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Model Railroading > N Scale vs HO whats best for today's railroading


Date: 06/29/11 21:00
N Scale vs HO whats best for today's railroading
Author: redneck4449

well after moving to my new place and with a up coming baby I'm thinking of going n scale because of the space limitations. now for the burning question whats best for 1990-2011 era

with today's technology and the advances in n scale why dose it seem that you can model modern better in n scale then you can in ho. i am by no means arguing the fact you can run long trains and sacerfice detail in n scale but it dose seem that you can get a greater variety of locomotives for cheaper in n scale and with how tight money is these days is it better?

i think the biggest fact is a SD70ace in ho scale costs in the ball park of $200 and that price may vary with sound and dcc or non dcc but its around $100 in n scale.

heck i may sell my beloved SD9s.......just kidding. or am i



Date: 06/29/11 22:21
Re: N Scale vs HO whats best for today's railroading
Author: cchan006

I think N scale is the way to go for modern railroading. Many vendors like to discount N scale stuff to make room for more inventory, and I've managed to buy Kato power in the $60-$80 range new, and even less used, and have SD9043MAC's, SD70ACe's, SD70M, C44AC, and GEVO's in Armour Yellow, ready to pull the local mainline freight (MRVSJ/MNWRV) at a moment's notice. I was able to get all that power, and about 30 modern cars in just a few months, paying about $12 per car, including a set of 12 ExactRail boxcars someone was getting rid of. No way I could have done that in HO scale in the same budget and time frame.

Besides, the rivet counters' eyes will hurt in N scale, so it allows you to focus on actually running the trains. :-)

HO scale is still the modeler's scale, if you want to show off your skills on stunning realism and detail, the sort of stuff I saw at BAPM last weekend. However, it seems HO lags in releasing modern stuff, SD70ACe being a good example. Looks like Kato will beat True Line Trains with the commuter train power MP36, too, and Athearn is busy being nostalgic (DDA40X, U50, Gas Turbines, GP9's).



Date: 06/29/11 22:56
Re: N Scale vs HO whats best for today's railroading
Author: RailThunder

First, Congrats on your future arrival! Second, I would stay in HO scale as even with limited space you can still do quite a bit more than you might think. N Scale could also be a choking hazard to little fingers and mouth combinations. Good luck with your endeavors.



Date: 06/30/11 00:46
Re: N Scale vs HO whats best for today's railroading
Author: funnelfan

Well as someone who once sold his entire HO collection and went big into N scale only to go back to HO scale, I prefer HO for several reasons. Despite several new N scale models in recent years, you'll quickly find it hard to locate models from older runs in particular paint schemes. There is also a distinct lack of some freight car models and very few detail parts. I also find switching cars in N scale to be trickier and derailment prone. I would strongly urge you to spend some time operating on a N scale layout before making a decision.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 06/30/11 12:44
Re: N Scale vs HO whats best for today's railroading
Author: trails2rails

I've been an active n-scaler for 30 years and can only say it keeps getting better and better. Between Kato, Fox Valley Models and Atlas most modern motive power is well covered.

On rolling stock most of what you need or want is available, and yes, N-scale is hotly in demand, so sometimes you have to search around for older releases, unlike HO which sits on the shelf forever. I never pre-order stuff and can honestly say I've never been disappointed.

N-scale prices keep going up like everything, but whenever I want to feel better about this situation I just look at HO stuff!

As far as detail parts, it's a real hole - of course it may not be a big problem if you don't need them, either. N-scalers (and Z-scalers) make up the majority of model railroaders who are swarming over the Shapeways rapid prototyping site designing all kinds of new parts, so I suspect the detail part situation will be getting a lot better in the near future. I'm in the process of creating 12 different MOW vehicles kitbashing parts (to go with Atlas trucks), for example.

Vehicles is the one place I would grant HO a "win" over N, BTW. However this has more to do with the European HO vehicle collecting hobby than it has to do with model railroaders in the US.

N-scale has some excellent dedicated e-tailers - like BLW (blwnscale.com), modeltrainstuff (mb klein, who also sell HO), n-scale supply, n-scale division and others.

The bottom line for me is that N-scale allows you to think in terms of modeling trains and larger scenes or industries.

One more point: there has always been a bias against - or at least a dismissive attitude on Trainorders towards N-scale. I've been a member for many years, but rarely bother to check the model railroad section for that reason. Honestly, you should look around for more "fair and balanced" opinions before making the decision.



Date: 06/30/11 13:35
Re: N Scale vs HO whats best for today's railroading
Author: Mopac3240

I think it has to be a personal preference. I would never get out of HO, but have been in HO since eight years old. Also, frankly, my vision is not as good anymore, and the N stuff is just too small. On our Gulf Western modular group, I regularly run trains of 90 to 110 cars for hours on end at shows, so the longer trains argument is a mute point for me. In fact, many times we are running longer trains than the N scale groups at shows. (Please no flaming, it is not a "ours is bigger" thing, just an observation lol) Anyway, I would not want to dump HO because of the time and money (and I mean LOTS of money) that I have put into it. But if you are just starting out, and have limited space, N scale would let you run longer trains in a given, say, home bedroom layout.
Have Fun!!
Chris



Date: 06/30/11 13:56
Re: N Scale vs HO whats best for today's railroading
Author: cchan006

trails2rails Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One more point: there has always been a bias
> against - or at least a dismissive attitude on
> Trainorders towards N-scale. I've been a member
> for many years, but rarely bother to check the
> model railroad section for that reason. Honestly,
> you should look around for more "fair and
> balanced" opinions before making the decision.

I have both HO and N scale stuff, and if there's bias against N scale here in TO, I ignore it. It's like how people mock Bachmann stuff. I have a Dash 8 that people often mistaken for an Atlas. The days of pancake motors, and Arnold/Rapido detailing are long long gone, and people need to get over it.

As for train sizes, I, too, have seen monster ~100 car trains in both HO and N, but that depends on the layout and whether a model railroader participates in a club or not. Funnelfan brings up an interesting point about operations, which I agree is easier in HO than N, but the derailment problems seem independent of scale in my experience. As in prototype, the operator blames the track conditions, and everyone else blames the engineer. :-)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/11 13:56 by cchan006.



Date: 06/30/11 20:11
Re: N Scale vs HO whats best for today's railroading
Author: hoydie17

funnelfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well as someone who once sold his entire HO
> collection and went big into N scale only to go
> back to HO scale, I prefer HO for several reasons.
> Despite several new N scale models in recent
> years, you'll quickly find it hard to locate
> models from older runs in particular paint
> schemes. There is also a distinct lack of some
> freight car models and very few detail parts. I
> also find switching cars in N scale to be trickier
> and derailment prone. I would strongly urge you to
> spend some time operating on a N scale layout
> before making a decision.

I agree with Ted, I dabbled in N-scale a few months ago because like you Dale, I was also dealing with an exceptionally small area for my layout. More aptly put, my dream was alot bigger than the space I had to work with.

At any rate, I made a quick $500 investment in N-scale engines and some freight cars, and then started digging around for some older stuff. Specifically, GP40-2's, SD50's and SD40-2's in CSX or NS.... not only are they near impossible to find in any sort of quantity, some of the stuff is in much older runs, and the motors/electronics aren't quite the same quality as stuff coming out in the last year.

Sorry to all the N-scalers out there, it's great that you can run 100 car train in the space that I can barely fit 25 cars, but at least when I have a burning desire to have a specific engine or freight car type, I know I can find it quickly at alot of major retailers or on Ebay.

N-scale also seems to appreciate much faster, in other words, if you don't buy your stuff within the first few months of release, it gets exponentially harder to find it. Granted, you don't usually have to preorder, but when you decide a year after they release a particular model that you want to make a unit train of them, good luck finding them for anywhere near the price you'd have paid from your local hobby shop or preferred online retailer.

Either way, I worked with a few close friends, and we've since come up with what should be a pretty good trackplan for HO scale in my small basement. At least until I find a bigger house for my masterpiece in a few years.

Sean Hoyden
Centreville, VA
Night Stalker Photo Works, LLC.



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