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Model train manufacturers have done a great job of recreating life size trains as realistic models. And they've been doing it since the late 19th century when electric model trains first appeared. Take a moment to discover the magic of model trains.
Germany is where it all began when Marklin introduced their full line of model trains back in 1891. Their first trains were based on earlier toy models and were available in three scales. They were made from tin and were very crude, but they were a great success.
Then, in 1901, Joshua Cowen entered the market with Lionel trains. Lionel would soon come to dominate the model train market in America.
Of course there were other companies that came on board with their own lines of model trains. Ives, American Flyer, and Marx all introduced model trains.
Because model trains are so interactive they are a great choice for children and adults. Even the youngest children can enjoy them. It's not uncommon for adults to recall their first train when talking about their fondest childhood memories.
Lionel was quick to recognize the importance of starting train collectors at a young age and that's why they've got wooden train sets for ages 4 to 6. By the age of 8, kids are ready to be introduced to S scale, G scale, and the ever popular HO scale electric trains. And the hobby continues into adult life. Of course expanding on your model trains is just a matter of time, money, creativity, and space.
There are several different scales of model trains to choose from to fit your space, budget, and personal preferences. For example, if you are limited by space you can choose one of the smaller scales. Here are some of the most popular scale choices you have.
1. Z Scale is a 1:220 ratio. It is tiny and highly detailed, and is an excellent choice if you have limited space.
2. N Scale is a 1:160 ratio. It is the second smallest scale available and it's a great choice for the hobbyist that want to be able to incorporate scenery and longer trains.
3. HO Scale is a 1:87 ratio. It is probably the most popular scale of model train. There is an endless supply of trains, cars, tracks, buildings, and scenery. The detail on HO is good and a fabulous setup can be put together in a reasonable amount of space.
4. S Scale is a 1:64 ratio. It is larger than the HO and is popular among those with plenty of room. It is the scale of American Flyer products.
5. O Scale is a 1:48 ratio. It is a popular choice for young children because they are able to easily handle them. Lionel carries a full line of O scale for the young ones.
6. G Scale is a 1:22.5 ratio. It is the perfect choice for the garden set up. Bachmann, L.G.B, and Aristo-Craft all make G scale trains.
To put together your model train you will need at least one engine along with some train cars. You can decide whether you want passenger cars or freight cars. And of course you will need train track. The type of track and how much track you'll need is a personal choice.
You'll also need a transformer to provide the electricity to your train. Then all that's left is the scenery you want. Choose trees, tunnels, people, signals, or a host of other items.
If you are looking for a fun and rewarding hobby, why not discover the magic of model trains?