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Author Topic: 5 year old wants a train set  (Read 8291 times)

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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2009, 07:07:44 PM »

My three year old has a Bachmann HO Thomas set that he plays with while at Grandpa and Grandma's. It didn't take him long to learn how to use a re-railer and he rarely needs help with it (though he doesn't use it while not being supervised).

The advantage of the HO Thomas sets is they don't have a whole lot of detailing that can be broken off.

If you go HO and he's not into Thomas I'd recommend starting a cheaper set because they don't have the fragile detailing and are cheaper to replace.

Whatever you get I hope he enjoys it, I have fond memories of playing with trains as a kid my son's face lights up whenever he is around trains.

-Matthew Newman
My Layout Blog
Michigan Railfan

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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2009, 08:30:20 PM » has some very low prices on everything. They have nearly the whole line of the Thomas and Friends line. They have all the starter sets as of right now.

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« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2009, 11:15:59 PM »

My two bits
For a kid  that young,,a Lionel set, much easier to find Lionel stuff than G scale.
Fastrack is easy to work with too,,just like Bachmanns EZ track is.

A sheet of plywood with casters that can roll under his bed or if a table is desired,
a pingpong table works out well.

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« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2009, 12:08:24 AM »

I will also say that my 6yr old does well with the HO too. We started at 5 1/2 with an HO.  We do also have O and G those are mainly just for Christmas.

And the Bachmann Thomas HO trainsets are great too.

I will also add that the Bachmann E-X track work well for him it is a great track is it is going to be played with on the ground.

Finally the Bachmann E-Z Command was easy for him to learn as well.

At that age kids learn quick.  Sometimes too quick.

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« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2009, 12:45:28 AM »

My 5 yr old daughter Loves her thomas HO scale electric train set, it has lots of options with sturdy cars, most are two axle which makes it VERY easy for her to place on the track the hook and loop couplers are reliable My 2.5 year old also helps and has little problem with them, the Set comes with EZ track which they can put together so long as you keep the rail joiners in good shape, this track can also be nailed down to a board. G scale stuff has to many parts that will break off of the engine and you wont be able to slide a G-scale set under the bed with the train on the tracks very easy. The Last and best thing about HO is there is so much to buy.  one more recommendation I would make is to add a few extra retailer track's around what ever layout you come up with, they will help keep things running smoothly, (they look like road crossings) another thing about HO is hot wheels, matchbox and a lot of the other popular LOW PRICED cars trucks planes or what ever are in the correct scale range.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2009, 12:47:20 AM by NarrowMinded » Logged
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2009, 03:08:37 PM »

another thing about HO is hot wheels, matchbox and a lot of the other popular LOW PRICED cars trucks planes or what ever are in the correct scale range.
When most people say Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars, they refer to the 1:64 scale cars that are better suited for S scale or O scale layouts, however, some companies do make cars in 1:87 scale well suited for use on HO scale as well as some for N (around 1:160 or so) and G scale (i.e.1:24, 1:25, 1:18 etc) I'm might be correct in guessing that the "Hot Wheels & Matchbox" cars you were referring to may or may not actually be 1:64 scale and not 1:87 scale which is closer to HO scale. But if you were referring to the smaller 1:87 scale cars I apologize. I think maisoto and model power make 1:87 scale cars.
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.

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« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2009, 04:20:13 PM »

How do we decide that 36% oversize is too big but 25% undersize is okay?  To me, they are both out of scale if you are an engineer.  And they are just fine in context if you are an artist.

I guess that makes me an artist.  (Hello right brain, good bye left brain.)  Most of the vehicles on my layout are small, cheap diecast trucks, some marked as 1/100 scale, some marked as 1/87 scale.  There are a few cars marked Matchbox and a few marked Hot Wheels, but none of those are marked with a scale.  I also have some plastic cars marked 1/87.  Most visitors refer to all of them as Hot Wheels or Matchbox toys.  A few of the older ones even use the term Dinky toys.

Surprisingly, the assorted sizes all look okay.  I must admit to using some trickery call "forced perspective" not only on the scenery but also with the cars and trucks.  I tend to put the larger (1/64? scale) ones up front near the observer, the 1/87 scale ones farther away, and the 1/100 scale ones still farther away.  This works well when I start putting people in the vehicles.  The oversize, up front ones will take full H0 scale people.  For this reason, the up front vehicles tend to be overly heavy with convertibles.  The H0 people often have to be reduced to torsos and heads to fit the H0 cars, but even at just a foot away, this is hard to see, particularly as most of my H0 vehicles are enclosed.  Farthest away are the TT vehicles, often without figures.  H0 figures look too large while N look too small.

Bottom line, if I and many, many other model railroaders can live with slightly out of scale vehicles, I am sure that a six year old can too.  For six year olds, I would be looking more for rugged, metal, low cost vehicles with limited details than I would for exact scale, fragile, expensive ones.  I would rather hear
"Oh my, Nancy has stepped on another car and scuffed the paint a little." 
rather than hearing
" [expletive deleted] the [expletive deleted] kids.  They just smashed a [expletive deleted] $30 dollar [insert vehicle name here.]"


Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2009, 05:01:19 PM »

Well its hard to argue with cheap and durable, great point Jim. But I was just saying, when I was a kid I had the old Lesney cars on my layout, which was pretty much the predecessor to Matchbox, and they were metal and were roughly 1:72 to 1:90 scale which was good enough for me...they were both durable and competitively priced at a nickel or dime a piece. The greyhound bus was my favorite...see here
Who knows maybe this 6 year old is a real stickler for details? Maybe he wants all brass locos, and code 83 track, and exactly to scale cars and scenery, etc... But, you're probably right in that 99.9% of the time s/he could care less and would be satisfied with a simple Life-Like F-7, 2 Boxcars, a caboose, a 36" diameter circle of track, and his/her Hot Wheels cars.
Granted with little kids you probably wouldn't even have people, telephone poles, lamp posts, signs, trees, and buildings with a lot of detail built to scale. But you could have Hot Wheels cars, roads, a big life-like Styrofoam tunnel, and buildings built more sturdily with less detail parts.
Note what is in bold. I was referring back to the kid from the original question (but I had the ages mixed up):
Can anyone recommend a train set to start my 5 year old son with?  Are these sets easy to put together?
« Last Edit: October 17, 2009, 07:07:59 PM by ABC » Logged
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.

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« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2009, 05:31:54 PM »

I suspect NarrowMinded's daughter is probably a girl.  And at the risk of being sexist, I will concede that girls tend to notice details and incongruities quicker than boys.  Hopefully her father will be able to keep her in the dark about brass locomotives until she is 20 and can afford to buy her own.  As far as smaller details (people, telephone poles, etc.) her father might want to wait until she starts wanting them and is old enough to install them herself.  That is great motivation for being careful with them.  Having said that, let me say this.  A week and a half ago, we have two thousand 10 year olds visit our large scale portable layout at our local museum.  According to my calculations, 50% went around the layout clockwise and the other 50% counter clockwise.  They all passed a long road bridge where we normally display a car (1/32 scale.)  Over the three days, it seemed like the car went from one end of the bridge to the over and back again a 1000 times.  For some reason, it was irresistible.  And yet, the guard rail of the bridge, made of tooth picks and thread, suffered absolutely no damage.  These kids had probably been warned not to touch anything, but when compelled to, they did so very carefully and gently.  Maybe we underestimate young people.  But I still think even a precocious girl will be happy with hot wheels at the age of six.


Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.

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« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2009, 06:26:43 PM »

Hi, ABC, Mr.Banner,
 ABC, for my Layout I am very picky about scale. I carry a caliper with me when I am shopping for Items to put on my layout, that is really my only rivet counter trait.
 If you notice I inserted the word "Range" My kids have set their own range for what is acceptable when they play with the "HO" Thomas Set, they have Large Tonka and very small micro machine vehicles but they usually stick with the Hotwheel sized vehicles. +/- a scale or two. second if you have ever seen the vehicles that are provided with the thomas set I am sure you would shutter Sir Topham Hatt would scale out to about 20+ foot tall.
We are talking about suggestion's for a 5yr boy here and I am sure he wont mind that a bit.

Mr. Banner,
 Brass is the last of my worries, We are fortunate (or not, Brass is cheap compaired to these) to have a 7 1/2" gauge Railroad just a few minutes from our home, they give rides the first and third sunday of each month, Aly 5yrs old often asks if we can get a "Real" steam engine to ride at home.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2009, 06:29:02 PM by NarrowMinded » Logged
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