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Discussion Starter #1
so im a newbie :eek: and i was wondering if somebody could tell me what trains/train brands would be good for me (13 yrs) also if somebody could help with what rolling stock would be good

thx in advance
 

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You can't go wrong with Atlas locos and rolling stock, lots of great products to choose from. I would stay away from anything that doesn't have Micro Trains or MT compatible couplers. That way you won't have to change or modify couplers. Kato is one brand that IMO has terrible couplers.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
:smilie_daumenpos: :D ok thx and what about rapido couplers r they any good


also i was thinking about purchasing a DCC loco do u know like what one i should purchase and what DCC machinery i should get?
 

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I use and really like Digitrax mainly because of the hand held throttles. Some people like NCE, I would check out all the system your think you might be interested in before making a purchase.

If you can find a DCC loco you like, If not consider purchasing a DCC ready locos that you like and install a decoder.

Rapido couplers, outdated not used very much. You can how ever change the couplers or the complete trucks with couplers. Almost everyone uses Micro Trains = the best.
 

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Welcome aboard!

so im a newbie :eek: and i was wondering if somebody could tell me what trains/train brands would be good for me (13 yrs) also if somebody could help with what rolling stock would be good

thx in advance


firescales22;

Welcome to the forum! As for a good train brand, you can't beat Kato. Their quality is excellent across the board. I'm (71 yrs) and have been modeling in N-scale for at least (40 yrs) and have yet to see a bad Kato product. On the bad side, I avoid Bachmann, and I recommend you do too, at least for now.
Bachmann has a very mixed history, during which they have churned out many truly lousy products, and a few decent ones.
Old Bachmann stuff was pure junk. I gave up on the brand years ago. I have read on the forum that they "have upped their game" and "the new Bachmann locomotives are much better" , but I remain skeptical.
One current-production, lousy-quality, Bachmann product is their EZ-Track "turnouts."(track switches) They came in dead last on a quality comparison I did recently. The attached PDF file, "All about turnouts" has lots of useful information, and the quality rankings are at the end. I suggest you read a thread on this N-scale section of the forum titled "Are Kato #4 turnouts still problematic?" For some discussion on "Roadbed track" turnouts", including Kato and Bachmann.
"All about turnouts", and the other attached PDF files, are some I wrote to help new modelers or "newbies", like you, in building their first layout.

You asked if Rapido couplers were any good. Well, that depends on what you want to do with the couplers on your trains. If all you want is for them to stay firmly coupled, then Rapidos are very good at that. However, If you want to be able to uncouple cars for switching operations in a yard, or on sidings, then Rapidos are very bad at that. They stay together so well, that it's quite difficult to get them apart.
Rapido does make an uncoupling ramp, which lifts the couplers enough to uncouple them. The problem is, a train can only uncouple a car, and leave that car sitting on the ramp. It can't move the car anywhere off the ramp without re-coupling to it. This means you need a whole lot of ramp track sections. One, not only for each yard track, but also one for each spot on a long, multi-industry, siding, where you want to deliver a car.

A much, much, better coupler is Micro-Trains brand. They look like real couplers instead of gigantic square hooks, like Rapidos do. They somewhat resemble a human hand, and are called "knuckle couplers" for that reason. Micro-Trains couplers are magnetic. They can be uncoupled on a magnet ramp, and then pushed anywhere along a yard track, or siding, without re-coupling. Many modelers don't use magnetic uncoupling ramps at all. Instead they uncouple cars anywhere on their layouts with a simple stick, or small screwdriver.
Whichever way you choose to use them Micro-Trains couplers are the best N-scale couplers available.

These days most new cars & locos come with some brand of "knuckle couplers" attached. These knuckle couplers are all supposed to work with other brands of knuckle couplers, but some "don't play well with others." Oddly Kato couplers fall into this category. They work great with more Kato couplers, but not-so-great with other brands.

Most experienced modelers use Micro-Trains couplers on every car, and locomotive. For now you might like to use a "transition car." This car would have a Rapido-coupler-equipped-truck at one end, and a Micro-Trains truck/coupler at the other. This way, you could use your present cars, which have rapido couplers, and also use any new cars, or locos, that have knuckle couplers. I recommend you use whatever brand of knuckle couplers come on your newer cars, unless they give you trouble. Gradually, you could convert one car at a time to Micro-Trains couplers.

Again welcome;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf

View attachment 1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf
 

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Well I'm 69 years old and own some pretty crappy running Kato locos, repaired some and even had to send a couple defective Kato locos back. They still use the same old high speed motor were everyone else has upgraded to a scale speed motor that runs so much better. No matter which brand you purchase you can get a bad one sometimes, nothing is perfect. The newer Bachmann locos are much better and run very well. I own two Bachmann Alco S4 locos that I consider very good switchers.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OK i have 1 kato engine it runs OK but i dont have much money so i dont buy a lot of kato engines but i do have like 7 (used) bachmann engines and they run pretty well also i have 3 life like locos and my track is kato unitrack
EDIT: i am not sure how to change couplers so if u could help with that it would be much appreciated thx :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
do you have to ballast unitrack i just read in another forum that you should ballast unitrack i was just making sure
 

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Discussion Starter #9
annnnnnnnd another question do micro trains couplers come with just micro trains locos or can you get them with other brands?:confused:

EDIT:OK i just purchased 2 of those bachmann switchers you mentioned in the previous post i like them a lot i see why u enjoy them
 

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Discussion Starter #10
all right and one more as i work on my layout so i am going for a snowy/christmasy theme any good suggestions on what i should use for snow
 

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Discussion Starter #11
oh jeez one more is there a good brand that makes good quality N scale buildings? thx:D
 

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do you have to ballast unitrack i just read in another forum that you should ballast unitrack i was just making sure
There is no need to ballast Unitrack. It can be done but it’s not easy since it already has roadbed with a textured “ballast “ attached to it. If you don’t like the color you can always paint it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
and how would you ballast it if i was to do that?
 

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and how would you ballast it if i was to do that?
I would consult the tutorials on You Tube. There was a thread on here just a few weeks ago about this. You can probably find it in a site search.
I use Unitrack because you don’t need to ballast it (among other reasons).
 

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Hi there and welcome to the forum. We're all here to learn from one and other, right ;)

As for trains, there's nothing wrong with buying a train set to start off with ( a decent size one, not the smaller ones ) and building up from there....Kato is top of the line and they set starter sets as well as Bachmann. For your money, you get a start with a bit of everything and the investment is low...then you add on what you like to have as time and money permits ;)

The only advice I can give on cars is to run metal wheelsets...the plastic wheelsets spread that insulating gunk all over the layout rails and will give you fits thinking your loco has died..

Just my .02....carry on....
 

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do you have to ballast unitrack i just read in another forum that you should ballast unitrack i was just making sure
It's your layout. You don't HAVE to do anything you don't want to. As we say around here: "Your Layout, Your Rules."

Unitrack comes with an integrated plastic roadbed that looks very good, but it's still obviously plastic roadbed. If you want to make it more realistic looking, you can add ballast. It will work just fine without it, though.
 

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oh jeez one more is there a good brand that makes good quality N scale buildings? thx:D
Except for track (especially turnouts), there really isn't such a thing as better or worse brands. Some have more detail and / or are more faithful to the prototype (and these usually cost a little more), but I wouldn't say that there's a lot ofmjunk floating around out there (just stay away from used stuff on eBay, which can be a crap shoot). Over time, you will develop a feel for which brands you prefer, but that's largely a matter of personal preference.

Have a look at Walther's Cornerstone kits. They're nice, well detailed,easy to assemble plastic kits. If you prefer wood (generally more expensive than plastic), Blair Line or American Model Builders are both good.
 

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Replacing couplers

OK i have 1 kato engine it runs OK but i dont have much money so i dont buy a lot of kato engines but i do have like 7 (used) bachmann engines and they run pretty well also i have 3 life like locos and my track is kato unitrack
EDIT: i am not sure how to change couplers so if u could help with that it would be much appreciated thx :smilie_daumenpos:
firescales22;

There are several way to change couplers. Since you did not say what couplers you want to change from and to, I'm assuming you want to go from Rapido couplers to Micro-Trains couplers. The easiest way is to buy Micro-Trains trucks with their couplers already mounted. The trucks are high quality and they come with instructions and adapter inserts to fit several brands of cars.

You can also buy just the couplers, without the trucks. They can be mounted directly to the body of the car. However, This should be an all or none coupler mounting location choice. The worst thing you can have is a mixture of some body-mounted couplers and some truck-mounted couplers. That mix will very often cause derailments. Do your present cars have their Rapido couplers mounted on the trucks? I suspect they do. If so, I suggest sticking with all truck-mounted couplers. This is also a better option if you have curves 12" radius or less. Truck mounted couplers are better on tight curves.

There are bulk packs of 50 couplers which are cheaper, per coupler, than buying couplers in pairs. Couplers are sold pre-assembled, and in kits, where you have to assemble the couplers. The kits are cheaper, but assembling tiny couplers is not easy. Micro-Trains sells some special tools including an assembly fixture and a spring holding tool. They also sell a coupler height and track gage combined tool. Again read the directions that come with whatever couplers you buy.

Micro-Trains does not make locomotives. They do make excellent freight and passenger cars though. You can mount Micro-Trains couplers on just about any brand of locomotive or car. They even make special conversion kits for specific locomotives.

As you have probably discovered by now, nothing much is cheap in this hobby, or most, hobbies, for that matter. My advice is to have only a few good quality items, instead of lots of cheap ones. You now own 11 locomotives , which should be plenty. As long as you like what you have, there is no reason to spend your limited money on more locomotives. One of the PDF files I sent you, "Model Railroading on a budget" points out some ways to save a bit of money, and also some things where it's better to save up enough to buy something really well made, instead of going cheap.

Good luck, and have fun!

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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N-scale buildings

oh jeez one more is there a good brand that makes good quality N scale buildings? thx:D
firescales22;

There are many brands of N-scale buildings. Most are good, none are cheap. Design Preservation Models makes kits for stores, warehouses, a hotel, and other brick buildings, that are well made, easy to assemble and reasonably inexpensive, compared to many other structure models. You might start with one of their kits. Built up structures are generally much more expensive than kits. The cheapest way to get structures is to build your own from scratch.

good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 
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