N scale VS. HO????

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by ozzy, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    i am limited on space and im thinking of taking down my ho layout for now and going to N scale. i figure i can have 2 or 3 times as big a layout in N scale , in the same space as ho. im thinking that a 4 x 8 N scale layout is like 2 or 3 4 x 8' in HO????

    but the thing is, i have a room full of HO stuff and no N scale.

    whats the cost of N scale compared to HO? should i scrap what i got and change to N scale?

    i got the ok from the boss to build a building for nothing but a train layout so i could use all my HO stuff there, but it may be a coupe years before i can get that done.

    what started me thinking about N scale is i want to expand but the wife dont want me taking up anymore space.

  2. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    :wave: Hi Ozzy,

    I no what ur going throght Ozzy. I to was thinking of switching to n scale from ho.

    But I figured since I already have all thins HO stuff, i might as well stay with HO. Just think of it this way, You can fit 2 or 3 times as much HO in one space as o gauge.

    I did some searching for n scale stuff when I was thinking of switching and saw that the prices were mixed, some cheaper and some just about the same price. Maybe you could re-design your ayout now, Talke every thing off and start over with some new things?
  3. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    There are advantages as well as disadvantages for switching from H0 to N. And perhaps there are some facts about yourself to consider. I'll try to list some random thoughts:

    Size is obviously the main advantage of N: You're right, you can build a 'bigger' layout in the same space. Since N scale (1:160) is about half as big as H0 (1:87) you could cram about four times as many tracks into the same space. So you could say that a 4'x8' in N could be compared to a 8'x16' in H0.
    BUT: IMO the real advantage is that in N scale you can build more scenery in the same space. Instead of switching from a H0 spaghetti bowl layout to an N scale spaghetti bowl, many N gaugers use the additional space to lay track through a believable scenery.

    Health: Another point to consider: How old are you? For older fellows (like me), worsening eyesight and/or clumsiness might strongly advise against N scale. However when you are still young, this isn't a real issue.

    Model building: Do you want to build models from kits or even from scratch? Then H0 has the advantage that you can buy much more detailing parts (like Cal-Scale loco parts) than for N models. And of course it is more difficult to add tiny details to a much smaller model.

    Prices: When you compare prices, it seems that high quality N scale stuff isn't much cheaper than H0. Looking at the low-price (and low quality :( ) stuff, H0 might even be cheaper than N! So it really depends on how much you could gain from selling you H0 material...

    I for myself went the other way around: I had roughly a 4'x8' space at my disposal and I started with an N scale layout. But I based the track plan on a 4'x8' H0 layout in the Kalmbach book '101 Track Plans'. Ok, I added a few more sidings, but generally I had the same track layout and thus the same operational possibilities. But there was much more room for adding scenery (which is what I like most). You can look at some pics of the old Trim Creek Southern layout at my website.
    Then I started scratchbuilding and kitbashing rolling stock - in N scale. When I had to dismantle the layout I decided to switch to H0n30 because of the availabilty of detailing parts. This way I still could use all the salvaged N scale track from the old layout plus trucks and loco mechanisms. (Years later I made the final switch to H0 and H0n3. Now that H0n30 suddenly is blooming again, I'm not quite sure if I made the right decision. :D)

    Just a few thoughts, Ozzie - I only hope I didn't make you still more insecure. :D:D:D

  4. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I had the same dilema, but going from N to HO. I just sold all the N scale stuff, which helped in finacing the HO.
  5. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    ok, scenery is a big part of what i like and n scale would give me more room, but i do like to do more then just look at my trains, i want 2 trains that can runn both full time and the same time, while i run a rail yard, (move cars around, change the train line up, work a bunch of switchies,) with oh and the space i have i cant do it, and have scenery,

    i think i can have everying i want with N scale but still not have it so (cluttered)

    right now i got a 4x 8 layout, but i can add a 24" shelf to make it an "L" shape layout where i can have a rail yard and industries, (im asumming N scale can make a U-turn in 24")
  6. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    That's an excellent summary Ron. I chose N scale over HO mainly because of what I could do in the same amount of space. I bought some HO at first, ran some trains and built a kit or two. I did the same with N just to be sure my eyes and fingers could do the work. I might take issue with one thing on your list though, age. Age is not the criteria by itself. Although eyesight does seem to get a bit worse as you get older and things like arthritis makes working with you hands more difficult, these thing can happen at any age:cry:. Then there are those of us who never seem to give up, regarless of age. :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave: Modeling can be good therapy, or it can be frustrating if your body won't let you do what you want to.:curse:

    You might add one more thing to your list:

    A sense of accomplishment. It's much more difficult getting some good detail in N scale for obviouous reasons and sometimes you just can't. When you submit a picture here at the Gauge and you get a reaction, "THAT'S N scale?" that makes it all the more worthwhile.:thumb: :thumb:
  7. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    here i am complaining about not having enough room for HO and i been buying O gauge all week on ebay.... dont make much sence does it?...lol my O scale stuff runs around my computer room on the walls abouve the windows.

    i guess i have figured out that know matter what scale i get ill never have enough room, as 75% of the fun is building the layout anyway. guess i just need to get used to tearing it down and starting over alot!

    but N scale i can build more/longer before running out of room, and i been kicking around the idea of making a coffee/ end table train with N scale where the layout is inside the table, i seen some pic's of that here on the site and thought that cool.
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Talk to TrainNut, he's put together some really neat ones.:thumb: :thumb:
  9. 3railguy

    3railguy Member

    I chose N scale due to space constraints but I also enjoy the jewel like quality of the better stuff.

    Do you like running long trains in a realistic setting? N scale will give you this on a 4 X 8 where HO almost looks like it's chasing its tail for reasons others pointed out.

    How much HO do you already have? How far along is your current layout? Starting over means delaying having a finished layout and a roster of equipment.

    N scale is futzier than HO and requires more periodic maintenance. It takes a firm steady hand and magnifying tools to work with it.
  10. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    I'm limited on space too ( I live in an apartment ) so I only can afford a 2'x3' layout.
    Of course, an N scale layout was the only option.
    The cost of N scale IS higher than the cost of HO scale because:
    1) HO scale is more popular, so there is a scale economy when producing HO items vs. N items.
    2) N scale items are smaller so are more expensive to manufacture.

    My spouse ( Brazilian ) is saying: " You'll get retired 2 years from now, so we'll move to Brazil, buy a big house and you'll get an exclusive room for your HO layout "
    That's very tempting.

    Imho, the biggest problem with N scale is to keep the track clean. My next purchase from Fleischmann will be their track cleaning locomotive.
    Yes, I know, there is the Brightboy abrasive but I have to use it weekly. I want to spend my time runing trains, not cleaning the track
  11. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Despite having a 12 ft X 20 ft. layout I've come to realize that one can throroughly enjoy HO railroading in a smaller space. I originally built my layout with a long mainline for the purpose of continuously running trains. As time went by I developed more of an interest in operations (actually setting out and picking up freight cars) and have found that smaller switching sections of my layout provide as much enjoyment as the entire thing. If I had more stringent space limitations I believe I could create an HO layout that would still make me happy.

  12. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    ok, why cant i just rip up the ho track i got down so far, and put down N scale track,

    its just 5 peises of flex track so far, all my plaster, and road bed would work for N scale just would have to change the tunnel portal to N scale.

    i could run 2 main lines with the road bed i got, what do you think?

  13. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Sounds like it would work if that's wat you want to do.

    Are you going to sell ur HO stuff or pack it up carefully and save it for later?
  14. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    No reason why you can't ozy. go for it if you're up for a change! :thumb:
  15. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    ok, got a new plan , (again........)

    tell me what ya think of this....

    going to keep the ho layout and finish it .

    then next to it where i was going to add on to the HO latter, make a seperate N scale layout.

    2' X 12' bench

    is that enough to make a mainline or two, with a nice sized working rail yard, lots of industries to send rail cars to load and unload, a turn table and roundhouse. maybe a passanger train station too.
  16. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    That sounds like it would work and would be pretty cool to have 2 diffent scale right next to one another.

    That 12' should give you tons of room for all that. Plus you can actually fit a half circle in 2' in N-scale.:) Wish it was possable in HO.
  17. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    The big question:
    How small would be the minimum HO layout that still could make you happy ?
    Something like a switching puzzle ?
  18. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    I'll bet I could be pleased with an 8 ft long shelf maybe 2 ft wide. I'd really like it if I could have an L shape extention for a staging yard but I could probably put some staging tracks behind a building on the 2X8.....

  19. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    You must be filthty rich Lol :)
  20. Hoghead

    Hoghead Member

    Ozzy....you can do this with 4x8 in N Scale.

    Busy double main plus switching

    Attached Files:

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