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Thread: What's you're defining moment for becoming an N scale lifer?

  1. #21
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    It all started Christmas time 1970. We had gone to a mall. One of the department stores had an N-Scale loop of track set up behind (I'm guessing) plexiglass. With a push button to start the train. I guess, I pestered my parents enough--- fast forward to Feb. 1971 - my birthday. My Father took me down to the Little Depot (One of the premiere train stores in our area) where he bought me an Arnold Rapido set. It came with an 0-6-0, 2 or 3 freight cars and a caboose. It came with a circle of track - he bought a few extra straights, so I could have an oval. With it, he purchased an MRC power pack. I used to set it up on my desk (After homework - of course). I did that for quite a while. Dabbled in HO for a short period as a teen. Then after I got married (1982) -- my N-Scale enthusiasm went through the roof.

    So, -- we are still married and of of course - I am an N-Scale lifer.

    Thanks,
    Wolf

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  3. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spookshow View Post
    So, at that point I was pretty much stuck in N scale forever. I mean, even if I wanted to switch, who would let me??

    -Mark

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  5. #23
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    For me it was all about space at first . I had a Kato N scale loco a long time ago , when i had no room for a layout . It impressed me a lot . Before that it always been HO . So back in 2012 when i got back into this , i didn't even consider another scale . And given what i wanted to do , HO would have been too big . I have adjusted and embraced N Scale these last 7 years , and the funny thing is i always wanted a big layout in N , and now i want a small switching layout in N lol

    Steve

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  7. #24
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    My defining N-scale moment? When I joined nscale.net, of course! When I returned to the hobby in 2016 (after a 30+ year absence), I encountered the BIG decision: H0 or N. I thought about it for about a week, and the decision was made—more railroad, more scenery, longer trains!

    Southern Pacific | Santa Fe | SPSF | BNSF | Metrolink | CalTrain | Chicago Metra | TGV Lyria

    railways by Kato Unitrack + Unitram | electric light-rail by Tomix | construction by Kato Diotown & Tomytec Co., Ltd. | vehicles by Busch GmbH & Co. KG
    ambient sound design by Fantasonics | digital command control by Dynamis Ultima | layout automation by RailController

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    The moment I saw this back in 1967

    IMG_0127.jpg
    Best,
    Tony

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gargoyle View Post
    The moment I saw this back in 1967

    IMG_0127.jpg
    Much like my first N scale set, except mine was a Southern Pacific F unit, back in 1967.

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  13. #27
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    This was my first set, cira 1979, it even came with the broken couplers!

    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Back in 1970 I was deeply into HO, basement sized layout I shared with my fathers wood shop. That's a bad idea, as his fine sawdust couldn't be stopped even with walls. I finally gave up and sold everything. I got a used Aurora Postage Stamp Trains set (B&O, F-unit A&B, about 5 cars) for $20. Thought about doing something but nothing really got me going.

    Took a trip with my family to California on Amtrak in June of 72, and made it to the Whistle Stop Hobby Shop in Pasadena. Absolutely awestruck. Got N switches, track, a couple cars, and an Atlas GP40 in Santa Fe (that I thought looked great) and everything fit in my suitcase and came back on the train. Set up an 3x6 foot plywood table in my bedroom, as much as would possibly fit... and that was the start of it all. Never looked back at HO, and never stopped modeling since. But I'm one of those guys that started in N because of space issues, and I still defend truck mounts, sharp curves, and guys that simply don't have the room for HO. Even to this day, I don't have enough space for anything other than N. And I liked being out on the bleeding edge of scratchbuilding stuff in the scale and watching the HO guys squint.

    I still have that original Trix F7 unit, remotored and repainted, same with the cars. None survived in original paint. Trix saved me, because I learned quickly (Spookshow didn't exist!) that while HO was pretty consistently reliable, N scale was anything but. I became a Trix/Rapido guy pretty early.
    Randgust N scale kits web page at www.randgust.com

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  17. #29
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    As a kid my dad had helped my train obsession by building an HO layout with/for me, the proverbial 4x8 that he managed to rig up via a pulley system so that it could stow up at the garage ceiling, above the station wagon. That later grew to a 5x8 as we added a long mountain ridge along one side with a tunnel... I didn't know it at the time but that could be seen as hidden staging! That added a ton of weight, though, as it was all sloppy hydrocal plaster; this was in 1981, before rigid insulation was used in the hobby.

    Among the HO engines I had was a giant Tyco ALCo C-630 (in gold paint if I recall correctly). I remember going to the hobby shop and looking longingly at the "back-to-back engines"... by which is meant EMD E-units, showing that I had a bit of a fetish for massive engines. But that all changed when I saw a train set at Toys-R-Us, and decided I just had to have it.

    It was a Bachmann Old Timer set, with a 4-4-0 and 19th-century freight cars, bobber caboose, and it was N-scale! The tiniest thing I'd ever seen, and I just had to have it. But I would have to save up for it, so my parents asked the clerk to put it on layaway for me until I could muster up the $43 it would cost.

    I bought that set, and when we later moved to a different state, I decided that the layout would be in my bedroom, on an odd shape of plywood (a bit like a grand piano) that would fit between bed and desk, and I bought or was gifted an assortment of Atlas sectional track. I muddled around with track plans until I came up with something I liked, which probably took me the better part of a year, but it developed my passion for layout planning generally, and eventually led me into my chosen career as an architect.

    In that first year as an N-scaler, my grandpops gave me a quality engine, an Atlas/Kato RS-3 wearing Norfolk & Western' Pevler Blue, as we had moved to the Norfolk area of Virginia. That got me on my path of loving N&W, ALCo diesels, and the early 1970s for a prototype era. In addition, he gave me a decal set which was for multiple minor logging railroads, and on the sheet was a cool circular herald for some kind of "WP&P Corp". I made use of that decal, making up my own place names for the initials. Later I would re-make the herald in my own art style and get custom decals made, but that was the humble genesis of my fictional WP&P story.

    Get yourself a Rail Pass for free travel on the WP&P: wpandp.com
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  19. #30
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    Defining moment? Lifer? Really?

    My attention span isn't that long. I tend to gradually get into an activity (music, art, languages, racing Hobie 16s, cruising/live-aboard sailing, Cowboy Action Shooting, horses, and model railroading, for example). Then I get fully immersed, obsessive even. After a few years - say, 5 to 15 years - I get burned out and lose interest.

    So I would think "lifer" wouldn't describe me, except in my marriage.
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    This was my first set, cira 1979, it even came with the broken couplers!
    My first N scale set from some 25 years later came with the exact same locomotive and caboose. Classic Bachmann...

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  23. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    Defining moment? Lifer? Really?

    My attention span isn't that long.
    I'm sorry Gordon, what were you talking about?
    The Little Rock Line blog


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  25. #33
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    As a child I always enjoyed trains. Had the three rail 027,,then went to HO scale in the late 70's. Made friends in junior high that were also into trains.
    Now Rich just wasn't into trains he lived,ate and breathed them. We were too young to drive so his dad would take us rail fanning. One day we were in Elmhurst, IL ,,decided to stop in at Elmhurst hobbies,,end game. Saw an Atlas RS2 in Delaware and Hudson colors in N scale...pretty cool. I saved money,,came back and bought that unit.
    The galvanizing moment was when I was actually able run trains on the Cumberland Valley System...yup a 13 year old kid running trains on the Reid brothers layout!! I was just so amazed on how well everything ran and worked,,even the couplers worked by themselves. ( then I was told about the magnets).
    Then I built an Atlas track plan on a piece of plywood, had a new loco,,Bachman GP40 in CBQ. I was big time now,,turnouts with switch machines, Troller Autopulse 2 transformer. Sitting high cotton,,yes sir!!
    Took my pride and joy to the Lyons Township High school train show in LaGrange, IL. I think I was 14 then.
    The same group of friends I belonged too decided to make our own N scale modular layout,,double track main, yard, scenery. Then there was me..I had the switching sections,,track serving industries. We even took it to a couple shows,,,good times.
    After the Army,,work,life, riding the rodeo circuit. I came back to trains and specifically N scale. The great memories that were made by those little trains...simply amazing. Would not change a second of it.
    So if you think about it,,that D&H atlas RS2 lead me here to NSN and all the great people.
    Thanks for being the people you are.
    Wyatt

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  27. #34
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    Now that's what I'm talking about!!!!!!

    Awesome back story Wyatt!
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    SOO

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    I don't think far enough ahead to say I'm a lifer but as my investment grows it will be hard to abandon it. Growing up in Marquette Mich the only trains in the area are ore haulers. My brother and I picked up our papers at the Mining Journal office downtown next to the tracks leading onto the ore dock in the lower harbor. The semi trailer size press was more interesting to me at the time. But we always put coins on the rails and the train drivers always laughed and smiled and waved at us.

    Didn't pick N scale...it picked me. Needed a hobby and I can hear the locos at night on the line that passes by a couple thousand yards away. Started with an HO set on the dining room table. Went to a train show and saw some 1:160 layouts. It was obvious that would work better in a small apartment. Honestly S scale was my first thought and maybe someday I'll have a garden layout. Will say (all the frustrations aside) I have truly enjoyed all the learning and history. That was 2 yrs ago. When I woke up this morning, my first thought was about my layout. With some sleepy enthusiasm I hit the BlackKeys button and was in the shower looking forward to some coffee and layout construction. It has been everything I hoped for and more.

    A Yooper

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  31. #36
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    My N scale moment was instantaneous. I was still in elementary school, and had a second hand HO scale train set that consisted of a Santa Fe F-series (I don't know which it was), and a Green and Silver Mikado steam loco. I don't recall the road name on that one, but given the colors, I could imagine it could have been Southern Pacific. There were a lot more railcars than most starter sets would have had, so I presume the previous owner had a decent collection that had possibly been added to. It had originally come from a garage sale. Young me had a VERY crude layout, consisting of a ratty old 4x4 and a loop, tinfoil "river", trees made from yarn glue and green spray paint, and home made structures, some made with toys. My fields were fabric patches cut from old brown corduroy pants. It was a crude layout, but it was what I could manage as a young kid with no budget, and no concept of ordering goods (remember, this was pre-internet).

    My home town has an annual event in the park where free buttered sweet corn is served, other food is sold, and it typically has the usual flea markets often found at such rural events. One of the table vendors had a small cardboard box that contained a pile of track segments, a transformer, and an N scale train set. I saw that tiny thing, for a mere $7, and I bought it instantly. I KNEW this was what I wanted. It was so small! Although my layout at the time was quite mediocre and piecemeal, I very much enjoyed constructing buildings, and was at the time reading books at the library that eventually taught me how to create a much more detailed layout. I immediately saw the value of the size, in terms of making space for the scenery and structures that surround the train and it's tracks. I have never had much interest in operations. A loop (or even a concealed loop) is more than enough for me... My real interest is in the environment I place my trains in. I want to showcase the entire scene, so N scale was a no brainer. It gives me so much more to work with, and I can't even imagine ever going back to HO again, just for the space constraints it would burden me with!

    The train set was a cheap old Bachmann Chessie System F9 (A Bachman "fictional" locomotive, not based on any actual prototype! ), A pair of 50' box cars, one UP and one BAR, an RF&P 40' reefer, a Southern gondola, a Mobilegas tanker, and a Chessie caboose. I stripped that old HO loop from that ratty old board, reused some of my toy buildings, and I managed a double dog-bone loop with a pair of switches to link the two loops, and a spur. I eventually sold the HO set to a cousin, who never stuck with it, and resold it to my step brother. I helped him build a layout with that HO scale set, over the span of a year or two. Sadly, it burned in a house fire. A few remnants survived, thanks to simple things like broken wheels and couplers. Things my pre-internet kid days had no way to fix. They got thrown away, and somehow managed to survive for decades in the grove beside the trash pile and iron heap at the farm I grew up on. I got another thread on those.

    I began to build a proper N scale layout in the summer between elementary and high school, and I continued working on it, and scratch building during my high school years. My layout segments were 2x4, and my plan was to tile them together. I'd made two before "life" took over. The first was rolling hills, with a spring feeding a small creek which fed a small waterfall. There was a short tunnel, and an oval loop of track with spurs exiting either side of the module. There was a grade crossing that led to a flat space on the module, from off the edge. The second module was a mountain, with the track curving around the edge. I'd built many structures, all scratch built. I measured real buildings, mostly in my home town, and made recreations of them. I also built a tanker, a flatcar, and a gondola from scratch. After college hit, I didn't have much time for it anymore. Lately though, I'd been wanting to get back into the hobby, and have started collecting locomotives and rolling stock again. I still have most of my structures (I think a few went with the HO scale set, and so are forever lost). I've got a really odd mix of things I have found, and things I just can't seem to find, and it's been driving me crazy. The thing that drives me more crazy than anything else, is the two modules went missing. I have a bad feeling they might have been stored at my dad's place, and he threw out all my old stuff. For years, I thought I had it stored at my place, but I might have been wrong. I don't know. When I moved, i couldn't find them. I'm saddened by that, but it was a very simple layout, and static grass is so much better than dyed sawdust anyway. I'm more interested in recreating local places, than fictional landscapes now, anyway.

    But yeah, a $7 N scale train set at a local fleamarket, back when I was a kid, was what instantaneously set me on an N scale path for life. The instantaneous realization of how much more scenery I could envision packing around my trains was a no-brainer. N scale for life!

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  33. #37
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    When I realized owning a home or having any sort of reliable long term housing was something I'd never be able to enjoy in this economy and I'd only ever have space for N scale. But even with unlimited space and budget I'd stick with N scale as I just like it, the level of detail is perfect for the things I like to model.

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  35. #38
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    I started in N when I found some Lone-Star cars and track in my easter baskets in 1969, I was just shy of 6 years old. It wasn't too long after that that my father came home from Freese's Hobby Shop in Fond du Lac, WI with a brand new Atlas "N Gauge" train set...there was a Santa Fe E-8, a Florida East Coast boxcar, a Therm-Ice reefer, a Burlington gondola and an AT&SF caboose. That led to Dad and I building the exact plans from a 1970 Popular Mechanics article called "A Lot Of Railroad In A Little Space". Well, mostly Dad. I helped.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=5d...page&q&f=false

    The layout grew and got about 1/2 way completed. We added lighted streamliner passenger cars for the E-8, probably a dozen more freight cars and a Atlas 0-8-0.

    When I was 14 I discovered mini bikes, motorcycles and girls. That was the end of my railroad, but I always loved trains. In my early 20's, I dabbled in building The HO Railroad That Grows, a famous Linn Wescott? design...in Soo Line of course, but just didn't take to it well. 4X8 was too cramped...and I didn't have room for anything larger.

    I still don't! But I made my triumphant return to N about 3 years ago and am having a ball. It's the scale for me, no doubt.

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  37. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by ranulf View Post
    N scale for life??? The day you see another scale you fall in love with, but decide you have too much invested in N to switch! ha ha
    Ohhh, you have no idea ... Moose took out second mortgage to pay for all this n-scale nonsense in train room. Can never offord to change to another scale...
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

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    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by SOO View Post
    decided to stop in at Elmhurst hobbies,,end game.
    Closed
    Quote Originally Posted by SOO View Post
    The galvanizing moment was when I was actually able run trains on the Cumberland Valley System...yup a 13 year old kid running trains on the Reid brothers layout!!
    Still Running!! Oldest N Scale Layout?
    Quote Originally Posted by SOO View Post
    Took my pride and joy to the Lyons Township High school train show in LaGrange, IL. I think I was 14 then.
    Still going every March!
    AT64

    What is real? What mysteries lie beyond your senses? At the root of existence, mind and body meet. Thoughts shape reality. Supreme Sorceress AKA The Ancient One.

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