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Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Midnight, Oct 17, 2006.
If you were to build a complete medium sized layout, how much would it cost? This is in HO.
That would depend.
How big a layout you want. The cost of lumber for benchwork, plywood for the subroad bed. Lighting the layout is important also.
Then you have to figure how much track your going to need to fill the the space, or the pre-published plan you are doing. Then there is locos and rolling stock, DCC or straight DC control systems, buildings, structures, scenery and how much detail you want to put into the scenery, structures and buildings.
Tough question Midnight. The answer will depend so much on what you want to build, what kind of equipment you select (and how much!), how complex your track plan is, etc. I think you might have success determining your costs by doing some research based on your particular needs. For example, if you take benchwork as a start: come up with a rough idea of what it might look like and then take some measurements in your garage space. Head down to the local Home Depot or whatever and add up the price of the materials you'll need to build it. Adjust your layout plans to meet your budget or consider building it a little at a time as money allows.
You can do the same with your track plan. Rough out a main line and think about turonuts for sidings or spurs. Figure out how many pieces of flex track you might want for example and how many turnouts. A trip to the hobby shop will give you a dollar amount. Simplify your plan if the cost is daunting.
Keep in mind that a lot of us tend to try to pack way too much into our layouts. A very convincing and fun layout can be made with a singel track mainline, a passing siding and a couple of industrial spurs.... I myself wish I had pared down my track plan.
No doubt this process will take a lot of dialouge with yourself (and with us if you'd like!) to figure out what you want and what you can afford. Its an exciting part of the hobby (but I admit frustrating too because we all like to get trains rolling!)
Beat me to it Ed! I was busy composing while you were posting!
It depends on how much your wife will let you spend!
And that pretty much brings this thread to a wrap!
Thanks everyone for participating, cookies and coffee in the lobby.
it depends, once you have the track down, and a few locos, it gets much cheaper. its getting started thats hard
Do youhave experience building other models? that will help too
actually, now that i think of it, a decent starting point would be a Bachmann set.
or how much you have left after she leaves you since she was replaced by the trains in the basement!
*heads to the lobby for cookies*
I don't believe Midnight has a wife but I think he said he has a dad to deal with. Now there's a scary thought. Dad's have a lot of priorities besides model railroading and it might be wise to get him involved too. Who knows, cash might flow better with dad in the middle of the program instead of being a spectator.
Um, no. I'm twelve and not married.
My dad is pretty much set on not getting me one because it costs so much. If I could get him interested, ::coughimpossiblecough:: never mind. He's got an every day job as a trucker. He works until about 6'o clock almost everyday. Even on saturday, he's working with the pigs or the chickens. Maybe if I could just get my sister's room, I could start decorating in there having it go around the walls. That would be cool! I've been begging for that room forever. It's upstairs and it's separate from the rest of the house...
I have read somewhere that a complete layout can run $50.00 & up a square ft.
I once read, for a finished, detailed layout, $1 per square inch.
Midnight, if this is your first layout, you might want to start out with something a bit more basic. I'd suggest a shelf-type switching layout. You could put it along one wall in your bedroom, and your benchwork could be as simple as some shelf brackets and some shelving. You won't need a lot of track to get started, and a switching layout will give you enough opportunity to run trains, build some scenery, and assemble some structure kits. Or, try your hand at scratchbuilding. There are lots of plans around for industrial or urban-style layouts, and you can add track (and all the other goodies) as your budget allows. Birthdays and Christmas are also good opportunities to acquire new train stuff. (If you have a choice, go for gift certificates: that way, you can buy the stuff you really "need".) I had my first layout when I was 8 or 9. It was a 4'x8' that my Dad built, and was a lot of fun to run. When I moved out, we had no room for a train layout, so it was sold. I built a couple of dioramas, but it was a few years before we bought a house, and even then, there wasn't much money for trains. Eventually, I built an around-the-room layout in one room of our basement, but it was never finished. When we moved, it was left for the new owner. A couple of years later, an opportunity arose, and we were able to build for ourselves a new basement (with a house on top for the rest of the family). The layout that's here in the basement now, after we've been here 18 years, occupies a very odd-shaped room of about 600 square feet. You may have seen some photos of it here on the Gauge, and if so, you'll have noticed that it's not done. In fact, there's more unfinished than there is finished, and I'm about to start building a second level. My point, if I can remember it, is that the only "finished" layout that I've had, in over 50 years, was the first one, and it's gone. Your tastes in trains will change as time passes, you may leave the hobby for a while (girls, school, girls, cars, girls, work...all interrupt and when you come back, your interests may be different.) Don't try to start too ambitiously until you discover some of the things that interest you most about trains. And read, both books and magazines, and here on the Gauge. There's tons of stuff to learn, and lots of willing teachers here to help.:thumb:
And finally, a small suggestion: I don't know how your relationship is with your Dad, but perhaps if you offered to lend a hand with the chores, either through the week or on Saturdays, it might give you a chance to talk with him a bit about your plans, while at the same time helping to make his day a bit easier. He'll be pleased that you're thinking of him, and maybe be more receptive to your point of view.
I have to disagree with doctorwayne - I think a switching layout would become rather boring rather quickly for a younger person. Some sort of looping track seems to make more sense to me. But everyone has a different taste.
I think you would be most happy with a simple layout that can be played with on the floor and slid under the bed or leaned up against the wall. This could be as simple as a sheet of carboard or as grand as plywood with framing. Keeping in mind that cardboard won't support much, bends easily, and can damage your track. Often times you can find scrap lumber at a construction site - always ask someone working there before removing anything from the site. And I believe someone else mentioned getting the shipping crates from lumber stores that the good lumber is shipped in. Perhaps a combination of things - small framing pieces like 1x2 lumber with carboard or insulation foam sheets or even a piece of drywall for the surface. Often times when one of those items is damage a store might be discarding or at least discounting it, and construction sites will often just throw them away. Don't feel bad about asking for other people's discards - I built a tree fort out of left overs from house construction and all my friends thought it was cool. It only cost me the screws to build it.
A lot of members here build buildings out of cardboard and heavy paper. Some of us don't make buildings at all I've made quite a few example buildings out of paper, complete with angled roofs, windows, doors, and sometimes I even colored them. If you have a color printer on your computer you may be able to find textures you could print on a page to make decorated buildings much quicker.
For scenery there are rolls of "grass" at hobby stores. Usually it's pretty cheap. I can't think of any free alternatives, though you could just paint the surface a swirly green / brown. It would make it easier to add in roads and things. Trees can also be purchased from hobby stores, but there are lots of ways to make them cheap or sometimes free.
The part that will cost money, no real options, is the train itself and the tracks. Plenty of people have already mentioned that Bachmann makes train sets. I had two or three of them myself and a few pieces of them are still in my collection. The engines run pretty good, look pretty good, and are pretty durable. The most important thing is keeping the wheels and motors clean. Don't let them build up with dirt and carpet fuzz like I did
I honestly think you could have a complete functioning layout with simple scenery and buildings for under $200. Perhaps we should make that a forum challenge
Go to Walther's and price out the Woodland Scenic's 4' x 8' "River Pass" layout. All items are on this page. If you include the Atlas track kit, the scenery kit and the structure kit you're looking at a bit over $800, or around $26 a square foot. That obviously doesn't include any locos or rolling stock. Still a bit pricy for someone in school, and I'm sure a simple layout can be started for much less and built on as time and funds become available. I wouldn't recommend starting out as complex as the River Pass kit anyway, I'm just using it as an example of cost for something that complete.
I got parents who were unsympathetic to this hobby, which is my leisure activity of choice of course..
In a situation like that, my advice to Midnight is to just remember that model railroading is a lifelong hobby. Take it slow. Rome isn't built in a day, and you can't build a basement empire overnight either, especially if you have to go at it yourself without parental interest/participation. Start off by accumulating your allowances. Buy a piece or two when time and money allows. Maybe get a nice-running DCC-ready engine first, then a month or two later maybe a loop of track. A few months after that, get a good power pack. And so on. Hang out here and talk to those who share your interest, ask questions to ensure you spend your money wisely on stuff known to work good. In a few years you will find yourself pretty far along, with a good roster of engines and cars, track and maybe a small layout.
Above all else, make sure you keep your priorities straight. Remember it's only a hobby and it should NOT take precedence over the more important things in your life such as doing well in school, and getting into a good career so you will have the resources to REALLY enjoy your trains in the future. :thumb:
This year, the only thing I want for Christmas is money. (my two front teeth!) That way I can save up for about two months. Then I can go and buy train stuff to get started on it.
G'Day for a moment, homework time,
yeah, i'd work REALLY HARD for a few MONTHS, get say, 300 dollars, if you stick at it, your parents may realaise that your serious about this. if they thuinkits just a fad, they'll be reluctant to particapate, but, if its going to be a long term, like 5 years long term, they might, just might, come round
keep at it, get a 4X8 board going, with somthing, i'll do you a simple plan if you want. whatever you do, leave a few stubs (dead end tracks) headed off the edge, so you can expand it.
what sort of track areyou using? Atlas or Peco, there the 2 brands i have experience with. also, in Flextrack, GT, make a cheaper product, if youu have that brand in america, just dont use it for sharp curves, use atlas or peco
if you need help, jus ask me, i'm only 14 too, so, i know what parents are like lol
...and then go blow it all on trains!!! I'm going to start saving up now.