Prepairing to begin again

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by LoudMusic, Oct 7, 2006.

  1. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Wow, good article. And very appealing scale & gauge, assuming there's much in the way of kits.

    The thing I do like about narrow gauge is that the models are detailed, easy to see, easy to handle, curiosly different, but you still get small radius and the ability to have lots of trains. They also generally run quite unique cars with exposed loads, like spine logging cars or some such. It's so different from standard gauge where nearly everything is enclosed and boxy.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    He did a very entertaining presentation to go along with the article too... :)

    I think you have hit the nail on the head, so to speak. The O scale and larger narrow gauges offer the advantages of 1) A scale size you can see (tried Nn30 recently...:rolleyes: ?), 2) Space requirements similar to HO, 3) Some kits, and lots of scratch/bashing opportunities, and 4) visual appeal.

    Good luck with the decision!

  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The scale thing boils down to which has a higher priority to you - the 20-30 car trains (N)or the kit building (HO). Unfortunately, one or the other has to dominate given your space.

    The feasibility of narrow gauge again depends on your priorities. On30 has a very nice selection of both RTR and kits. And 10 car trains look quite realistic. Another huge advantage of On30 is that you can run your HO standard gauge stuff when you don't mind the out of scale scenery and structures. The big disadvantage of On30 is the BIG size of structures and scenery. There's no such thing as a 3" x 5" structure except as a small equipment hut or shed.

    HOn3 has a very limited amount of RTR, as does HOn30. But in both cases, craftsman kit building and/or kit bashing is mandatory to get all your rolling stock. This is not to dissuade you - I enjoy both HOn3 and HO 19th century myself. In these scales, 18" is a very practical minimum radius (probably overkill for HOn30), and 22" will handle the largest eqipment in HOn3. Strucutures and scenery are of course HO scale.

    Flex track and turnouts are available in On30, HOn3, and HOn30 if you choose to forego the joys of handlaid track.

    my thoughts, your choices
  4. R. MARTIN

    R. MARTIN Member

    I think you're right about the scale - it pretty much sets the mood of the whole endevour. I'd never really looked at a narrow gauge before, other than thinking that guys who model narrow gauge are generally a little bit kooky [​IMG] I think my reason for avoiding it is lack of availability, but maybe that's not an issue anymore. Do you have any suggestions for online HO narrow gauge shops and information?

    I have found some narrow gaugers a bit "kooky" myself. I came up through the ranks, I started with N-scale some 35yrs ago. I choose that scale for the same reason many here choose it, lot's of multi-track operating in a small space. The pricing at that time was really about the same as the HO scale equipment but there was far less of it. I grew very tired of the poor performance and limited equipment. If I'm sometime critical of Atlas and Bachmann products it's because I probably have payed for several of their Christmas bonuses. 25yrs ago I switched to HO and very much enjoyed the smoother performance but the details in many of the manufacturers still wasn't what I wanted. Hand-layed track or sectional was just about all there was back then. Flex track was very new and many hobby shops didn't carry it yet. I was challenged by a hobby shop owner to try hand-laying nickel-silver rail on wooden ties. He sold the needed materials with the promise that if I didn't enjoy it he'd give me my money back. I have to say, after seeing the quality diiference, I have never looked back. I switched to Narrow Gauge HOn3 due to the harsh landscaping that can be modeled.
    Several letters back in this thread there are images of modules which are in various configurations. Why not lower the height of some of those tables to allow for bridges crossing deep canyons? That way you have the ability to build up and to drop down in your scenery.
    Here are some sights you might want to glance at:
  5. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Ah, forgot to mention.

    GENIOUS! I can easily insert a riser board on each end of one module to raise a section, and another pair on the other side of the layout just to keep the whole thing squared up. This is probably the most valuable suggestion I've gotten out of this thread. Much appreciated. When I get home (where that file is) I'll mock up a few examples in Sketchup.
  6. R. MARTIN

    R. MARTIN Member

    The tabletop can drop all the way to the floor if you want. Nothing says that the scenery can't sit on extremly short legs(just enough room for adjustable feet). The tracks height to the floor stays uniform but the illusion effect can be quite dramatic.
  7. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Definitely. I think that to the floor might be more cliff-face than I want to model ;) I will experiment with maybe as much as a 1x12 riser between the two 1x4 frames of modules. That would give quite a large lift that wouldn't need special legs, assuming the two adjoining modules are standard height.

    Ugh! I wish I could get to my home computer. I want to play with this right now! :) :)
  8. R. MARTIN

    R. MARTIN Member

    LoudMusic, Keep me posted on your progress.
  9. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    I'm having trouble with scale / gauge.

    The absolute #1 most important thing to me is watching trains run. I find it exceedingly relaxing at the end of a crappy day to just sit back and watch trains meander through 'scenery'. I've got a pile of HO stuff on the dining room table with a loop of track and a short train that I've just sat and watched a few days now and somehow it's "enough". For now. :)

    N scale provides me with 'longer' trains (in car count only), with more trackage options. Very cool.
    HO scale standard gauge provides me with any level of car kit that I could possibly want to assemble. Also very cool.
    O scale n30 gauge provides me with a much more fun scale, unique trains, and 'rollercoaster' tracks. Super cool.

    N scale offers little to no car kits. BOOO.
    HO scale would be somewhat limited on trackage, and shorter trains. Meh, boo.
    On30 I currently have the impression would cause me to not be able to afford any other hobbies. BOOO.

    I'm working on table configs currently - trying a hand at the elevated and de-elevated table sections using SketchUp. So far so good! I like what I'm seeing. I'll post a picture or two before I go to bed. Right now the wife keeps interrupting me with "what do you think about this picture for the living room?"
  10. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The prime manufacturer missing from the On30 list is Bachmann. Their train sets pulled by 2-6-0s (don't know if they are still in production) went for less than $200. For the most part, they ran very nicely. Bachmann makes/has made the following locomotives in On30:

    2-6-0 $125 or less
    0-4-0 $60 or less
    0-4-2T $70 or less
    2-8-0 outside frame - don't know price
    2 truck Shay $150- $200
    2 truck Climax $150-$200
    diesel critter - less than $100

    Plus there are passenger and freight cars. And various other manufacturers offer ktis for backdating or customizing the Bachmann locos. I salivate over the variety and reasonable prices of On30 every time I go in my LHS, and wish we had the same in HOn3. Don't know how much more you could ask for. If it weren't for the scenery and structure space required (that I don't have) for the scenes I want to replicate on my layout, I would have jumped ship to O over a year ago.

    All but the very largest On30 locos are designed to run on 18" radius, so your 20" should work quite nicely.

    Go to Harold Minkwitz's site for the saga of a fellow who has done HO, OO, and On30 on the same 4x8 track layout, and has a lot of fun doing it.

    my thoughts, your choices
  11. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Good luck on your decision

    You know, I went through this same argument some time ago. I had HO stock and some locos left over from my childhood. I tried to resurrect it all and keep with HO for my new layout. I have a 9'10 x 10'10 room for my layout and keeping with the HO, I went for it. Now in retrospect, I wish I would have gone with N scale with the room I have; I feel the room I have is too small to support HO.

    I'm not sure where this was going. Don't be afraid to ditch everything and start over.

    My 2 cents worth.
  12. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    I can totally understand shelling out for good locos, and I have no doubt that I will no matter the scale or gauge. But the cheapest On30 frieght cars I've found were $25 a piece. Eight cars at that price added to a $150 loco is suddenly a $350 train. That seems like a lot when I can get what appears (to me) to be similar quality HO or N scale cars for perhaps half that cost. And I feel I will spend more on cars than on anything else, or perhaps everything else put together. Three or four locos, and sixty+ cars to drag around in circles and leave at various sidings. I guess I need to get to my LHS and see what he has to say about supply.

    I fully agree. One thing I am not afraid to do is box up everything I have and stick it in the attic. But figuring out what goes in its place is currently the hard part :)
  13. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    2x4 tables in an 8x12 configuration with various risers.


    Close-ups on their way.
  14. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Close-up, 8" riser.

  15. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    6" risers on the end section.

  16. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    4 Inch spacers to compensate for the risers on the opposite run.


    This one and the others make it obvious that either the holes would have to be set in different locations so that the boards were flush with the table surface or I'd have to use foam shims. Foam shims work for me.
  17. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    LOL That is one on me. I am always recommending people make models of thier models but that's the first time I seen a 3d version the way you did it. Very cool, I like it.

    Well after reading these three pages about what you want etc etc etc, my personal opinion is this.
    You would get the most out of N scale.
    Second, make sure everything fits through a doorway even with scenery on it. Make it in sections.
    Three, put casters on each section. Bolt them together the way they do modules.
    Four, ignore everyone and just have fun :D:D:D LOL

    Seriously though, I think a module approach with N scale is best for what you have said you wanted.

    Hope that helps.
  18. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    I built some paper models of another model train concept I had, and part way through I discovered SketchUp and essentially fell in love with it :) It's free, it's easy to use, and I can build anything I want. Woohoo!

    I'd offer to do some 3D models of things for other people but I'm afraid it would get out of hand. I'd rather everyone who is interested just download the program from Google and work on their own. It's really easy and intuitive and I think you'd like it. It doesn't take much of a computer either, though I've got a haus of a machine at work.
  19. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    One of the things I like about this method is that even at 8x12 arrangement in either of my rooms there's still room to add in risers. In the example I made here there is only an additional 2.25 inches of width, where I have 4 inches to work with. Plenty of room.
  20. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If those raised (or lowered) moduls will be permanent, you could incorporate the riser into the end plate of the module, and save yourself some space...


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