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Author Topic: N-scale or Ho-scale?  (Read 8418 times)

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« on: March 16, 2012, 01:16:07 PM »

so? N-scale or Ho-scale? i'm starting a new layout and can decide
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 01:56:16 PM »

so? N-scale or Ho-scale? i'm starting a new layout and can decide

So flip a coin.

« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2012, 02:19:13 PM »

How much space do you have available and what do you want to accomplish?

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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2012, 02:24:20 PM »

On30 or Large Scale?

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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2012, 03:10:45 PM »

how are your eyes and hands?Huh?

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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2012, 03:50:31 PM »

That's the real question!!!!! Shocked

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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2012, 04:23:16 PM »

OK, HO scale is the dominant scale in the hobby.  You can get most anything you want in terms of locos, rolling stock, structures, kits, track, etc.  It may come down to what type of railroad are you representing.  A heavy-duty main line operation asks for decent main line curves - about 30" minimum radius.  If you've got the room to handle that, I'd go for HO.  If you want to do heavy-duty railroading and you have space constraints, then go with N.  There isn't quite the selection of models in N scale as HO, but it's close.  You're curves can then be in the 15 - 16" range.  There is also the matter of the overall appearance of the layout.  If you want to focus more on the models, HO.  If you want the scene to really dominate the trains, N is your choice.

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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2012, 05:36:58 PM »

If you like Steam engines or any with sound then HO is the answer.
Ho also has the electrics. E60  E33 GG1
Working rotary snow plow also.


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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 07:58:41 PM »

On30 or Large Scale?

Why not both?


No one can tell you which scale is better, they all have their pro's and con's. Of the two scales, I like HO better, but you can do twice as much in the same space with N. But then you have to have better eyes for N. Remember, it's your railroad, not ours, it should the scale you like.

If your parents never had children, chances are you won't either.


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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2012, 11:38:19 PM »

depends on how much space you have and what you like to model
you can get 99% of any american train ever made in ho 
n has less and sometimes can be more expensive and more harder to maintain but has plenty of space


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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2012, 10:41:59 AM »

having done both HO and N scales i can tell you that HO is alot less sensitive to dirty track. with n scale you will need to put the railroad in a dust free environment. and avoid having smokers in the train room.

it is true that you can get alot more layout in a given space than ho but it comes with trade offs. most importantly, most n scale cars have truck mounted couplers. if you are going to build a layout where you intend to do alot of switching of cars, you may want to consider HO. or take the time to mount new couplers on the car bodies. this will drastically improve reliability when backing up.

another thing you have to watch out for in N scale is tunnels. in HO if you have a train derail in a short tunnel you can reach into the portal to retrieve your cars. in N scale, your hand won't fit in the portal so you have to have another way of retrieving your cars, like a hole in the baseboard inside your mountain.

overall, i really like the towering mountains i can build in N scale, but i prefer the reliability and ease of maintainance i get with HO.

whatever scale you choose, do yourself a huge favour and invest in some good locomotives. there is some real junk out there, especially the older stuff. on diesels, things like traction tires, or only one truck geared, are tip offs that you probably want to look at something else. good locomotives have all wheels powered and don't need rubber tires. they also pick up electricity from all wheels.

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
CNE Runner

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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2012, 10:48:21 AM »

Hmmm, it would seem the "eyes" have it...HO. [No, I just couldn't help myself with that one.] If I had better (read: younger) vision I would definitely try N-scale; I don't, so it will be HO for the rest of my modeling 'career'.

Good luck with whatever 'scale' you choose,

"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
Ken G Price

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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2012, 05:51:17 PM »

At 63 and since I have always needed glasses and magnification to do many things N scale is just fine.
I simply could not do the layout I want in the space I have if I did HO.
Even with a larger space I would just do a bigger and better N scale. Cheesy

Ken G Price N-Scale out west. 1995-1996 or so! UP, SP, MoPac.
Pictures Of My Layout,

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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2012, 08:33:57 PM »

this may help with the comments: i am young so vision and 'Hand shakes' haven't gotten to me, but my layout space is 4x8 plus a few lines running off of the main table. BUT no need for comment anymore, friends, I've started with n-scale, thanks for the input!

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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2012, 12:19:09 AM »

If you would permit another comment, Hudson, I would like to make one.

It is my observation that the limiting factor in choosing a scale is the minimum curve radius required for the equipment you intend to run.  This in turn determines the use of the space available.  The minimum practical turn radius for N-scale is 9 3/4"; 11 1/2" for passenger cars and six-axle locomotives; larger still for long-wheelbase steam locomotives.

For HO scale, 18" radius minimum; 22 1/2" for most equipment; 24"+ for larger stuff.

Assuming that most people would want some sort of closed-loop track plan, the minimum width of a layout at a 180 degree curve would be double the radius, plus clearance space between the track and the back wall.  Unless an open-center, around-the-wall track plan is used.

Although Z-scale is smaller than N at 1/220, the minimum available commercial curve is not really any tighter than N-scale curves, thus eliminating a space-saving factor the scale could otherwise provide.  For this reason, plus the high cost of Z, I don't expect Z scale to ever really catch on much.  It also suffers from a preponderance of European prototype equipment and ridiculous couplers, two factors that held back N-scale for a long time.

A model railroad in any scale with tight mainline curves can still be a good one.  I had an N-scale railroad with 9 3/4" radius curves that served me well from 1979 to 2007.

I will be 63 next month and N-scale suits me fine.  I am nearsighted, and can see close-up better without my glasses than with them!
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