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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

Im a newbie to model railways and want some advice,




I dont have a lot of space and my budget is very low.
I have wanted to get in to this for a long time and now that im married and finally got our own place i have the opertunity to do this.

Please can you offer any advice on where to get cheap materialls and rolling stock etc from as my budget is very small as this has to be a low priority compared to everything else, but hey i want to get it started.

Many thanks in advanced
 

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My best advice is to visit your local newsagents, buy one or two different model rail magazines and check out the advertisements - especially the small ads at the back. (Sneaky hint - have a good leaf through the magazines before buying!)

A couple of good magazines are a very worthwhile first investment, before laying out bigger money on hardware.


Also, use the internet and search facilities to locate online used equipment dealers.
Take a look at any and all dealers you find, because even those who don't look as though they deal in used equipment MIGHT, if you look deep enough and make enquiries of them to check.
 

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I'm (still) planning a small layout (No bigger than about 6ft x 1ft) as a kind of small uni project.

The aim will be to at least run a Bachmann 66 with maximum really of 2 trucks. Some shunting is preferable as well.

The best way i'm finding in planning that 'ideal' (If such a thing exists?) layout is to use Hornby Virtual Railway 2 as it gives you an idea of the size and the kind ofd things you can run on it. Costs around £20, but is worth the investment if you are serious about doing a layout.
 

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There's also some good free layout planning software about such as XtrackCad and Atlas in the US do one too, it can be downloaded from their sites.
 

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As long as you can accept that old wagons and rolling stock don't have the detail and finish of the new and may be damaged then local stockists normally do have secondhand available. They do in my parts anyway. Wagons for about £3-£4 and coaches for about £7 to £10. As far as track goes I do wonder if secondhand is a false economy as it can be twisted and points sometimes do not open and shut properly.

Remember that you can get brand new tank locomotives for just over £20 and locomotives on the auction sites tend to be collectable so can go for a lot more than this! (unless they are complete wrecks of course and only really good for spares)

One observation here. The Lima secondhand market seems to have collapsed with many decent mainline diesels available for £20 to £25. With the current crop of highly detailed and smooth running diesel locos from Hornby and Bachmann everybody seems to be unloading their Lima kit and upgrading so bargains to be had here if you are not bothered about models being to 1980's production standards.

The really important thing is to work out which period you want to model and whether its to be a mainline or a branch line. Then you can start to think about the sort of locomotives and rolling stock you want.

I would go with the branch line initially if things are tight as these can be much cheaper on the pocket with tank locomotives and short trains.

And starter sets are exceptional value and can even beat secondhand when you work it all out.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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If I were you I would measure up exactly how much space you have to use for this model railway. Bear in mind that in low space conditions every inch counts. When you have this figure in mind then you can browse magazines or the internet with a better idea of what may be possible and what may not. One of the good things about very restricted space is the relatively low cost of producing a worthwhile result.
Your space, whatever it may turn out to be, will also probably dictate the scale you can use if it is that restricted, or rather the scales you can't use.
If money is that tight then there is plenty of help out on the internet on forums with photographs and how to's using everyday items that will save you a lot of money and at the same time allow you to get cracking on projects while waiting for the pennies to mount up.
Of course you may have already measured up and decided on a scale/gauge but you didn't say anything in your post.
 

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I'd back back up Gary's comments on track, that is one area you don't want to skimp on quality to save a few £££. Probably the cheapest option for track (other than handbuilt) is to use flexible track with set track points, although Peco electrofrog Streamline points willl give better running.

re CeeDeeI's comment about using everyday items, never underestimate the modelling potential of a cerial box!
 

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Or even a cereal box!


In fact the creations of modellers out of household waste can be very sureal at times!


Almost objects for The Tate Gallery.

I will start a new topic on this. It could be useful. Visit the "Tracks, Layouts and Scenery" section lower down as it does seem like an appropriate subject for that area of Model Rail Forum.

To make it easier click here to go straight to the topic.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Well Scoobyandy,

I recommend that you take a step back and have a look at what other modellers are doing. Your best bet is to join a local model railway club if there is one near you. You could try asking at the local public library if they have a list of local community resources. Alternatively go to some local model railway exhibitions and make contact with club members that way. If you can get yourself involved in building a club layout, all the better. You may decide that all you need at home is a test track, then you could build rolling stock to run on the club layout.

If you have only limited space available, you should build a small portable layout that can easily be stored away to make the spare room available for visitors. I would not buy cheap secondhand equipment because it will be dated and probably run erratically. Decide what and when you want to model and find out what stock will be right for your chosen prototype. In a small space think small, buy only small locomotives at first, there is lots of choice.

Congratulations on deciding to start modelling.

Colombo
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Space is no problem as i have a converted loft which is empty so loads of room. and as for a local club bit hard, live miles from nearest town not alone a group, found my nearest to be over 35 miles away which is just not pratical really
 

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Still think about a portable layout. I have had to move twice with my job and each time a layout fixed to the walls of a garage has had to be wrecked.

My latest layout is fully portable in 10 sections and I should be able to reassemble it in a couple of hours, if I have two fellow modellers to help me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
hi
Thanks to everyone that replied to my post

i got a really silly question, HO scale, is this also known as 1:87?

Sorry to ask such a newbie question
 

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Yes, HO is 1:87.

And for all the newbies looking it please don't apologise for asking questions.

I am equally thick about scales other then OO gauge.

There is a table showing all the gauges in a topic in the concourse section.

And if you have got broadband (or are happy for a long download) then check out the Model Railway TV programmes. Whilst they are American you will still learn a lot!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE (LisaP4 @ 11 Oct 2005, 17:00)There's also some good free layout planning software about such as XtrackCad and Atlas in the US do one too, it can be downloaded from their sites.
<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

also being a new member and reading through some of your forum items does any one know where you can down load free track plans for 00 gauge as im finding it hard to source these

building a oval track 11ft x 6ft.
all help would be great fully welcome its just so i got some good ideas to put together when building it



martyn
 

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ScoobyAndy

Going through the pain of building my first "serious" layout I made some moderately expensive mistakes (such as buying BR early steam rolling stock and ending up with a GWR plan). However, older (and a wee bit wiser) some thoughts you may find of help:

1) buy quality material for your baseboards and (as LisaP4 says) good quality track - you can always upgrade scenics and rolling stock
2) if your finances stretch to it buy one example (the cheapest or at a swap meet) of each of the different scenery kits - such as pre-cut card (such as Metcalfe or Superquick), an un-cut card kit (such as Alphagrafix or Prototype) and platic kits (Dapol or Wils) - this will allow you find out fairly cheaply which modelling method you prefer/can do best.
3) have a good locomotive/rolling stock ratio (easier said than done). Otherwise you'll exhaust your rolling stock budget and have lots of locos with nothing to pull (been there, done that!)
4) consider building some of your rolling stock: Cambrian, Coopercraft, Parkside and Ratio (amongst others) make reasonably priced kits which make up into very nice models (NB some come without wheels - so check)
5) pick up, at a swap meet, one or two ancient locos, carriages, wagons etc., and use these as test beds for learning painting, detailing, upgrading and kitbashing techniques. It'll save you from mucking up a prized model (and believe me, you will get wrong quite a few times before getting it right!)


Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all your advice so far, anymore advice would not go a miss, rollingstock and locos are not a problem as have a quiet a lot already, my main consern is getting buildings, as these seem to be the dearest part for me
 

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Well I don't know how we missed out on your post for help Martyn but miss out we did.
Anyway, just in case you are still struggling with finding a plan for your layout, I'm afraid I can't help you with downloads but for 1 pound 60 pence you can buy Cyril Freezer's '60 Plans For Small Locations'. It first came out in 1989 and is now into it's seventh impression so that tells you how good it is. Thousands of modellers over the last 16 years have found the inspiration they were looking for in it's pages. Trust me, it's a good 'un.
Apologies for the late reply but these things happen.
 

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>1989
Is that all

I've just rummaged about in the attic and found my "60 plans for small railways" 3rd Edition. 3rd impression May 1975. (cost 45p). Sounds like your book's predecessor.
The back of the book also gives a history.
The first edition was published between 1958 and 1960. Second edition 1960 to 1970. 3rd edition March 1971. At that time C.J was claiming over 20,000 copies sold since 1958.

I also have "Plans for larger layouts" and built at least one of them.

David
 

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Just had another quick look inside my copy David and you are correct because even though the inside cover says first impression 1989 the lead in on the first chapter mentions that the book was first published more than 30 years ago and then went in for a series of updates. It also states that the majority of the plans were drawn up before 1960 and were drawn with steam engines in mind.
Whatever, a great little book.
 
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