All Aboard! Model Trains Get Real

All Aboard! Model Trains Get Real

Who doesn’t love model trains? I mean, model trains are cool. I remember growing up and the best part of decorating the Christmas tree was setting up the model train that ran around it. It’s not like it was anything special, it was probably the cheapest set available, but it came out of the box once a year, and it was gone on New Year’s Eve…. It’s bad luck to leave your Christmas stuff up for the New Year, after all. That time period from Thanksgiving day until the end of the year during my youth is where my fascination with model trains started… and continued.

After moving away for college, my interests had shifted… do you know how many girls (and beers) there are at college?!? Going home on Christmas break now meant borrowing the family car to hang out with my new friends (who I spent 100% of my time with at school, anyway), and my folks stopped setting up the train… I don’t know how I never noticed it was gone. Life went on. What model train?

A few years ago my grandfather passed away. It was tough, real tough. I was fortunate enough to be able to call him my friend. We talked regularly, had family dinners and even played Xbox together online. He didn’t have a whole lot… he worked hard his whole life, and saved what money he could so my grandmother could remain independent. A good man. The one thing he left me? 200 feet of track and more Lionel train cars than I could count… and I never knew he owned them. When he had kids and his priorities changed, he put his hobby on the backburner. It was almost like his last message to me was “don’t forget to make time for yourself”.

After convincing my wife to let me take a room in the basement, I began construction on my model train world. I’m not a handy person, one thing my grandfather forgot to pass down on me, I presume. I started with a U-shaped table to span most of the 300 or so square feet of my new haven. I went to hobby shops and spent a small fortune on supplies… tiny pine trees, palm trees, rocks (mountains), paints, tiny brushes, modeling clay, wire mesh – you name it, I got it.

Things didn’t progress quickly. I got a good bit of the East Coast taken care of, from the rural South up through the not-quite-to-scale skyscrapers of the Big Apple, and I was proud of it. I felt close to my grandfather again. Baby number three came (unexpectedly?) and “me time” became her time… but we were happy, so I didn’t notice… except for the sleepless nights.

I started spending all of those late nights watching videos on YouTube of some of the most amazing model train set-ups I’d ever imagined. These guys I was watching were making these things into real, living worlds. I knew what I had to do. I scrapped the entire project and started over, this time with more knowledge and ideas under my belt. Bridges, running water, mountain climbers, live miniature trees… it was going to be awesome. But my nights became times of doing, not watching, and continue to be that way. There’s still a lot to do, but I feel like I’m bonding with the old man again, and I don’t care how long it takes.

Here are some pretty impressive videos below… maybe they’ll inspire you like they did me.

 

 

 

21 Comments

  1. it clear some people have a real love of this

  2. Hope the Forked Deer Valley Railroad Authority even comes 1/10 as close to real detail as yours! Great work!

  3. WOW! Those layouts are truly realistic except for one detail………There is no graffiti on any cars!! I don’t see very many rail cars out there that haven’t been “tagged”!

  4. love the lay out and the weathering but i see a lot of stuff to scale …i didnt know that hotwheels are ho scale…

  5. love the weathering and the whole lay out is awesome i could be there for weeks but how come i see a lot not to scale.? hotwheels are ho scale?? i would love to know so i can use them .. i dont because there just a little to big for ho scale

    • Charles J Fritz III

      no hot wheels are not ho scale ho is 1/87 where as hot wheels are 1/64

    • Roy Hardwick

      Hot Wheels are 1/64 Scale not HO 1/87 Scale! If you wanted to use your Hot Wheels, you would have to go into “S” scale with your trains.

  6. Darryl Barnes Sr

    Good stuff here and I am enjoying my youth again.

  7. Edward Friedmann

    At last some one gets it!!!

  8. Morrie Itzkowitz

    Fond memories of my Grandfather and our Lionel set. Thanks for posting this

  9. Edward Friedmann

    OK share more videos please!!!

  10. Childishness on an large scale.

  11. BigFatLoserDude .

    If people would actually read the discription in the first video they would see that it is video footage of a real, full size train, edited with tilt/shift and saturation tools.

    • Buster Gipson

      and if you could learn to read the first video planely states it is H O scale freight train from Austrailia

      • BigFatLoserDude .

        This is the discription from the youtube video uploader -> ” I’d like to be able to say this scene was filmed on my HO scale model
        railway, however in reality the two G class diesel locomotives G515
        (CFCLA livery) & G512 (SCT livery) are seen approaching Inverleigh
        with a freight train consisting of 47 container wagons. ” Do your research Buster Gipson

  12. BigFatLoserDude .

    First video description from the original Youtube uploader -> ”

    I’d like to be able to say this scene was filmed on my HO scale model
    railway, HOWEVER in reality the two G class diesel locomotives G515
    (CFCLA livery) & G512 (SCT livery) are seen approaching Inverleigh
    with a freight train consisting of 47 container wagons. “

  13. BigFatLoserDude .

    First video is video of a real train and edited using a Tilt-shift or “toy” effect.
    The youtube description from the original Youtube uploader -> ”
    I’d like to be able to say this scene was filmed on my HO scale model
    railway, HOWEVER in reality the two G class diesel locomotives G515
    (CFCLA livery) & G512 (SCT livery) are seen approaching Inverleigh
    with a freight train consisting of 47 container wagons. “

  14. BigFatLoserDude .

    The first video they would see that it is video footage of a real, full size
    train, edited with tilt/shift or “toy” effect filters and saturation tools. The Youtube video
    description says… “I’d like to be able to say this scene was filmed on
    my HO scale model railway, HOWEVER in reality the two G class diesel
    locomotives G515 (CFCLA livery) & G512 (SCT livery) are seen
    approaching Inverleigh with a freight train consisting of 47 container
    wagons. “

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