All posts tagged ho scale

Creative sourcing for O and S scale train layout figures

Hobby shops frequently carry a decent selection of figures for O and S gauge layouts, but if you look at the magazines long enough, you start to see almost all of them┬áhave the same figures–and they’re probably the same figures the shop near you sells as well. There are ways to get a better variety […]

Looking back at Sam Posey’s Playing With Trains

I finally got around to reading Playing With Trains (here’s a Nook link), sportscaster Sam Posey’s 2004 memoir of 50 years as a model railroader. Of course I was mostly interested in the first couple of chapters, where he talks about growing up with Lionel trains. It’s more a personal recollection than a complete history, […]

What’s an Allstate electric train?

Model electric trains from the 1950s and 1960s (and perhaps 1970s, but no later than 1975) branded “Allstate” are somewhat common, which leads to some further questions. Yes, it’s Allstate, as in the insurance company. What did they have to do with electric trains?

Replacing old Lionel DC transformers

For a while in the 1970s and 1980s, Lionel used DC power in its least expensive O27 train sets. They stopped this practice a good 25 years ago, but there are still plenty of those sets kicking around. Here’s how to figure out what you have, and track down a suitable replacement. AC and DC […]

E.R. Johnston, the train dealer, the myth, the legend

Something today made me think of Johnston Electric, a legendary, long-gone train store in St. Louis’ Dutchtown neighborhood that sold Lionel, American Flyer, and HO scale trains. I was in the old Marty’s Model Railroads store in Affton one afternoon several years ago while Marty was going through a box of trains he had bought […]

What is On30?

To a newcomer, and even many people with years of experience, the phrase “On30″ is confusing. Basically, it’s O scale models (1:48) of narrow-gauge (30 inches in this case) railroads. And that probably raises a few more questions, so I’ll try to answer them.

Can you use 1:64 vehicles with HO scale trains?

Can you use 1:64 vehicles with HO scale trains? It’s a common question. The answer is you can do whatever you want. The next question is whether you’ll be happy with it. And under some circumstances, you might be.

Christmas Eve, a train that wouldn’t run, and a happy ending

It was Christmas Eve. I finished playing Santa, then I plopped down in front of the computer to unwind and signed into Facebook. Internet pal John Dominik posted a status update about buying a Bachmann N-scale train set and it not working, and how he knew he should have tried it out before Christmas Eve. […]

Fifteen minutes a day

I’ve been spending entirely too much time on train forums lately. So have a lot of other people. Places that used to be good for learning things have turned into cliques, or worse yet, hateful arguments over stupid things like whether Lionel O gauge is more popular than HO scale (something that hasn’t been true since about 1957, and I’m shocked anyone has believed otherwise since about 1960).

A few months ago, someone actually posted something helpful: a suggestion that you spend 15 minutes a day working on your hobby instead of talking about it.

An O scale glossary of sorts

I just spent some time explaining some of the terminology that goes along with Lionel and other O gauge and O scale trains. So I thought maybe a definition of some terms might prove useful to somebody.