On30 Spectrum

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by choffman41, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. choffman41

    choffman41 Certified Grump

    Well, I found the loco I want, Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 outside frame. Seems like they only make it in On30. Never having looked at this scale, I'm wondering if it's going to look grossly out of scale on a HO layout. Any suggestions appreciated.
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Yes, it will look rossly out of scale. You should checl out Harold's website - Pacific Coast Air Line Railway - Modeling On30 I hope I got the URL correct. Anyway, he has gone from On30 to OO to Sn36 and back to On30 all on the same layout with the same HO gauge track. If you have an HO layout that is mostly scenery, you can run On30 on occasion, just for fun, and it will look okay. It may not fit through your tunnels and your passing sidings may be too close for the train to pass. But it will look rediculously oversized next to HO structures or rolling stock.

  3. hminky

    hminky Member

    The On30 2-8-0 will not run on an HO layout. It is much too big. It probably has a hard time running on most On30 layouts.

  4. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Once you get your head around what the different scales are, and the nomenclature, you'll have a better understanding of what On30 means.

    The scales in the picture are named (for no apparent reason) going small-to-large Z, N, HO, S, O, No. 1.

    Now, to add to the confusion, those names (HO, for example) only apply to standard gauge trains (that is, "normal" trains that you see every day.

    But, some railroads were built with tracks that were not "standard" gauge. Some were narrower.

    So now you see scale names (like "O") with a lower-case "n" and a number. The "n" means narrow gauge, and the number is the gauge of the rails in inches.

    So On30 is an O-scale model that runs on 30" narrow-gauge track.

    So would it run on an HO layout? Sure. On30 track is HO gauge. As long as the clearances were large enough for the bigger model.

    Would it make sense? Well, it's your railroad, you can do what you want with it... but it would look about as natural as the Sta-Puft marshmallow man waddling down Park Avenue! :D
  5. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Of course if it's the loco that really turns your crank, there's no reason you can't build an On30 layout. Just be prepared to make room for those bigger buildings, since they're going to take up 4x more real estate than their HO counterparts.
  6. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I've run my On30 equipment on our HO club layout, when no one is looking. Definitely looks out of scale and won't go through any tunnels and the clearances are too close. On30 is a great scale for use where you want larger models in a limited space but you need to realize that it requires O scale buildings and scenery to look right.
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    HO track is great for rubber gaugers (or scalars)! You can run Gn15, On30, Sn42, British OO, and regular HO - all on the same track. And if you can brave the ridicule of others, you can even couple up On30 and HO and some of the others in the same train! :twisted:

    having fun yet?
  8. electric130

    electric130 Member

    at the local train shop, i put a spectrum on30 boxcar next to a HO 40 ft reefer and they were almost the same size. i put the spectrum on30 shay next to several HO steamers and they were almost the same size. same thing with the spectrum on30 climax. i was going to do On30, but after i saw them in person, i was disappointed in the small size for "O". they look way too small next to O scale buildings IMO. so i'm sticking with HO since it's cheaper and there's more stuff available.
  9. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Well duh... they're narrow gauge. :p ;)

    They're small. They're supposed to be.

    It's so you can model 1:48 scale in a smaller space.
  10. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I can see where you are coming from but the On30 equipment is small. A bachmann 2 cylinder shay was small. I believe it was modeled after a 12 or 14 ton loco. If you compare it to a small O scale, standard gauge loco you would get a better comparison. Also, if you can find any HOn3 equipment, compare them to standard gauge HO equipment and you will find the HOn3 is smaller. I have both On30 and Standard gauge HO and its like trying to compare apples and oranges. Two different creatures. Remember, those Bachmann freight cars are a scale 25 feet long and you were comparing them to a probable 40 foot HO car.
  11. electric130

    electric130 Member

    i know what you are both saying. i was responding to the OP. i'm not a "rivet counter" though, so looks are more important that prototypical scale to me. if it doesn't look right, i don't care if it is to scale, i don't want it. now i haven't compared the engine the OP is specifically talking about, but the On30 stuff i've seen would look just fine on an HO layout.
  12. electric130

    electric130 Member

    found this on another site. On30 shay on the left. HO shay on the right.

  13. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Ummm.... those are both the same scale. The one on the right has been modified from an HO shay, but the cab has been raised to fit On30.
  14. electric130

    electric130 Member

    but either would look fine next to HO buildings.
  15. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    My personal opinion (for what thats worth). No, the Shay doesn't look right next to HO buildings. It didn't look right when I ran it on our HO scale layout. It doesn't look right when parked next to my HO scale engine house and it definitely doesn't look right when parked next to a Bachmann HO scale three truck Shay. The Bachmann 2-8-0 that was the original subject of the post is much larger and would look even more out of proportion. And then there is the HO scale people situation.
  16. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Outside frame locomotives are almost always narrow gauge.

    And what railroad is that photo from? A Maine two-footer, I presume - so then what road is the standard gauge loco?
  17. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Whatever floats your boat, but I think it looks dumb:

    Attached Files:

  18. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    If you are going to run On30 on an existing layout, you've got to watch for clearance, since they are much wider:

    Attached Files:

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