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Soldering for model railroaders

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.

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Code 100 vs Code 83

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.

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Liberty Falls Collection

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.

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Lionel HO scale

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.

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Investing in model trains: Good idea or bad?

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.

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