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SteveCole

How to build...Your First Train Set

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Hi all,

 

I am delighted to announce a brand new BRM Bookazine: How to build...Your First Train SetIt's now available to pre-order online, with FREE UK postage. Click here.

 

This bookazine is exactly as the name suggests, a complete step-by-step guide on transforming an out-of-the-box Hornby Train Set into what you see on the front cover. Edited by Howard Smith, he guides you through the whole build process from selecting the right train set, building a baseboard and adding track through to creating buildings, adding scenery and basic locomotive weathering. It also comes with a FREE DVD that shows you in video form how Howard created the train set, making it even easier to replicate Howard's finished product.

 

How to build...Your First Train Set goes on-sale in WHSmiths and leading model shops from September 21st. However, you can pre-order now and enjoy free UK postage by clicking here. Click on this link and you also get a sneak preview of some of the pages. 

 

If anyone has any questions, post them here and Howard will pop in from time-to-time to provide answers.

 

Steve

 

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Most people here are well past their 1st train set, some have yet to have that pleasure, so I'll be buying a copy as soon as its availalbe. Even if only to add to my growing library of 'how to' take your first steps books.

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Yup agreed, however as a fan of the humble train set I will definitely purchase a copy.

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Most people here are well past their 1st train set, some have yet to have that pleasure ... .

 

Fair comment.

 

I suspect that some people's first "train sets" might actually turn out to be "bitsa" sets - random assortments of locos, stock and track - inherited, found in the loft, or "hand me downs" - and possibly considerably older than their recipients.

 

Of course, I'm not criticising this - there's actually a lot of amazing old stuff out there (there's also some rubbish - which can either be sidelined or offer the chance to learn how to improve it). A lot of the stuff involved might well need to be serviced or (quite possibly in the case of controllers) checked for safety.

 

Not having seen this new "bookazine", I don't know exactly what Howard has to say about the electrical stuff. However, knowing Howard, I'm certain he'd be sensible (by which I mean cautious) with his advice - and not suggest taking any stupid risks here. I'm also certain that a number of people on here (me included) would also be happy to provide guidance / answer questions if it's appropriate.

 

 

As for the "bookazine" itself, I'm glad that a guide of this nature is being done by a mainstream magazine publisher - as opposed to one of those "first part" work outfits. I'm not being a snob - far from it. (I've never been one - and I'd never wish to become one.)

 

Several years back, a beginner's layout was done as a partwork - I know that some people had a bonanza of cheap, "bashing fodder", coaches with the first instalment - but the bargains soon dried up. Also, the suggested layout wouldn't have been for everyone - even passenger operation would not have been to everyone's tastes - and following the whole series would have worked out a slow, expensive, way to get a layout which might not even have fitted into the space available in many homes.

 

 

The new guide is likely to be far more sensible - being based on mainstream items, available from a number of suppliers. More to the point, within reason, there isn't even any need to stick to all the suggested items - which might be useful if readers have a boxful of, perfectly serviceable, secondhand locos and rolling stock. It might also be useful if the local model shop happens to be offering good deals on suitable locos / stock by other reputable manufacturers (eg Bachmann, Heljan, Dapol etc). However, Hornby also manufacture a lot of decent stuff.

 

 

I hope the plan is to ensure that it's possible to buy copies of this "train set" guide in the long term (ie in future years, long after they've disappeared from newsagents' shelves) - because I'm sure the demand will be there in future years.

 

I also wouldn't mind if this new guide were to signal a move towards more themed "one-shot" specials - perhaps layout specials about microlayouts, depots, freight / industrial layouts, passenger layouts - perhaps a special about refurbishing / servicing typical examples of RTR locos / stock - that sort of thing.

 

Another option might be to point people towards books etc relevant to these themes - there is some amazing stuff out there, if you know where to look (and what to look for). Of course, if this new guide (and other future ones) serves its intended purpose, I suspect a number of new people might be asking demonstrators (and people manning magazine stands) questions at shows. I don't know if there might be some merit in posting some of these questions in a new "model railway FAQs" thread (it might offer the basis of either an online resource, or a new "FAQ" themed "bookazine").

 

 

One big bonus of a "train set" guide being published by Warners is that there are already close tie-ins with a major forum site devoted to railway modelling - a forum site where there are already lots of people with expertise / experience in a wide range of related topics, a number of whom are happy to provide appropriate guidance / advice / background information relating to their "specialist subjects". I am, of course, talking about RMweb.

 

 

Now, returning to the "train set" guide - and any potential layout guides - I wonder how many people are thinking of the sort of layout they'd really like to build. That's right: "I want the one at the back of the track plans books - the one with every 'toy' in the book - the one that takes decades to build, costs a fortune and would probably fill a sports hall!" Lots of us have had thoughts like that - then we've woken up.

 

It's possible to have lots of fun with a simple train set. OK, mine was in the wrong place (on the bedroom carpet), but it was still a lot of fun. If I were to build a layout tomorrow (chance would be a fine thing!), I'd learn from this mistake and fit the whole thing to a board (actually several, small, boards that can be easily worked on separately and securely linked). I'd also take advantage of my electrical engineering knowledge to ensure that any wiring were to a standard that even I'd be happy with (neat, robust, reliable, properly labelled / documented and easy to fix).

 

 

By the way, if I were to build a layout any time soon, it would probably be a "puzzle" layout - quite small overall (for which read "affordable, with some chance of being completed in my lifetime") - but still featuring a couple of "toys", carefully chosen for play value operating potential - nothing too outlandish, you understand, but I'd like to "keep my mind active". (I am an engineer, after all!)

 

 

Anyway, that's more than enough from me for now.

 

Huw.

Edited by Huw Griffiths
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Most people here are well past their 1st train set, some have yet to have that pleasure, so I'll be buying a copy as soon as its availalbe. Even if only to add to my growing library of 'how to' take your first steps books.

 

Hi Harry,

 

I think you'll be surprised at just how many enthusiasts don't actually have a model railway. At the four exhibitions BRM attends we make a point of asking most of those who subscribe whether they have a layout. We estimate that approx 80% don't, yet they all comment that they plan to attempt one in the future. We hope this bookazine will give those people (and newcomers) the know-how to build an impressive Hornby Train Set.

 

I hope you enjoy the guide.

 

Steve 

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Not having seen this new "bookazine", I don't know exactly what Howard has to say about the electrical stuff. However, knowing Howard, I'm certain he'd be sensible (by which I mean cautious) with his advice - and not suggest taking any stupid risks here. I'm also certain that a number of people on here (me included) would also be happy to provide guidance / answer questions if it's appropriate.

 

I hope the plan is to ensure that it's possible to buy copies of this "train set" guide in the long term (ie in future years, long after they've disappeared from newsagents' shelves) - because I'm sure the demand will be there in future years.

 

Huw.

 

Hi Huw,

The electrical side of things is kept simple, mainly because there's little deviation from the trackplan that you get with a train set box. As such, if you build it like it is, perhaps adding another siding, that's it. It's too easy to put people off and because different trackplans might be constructed, it's a bit like opening a can of worms. In fact, it's hardly mentionned because this guide is aimed at the ultimate beginner, by that, read someone who isn't D.I.Y. competent, electrically-savvy or handy at building anything. It's more about helping parents who'd like to build a train set for their kids at Christmas or those who'd like to give the hobby a try. Products used are largely sourced from Hornby and Gaugemaster to keep things simple. A shopping list ahead of each chapter allows you to buy ahead of each segment so you don't need to wait for things to arrive in the post.

Even though this bookazine has a slightly longer shelf life at newsagents than the monthly magazine, just like most publications, it won't be around forever.

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I think you'll be surprised at just how many enthusiasts don't actually have a model railway.

 

I wouldn't.

 

 

At the four exhibitions BRM attends we make a point of asking most of those who subscribe whether they have a layout. We estimate that approx 80% don't, yet they all comment that they plan to attempt one in the future. We hope this bookazine will give those people (and newcomers) the know-how to build an impressive Hornby Train Set.

 

I could imagine this figure being similar amongst regular show visitors who don't subscribe (admittedly, some of us still buy / read BRM every month).

 

It could also be interesting to find out how many "regulars" have had layouts, or train sets, in the past - and how many are members of clubs.

 

However, their answers about clubs might give a distorted picture - as a number of people (me included) aren't able to join clubs - mainly because a number of towns don't seem to have them! (Whether this also leads to higher or lower membership of forum sites like this one is anyone's guess - I suspect it might cut both ways.)

 

I wonder if this might push some people in the direction of building "shelf queen" models, in the hope of eventually getting chance to build some sort of layout.

 

I also wonder if this might also account for some of the interest in microlayouts.

 

 

Huw.

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Even though I've had a model railway for years , OK its really an enlarged trainset, I still like these magazines as you can usually glean some inspiration from it  . I do remember a small green booklet from the late 80s /early 90s , I think from Dave Lowery showing a 6x4 layout based on Hornby materials with a high level terminus station .  It looked really good for its size and parts of the plan were incorporated into my own layout , and still is.

 

Timing is important . If its in the High Street and visible to people buying trainsets (although these seem to be diminishing) then it should be a good guide . As we are steeped in model railways we sometimes forget how daunting it is for a complete newcomer starting up. It really is a significant barrier to entry.This can only be a help

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Hi Harry,

 

I think you'll be surprised at just how many enthusiasts don't actually have a model railway. At the four exhibitions BRM attends we make a point of asking most of those who subscribe whether they have a layout. We estimate that approx 80% don't, yet they all comment that they plan to attempt one in the future. We hope this bookazine will give those people (and newcomers) the know-how to build an impressive Hornby Train Set.

 

I hope you enjoy the guide.

 

Steve 

Thanks Steve, I'm sure I will, as indeed I enjoy BRM every month.

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My copy arrived today and had a very quick flick through it.

Looks to be a very useful guide to those new to the hobby.

 

A shame that a bit more information on train sets, such as Bachmann's and Graham Farish offerings were not mentioned.

Although saying that The Graham Farish train sets look to be very thin on the ground!!!

I know everything is OO but it still takes up a large amount of space compared to N-gauge, so it would of been nice to have a bit of a reference to that.

I've not watched the video as yet so apologies if there is more information in that.

 

I shall try and read through this over the weekend and watch the video, looks rather good so far.

I may even build a simplified single oval of the layout in N-gauge!!

 

Cheers

 

Ian

 

EDIT:- I've now watched the video and found it quite good for those new to the hobby.

As its sponsored by Hornby that will be why there is no mention of N-gauge train sets or sets from other manufacturers.

I do think that a little bit more information should have been given on layout size though as that really is the biggest problem with building a model railway having the room to accommodate it.

Bearing in mind that virtually ALL Hornby train sets now come with third radius curves you will need a decent amount of room!

 

Its a nice bookazine and DVD that will help those new to the hobby, it just needs to be in the shops before Christmas so that it gives an step in the right direction for those buying a train set for Christmas.

One thing though it does say free 60minute step by step DVD.......or as it happens a 36minutes DVD.

Edited by traction
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Recieved mine in the post this week disappointed  at the banner on the front saying free 60 min DVD when in fact it is only 36 min. Poor value for money considering the publication is padded out with full page adverts and photos very little text. Suggest the publishers take a look at the Build a Model Railway publications from Model Rail. Much better value at £4.99 more text with better photos.

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Bought my copy this morning, Peco & Model Rail, have similar publications currently available & I have enjoyed reading all three.

 

Allowing for the fact that 'YFTS' is designed to promote various commercial products I think it is a vary good effort. I can easily imagine people embarking on their 1st weathering or card building efforts after reading it for example.

 

If the hobby is to survive it needs to support those who know little but are willing to try something new I think most beginners & maybe even some who have been around awhile will feel that this mag achieves that.

 

As to value for money £7.99 feels steep compared to its competitors but it is only a one off, & I dont feel buying it was waste of my money.

 

A few yrs ago I used to happily spend £7-£8 a day on cigs with that comparison the cover price seems quite cheap.

 

More knowledgeable members might say there's "nothing knew here" & they would be right, but that doesn't means another presentation isn't uesful

 

As both Ian "Traction" & Chris007 pointed above the DVD appears to only be 36mins rather than the 60 mins promoted on the mag cover, but I discount that as a minor, albeit unfortunate, production error rather than a 'rip off'

 

So overall a bit of a mixed bag whether its good or bad will very much depend on how much value you find in it.

 

Therefore a few mins review in WHS before purchase wld be the best tack :sungum:

Edited by Harry2013

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I was in WHS in Chichester today. Didn't have it in stock. Never mind - I'm sure I will get one eventually.

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There's possibly a "new" partwork due this season, which was trialled in a couple of UK regions earlier this year, with a rather odd L shaped oval trackplan.  It was (extensively) dissected in another part of this forum at the time (  http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/119295-new-partwork-mill-town/ ).  Again, the first issue would be a bonanza, especially if you wanted a number of LMS brakevans.

 

Naturally I haven't seen BYFTS yet, but I'll no doubt get a copy sooner than later, just because. I should imagine it would be saner than a partwork and, after all, the target audience would probably be starting with a complete train, oval of track and a controller. They won't have to wait to get something running!  However, parents might have to prepare themselves for extra expenditure should the bug bite.....

 

And just think of this - possibly the cheapest trainset currently available is the Hornby "Caledonian Belle", sold by Hattons for £49* (inc delivery). Combined with a purchase of BYFTS, you'd get a complete starter set and a bookazine for the princely sum of £57. You won't get a better start than that!

 

* If you don't want a Thomas set at the same price or the slightly cheaper Junior Express toy set.  I was given the "Caledonian Belle" set for Xmas last year, when it was £35 (plus delivery).  Inflation, eh?

Edited by Hroth

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There's possibly a "new" partwork due this season, which was trialled in a couple of UK regions earlier this year, with a rather odd L shaped oval trackplan.  It was (extensively) dissected in another part of this forum at the time (  http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/119295-new-partwork-mill-town/ ).  Again, the first issue would be a bonanza, especially if you wanted a number of LMS brakevans.

 The same publisher had 100+ issues "Your Model railway Village" sometime back even though the content of individual mags & some of the freebies might have been worth having a cover price £8.99 makes for an expensive entry to railway modelling.

 

Nevertheless if it does become generally available I'll probably buy the 1st issue like I did the last time, just out of curiosity, a habit that keeps the publishers in biz I guess. :senile:

Edited by Harry2013

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There's possibly a "new" partwork due this season, which was trialled in a couple of UK regions earlier this year

 

… Again, the first issue would be a bonanza, especially if you wanted a number of LMS brakevans.

  

Nevertheless if it does become generally available I'll probably buy the 1st issue like I did the last time

 

I suspect a number of people might - although I probably would not be among them.

 

What would be far more likely to get me to buy would be if they were to do something similar about unpowered model railcars (in OO, of course) - and if a GWR "razor edge" railcar were the first one (at a cheap "teaser" price).

 

If this were to happen, I might even be tempted to get more than one - but I wouldn't go out and buy 144 of the things, or anything "gross" like that.

 

Saying that, I'm not holding my breath.

 

 

Huw.

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What can I say? We all have to start somewhere. I know I did from a very early age of 6 or 7.

Edited by LNWR18901910

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