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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

I just joined today but have read many of the topics already, read many online articles, and think I am ready to get started. But I have a couple of questions on some things that I think I have either gotten mixed up or just don't know about. So if you don't mind, here goes...

1. From what I have read, is appears to me that most people start in 1:29. Is this correct?
2. Can I go wrong starting and probably staying in 1:29?
3. While I don't have a locomotive yet, my wife said "pick one out" for Christmas. That is going to be the hard part. Would you guys recommend a good starter set?
4. I think I would like to stay with powered track rather than battery powered locomotives. It doesn't get brutally cold here so heaving, snow, frost, none of that would come into play (at least I don't think it will). Also, my dad had an MRC Sound & Power 7000 that has a G scale output mode. It is 20V DC and 18V AC with total output of 60VA. Question 4a-are garden railroad locomotives DC or AC? Question 4b-would this power pack be large enough for running at least two locomotives with say 6-8 cars apiece in the future or would I need to upgrade?


I'm sure I will have more questions, but I think this will get me through to Christmas.

Thanks in advance,

Ray in south Louisiana
 

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Ray, there is nothing wrong with picking 1:29 and sticking with it. Decide what you'd like to model first, and then pick the correct scale. Most of the equipment that is 1:29 scale is 'Standard Gauge' equipments, so as long as that is what you want, then go for it. I've seen alot of nice stuff in 1:29. As far as track power goes, just keep it clean. I imagine that it gets humid where you live? If so I would recommend skipping brass and going with Stainless Steel Track, it is slightly more expensive of and initial investment, but will save you a ton of trouble later on. I would recommend you run a track cleaning car in your train for at least the first few minutes of your run.

Keep in mind, battery power is very popular, and you will get plenty of people tell you that's the only way to go. Battery power saves alot of time with wiring blocks so you can run multiple trains that track power requires. Do some research into it and make your own decision on that.

As far as your power pack goes, it depends on what the power draw of your locomotives are and how long your track is. At minimum I would recommend adding Aristocraft's CREST train engineer walk around radio throttle. Generally, the DC side of the power pack is for your track, the AC side is for accessories.
 

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Ray,

Welcome to MLS. I concur with the previous post's answers, especially the battery-versus track power issue. While I personally use on-board battery r/c, it does require you to convert every loco individually, and there is no standard plug-and-play option! So stick with track power and try a battery loco later. As UP9018 [is that a loco?] says, the Aristo Train Engineer ("TE") will allow you to wander around with your train instead of being tethered to one spot; we're talking big trains and large layouts here.

1. From what I have read, is appears to me that most people start in 1:29. Is this correct?
2. Can I go wrong starting and probably staying in 1:29?

If you like standard gauge trains, then 1/29th is really the only option. All the other scales (1:24, 1:22.5, 1:20.3 etc.,) are intended for modeling narrow gauge trains, like the East Broad Top.

3. While I don't have a locomotive yet, my wife said "pick one out" for Christmas. That is going to be the hard part. Would you guys recommend a good starter set?

Can't help you there. I model the EBT in Fn3 and the last starter set I bought was a $35 Big Hauler at Toys R Us. The other 1/29 guys will be around soon to offer suggestions.

Question 4a-are garden railroad locomotives DC or AC? Question 4b-would this power pack be large enough

We're all DC here. Be aware that most 1/29th models run on 18 - 22VDC, not the 12V you might be used to in smaller scales. 60 VA is 3A (amps) at 20V (volts) which is just about enough for a couple of trains. Most simple locos take about 1A when running, but more on hills, or when you load them up with long trains.
 

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Ray the power source you have may run one G scale loco depending on what you buy. Starter sets are of your choice and depends what you want. Pick a scale as said above 1/29 is good and a lot of products available. There are several starter sets available one is by Bachman and another by Aristo but you are limited to the types of locos that come with the sets. Also remember the sets may come with power supply but still will only handle one loco. So do your home work and plan for the future on what you want to run. I'd stay away from battery as it requires a lot of mods unless you buy Aristo. I just hate buying batteries and always having to recharge. Later RJD
 

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Small note on MRC power packs, VA is calculated at (usually) one specific voltage and amperage combination. If the pack is advertised as 60 va, and up to 20 volts and up to 3 amps, it does not mean that it is 60 va at EVERY combination of voltage and amperage. In particular, I have found the MRC units are typically not full current output at max voltage.

I would only use the MRC unit for 2 locos if I was not running high speeds and not pulling long trains. They have a nice 10 amp supply with a big lever on it that I use when I must run DC.

Don't worry about all this now, make the decisions you need to first. The first thing is really standard gauge locos or narrow gauge... that will most likely lead you to 1:29 for standard gauge, or 1:20.3 for narrow gauge. This decision will also help you to the next decisions, about type of control, which may depend on how many trains you want to run at the same time, and how long you run. This should sort out battery vs track power. That will help you decide what control system. That will finally lead you to the type of track, joiners, etc.

Take it slow and easy. You can start out with a USAT starter set if you are going 1:29, by the way.

Regards, Greg
 

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Posted By aceinspp on 11/29/2008 5:01 PM... There are several starter sets available one is by Bachman and another by Aristo but you are limited to the types of locos that come with the sets. Later RJD


Sir - Bachmann do not make 1/29th scale models. With the exception of the Uk/European Class 66, that is.

I note also that Gauge 1, 1/32nd scale MTH range has been left out here - many folks run nothing else.

tac
http://www.ovgrs.org/
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all of the replies.

If Bachmann doesn't make 1:29, will it run on the Aristocraft track and vice versa?

I also saw there was a C16 steam locomotive from Aristocraft that I really like. It's a 2-8-0. I thought it was a 1:29 scale, but then I saw on St Aubin's website that it was a 1:24. Will 1:24 run on the same track as a 1:29?

Thanks in advance for the replies.

Ray
 

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If you are concerned about correct scale then 1/29 does not represent either narrow or standard gauge. All Gauge 1 track is 45 mm wide. Most narrow gauge railroads used 3' wide track. Therefore to be correct for scale your equipment should be 1:20.3. All the engines that ran on narrow gauge were steam. So if you want the older style steam engins that ran in the 1800's and early 1900's than that is the way to go. Bachman is an excellent inexpensive source for a starter set in this scale. But be forewarned, Bachman track is not suitable for outside use. It is tinplated steel and will rust out in a very short time. If you want to go narrow gauge I would recommend you purchase the track, engine and several cars seprately and not a Bachman set. For track power you would need either stainless steel or brass track to use outside. Stainless would be the best as it is much easier to keep clean than brass. If you decide to go with modern trains that run on standard gauge track which is 4' 8 1/2" wide than the correct scale is 1:32. The only major supplier of this scale is MTH. They have excellent equipment and model both large steam engines and diesels but it can be pricy. The other popular scales are 1:29. 1:24 and 1:22.5. None of these scales replicate either narrow or standard gauge American trains. They were made by companies that did not pay much attention to scale. But don't let the scale issue bother you as any of the scales look good running around the garden. There are also a lot of people starting to model 2' narrow gauge but most of the equipment for this scale has to be hand built and I would not recommend you consider it at this beginning stage. If possible I would recommend you try to find a garden railroad club in your area and contact them. That is the best source of information to get you started.

Big John
 

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I have both 1:24 narrow gauge trains like the C-16 and a few 1:29 standard gauge diesels. They are two scales that are close enough you can use the same buildings, figures, cars and trucks, etc. to get away with it. I tend to have separate narrow gauge and standard gauge running days.





But, remember its your railroad to run anyway you want.

-Brian
 

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I would not buy a starter set. I'd just buy a loco and a few cars instead. That way you can pick what you want.

As people have said, it's worth thinking about what you want to see running.

If you want modern diesels, Aristo and USA trains make 'em in 1:29, which is always out of correct scale but passable. You could also got with MTH in 1:32, which is the correct scale


If you want "modern" steam--steam engines from, say, the WWII era--then again it's mostly Aristo and USA Trains in 1:29 and MTH in 1:32



If you want 19th century or early 20th century stuff then you will probably end up going to narrow gage in 1:20, which is made by Bachmann and a few others


I have a little railway with a total mishmosh of scales. I sort of care and sort of don't. Like Brian, l I tend to try to run stuff of the same scale at the same time . The houses and people on our railway are really mixed in scale. The neighbors love it, we have fun with it, purists are sometimes contemptuous, and I sometimes wish I had a single consistent scale.


As for power, I started with conventional track power and ended up using track power and remote control, with decoders in each engine. Batteries really don't appeal to me. Our website has a decent description of the whole thing
 

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Posted By Pete Thornton on 11/29/2008 4:10 PM

As UP9018 [is that a loco?]
Pete, Yes, Union Pacific #9018 was a 9000 class (4-12-2) and was the only one lost, it suffered a Boiler Explosion while drifting downgrade into Marysville, just a couple of miles from where I live. Chris
 

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TAC, I think from the first post, the door is open to different scales, the decision has not been made, so 1:20.3, 1:29, and as you pointed out 1:32 should all still be on the table.

Regards, Greg
 

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To add to the question started here, from one who jumped directly to what is usually referred to as a "High End" locomotive (Aster 1:32 scale Live Steam USRA Light Mikado) and then had to buy track (Llagas Creek 1:32 scale) and rolling stock (MDC-Roundhouse 1:32 scale) to accommodate it... I know nothing of "Starter Sets" other than what I have read here and vaguely remember seeing in stores at various times.

The Traditional (1950''s) Lionel "O-27" train around the Christmas tree had a good engine and rolling stock that was meant to be played with and could take it; and add-ons were readily available (usually again at Christmas, to parental glee!) and would fit nicely with the original set in both gauge and "SCALE".

Today's Christmas sets in "G" (as in Goofy) scale do not seem to be something that a parent can continue to "grow" for a child, nor for the newbie hobbyist to actually "start" with. They are cheap plastic or tin plate track that is not suitable for outdoor use, flimsy locomotives that are designed to only run around the Christmas tree for one season and then you have to replace the motor block, and the rolling stock is only good for replacing the hoop and spear couplers, modify the out of scale trucks, replace the plastic wheels that gum up the track, then cut off all the plastic details down to basic styrene and "bash" them to something else altogether. They may be an inexpensive toy train, but if one decides they really do want to go play trains in the garden, they are a really expensive way to make that decision since little to none of it is actually usable in the end.



In "G", there are the "true" scales of: 1:32 - Standard gauge, 1:22.5 - Meter gauge and 1:20.3 - 3-ft Narrow gauge; the "Goofy" scales of:1:29 - standard gauge and 1:24 - doll house scale; and the "Specialist" scales of: 1:18 - 30-inch gauge, 1:13.7 - 2-ft gauge and some others, but are there ANY REAL "Starter Sets" in any of the scales that are not a waste of sparse (not spare) cash? i.e.: Are there any that are designed to be "ADDED TO" instead of "TOTALLY REPLACED" when one realizes that they truly do want to proceed with the hobby?
 

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Ray,
I have only been in large scale (1:29 mostly) for 3 years and the only thing I can add to this is welcome to the forum and welcome to the hobby. It is terrific fun and enjoyment and I can vouch for the excellent information and great help and advice you can get from the experienced people here.

Regards
Gary
 

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An Aristo or USA trains starter set would be good quality, and you could easily add on to either


The Bachmann Big hauler sets are an excellent value and you can add on to them as well, and the latest big hauler drive is really pretty good


The aristo or USA set commits you to 1:29 and either aristo or USA couplers

A Big Hauler set commits you to 1:24 (??) and bachmann couplers



I'd still buy individual pieces.
 
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rwinsouthla,

confused?
to answer one of your questions direct:
"G"-scale normally refers to tracks that have 45mm(millimeter) between rails.
all the above mentioned scales and brands use that.
(btw, Marklin has a train on the same width of track, they call it Gauge 1 - the rails are made finer and not so high)
apart from the tinplate rails of Bachmann, all the other brands of tracks can be more or less easyly combined.(in some cases you would need special railclamps for interconnection)

my advice would be:
begin with a starter set.
begin with trackpower.

later you can build on that, whichever way you choose.

if you buy that loco, you mentioned above, a starter set is not good.
these bigger locos need greater diameter for the curves, than the starter sets provide.
 

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The scale question is just a mess. You might already know some of this but I'm a relative newbie and this is what it took me a while to figure out.



As Big John said, all "g scale" track is 45 mm wide. People run 1:32, 1: 29, 1:24, 1:22, and 1:20 on the same 45 mm track. But some trains are designed as if the 45 mm was a narrow gauge line, say, 3 feet from rail to rail


Standard gauge track, the track that your local freight and passenger trains run on, is 4 feet 8.5 inches wide, from rail to rail


Narrow gauge track is less than that, and how much less varied from place to place. Narrow gauge track tended to be cheaper to build, and better suited for mountains tighter curves. In the US it was found mostly in the West or in logging and mining operations.




Models in 1:24 or 1:22 or 1:20 are imitating narrow gauge railways. BUT, many manufacturers were/are extremely "casual" about scale.



1:32 is the proper scale for standard gauge. But when Aristocraft started offering standard gauge, American prototype models, it chose to go with 1:29 scale


Why? Because with scale sizes, the smaller the second number, the bigger the model--1:32 is the smallest, 1:20 is the biggest. By going with 1:29, Aristo made models that have outsize proportions--they have what Aristo calls "the Wow factor." It's true--a 1:29 boxcar tends to "pop" more visually than a 1:32 model of the same boxcar. But serious modelers and people who care about accuracy despise this.


I have a Bachmmann Anniversary locomotive that is in, I think, 1:22 scale. I also have an Aristo 1:29 Pacific, a mainline steam locomotive. On our railway the Bachmann loco is bigger in many ways than the Pacific, even though is real life the Pacific would have dwarfed the Bachmann loco. In real life, a narrow gauge boxcar could fit inside a standard gauge boxcar, but on our garden railway, a 1:20 boxcar would look huge next to a 1:29 boxcar
.

This page has a really nice scale calculator on it that lets you see the difference



http://www.madcattoys.com/page/MCT/scaleviewer


You can decide not to care about any of this. Most people who look at your railroad won't care at all, they'll just go "hey, that's neat."
 

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Hi Ray,
I got into this great hobby at Christmas time. I bought a Bachmann starter set, and under the tree it went. After getting it, I expanded. I've always been a steam fan, so modern diesels can stay on the HO layout. I like the look of narrow guage loco's, and the logging, mining equipment used on short lines. I have since gotten into kitbashing and scratchbuilding, so modeling in 1:20 & 1:22, detail parts are very easy to see. Bachmann is a good way to get into the hobby, fairly inexpensive, and now the running gear and drives are good quality. Super easy to expand your roster.
All of the manufacturers (like others have said) will all run on the same track, and don't even try Bachmann track outside, it WILL rust.
I run track power, and two of my very good friends run track power, and each of them use nothing but brass. Both have over 1,000 ft of track down, and with routine running of a track cleaning car, they don't have any issues.

Everyone has their own ideas and opinions, and that's the great part of this site. You'll get lots of help, and if you ever have a question, just post it, and rest assured, you'll get a response.

If I were you, pick up an issue of Garden Railways magazine, there you can look over a wide variety of manufacturers and different products.

Good luck, and welcome to this great hobby
 

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Hi Ray, welcome to the Forum and hobby,


Being in the UK my first introduction to the hobby was UK and Euro outline models and 32mm gauge track. I was not impressed with the models or their prices.


I came across the Bachmann Big Hauler range: this I liked and its relatively low cost suited my pocket. (Don't confuse with the larger, more expensive 1:20.3 Spectrum range). Two 4-6-0 locos and 17 items of freight plus 6 items of J&S coach stock later I then discovered 1:29 Aristo-Craft. I now have 5 Aristo locos and 23 items of stock. As LS models go these are the most reasonably priced ranges although future purchases will be only 1:29. My track is Aristo brass. Like Brian (Alterrain) I usually run only one scale at a time.


These choices are based on the availability of LS in the UK - you have far more choice of models and track Stateside. I must say, however, that I am glad I did not initially get a starter set. The problem for me would have been having a too low powered controller and very sharp radii curves which would become redundant when I eventually expanded (which I did) the railroad and rolling stock.

Good luck with whatever you do.
 
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