Although I've been enjoying model railroading for a long time, I'm inexperienced with a soldering iron. I've had off and on success with my Archer (Radio Shack) 35watt iron, mostly due to uneven heating of the tip. I've found that the tip loosens easily, which ruins the heat transfer. More recently, I've plain had bad luck trying to solder feeders to rail (in practice). Warped ties and such. It appeared that I was still getting poor heat transfer to the tip, in spite of everything being tight. So I finally sprung for a decent 35 watt Weller iron - it's made all the difference! Heating is faster and consistent AND you actually have a choice of tip sizes and shapes. I feel like I've gained years of experience! Good equipment makes all the difference. Spring for it!