OK, So it looks like N Scale is the way I am going to go, Now what ?

My earlier post on what scale/gauge to work with brought many helpful answers. Thank you.
Beginners usually make all kind of mistakes when starting out and I'll
probably do the same with this one...
I was brainstorming as to how to start. I got several books from the library which have been very helpful but here are a few things that concern me:
First I need to pick an era I want to work with and find out what exists in my price range. Decide on a layout idea, city, country, mountains/hills, yard, etc. and then spend the next few years figuring out the specs. :-)
I was thinking it might be a good idea, even if a bit expensive, to first buy a pre boxed set, oval track, engine and a few cars, to play around with to see before I take the plunge to decide if its a project I want to take on?
A $100 test vs. $1000's and another incomplete garage project might be worth it. Lots of sets out there now for the holidays, good ones and cheap ones.
Ideas/suggestions on how to start, what to do, what Not to do... would be greatly appreciated.
Craig
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wrote:

You'll most likely to find the cheap sets to be disappointing and, essentially, a waste of money.
If you want to consider sets, I think Kato, Microtrains, and Atlas still market them (I've had to leave N due to tremor so I'm not sure). A good power supply also helps in the long run.
Track selection is also a consideration. Many like the Kato snap track. It's more expensive than Atlas, but Atlas snap track has been around for a long time for the reason that it works. If you check the Atlas web site, you should be able to find their free layout design software. There is a learning curve, but there's generally a learning curve with any CAD software.
Cost is also a consideration in era selection. Steam engines are more expensive. If you stick with it, you'll accumulate engines and rolling stock and probably end up with items representing multiple eras--at least I have. So, I'll generally only have a single era on the layout at one time although the transition from steam to early diesel would give you the excuse to get some steam when budget/interest allows.
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Carl Heinz
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On 29/11/2011 12:50 PM, Carl Heinz wrote: snip good advice.

Back in the days when a lot of people still smoked, I used to compare the cost of MRRimg to smoking. On today's money, a pack a day smoker here in Ontario spend $250 to $300 a month.
MRRing is cheaper, and healthier. ;-) Also smells better.
Wolf K.
PS: I've almost persuaded a young friend to quit by pointing out that he could by a good used car for what he spends on smoking....
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At $300 a month you could buy new ... Or lease
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On 29/11/2011 7:09 PM, Lobby Dosser wrote:

He wants something that would cost at least double that to buy new. ;-)
Wolf K.
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great advice to a young person wolf k. in 04 the wife and i quit smoking and bought a new van. by 08 the van was paid for with the money we DIDN'T spend on smoking. the van is still running and so are we. lol. now to railroads,would a 4x8 sheet of plywood make a fair sized N scale model? im limited for room.
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On 10/12/2011 4:05 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

bought a new van. by 08 the van was paid for with the money we DIDN'T spend on smoking. the van is still running and so are we. lol. now to railroads,would a 4x8 sheet of plywood make a fair sized N scale model? im limited for room.
Yes, it would.
However: for a 4x8 you need a minimum of 2ft along the two long sides and at one end, which means you need a minimum of 8x10ft space. If, like me, you've, um, expanded with the years, you'll want another foot or all around. That makes it a smallish bedroom of 9x11ft. If you have that much space, a layout along the walls will be a better deal. Imagine a dumb-bell shape stretched and wound around the walls of the room. ;-) For N, a shelf 12-16" is plenty wide, and for the loops at each end, 24" is wide enough.
You can make a 4x8 style layout in N in a 30"x60" space, ie, a short door. Some people use 28" or 30" standard door, counting 2ft aisle space on 3 sides as above, you'd need 6-1/2ft x 9-1/2ft free space. In a pinch, you can shove a 28" door against a wall, then you'd nee a space 6-1/2ft by 7-1/2ft minimum. 28" wide is enough for 11" radius curves, which IMO are the minimum acceptable (but 9.5" is the standard sectional track radius, so you could use a 24" door, just hide the loops at the end).
I hope these ramblings are enough to go on. Buy Kalmbach's 101 Track Plans, still worth looking over. Rule of thumb: look at plans for space 10% or more smaller than your, stretch straight-aways and widen radii to fit you space. You'll get a smoother running railroad.
'Nother rule of thumb: It ain't the size, it's the complexity. Believe me, you don't want a complex track plan. You'll be happy if the plan accommodates two things: 1. Operation as you like it; and 2. Scenery as you like it.
HTH Wolf K.
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As a PS, you should also decide whether you'll eventually get into command control or run conventional. You should do this before you have a substantial investment in motive power.
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Carl Heinz
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A couple of points: As some have pointed out, you may be disapointed with a trainset. I know several hobby shop owners who have told me that they won't stock train sets. Most are junk. But as someone else pointed out; Atlas and Micro-Trains are the exceptions.
To re-iterate another point: Conventional or DCC power. Once the layout gets big enough, you will want to go with DCC. But Conventional block power control is cheaper. In any case, most engines are equipt with a dual mode DCC controler that will work on both DC and with a DCC throttle. Go ahead and make the investment in the dual mode equipt engines and you will save yourself some grief latter on.
As for scenery. Woodland Scenics (sp?) sells a scenery kit for a complete 3X6 N scale layout. You could build this on a hollow core door (3x6ft,8in.). It wouldn't be too hard to strech the track plan by 8in. A word about the kit (Scenic Ridge, I think), The track plan is pretty lame. Just a big loop for the trains to run around. You will want to buy a couple of turnouts and some extra track for sidings. Read up on track planing for realistic opperation and then use what you learn to modify the track plan. Anyway, that's one approch.
You can also take any 4x8 HO layout plan and put it into a 3x6ft,8in hollow core door. You will end up wiht a better layout and will take advantage of N scale's advantages (broader curves, smaller size, higher scenery to track ratio).
What ever you do, start small. You could build a door layout and place it in a corner. Then expand the layout by building add on modules to expand the layout a piece at a time along the walls.
Or you could do what I did about 20 years ago. I had a huge base- ment with a finished rec room. I built three corner modules that were about 3X3ft. These were the ends and one corner of the layout. I conected the finished modules with tempory track shelves that were just minimaly sceniced 1x4s supported by wall brackets. The intent was to eventually build out the layout with 4ft by 14in modules.
If it is still up (I haven't done anything with it in a year). I have some track plans on my web site. Go to www.gordonreeder.com and look in the Fun and Games area. I just looked, it's still there. BTW: I have a couple of suggested modifications to the Scenic Ridge track plan that I mentioned above.
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Great site. Thanks for sharing. I may come to the P.A.N.T. meeting one of these Tuesdays.
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On 30/11/2011 7:12 PM, Gordon wrote:

That depends on the complexity of the layout. If you plan to go with DCC sometime in the future, it's better IMO to start with it, even if that means slowing down the rate of acquiring locomotives (we tend to buy too many anyhow.... ;-) ). It's surprising how quickly the cost of components adds up.
HTH Wolf K.
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Hark! A veritable serpent in our midst!
REAL model railroaders know that it's *impossible* to have too many locomotives!
~Pete
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On 02/12/2011 4:08 PM, Twibil wrote:

Nice one!
Wolf K.
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Well, truth compells me to admit that I haven't dared count my locomotives for years and years.
Fortunately, my wife doesn't care. (Although should I drop dead tomorrow I suspect that she's going to be in for a shock.)
~Pete
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I, too, have no idea about the number of engines I accumulated over the years. Unfortunately, DCC was just coming along when tremor caused me to go the O gauge 3 rail. (Dealing with bolster pins became too much of a challenge.) However, the grandson will eventually be inheriting the stash.
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Shoot yourself.
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