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Building Model Toy Trains May Be the Perfect Hobby for You by Tony Austin

Building Model Toy Trains May Be the Perfect Hobby for You

Model Toy Trains
article

Everyone who is looking for a fun and fascinating hobby, just look at model trains. This popular hobby has been around for decades with the earliest model trains dating from about 1840. As the hobby has progressed, model toy trains have gotten not only more realistic, but also more detailed in landscaping and scale. Today, there are several popular options for the new hobbyist.

The first thing to understand when it comes to model trains is how the scale is measured. All model trains are in proportion to their life sized counterparts, but the scale varies depending on the desired use and display. For indoor displays, the most common scale is H0, featuring a scale of 1:87. These trains are around 2" tall and between 4 to 12" long. If you want to place model toy trains in your backyard, you will likely be looking at G or garden scale, which has a proportion of 1:24. There are many other sizes as well, ranging from the matchbox size Z scale all the way to a train that can be rode with scales of 1:4 and 1:8. These quaint trains are often seen in amusement parks, but can be purchased by a private owner as well. Wherever your interest lies, you can find the perfect scale for your needs.

Once you have decided on the scale that is right for your personal collection, you can start to decide on how to display your model toy trains. Some collectors like to focus specifically on the trains and collect them for a freestanding display. However, much of the fun of model trains is creating an entire landscape to scale. In the business, this is known as creating a layout or scenery building. Many collectors recreate a specific historical place or scene. Fantasy scenes are also a popular choice. The scene is created in the same scale as the train, down to the rocks, trees and bystanders. For the hobbyist, this is often the most enjoyable part of collecting model trains.

As a model train enthusiast, there are many resources available to you. If you live in a fairly populated area, it's likely that you will be able to join a model railroad club. Joining a club gives you access to the knowledge base of other enthusiasts who enjoy model toy trains. These people can give you advice and sources for trains and supplies. Also, many clubs feature shows in which members can have the opportunity to set up their model trains for public display. In addition, many urban areas feature trade shows that can also increase the availability of materials and information.

To power your model trains, you have several options. The most common power source for model toy trains is a DC current that is delivered through the track system. Some trains do run on batteries, but it is uncommon for a small gauge train. Small gauge trains that use battery power are considered children's toys by most enthusiasts. However, large outdoor gauges often employ batteries because it can be difficult to get a consistent power source out of doors. In addition, for these large models, a full steam engine is regularly used as the power source. Working steam engines are also becoming a bit more common in smaller gauge model trains. Obviously, these can be quite intricate in such a small size.

People who build model trains for a hobby get a great deal of satisfaction from the endeavor. Model toy trains are just plain fun. However, they also speak to a lost age, create nostalgia and appeal to people who enjoy old fashioned engineering and design. Whatever the reason, the craft is easy to break into. Setting up a basic display can be quite affordable and it is easy to build on as you learn more. These are just a few of reasons that you may find model trains to be the right hobby for you.

 

This article was published on Monday 05 October, 2009.
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