Newbie: N-Scale in any way less technical than HO-Scale?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Radstar, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. Radstar

    Radstar New Member

    Heya Guys,

    I want to start doing model trains, and start off by building a nice layout in the basement of my new house.

    I know doing N-Scale will allow me to fit in more trains and scenery in the space I have available.. but the HO-Scale will allow me to present scenes that are more entertaining- as in have people, animals, and readable signs etc..

    I am very interested in electronics and even digital electronics.. I am wondering if there are any limitations to fun electrical projects if I pick N-Scale?

    Any further thoughts, comparsions and contrasts between the two scales would be greatly appreciated!

  2. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    There are two main things that aren't really there (yet) in N-scale. One is DCC uncoupling -- which can only be done via an 'uncoupling' car, and not within a single diesel engine, although that's tricky enough in HO. The other is sound -- at the moment N-scale can only offer sound in the tenders of larger steam, or in B-diesel units. Again, you can have a dummy box-car running behind a diesel with the speaker in that...

    Other than that, there's very little that you can't do in both... I love N-scale because whatever space you have, you can make a much better layout in N than in HO... On the other hand, if you want tiny logging or 0-4-0 steam, then you're probably better off in HO...

    In terms of fitting in beautiful scenes in N-scale, try these for a start...
    Halpin River
    Niagra & Pearl Creek

  3. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    as a 40 year HO junkie it do have more pontential for electronic gizsmo's also there from what i understand a bit larger selection of equipment in HO, but as said N gives you a lot more RR in the same space.

    also welcome to the gauge :wave: :wave:
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think you need to decide what you want to model, and then look to see what is available in n-scale. If n-scale has what you want to model, go for it. I think remote uncoupling by dcc is more of a gimick than a real world practical operation at this time.
  5. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Welcome Aboard The-Gauge Roger.:wave: :wave: :wave:
  6. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Welcome to the Gauge. There is little that HO has nowadays that N doesn't. It is more difficult to model, but more rewarding when you get it done. Since you are working at around half the scale, you can get four times as much in the same space. When I started I bought some of both, first HO and then N. I built up some of both just to be sure my eyes and fingers could handle the smaller scale and that's what I would prefer. I'm please that I have no trouble doing N scale. Cost-wise, there is little difference with engines and rolling stock, but structure kits tend to be a bit less in N scale and I think rails and railbeds are a bit less per foot as well.

    The only problems I see is in the details. It is much harder to get really detailed, especially with figures. Then on the other hand, you don't need that kind of detail anyway. I have made and seen signage that is readable in N scale without a magnifying glass.:rolleyes:

    Bottom line is that I like N because of the space limitations and that detailing is more challenging.:D:D

    Good luck with whatever you choose, and stick around here for good advice, help, lots of pictures and good friends..:wave::wave::wave::wave:
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I model ho because I'm far sighted and I have difficulty with glasses AND a magnifier seeing the small details I'm modeling in ho scale. My wife is near sighted. She takes her glasses off to see close up detail. If I were near sighted I might try n scale, as it is, I sometimes wonder if I ought to be modeling o scale.
  8. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I'm an n-scaler mainly cause of the size. I can do a LOT more than I could if I used HO.

    I do miss the sound options of HO though, but that's what your imagination (or a PC with some speakers!) is for, hehe.
  9. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    If there is ONE chance in infinity, then it is possible! Highly improbable, but possible. I found N scale to be far bigger than I had imagined. It took no time at all to fill a 2' X4' space with N scale. It does require a slightly steadier hand, and better eyesight than HO, and there are not as many things commercially availabe in N as there are in HO. Kitbash and scratchbuild, definitely a larger part of N scale than HO.
  10. Radstar

    Radstar New Member

    Thanks for all the replies thus far..

    Sound is actually the least of my worries if I pick N-scale because Im deaf hah. So no worries there!

    I have some questions..

    1) Is there an electric roundhouse for N-scale? (saw a manual one at the store yesterday bleh)

    2) Is it possible that N-scale ends up being more expensive? Because i can fit much more trains, buildings and etc in the same space.. I could end up purchasing like 3x more scenery and trains as opposed to doing HO ?

    3) Is some lighting effects as appealing on N-scale it is for HO-Scale? I mean stuff like nightime lights in buildings, streets, and cars.. and hmm stuff like that..

    I think thats about it for now..

  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    With regard to question #2, go to the "Academy" at the bottom of the forum contents, and check out "Robin At His Best." Just about everything Robin built is made with scrap cardboard and cerial boxes. Scenery doesn't have to cost much at all. Materials to model grass, shrubs, trees, and rocks is very cheap. If you buy everything ready to run including your buildings, it could get expensive. If you try your hand at scratch building with scraps and card board, the worst thing that happens is you mess it up. If you mess it up, what have you lost? Throw it away and try again until you get something you like.
  12. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge, Roger :wave:
  13. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Although I don't currently have an operating layout, I do have some rolling stock in both N and HO. In visiting train shows and clubs around the nation (and Canada) I have found some amazingly scenicked and detailed N layouts, in fact perhaps more so than in HO. On the other hand, I find that I, personally, have problems seeing and doing some things even in HO; but that is just my personal physical situation, particularly vision. I started, many years ago in Lionel O, and then dabbled a bit in O scale; but in recent years have concentrated on HO. I sometimes wonder, however, if I should consider going back to O, or perhaps compromising with S.

    I guess this all really doesn't help any of you make decisions, as it is all pretty personal; but I couldn't help throwing my two cents worth in.
  14. pontiacsforever

    pontiacsforever New Member

    N-scale detailing and lighting

    I model in N-scale, so I might be a bit biased ;), but I agree with ezdays' comment in that I find that in N you can have a more detailed-looking layout with less effort than in HO, mainly because some things are so small in N it's easy to get away with a crude representation rather than the detail you would have to include in a larger scale. Of course if you like to model those small details then HO is easier to model.

    Lighting in N is a bit more tricky, but now with the availability of micro LED's and fibre optics, more is possible than previously (such as lighting up car headlamps, outside lights on buildings, etc). You may also find that you need less intense lighting as with HO, since everything is smaller.

    Good luck with your decision and modelling and be sure to post photos of your progress. :)
  15. KCS

    KCS Member

    Welcome to the gauge. I've modeled HO all my life but I have played with N a bit and found it frustrating although I like the idea of getting more into a smaller space. What I mainly found disappointing was operation and yards for switching. I had a couple surprise sneezes snick up on me while trying to uncouple cars only finding them to all be laid over on their sides as well as small body trimmors, shakes and such. It's much more tedious than HO but if it's only for watching trains run without operation then go for it. If you want to run operations then it would be your best bet to go HO. Another thing is, if you want super detailing you won't get it in N. I've even found that the same make and model of locomotive made by the same company can sometimes cost you $10 or more in N. I didn't see it worth buying when you can get more for your money in HO. You don't HAVE to buy landscape either. You can use dirt and rock right out of you front yard if you want. If it's full of trash, sift it through a piece of wire screen. That's what we do. Work's like a charm. Hope this helps.
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you use dirt from anywhere, after you sift it, run a magnet through it to make sure there is nothing iron or magnetic in it before you use it on your layout. the last thing you need is to pick up bits of metal in your lockeys.

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