Page 1 of 1

A quandry of scale.

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:20 pm
by Hymirl
I have oo gauge. In that I have about a dozen locos where the youngest is mid 90s and the oldest are mid 70s and a fairly poor rolling stock collection mix of wagons and coarches (the longest rakes of coaches are 3 LNER clestories or 4 rather tatty MK1s). I don't have a built layout... I have a board and a box of old settrack.

But digital looks great and chuff chuff noises are fun. Easily as fun for me as the kids!

And if I go digital, why not go N gauge? And get twice (4 times techically!) as much trains in the same space. But can I justify the outlay on starting again when I could probably just put some track down and run some OO guage around... but running a 5 coach train behind an express loco is never going to happen without ridicilous tail chasing.

Thinking out loud a bit. Maybe its post model rail show blues! Wanting the thing you don't have! :P

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:31 pm
by Mountain
It is good to think out loud like this as you get to explore possibilities.
00 gauge (Or H0 for countries where H0 is popular) is so popular that it sometimes obscures the other possibilities that are out there.
Every scale and gauge has advantages and disadvantages compared to others.
N gauge is lovely stuff but it is small. When I was in my very late teens to early 20's I decided to try N gauge for myself to see what I thought about it. While I did like it, I decided that due to limited funds, I would have to choose one scale and gauge, and back then I preferred 00 as I liked to make things, and I found N scale more difficult in this respect. While others may disagree, was that I also found that on the little N gauge layout I made, I was cleaning track more often to keep the train running reliably then I was in 00 gauge. (I actually found this issue when I tried H0e (The European form of 009 as 009 wasn't available back then in factory made form).
Talking about 009, have you considered narrow gauges? 009 can be built into a similar footprint size as N gauge but it is in the same scale as 00 is.
I chose 0-16.5 as for my personal preferences it just is so ideal that I puzzled why I had not decided to change to this scale and gauge years ago! For me it has several advantages. I can model on an extreme budget as I use the cheapest 00 trainset type Hornby locos as donor locos for this larger scale. I can build waggons for only a slight bit more then the cost of a pair of wheels as I make my own couplings. Coffee stirers just lend themselves as being an ideal size for planking in this scale. As long as I keep to smaller 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 locos, I can turn very sharp corners. I model short coaches which I can probably have a six coach train in the same length or less then a three coach 00 gauge train. I find painting things easier in this larger scale (7mm scale which is the same scale as 0 gauge).
The main disadvantage of 0-16.5 is that one has to kit or scratchbuilc, but I will say that due to some excellent resin kits from Smallbrook Studio and others, it isn't beyond the capabilities of the average modeller.

Another scale and gauge but this time back to standard gauge is TT. While it isn't that popular, it is an answer to some as it is in between N gauge and 00. It is worth mentioning because it is still an active scale and gauge even though the range of factory built models disappeared when Triang stopped making them. Fortunately there is a thriving kit industry who specialize in the finescale version known as 3mm scale. I will say that careful consideration is needed before adopting this scale, but it is an option to those who want something different.

I will mention a little more about 009 narrow gauge. In the last few years this has become more popular and a few manufacturers have taken notice and decided to support the gauge. One can freely mix H0e and 009 as the different scales are less noticeable then 00 and H0 as narrow gauge tends to hide the scale differences a little chiefly because many European prototypes tended to be a little larger then UK prototypes, so when mixed they tend to look of a similar size. There's quite a lot out there now for 009/H0e so it is a very interesting option. The only downside is that trains are not exactly cheap. They are normally excellent quality though to compensate for the expense.

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:29 pm
by Emettman
OO does tend to be the default scale in the UK.
(the way Monopoly tends to be the default boardgame...?)
But given thought before starting I think a fair proportion of modellers would be better served by other scales, and rather similarly for styles of layout, the default here being the 6x4 or 8x4 double track oval.

What's the objective? In OO any aim to run decent full express trans is going to need massive amounts of space, worsening as the era gets more modern and coaches lengthen.
If the enjoyment is in shunting, then the detail and atmosphere that can be achieved in O with a small wharf or industrial setting.

If simply after having fun with trains without a massive layout of space or funds, several less conventional options are available,
(Some requiring more madness and/or bodging skills than others.)

It is a little more awkward if an investment in OO has already been made, but staying with OO if it's always going to be a major compromise might give less return on the money spent in the long term.

There isn't a "right" here, except to fit a particular individual.

I found more fun in building layouts and operating them at exhibitions compared to running a fixed layout at home. But that's me.
I've built a layout or two without a scale, and I'm way down at the cheapest end of playing trains. I won't be going DCC...
... but that just my odd niche, or niches.


Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:48 am
by Mountain
I found for me personally that though I'd seen many different scales and gauges at various exhibitions etc, it is not until I tried them for myself that I really got to know if I liked them or not.
In a way I like all scales because I like model trains, but it is when one gets to spend time with them and makes things etc, that one gets to see what's right for ones own personal needs.

My basic criteria is to have a larger scale for the chunkyness and to assist in making things with economy in mind and be small enough to fit in a small space. As the gauge I've adopted (0-16.5) shares the same gauge as 00, I have a big advantage of the ability of readily available spares (E.g. wheels and chassis etc), and as the scale is the same as 0 scale, there's also commercial support in the form of figures, buildings etc should I choose to use them.

Others have different criteria. For some, everything has to be available in a ready made form where their budget isn't too much of an issue but either time or their physical abilities may pose difficulties or restrictions to their ability to make things themselves. For others the size restrictions take priority where they simply dont have space for a large layout of their dreams. For others, running lengthy express trains at speed is the priority. For others they love the great outdoors and need something that can battle the elements!
We all have different needs and requirements.

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:02 am
by alex3410
As others have said the best thing to do is get your hands on some of it in each scale - i have several times in the past really thought about switching to N for the increased space it would give. The reason i never made the switch was i was to heavily invested in 00 to make it viable, it didnt stop me thinking about it however but the final nail in the coffin for the idea was helping someone set up a N layout at a local show - the experience was enough to let me know the whole thing is to small for me way to fiddly trying to put things on the track :lol:

The issue now is i have more space in the loft i am looking at 0 gauge :roll: but i am now more invested in 00 then i was when looking at N so its not going to happen

i guess the take away is chances are your scale quandary is probably going to follow you forever :lol:

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:25 am
by Byegad
I started n gauge back in 1974, we had a 1 up/2 down rented hovel and it was all that I could fit in. The layout stood on it's side behind the settee when not in use. I always thought that I'd move to 00 when space was no longer at such a premium, but somehow, despite a divorce entailing selling my whole stock, when I got back into it, I went back to N. Now I'm in my late 60s, my hands are arthritic and yet still I can strip and rebuild a loco and my collection and layout is much larger than I'd ever have dreamed back in the 70s.
I may go to 0 gauge in the garden, if that ever happens, but will stick to N indoors.

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:52 pm
by Hymirl
Thanks you all for the replies, at least I'm not alone it seems! This is a bit of a rambling post, please

Mountain, I have been reading your threads and it does look good. I have never been a narrow gauge fan though, standard gauge is my thing. I do like rag tag light railways and industrial lines over the mainline... (unless its rag tag end of steam era!)
But who doesn't enjoy an express loco at full speed!

Emettman, I'm one who defaulted to OO having been presented with boxed train set (as the best birthday present ever!) Its not necessarily a bad thing as its a convient size, even if the stock doesn't look quite right on the track.

Maybe the curiosity of n gauge is that I have no experience of it other than a look and a chat at a show. I also have children who may show an interest at some point and small and fiddly doesn't help there.

It looks like the advice is try it and see, plus picking up a ssecond hand n gauge set to play with isn't too big an outlay to build up experience with. Digital and sounds can stay out of budget for now.

alex3410 wrote:i guess the take away is chances are your scale quandary is probably going to follow you forever :lol:

This seems dangerously likely!

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:55 pm
by Bigmet
Before starting on scale, the subject choice matters. For me it is standard gauge principal main line on an overall North-South alignment for at least 400 miles, or nothing. That's what I grew up seeing nearly every day, and Doncaster's pacifics are a hard act to follow. Lesser routes need not apply!

If my budget allowed it would be O gauge or even G1. Bigger than that and the pieces are too large TBH. Steam locos that require real muscular effort to lift, all-up train weights that can do you a significant physical injury if you get in the way, too much! (I had friends who were into 5" steam, and it was fun but a lot of work, not the relaxing hobby activity I was looking for.)

OO and HO are the smallest size I find satisfactory, as I can build mechanisms in this scale and fiddle around generally. (I have had to tell a couple of friends that N gauge is just too small for me to help with now.)There's a ton of good resources in OO and HO at prices that are not unreasonable, even today especially if prepared to be patient. (I was happy to buy the Bachmann WD 2-8-0 for near £80 when introduced near twenty years past, and have just obtained a new Heljan O2 2-8-0 for £89, that's well below inflation over the time.)

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:39 pm
by Hymirl
Byegad wrote:I may go to 0 gauge in the garden, if that ever happens, but will stick to N indoors.

A lot of it is probably what you're used to. If you have always dealt with N then its not fiddly to you.

Also been lookong at garden railways now you mention it. Having a household with children I've been looking at 45mm track and probably American style locos over LGB... an excuse to build a trestle bridge!
Plus plastic track and battery locos seem likely to be less trouble!
Cheap as chips compared to small but detailed stuff.

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:05 pm
by Mountain
LGB.. The 45mm gauge track is well expensive, though SM32 is a little cheaper trackwize. However, what you get in LGB is certainly built to last even if it is plastic. Impressive stuff.

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:23 pm
by Emettman
Hymirl wrote:
Also been lookong at garden railways now you mention it.

My garden stuff is 45mm track power.

If starting again I'd almost certainly use R/C battery power and plastic track.
Not because of pick-up problems but just the sheer cost of metal rail track and points.
R/C control has also improved massively in the last 15 years.

The Playmobil plastic track is excellent but has the problem all G plastic track has, that I'm aware of: one sharp 2ft radius for curves and points.
OK for little engines and Quarry/industrial/docks settings or modern urban trams but otherwise limiting.

I can think of a potential fix for the curves, but the points might take an experiment or two.

Cheap build battery R/C locos for my (2ft curve) G scale portable layout.
£20-£30 a loco.

Threeloco1.jpg (122.11 KiB) Viewed 923 times


Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:28 pm
by Mountain
They look nice. What did you use for the drive mechanisms?

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:35 pm
by Emettman
Mountain wrote:They look nice. What did you use for the drive mechanisms?

From left to right, an old 4.5 volt Lego motor block, a Playmobil 12v motor block re-motored with a 3v Playmobil radio control motor, and a cut down 0-6-0 chassis from a NewBright (or similar) Christmas train set.
(the tender of which provided the side tanks for Wellington.)

The other four:
Threeloco2.jpg (121.83 KiB) Viewed 880 times

Left to right: Toy car chassis, stretched, 2x IP engineering budget chassis with added delrin chain 4-wheel drive, and another battery Christmas loco right down to an 0-4-0


Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:32 pm
by Mountain
Thanks. The old Lego mechanisms are geared nice and low and should pull well. 4WD as well. :)

Re: A quandry of scale.

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:28 pm
by Emettman
Mountain wrote:Thanks. The old Lego mechanisms are geared nice and low and should pull well. 4WD as well. :)

The inside structure means there is some wheel wobble. I dealt with this by having a U shaped bearing point for each axle, outside of each wheel
Double-framed, in effect.