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Discussion Starter #1
At times I've stated my Model Railroad Philosophies and Opinions in these Forums and ended up thinking that doing so had been a mistake. I'm going to start this foray into this topic with my opinion that you have a right to your Philosophies and Opinions as much as I have a right to mine! In this last venture I have been involved in model railroading for more than 32 years. However, I started off in Model Railroading when I was 6-8 years old with a shared American Flyer layout with my older brother. This would have been in 1956-58 and when I was 11-12 years old I got into HO with a Tyco train set. HO has been an interest of mine ever since. When I became old enough to have real money to spend, I became involved with Radio Control Model Airplanes and stayed active in that hobby for more than 20 years. In 1988 I began the layout I have worked on ever since. When I got involved at that time, Athearn MDC Roundhouse, Bowser and many other manufacturers produced easy to assemble kits. These easy to assemble kits included locomotives. The production of these kits, plus the fact that I had been heavily involved in building R/C Model Airplanes from kits and scratch, is what holds my interest in this hobby! I am pretty much an Old School Modeler. I like to build things and paint them with a brush. Up until recently, I had no interest in an air brush as I never felt I needed one. Specifically, I model the transition, so I do have 1st generation Diesels and Steam locomotives. I have absolutely no interest in more modern diesels and can't identify modern diesels,as they all pretty much look the same to me.

Where I to start over again, I would model Colorado narrow gauge steam in the 1930s or 1940s. I am a member of the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association (NPRHA), because that is the line I model. I enjoy the history of what I model as well as what I model.

So, the above is my opinions. As well as the opinion that the actual model building and kits, appear to be "Going by the Boards", which is the part of the hobby that I enjoy!
 

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Well, like you long ago I had toy trains, not really model trains, when I was a kid, and loved and will always love that. But now I like "model" trains with big emphasis on the model detail on train, layout, etc.

At least in the scale I model now (O) and in N (up to 15 years ago) there were plenty of kits and all if you looked, and in O there is a lot of fiarly detailed built-up bul=ildings and such available. You just have to look.

But even so, about half of the stuff I buy is scratch built, just because it is so much fun!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, people have told tell me I'm all wet and all I have to do is go to trains shows; or, look on Ebay for BB Athearn, etc. In actuality I moved away from the "Shake the Box" kits and moved into Intermountain, Life Like Proto 2000, Branchline, Red Caboose, etc. type of more detailed kits, which are no longer being produced.
 

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Yes, people have told tell me I'm all wet
If anybody tells you you're all wet, tell them to take a long walk off a short pier. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to enjoy the hobby. You enjoy it your way. That's all that matters.
 

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Yes, people have told tell me I'm all wet and all I have to do is go to trains shows; or, look on Ebay for BB Athearn, etc. In actuality I moved away from the "Shake the Box" kits and moved into Intermountain, Life Like Proto 2000, Branchline, Red Caboose, etc. type of more detailed kits, which are no longer being produced.
I went that way also, more detailed kits.....they can still be found at swap meets and train shows, as well as hobby shops that buy used collections and estates.....

Hopefully we will have train shows and swap meets again before the year is out......
 

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The bench has room for many backsides in this hobby. As long as we support each other in our bid to enjoy ourselves, what else should a responsible adult ask of any other? So, with that orientation, I say bully for you, and may you always find a way to enjoy success as you define it. I can hope, surely, that you will wish the same for me.
 

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There is only one rule in this hobby: your layout, your rules.

Although I will say that many of the beginners we see here seem to be in search of the "one true way" to build a layout, or to perform some task, and they seem to get frustrated by the wide variety of possible solutions that are suggested.
 

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Probably because they don't know which solution to choose that would work best for them.

And that answer is, you won't know what works best for you until you try one or more suggestions, or come up with a solution on their own.

It does help to have some sense of creativity in this hobby with a willingness to learn new things to apply that creativity for solutions to problems that may arise. I would think that some knowledge of building and/or modeling skills would be useful when entering the hobby, though I don't know 100% if that is required.

I practically grew up with a hammer in one hand and a saw in the other and I sometimes take for granted that everyone knows one tool from the other and knows how to use them. Unfortunately that isn't always so, and without being there in person to show, or teach someone something, it is sometimes difficult to describe concepts they may not be familiar with.
 

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Reflecting on CTV & Michael's post (and trying not to sound like the preachy boomer), the next generation of model railroaders have grown up being told there's only one way and don't step outside the box or stand out from the crowd. And with ready-to-go, right out-of-the-box, single serving containers and bottled water. They didn't grow up "with a hammer in one hand and a saw in the other", helping dad build a deck, wire the shop, re-plumb the bathroom or work on the car (heck, you can't work on cars these days) and all of those skills are part of this hobby.

I've been playing computer-based games since before MMOs and even before the internet (MYST anybody?) Those games were hard. You had to think and solve puzzles and sometimes you got stuck and didn't advance for days. Unacceptable in computer gaming today. You have to be able to go from zero to hero in a couple of days or there's no interest.

Model railroads take years and the goal isn't to be done. There's no finish line or trophy or winner or best. It's a hobby. Your railroad, your rules.
 

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After moving to Florida, I decided to get back into Model Railroading after an absence of around 40 years. With the kids still around there was no "Room" available (No basements in FL). So I decided on a 5x9 layout but build in 4 sections (Modules) 2 middle pieces (straight) and 2 ends (the 180 deg curves). It was to be a test layout to evaluate construction and try out the new fangled DCC stuff. I wanted to try out different techniques on this small layout. I started using the normal 1x2 and 1x4 to make the "Modules" and had code 100 flex track and Atlas custom line turnouts. I had my DCC command station (a DB150) so I now had a working DCC system. Then I saw an article on using foam for construction. I removed one end and replaced it with foam - just to see how it worked! Then I saw an article on making a control panel so that was next, I learned about crimping tools and crimp connectors. Then I read a article about making your own turnouts, which caused the complete removal of all the track and its replacement with code 83 rail and CV ties. I had never thought making your own turnouts would be possible but after making 2 I was hooked and replaced all 10 turnouts including making a really nice curved turnout.

The lesson, at least for me was to start small, be flexible and try out things to see what you like and what fails for you. This small test layout has changed a lot over 20 years since I started it but the experience has been worth it. Now the kids are gone and I have a spare room to try an around the wall layout, can't wait to try splines and my own version of "Modular" turnout!
 

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Lemonhawk, you and I are very much attuned. I really enjoyed my first layout, and learned that I don't really enjoy stacking foam and then carving it to a finer shape. I learned I preferred flex track rather than the $300 I had spent on EZ-Track.

Between layouts (I dismantled that first layout at 13 months because wife decided we were going to finish the basement), I learned about hand-laid turnouts, spline roadbed, ground goop (thanks, Joe Fugate), and staging. So, from a Plywood Pacific, a large one, three sheets of 5/8 ply abutted side-by-side (yeah, I know...), I went to open frame with joists, risers, braces, splines, hot-glued sheets of aluminum window screen covered with a thick layer of the goop. It was amazing. Like you, I began to make my own turnouts and have not looked back. Every layout since has been one where I re-used curved turnouts and double-slips, even though I still use Peco #6 and ME #5 ladder system in the yard.

The hobby affords each of us ample opportunity to grow, or to extend our reach, to try new methods and ideas, and to be that much more creative and expressive by virtue of having so many skills and techniques on which to call. Nothing we do needs dynamite or a dozer to undo if we make a mistake. It might take a hammer in the case of a section of screen and ground goop that hardens and doesn't look right, but that's the worst of it. Often, some water to soften something, relaying a curve, or backing out a screw and making a minute adjustment, heck even some thin framing shims, will do wonders. I've done 'em all at one time or another.

Kudos to you for your desire to advance and to keep excitement in your journey.
 

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I also would be inclinded to bemoan the loss of the kit aspect of the hobby, but as has been said, there are millions of kits (of all detail levels) easily aquire-able on the second hand market. Further, while RTR and DCC are ascendent, it's a hard argument to make that model railroading isn't still an incredibly involved hobby, especially with the higher level of realism many folks shoot for on their layouts. Even for someone who buys only new stuff, whatever build time is avoided with RTR equipment can more than be made up crafting a top-notch layout.

Maybe not quite as much hammer, nails and plaster as in decades past, but it's still a fantastic hobby that allows the participant to explore a wide range of skills, including -if you desire- those that may seem obsolete.

As others have said, your hobby, your rules.

For myself, I can sum it up pretty succinctly. I love blue boxes and pink foam. I don't give a whit for steam (80's and 90's please!) and I'm more interested in an overall feel than exact prototypicity. I love a bargain and am not enticed by sound.

I've been playing computer-based games since before MMOs and even before the internet (MYST anybody?) Those games were hard. You had to think and solve puzzles and sometimes you got stuck and didn't advance for days. Unacceptable in computer gaming today. You have to be able to go from zero to hero in a couple of days or there's no interest.
Take a while and look through the many puzzle based games on STEAM. First person shooters may get the press, but I think you'll find that the slower-paced puzzle games are by no means extinct. Furhter, I don't like them , but MMORPG's certainly aren't short-play instant-gratification experiences.

It's a different genre, but I personally enjoy the slower paced, open-ended EuroTruck and American Truck Simulator games. Very long and beautiful games based around the journey rather than a particular goal or conquest.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
The fact that kits are available at Ebay or train shows, although certainly a fact; but, beside the point, which is that other than Accurail and a couple other manufacturers, there are no newly manufactured kits, because the folks that have become involved in this hobby don't buy kits. They look upon the hobby as having the end product as the carrot on the end of the stick. Whereas for me, it is the journey that keeps me involved and not a finished product! The complexion and focus of the hobby has changed since I got started in 1988. People have told me when I state that I have 170 + freight and passenger cars kits on my layout; that, "Oh, I would never have the patience to build all those models!" When for me, that is what this hobby is all about!
 

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Well, my personal opinion is that I welcome additions to the hobby that allow us to avoid things we don't find particularly fun. Hence, some people enjoy building kits, others don't. There is room for both, and it is a shame that car kits have largely (but not completely) been driven out of the hobby. I have a big 25 gallon tote in my basement loaded with incomplete structure and car kits.

My problem is that the two things I hate most, wiring and ballasting, are still largely manual tasks.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Stumpy, I am well aware of Micro-Mark! Even though Micro Mark's prices are generally higher for common items, I am still a good customer of their's. Their selection of small tools is nonplussed and I am a great customer and admirer of Tichy-Train Group Kits.

Per CTValleyRR "There is room for both, and it is a shame that car kits have largely (but not completely) been driven out of the hobby". Yes, and if both were equally available, this thread would not exist!

The photo below is a test for learning how to post photos here. It's a visiter to the Bird Feeder!
HPIM8219.JPG
HPIM8219.JPG
 

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I just got their latest mailer yesterday. They have stuff you would have a hard time finding anywhere else for small tools, specialty fasteners, and all sorts of odds and ends.
 

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There is only one rule in this hobby: your layout, your rules.

Although I will say that many of the beginners we see here seem to be in search of the "one true way" to build a layout, or to perform some task, and they seem to get frustrated by the wide variety of possible solutions that are suggested.
There it is. The one rule I have lived by with my railroad. My railroad, my rules. I didn't build it to satisfy anybody but me. Built to the best of my ability and not to please anybody but the president of the rail road.....me! While there are better ways than others to build a layout, in the end it is your way that has to satisfy you. There is no "one true way". The one distraction I see beginners falling in the trap of is being overwhelmed with too much "how to do it information". 50-60 years ago, I began in American Flyer since that was the first train I got for Christmas in 1954. Eventually my dad nailed it to a 4 x 8 gray painted piece 3/4 plywood and that was just fine for quite a while. There wasn't too much information out about what to do or not do. Just the American Flyer booklet that came with the set. There were probably publications out then but not in great variety so I used by imagination by watching the real thing.

Kenny
 
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