Birthday Present-HELP

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by New2Trains, Mar 24, 2003.

  1. New2Trains

    New2Trains New Member

    Mar 24, 2003
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    For our father's 50th birthday we want to get him a model train set - he use to be very active in collecting trains. I know ZERO about model trains - but all I know is that they are HO Scale trains that he use to collect. Can any one help us by letting us know what we should purchase - i.e. Which Trains and what accessories so that he can get started again. We may be looking into getting a vintage set.

    Any information would be GREAT! - Thanks!
  2. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Aug 22, 2002
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    Hi New2trains,
    If Dad likes Steam thats the way to go try a nice shunter 4or 5 box cars at least 4 or 5 switchs mix em up L& R 6 lenghts of flexy track.

    Then see what he can do with that lot;)
    Cost !dont ask till the LHS adds it all up.

    P S get a good controler dont skimp on that one.
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Feb 14, 2003
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    I wouldn't buy a train set. Most train sets are closer to toys than serious models. If your dad likes steam, Bachmann Spectrum models are probably the best now. For diesel, look at Athearn, Lifelike Proto 2000, Bachmann Spectrum, Atlas, Kato, or Stewart.
    I may have left some out, but I can't think of another manufacturer of good diesel units. A good power pack from MRC is a good idea. Finally, I would get him nickel silver flex track and some switches. How much room does he have for a layout? If he has a limited space available so that he needs to run 18" or 22"
    radius on curves, you would be looking at a minimum of 36"-44" in diameter for a turn back curve. For radius's that tight I would reccommend either 4 axle diesels, or small steam like a Bachmann consolidation. Go to a hobby shop to make your selections rather than a toy store. The models at the hobby shop will be much better, and the counter people at a hobby shop are much more knowledgeable than you will find at Toys-r-us. You may have to look around a bit to find a good hobby shop as well. Many hobby shops now days feature everything except trains. You want to find one with people who are model railroaders. If you have problems finding a good local hobby shop, post your city here and someone on this site may be able to help you out.
  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Aug 15, 2002
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    Hi New2, and welcome to the gauge!

    I think both of the other responses are saying not to buy a prepackaged "set". What Chris means by LHS is local hobby shop. If you have an LHS, you could stop in and see what they say too. If you don't have an LHS, there are several on-line hobby shops you can order from at bargain prices. The drawback of on-line is they usually don't give any advice. If you choose to go that route, be sure and post a question here asking if the on-line shop is honest and if what you intend to buy is of good quality. You may also want to go with a gift certificate.

    I have had good experiances with Trainworld and 1st Place .

    If he's into diesel, here would be my shopping list:

    Alco S-1 (trainworld) $25ish (Bargain, $60 to $70 elsewhere).

    Inexpensive, quality rollin stock (rail cars) $3 to $8 each (see my response to this thread). Add $20 if you buy the tool shown in my response and the smaller kadee bulk pack, which would be avery nice addition.

    5 or 6 3 ft sections of Atlas code 83 flextrack from trainworld, about $2 each

    An MRC power pack. I believe any MRC is of reasonable quality, and he can always use it for a test loop if he moves up to something bigger/better/b-b-b-badder. You can see their website and buy anywhere, trainworld and 1st place both carry them; shop around :)

    2 or 3 code 83 turnouts, Atlas is cheapest, but some folks have trouble with them. $7 to $15

    Cork roadbed.

    A subscription to RMC $30ish

    Membership in the-gauge FREE! :D :D :D

    If it's getting too expensive, just start at the top of the list and work your way down until you've had enough. Even just the S-1 should be enough to spark the fire! This is all high quality stuff, which is important. If he's into Steam, you can just substitute a steam engine for the S-1 and go from there. Please ask someone for a good steam recomendation.