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HO currently thinking of N scale

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  • HO currently thinking of N scale

    90% of the benchwork is done for my HO modern switching layout, including the power buss. Because it's modern much of the equipment I have will not work in my era. So I have been selling it off.

    I just sold a tremondous amount of equipment and FSM kits this morning and now I face the question I have always had.Do I SWITCH TO N SCALE? Since I need track and a DCC system for either scale now is the time. The building kits and locomotives I have left I am sure will sell eventually.

    I am a young 62 years,retired, decent health, decent eyes and love new tech!. I am not afraid to scratch build (just have not done it in 20+ years)and know this is not a cheap hobby. My biggest asset is the COO of the house. She says if I'm happy its good enough for her!

    I read and see how great N equipment runs,and the depth of perspective on the layouts has really got me thinking. I don't need to pile a bunch of track into the area I have, I will use the same plan just in N. I have another finished 2400sq feet of space available for whatever I want to do, so space is not an issue. But, I have no desire any longer for the monster empire, 600 sq feet of switching in any scale is plenty to work on. The house is new to us, build in 2006 and my space has 9 ft ceilings and is completely drywalled.

    Whatever I do, I am looking at about 100' of branchline and maybe another 50' of track for industry sidings/spurs. My area is the CN, between Marshfield, Junction City and Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

    2-4 engines and 50 cars to start. There are 14 planned rail served industries with plenty of scenery spaces (ala Lance Mindheim designs).

    What am I missing about your N scale? As some of you are younger than me and some older you know N scale I do not and u see it from either side of my age. I will really consider what you tell me.

  • #2
    Hi Tom, I'm 67 and have no problem with N scale's smaller size. The only thing I would say about N that is negative is that steam can be a problem (small steam more so than the monsters). Your track work will have to be flawless to keep the trailing and pilot wheels on the track and all the N steam that I have seen have traction tires which means more track cleaning. That said if you go with diesels you should have no problems. The price is now less that HO and the selection of locos, rolling stock, building kits ect. is close to HO now as well.


    • #3
      if your eyesight is good, then N should not be a problem. I have gotten rid of my steamers and the diesels run just fine on n track. i think you'll be totally satisfied with the track/scenery ratio. n scale still lacks in craftsman structure manufacturers, but there are enough to get you started.

      bar mills

      n scale architect for craftsman kits



      blair line

      and several other kit makers offer laser cut and plastic "non craftsman" kits.

      where i find n scale lacking is the availability of boats and other water vehicles. that said, there are a few manufacturers out there. i wish you alot of luck with this endeavor.


      • #4

        Good luck with the layout, if you lash a couple of desiels together you should have no problem operating. What make of track are you thinking about?


        • #5
          I would tend to think just the opposite. If you like to scratch build and love detail, then go slightly bigger, like Sn3 and still use the HO track.
          Home of the HOn3 North Coast Railroad, along the shores of Lake Ontario.


          • #6
            Hi Tom, I will be 70 in two days and I am not only an active N scaler I also model in Z.(my friend Thomas is 75 and is a rabid Z scaler )

            I have threads here for both of my N scale layouts and my Z layout(s)If you want to check them out the big N layout is the Grande Valley and the small one is the Onandaga sub.
            Johnathan (Catt) Edwards

            100% Michigan made


            • #7
              There is a wider range of equipment available in HO, so depending on the road and era, it may be harder to put together the trains you want to see in N. I'd have to spend most of my time scratchbuilding passenger cars and locos for an N scale B&M dated before 1958. Years ago, before Kato's N RDC, I couldn't have modeled B&M passenger trains in any era without scratchbuilding. But by contrast, a friend has a big N layout representing 1970s BAR and MEC accurately, and all he's had to scratch/kitbash is cabooses and wood chip hoppers.


              • #8
                This is why I love reading RRL Forums. Thank you for the input.

                1 Modern era so purchasing loco and cars for that should not be an issue--I have no issue with a air brush so I can strip and paint if I need to--

                2.I am not getting rid of my HO steam brass so if the urge for Steam comes back--I still have it to look at. I will also be building a diarama of a Steam-era serving facility in HO--That urge will always be there. I love UP steam. I have an old 6 stall round house , kept a FSM coal tower and have all the other stuff for the facility

                2. Looking at ME code 55 as Atlas has such a supply issue--I will not hand lay N track even though that limits the size of the switch

                3. My big issue is the size of scale and eyesight, decent today but what about 10 yrs from now--for those responses thank you--as I have no one my age or older who do N--your answers are a great help

                4. I have 30' of old Shinohara Track and 8 switches. I will lay that in the next few days on a section of the benchwork and see how it feels. I can stop at the LHS and buy an engine and some cars and try it.

                Thank you all for your input

                Enjoy the day


                • #9
                  Hi Tom,

                  soon I will be 72 years old and I am still building on my small N scale layout. The most pleasant job for me are to scratchbuild all the structures such as buildings and trestles and other small stuff! As others mentioned, steamers are rather delicate above all the Bachmann stuff! Do not buy any Bachmann loco because sooner or later you will have problems with them! over 80% in the American NSO Forum has this opinion, most of them had problems! Buy Kato or Atlas!

                  Below you can see a photo of a Bachmann iesel loco which after one year was "dead" no way to make it run, so I gave it a good weathering and now the loco "rest in peace" on a short siding track. As for the tracks I use Micro-Enginerring, it looks even a little bit better than Atlas, but Atlas is also quite ok!

                  here some pics of different stuff I built:

                  The Bachmann diesel:

                  a scratchbuilt wooden bumper:

                  a scratchbuilt wooden tunnel portal:

                  another one:

                  a finished corner on my layout:

                  a scratchbuilt trestle:

                  real brass bolts use for certain structures as the trestle: (maybe some of us would need a good magnifier, not me, fortunately:-)

                  some of my scratchbuilt buildings for my western-town:

                  there is even an undertaker:

                  and of course a saloon;-)

                  these were a few pics about what one can do in n long as the hands do not tremble and the eyes are ok!

                  cheers, Paul


                  • #10
                    Don't be afraid on N it is a great scale. As for the eyes it is just an excuse a the smallest part you will

                    ever put on a model is the same size in all scales. The amount of N kits is surprising and more coming out every day

                    In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame,

                    two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.

                    --John Adams