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shadowtiger25

Thinking of changing scales

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shadowtiger25

So I have done HO scale for years, I like the finer detail and size.

However, I'm getting a bit tired of the price of Japanese HO, and as Im thinking of having a home layout one day that spans most if not all of a main line, Im beginning to think  that N-scale would be better for that kind of project as it would take up far less space.

The problem is I only need a few locomotives to complete my HO fleet...

However the price I'm looking at for those, I could have a whole fleet in N-scale for the same price.

Even if I switch I would keep most if not all my HO to take to clubs and shows, but have N for a home layout.

None of that is including the fact that everything else that I would need for a layout in HO is hard to find or I have to build from scratch.

What should I do? Should I start a N scale collection, or just finish what I had Planed in HO with a much smaller layout later on?

 

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chadbag

Only you can answer that.

 

I chose N because it is less money, and you can do more in the given amount of space.   And I think it looks more "realistic" from a layout perspective if you look at the complete layout at once since you can see more "real life" area at once -- ie, more immersive.  Again, that is just *my* perception in looking at other folks' layouts (as I am still table top for now).

 

I did not have a previous commitment to anything so did not have to answer your questions, so my experience is not your experience.  But you have laid out good reasons to make the move.

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cteno4

Chad hit all the big ones.

 

I do love the detail you can do in HO. But the rabbit hole there is if you start to get into detailing then on HO you have to really do it to the same level everywhere as it’s large enough to see it most everywhere. N scale you can cheat quite a bit and play with the mind’s eye a lot more both on small details as well as bigger scenery spaces. While I like detailing, I love playing withnthe mind’s eye more in modeling that just detailing.

 

n scale does give the ability to get really detailed dioramic doing small modules like Ttrak or into doing some pretty big scenes in relatively small spaces.

 

It also nice to see a cool train and then go get the model as so much is done in n scale.

 

but again it is really personal decision based on your own joys, money, space, etc.

 

jeff

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katoftw

Cheaper

Can do more with space

More availability in reference to Japanese trains

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shadowtiger25

Well, 

1 hour ago, chadbag said:

 

I chose N because it is less money, and you can do more in the given amount of space.   And I think it looks more "realistic" from a layout perspective if you look at the complete layout at once since you can see more "real life" area at once -- ie, more immersive.

which is more of what I want to do. I was at the club I'm current;y a member at standing over the N-scale, and looking at the HO realizing that so much more was done on the N in 1/5th the space. I want to do a whole main line, with enough room between towns to have some country scenes. Not a small feet in HO.

1 hour ago, chadbag said:

I did not have a previous commitment to anything so did not have to answer your questions, so my experience is not your experience.  But you have laid out good reasons to make the move.

This is one of my problems. I have several thousand dollars in my HO scale collection. And I just recently expanded it....

 

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shadowtiger25

Basically I dont know if I want to make the investment to buy and have 2 scales at once since I already have so much in one.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I like sound to my trains. With N I can hook up can speakers around a layout, but it is nice to have sound come from the train, which is one of the reasons I like HO

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gavino200
13 hours ago, shadowtiger25 said:

Basically I dont know if I want to make the investment to buy and have 2 scales at once since I already have so much in one.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I like sound to my trains. With N I can hook up can speakers around a layout, but it is nice to have sound come from the train, which is one of the reasons I like HO

 

Hi shadowtiger, I've been thinking about your dilemma for a while. I didn't post because I think all the technical aspects of the two scales have been well covered. I think, likely the deciding factor will be more emotional than technical. My scale story is this. I had OO gauge (European HO) trains when I was a kid. I loved them, but I remember seeing the much less common (at that time and place) n-scale trains in hobby shops a few times. My Dad immediately steered me away from them. I don't know if they were particularly expensive back then, or if my Dad didn't want to start going down a whole new rabbit hole. I'll never know and it doesn't matter. But I remember I just loved how tiny the n scale trains were. I've always loved tiny things. Now, when getting back into trains as an adult, I bolted straight for n scale. I'll never know if part of the 'reason' is that they were the forbidden fruit from my childhood, or if I'd love them anyway. I'm fairly comfortable, so time is more of an issue than money with regard to the trains. I'd choose n-scale even if it were double the price of HO scale. And I enjoy all of the valid "pro n scale" reasons listed above, but they aren't of prime importance. I just love the smaller N-scale trains. We also have a bunch of HO trains now, that we run around the house on the floors. We have a few trains in both HO and N scale. I love just holding the n scale locos in my hands, whereas  the HO locos seem giant and grotesque to me. It's purely emotional.

 

I'd recommend that you postpone any decision for a few weeks or even months. Stop focusing on the technical aspects. Think about how you feel about the scales. "Hobby" is just a euphemism for "toys for old boys". The right scale is the one that makes you most happy. A suggestion - forget about the dilemma for a week. Then go to the best hobby shop you know. Walk around. Spend a while in the HO section. Spend a while in the n-scale section. Which section do you want more to be in.

 

Also, regarding "investing money" in trains. Forget about it. Resale is just a fraction, and we buy them anyway just because we want them. They're a complete luxury. Almost super-luxury. Think about your trains more as an "entertainment expense", than an investment. Spend your money on what entertains you most. That's my two pennies.

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chadbag
15 hours ago, shadowtiger25 said:

One thing I forgot to mention is that I like sound to my trains. With N I can hook up can speakers around a layout, but it is nice to have sound come from the train, which is one of the reasons I like HO

 

sound in the locomotive/train is supported in N-scale as well.   I have a couple trains with sound -- some I installed and at least one out of the box (granted, not Japanese ones but I will be installing sound in a few Japanese ones as well).   There are small decoders with sound capability and now with small cell-phone scale speakers you can fit it in a small locomotive (some of the time -- and if not, in a sound car towed with the locomotive).

 

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maihama eki

I spent a lot of years working on 1930s era U.S. railroading in HO.  I loved the steam locomotives, rolling stock, the general prevalence of railroads of that era, the period scenes, and automobiles.  For this era and location, there is far more HO stuff available than any other scale.  I collected a lot of nice brass locomotives and rolling stock and had built a large number of rolling stock kits, automobiles and trucks, and very nice craftsman-type structures to populate an eventual layout.

 

From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, I started traveling to Japan frequently and developed a strong connection with contemporary Japanese railroads.  N Scale is dominant in Japanese model railroading.  You will find far more stuff available in N Scale than any other.  I started dabbling in collecting a few items.

 

Then, in 2012 a wildfire destroyed much of our neighborhood and severely damaged our house.  Nearly all of my HO structures were out in the open in our house and had smoke damage beyond salvage.  Many years of work was destroyed.

 

I decided then to go completely in the direction of N Scale Japanese.

 

I like the smaller size of N Scale for building larger cityscapes - you can fit far more in a smaller space.  The small scale is a challenge for doing detailing of structures and scenery, and that is one thing that appeals to me - creating semi-realistically detailed scenes.  The other downside to the change was that I have to source most of the material from Japan instead of being able to easily get it in the U.S.   

 

Some of my old HO modeling friends have moved to S Scale or O Scale as their eyesight fails with age. They think I'm nuts to go in the direction of smaller scale.

 

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gavino200
13 minutes ago, maihama eki said:

 

Some of my old HO modeling friends have moved to S Scale or O Scale as their eyesight fails with age. They think I'm nuts to go in the direction of smaller scale.

 

 

Something like this can be an answer to that problem. I actually use a similar pair when doing n-scale detailing work. It makes it much much easier to see even the tiniest details. Once you get used to them you hardly notice them. 

 

https://www.west-op.com/3xbinsurloup.html

 

There are two basic types. Those with built-in telescopes mounted permanently on frames with proscription lenses. Or a kind that clips on and off a pair of regular glasses. Loupes used to be extremely expensive, but in the last ten years cheap (~$300) pairs have been available. 

 

The link above is pulled almost randomly from a google search. I'm not specifically recommending that pair. These, below are the ones I use for modelling. I have different ones that I use for work. I got these as a trial a few years ago. I didn't want to change from what I was used to for work, but the rep never took them back in spite of numerous notifications and leaving them waiting for him for over a year. So I kept them and they're now my modelling goggles. But, if this fortunate event didn't occur, I'd definitely buy a pair of loupes for train work. Something more than adequate can be purchased for approximately the price of a fancy n scale train.

 

http://www.medicalexpo.com/prod/carl-zeiss-meditec/product-67959-670557.html

 

Long story short. You never have to worry about giving up miniature scale modelling because of vision changes associated with old age. 

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shadowtiger25
5 hours ago, gavino200 said:

I'd recommend that you postpone any decision for a few weeks or even months. Stop focusing on the technical aspects. Think about how you feel about the scales. "Hobby" is just a euphemism for "toys for old boys". The right scale is the one that makes you most happy. A suggestion - forget about the dilemma for a week. Then go to the best hobby shop you know. Walk around. Spend a while in the HO section. Spend a while in the n-scale section. Which section do you want more to be in.

 

Also, regarding "investing money" in trains. Forget about it. Resale is just a fraction, and we buy them anyway just because we want them. They're a complete luxury. Almost super-luxury. Think about your trains more as an "entertainment expense", than an investment. Spend your money on what entertains you most. That's my two pennies.

Ok, that I will do.

I am thinking long term anyway, so I can out off the topic for a while

The only hobby shop in Nashville that has trains is a single, small room.... 3 people can stand in it, 4 if you dont mind standing shoulder to shoulder... Sooo... I would if I could

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Kiha66

Echoing with what others have said, do what makes you happy and dont worry about investments and the like.  I recently got a few HO trains and am having fun with them, but am still maintaining my N scale interest.  I'd say get a small set or two and some unitrack to play around with and see how you like it.  If you enjoy N as well thats great, and if not then you can pass them on to someone else and have answered your question.  

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serotta1972

I’ve been dabbling in HO for a while and recently O scale - oh man oh man, I enjoy them all almost equally. My main scale is still N scale as I love passenger trains and of course Japanese trains. They all have their own appeal but the common denominator is that they are all trains. I supposed price, size, and space can be deciding factors but in the end if you really want it, it really doesn’t matter. Probably doesn’t help but that’s my take. You can always have both! 😀

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NX:
On ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 12:40 PM, shadowtiger25 said:

What should I do? Should I start a N scale collection, or just finish what I had Planed in HO with a much smaller layout later on? 

 

Just to put more options on the table, there is also Z scale (Rokuhan).

It is cheaper than HO scale and you will get more room.

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Welshbloke

I'm kind of doing both now. HO will not be replacing N, but having a table-friendly oval of Unitrack does mean my collection of 80s and 90s Hornby OO can run. So my occasional impulse buys of something I really wanted aged ten and couldn't afford now make slightly more sense!

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GDorsett

I have been HO (literally) all my life, and have recently had the same dilemma. I've got several grand into my US HO, as well as lots of time and effort into tuning and maintaining these models. When I rediscovered JP trains, I bought one loco, three cars, and a loop of track and went from there. I've since been maintaining my original US fleet, a fleet of JP in HO (that has now grown to about a grand in value) and now some N scale as well. It is possible to maintain three scales that you really enjoy, even if your wallet or schedule does not like it as much as you do. So far, my issue has been the time frame that I can use to acquire new equipment, as HO is very expensive. It takes a lot longer to build a train in HO than it does in N, but as I have access to two (possibly three) club layouts (one of which that takes almost a half hour to go around), I've been trying to keep the HO for travels and shows while my N gets set up on tables or shelves. I'd like to do something like what you're proposing in the long term, having a home layout in n-scale so as to condense in space.

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nah00

I still have my older HO trains and some from my dad, I don't currently have a space to run them but (hopefully) I'm correcting that soon. I started model railroading again with N scale (and particularly Japan) because it was less expensive than current HO and N products for North American railroads. As time went by I did start collecting more than a little North American N scale, it's hard to avoid the urge since Norfolk Southern runs all over around here and one of the local lines (Union Railroad) ran through the town I grew up in. In Japanese I started out collecting mostly freight with a few DMUs but over time I expanded into passenger lines (mainly JR East and Kyushu).

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Kamome

I too would echo what most others have said. Certainly Japanese HO is far less accessible than American or European equivalents. 

It also needn’t be a definitive choice.

 

My view, like many others, is get what you like, irrespective of scale and I think most of us on the forum are on the same, if not similar, page.

The only way we disagree is our personal preference.

 

Japanese N gauge is fantastic, far better than British N (in my opinion). The choice, detail and quality are outstanding, for the scale. The range of ready to place scenery and buildings is also fantastic and you can recreate Japanese scenes with prototypical trains running through realistic looking views. This is how N gauge excels and I’m mesmerized as my trains run through stations, past skyscrapers and temples at realistic speeds. Would this experience be enhanced in a larger scale? For me, not really.

 

Does it give me everything I enjoy about the hobby?  No.

 

I also like weathering and detail. I also want to do, what us Brits call, shunting (yard operations) 

 

N doesn’t really make this enjoyable for me. I don’t like rapido couplers, I much prefer more realistic looking knuckle couplers. This is where I love HO. I want detailed locos running slowly and smoothly over pointwork and picking up and setting down wagons. I want to look at the detail as the locos smoothly go about their work. 

 

And for me, paying ¥100,000 for an HO loco is beyond my enjoyment especially when I can buy something that interests me for ¥10,000 - ¥40,000.

 

The cost, availability and space required is a significant factor but it really all depends on what elements of the hobby you want to recreate.

 

Will I ever replace my N gauge collection with HO? 

No.

 Will I get rid of the small number of HO stock I’ve bought?

No.

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shadowtiger25

Well, I decided to try out N-scale with one train, and see if I like it.

I will be getting the C62 double head Niseko express from Kato.

Going to attempt to put sound in the the engines with Loksound and a small high quality cell phone speaker. Hopefuly I can find a good one. My one problem is N scale sound is the quality, but cellphone speakers are small and promising for this kind of project. Most are 4 8 or 16 Ω and Loksound V4 uses those Ω amounts so I can hopefuly get it the way that I like.

Also... People in the cars and all that since I'm insane and want to go with the level of detail that I like. 

And if over time I dont like the scale, I will sell this crazy project. 

Anyway.. Thats my solution. Will post when I get, what I do to detail, and all that.

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gavino200

Good luck with the C-62 decoder install. It's a tricky one, but it's doable.

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shadowtiger25
13 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

Good luck with the C-62 decoder install. It's a tricky one, but it's doable.

Gota do it TWICE!

There is a link to a guide that is somewhere on this site, and a local guy will do it in Kato USA n-scale steam, so I might just have him do it for me.

But the first thing I'm going to do is take the small engine to a cell phone repair shop and  confuzel some people.

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Azamiryou
On 1/15/2019 at 7:40 PM, shadowtiger25 said:

So I have done HO scale for years, I like the finer detail...

 

One thing I've noticed with the Japanese models... the amount of detail on N scale is not actually much less than on HO. Granted, the detail is easier to see in HO, but it's there in N, too!

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GDorsett

Ah, but you see, in HO you can more of that fined detail. And you also get things that you don't normally get in N such as classification/shunting lights.

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katoftw
Posted (edited)

Greenmax offer shunt lights in N.

 

What is a classification light?

 

edit// Never mind the question. Google answered it.

Edited by katoftw

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GDorsett
Posted (edited)

Classification lights show what the train is doing, though it differs between countries and aren't nessesarily tail lights.

In America, they are small markers that are ususally shown as green. Not sure what it means, but they're there. We also have red ones that are used as tail lights, but are small enough that they don't really do anything.

During the steam era in Britain, they used a small lamp perched somewhere on the front of the locomotive. Different positioning and count of lamos denoted fast/slow/local passenger, low/high priority freight, and mixed trains.

Classification lights in Japan aren't a large thing, but technically mixed-use lights on locomotives are classification lights. They would either both be on to denote the end of a train or one at each end and on the right for shunting purposes.

So far, none of my N scale has these shunting lights, although most of my coaches have head/tail lights. Of my two HO locos, one does have the shunting/tail lights (Kato EF510) and the other does not (Kato DE10), although I've seen other models with them built in.

Please pardon the text wall.

Edited by GDorsett

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