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  • Quick Question

    Howdy All,

    It's been pretty quiet in the small scale forum for quite some time, so I thought I'd pose a question; what does everyone like about the smallest scales?

    I'm thinking N, Z and T.

    I usually build in HO and O narrow gauge and I started buying n scale locomotives to convert to HOn30 but found their charm irrisistable. Then I had a small n scale layout and started buying z scale stuff to convert to Nn3 and found them just as charming. Then in a fit of "trying to focus on one scale" I sold off most of it, now I find myself buying more n scale stuff and planning another small layout. I think what I most like about the small scales is the challenge, of getting things running and looking as well as possible (which has been getting much easier lately).

    So what's the draw of the small scales for everyone?


  • #2
    Cody, I was an early adopter of 'N' scale in 1970. It was just about all Minitrix or Rapido back in the day. I bought just about all "my stuff" in Italy and England. I sold it all off ( a 17' X 17' layout) in 1977 when we moved to Indiana. By that time N scale had really 'caught on' in the US and I had no problem selling off 'a lot' of items. Next modeling adventure was Live Steam, 1/8th scale with a 1/4 mile of 7-1/2" gauge rail. That lasted until my track crew discovered girls, and I sold off the locomotives and the rail. (1400 lb locomotives are a little cumbersome to take to an OP Session ). I settled on HO as my long time scale. But, dollar for dollar, and available space for usability, I had as much or more fun working with N scale as any of the time spent on the other scales. If my eyes, and eye/hand coordination weren't nearly 77, I'd be an N scaler again.

    Take the red pill


    • #3
      N scale hasn't offered me enough prototypic equipment for the RR and era I want to model. But I have enjoyed operating on N layouts. What I like best is the top deck, where trains are close to eye level but there's considerable visual depth behind them.


      • #4
        HO will be the smallest I'll go. I did dabble in TT scale (1 to 120) but the enthusiasm for scratch building on the TTnut forum was nil. Plus trying to do two scales in what I wanted out of modeling wasn't going to work so I decided to stick with HO scale but wanted to use the three gauges, HO standard, HOn3 and HOn30. Hopefully once I get that engine house done, I can concentrate on my quarry railroad again. I'll be posting more on the HOn30 rail truck I started many moons ago too.

        New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

        Main thread to all that's happening on the NY,V & N Rwy. The New York, Vermont -and- Northern Rwy. - Railroad Line Forums (


        • #5
          I got into Z scale because it was small and I thought that my wife will not mind as much. I like the challenge of the scale, and my dad was an early Zhead and helped to establish it here in the US. I am currently acquiring his collection and adding my own.The biggest challenge for me is that U.S. steam is not manufactured, so I have to build my own. As for rolling stock, that is also limited, so I am modifying existing cars and scratch building cars that are not produced.

          Last edited by CNE1899; 01-14-2022, 11:02 AM.


          • #6
            Somehow I missed this thread. I was drawn to N because I lacked space and I thought they were really neat looking. That was back in 1977. I now have a 32' by an average of 12" layout that we were holding op sessions on until Covid hit. I have really done everything I wanted to do over the last 40 some years in N scale and because Covid isn't going anywhere and maintaining that size layout when we are not operating on it anymore I will probably take it down. Don't know for sure what I will do next, maybe a small switching layout in O or G. Yeah I know, from one extreme to another.


            • #7
              i had a small area kind of U shaped that wasn't very wide... i was able to fit a tiny radius curve so i went with N scale. i guess if i had more exposure to what others were doing i may have went with a switching point to point... even maybe in HO. Oh Well never looked back.. although i do have some HO and even O stuff. After seeing some actual layouts i did admire the smoothness of HO . Especially back then .. with the new slow speed motors and upgraded controllers that seems to have improved in N.



              • #8
                Yeah Joe, my N scale stuff runs great I just feel like there is nothing new I can or want to do in N.


                • #9
                  Since I first saw some N scale PRR Pullmans when I was a kid in the early 70's I have been hooked on N scale. My dad was into Lionel and HO but never had a permanent layout, just put up around Christmas and taken down after with the HO slot car racing set. My uncle had a nice HO layout, I believe he ran Amtrak ( that was later). Myself, I like the challenge of modeling and creating a scene in the small scale. Just small pieces at the moment, but looking forward to a full layout.


                  • #10
                    For me, N scale allowed me the space to incorporate scenes I'd desired to build. It also let me have a continuous running option in the small space I have available. In general, the equipment runs well but is less forgiving; dirty track spots, contact of 4-wheel engine trucks, and no space for capacitors in the smaller engines I've been running. Agree with others about not always being able to get equipment that is desired.

                    It has come a long way. When running well, my engine creeps smoothly at slow speed and the sound is pretty impressive. And the growing popularity of N scale has lead to more inventory and more selection. I will confess that my next layout will be larger scale, space permitting.