• In Praise of 'N'!

  • Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.
Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.

Moderators: 3rdrail, Otto Vondrak, stilson4283

  by johnthefireman
 
For many years I was planning to build my African profile model railway in N scale, thinking mainly of the available space and how N would allow the impression of the vastness of Africa. I had even begun collecting bits and pieces - very little African profile equipment is manufactured in N scale, so whenever I saw something that looked as if it might fit I would buy it.

Then one day I was visiting my elder sister in England, looking at my brother-in-law's OO scale layout, when she said to me bluntly (in the way that big sisters can), "As you get older with failing eyesight and clumsy fingers, how are you going to manage with the fiddly stuff in N scale? Shouldn't you use a larger scale?"

Soon after that my wife and I agreed that our 40 foot shipping container containing our solar power plant should become the model railway room, so that she could dedicate the basement to other more domestic uses, so the available space was no longer really an issue. I gave all my N scale bits and pieces to my brother-in-law in England to sell at swap meets and on eBay, and immediately started collecting OO/HO stuff. There is more African profile equipment available, and a much wider selection of things which are not African but look vaguely so. Now that I have actually started building the layout I am thankful that I chose the larger scale. My eyes and fingers would have struggled with N scale!
  by jmp883
 
I'm all for N! I started in HO back in the early '70s and thought that I'd stay with HO forever. My cousins had gotten into N scale about the same time that I was starting in HO. I was impressed with the small size of N but the detail and the poor operation of N scale locomotives left a lot to be desired. So as the '70s, and then the 80's go by I'm happily modeling in HO. As the 1990's began my parents moved out of state so my HO layout that was in their basement had to be dismantled. Unfortunately I had no room in my apartment for an HO layout so all my engines and rolling stock were boxed up and stored in the attic crawl space. Even though I was not actively modeling I was still visiting my local hobby shop a couple of times a month. About a year after my HO layout was torn down I was in my hobby shop when a customer was picking up an N-scale diesel. The shop owner put it on the test track to make sure it operated smoothly and I was impressed. I don't remember what model the diesel was of, but I do remember it was an Atlas model. After that customer left the store the shop owner showed me some Atlas and Kato locomotives and Micro-Trains freight cars. I left the shop that day with a Kato GE Dash 8 diesel, several M/T freight cars, and a bunch of Atlas track. A quick stop at a local home center on the way home to pick up a hollow-core door and my N-scale journey had begun. I've been in N since the mid 1990's and haven't regretted leaving HO at all. I'm now 55 years old and have no problem with the size of N. The quality of N just keeps getting better and better. The prices have gone steadily up over the years but N is still more affordable than HO. Even though I'm now living in a house of my own, with a full basement, I'm still operating the layout I originally built on that hollow core door! There are plans for expansion but there are several other projects that have priority.

I'm definitely one for N!
  by Allen Hazen
 
Commrcially available N-scale stuff has, I think, gotten much better over the decades. (Think: thickness of handrails on hood-type locomotives. But that's far from the only detail that has improved.). When I look a photos on N-scale stuff in current issues of, say, "Railroad Model Craftsman," I easily mistake it for HO: the detailing of modern N-scale equipment looks as good as HO used to.
  by FLRailFan1
 
As an N scaler, I love it. I've been an N scaler since 1968. Now, I am looking for a 3D printer to create some landmarks I can't get in N or any scale. I'd love to print out the Phoenix Mutual Building that's is in Hartford, Connecticut, the Plant City (Florida) Union Station and the visitor Platform, An octangular house, the Mark Twain House (Hartford, Connecticut), and others.
  by Engineer Spike
 
Back when I was young, foolish, and single, I had a bunch of B&M brass steamers. There were many car kits to go along with them. As time went on, the dream layout wasn’t in the cards. I sold all of it. One day I was at a hobby shop. They had a pair of n scale B&M GP9s. As a teen I had gotten to know the local B&M crews. Many miles were logged riding the old geeps. Those two were just the beginning.

The local club which I belong to has both HO and N groups. I switched to N and kept going. The details are so small that they matter less in N. This has allowed me to slap more equipment into service with less work. I still plan to do a freelance HO layout some day. For now the N scale has brought lots of good times.
  by Radioguy
 
I've heard of more and more older modelers who had dealt with N Scale go back to HO in their twilight years. I wonder if it's eyesight or dexterity that has them make the switch. As for me, not a kid either, I would have gone to Z were it as prolific and easy to replicate all current stock in that scale, but only for the fact I have limited space. N still takes up a bit, but HO, if you have the space, remains the cheapest to run despite N scale utilizing less materials, and I can't say I wouldn't veer back that way if I find room to sprawl. ;)