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Advice for someone thinking of starting modelling American

American help advice




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#1 Jerry1975

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 16:43

Hi Everyone.

After a long period of modelling British micro layouts of various periods I am currently thinking of modelling something completely different.

After browsing the net I fancy a go at something American but have no idea of where to get locos/rolling stock, American ways of doing things, signaling etc and is there anywhere other than eBay to get second hand locomotives etc.

Any help anyone can give will be gratefully received.

Jerry.
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#2 Alcanman

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 16:58

Hi Jerry.

 

I've followed your small UK themed layouts and enjoyed them very much.

 

Welcome to the 'Dark Side'. A good source of reasonably priced secondhand US locos and rolling stock is 'Contikits'. They attend a lot of exhibitions around the country.

 

Yesterday, I picked up a very nice covered hopper car for a fiver from Contikits at a local exhibition and spent this afternoon weathering it.

 

Mal

 

mb 001.JPG

 

 

ps That's me in the bottom right hand corner taking this pic!


Edited by Alcanman, 18 March 2018 - 16:59 .

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#3 long island jack

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 16:58

The American modellers meet at Hampsthwaite village hall near Harrogate may be worth a look, they meet first Sunday in every odd month. next meet 6th may 10am -2ish

 

Ray


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#4 Allegheny1600

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 17:02

Hi Jerry,

It would probably be best to have a read through Mick (newbryford)s first steps here;

http://www.rmweb.co....ject/?p=3009709

 

You're also welcome to look at my "New Ulm" or many of the other entries in this section. 

As for shopping, in addition to Contikits, Anoraks Anonymous and so on, I tend to hunt British ebay and specify "UK only" else, hundreds (1000's?) of American entries turn up, great but the shipping end import duties are a killer.

Good luck,

John. 


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#5 davefromacrossthepond

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 17:18

Alcanman,

 

Not to hijack the thread, but your weathering job on that hopper is superb - especially the trucks.  :)

 

Dave


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#6 steve1

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 17:23

Jerry,

As you like very small layouts, I would suggest you go for the period before the 1970s as after that, as a general rule, freight cars and locos got a lot bigger.

Stick to Bo-Bo, 6 and 4 wheel diesels, or 0-6-0 tanks (Bachmann do good running ones) and 40ft or shorter freight cars. I would endorse Contikits for s/h equipment.

As a bonus, you will find even the cheaper end of the market locos run very smoothly. If they don't, then avoid buying them! That said, avoid AHM, very early Bachmann (white boxes are the giveaway) and Mehano. Better one good loco than 2 cheap indifferent ones.

steve
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#7 davefromacrossthepond

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 17:28

Jerry,  

To get an "American feel" you may want to check out some of the books and "special issues" of Model Railroader put out by Kalmbach.  Another good source of info is the cs.trains.com forum which is the Model Railroader version of this forum.  I hope you'll find as many friendly modelers on this side of the Atlantic as I have found on your side.  Good luck!

Dave


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#8 Jerry1975

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 17:33

Thanks Everyone for your replies so far, nice find for a fiver Alcanman, great weathering too.

As Steve mentioned, i like small layouts so I'm thinking of building an American micro layout at some point, i have never built one before so some sort of small shunting loco and a handful of wagons i guess would suffice, i also like American cars/motorcycles and like the old police cars, Chevys' etc.

For my first layout I'm thinking something very simple just to get a taste of things American, I'm also on a tight budget so it may be a while before anything gets built, i need some rolling stock first.

Thanks again for your help everyone, no doubt i will have more questions for you.

Jerry.
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#9 davefromacrossthepond

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 17:41

On the plus side, the dimensions of Peco track would work for American HO or N.  


Edited by davefromacrossthepond, 18 March 2018 - 17:44 .

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#10 Gilbert

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 18:45

Model Junction in Slough have a good stock of pre-owned as well - just got a CSX MP15DC and matching shorty caboose (rude not to..) If you can get into the shop they have masses of scenery, building and detailing stuff.


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#11 Jerry1975

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 19:48

Thanks Dave and Gilbert for your replies.

What's the best manufacturer for locomotives, I have heard of Bachmann, Kato, atlas and Arnold but I don't know what quality is like from them, I'm going for either N gauge or Ho depending on what bargains I can find and availability.

Also where can you get road vehicles from, I have a lot to learn.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Jerry.

#12 Gilbert

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 20:11

My only exprience is HO - I always seem to default back to the Atlas locos when I am at shows - very reliable and "good enough" from a detail point of view. The new less expensive Bachmanns with sound are also worth looking at - I have an S4 and a Gp7 - both fine.


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#13 stivesnick

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 20:57

Jerry

 

Atlas locomotives in N gauge are also highly rated and perhaps the largest range as well.

 

Regards

 

Nick


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#14 davefromacrossthepond

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 21:16

Jerry,

 

Who makes the best locomotives?  That is such the loaded question lol.  If you think asking "Brexit - pro or con?" starts arguments, go to a US forum and ask which manufacturer of US locomotives is best lol.  The calculus not only depends on make, but also vintage.  Broadway Limited, Bachmann, Atlas, Athearn, Walthers (Proto 1000 and Proto 2000) all have their own fans and detractors. 

 

In addition to various U.S. forums, you may want to explore the British division of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA).  

https://www.nmrabr.o...ntion-announced

 

Joining the NMRA has proven to be very beneficial.  My local division, while small, has a number of very knowledgeable persons willing to help and going to our region convention has provided great learning experiences, both from visiting layouts and attending clinics.

 

For vehicles, perhaps Classic Metals Works is the most popular and Oxford is starting to make 1/87 vehicles.

 

I hope this provides a good starting point for you.

 

Dave


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#15 brianusa

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 21:35

When I arrived on these shores from the UK a while back, I started in N.  I was a bit younger then but as the years progressed, I found it small and fiddly.  So back to UK OO for a while and confined myself to a small layout..  The N layout was quite extensive, two levels and two return loops, double track main line with associated yards buildings and accessories.  I rather think the early engines and rolling stock were not on the quality achieved today so was discouraged. 

 

Brian.


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#16 Talltim

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 21:40

In HO the best diesel locos are probably Scaletrains and Rapido, possibly some Athearn Genesis. However it depends what sort of locos you want...
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#17 DanielB

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 21:41

I'd second Anorak's Anonymous as a good source of cheap locos and stock.

 

Ellis Clark also has a good selection of second hand stuff at shows. Freight cars for £2 each can't be sniffed at!

 

Model Railroad Hobbyist online magazine is a good source of inspiration - and it's FREE!


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#18 newbryford

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 21:58

Hi Everyone.

After a long period of modelling British micro layouts of various periods I am currently thinking of modelling something completely different.

After browsing the net I fancy a go at something American but have no idea of where to get locos/rolling stock, American ways of doing things, signaling etc and is there anywhere other than eBay to get second hand locomotives etc.

Any help anyone can give will be gratefully received.

Jerry.

 

My advice.

Don't do it..........

 

Only joking.

I thought I was going to do a small H0 US layout and within a few weeks it's grown into something a bit larger - see link in sig.

"Without trying", somehow I've amassed 5 locos with another two on the way and plans for another when funds allow.

I can't help buying wagons either.........

 

If you're thinking of doing something small and relatively recent - just go on Youtube and look for US shortlines - use the various states as a search term.

I do apologise in advance that this will consume a number of evenings of your time, but it won't be wasted. I've got some great ideas for lineside and loco liveries from them

 

Cheers,

Mick


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#19 davefromacrossthepond

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 22:06

 

I thought I was going to do a small H0 US layout and within a few weeks it's grown into something a bit larger - see link in sig.

"Without trying", somehow I've amassed 5 locos with another two on the way and plans for another when funds allow.

I can't help buying wagons either.........

 

Mick

Mick,

Wait, that's what happened to me when I thought it might be fun to do a small British layout. lol

Dave


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#20 meil

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 22:18

Hi Everyone.
After a long period of modelling British micro layouts of various periods I am currently thinking of modelling something completely different.
After browsing the net I fancy a go at something American but have no idea of where to get locos/rolling stock, American ways of doing things, signaling etc and is there anywhere other than eBay to get second hand locomotives etc.
Any help anyone can give will be gratefully received.
Jerry.

I would have thought a look at "Narrow gauge and short line gazett" was up your street.

Edited by meil, 18 March 2018 - 22:20 .

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#21 F-UnitMad

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 22:40

Jerry, welcome to US Outline!! :good:

If your locos look like this=

F is for UNIT...x 4 !!.jpg


and your track looks like this=

5348.1331879562.jpg

You can be my friend for life!!! :D
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#22 steve1

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 06:35

Jerry,

You can't really go wrong with Atlas (but pass on old white boxed ones), modern Athearn (especially the Genesis range), Bachmann Spectrum, Prototype 1000 & 2000 and Kato. Rapido and Broadway are excellent but pricey. Go for the best you can afford. Incidentally, Arnold are N scale only as far as I know.

When it comes to liveries, it's down to what companies you like. One point though, shortlines often bought locos from big roads and just painted out the names, giving you almost endless options!

There are lots of American vehicles available in HO/3.5mm scale. Wiking, Brekina, Athearn and Walthers all have models available. Again Contikits will have something suitable at reasonable prices and will be at York show at Easter.

All the advice in previous posts is good. There is a lot to learn about US modelling as it very different, in a lot of ways, from doing BR.

I'm at York too so if you want a chat, look out for Catte Lane.

steve
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#23 trevorsmith3489

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 11:00

Thanks Dave and Gilbert for your replies.

What's the best manufacturer for locomotives, I have heard of Bachmann, Kato, atlas and Arnold but I don't know what quality is like from them, I'm going for either N gauge or Ho depending on what bargains I can find and availability.

Also where can you get road vehicles from, I have a lot to learn.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Jerry.

 

Contikits had a stall at the Perth Green exhibition on Sat/Sun

I model in HO and dabble in N

Contikits had a wide range of second hand stuff ranging from £5.00 upwards for freight cars and locos from £25.00

In N gauge, freight cars from £4.00 and locos from £18.00

 

In my experience, Kato locos are always good quality, in both HO and N

If you are creating a switching layout, running quality is going to be important. so issues like slow running, controlabiity, and couplings are all going to be important.

 

T


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#24 Zomboid

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 11:16

How big do you want to make it? I built a 3-2-2 inglenook using 4 axle road switcher locos and 40' cars, and it was 4'6" long. Obviously that's not the smallest thing imaginable, but since the Americans have been using bogie (truck) freight cars since forever, the minimum size for an operable HO layout is a bit bigger than for British OO.
This particular dark side is the best dark side that there is, though. So welcome.
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#25 Gilbert

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 11:58

How big do you want to make it? I built a 3-2-2 inglenook using 4 axle road switcher locos and 40' cars, and it was 4'6" long. Obviously that's not the smallest thing imaginable, but since the Americans have been using bogie (truck) freight cars since forever, the minimum size for an operable HO layout is a bit bigger than for British OO.
This particular dark side is the best dark side that there is, though. So welcome.

Agree with that - I have a 4' layout but it needs a small addition switching lead off scene at the business end to make the 2/2/3 manageable with 40' cars.


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