O or HO?(Help)

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by yankee, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. yankee

    yankee New Member

    Just getting started looking at a purchase and need help. Any recommendations as to whether to go the O or HO route with my first purchase. I want to be able to expand later and have choices of alot of trains. Please give me some advice.
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Since it's the holiday seasons... You know what scale Santa Claus favors... "Ho, ho ho!" sign1

    Seriously though, I think the biggest factor is what you are comfortable working with. If manual dexterity/visual acuity is an issue (usually does as we get older), bigger scales are probably the better way to go.

    Don't go any smaller than what you are comfortable working with-- It will quickly turn a hobby into a nightmare.

    Welcome, and good luck!
  3. yankee

    yankee New Member

    Thanks Tom,
    I'm 43 and planning to enjoy the hobby for many years, so maybe O is the way to go.
  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I'd love to go the O route but space and finance considerations have me in HO. The heft and feel of them is too much, a 20 year old memory of a 16+ pound model of a 4-8-8-4 Big Boy in brass thundering around a club layout I was visiting still hangs with me like it was yesterday. :thumb: HO is not an also ran with me though, I love model trains more so than model railroading, (yes, there is a difference) and HO has a good history of equipment, kits and techniques to keep me just ducky from now 'til I'm called home.
  5. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Cost and space availability are probably the two most important factors to think about. Price some of the O gauge equipment that appeals to you. Lay out some minium radius curves for that equipment on a piece of paper or cheap artists board so you can get an idea of how much space O scale and HO scale takes. All that you need to do this is a pencil, a large sheet of paper, a piece of string and a pin of some sort to be the center of your circle. Tie the string to the pin , measure your desired radius and tie the pencil to the other end of the string at the measured point. Make an arc with the pencil and you will have an approximate idea of the minimum space required to turn the loco
  6. Illus

    Illus Member

    I was into O for 3 years, before cost, space and availability of equiptment moved me to HO. Theres just alot more HO out there, and at a major cost advantage.
  7. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    I love O scale myself, but for beginners I recommend HO scale simply because there is so much ready made stuff available.
    If you like detail, and making things though, then go with O scale if you have the room.
    I am in On30 and so i only need as much room as Ho does.
    On30 means
    O scale
    n narrow gauge
    30 is the distance between the rails

    Anyhow, If you want the most variety and most of it done for you then go with HO.

    I hope that helps.
  8. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    And Captain Picard from Star Trek:The Next Generation liked the smaller scales. He was always saying "N Gauge"
    I always thought that O scale was too toy like(Thinking back to Lionel), but then I saw a Proto 48 modual club at the Big E train show in Springfirld Mass. My thinking has changed. But as mentioned, you either have to win at Powerball, mortgage the house again, or come into an huge inheritance to afford it.
  9. trainnut65

    trainnut65 Member

    O is the last part of Ho and it is the best as far as finding locomotives and cars and building there is just more of it out there.
  10. yankee

    yankee New Member

    Thanks guys. It looks as though there are pros and cons of both. Maybe I'll get atarted with HO and as space and finances become available, get some O as well.
  11. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Unless your sight and motor coordination are already bad, you can still do HO for decades (I know plenty of HO modelers in their 60s and 70s.) Part of the conventional wisdom of O scale being for older eyes is also changing, as modern HO scale equipment (like auto racks and bi-level passenger cars) is closer in size to older O scale cars. HO scale simply cannot be beat in terms of product selection and availability.

    Take some time to check out the scales, and visit some layouts if possible so you can see model railroads in action and get a better idea of what interests you. If you really like scenery and creating dramatic vistas, and your vision is sharp, you might even find that you prefer N scale (and since HO is the new O, it follows that N is the new HO.) If you fall immediately in love with the heft and mass of O scale, and are willing to model a much more limited area (since O scale layouts take up a lot of room) then go with O. If you want a middle ground between O and HO, but find there is too much selection and you'd rather have less, go for S scale...

    In the meantime, though, it doesn't hurt to try out HO. It's probably the least expensive "try it out" scale and since there are lots of HO modelers it's easy to sell if you decide you prefer a different scale.
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Some of considerations will be what you expect to do in model railroading. It used to be that you had to be artist, sculptor, blacksmith, electrician, carpenter, watchmaker and a pile of other things before you could even run trains. Now almost all of those things can be purchased and the lucky lottery winner can be up to running trains in a week or two.
    Of course, the rest of us can still use cerial boxes and scraps from construction sites.

    And for your O scale, are you thinking of scale trains or Lionel type? Huge difference in what you can/have to do there.
  13. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    If you haven't made up your mind on which scale, consider S scale. S scale has both high rail and scale options open to you. It also is a little over a third bigger than HO and not as big as O scale or gauge. Again what do you want to model? If you are after modern big equipment HO is the route to go. If you want scenery with trains running through it with long trains even N scale has its advantages. If you are into smaller engines and cars and like to switch, S and O scales can be rewarding. HO overwhelms the senses with what is available. S and O don't have the same variety but aren't lacking either. Cost is another factor, but even high end plastic HO is priced too high. If you like kit bashing and custom painting lower end HO will be more reasonable. The cost of O and S seems high but comparing comparable equipment isn't really that much more than HO. An advantage to S or O is you can get away with buying less equipment and again modeling can bring the cost down like HO. Like others have asked, what are your interests and what would you like to model?

    Greg Elems
  14. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    Actually I chose O scale because it is cheaper. But then again I love scratch building too.

    I don't buy a lot of ready made stuff even when I was in HO so I don't know about O scale being expensive. If it was I wouldn't do it because I am on disability and pretty poor.

    Anyhow, I find it cheap enough.

    As for room needed, I put quite a bit into my 4 by 6 foot layout. Including a small yard, roundhouse, resort, lake, waterfall, river, mining area, bunkhouse area, warehouses, and more.
    So again I don't know about needing tons of space.

    As for the old Lionel or american flyer stuff, yes that can be expensive as most are collectors items.

    I work in O scale and for me it is both inexpensive and doesn't take up a ton of space. :)

    Hope that clears up some misconceptions I been reading here. :)

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