If you’re a beginner model train enthusiast, you’re probably eager to embark on this exciting hobby. But with so much information out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of recommended books and online resources specifically tailored to beginners like you. Whether you’re looking for step-by-step guides, expert tips, or inspiration for your model train layout, these resources will help you get on the right track to creating your own miniature world. So, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to explore the vast world of model trains!
General beginner model train books
If you’re new to the world of model trains and looking for comprehensive resources to get started, there are several general beginner books that come highly recommended. These books provide a solid foundation of knowledge and cover a wide range of topics related to model railroading.
One such book is “Model Railroading for Beginners” by Robert Schleicher. This book serves as an excellent introduction to the hobby, offering insights into planning, designing, and building a model railroad layout. It covers everything from selecting a scale and era to wiring and operation.
Another valuable resource is “The Model Railroader’s Guide to Diesel Locomotives” by Jeff Wilson. This book focuses specifically on diesel locomotives, which are commonly used in modern railroads. It delves into the technical aspects of these engines, including their different types, detailing, and customization options.
For those interested in command control systems, “The DCC Guide: How to Select and Use Your Command Control System” by Don Fiehmann is highly recommended. This book explains Digital Command Control (DCC) systems, which allow model train enthusiasts to control multiple trains independently on the same track. It covers the basics of DCC, system selection, installation, and troubleshooting.
Specific scale or era books
Once you have a grasp of the basics, it’s time to explore more specialized topics. If you have a particular scale or era in mind for your model railroad, there are books available that cater to those specific interests.
For HO scale enthusiasts, “HO Scale Model Railroading: Getting Started in the Hobby” by Dave Frary is a must-read. This book focuses specifically on HO scale, one of the most popular scales for model railroading. It provides valuable guidance on everything from layout design to scenery and detailing.
Another highly recommended book is “The Big Book of Model Railroad Track Plans” by Robert Schleicher. This book is a treasure trove of track plans for various scales and layouts, catering to both beginners and advanced modelers. It offers inspiration and ideas for designing and expanding your own model railroad.
If you prefer a step-by-step approach to building your model railroad, “Building a Model Railroad Step by Step” by David Popp is an excellent choice. This book takes you through the entire process of constructing a model railroad, from planning and benchwork to scenery and operation. It includes detailed instructions and photographs to guide you along the way.
In addition to books, there are various online resources available to help beginner model train enthusiasts. Websites offer a wealth of information, articles, tutorials, and even online communities where you can connect with other hobbyists.
One of the most reputable websites in the model railroading community is Model Railroader. Their website is a treasure trove of articles, videos, and forums that cover all aspects of the hobby. Whether you’re interested in layout planning, scenery techniques, or product reviews, Model Railroader has you covered.
TrainLife is another fantastic website that caters to model train enthusiasts of all skill levels. It features a vast collection of articles, product reviews, and even an online store where you can purchase train-related items. TrainLife also has a community section where you can connect with fellow hobbyists and share your projects and experiences.
If you’re specifically interested in the crafting and modeling side of the hobby, The Spruce Crafts – Model Trains is a fantastic resource. This website offers a range of articles, tutorials, and ideas for creating realistic scenery, weathering trains, and building structures. It’s a great place to expand your skills and learn new techniques.
Forums and communities
Engaging with like-minded enthusiasts is an essential part of the model train hobby. Online forums and communities provide valuable opportunities to connect, share knowledge, ask questions, and get inspiration for your own projects.
Model Train Forum is a popular online community with an active and friendly user base. It covers a wide range of topics, including layout design, electronics, rolling stock, and scenery. Whether you’re a beginner looking for guidance or a seasoned modeler wanting to showcase your work, Model Train Forum is a great place to be.
RailroadLine Forums is another excellent forum for model train enthusiasts. It boasts a vibrant community that discusses various scales, model building techniques, and prototype research. Users often share their layout progress, provide helpful feedback, and engage in interesting discussions. It’s a valuable resource for anyone looking to expand their knowledge and connect with fellow hobbyists.
Model Railroader Forums is the online counterpart of the popular magazine, Model Railroader. This forum covers a wide range of topics related to model railroading, and users can find discussions on layout design, track planning, locomotives, and scenery. It’s a great platform to seek advice, share experiences, and learn from fellow hobbyists.
YouTube channels and videos
YouTube has become a fantastic platform for model train enthusiasts, offering a wealth of video content, tutorials, layout tours, and product reviews. Here are a few highly recommended channels to check out:
Model Railroader is the official YouTube channel of the popular magazine. It features a wide range of videos covering different aspects of the hobby, including layout tours, product reviews, modeling techniques, and interviews with industry experts. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, tips, or product recommendations, Model Railroader’s YouTube channel has you covered.
Luke Towan is another fantastic channel that focuses on scenery and diorama building. Luke’s videos are highly informative and visually impressive, showcasing his expertise in creating realistic landscapes, trees, water effects, and weathering techniques. His videos are a great source of inspiration and guidance for anyone looking to enhance the visual appeal of their model railroad.
TSG Multimedia is a YouTube channel that specializes in model railroad documentaries and layout tours. Their videos provide in-depth coverage of various model railroads, offering insights into layout design, operations, and scenery. TSG Multimedia’s content is informative, entertaining, and great for gaining ideas and inspiration for your own projects.
With the abundance of books and online resources available, beginners in the model train hobby have an incredible wealth of knowledge at their fingertips. Whether you prefer reading books or exploring online platforms, these resources will undoubtedly help you embark on a fulfilling and enjoyable journey into the world of model railroading.