I saw some questions come up on a model railroading forum about soldering, and I guess there’s a lot of confusing information out there about it. I’ve been soldering for 30 years, so hopefully I can clear up the common questions about soldering for model railroaders.
The main reason you find conflicting information about soldering is the application. If you’re soldering wires to the track, the advice for soldering sheet metal together to scratchbuild cars will be very different.
Truth be told, most of our train tables are probably overbuilt. The size and strength of them isn’t the only consideration, and overbuilding them probably does make construction a little easier. But we also don’t need to go crazy with our materials. Here’s how much weight a train table can support.
Model railroading track is measured in numeric values, called a code, that indicate rail height in thousandths of an inch. In HO scale, Code 100 track is the most common. But Code 83 is more realistic, making it popular among those who crave realism. Let’s look at Code 100 vs Code 83.
Largely the difference comes down to cost vs realism. Code 100 is more widely available and cheaper, so you pay a price for Code 83’s better realism, or you might decide the difference isn’t noticeable enough to you.
The Liberty Falls Collection was a collectible holiday village popular in the 1990s. The product was produced in China and sold in the United States in large department stores. It was on the market from 1991 to 2008.
The Liberty Falls Collection is a bit obscure today, but it isn’t especially rare. Purchasers frequently packed the items away in the original boxes every year, so when they turn up, they often turn up in like-new condition.
Every 15-20 years or so, Lionel ventures into HO scale again. Lionel is generally associated with bigger trains. But the HO scale market is so large, Lionel wants part of it. HO scale trains are, in terms of both scale and gauge, the smallest trains Lionel makes.
From time to time, I see the topic of investing in model trains, whether Lionel, Marklin, scale brass models, or any other niche come up. There was a time when people make a lot of money doing that. Sad to say, for the most part that window of opportunity is closed.
It’s certainly possible to make money at your hobby. But investing in collectibles tends to be fleeting, so it’s something you should approach with extreme caution.
There’s a bit of myth around Dinky vehicles. 1:43 vehicles are the standard size, the story goes, because Meccano made Dinky-brand 1:43 vehicles to go with its Hornby-brand trains. But that’s part of the story. Dinky models of American vehicles were 1:48, to go with American O scale trains.
Dinky produced 1:48 diecast models of American cars from the late 1940s well into the 1960s. While they can be expensive, they hold their value well. Model railroaders who don’t want to pay collector prices can buy beat-up Dinky models and paint and detail them as they like.