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Hi from Far North of NZ

12895 Views 55 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  kristopher1805
My previous hobby of RC planes has folded (as the nearest airfield is now 3 hours drive) so I need a new method of squandering time and money
. Model rail appeals as it is suitable for wet and/or Winter days, but I am not a 'modeller' so will be buying in most of the rolling stock etc. Rather than leaping in with both feet I am researching what I can first, but expert advice is helpful (again the nearest Club is 3 hours + away). A couple of questions (may be wrong sub forum):

- My baseboard space will be 10' x 3' - accessible from long side and one end. I could go a little wider but my arm length doesn't reach 4'. Is this width going to be a major constraint in OO/HO given I was hoping for a double oval +. The alternative is N gauge but would prefer not to.

- My initial idea is to go with a British period setup (to have more fun with the scenery
. I will go straight to DCC if possible to save money later. Should I standardise on Hornby or Bachmann - thinking cost, quality, DCC system....? I will be mainly buying from Amazon (Hornby from UK or Bachmann from US). In terms of shipping the US is probably easier. Appreciate this is a personal preference (which I don't have yet).

Any other advice appreciated - I am a blank slate

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Sound advice from many, notably honourable mentions 34C and kristopher1805

Mate knowing where you are coming from (I was R/Cer and C/L aeromodeller for many many years prior to too) and ever the pragmatist I'll offer my perspective from when I started in model railway back in 2009. Rather a toy train set memory nostalgia inspired returnee than a hard core aficionado since in short pants, OO gauge was my choice then, and remains so now. Model rail is tactile and visual. Being older, for that reason I wouldn't go N then, argumentative disclaimer OMMV. However if you decide to go 00 gauge, do consider the following first.

End to end built along walls, a perennial favourite with seemingly endless -pardon the pun, options. Many serious model railway types derive pleasure from these. Other than a small/short modelling board, these don't suit my play value requirement.

Table tops. Whether using MDF or ply, most pragmatic to obtain materials to frame and build in our metric land will be 1200 x 600 sheets in your chosen thickness. They're a size facilitating easy handling and require no cutting other than handling and matching edge to edge over the frame. That's just a tad under 4' wide in the old money, and laid to whatever length your room accommodates. My smallest spare room (an air conditioned carpeted bedroom -comfort- which has built-ins, facilitating storage but reducing length) which is where I choose to play easily accommodates an 8'x4' walk around, but would squeeze in a 10'x 6' if I went to a central cutout control area with access flap and castors.

Sol's perspective earlier pretty much sums up the reality IMV&E. x 3' wide will do a fun enough shunting roundy, and you can even squeeze in a double track, but 8' x 4' is really the practical minimum tabletop size you'll want to facilitate a double oval for pleasurable (my value judgement) ops on a roundy. Don't do 3' wide would be my advice generally. Think again. It's far too constraining.

9'x 4' will facilitate operationally interesting roundy layout plans. Castors work fine on low pile carpet, even better on a concrete/polyurethane finished floor. Perfect if you can't access all sides. 8' x 4' or 9' x 4', the constraint is visual suspension disbelief length of express rakes. Compromise doesn't wear well on me, but given the choice of surrendering our HT room/Music Studio, compromise it remains. Living in hot 'n humid beside the ocean sub-tropical Qld, although toying with the idea repeatedly over the last decade of an dedicated shed for a larger layout, I arrive at the same decision on each occasion, discarding the idea even of one insulated and air-conditioned during play time.

GL with it which ever scale you decide. It's much more expensive hobby than RC, particularly now given our exchange rates for the Euro and GBP, but you can do it until you drop pretty much, at home without the travel expense or time/hassle, club fees or insurance nor the endless social BS and club politics that go hand in hand with R/C clubs. Cheers
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2.7 x 1.2 tabletop is a sound choice, especially for a first layout. Reasonably easy, quick and inexpensive by MR standards to put together, versatile if limited in topography depression and elevation, and with lots of play value. It's the equivalent of having fun with a twin ballrace .46/.50 two stroke which has the versatility to power a model of a size which which fits in the car, doesn't cost the earth to buy or build, doesn't drink half a gallon of fuel per flight, nor require super servos to move its control surfaces, yet still flies well anything from a trainer through a sport/pattern-ish/PC-9CAP, Extra, Su-26 ARF or even semi-scale model.

For sure DCC is the way to go for anyone starting out. Lenz, NCE, ECU, Digitrax or Prodigy. I'm an NCE man myself, and would go there again, but if I wasn't I would probably go with one of the other two of those first three although that's a preference and not a disparagement of the other two.

In my observation what sustains interest in the model railway/train hobby is a very individual thing. There are a lot of head types in the hobby particularly fascinated by all facets of electronics and their problem solving a complex layout might engage. I'm not one of them. My fascination lies with the historical. Reading, researching, planning, tactile modelling, handling and observing a time period running in miniature engages me rather than construction of the electronic side or 'realistic' fantasy driving trains regimented to a timetable etc. Of course I do run them in multiples on my layout which will pragmatically accommodate up to three controllable in concurrent motion, but it's relaxing to sit with an espresso and create an circulating goods or mineral action diorama whilst perhaps shunting or operating another loco be it a sound equipped Merchant Navy Express, 2 car EMU/DMU or M7 operating an imagined Push-Pull branch line service. The thing about model railways us you can do it with reasonable competency and satisfaction until the end, or close to pretty much, which one can't with many activities as one ages physically.
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QUOTE (6991 @ 2 Apr 2020, 23:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I actually don't think DCC is for beginners.
Disagree vehemently. Politely, but vehemently nevertheless.

Converse opinion

DCC is ideal for adult entry into the model railway, and a must for future scope in 2020 on. There's just no valid logical reason not to go DCC if starting afresh unhampered by any need for legacy compatibility, other than perhaps the simplest train set 'roundy' as a Christmas present for junior who'll likely discard it either A. as soon as the novelty wears off, or B. when he's hitting teen years to discovers girls, pop music etc with preferred play value.

If it comes down to an "I can't afford it" budget argument, then I'd more than reasonably argue that if one genuinely can't afford DCC, the brutal truth is one can't really afford model railway at all and should find a less expensive hobby. I know what I've spent and how expensive it is today when compared with other hobbies or interests, which has very little to do with cost of analogue vs digital operation.

I know that if I'd had to put up with the encumbrances of setting up a layout and analogue operation, no way would I have entered the hobby. Fortunately I wasn't faced with that obstacle even back in 2009.

Pretty much everyone wanting to proceed beyond the Christmas gift train set oval into model railroading in 2020 with a double oval, shunting bypass loop and siding will have the capability to comfortably have up to three locos operating at the same time and will want DCC if they measure twice to buy once.
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