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Introduction To Train Model Kits
A popular model kit today is the train model kit. Sit back and think about the childhood memory you have of listening to the train coming down the track and hoping the engineer would see you and blow that loud whistle. Well, you can own your own model of a train to enjoy any time you'd like. There are many modelers who assemble a model railroad to display in a large room, and some even build miniature cities to complement their model railroads.
Model trains have been coveted by collectors for many years. Since the 1890s, adults and children alike have been setting up and playing with these small wonders. From the famous Lionel trains who's oval track and smoke-puffing engine circled many Christmas trees in the 1950s to the more simplistic modern versions, the love of model trains has only blossomed since they came into being. They will continue winning the hearts of model kit enthusiasts for many years yet to come.
The very first model trains were introduced in 1890 and were manufactured by a company called Marklin. These original train sets were extremely expensive, keeping them out of the hands of the average person and making them a luxury toy for high-income families. The interesting thing about the Marklin Company was that they did not only produce basic model train sets. They also produced many add-on items and accessories, allowing the train collector to customize their track, making for a unique experience for each person. After a time, other companies began to take notice, creating more complex model railways and other related items which were also a little more affordable. When World War II hit, production from these European companies ceased, which made room for U.S. based companies such as Lionel to begin thriving.
Model trains have become a major hobby for many people of all ages. Many hobbyists collect and build new tracks to run their trains on and they have even influenced a new generation to collect model train kits. More and more youths are beginning to see the value in collecting model trains, giving a new generation the joy of having their own model railroad. People who enjoy model railroading continue to keep the hobby alive and will likely do so for many generations yet to come.
There are many popular brands of model trains which continue to thrive to this day. Railway modeling gurus "Lionel" are perhaps one of the most prominent companies which have had a long history in model railroading. Bachmann and Atlas are also popular amongst enthusiasts of model trains and model railroading. These companies enjoy a growing customer base and continue to put out exceptional products for beginners and experts alike. While which company is better is a matter of personal opinion, you simply cannot go wrong with a top of the line set from Lionel. Expert collectors are sure to agree.
When building model trains, scales and gauges are extremely important concepts to have a thorough understanding of. Often times, these two terms become confused for one another amongst beginning collectors, which makes for a lot of frustration when communicating with other enthusiasts. In short, scale is the ratio of the model in comparison to the real thing. Gauge is essentially a measurement of the distance between the rails. "O" scale is often referred to as "1/4 inch scale". It typically has a ratio of 1:48 to an actual train. "HO" scale is also called "1/8 scale" and has a ratio of 1:87.
Finding the right power supply for your model train set can be a little tricky and will depend on your needs. There are more simplistic models which lack the bells and whistles of the more expensive ones. If you are powering a simple set with no powered accessories, get a well-rated, inexpensive power supply. If your build is complex and has a lot of electrical items, or your locomotive needs to pull a lot of heavy cars, consider grabbing a professional power supply with a high rating. It is best to seek reviews and opinions of others when deciding how to power your track.
For your convenience we have more detailed information about track layouts, scales, and gauges listed below.