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Author Topic: On30 vs On3 in 2007  (Read 6880 times)
NevinW

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« on: May 18, 2007, 10:04:09 AM »

In the past, On30 had some clear advantages in cost and the use of HO track.  But with all of the On3 items announced including prefab turnouts from San Juan and the improved convertability of Bachmann On30 models to On3, are there still advantages to modeling On30 over true On3? 

As an aside, what is the minimum distance between tracks for On30 vs. On3?  Is 24" radius reasonable for non-critter locomotives such as the 2-8-0 and the San Juan c-16?

-  Nevin 
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ebtnut

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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2007, 10:57:30 AM »

Overall, the difference between On30 and On3 is still going to be the cost.  Bachmann has made it extremely affordable to get into 1/4" scale narrow guage, with good models to boot.  So far, all of the Bachmann engines have been designed to go around 18" EZ Track, but wider radius curves just look better.  The BLI C-16 will go around 18" curves too.  If I were to start over in On30 (I'm in On3 now), I'd probably stick to 24" curves.

On3 in general is still fairly pricey, especially for motive power.  Brass is in the $1,800-2,000 range.  The MMI locos are better--about $600 MSRP, can be had in the mid-400's.  They are available in both On3 and On30.  The C-19 is due this summer; a 4-4-0 is announced and will likely be here early next year.  As a rule, unless you plan to run geared locos, small stuff, or critters, plan to keep your minimum radius at 36".  Big brass (D&RGW K's, for instance) like 40" or more.  I would note that the only REALLY easy On30 to On3 conversion is the Bachmann Climax.  Anything else really needs new longer axles, frame inserts, or a lot of fiddling (the Shay, for instance). 
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ebtbob


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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2007, 08:31:31 AM »

Nevin,

      I agree with ebtnut's answers.   I try to keep any bias out of my answers and on this one it is extremely difficult as I have only ever modeled in On30 and not On3,   but the reality of it all is that On30 is definitely nicer to your pocket book.   Until the On3 world gets someone like Bachmann to product things in the On30 price range the On30 world will be cheaper.
      I have been going thru a list of model suppliers on the Mid Atlantic Narrow Gauge Guild website and while there are many products produced that can be used in either gauge,  there is a larger amount of products aimed at the On30 world,  and Bachmann in particular.   The Banta site alone lists a bunch of retro fit cabs etc,  all for the Bachmann equipment.
      I also find it very interesting that more and more manufacturers are starting to offer ready to run equippment in both gauges.   You mentioned San Juan.   I just read a review of their shorty D&RGW caboose at $95 in both On3 and On30.    Ok,  I will admit I like the looks of it better than the Bachmann caboose,  but that price is "just" a bit higher than the Bachmann caboose.   Another example would be things coming from BTS.    Bill is releasing an EBT 3 bay hopper as a resin kit.   $129.00 a car.   For that money I can get 4 Bachmann 2bay steel hoppers.
      So....enough of the cost comparison.  Let me try to answer your other question about distance between tracks.    I model in On30 as if I was in On3,   meaning an extreme lack of small equipment.   The only two critters I run are Bachmann gas mechanicals and they are used to move equipment in and out of a hidden yard.   Other than those,  I run two Bachmann 2-8-0s and two MMI K27s with out board cylinders.    On average,  I find it best to have three inch on center track spacing.   But.....whereever the K27s will roam,  I need 3.5 inches on center so the cyclinders do not hit.  I gave myself 3 inch centers in my main yard,  but could have gotten away with 2.75 if it were really necessary,  but it would have been a bit too tight for my liking,  especially when I consider my fingers as my most reliable uncoupling tool when necessary.
       I am sure the discussion of the choice of On3 as opposed to On30 will go on and on but for me,   I am extremely thankful for all the manufacturers who have realized the market for On30,  especially Bachmann.   Except for my two K27s and one BLI C16,   the rest of the engines and rolling stock are Bachmann and will stay that way until Ed Fillion at Deerfield River Laser releases his EBT caboose,  which may be today at Kimberton.

Bob
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Bob Rule, Jr.
Hatboro, Pa
In God We Trust
Not so much in Congress
GATSME MRRC - www.gatsme.org
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2007, 05:58:55 PM »

I've thought about modifying my On30 equipment to run on On3 track, if for no other reason than to pacify the rivet counters.  But when I consider the cost, in both dollars and time, of buying new trucks for rolling stock and the extensive modifications to some of the locomotives so they will run on On3 track, it's just not worth it.  It would take a great deal of time away from other projects, like lettering rolling stock, or building structures, or someday building a functional layout.

At the end of the day, we are talking about a difference of, what, 3/32", between On30 and On3 track?  I can live with that.
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normacker

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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2007, 05:16:13 PM »

AMS/Accucraft is also jumping into the Ready To Run game with On3/On30 D&RGW prototype boxcars and a nice tank car offering: (http://www.accucraft.com/MAIN%20CATALOG%2048.htm)

Pricing is very reasonable as well, four-car sets for $168. They are saying these will be available this summer. I have no doubt that they'll come out with gondolas and cabooses soon, so D&RGW ng modelers have plenty of rolling stock to pull behind their MMI motive power.

My father is modeling the Rio Grande 3rd Division in On30 and he's very excited about it. Me, I'm a C&S guy, also in On30, and I'm patiently waiting for some RTR motive power besides the Bachmann Mogul... 
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finderskeepers

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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2007, 10:31:47 PM »

I would agree that On3 by and large does cost more than On30,  but I guess the old saying is true, you get what you pay for. Compare the Bachmann Caboose with the San Juan Caboose, they are worlds apart. If you are just doing a shelf layout, sure go with On3, if you plan on an actual layout better have a bigger room for On3 than On30. 40" radius is pretty standard in our group, and just about any engine will run on that regardless. Trying to make the Bachmann passenger cars go around 18" radius curves just doesn't look right to me. Seeing a 2-8-0 pulling a bunch of San Juan cars around a 40" curve is pretty magical though.
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Hamish K

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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2007, 09:02:26 PM »

The use of ON30 as a relatively inexpensive way of modelling USA 3 foot gauge lines is an important part, but only part, of the entire ON30 scene.

Kitbashers and the like will prefer ON30 to ON3 because of the ability to use HO equipment as a basis for modification. There are quite a few kits available now to do this, and of course many do their own conversions.

ON30 can be built in a smaller space  (as a result of tighter radius curves being possible) than ON3. Tight curves may be derided by some as unprototypical, but they are a  necessity for some of us. 40 " radius curves are out of the question for me. Also, if modelling industrial lines,  tight curves can be prototypical.

Of course for those modelling 30 inch gauge lines, either prototype (US or other countries) or freelance, ON30 will be preferred.

Relative cost is not the only factor in ON30 vs ON3

Hamish
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ebtnut

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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2007, 12:43:18 PM »

All of the points are valid and well-taken.  You, the modeler, must make the decisions based on your interests, your usable space, and your budget.  Always remember that compromises have to be made.  Almost none of the prototypes we model would go around most model RR curves.  The tightest curves on the East Broad Top were 20 degrees, which scales out to a 6 foot radius in O scale.  And of course the prototype burns coal and boils water.  The bottom line is to have fun and enjoy what you're doing.  If some rivet counter starts giving you static, just gently remind him about Rule 1. 
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jakuma

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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2007, 12:40:55 AM »

For one thing On30 scale is acceptable in Australia as O on 30 inches (2ft 6ins) of which there is or has been several major branch railways.
Three foot guage is practically unknown in Australia.
So this scale, on30, has two totally different meanings depending in which part of the world you are.
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Royce Wilson

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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2007, 11:58:39 AM »

 Smiley Is there any site on 30 inch modeling in Australia?         Royce
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C.P.R.R. Manager

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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2007, 12:36:44 PM »

Here are a couple of links to Australian modeling sites.  They're not all On30, not all 30", but are mostly narrow gauge.

http://members.optushome.com.au/jdennis/ng_webex.html

http://lauriegreen.info/
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jakuma

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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2007, 02:29:19 AM »

On30 has a totally different meaning in Australia than in the US. While On30 may mean 1/4 inch to the foot scale on 3 foot track it also means 1/4 inch scale on 2 ft 6 inch track.  That is while 30 may mean 3 ft it can also mean 30 inches.
There is little, if any, 3ft track in Australia, but there has been and still is much 2ft 6inch track both on private now tourist railways and cane fields although the cane fields have converted to 2ft track. (All diesels on concrete ties)
The track Bachmann runs on is 5/8 inch (common to HO)  5/8 inch when scaled to 1/4 inch is 2ft 6 inches so On30 fits perfectly for modelling in O scale on narrow gauge, 2ft 6in.
We used to model On2 1/2. On30 sounds much neater.
Incidentally the most commmon 2ft 6 inch track locos used in Australian tourist railways are Baldwin 2-6-2 tankers cc 1902
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Hamish K

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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2007, 04:34:38 AM »


There is little, if any, 3ft track in Australia, but there has been and still is much 2ft 6inch track both on private now tourist railways and cane fields although the cane fields have converted to 2ft track. (All diesels on concrete ties)

Incidentally the most commmon 2ft 6 inch track locos used in Australian tourist railways are Baldwin 2-6-2 tankers cc 1902

The canefields railways in Queensland were always 2 foot  foot gauge, the only 30 inch gauge near the canefields I know of was the Buderim Tramway,  but that was a general purpose line, not a cane tramway.
 2 foot gauge was probably the most common sub 42 inch gauge in Australia, due to the large number of cane lines, and also the Tasmanian mining tramways as well as others. 30 inch gauge was the next most common. The most well known 30 inch lines were the 4 (plus one horse drawn) Victorian Railways (VR) lines, one of which survives as the Puffing Billy Tourist Railway and part of another survives as the Wallahalla Goldfields railway  Baldwin 2-6-2ts were the most common VR 30 inch gauge loco, they also had a couple of Garratts.  There were other 30 inch gauge lines, these were mainly timber lines.

3 foot gauge existed, but was not common.  The Poweltown Tramway, a timber and common carrier line was possibly the best known. There were some industrial lines, e.g. steelworks.

42 inch gauge was adopted as the main gauge by some States and thus is not really narrow gauge in the Australian context, although in South Australia 42 inch was used as a secodary gauge (5 foot 3 inches was the main). Also some private 42 inch gauge industrial lines existed in the States where  standard (NSW) or 5 foot 3 inch  (Victoria, South Australia) was the main gauge. These could use second hand equipment from the 42 inch gauge States, and this may have contributed to 3 foot being rare in Australia.

On30 would mainly be used to depict 30 inch gauge lines in Australia, although it is sometimes used for 2 foot.

Hamish

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