Switching to N scale any tips

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Edavillenut, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. Edavillenut

    Edavillenut Member

    i am switching over to N scale because of space issues and plan on building the woodland scenics and atlas Scenic ridge. ita a 3x6 but im strecthing it to 3x8. i use to and still do HO so i have to start from scratch.
  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Oh boy!! Oh Boy!! I get to tell my story!!!! :wave: :rolleyes: :wave:

    The 3 "designers" of the original MF&W Railroad....Mike (me) Fred & Wayne, were looking at our HO layout & trying to decide how to re-design it for a nicer operation, One of us said that we might be better off in N!

    We decided to post a notice on a few area hobby shops Bulliten Boards (real cork :) ) that we had some HO for sale. 2 weeks later someone contacted us. I asked for about $300.00 back then - 1984 and he paid it :)

    Fred & I met him at 10:00 am on a Saturday and compleated the sale. We then drove right to our LHS & bought $300.00 worth of N gauge stuff! :D

    We went back to my house & started designing & building the N Gauge DM&IR RR.

    I've been going by "N Gauger" ever since. :D

    As for tips.... From experience....

    First always remember that most everything will be 1/2 the size. As in track distances covered. (it takes more straight to go the same distance)

    The Curves are Tighter and all the scenery distances will be halved (takes more buildings & Scenery to cover the same square footage)

    Also - we had a hill on ours - we discovered that you don't have to climb as high to make tunnels in N and you only need about 1/2 the length of the grade as compaired to HO :)

    Last, it took us a bit of time to get used to the scale of the hills & mountains. The same size mountains in HO were doubled for N (a 1ft tall hill in HO was scale 87 ft - while in N it would be 174 ft)

    Lots more operating space in the same amount of benchwork :)
  3. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Shawn, I agree with everything Mikey says.

    What I did to start was to download the free track planning software from Atlas. I used it to design my track plan and where my buildings/scenery was going to be located. Then I printed out the plan in 1:1 scale and laid it on the floor where my layout would be. It gave me a great "feel" for what would be there when the benchwork was built.

    There is no substitute for planning, but having said that I did modify one section of the track plan once I progress to the cork phase.

    Good luck on yours.
  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I will add this..Like in HO try to use the biggest curves you can.Your long wheel base locomotives and cars will look and operate better on wider curves.. :thumb:
    Take your time laying your track..I found N scale less forgiving then HO when it comes to track work and will quickly show you the errors of your ways by derailing as I have found out in times past. :( Also remember a lot of the disciplines you learn in HO will work in N scale. :D
  5. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Tratior. :D Fred/HO moderator
  6. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Now just you be kind Fred. Many of us had our start in HO or something like that. For me it was Hornbys DUBLO. Now we are confirmed N gaugers.
  7. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    (Mikey Whispers to Robin) I hope Fred doesn't remember "my layout" :D :D :D :D You really never know what scale someone models in. :p :p :p :p

    ~~ N Gauger...or is it G?????? Or Z??

  8. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Pssst, I'm thinking on switching to tin. :) Fred
  9. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    :eek: :eek: :eek: ROFL Too Funny!!!!!
  10. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Interesting story mikey. Often wonder how you came up with that name. Guess we all know now LOL :D :D
  11. belg

    belg Member

    Well Shawn, my biggest tip would be to build some structures and other scenery items first and see if your eyes and hands are nibble enough to make the transition, also see if you can find everything you want in your area as it was alot harder for me and forget about being represented at train shows very little product ever seems to make it there. I'm changing in the other direction N to HO for those reasons and I would like to see some more detail. Pat
  12. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    I'm another HO conversion. Now that I've tinkered with N for awhile I don't think I'd go back to HO. Though it did finally make me accept getting glasses for my eyeballs ;) I've really enjoyed the 'fine detail' that goes into making N look good. Trains now run far better than 20 years ago, so I don't recommend you buy older locos, but I've picked up lots of rolling stock for cheap via Ebay (along with all of my track). The 'scale' of things is a big adaptation...I really have trouble envisioning how a structure or mountain will look without placing it on the layout or parking a train in front of it. You always think things will be/should be larger than is really necessary until you get used to it.
  13. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Duplicate post. :oops:
  14. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    I made the transition the other way around: I started 1969 in N and had quite a layout.
    Then I discovered scratchbuilding, so I built a few freight cars and modified (americanized) some European locomotives. And then (this was in 1973!) I discovered that there were only very few detailing parts which you could buy, while in H0 (and 0) there was a giant selection of parts from Cal-Scale, Kemtron, Walthers and whatnot...

    Since I had to give up my RR room (my wife expected our baby) I decided to make the jump to H0 narrow gauge. Today the situation on the market has changed, and sometimes I'm not quite sure if I ever had switched to H0, if the assortment and variety had been that big 25 years ago. But now my eyes are telling me that the choice wasn't too bad after all - N details are harder to see...

    In N you have more space for sweeping lines through a broad landscape, bigger yards, more operation possibilities as in H0 in the same space. But unfortunately the price of N items isn't 1/2 of the H0 prices, so be prepared to spend some more money than on a H0 layout! And you certainly will have to buy/build LOTS of more trees when you build up even a decent forest! :D

    So you see, there are pros and cons - well, as for almost anything...

  15. Edavillenut

    Edavillenut Member

    well getting the products isent a problem because i run a hobby shop with my parents im only 18. i belong to an HO scale train club and am building a ho layout in the store. but i want something i can mess around with at night when theres nothing on tv and im to tired to go work on the 68 mustang. i have way to many hobbys. plus i am scratch building a On2 Edaville steam locomotive. and just finished up a On@ B+B Diesel edaville loco
  16. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    Probably should change his name to "N/G Gauger" :D
  17. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    LOL b28_82 :D :D
  18. sschaer

    sschaer Member

    back to topic....

    it might sound harsh but it's out of my experience. if you don't have the money to get the very best products then better stay off n scale. it might be a very annoying experience otherwise. been there done that.

    for locos there's nothing better than kato. second place goes to atlas. everything else is crap.
    for rolling stock i'd recommend intermountain, lbf, red caboose, atlas, micro-trains.

    of course this is only my opinion based on 3 decades of model railroading. also based on a few thousand bucks spent on bad products. didn't know better then.
  19. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    In light of what sschaer said let me assure you by shopping the Internet you can find some good deals on Atlas and Kato locomotives..Also do not rule out the newer Life Like GP18 and 20.These are just as good as Atlas and Kato..BTW Atlas has the biggest selection of locomotives by far :thumb: :D .Now just like HO you want the quality locomotives and cars.
    Now as a heads up you will find a hodge podge of couplers on N scale locomotives and cars..Sometimes from the same manufacturer. :( The solution to this problem is to use Micro Train(MT) couplers which is the KD coupler of N scale and perhaps the standard N scale coupler.
  20. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Cmon now Sandro,not everything is crap.Life like put out a damnd fine 2-8-8-2
    And Ive got a Bachmann 2-8-0 Connie that Purrs so sweet you would think it was a Kato.
    Granted the bulk of the offerings over the years were crap but manufacturers that once were never even considered by serious enthusiasts have taken great pains to improve thier products and they have had some successes.

    Pay attention to reviews.Go back into the forum archives here and some of the others to get a feel for the steamers that make the grade in N scale.And by all means get the Nscale mags,both of them if you can.N scale railroading if you can only get 1 Kirk reddings got vision and even after only a few years and starting on a shoestring he has put out a fine magazine.
    Biggest differance i found when i changed over was Perspective.You can pack an awful lot into even small area's.An HO servicing terminal area as an example will in the same area not only handle the entire servicing area,but a complete metropolitan City and perhaps some industry to boot.N scale lends itself well to modelling large industries like Steel and Paper mill complexes with all the trackage if an industrial railroad were of interest.

    Do yourself a favor,Go DCC immediatly,dont wait,get it Now!!! How about a nice stamer with DCC and a soundtrax decoder?them ol club boys would be soooooo jelous ;)

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