HO model railroads are built to exacting standards and these layouts were developed to fit into smaller spaces allowing a more complex railway layout than the larger 0 or G scale. The HO scale is 1:87 scale, and with complex railway layouts these models can consume a large amount of space, too large for tiny apartments. However, for the general hobbyist in a house or large apartment these are the perfect size in terms of expense and space.
Building HO Model Railroads: Varying Levels of Complexity Though the scale on HO model railroads is 1/87 of the size of the original this can still take up a lot of space if a very complex layout is planned. The first step is always the planning of the railway and that may well be constrained by space. Since scenery will have to be on scale, available space must be measured first, and then the layout is planned to fit within it.
Historically Accurate Layouts This is perhaps an advanced step in building model trains and their railways. The hobbyist endeavors to replicate the exact portion of the route or a stop a particular locomotive made, as closely as possible. There are no shortcuts to this particular task. It requires a lot of research, photos of a particular area, and as much information as can be found. Fortunately, for the hobbyist many locomotive stops and paths are well documented and photographed or even painted. The results of the research can be seen in a beautifully accurate replica complete with scenery. This is not recommended for the brand new hobbyist, as it is research and time intensive.
Model Railroads and Scenery Whether it is handcrafted scenery, or buying premade scale parts, the scenery can add realism to a lovingly crafted model trains and railroad layouts. This makes it essential that at least some attention be paid to scenery. Even with layouts that are not attempting historically accurate reproductions, the delicate trestle bridge, or the tiny twinkling streetlights certainly add visual focal points and pique to HO model railroads layouts. For the first attempt, it is usually best to stick with the basics. The first layout may well be a work of trial and error, learning what parts work together, which materials will give the most realistic effect and hence, simpler is better. The hobbyist can usually elaborate on the basic scenery as they become more comfortable with creating effects on a 1:87 scale.
Powering the HO Models Most of the HO scale models will be electric powered with batteries being reserved for toy trains or for outdoor G scale trains. A power source in the room the railway will be set up is crucial, and ensuring that cords and outlets are cleared for traffic should be done in the planning stages of the railway layout. After all, model trains are meant to be admired, so make sure to keep a cord free pathway for the audience.
With a little planning, a little experimentation and patience the new hobbyist can successfully discover the delightful world of replicas and railway layouts.