Starting in Sn3

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Xaniel, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. Xaniel

    Xaniel Member

    Hi all.

    Is there a way to start in Sn3? I've Kalmbach's GMR 2010, and saw Paulo Scoles layout out, I thought of having on little Sn3 train.

    Could some one help in this?

  2. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    starting in Sn3!

    Sn3 is an odd niche scale/ gauge combination. Ihe first thing to do, is to subscribe to The Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette, a very fine modeling magazine published by Benchmark Publications. they publish an issue every two months, and the quality of the modeling is excellent/ This magazine also publishes lots of drawings, and has articles on scratchbuilding. It is to my little backwoods mind, positively the best modeling magazine out there,

    They cover a considerable number of Sn3 projects, including Mr. Scoles beautiful work. There are a lot of adds for Sn3 stuff, and

    The beauty of SN3 is that the locomotives are very close to the size of Ho scale locomotives the gauge used is slightly smaller than HO standard gauge. with the larger scale , representing smaller narrow gauge equipment there is room for excessive detail, and yet still enough room to build a reaL railroad. The locomotives are of a size that there is room for motors and mechanisms, and enough weight on the rail head to get a good electrical path. Those of us who have strugggled with Hon3 can really appreciate that.

    Ok, now for disadvantages! Most folks have never heard of this stuff, so you will, unless you are very lucky, have to do your acquisitions via mail order.

    Now for cars you go to PBL. they have beautiful kits, that build up to fine models. These are not cheap, but they have astounding detail, similar to what you see on On3 models.

    with locomotives things get very limited. PBL imports locomotives. from what I understand they are designed to run, unlike a lot of brass imports. the detail on these animals is astounding, but they are pricey.

    There is an Australian outfit that makes kits for locomotives in white metal for Sn3 I'm thinking the name is Rail Masters, but I could be wrong.

    Other than those options there isn't much out there the pioneers in this scale gauge combination narrowed the frames of HO gauge locomotive mechanisms, pushed the wheels in on the axle, and cut the excess axle off, and this may be the cheapest way to start.

    In any case , unless you have mega bucks, this is a scale where you are not going to have a huge fleet of locomotives.

    this is a preliminary response , I'll do some research and get back with you. with any more info, including Hobby shops that would be knowledgeable about SN3

    Bill Nelson - - - Living mainly in the logging section, but going up Iron Mountain in Hon3 as well
  3. Xaniel

    Xaniel Member

    Hi there.

    Thank you so much.

    Well, I guess that Sn3 is a bit out of the question... but what about On30 or HOn3 (what is the diference between HOn3 and HOn30)?

    I really would like to get one or two trains in narrow gauge... They are really beautifull!!!

  4. S class

    S class Member

    If memory serves HOn3 is used for modelling the 3 ft gauge track of the colorado lines and such while HOn30 is for modelling the 2 ft 6 inch (30") track used in light industrial lines - I may be wrong and Mr Nelson can jump in whenever he likes.
  5. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    HOn3 /Hon30

    As S Class correctly states HOn3 is a scale representation of 3 foot (36 inch) gauge railroads, which the Colorado examples are the best documented, long lasting and most popular, but they existed all over .

    In Hon30, the rail is a scale 30 inches apart. there were some railroads built at this gauge, but they were not common at all. Mostly HON3 is what is referred to as a Rubber gauge; when the modeler is using the Hon30 equipment to represent 3 foot or 2 foot narrow gauge equipment.

    the main allure of HOn30 equipment is you can raid N scale locomotives for their mechanisms. and build HO scale superstructures to go on top, and there are kits available .

    A similar thing is going on in O scale, with On30, except it has been h more comercially supported, with Bachman making many very nice looking highly detailed locomotives, and Peco makes track which is gauged just like HO track, but Has O scale ties.

    The biggest disadvantage to HOn3 is the lack of motive power except for brass; unless you want to model the D & R G W, with their big Mikados, which Blackstone makes beautiful relable models of. Most of the brass HOn3 locomotives are Colorado prototypes, and require some fiddling in order to make them run relably.

    If you want Narrow gauge off the shelf that runs reliably ON30 stuff is your best bet, the Bachman stuff is very well detailed and is designed to go around 18 inch radius curves. The prototypes of some of this stuff were locomotives built for export, in any case it is not the standard Colorado stuff, so it handy for building a freelance railroad in any location.

    Bill Nelson
  6. Xaniel

    Xaniel Member

    I love Narrow gauge, but I think =n30 it is too large. That's why I started to think about HOn3 (Blackstone is really great, from photos) or Sn3. But I saw that Sn3 it too much expensive just for fun.

    So, On30 or HOn3... hmm.... I really don't know...
  7. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    As mentioned, Railmasters offers Sn3 kits. They are nicely engineered from what I've heard but are kits non the less. For quick and cheap narrow gauge, Bachmann On30 is probably the easiest. Remember the trains are O scale just narrow gauge cars and engines so the buildings are still O scale as are the people and automobiles. Check out the On30 conspiracy for some discussion and ideas on that size narrow gauge.
    Another option is Sn42 which uses HO track, which equals 42" narrow gauge. For a North American prototype Newfoundland railroad was 42" gauge and ran with diesels till the mid 1980's. There is a yahoo group for that too.
    Good luck.
  8. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    As Greg states On30 is an easy option. The Bachman locomotives are nicely detailed and the ones I have seen run well, although the little porters suffer some from electrical pick up issues found in nost tiny locomotives.

    The Bachman locomotives are engineered for 18 inch radius curves, and many will go tighter with or without modifications.

    That said O scale stuff is really big, and eats a lot of space, as everything is twice as long, twice as wide, and twice as tall as a model of the same thing in HO, so by volume an o scale model is eight times the size of the same thing in HO.

    O have some On30 stuff, which I intend to spread to 0n3 as well as a very interesting On3 early Shay, but that shay wants a 20 inch radius curve. I was thinking about making a portable layout with them, but size issues make fitting what I want to do very difficult.

    I have folded most of the energy I was thinking of spending on that effort back into HOn3. I have an HOn3 outfit on my railroad, and there is one at my club as well. FED 2-6-0s and 4-4-0s can be had in the $120- $150 range. out of the box they run very poorly (tender drive with no pick up on the locomotive). adding electrical pick up to the locomotive makes them run OK, and a remotor kit from locoDoc (aproximately $100) will make them into very fine running beasts indeed. the detail is simple, or crude, depending on your outlook, but reportedly they will go down to a 12 inch radius, and compared to the 0n30 stuff they are micro-tiny.

    There is some RTR stuff showing up in HOn3, specifically Colorado prototype Mikados (large for my taste) and Colorado rolling stock. Hon3 has a large amount of rolling stock kits available, as well as commercial track. Much of the old brass locomotives need tweaking to get them to run well, and that was the biggest drag on the Hon3 market.

    Bill Nelson
  9. S class

    S class Member

    may I throw down for Sn3 1/2 modelers here in oz use it to represent the 3' 6" state lines of western australia and tasmania, the advantage is that HO track comes 'close enough' for the guage so HO mechanisms and wheel sets can be used on HO radius

    the big down side is apart from some limited run/brass kits availiable from specific suppliers (of which I have no links) of the aforementioned Australian prototypes much of what you are doing will be scratch building and kit bashing.

    actually I think its used in New Zealand to represent their 3' 6" lines as well so there may be models from there if that takes your fancy (it would give you a good reason to come down under for a "holiday" (read: railfan).
  10. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    S class, you are so right, 42" gauge is popular down under. I sure spaced on that. :D New Zealand had some neat looking English Electric diesels in the 1950's IIRC. There is a Fine Scale manufacturer in New Zealand that has some awsome kits, off hand I don't recall his name.

  11. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

  12. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the link , interesting stuff

    Bill Nelson
  13. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    here is a link to the railmasters stuff with some American prototypes, these kits are not cheap, but have stainless steel tires, and the mechanisms are built, so you only have to build the Superstructure. I'd especially be interested in the 18-c Baldwin 4-4-0, had I not already put my foot too deep in the on3 puddle, hard enough to justify playing in two scales, three is right out at this time.

    Bill Nelson

Share This Page