HO or N?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Mike 86, Dec 19, 2000.

  1. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Thanks Drew,
    The photo above was in N-scale
    When I first started into the realms of Railroad Modelling, the knowledge I gained from watching other people work gave me much pleasure. The questions I asked, of these people I watched, must have run into the thousands. All were very kind and helpful.
    I was brought up in model railroading by the wizard of all model railroaders, JOHN ALLEN, his famous railroad “GORRE & DAPHETID” was an inspiration to all who looked at the photographs of his layout. His photographic skills, and artistic talents were the envy of many a model railroader myself included. So I took it upon myself to study his photographs, his way of making the scenery, and his ability to photograph the finished product. Fortunately, he had been, as I was, a professional photographer, so the photography side came a little easier, than it would, had I not done any. As for the artistic talents of John Allen, By analysing photographs of his techniques, I came to the conclusion that it would take a lot of trial and error to achieve the same brilliant results. However, I was not daunted by this and worked on the scenery side for many years. What I am trying to say is this. Set yourself a goal, make it, analyse it, and if you don’t like it, start again. Next time, will be better
    What I have learnt over these last 50 years has given me much more pleasure than you could imagine. Now, I can share my knowledge, with any and all who want to learn.


    [This message has been edited by shamus (edited 01-11-2001).]
  2. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    I'm new here but anyway...
    I would reccomend N scale. there is a lot of good products out there, and you can run alot more trains for the space. I used to have HO scale, it was fine but I wanted more trains [​IMG] so I'm currently selling off my HO scale stuff for more N scale equipment. GOOD LUCK, MIKE !! [​IMG]

  3. Drew

    Drew New Member

    wt&c, I'm currently modeling in N scale too. I like the size ratio of scenery to train. You san build a pretty convincing version of the appalachians in N scale. I'll continue to work in other scales though. I have a plan. As my daughters move out of the house - BAM! new train room - new scale! I figure I'll work my way up. By the time the youngest one leaves, I'll be so blind, it'll have to be G scale! [​IMG]
  4. Zephyr

    Zephyr New Member

    I like your plan.
    Mind if I adopt it?
    What's the first step......buying stepladders? [​IMG]

    ....Pioneer Zephyr....
    "The miracle of 1934"
  5. Drew

    Drew New Member

    Step 1. - Give them all the help they need moving into their new place.
    Step 2. - Change the locks.
    Step 3. - Begin remodeling.(or in our case, just modeling) [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by Drew (edited 01-13-2001).]
  6. Drew

    Drew New Member

    Step 1. - Give them all the help they need moving into their new place.
    Step 2. - Change the locks.
    Step 3. - Begin remodeling.(or in our case, just modeling)
  7. Railery

    Railery Member

    Train Wars. i like HO. Its been in my family for 40 yrs. But each scale has its own uniqueness or good qualities. At my son's school, for kids who are handicapped, they got an old lionel engine and some cars given to them. The engine needed work so i asked my hobby dealer, Trains and Such, if he could fix. He did and at no cost. The kids love it and the size is perfect and rugged. I personally think its great that we have the variety of scales to choose from. Besides the indoor layout, i will be doing a garden layout, but Gee, i won't be the engineer on that, only a helper [​IMG] and for N, i do use some buildings to give depth to the layout. i did have a mine that i used a kitbashed N scale engine and cars for the mine. It was great. The Salmon Arm Club in BC. has an N scale mine on the HO layout. But my favorite Scale is 1:1 [​IMG]

    Greg's Central
  8. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Hi Y'all,
    Well, this was a great read. I'm really beginning to like this 'board', and esp. a number of you folks usin' it.
    Shamus, take it from an 'Artist', that layout was a work of ART. I was very inspired that I've made the right choice (scale wise)for what may become my 'ART' for the rest of my life.I just hope I can learn enough to come even half way to the beauty of what I just saw. Thanks for sharing.

    And the comment about modeling the Appalachians came right to me. Thanks...(sorry, can't keep track(sorry!) of everybody's name without a hard copy to refer to.

    Well, I hope everybody enjoys their chosen scale today.

  9. George

    George Member

    As long as we're sniping at different scales, I've got a question about "N", which I'm not particularly fond of.

    A friend was visiting this weekend and we got on the subject of well cars for containers. I purchased an articulated set of Athearn cars ("HO") a few years ago for US$16. My friend hooked on "N" told me the cheapest set he could buy is over US$80!!!.

    Here's the question. Lots of "N" out there is enviously cheap compared to "HO", particularly passenger cars. Why are some "N" scale pieces in plastic so rediculously expensive like these "N" well cars?

  10. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi George,
    I don't know anything about well cars, I've never gotten into anything that modern.
    This is one diference I know to be true of HO & N scales. (I've modeled in both, & I like them both)
    If you've got enough room on your HO layout to run - say a 12 or 15 car freight train - then the same space in N scale is going to have room for a (apprx) 20 to 25 car train. And believe me, if we modelers have the space, we're going to fill it!
    The last time I checked, the price diference between HO & N, piece for piece, is fairly minimal.
    It doesn't take a genius to do the math here.
    Say you've got a small three track staging yard in N scale with room for say, 30 cars. If you switch to HO, that becomes two tracks with room for maybe 10 or 12 cars. If you then switch to 2-rail O scale, that "yard" is now a short spur with room for 4 or 5 cars tops! It would be interesting to take this little scenario, get some retail catalogs for the diferent scales, & do a price comparison.
    So if anyone thinks that modeling in a smaller scale is going to cost them a smaller amount of their paycheck, I'm here to tell ya, it aint necessarily so!
  11. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Happy Days gang, take it from me, I have modelled in N-scale and now in HO, the cost to set up in both was about the same. Kato HO probably the most cash, but, Kato N, only a fraction different. As for other good manufactures of N-scale such as Atlas & Minitrix, some cost a lot less than the equivalent in HO.
    The only really good point if space is limited is the fact that you get four times the area in N-scale than HO. An 8' by 4' in HO = four 4' by 2's in N-scale
    Now just for a matter of interest, you can model just as well in N-scale as HO.
    First photo is HO, the second in N-scale.Both were scratchbuilt by little ol me.

    [This message has been edited by shamus (edited 02-27-2001).]
  12. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Hi shamus,
    Thanks for the 'bio.' scketch..I guessed right ..thought you were about 64.
    Thanks for the photos, too.
    Show business? I thought you were a professional photographer?? Did you do publicity or fashion or film or?
    I did a little theatre work some years back, the most significant production being a musical staged at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. (Actor and pre-production stage manager on that one).
    Well, back to the topic. Hi y'all [​IMG]
    It seems really simple to me, this "what scale" question: one models what one prefers, or requires, to achieve the desired result. All things being equal, availability of eqipment and materials would be the deciding factor, I should think. For me, once again, space is the issue. I do like the ideas about running long consists, since my "chosen" roads were principly coal haulers, 100 to up to 150 hoppers per train, (between grades for the longer strings) five to six diesels to each train, two or three steam articulateds...yep, the ability to make up longer trains on N really appeals to me. But I sure do wish I could madel HO, and I would, if I had the space..'Gawd', think about: two acres under one roof, no poles: Unlimited resources, a number of dedicated, friendlly people of like interests, temperment and goals working together to build the DREAM RR...that would be something....but, I'll just have to find a good magnifying visor and keep lookin'/"prayin'" for more stock in N scale. [​IMG]
    VGN [​IMG]
  13. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Virginian, thats what I mean by potted history, I was a professional photographer all the time I was in, and after show business.
    Read my autobiography on my website, and click on Harmonica.
    My room size is 14' by 11'

    [This message has been edited by shamus (edited 02-27-2001).]
  14. George

    George Member

    I don't think the second photo came through, and I'm dying to see it.

    I fully understand the advantage of space with "N". It just seems to me that unless you do as fine work as modellers like Shamus, it takes more to refine "N". Take for example the extra room between freight cars in "N". To me, it just hardly ever "looks right", and I don't like straining to read the tiny roadnames from a limited distance.

    Some people are very good at modelling in "N", but I contend for most people given vision problems and for some with basic eye hand coordination, it's just too small to be practical. To force the perspective in "N", you've really got to get your eyeball to the rail.

    Shamus, I mostly hear about people switching from "HO" to "N" for the savings of space. You seem to have done the opposite. Why was that?

  15. johan

    johan New Member

    Great work on both HO. and N. shamus,
  16. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi johan, nice to hear from you.
    Hi George,
    Started out at the age of 7 with an 0 gauge Bing Train set, oval of track 1 loco and two coaches. By the time I was 10 I had my first OO British Hornby set, this time a couple of points(turnouts) were added. Next, at around 14 years old I had my very first OO G.W.R. model railroad layout, filled a room 8' by 6' with a duckunder, I even ballasted the tracks and did some scenery. Then at the tender age of 18, I broke it all up and set about making another better layout. This time without a duckunder. That took me up to the age of 21. The the Army took over for two years. On demob, I started out in Show Business until the age of 50. All these years in show business I was still busy building and refining the artistic side of railroading even changed to British N-scale around 1960. I then switched to the American scene and went into American N-scale, building many layouts for pleasure. Along the way I switched to HO and made a few layouts in HO. Then along came my Badger Creek Lumber Company, and this will stay. At the tender age of 64, I don't fancy crawling underneath anymore.
    So that's what happened to me over the years.

    By the way, I have just updated some photographs on BCLC.

    Also, both photo do show up, there must be some sort of server band width issue, I don't know.

    [This message has been edited by shamus (edited 02-27-2001).]
  17. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    And that my friends is only a potted history of my railroading days.
    Just want to try out another photo to see if it appears without right clicking etc.
  18. George

    George Member


    Next time you go to a realtor's, don't tell them you want a house. Tell them you want a large basement with a house on top of it! [​IMG]
    Then HO is a cinch!

    For me, I don't have the size I wanted. I saw an ideal basement that was 35X70, except it was in a flood plane. We decided against it with great reluctance and now we're glad we did. The adjacent river came up to the windows the following spring, and I would have lost everything.

    I'm sticking with HO, and am currently building a centre island measuring roughly 9X16.

    I want to bounce this off you guys. I was driving for a swing gate to access the centre where the control panel will be. Now I'm getting static from friends strongly advising me against any form of swing gate or lift-out, citing alignment and maintenance concerns. One friend wrote me just yesterday from Wisconsin telling me he saw one lift out that was painstakeingly, meticulously aligned over an extended period of time at a local club. It took one joker less than ten seconds to entirely trash it in a stumble.

    The benchwork is four feet off the floor. This friend told me he had purchased a cheap low office chair he could sit on to roll under to the centre on his layout. I've already had major spinal surgery, and the idea of a duck under really kind of scares me, so the low swivel chair does seem a solution.

    Unfortunately, around the wall is out of the question. I have a four foot gap in the benchwork for the gate, or I will fill it in with a lower module where I will have bridges spanning a long gully.

    Here it is fellows, either pull me back from the edge and talk me into a swing gate, or tell me the friend from "America's Dairyland" is on the money.

  19. George

    George Member

    BTW Shamus,

    Whatever the problem was, we can all see the second picture now, thanks! I really like the roof detail on the porch in the "N" shot.

  20. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi George,
    Duck under or swing bridge, I would stay away from if possible. As you stated, even the best laid plans of mice and men.
    Here's why I gave up on either. I had a liftout section which linked up perfectly for about 6 weeks, then I noticed that the rail ends were out at one end. Everything had moved with the heat, even the 3/4" ply said goodbye to being flat. So I trashed the lot, and gave way to a walk in instead.
    I have had duck unders before, many a cut head from it, that to was not on, as I was getting too old to Tarzan over it or slide gracefully under it. That went the way of the swinger and a walk in was again arranged.

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