do just about everything you can think of, so it's no surprise that you are able to help around the house. Your wife is lucky to have a husband that IS WILLING to do housework. A lot of guys don't even try.

If you are set on HO-scale, then I'm guessing you are planning a point-to-point switching layout? That's fine, there have been several on this forum, and they can be a lot of fun.

In your 7' x 7' room, I would think you wouldn't want to use 4'x4' or a bit more, at either end,to hold return loops. That's one reason I suggested N-scale, it can turn around in about 1/2 the space. However, scale, like everything else on your railroad, is your choice.

The forum isn't hard to use, once you get used to it. If you have digital photos, you can attach them to your post by following the directions in the "Forum News Updates & Help" section of this forum. Basically, the photos first need to be loaded onto your computer. Then, at the end of your post's text, you just click on the paper clip icon in the center of the bar at the bottom of the post.Then click on the photo file you want to attach.

Learning model railroading takes a lot longer, years really, and nobody "has it all down." I've been at it for about half a century, and I don't know it all. The only thing necessary to learn model railroading is the willingness to TRY building something, and the info from this forum, and from books like "Getting Started In Model Railroading" by Jeff Wilson. You can order a copy from Kalmbach Hobby Store or from www.amazon.com

Good Luck & Have Fun!

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey traction, thanks for the support. I do deal with kalmbach i get the classic toy trains magazine. Its a big help to put i like to hear from the guys with all the little seacrets. Im definetly not ruling out n scale esp. With the room i have. I thought some of the bldgs i already made might be a little bigger. Ill put them way in the back😃. I believe by measuring it i have about 48"× 60" that will take up most the back part of the room where i can still do wood working. Thanks again for all ur help. I will get some pixs for you of dioramas and some of the bldgs i made. Finally someone was asking about painting bldgs i left a reply on something i finally know a little bit about. I hope the info helped him. It works for me. When i paint my bldgs i paint both sides so wood so it dont warp. This sounds crazy but i use mod podge(glue) to clear coat them. Turns out farly well. Stay safe & well..... Mike!
20200724_205851.jpg
 

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Hey traction, thanks for the support. I do deal with kalmbach i get the classic toy trains magazine. Its a big help to put i like to hear from the guys with all the little seacrets. Im definetly not ruling out n scale esp. With the room i have. I thought some of the bldgs i already made might be a little bigger. Ill put them way in the back😃. I believe by measuring it i have about 48"× 60" that will take up most the back part of the room where i can still do wood working. Thanks again for all ur help. I will get some pixs for you of dioramas and some of the bldgs i made. Finally someone was asking about painting bldgs i left a reply on something i finally know a little bit about. I hope the info helped him. It works for me. When i paint my bldgs i paint both sides so wood so it dont warp. This sounds crazy but i use mod podge(glue) to clear coat them. Turns out farly well. Stay safe & well..... Mike! View attachment 545491

Mike;

Your civil war dioramas look great! Are you interested in that era, or in military history in general?
What did you use for the tall grass? It looks quite realistic.

Unless you have a lot of buildings that you just can't bear to have anywhere but on your railroad, I don't recommend letting the buildings decide your scale, or the size/shape of your layout. Since you have the tallent, you could always make HO-scale, or N-scale copies of your favorite buildings.
A company called "Grandt Line" made doors and windows in both scales. Unfortunately, they went out of business after a multi-decade run. Micro Engineering, and other companies, still make them though. I used Grandt line door & window castings on many of my structures. I have scratchbuilt a lot of buildings (we model railroad types call them "structures.") The photos below show some of them. I suppose you know that if you click your mouse on the title text below one of the photos, it expands it. Clicking a second time, anywhere on the expanded photo, enlarges it even more. You might try this on the photo of the wooden truss bridge with a truck driving across it. That model has tiny truss rods and nut-bolt-washer castings on it. To get an idea of how tiny they are, the truck is one inch long.

Putting oversize buildings in the background might look a little odd. When you look at the real world, things close to you are the biggest, and things far away look small. One of the many tricks used in model railroading is using N-scale structures in the background of an HO-scale layout, or Z-scale structures in the background of an N-scale layout. Since they're smaller than the foreground structures, they appear to be far away. This is part of an effect called "forced perspective." I'll need to use a lot of that, and lots of other tricks, to make my railroad look more than the 16" deep that it really is. A backdrop helps a lot. I painted the backdrop behind the big steel trestle in the photo. The top of that section of my layout is 16" deep and the bottom is only 8" deep, but it gives the illusion of being miles deep.

Bye the way, have you looked into Z-scale at all? It's 3/4ths. the size of N-scale, and can turn around in even less space than N-scale can. The disadvantages? Since it's less popular than HO or N scales, Z-scale has a more limited selection of products available (though there is certainly enough to build a nice layout.) and the prices are quite a lot higher. Still, it's really small, and can fit in a small space.

Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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