How much detail for children?

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Korschtal
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How much detail for children?

Postby Korschtal » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:11 pm

Eldest Son and I recently made a Brio model with two termini and ran trains between them, and a light seemed to go in in Eldest Son’s head. After that all he wanted to to do was “Shunting” -running trains between the two stations and dropping off loads at one end or the other, and now he’s wanting to make a ‘model railway’ with me.

I somehow don’t think my current 1:55 scale project will be what he’d want and it isn’t robust enough for little fingers anyway. On the other hand, I don’t want to just get a train set, as he seems more interested in making things, preferably involving paint and glue.
I’ve decided on a scale of roughly 1:32-1:35 because that allows us to use the odd Siku tractor and it makes for bigger, more stable models, and we're building a model based on a design he made.
We’ve settled down to a routine where I cut out the pieces while he’s in bed and the next evening we spend half an hour (after little brothers are in bed) gluing them together and talking about stuff. It’s an excellent arrangement for both of us.

The challenge at the moment is where to aim. On one hand too much detail could make the model too delicate, but on the other, the detail is what attracted Eldest Son, and I don’t think I want to oversimplify it because we’d both be dissatisfied. I’ve found that when we give children a high standard often surprise us by exceeding it, but where should I aim?

Does anyone out there have thoughts or experiences that could be relevant?
Andy in Stuttgart
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John New
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Postby John New » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:53 pm

Over 20 years since my own two daughters were that small so (a) memories are now a bit faded and (b) what is on the market is not the same. However grandson is now of similar age and we have the Brio type train set ready for his birthday coming up so I am interested in this thread.

I think 1:32 is a good choice as nice and chunky and there is a lot of stuff around (in the UK at any rate) farm and construction related in 1:32 so that the train can be used (played with!!!) I think therefore 1:32 is a very good choice. Imagination is what young children have, enthusiasm comes from getting them involved.

Your key point made here as a parent is that you are getting them involved and are getting involved too at their level. Don't force a direction and see where it leads.

Thinking back to my own children I modelled then in OO and they were happy with flexible scales and creative imagination. I had a board with a circle of set track for them and some of the basic Hornby and 2nd hand Tri-ang stock. They happily mixed that with Duplo buildings/Playmobile people and a Pampers nappy box tunnel painted green. Later they made some basic attempts at plastic kits with dad etc. The key is getting their imagination, you have, and taking it from there. No forcing just let it flow.

Twenty odd years on and our eldest doesn't actively model but still loves watching/ riding trains and comes to the occasional Mod-ex with me. However her partner is into games workshop fantasy figures so if they have the space may be a return is possible. The youngest is not really into trains much now but does some craft and design when she has the time so stayed with the idea of modeling - just in a diverse way.

Good luck with it - reads like you are making the right moves.
John
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Postby michik » Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:43 pm

My son (almost 5) started at about two and a half with my Z-trains and has settled now with Fleischmann Magic Train (i.e., his favourite is still the BRIO), and has always done so with great care and no damages at all.

In my experience, it is "inproper use" (e.g. as a football) that breaks toys, so if you manage to avoid it there's probably no problem at all. In my case, all the stuff is mine (that's because it was already years before my son was born) and any "inproper use" would inevitably and instantaneously cause a long lasting "access denied error" - ergo there is no abuse and, to be honest: Our cat is a much greater threat!

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Postby teetrix » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:47 pm

Andy,

I can second John. If you build a model with your son, let him say, what he will see on it. It's sometimes amazing, which details kids will note on a prototype - particularly if you explain them the function in a suitable way. If in doubt, make it a little bit larger, stabler, let the "form follow the function".

Michael

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Postby wahiba » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:12 am

Not having any children myself I cannot speak from experience. I can though speak from memory, now over 50 years! of playing with my clockwork Hornby 0 gauge. Winding it up was not a bind, there was no alternative.
Recently I went to a local toy auction and there is quite a bit of Hornby O gauge coming on the market, most of it still working. Sets are not cheap, but actually about the same as a modern 00 gauge set.

What can be cheap is the old tinplate track. Often in big jumbled boxes. I bought such a box at the auction, around £40. It was a mixture of Hornby, Gamage and unknow and it stes of repair from excellent to nearly scrap. Enough for ovals of double track and single track. There was also Hornby three rail. As well as track there were points.

I only wanted the basic stuff, so sold the three rail. One Hornby twin three rail rail cross over point made enough to pay for the whole lot on eBay. The rest made me a profit! And I still have a load of decent Hornby tiplate track.

I originally bought to try out Meccano locos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfFrOEjJL2Y

but am now working on some further DIY efforts at various scales.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7I2HVnpWB5Y
Too many interests, so never bored!
David Usher http://www.siltec.co.uk

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Postby Korschtal » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:20 am

Many thanks for the encouragement and replies. At the moment we're using card, sourced from old cereal packets. We laminate three sheets with wood glue and weith them overnight and the next morning daddy trims them so we have straight edges and right angles all around. This gives us a solid and free material and involves Eldest Son in the manufacture. Actually, it's a bit too solid sometimes so we're experimenting with double thickness.

At the moment we're building two locomotives: this give me chance to try thingsa and then show Eldest Son ideas (as in "I tried this and it didn't work, so try doing that instead"). So far he's decided his diesel must be Deutsche Bahn Red complete with running numbers, so were working on something like this
If enthusiasm holds we'll move on to a layout. I'll post the idea when we know it'll happen...
Andy in Stuttgart

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KEG
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Postby KEG » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:02 pm

I have no idea about children. I know they come in different variations.
Jonathan Swift published a few suggestons for receipts in the 19th Cent.

But maybe you can make them with these paperodels happy : http://mag000de.gmxhome.de/

Have Fun

Juergen

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Postby mud magnet » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:25 pm

In my experience with my son when 'playing' with trains, 'scale' does not seem to matter and quite happy to mix various toys of different sizes to suit the play mode at the time. As time goes on, i.e. when he has grown up (now 12) a better sense of scale starts to form. The important thing is that they get involved. There are two many distractions (television, computer games etc), so anything to get them interested in 'modelling' is a good thing. Have fun!!
Richard


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