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Buying Your First Model Train Set

Aug 15, 2008
Have you been thinking about buying a model train set for yourself or for someone else close to you? If you have never bought a model train set before there are some things that you should know. Do you know the difference between HO scale and N scale? What about the benefits of using plaster for creating your landscaping rather than using paper mache? If none of these sound familiar to you then you should definitely do a little bit of research before you ever buy your first train set.

The first place to begin is with scale. The size of a model train in comparison to the actual train it is modeled after is known as the scale. This comparison is usually represented by letters when it is reference to the model train industry. Some examples include N scale which means that it is built on a 1:160 scale, HO which is a 1:87 scale and O scale which is a 1:48 scale. This scale will play a large part in exactly which model train set it is that you are going to buy.

Another consideration comes in when you think about the age of the person that will be receiving the set as a gift. This can also have a huge bearing on the train that you will end up buying since you would really not want to get one that is too complicated for a youngster to run. That also goes for the opposite. You would not want to insult an adult by getting them a train made for a seven year old.

Now that you know what scale you will be needing you can start looking for one to fit the space that will be allocated to it. You do not want to buy some great big layout that would take up most of a room if it is going into a space that is 10x20. It wouldn't do either to buy a set that was so small it would get lost in the middle of its display table.

Now you must decide whether you or the recipient of the new model train will be building their own display table. This can make a huge difference in the cost of the gift. If you decide to include a case for your own then you have to make some weight considerations. If you are going to be placing a heavy model on it you certainly would not want it to be made of press board or some other such cheap material. It would fall through in no time.

If you are choosing to buy the parts of your set individually you will want to take rough measurements of the area that will be getting track laid on it. This will allow you to buy the proper number of track pieces. Also make sure that you have gotten as many of the curves as you will need to complete the project. Buying a model train set for the first time can be an adventure in and of itself. Enjoy the adventure and who knows it may be the start of a life long hobby.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks. You will find excellent hobbying and trading resources here for model car tricks and tips, new model trains, and model trucks.
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