HOn3 vs. HOn30; who's best???

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jon-monon, Sep 13, 2002.

  1. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    So, what are the pro's and cons of HOn3 compared to HOn30? Anyone running one and wish you had started with the other?

    I'm getting excited about narrow gauge and want to start building and collecting some rolliong stock and loco's. From what I gather, HOn3 has more off the shelf items like trucks and stuff available, but HOn30 might be better to scratch and bash because of all the N scale parts available.

    Any thot's, my narrow gagued friends???

    Any other tips for beginners? Fav web sites? Etc.?

    jon(narrow gauged newby)
  2. BDC

    BDC Member

    HOn3 runs on a scale 3' track that you have to hand-lay because no one makes it. HOn30 runs on a scale 30" track (N scale track) that can be found almost anywhere. HOn3 is the prototypically correct gauge, but since HOn30 is really N-scale track, it's a whole lot easier to find and build.
  3. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    My last post on the "On30 conspiracy" thread might give you some insight, at least to where I'm at with narrow gauge. In either case, HOn3, or HOn30, you'll have plenty of scratch building, and kitbashing to do. Where "parts" are concerned, there are probably more parts available in HO than N. Grandt Line has an extensive line of HOn3 detail parts. A lot of standard gauge parts are usable on narrow gauge equipment. Model Die Casting (Roundhouse) has quite a few standard gauge kits, that can be cut down to narrow gauge proportions, and make good looking, relatively inexpensive rolling stock. I believe it was Errol (kettlestack), in a reply to an older post, who mentioned the use of N scale couplers for HOn3 equipment. If you go back far enough, I've posted pictures of modified MDC HOn3 engine kits. The magazine, Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette, is a good source of narrow gauge information. It would be easier to find a prototype in 3' gauge, but either is fine for freelancing.
  4. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Jon, Hon3 probably has the most to offer in the way of loco's rolling stock and building kits suitable to the "theme" of narrow gauge. Hon30 has only just a little available in the area of Locos and rolling stock so if you're not inclined to scratch build or modify things you may become somewhat disenchanted with it.

    As far as track goes, yes N scale track is the same dimensions but its sorta out of proportion to the the rest of Hon30 (ie: rail height, tie spacing & etc) so again unless you want to hand lay track and scratch build turnouts you may be somewhat limited when it comes to track work. There are far more track items available in HOn3.

    In my opinion the "up and coming" thing in Narrow Gauge is On30. Everthing is built in a scale of 1/4 inch to the foot which is extremly easy to work with, plus it takes really no more space than an HO layout would and more and more equipment is becoming available that can be easily modified.

    I'll sit in the corner now and let some of the other guys who are into On30 elaborate more on its advantages.:D :D :D
  5. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Both Shinahora and Model Engineering make a full line of HOn3 track work in Code 70 and Code 55. including flextrack and turnouts. Sure you didn't mean Hon30????:confused: Ooooops!:D :D :D :D
  6. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Hmmmm, lets see now .Some advantages of O n30.

    Two companies make track and turnouts for (Micro-Engineering & PECO)Any HO scale track is usable ,though anything smaller than code 83 is getting silly for mainline use.(code 83 is slightly less than 4" tall in Oscale)

    On30 has one major player producing reasonably priced locomotives (two in production one about to become available (a Shay:D) and at least one more coming in the foreseeable future:D

    O scale buildings and vehicles are the same scale no matter what gauge you are doing(also true in all other scale/gauge combos):D

    On30 has a large cottage industry supporting it with many available pieces/parts in production.

    Just about any HO locomotive is fair game to kitbash into an On30 locomotive.
  7. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Catt: You forgot to mention, if I did On30, I would get to be part ofthe conspiracy, no? :D :D :D

  8. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Well the best part of On30 is of course the On30 Conspiracybuit the very best part is that living in a state that borders one of the great lakes you can also join the" Great Lakes Conspiracy". :D :D :D
  9. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Actually there are other's and a couple of the makers do dual gauge for HO/HOn3 (Shinahara Track and BK Enterprises), which is one attraction to HOn3 in my view. I'm planning a dual gauge layout. They don't have to connect, but that might be kewl. ;)


    1st place "dual" search
  10. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I think I'll have to stick with HO. Althogh if I tossed everything, On30 would fit in the same space. Maybe when my fingers get a little fatter and my eyes a little worst :eek:

    Disclaimer: I am not commenting on anyone els's fingers, age, health, vision or physical abilities. If I attack, I'll go straight for the personality! :D :D :D

  11. Catt

    Catt Guest

    The only problem with HOn3 is that there are no ready make plastic locos.I know there aren't any in HOn30 either but you have N scale mechs to bash from.It seems that with the exception of On30 all narrow gauge is fairly expencive to get into.
  12. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    A lot of that seems to have changed, too:

    hon3 engines

    I'm assuming some of these are plastic, since they are under 100 clams.

    Have a great weekend, guys!

  13. Catt

    Catt Guest

    They are plastic,they are under $100.00 ,They are kits. The MDC Roundhouse Shays are a real pain in the tender to assemble well.Unless your a glutton for punishment buy the readybuilts.From what I've been told even at that plan to remotor them in future.

    The little Grandt line critter is a flat panel kit and no fun either.Though they do draw attention running around mu'ed in pairs.

    One very positive thing about MDC-Roundhouse is that they are making HOn3 a better gauge to play with.:D
  14. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Jon, I was right impressed with the link that you posted for 1st Place Hobbies....their HOn3 prices are very reasonable. Have you or anyone else had any experience with ordering from them????
  15. moss-lake

    moss-lake Member

    Having both HOn3 and HOn30, I think it all comes down to what you want to achieve and what space you have. There is an excellent range of Baldwin and Davenport 0-4-0 saddle tank bodies to fit the Bachmann mech. Ideal if you want a mining tram from mine to mill and Peco make HOn30 switches and narrow gauge track (been around for over 20 years), or N scale track and switches can work too. Roco make a 6 wheel diesel and 0-6-0 tank loco and a range of small 4 wheel cars.

    HOn3 is a bit larger and needs slightly larger radius. As Catt mentioned, there is very little R-T-R outside of brass. MDC have their shay and 2-8-0 kits, and Grandt Line have their 2 types of 4 wheel diesels.





    I hope you can find some usefull information on these sites.
  16. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Vic, I have ordered once from them and will order again. There was one item that was packaged wrong from the vendor, a $2 detail part. They are working with the vendor and I told them not to worry about it. Great prices across th e board. They can be beat on certain items by trainworld and such. They beat most others by having a usable and searchable site.

    Russ (and others) thanks for the tips and links. I'm actually thinking about doing both gauges :D It will be quite a while before I lay track so I have some time to play with building stuff.

  17. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Narrow Gauge HO Scale...

    No-one here has mentioned this, so perhaps I shall. I have heard MANY times that people who are thinking of narrow gauge HO should look at smaller HO scale equipment, using standard HO gauge track...have a look at Shamus' layout.
    To paraphrase Monty Python, "Nudge,nudge,wink,wink...say no more!":D

    Ready-to-run 2-8-0s and 4-6-0s are available from Model Power. These are about the same size as the MDC HOn3 engines...and I've heard that they run well. They're inexpensive to boot. Short cars and trains, along with tighter curves and steeper grades could create the narrow gauge "feel" without having to actually run narrow gauge equipment. If I had tried that.......oh, well. [​IMG]

    My brief foray into HOn3 ended in frustration and disappointment. Then again, I very well could have tried something too difficult for my newbie-ish ability level.

    Personally, I LOVE the On30 stuff. How can you beat inexpensive, beautifully running off-the-shelf R-T-R narrow gauge?? Even I could probably scratchbuild in O scale.[​IMG]
  18. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Re: Narrow Gauge HO Scale...

    "In my mind, I'm already there"

    I am already working that way, Plymouth MDT's and other industrials in the works, ore cars, some short flat cars, etc. I hope to augment the collection with some narrow gauge to add some spice. Don't know why I am drawn to such critters...

    So then, my decision is made (for now), we'll go with an HO/HOn3/HOn30 layout :) Everyone can be happy , 'cept for On30 guys :D :D :D I'm not saying On30 isn't in my crystall ball. I still think it's very cool, and it has some attractive benefits. Perhaps after we have all the HO stuff running happilly down the silver rail...

  19. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Dang it Jon,
    Your thread has invoked all the replies that screams at me to get off my butt and start using up my drawerfull of HOn3 stuff!
    This is something that I've been putting off for almost 18 yrs now.
    The charm of narrowgauge overwhelms me at times and even today Vic's thread elsewhere on his conversion of MDC passenger cars has really reached me! :)

    I was looking forward to starting to use up my N gauge stuff and now am in a real quandary! You have no idea how frustrated I am in having to make the decision. Maybe a compromise... HOn3 dioramas and an N layout? Shamus's layout also brought back all the feeling of nostalgia for backwoods RRoading even if he does model it in HO.

    I think I need therapy!!!:D :D :D

  20. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Why not all 3?

    Why not have an HO layout with an interchange with an HOn3 line? Backwoods meets mainline interchange.

    Then in one corner of the layout you could have an amusment park running an N scale miniature railroad for the kiddies.

    The best of all 3...

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