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SStarting from scratch

Shir

6 posts

I know I’ll regret it but I want to buy my husband his first train set for Christmas which he can then build up over time. 

Whats the best set to buy? Something that can be added to and won’t (for example) have a power supply set up that’ll go obsolete any time soon. 

I was looking at the Flying Scotsman 00 gauge set but.. genuinely don’t know if that’s a good one to start with or not.

All advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks :) 

fazy

2062 posts

There's  no wrong place to start from,  the hobby's  point of view . The train set you are looking at is very good and to be honest only you will be able to guess what your husband is going to like. 

 

As for the controller there's no reason for it to become obsolete. However depending on the controller in the set. And having a quick read your getting is the standard set controller which will surve you well for a starter. It's designed for a beginner and will run a small layout happily. If your  husband gets into model railways he may well need a more powerful controller with a bigger layout. And there's always  DCC but that may be something your husband may or may not  want in the future .

if it Doesn't come in CRIMSON, it ain't a proper engine

Chrissaf

5436 posts


Community Moderator

It somewhat depends upon your assessment of your husband's technical ability. The Hornby train sets come in two flavours. Analogue DC and Digital DCC. The analogue DC sets come with a very BASIC DC analogue controller (important since you particularly stated concern over power supply [controller] obsolescence). The Digital DCC set comes with either a DCC Select or RailMaster software & eLink. Again, the Select controller is very basic with limited capabilities. Although adequate for a beginner, the Hornby Select can soon outgrow its capabilities as the user's requirements develop. For example, it can only change a limited number of CVs (Configuration Variables). Being able to modify CVs is highly advantageous when it comes to fine tuning the control of a DCC equipped locomotive. RailMaster & eLink has full CV configuration capabilities.

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Thus, although perfectly adequate for a beginner on their first layout, both the Analogue DC and the DCC Select controller included in Hornby Train Sets will probably end up needing to be replaced with something better as the layout grows in size and complexity. RailMaster & eLink has pro's and con's. The pro's are that the DCC control is fully featured and capable of being used without modification as the layout grows in complexity. It is also software upgradeable (free downloadable Hornby upgrades) so that new features can be taken advantage of, as Hornby add them to the software. The support for RailMaster & eLink issues available to Newbies is excellent via these forum pages. The con's are, that when using an eLink, control of the layout MUST and CAN ONLY be done via a PC using the RailMaster software. Thus, a certain amount of PC literacy is beneficial and desirable. The RailMaster software will run on all versions of Windows from Windows XP (now obsolete by Microsoft) to Windows 10 Creative Edition. But do note however, that RailMaster does need a certain amount of manual tweaking of settings to work reliably on Windows 10. Hence my computer literacy is desirable comment.

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To get a better understanding of the differences between Analogue DC & Digital DCC control and how a basic Hornby Train Set layout can grow (using the official Hornby track expansion packs) then have a read of the document I wrote for Newbies like yourself and your husband. My document is titled "Getting Started with Track Expansion Packs" and can be downloaded in PDF format from the sticky post of the same name at the top of this forum's 'General Section'.

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Do note however, that building a layout to the design in the document is not essential or mandatory. There are many published track layout designs that can be adopted, or even use designs of your own or husband's imagination.

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Section 5 in my document discusses DC Analogue control and Section 6 discusses Digital DCC control.

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For the best level of robustness and reliability, the ability to fix the track down permanently onto a base-board is realistically paramount. If the intention is to keep putting the track back into the box after a running session, then expect operational issues to arise over time. The track rail joints do not take kindly to keep being connected and disconnected on a regular basis. A base-board should ideally be kept in a location free from damp.

Chris........ Making the wood in the trees visible.

fazy

2062 posts

No disrespect to Chrissaf who as given a great answer to the original poster. And I can add nothing to. But it struck me that reading the answer given by the knowledgeable Chrissaf that the hobby it's self is partly to blame, for the lack of take up of the hobby. If I was new to the hobby and was given a answer above I can't help thinking that I only want to play trains! and not gaven the need to read up on technical stuff. Which makes you feel like  I am having doing a degree in electronics. To just play trains. Yes all that as been said is true but sometimes basics is a good way to start. How to put track together or building a based bored.  And I'm not critical to people wanting to help but sometimes less more. 

 

Don't get me wrong I am a dcc modeler, but I do think it is the only way to have fun

if it Doesn't come in CRIMSON, it ain't a proper engine

Buz

983 posts

Hi Shir

I would suggest checking the box of whatever the chosen set turns out to be.

Make sure it says  DCC ready or DCC fitted on the box when describing the locomotive, if it doesn't specificaly have one or the other don't get the set.

DCC Ready, indicates the locomotive can easily be fitted later with a digital chip to turn it into a DCC locomotive.

DCC Fitted, indicates the chip is already fitted.

In each case it will have the right basic train controler in the box.

NOTE as the layout expands it will be nessasary to buy a better controller, unfortunately the controlers that come in sets cannot handle much more than is in the set this is common to all manufactures of train sets.

 I would also recomend a trip to a good bookshop or hobby shop and getting a good beginers guide to model railways  and a good beginers guide to wiring a model railway as well.

Don't go in too deep too fast (this mistake must be avoided) but do set aside a place where it can be set up permanently on a properly made set of bench work for the railway.

This is only the first layout "mistakes" will be made accept them learn and progress and it won't be the last layout built, each will be better than the last one as you learn and decide what you really want to do.

The most important thing is to have fun thats what the hobby is really about Laughing

We can all bore you to death with the rights and wrongs later and every one has a different idea as to what those are.

regards John

 

 

Rog (RJ)

1535 posts

Rog :-) I don't model anything in particular, I just play trains. Keep taking the tablets http://www.modelrailwayforum.co.uk/

walkingthedog

16172 posts

Fazy I agree with your reply. Chrissaf no disrespect to you, your knowledge is amazing and the help you give is incredible, but if I was thinking of starting out I'm afraid I don't think I woud bother. Talking about CV's etc is mind boggling, I have absolutely no idea what they are and have been modelling for hundreds of years. Laughing

WTD ........... Nurse, the screens.

Chrissaf

5436 posts


Community Moderator

Hornby's own documentation resources on the subject:

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https://www.hornby.com/uk-en/which-train-set

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https://www.hornby.com/uk-en/hornby-dcc/hornby-railmaster

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https://www.hornby.com/uk-en/building-a-model-railway

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Hornby's own documentation above says, in broad brush terms, pretty much the same things that I put in my post. The middle 'RailMaster' page goes even further than I did.

Chris........ Making the wood in the trees visible.

RAF96

7421 posts


Community Moderator

I started out with the Venice Simplon Orient Express Boxed Set - a real beauty of a present from my good lady. I did say it should have been called Pandora's Box.

 

That was an analogue set at the time but the same set was reintroduced in digital form.

 

A 'train set' is a good way to start out as they provide everything you need to get up and running, then as your interest in the hobby grows you can expand as necessary or if the interest fades then you have a complete product to sell on. Tip - never throw the box away and try hard not to damage it as it adds to the value if you do want to sell later.

 

You can still find some really nice sets in the shops or from on-line retailers like Amazon or the model railway specialised 'box shifters'

Rob

Halton Brat - Running Win 10, 64-bit - RM (Pro-Pack) with Elite as Controller-A, Select as Walkabout and E-Link as Controller-B - Locos are mostly TTS. - http://myweb.cytanet.com.cy/honnor/

walkingthedog

16172 posts

Maybe Hornby need to look at their documentation as well. Everybody needs an expert and beginners head. I seem to have mislaid both of mine Wink

WTD ........... Nurse, the screens.

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