Hey all, it's Mason here alive and well. I was wondering what you kind folks think I should get at my next train show (First Frost Allentown Show) I was thinking about expanding my HO scale things but since I want to complete my O Gauge CNJ Blue Comet set I thought that I'd just stick with O scale and make HO a side project. I moved my O scale trains to my Attic Floor because I could build a bigger layout instead of doing it on small tables. What do you think my min. Curve should be? I was thinking along the lines of O-60 or O-72. I think that I might stick with fastrack and upgrade to Ross track later. Some of my more recent wish list items that I added to my already mile long wish list are two or three cars, the Atlas O Master Line Troop series car (Troop Sleeper, Troop Kitchen, and the US Army Hospital Car) and the MTH premier line Blue Comet Cylindrical Hopper. (As you can see I love the blue comet) if y'all could tell me what I should get at my next train show please leave a reply.
You've got a while before the First Frost meet in Allentown. I'd suggest making a list of what you want and how much you're willing to spend. Try to keep to that budget. Keep watching eBay and the buy/sell forum on here. There are buy/sell groups on FB as well, but I'm not familiar with them. Then, once First Frost rolls around see what's left on your list.
You might even consider setting two budgets for each item. The price you're willing to spend and then the price at which you CANNOT pass it up (even if it means borrowing a few $$ from mom or dad).
Say, for example, you REALLY want the Blue Comet cars, but you haven't seen them at a good price yet...but then you come across a stack of O-72 Fast track switches for $10 each...you can't pass on that! Snatch it up without delay.
As far as minimum curve...this is in the top ten most debated things on this forum. The short answer is: make it as big as you can. If you can fit O-72, then do it. There's nearly nothing you wont be able to run. O-54 is nice and many things will run on O-54 and that will take up less space. Keep in mind, you asked about MINIMUM curve. If you do O-54 min and you have 4 concentric curves, you'd need O-54, O-63, O-72, and then O-81 curves. So, you should think about min and max curve...
Curve size is one of those things you need to keep in mind as you sketch out layouts. You really can't commit to curve sizes until you have an idea of what you want to run. Running on the floor in a free-style way is a good way to experiment with layouts.
Hope that helps keep the ideas coming.
Oh...where in PA do you live? There are several train clubs in the state. Joining a club could be one of the best things you do. You can see others' layouts, you can help with club layouts, build your own module, or just bring your locos out to run somewhere else...