PROTO:87 vs. Regular "Standard" HO

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by TruckLover, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Im not sure what im doing right now lol. I keep having these thoughts of ripping my layout i just started right now and modeling the M&ET shortline ive been talking about. But then im also just thinking of doing modules for the M&ET and keeping my layout im doing right now. I find myself thinking about tearing the layout apart and modeling the M&ET, but then the day after i had those thoughts, ill work on the current layout more and make some more progress on it which was the case today lol. Im fairly certain i am going to keep my layout right now and just model the M&ET on modules. i know that sounds crazy, to have an active layout and working on modules for another layout at one time, but i can do it and it can be done if i really find the urge to do so lol

    Even then however when modeling the M&ET on the modules, i dont need BIG turnouts like #6's as the locos of the M&ET are small 70-Toners and SW1500's that can handle TIGHT curves and SMALL turnouts like #4's and 18" radius curves.... This is why modeling PROTO:87 on these modules of the M&ET wouldnt work. I just dont need those broad radius and large turnouts, especially since they would look pretty werid in the large and heavy industrial based M&ET modules.....

    Im really at a loss for PROTO:87. I still would LOVE to model it, but right now, i just dont have the space to model it
  2. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I would love to switch to P87. It looks wonderful and, to me, would be completely worth it. The only problem is that I'm a steam only guy (with an exception for honorary steam engines, NKP PA-1s). While all your diesels would merely need a wheelset swap, I would need to either find a source (probably the British P4s from Romford) for 73", 69", 63", and various other drivers, or I'd need to get a lathe. I have a few hundred cars...but I would switch if I could find a way to get my 40 locomotives converted without extreme measures.

    Perhaps you should check out

    I really enjoy my On3 modeling for it is all finescale like Proto:87. When the scale was developed, the just measured the prototype and divided by 48. The only eye sore for me is my Code 100 rail...which is about as heavy as was used on 3' gauge railroads.

    If I was you, I'd get a little bit of the proto:87 stuff to toy with. That way, when you do have more space, you can consider it. I don't really have enough space for the On3 layout I'd like...especially when it comes to passenger trains...but that hasn't stopped me from working on the rolling stock and structures that I'll eventually want. All purchases are geared around the future layout (or getting the current layout to an acceptable level of completion). Since you are even younger than me, you can definitely plan more for the future than most of our fellow modelers whom are building for the present. Pushing yourself, with different techniques such as P87 will help you to be a better modeler once you have the space to consider it...and you'll know whether you like it or not...something which can impact what you purchase now.

    Check out this layout...(On3, so sort of like P87 in standards)
  3. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    The proto wheels in the photo are not merely smaller in diameter - they appear to be slight more closely spaced on the axle as well. Maybe it's just a trick of the photo that makes it appear that way?


    In this photo the flanges of the proto wheels are clearly inside the flanges of the regular HO ones, despite the slight offset of the models. Optical illusion?
  4. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    It is an optical illusion, but good work catching it! HO track is in just has some out of scale tolerances.

    On the other hand, British OO vs. EM & P4...or our 1:48 O scale & O-27 vs. Proto:48, does have gauge issues. Our O-scale, both 2 and 3 rail, is 5' gauge.

    The optical illusion is on the thread being 2x the scale width...look closely at the flanges...they are the same distance apart.

    The ugliest part of converting a steam locomotive to Proto:87 is that the drivers may need to be cut in half/shaved to be thinner :eek:
  5. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks for the links, Those Sergent Couplers look really cool. Ill have to look more into them :mrgreen:

    I do want to get a few of the PROTO:87 switches and switch a couple pieces of rolling stock and maybe an engine or 2 and use them on a module that i could build just for PRORO:87 to see how i like it :mrgreen: I hope one day in the future i can do my whole layout with PROTO:87 when i have alot more space to work with lol
  6. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I first thought the same exact thing, so i asked the yahoo group and they told me that it was not smaller. The standard axle length in HO is 1.015" and it is the same in PROTO:87 although other axle lengths are available as also are custom axle lengths
  7. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Ah so..."supplies, supplies", said the Chinese railroad worker. :cool:
  8. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    Hello, again TL. Doing some more looking - FINE:HO seems to be referenced as "code 88" for wheels, which may be usable on standard HO trackwork (with some allowances,as mentioned by pgandw) - check this -

    Maybe some more proto looks w/o major reconstruction (still some $, though) - still checking. Bob
  9. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Thanks Bob, Code 88 wheelsets was what i was going to use and replace all my wheels with before i found out about PROTO:87 lol. I think im still going to replace all my rolling stock wheels with Branchline Code 88 metal wheels though, it will improve the cars alot. Code 88 also works with Standard HO....
  10. Yes, this is my conundrum - P:87 or Free-mo........
  11. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    if you want Branchline wheels, check out

    Free-mo. I'll be building a few Free-mo modules some day.

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