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Introduction to Model Railroading - Part II

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

(You can find Part I of this post here)


In this part we explore some basic criteria that should be fulfilled when choosing a train model.


Size and Space


The first thing that a model railroader should be concerned about is space!!! We Indians are used to the “bigger is better” philosophy - but unless you live in a palatial house, it’s not a great idea to have big train models.


Take an imaginary “big model” which is 2 feet long! Sounds great right?! Now try adding a couple of coaches. All of a sudden your train model - when not running - is 6 feet long!


In case you are lost, that is equivalent to the height of a fairly tall human being. Imagine what your mum is going to have to say to you when you try keeping that in the living room or on your desk!
...believe us - it can get pretty ugly both figuratively and literally!!!

The Pink Engine locomotives are around 8 inches long on average. The LHB coaches are under 10 inches. This implies that you can fit a locomotive and three coaches in about 3 feet of space! We think that is good trade-off between size of your models and the space available in your home.



The Pink Engine Train
The Pink Engine Train

TPE WAP7 pulling 3 TPE Humsafar Coaches


Proportion


This one - we are sticklers about. It amazes us so as to the number of people who are at peace with distorted models i.e. models which looked stretched or squashed.



WAP7
WAP7


Photo Credits : Vinoth Thambidurai via Flicker (License : CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)Our model of the real locomotive from the previous picture above


That's why from the very beginning The Pink Engine has gone to extreme lengths to ensure that our proportions are exactly the same as the real thing. You can read more about the technical details here.



WAP7 DIY Kit
WAP7 made from The Pink Engine Build Kit

What good is a model if it looks like a dwarfed or shortened version of the original?



Detailing


A model needs to have details along with its basic structure.


How fine are those window grills? How about the pantographs? Windows? Vents? Is the paint job professionally done? How about the locomotive or coach letterings. A seasoned collector looks at all of these before making a purchase. Each layer of detailing adds realism to the model.


Model makers also go the extra step with weathering. This is the process of making the model look weathered - or like it has been under the sun or rain. Or plain aged. You can a plethora of weathering videos on YouTube to see the great lengths people go to to make their locos look realistic.


WAG7 Custom Model - The Pink Engine
A weathered WAG-7 from The Pink Engine roster



Static or Dynamic


The burning question is, do you want a model railroad which is a static diorama? That is do you want it to be a setup which is pretty and has no movement? This, incidentally, is the choice of many people around the world. In this particular case, you do not need to invest in a moving locomotive and can often build one for yourself e.g. from our build kits.


Model train static diorama
A Static Diorama up for sale on an e-commerce site!

Or do you want your models to go around with electric power? Now this opens up a completely different book - one that we will address in Part III of this series...


(You can find Part III of this post here)

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