Model Trains & Railroads Tips

Model trains tips, tricks and secrets
Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Thinking of a suitable Christmas (or birthday) gift for a model railroader spouse or friend can be a real challenge for someone not familiar with the hobby or what their spouse or significant other would like to have.There are probably many “I wish I could afford/justify this or that” on their mind. I’d leave it up to them when it comes to locomotives, rolling stock like freight and passenger cars, and scenery.There are lots of other things you could consider if you’re prepared to spend a few bucks. Here are a few suggestions.


Kalmbach has released a DVD of Model Railroader magazines going back to the 1930s. It sells for around $200 USD. Now you can get him to get rid of all those old magazines that have been cluttering up the basement. If you know what railroad he/she is interested in, you can probably find a DVD about it.There are also many DVDs about model railroads, too. Check out Allen Keller productions. He produced a series of VHS videos on famous model railroads. Model train shows are a good place to find videos and DVDs.

model railroads

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Again Kalmbach. There are others such as Railroad Model Craftsman and the Narrow Gauge Shortline Gazette . It depends on where the interest lies.

Computer Programs

I love Trainz for fun. It is now available for the Mac and the iPad. Some aps have been added in 2012. I have the iPad version and often kill an hour playing on it. I also have an older PC version. It is an amazing game. There are other programs for doing things like designing a model railroad such as CadRail. I even used it to design a deck for my home. There is also train operations software such as ShipIt .

Gift Certificates

Sounds pretty obvious. If all else fails… . Check with your local hobby store or go online.

Tools for Painting

An airbrush makes a great gift for the modeller that doesn’t have one. There are many brands. Badger, Paasche, and Thayer and Chandler are well known brands. I prefer my Aztek airbrush. I’d suggest a dual-action airbrush for better control. The other tool that’s needed for an airbrush is a compressor. I use an Iata and I have an older, noisy Badger compressor. Compressors will set you back a few hundred bucks but they’ll love you forever. Throw away the cans! The third painting tool a modeller can really use is a spray

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