Maintaining a collection of model train sets is a great hobby for both young and old. Many train set collectors spend hours upon hours tinkering with the models, setting them up and simply enjoying the trains going round and round the tracks.
A complete model train set up has the following components;
- Model train - with a locomotive, cars, caboose and power pack
- Accessories - either purchased or home crafted or a collection of both; some examples of accessories are houses and other structures, railroad tracks, bridges, people, plants, animals, other scenery features (mountains, lakes, etc) and lights
- Table - that must be able to support the weight of the trains, tracks, landscape items and other accessories
You can buy all of these components in hobby shops or online model train stores. You can find as many model train sets as there are different kinds of trains. From exact replicas of antique locomotives, to trains for children, futuristic monorails and other types that go choo-choo and emit steam.
If you are looking to buy model train sets online, here are some tips:
1. Visit model train set shops online. There are many online stores selling model train sets. Browse through their web pages to see what trains sets, layouts and accessories are available. Some sites worth visiting are:
2. Type of train and layout. Decide what type of train and layout you want. If you have an existing set up, then you are probably looking for one that is of the same style as your other trains. But if you are just starting out, decide on what set-up to build: a wild, wild, west type of locale, alpine mountain scenery, holiday layout or year 2050 futuristic metropolis! Another point of consideration is whether you want a steam, diesel or electric train set.
3. Scale. Model trains come in several scales or sizes based on a ratio to the size of the actual item. Choose the size of model train you want given the available space you have for the set-up. The scale should also depend on the age of the person who will own the set. The following scales are used for model trains:
- G = 1/22
- O = 1/48
- On30 = 1/48
- S = 1/64
- HO = 1/87
- N = 1/160
- Z = 1/220
4. Accessories. Model train set kits already include some scenery items or a few accessories to get you started with the basic model train layout. Decide on what additional accessories you want for your set-up.
5. Purchase your model train set. Before deciding to buy the model train set you want, first compare the prices from the different online shops. Find the best bargain by visiting review and price comparison sites like Best train sets and Yahoo! Shopping. You can also visit model train forums so you can ask questions or seek advice from dedicated model train hobbyists. Once you know you're getting a great deal, buy your new model train set.
Setting up and maintaining model train sets is a serious hobby. Once you get hooked on your first train set, there's no stopping you from expanding your collection of trains, tracks and accessories. With the many model train shops online, it is so easy to keep your new passion growing and growing. Have fun with it and go full steam ahead with your new hobby!