Building your first model train set is a monumental effort, though it creates a powerful learning experience. When you progress to your second and third train sets, it becomes easier to attempt more complex layouts and landscaping as you build up resources and a greater understanding. As you approach the process of building your next model train set, consider the following tips to better prepare, design and execute on your vision.
Network With Other Enthusiasts
One of the best things beginner and intermediate builders can do is to visit local hobby stores and talk with experienced enthusiasts. The more veteran of train builders have been doing this for decades and likely have their own complex and impressive layouts. By conversing with these individuals, you can gain additional insight into best practices and new ways of creating impressive designs. In addition, you can participate in classes that give further instruction on how to build benchworks, layouts and scenery.
Pick the Right Train Set
You re already experienced with a specific scale and gauge of train set if you re planning to build another one. Depending on your experience with this set, you may not want to change to another scale. As you explore options for your next project, consider model train set reviews. These will help you better understand the applications and potential of other scales and gauges in whatever space requirements you may have. For example, if you ve already used the O scale for train sets and it was still too large, consider smaller versions like HO, N or TT.
Plan Your Layout
Before you begin purchasing additional track sections, consider first the limitations of your layout. If you have limited table space, you ll need to measure out the available space and compare it to the track size you ll be using. Depending on your budget and willingness to plan, many enthusiasts recommend either using track planning software or drawing out a layout map on paper. This ensures that you re able to maximize your space without purchasing tracks and scenery that end up with nowhere to go.
Design Your Train Table
The best model train sets are those placed on custom-made train tables. Rather than going the inexpensive route with fold-up tables, consider creating your own table. You can craft anything from a shelf attached to a wall to a regular table with a large top. You can create your own benchwork for larger layouts, though this may require some versatility with your designs to conserve material and facilitate additional latitude for scenery. The most popular design is the L-girder benchwork, which gains its name from the cross-section of the strip-wood girders and gives the appearance of an uppercase L. This type of benchwork is designed with significant lateral strength and risers to support your track while requiring minimal materials to construct.
Start Small With Landscaping
If you re still new to the process of creating model train layouts, you re likely quite new to creating landscaping as well. Many enthusiasts recommend that before you start performing landscaping on your latest benchwork, practice on a smaller scale first. This may entail crafting small scenes of rolling hills, trees and buildings independent to your actual layout. From such practice, you can better execute new or difficult techniques without degrading the quality of your design.
As you plan and create your new train set, keep these things in mind. Get help from those who have gone before you. Prepare what you are going to do before you do plan the track, the scenery and the benchwork. Following these tips can help your next train set be better than the last.