Adults Enjoy Toy Model Trains Too!

By Winston Tietgens

As Thomas the Train enlightened every boy's fantasy and graced the thoughts of those who have been awed by those fantastic machines, trains offer a powerful addiction to many. Small boys watch the talking trains from their living rooms and do not understand what it is that makes them so wonderful. But as boys grow into men they realize what it is that captured them when they were boys and stayed with them into their adulthood; control over a powerful machine.

So, what is it that pushes grown men to want to play with these "toys"? Is it the fact that they get to control a powerful piece of machinery even though it is model size at about 1/87th of the actual size? Perhaps a model train works the lines of electricity that make it work in the complex way. Some may be enthralled with the organized manner in which they run, around and around their tracks. Or it could just be a manner of fond childhood memories being relived as they see in their minds eye the choo-choo train circling the Christmas tree from their youth. Regardless of why men love to play with model trains one thing is certain, to characterize these models as simple toys is inaccurate. Toy model trains have grown up just as certainly as the little boys who love to play with them and are now big boy toys.

Toy trains are usually the plastic ones that you find on sale while you are Christmas shopping. They are low quality and priced as a great way to introduce kids to the hobby. When boys grow up they are called men. And when toy trains grow up, they are called locomotives. Locomotives are made to last. They are higher quality and many lack the push it slightly to get it to move feature like lower quality trains have. Their wheels are made to make greater contact with the track in order to get a better connection to the electricity which will help to get it going. They are the things that make model railroaders smile. Plus, locomotives have stronger engines. A stronger engine means greater pulling power. A quality locomotive is also made out of metal rather then plastic like toy trains. The weight of the train has a large effect on how well it works. The heavier the train, the better it will make contact with the track and therefore, a better running train.

Electricity is all good and well, but what if you want a little more power? Model train creators discovered a way to make a toy train powered by steam! There are many different steam trains available and the quality will vary but there is nothing more awesome than watching these steam locomotives chugging around the track. They are truly lifelike, but in miniature.

Not everyone can grow up and actually get to drive a train, and the ones that are fortunate enough may see it as nothing more than a job. However, if your lifelong dream includes trains and locomotives you do not have to be a conductor to enjoy the ride. Model trains offer pure indulgence in something so many people love. - 31503

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Designing Model Train Benchwork And Scenery

By Winston Tietgens

Part of the fun of model railroads is being able to build the scenery around them. Once you have gotten tired of setting up the train set around the Christmas tree and putting it away after Christmas every year, you might be ready to build yourself something more permanent.

The foundation of any model railway trains is of course the benchwork. If you are just starting out and don't know what this is, it is the table on which your layout is created. It can be built yourself, or you can by kits. Kits can be an easy way to start layouts for model trains, because they are already cut and drilled, and are much more reliable than just having some plywood on some sawhorses. Kits can also be taken apart and moved just about anywhere you need too, and many hobbyists that set up at train shows use these as a quick way to transport their layouts.

The first thing you will have to do is to create a design for your layout. You'll have to figure out how large you want your benchwork to be. Consider if you will be adding on to it later on down the road. How much room in your house do you have to place a train layout? What shape are you planning for the top or your benchwork? It can be square, rectangle, oval, or circular. Typically the legs of the table are 28" but they can be altered to meet your designs specifications. The most important thing in benchworking is making sure that your benchwork is solid and can withstand a certain amount of weight. A good platform is a 3/8" to 1/2" thick piece of plywood. If you would like your benchwork to remain portable, you can cut the plywood into several pieces before you assemble your benchwork.

There are things to keep in mind when creating the scenery for your layout. One of the is perspective, having larger items in front and smaller ones in the back, can give the effect that the layout is larger than it actually is. You also have to consider the theme that your are trying to achieve with your model railway train layout. If you are doing a city scape, then you don't want to have a bunch of mountains in the back ground. The opposite is true if you are trying to create a mine or logging set up. You also have to consider what other accessories are going to be put in, like any mountains, bridges, or other buildings, because there are many different model trains and layouts to pick from.

It is a good idea to write these plans down before you do your model railway train's layout. When you are done, and are ready for placement, don't put anything in on a permanent basis yet. Do your set up, but check it first to make sure everything looks good, then do a test run of the model trains on the track. This way, you can make any kind of adjustments before you screw or glue everything down.

You can also incorporate towns or villages filled with houses and buildings. Plus, you should also add fine detail to your scenery. Fine detail includes signs, telephone poles, fences, underbrush, bushes, flowers, hedges, people, and animals. A really nice touch is including bodies of water like ponds, rivers, streams or even waterfalls . - 31503

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N Scale Trees

By Conrad Fairfax

Model railroad landscaping and scenery such as N scale trees, greenery, hills, and other scenic components really add dimension and authenticity to any model railway layout. True-to-life scenic landscaping really captivates a railfan audience. And constructing it is generally much less complicated than newbie model railroaders think.

And by the way, I get a real charge out of seeing all the detail work and lifelike realism. The beauty and details are engaging, and I never seem to tire of looking at a well-made layout.

I guess when it comes down to it, model railroad layouts appeal to the child like qualities in all of us. When you get involved in this hobby you get to have lot of play time and imagination stimulation.

When you build a model railroad layout, "you" become the big man in charge of your new city or town. It's "you" who has the authority to call all the shots. And since you are the owner of your new town, you're responsible for the success or failure of planning, transportation services, human services, planting N scale trees, and every other facet of train table design.

Model railroad shrubs, bushes, and trees come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They can be purchased as pre-made scenery, or if you like to explore your creative side, you're free to make your own.

On the make-your-own side of the house, you can buy N scale tree kits from Woodland Scenics and a number of other manufacturers. These DIY kits typically contain either wire armatures or dried plants for the main tree structure, and all the foliage materials needed to make a quality, realistic tree.

And, for the budding model railroad "arborist" in you, you can also make your trees and shrubs "completely" from scratch. As with the DIY kit method, this later option usually involves making the tree trunk and branches out of wire or using dried plant material for the main structure.

And when you opt for creating your trees from scratch, you need to get the right foliage and bonding agents to probably finish your project. Also, if you ultimately decide to use wire instead of dried plant material for the tree trunk and branch structure, you will need to bend and manipulate the wire into a realistic tree shape.

Maybe it's a fear of the unknown, but I have never built mine completely from scratch. I've always stuck with the kit method. I'm going to make it a point to try a scratch built tree one of these days, I swear! But for now I'm sticking with what I know, and what, at least from my perspective; seems to be the easier option.

N Gauge Tree Size Considerations

Choosing the right size N scale trees for your model railroad layout will largely depend on the geographic region and the tree variety your modeling. The main objective is to make things on your layout as real and believable as possible. To ensure achievement of this goal, always do everything for your train table with careful consideration for how it appears in the real world.

If you are building model railroad scenery to mimic that of the Antarctic, complete with igloos, Eskimos, and polar bears; it probably wouldn't look too realistic to plant a patch of palm trees on the side of an ice capped mountain. In real life, they would quickly die in such a harsh environment, and it just wouldn't look real.

In comparison to reality, model trees are usually a bit small. As a model railroad scale, N gauge helps to close that gap. Because of their small size, you can build realistic scenery large enough to dwarf the locomotives, rolling stock, buildings and other scenic features.

As a general rule of thumb, in order to achieve a true to life prototypical look, your trees should probably average between 4 and 8 inches tall. These size constraints will vary depending on the types of trees being modeled. And the figures will likely be a little higher or lower than originally planned.

A good idea is to check out Wikipedia and other websites that provide information on the particular tree you're interested in. Find out how large the trees typically grow for your selected region and do the math to convert to N scale.

Have a lot of fun when you're planning your layout and all of your model train scenery. Enjoying yourself is really what it's all about. If you're pleased with the way your layout looks, that's really all that matters.

And remember, nothing is set in stone. With this hobby you can always go back and change the scenery if something isn't quite up to snuff. - 31503

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Trains O Scale Model Trains - Discover What It Can Do For You

By Rob Smith

Numerous newbie model railroader will choose that, instead of HO, they choose to build their railroad empire using O scale model trains. While the bigger trains may seem easily done to work with and just plain more fun they can also be a source of bummer to the inexperienced. Here are some common false step made with O scale trains.

Is your turning radius too tight? While the minimum turning radius for an O scale train is 24 inches you have to realize that box cars and passenger cars are not the same length. If you're recreating an 19th century freight route you might be OK but if you decide that instead you'd like to run a modern Amtrak passenger train you may be plagued with derailments with such a small turning radius. Besides the functionality of too small a turn radius you also have the glaring fact that it just doesn't look that realistic.

Are your inclines too sleep? Most new model railroaders envision some sort of tunnel or bridge in their layout where the trains will run underneath its own track or up over the roads the cars travel. When you're working in smaller scale where you have room to build long inclines this is not usually an issue. Not so with O scale. Given the height required to clear another train track your O scale layout will require a very long incline indeed especially if you've created a long train to begin with. You're not going to go from ground level to train clearing bridge height in only two feet. If you do not have large layout, one solution is to send your lower track slightly underground so that your upper track does not need to rise as much.

Is your landscape out of scale? Even though a locomotive is high-reaching than a one story house we must bear in mind that in the real world trees still tower over trains. No where is this single mistake made more than with O scale train layouts. The same scaling mistake is usual with outbuildings and people. When buying any component or buildings for your layout make sure that you feel certain it is to scale and not that it just looks to be the correct scale.

Does your train match your track? Unlike Ho scale where everything pretty much works with everything else, O scale modeling can truly be confusing when it comes to matching the correct track to your train. Since the early days when these toy trains were run on shiny three rail tracks there have been some major innovations that include two rail systems, more authentic O gauges and the option of running O scale trains on narrow tracks. Do your research before buying even your first train set, because once you've selected a track, you're stuck with it or will be doing a major overall down the road. - 31503

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Electrical Tools and Components Needed to Bring Your Model Train Layout to Life

By Daryl Clayton Kennedy

Model railroad replicas need electricity and a handful of special tools and components to operate. Without these special tools and devices your model train layout will simply sit and stair back at you as if to say, what the heck are you waiting for turn me on.

You'll need a couple of simple household tools to begin the electrical integration of components and accessories. First you will need a common everyday flat head screwdriver. Secondly you'll want to have a set of needle nose pliers handy as these are perfect for re-enforcing wire around connections.

Your third recommended tool is a pair of wire strippers. Your strippers will make shaving wire insulation a piece of cake and is a must have if you wish your electrical endeavors to prevail. Fourthly, you'll need a reliable 25 - 30 watt soldering gun. This percentage of wattage is most commonly used. For thicker gauge wire a larger pistol grip gun is acceptable for wire ranging in girth from 10AWG to 14AWG.

Connectors that Require No Soldering are Available for Your Model Train Layout

As an alternative to using a bulky soldering gun. Forked connectors are used to connect wires to busses and tracks. Though this format may not be the best case scenario for all connections, it will work for your less challenging electrical mergers such as connecting wires to busses and similar connections.

This will sound like a strange name for a connection apparatus but suitcase or tap-in connectors are popular as they require no wire stripping, only the simple sliding of wire into a bus and the connection is made. You may also know these connectors as (IDCs) or "insulated displacement connectors".

Your Model Train Layout Would Be Lost Without Electrical Switches and Power Supplies

Switches like most products come in a variety of styles yet they all perform the same duty. You may want to avoid purchasing the cheaper product and go for the gold by spending a little extra and going after the switch that has the higher rating. You may locate these tools of the trade in any common hardware store or maybe even some place like an Home Depot or Builders Square. By purchasing from such corporate operations you may rest assured that return polices are solid and product is affordable.

Lastly, your power supply is as you know the heart of you layout and should be treated with care. Here is a useful tip you're sure to incorporate into your plans. try to use only one power pack to operate your locomotives and a second independent pack for your layouts add ons.

To close, I'd like to say this. Use Multi Port Power Strips to help stop overloads! It may keep your layout safe from an ugly ending by protecting it and all it's components. - 31503

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Thomas The Wooden Tank Engine And The Origin Of Sodor

By Daryl Clayton Kennedy

The year was 1945 and devout christian Rev. Wilbert Audry gave the world it's first read of soon to be iconic children's ferry tale, Thomas the Tank Engine. Reverend Audry was inspired by his earlier ordeal with son and a life threatening bout of the measles 2 years prior. Rev Audry stayed at his son Christopher's call, assisting him and providing his every need.

History records as the Reverends son Christopher was fighting the measles, his loving father would chant out nursery rhymes. The tunes where intended to sooth the young chap while battling the deadly virus. Here's how one of the tiny tunes went...

Early in the Morning Down at the Station all the Engines Standing in a Row. Along Comes the Driver Pulls the Lever, Puff, Puff! Chuff, Chuff Off we GO!

After hearing this diddy many times during his ailment, little Chris began to ask his father questions about the rhyme. Where is the train going, Does it have a name?

Rev. Audry had to be creative to pull this one off. He explained to His son that the trains and their station is located on the Island of Sodor in the Irish Sea between the Isle of Mann and the British Isles. There is where the tales are told.

Most individuals believe that Thomas was the first engine in the series, but that's not true. Edward, is the oldest and most liked engine on sodor for a good reason. He is the original engine that Rev. Audry described to Christopher so many year ago. We suppose that's why everyone likes him.

The stories grew larger and more detailed. Additional locomotives where then tossed in the mix. Soon came Thomas, Percy, Lady, Henry, Smudger, James and a slew of others, each with personalities of their own.

In 1945 the first of the children's books was published and in 1984 Great Britain Introduced the popular book in a television series that has taken off to enjoy world wide fame with tots! The books are still in publication and in 1972 Christopher took over the honers of story telling and allowed his father Wilbert (1911-1997) to retire.

1996 marked the true end of an era as this is the year Christopher wrote his last tale. As mentioned the stories are now told by a wounderfully imaginative collective of writers who do the original tales justice! - 31503

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Direct Current Power Packs for Model Trains - You May Need To Upgrade

By Daryl Clayton Kennedy

When purchasing model train sets you have a wide variety of options, some more worthy than others. In todays' competitive market the bottom line is cost! Unfortunately some of the model train manufacturers aim at the masses by producing locomotives and layouts that look good and run, but that's about all they can muster.

Manufactures of today tend to produce products that are affordable to the masses which means, they are limited in their capabilities. If you wish to add moving parts and energy consuming accessories then you will want to look into upgrading your Power Pack. The Packs that come with ready to run trains are only capable of handling the minimal amount of add ons' and accessories that come standard with the locomotive.

Solving the Problem of Under Powered Layouts

There is one name that comes to mind out of many when searching for top DC Power Packs. Model Rectifier Corporation leads the pack in DC Control and electronic model train navigation. Reliable, easy to use and affordable. MRC is you best choice when looking to add additional DC power to you layout.

MRC is not the only manufacture of these necessary devices, although they are on e of the most sought after DC Pack on the market. Other companies such as Atlas, Bachmann and Aristo-Craft provide reliable DC Power Packs for use with various model train sets.

Most modelers in the United States set up their layout in their home or apartment. This requires 110 volt outlets, other countries may differ. A un-scaved 110 volts will fry through circuits which is where your power pack comes into play. The power pack will reduce the number of volts to a figure manageable by your layout, say 18 volts or so.

The transformer is the main component of your power pack. This crucial piece in you DC pack allows the high alternating current to be transformed before your eyes into a Direct Current. This direct current is of sufficient amps to power your layout without burning a hole in your benchwork!

If your looking for advice, I'd go for a higher grade set from Kato, Atlas, Bachmann, Walthers or Micro trains. These manufactures don't make toys, they produce high quality locomotives that are worthy of our hobby. By going this route you're sure to be satisfied with the quality of your pack and its capabilities. - 31503

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