christmas gift for boyfriend

Hello,
I am planning to get a starter model train set for my boyfriend for
Christmas. I believe he had one when he was little, but his mom threw
it out. I have no idea which set or type to get him. I looked online
and there are different designations like HO and N and I'm not sure
what the difference between these is..and which I should get so he has
a track and a couple cars. He would then be able to build on it from
there. Any help for a beginner for be appreciated. I am looking in the
150-200 price range.
Thank you,
Melody
mu_nu snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com
Reply to
mooooshy
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HO refers to train that are in a scale of 3.5mm = 1 ft or 1/87th of full size. N scale is a smaller scale, about 1/2 of HO with a proportion of 1.160 of full size. A typical HO freight car is about 6" long, while a similar car in N would be 3" long. HO has long been the most popular scale, with the largest variety of equipment, buildings, track, and detail parts, but N scale has come on strong and is nor a close second.
Because of it's size, craftsman still tend to HO if they want to detail and paint models to match specific real RR locomotives or cars, but more and more folks are achieving very accurate results in N. Again, in the past, HO trains operated more reliably because of their size, but again, N scale has made great strides, and is now about the same reliability. What are your friends interests - is he a handyman/craftsman, a collector, or something else?
The other big factor is space. A basic starter HO layout is often built on a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood, but operators soon want to expand to larger layouts. A similar N layout can be done in a little more than 1/2 the space, or quite an empire can be built in 4 x 8. Modular layouts are also popular, where a hobbyist builds a couple sections with standardized ends that will mate with modules by other folks. Groups then meet to make huge layouts of a dozens or hundreds of modules. This was initially most common in N scale (search Google for "Ntrak"), but is becoming popular in other scales. How much space does your friend have to give to the hobby?
My strongest advice would be to not buy a packages set. These often have lower quality components that will be frustrating in the long run. Go to a reputable hobby shop (buy a copy of "Model Railroader" magazine and look at the list of shops by state on the back pages), and work with them to assemble a set. In HO, Athearn and Proto-1000 make good quality locomotives for less than about $50. Buy a mix of ready to run cars and some car kits so your friend can find out what he likes. Choose cars lettered for the RR's that ran where he grew up. Atlas is a well known maker of track components. MRC is a good name for power-packs.
Your friend sounds like a lucky guy. Good luck! Gary Q
Reply to
Gareth Quale
What a wonderful girlfriend you are. I hope he appreciates your efforts.
The deaignations HO and N are the letter designations for the Scale that the trains are made to. HO is 1:87. That means that it is reduced from life 87 times. Thus an 87 foot item in real life will be 1 foot long in HO.
In N scale, the reduction is 160 times.
Reliable train sets can be had in both scales. In HO, Atlas and Athearn make the best sets. Athearn is very relilable, durable and easily repaired (if required). I would stay away from the plain Bachmann sets. If it says Bachmann Spectrum then it is an alright set. If he has a favorite railroad, then you might look for a locomotive and caboose that is marked with that railroad. If he doesn't, then just buy something that pleases you. (If you have a local hobby shop, they might also sell gift cirtificates so he can choose exactly what he wants.) I would also invest in some model magazines such as Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, Railmodel Journal as well as some beginner books. Atlas and Kalmbach print very good basic books as well as track plans with the inventory that you will need and instructions on how to build the benchwork or table top you will need for the railroad.
You might also consider not buying a set, but individual components to make up a set. The reason for this is so you can get exactly the things that please you and him. Inexpensive Athearn engines, cars and Atlas track with an MRC transformer will have you running your rr with quality components.
(Shameless Plug Alert)
If you are in the South East Michigan area, visit Joe's Hobby Center on Grand River Avenue and Drake Road in Farmington, and we can show you some choices and explain the differences.
Good luck with your dicision.
-- Please note; return email address has changed. It is now snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net. Emails to Earthlink will be ignored.
The Gratiot Valley Railroad Club bi-annual train show and sale March 7, 2004, at the Macomb Community College Sports and Expo Center. Macomb County Michigan. Please visit our Web Site at:
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Reply to
Frank A. Rosenbaum
I am planning to get a starter model train set for my boyfriend for Christmas. I believe he had one when he was little, but his mom threw it out. I have no idea which set or type to get him. I looked online and there are different designations like HO and N and I'm not sure what the difference between these is..and which I should get so he has a track and a couple cars. He would then be able to build on it from there. Any help for a beginner for be appreciated. I am looking in the 150-200 price range. ---------------------------------------------------- These might help:
Thor's All Gauge Page:
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NMRA's "Purchasing Model Railroad Equipment:
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What a nice gift!
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
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History of N Scale:
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Links to over 700 helpful sites:
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Reply to
Bill
Melody, Another option, and there are many more: The Bachmann Co. has several sets in O-scale that are very good quality/vlaue and include enough track to begin with. These are O scale "Narrow Guage", emerging as a real popular choice for many reasons. Generally they represent a railroad that is used for lighter traffic, logging, mining etc. If you want quick ready -to -run sets in the price range you are seeking please have a look at your local hobby shop and ask to see the Bachmann "On30" sets. Larger than HO, these are also the size you see used with Dept. 56 / Lemax Holiday displays, in case that is a consideration and so you have an idea of the scale. They also make a couple sets in holiday colors in addition to some neat individual little locomotives and cars for expanding your empire.
For more explanation
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and browse the catalog. Check out the "Ask the Bachmann" also for a general info or specific to HO N On30 etc.
Dave M
Reply to
David Manville
A wonderful thought, and a gift that he will appreciate. HO is larger than N, and is probably a better bet. Chances are, he had an HO (or the even larger O) set in his youth and the larger scale will be more nostalgic for him. On the other hand, if faced with a small dorm room or apartment, N is smaller and it will be easier to set up a loop of track running around the base of the Christmas tree without bumping into walls. N gauge ovals of track are about 1 1/2 foot by 2 1/2 foot. Same thing in HO is 3 foot by 4 foot. HO is more economical than N. As a rule N stuff costs more than HO stuff. A train set is a locomotive, some cars, enough track to make an oval, and a power pack, and in HO can be had for less than $100. Try to find a train oriented store. Look at the train sets. Talk to the counter man and ask him what it might run you if he picked out a decent locomotive. cars,track and power supply. He can probably get you something nicer than the train set but at a price premium. If the price premium is within your Christmas budget, go for it. If the trainset pricing is irrestable, go with it. It will run just fine, and give plenty of satisfaction.
David J. Starr
Reply to
David J. Starr
Thank you all very much for your help. My only fear is that he somehow decides to pursue this hobby on his own and finds these posts :P
Have a great week!
Melody mu_nu snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com
Reply to
mooooshy
Or buy an Athearn set for about $100. You'll get a decent power pack, track (Atlas Code 83 truck Track which can easily separate from the plastic base), rolling stock and engines. Also consider adding the Kalmbach Book from "Set to Scenery".
Dave
Reply to
Dave Henk
You're in the market for a trainset, I'm in the market for a girlfriend.......so if things don't work with this guy give me a post, huh... :)
Reply to
Ratt
yep sounds like the perfect woman.... can she recite any of the lines from the epic Blazing Saddles?
Reply to
David R. Campbell
Sittin' round the campfire, yep "recite", that's what we'll call it.
Reply to
Steve Caple
Sorry......, every time I venture out into this newsgroup I regret it.
Reply to
David R. Campbell
I'm not a woman, but...
"Badges? We don't need no stinking badges."
Jay CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"
Reply to
JCunington
Most memorable scene: Mongo coldcocks the horse. Or the old lady tells Sheriff (Clevon Little), "Outta my way,..."
Jay CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"
Reply to
JCunington
Hey, that line is from "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" with Humphrey Bogart. It was rehashed in Blazing Saddles because it was already famous.
Regards,
DAve
Reply to
DaveW
I normally ignore off topic messages but: Contrary to some people's belief (Including our idiot local radio station, KMJI, DJ), that is only a parody in Blazing Saddles. The original is from the much better movie, "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt. It is actually a slight misquote from the original just as the popular "Play it again Sam" was never actually spoken in the movie "Casa Blanca".
Reply to
SleuthRaptorman
At breakfast the other day we heard a piece on NPR about security measures in Birtain for Chicken Littlebush's visit. It was being bruited about that perhaps even the Queen might be asked to wear an ID badge.
Whereupon my wife said . . .
(and yes, Virginia, we do know the original)
I have a .wav file of the bandit's remarks somewhere - contrived to use it in a password login routine once: if the user failed in three tries, they were offered the read only public login (user PUBLIC, password PUBLIC) and teated to the "Bahdges? . . ." if they chose it.
Reply to
Steve Caple
You just can't resist politicizing even the most mundane thread, can you?
Reply to
Joe Ellis
" 'Scuse me while I whip this out.".
This after he is presented with a Laurel, and Hardy handshake by Mayor Johnson.
Reply to
David Manville
That reminds me of the Jimi Hendrix song "Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy". Jay CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"
Reply to
JCunington

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