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Author Topic: Beginner set suggestions  (Read 3745 times)

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« on: June 16, 2013, 01:36:00 PM »

I want to get a battery operated G scale for outdoors in Texas(lots of sun). Any suggestions on a starter set or brand I should go with ?

I am not scared of spending $$$ on it....just want quality that will last and be able to expand into a bigger system down the road
Chuck N

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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 08:33:18 PM »

As far as I know there are no quality battery sets ready to run.  You will have to buy an engine, cars and track.  Once you have an engine you will have to get and install the battery and remote control.  There are several systems out there, but we aren't supposed to mention names of them here.  

My suggestion is to try to find a local GARDEN RAILROAD CLUB in your area and pick their brains.  Ask here for local contacts.  Mention your town or city.  Last time I lived in Texas it was a pretty big state.  If you don't get any responses here, ask your question at one or both of the other large scale on line groups: my large scale, or large scale central.  


PS,  before you invest in this hobby you should decide what type and era of trains you like.  There are a lot of options.  Bachmann has some excellent narrow gauge (3' between the rails) locomotives and cars.  They come in two scales: 1:20.3 and 1:22.5/24.  These represent Colorado narrow gauge or the type of trains used in backwoods logging and mining.  Other manufacturers make standard gauge (4' 8.5" between the rails).  Those trains are made in two scales; 1:29 and 1:32.  The 1:32 is the correct scale for standard gauge in our 45mm gauge track, but early on manufacturers thought that 1:29 had more of a WOW factor.  Era also comes into play, especially if you want standard gauge.  Do you like steam, steam/diesel transition, or modern trains.  If you like narrow gauge there are older, pre 1900 engines and cars and later post 1900 rolling stock.  All of these options are available.  

I have been in the hobby since 1980, so as new things came out, that I liked, I bought some of them.  I ended up with three different scales.

I have a mixture of 1:20.3, 1:22.5/24, and 1/29.  When I want to run, I will bring one of the three scales
out.  Because of size differences, I do not mix scales in a single running session.

Unless you just want something the equilivant of any train running under a Christmas tree, you need to know what type of train pleases you most.  
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 09:22:53 PM by Chuck N » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 09:48:53 PM »


In addition to the advice above, I would suggest that rather than beginning by buying a starter set or some individual items based on what is easily available, you should consider what your short & long term interests are.

Some examples: What era do you want to model? Old time, golden age of RRing, or modern (or don't care)? Do you like steam engines or diesel engines or both? Do you want freight operations, passenger operations, or both? Do you envision trains running through a scenic landscape with scale bridges, buildings, towns, and doing switching operations, or are you more interested in simply letting your trains run around a circle with little human input?

Are you interested in accurate scale models, or does that matter? Narrow gauge or standard gauge models? American or foreign prototypes? The choices are nearly infinite, and the answers can be anything from 'I want to model the (insert RR name) as it existed at 10:30am on the 16th of June in 1934' to 'I really don't care.' BTW, most of us are somewhere in between.

Defining your goals, then purchasing with those goals in mind will help get and keep your interest, while making the significant monetary investment really count.

As Chuck N wrote, there are really no, or very limited starter sets that have on-board battery with radio control. That is a matter of picking the engine(s) you want to run, selecting an R/C system, and doing the install. There are numerous professional installers who can assist you if you find those task beyond your skill sets.

Also be aware that starter 'sets' almost universally come with track that is limited to indoor use, and is of the smallest radius that LS trains can traverse. If your interest in is old time logging and mining RRs, the radius is not a severe limitation, but if your interest is in more modern (and therefore larger) steam and diesel engines, you will quickly find that the small radius track is unusable.

Find a local club or group. There are several LS internet groups where experienced model RRs hang out. Here are links to a couple of my favorites:

Large Scale Central:

My Large Scale:

Join the discussion forums there and introduce yourself. Lots and lots of advice and information there: Some of it actually useful!!  Grin

Now, to satisfy your immediate craving to see a LS train run, it is really hard to beat Bachmann's LS starter sets. The 4-6-0 steam engine has been in production for well over ten years, with continuous improvements made. The latest versions are really bullet proof and will provide lots of fun while you are pondering the above points!!

Hope This Helps, & Happy (LS) RRing,


Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
Boonville Light & Power Co. in 1:20 / 45mm
Navarro Engineering & Construction Co. in 1:20 / 32mm
NMRA Life Member #3370
Member: Bay Area Electric Railway Association
Member: Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources
Joe Zullo

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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 09:56:43 PM »

 There are several systems out there, but we aren't supposed to mention names of them here.  


Did you ever read the Code of Conduct for this site? Here is a quote from them...

"You may mention and discuss the products of other manufacturers, but please don't use our board for their announcements."

So your statement above is incorrect.
Chuck N

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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 10:27:13 PM »


I chose to err on the side of caution.  There are a multitude of manufacturers of remote controls out there. If I mentioned some and left some out I would get comments about why I didn't mention their favorite system.

I think that his best approach is to talk to people and get the pros and cons.  It is impossible on a website to get a level headed discussion without some responders going overboard. 

There is too much of my way is the only way and not enough of this is how I do it and why it works for me.



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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2013, 08:25:37 AM »

All we ask is that folks remember that this site is maintained by Bachmann for support and discussion of Bachmann products. It is not a "public" forum - some of which can become quite combative when various manufacturer's products are discussed (everyone has their favorite and they make sure to let others know it!).
I would also suggest that when visiting the websites mentioned above that the reader take some of the comments made about various manufacturers with a "grain of salt"... those sites can be like the wild west with gunfights breaking out from time to time!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2013, 08:44:02 AM by Yardmaster » Logged
Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947

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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2013, 09:44:38 AM »

One of the things I like about the Bachmann Forum is the Code of Conduct,  many of the websites mentioned do not have a code of conduct or a very limited one.  I have seen many unjustified rants about many different brands or against other folks in direct attacks. I have seen a lot of evidence of rudeness which is a turnoff to me.  Those sites have many great members as well and there can be good info there as well of course, but new members should be aware of problems so as to be able learn who the reliable great members are.

Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway-Missouri Western Railway
Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
Colorado RR Museum-Brakeman-Engineer-Motorman-Trainman
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!

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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2013, 04:32:19 PM »

One more thing to consider when starting. Is were you want your trains to run. Don't start to large that you become a slave to your railroad, (it's taken me 4 years just to get all the track down). It's very easy to expand to a existing loop of track. There are so many possibility's that can be undertaken. When I started my railroad I had a bachmann 2-8-0 "lovely engine" and 5 flats in 1:20.3 to haul fire wood, I then added 12ft curves to each end with a bow inward on one side of the loop for a walking path. If you have the mind to plan in 3d for grading, looks, feel and interest It will reward you with relaxation and accomplishment in the end.
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