Which Model Train Scale Is Best?

model train

A question I always get asked by people considering model trains as their new hobby is:

“Which model train scale (or gauge) is best?”

First up… A common mistake for model train beginners, is to confuse scale and gauge.

I’ll explain…

Scale is the proportion of your model to the real thing. An example is a HO scale locomotive. This locomotive will be 1/87 the size of the real locomotive.

Gauge in model trains is the width between the inside running edge of the track as shown in the drawing below.

 So How Does Someone Considering Model Trains Decide Which Scale To Start With?

This comes down to 3 deciding factors –

  1. How much space you have available for your model train layout,.
  2. The physical size of model train equipment you prefer working with, and.
  3. The accessories available for that model train scale..

Let me explain these 3 points in detail… .

1. How Much Space Do You Have Available?

Building a model railroad layout in HO scale will be about 1/2 the size of a similar model train layout in O scale.

The turning radius’ in HO scale will be tighter, the structures will be smaller, the detail will be less important and it is easier to hide mistakes in a smaller scale like HO scale.

It can be very hard to create a realistic looking layout in a large scale.

HO scale has become very popular because it is a “middle-of-the-road” scale and easier to make look realistic.

A HO scale continuous loop model railroad will need a 3 feet 6 inch x 4 foot table, while a HO scale switching model railroad can be created on a 4 x 1 foot table.

A model train layout space of 6 feet x 4 feet would be enough to have an interesting HO scale layout with a continuous loop.

If you don’t have that much room available, then you should consider a N scale layout which can be built in less than 1/3 of the area required by a similar HO scale model train layout. .

2. Which Scale Do You Prefer Working With?

It can get very frustrating trying to work with a locomotive or car that you struggle to hold, or struggle to see the small fiddly pieces.

A big magnifying glass, bright lighting and tools to work with your trains can solve many of these problems, but often it’s easier to just model a bigger scale.

This hobby should be fun, so there is no need for frustration searching for the lost magnifier or your glasses…

Children will also find it easier operating and manipulating the bigger scales, from HO scale upwards.

Bigger scale rolling stock tends to be heavier and less likely to derail. .

3. What Accessories Are Available For The Scale You Are Considering?

At this stage HO scale is the most popular model railroad scale.

Because of this the manufacturers have responded and are constantly creating a huge amount of accessories and rolling stock for HO scale.

The popularity has come from HO scale being just the right size for most people to appreciate the detail, the amazingly good running performance and the price.

Check with your local hobby shop to see which scale they have the most accessories for. It is often easier to buy from your local hobby shop initially… or at least until you know exactly what you want.

Then have a look at eBay. .

Now, my question to you is… .

Which Model Train Scale Are You Considering, or Already Modeling, and Why?

.Just scroll down now and enter your comment below… I will appreciate it and so will the thousands of readers of this site… Thank-you in advance!

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Dan Morgan

Dan Morgan fell in love with model trains at the age of six when he visited an NMRA Convention in Seattle with his father. Forty two years later, his passion remains just as strong. After achieving a successful career in architecture, Dan’s particular interest is within layouts and buildings. With a wealth of knowledge on the subject, Dan loves nothing more than sharing this with others and is delighted in the forum of members who are brought together over the hobby they have in common. Dan lives with his wife Helen in Washington. As a professional painter, Helen has learnt through Dan about Model Trains and they now enjoy working on projects together. The only member of the family who isn’t allowed to join in is their over-enthusiastic Labrador called William who has been strictly banned from the workshop! You can find Dan on Google here!

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Leave A Reply (459 comments So Far)


  1. John Bennell
    4 years ago

    HO is far superior in all respects. N and Z scale is far too small and fiddly, too small to see anything and everything takes 10 times longer to do. 0 scale just takes up too much room and locos and rolling stock cost too much. Stick with HO I always say.


  2. Wolfy
    4 years ago

    I have always wondered why there has never been a three rail HO train made in America. Marklin has them, and they are costly, any info? All the benefits of O scale, but half the space.


  3. tom Meserole
    4 years ago

    You missed a key 4th point! What era do you want to model?

    Older eras do not really affect the scale. But if you want to model anything from about 1970 onward, then in order to fit a 80 to 120 car train into your layout, you need to consider the smaller scales of N or Z. Because it is not going to happen in HO and larger scales.


  4. Robustman
    4 years ago

    In the UK OO scale is the most popular, HO is extremely difficult to obtain.

    So you guys over there don’t forget us Brits, we do model quite well.

    i agree O is too expensive in space and money and N and Z are too small


  5. Jeremy Hall
    4 years ago

    Besides scale I feel gauge is worth discussing – I model in HO 2.5ft (or 76mm) narrow gauge. Although located in the UK (where OO scale reigns supreme) I started modelling while in the USA (hence HO scale). I choose narrow gauge because it means that I can pack more into a small space – for example when I get round to it Kitson-Meyer and Bayer-Garrett articulated locomotives – also (cheating) I can scratch build based on N-scale locos and rolling stock and (again purists cover your eyes) use N-gauge track.


  6. Robyn Ganzer
    4 years ago

    I feel it is a matter of choice to what scale one chooses to run. If you have the space then fill it with HO.


  7. Geoff
    4 years ago

    I have modeled in OO, HO, and N scales and have found that 00 and HO are my two prefered scales. I found that N scale is limited for certain period accessories in British N. US N is far more comprehensive (HO and N almost mirror each other). I am at present only modeling British OO, Canadian and German HO and occasionally HOe.


  8. Steven Breiter
    4 years ago

    I have always had O scale. To me it is the most fun if you prefer action over realism. O scale can acually turn tighter than most HO scale trains, so you can find a way to fit them in the same space as HO, using the 31″ radius curves. ( I run 3 rail ) Model railroading means using your imagination anyway, you are cramming the real world into a small space. Cost wise, the trains I run are not scale models, but they look great. You just cannot have as much rolling stock and locos as you could in smaller scales. I like HO, but will not give up the O trains at this time. I think that all model trains are great, no matter what the scale. I just like playing with trains.


  9. Andrew Smith
    4 years ago

    I agree that scale and gauge always get confused. I tend to model more in 4mm to 1foot (1/76)scale and use a gauge of 18.2.

    This is known as EM Gauge (sorry, if you know this)and is more or less correct for the English prototype. The exact gauge for the English prototype is 18.83 this is using a scale of 1/76 and this is known as P4.

    But to make this look effective I believe that the rolling stock tends to be more kit or scratch built. This can then be very time consuming and it does not lend itself to getting something up and running very quickly.

    Not much good if the kids want to see something grow before they do. So my point is go with what you find that suits you.

    I have laid a small circuit of SM32 gauge track with a scale of 1/24 locos and stock around the local vicarage for a days Garden Party, this went down very well with the kids using the radio controlled stock (see the pictures on my web pages).

    I have found that being a member of a local model railway club/group also brings together a group of like minded people and a great source of talent and inspiration who are always willing to help you out.


  10. Ralph Scott
    4 years ago

    The Scale you use depends upon your interests ,available space, and technical abilities.
    I model European Z scale (1:220) because european is my interest and Z scale because I dont have much space. There is a good range of accessories and control systems available for this scale now and it is reliable. Relies on good eyesite though.


  11. Dave
    4 years ago

    I think you’re wrong as over in the freezing UK OO is the most popular gauge.

    I would love to model using O but cost and limited space means I am using OO


  12. carl eizenga
    4 years ago

    i like the ho


  13. JR
    4 years ago

    It’s a matter of choice – what do you like, what do you want – then go from there. N & Z scales require tedious skill, S, O, & G scales look like toy trains. These scales make it difficult to create a realisic layout and supplies, accessories are generally limited. I model in HO scale, always have, always will…not to big, not to small, allows you the opportunity to create a realistic looking layout, it is the most popular scale, supplies and accessories readily available. Again, it is a matter of choice.


  14. Leonard Elliott
    4 years ago

    I model in HO scale and love modeling the mid-70′s.I model the Penn Central and have gone out on a whim and have some modern equipment painted up in PC as well.


  15. Darren
    4 years ago

    I’m not as “scaleist” as some here. :) I’ve long modelled in a variety of scales, albeit usually with several small layouts. At present my main interests are quite a contrast, being O scale (1:48) Victoria, Australia prototype and the tiny Japanese T scale (1:450) running on 3mm gauge. So I personally won’t agree that N is to small.

    O scale (and I mean scale models on scale track here, not on ‘toy’ 3-rail track with extra sharp curves which seems to be peculiar to the USA market – yes, I see its appeal, so please don’t think I’m putting it down) appeals to me partly due to the “heft” of the models. The size and weight means you can literally “feel” them running on the layout. In HO, code 100 rail represents very heavy rail. In O scale it is right for a lightly laid branch or siding. Which to me emphasizes the weight of the models just that little bit more.

    My layout also incorporates N and Z scales representing a miniature live-steam railway society.

    On the other hand, I’ve got very interested in T gauge for the novelty of being able to build a lot in a tiny space and the challenge of modelling in such a tiny scale.

    I’ve had and built various N scale layouts since 1979 too. However, for the beginner, I’d agree that HO (or OO in the UK) are probably the way to go. I also run a hobby shop, so I can say that many beginners start out with N scale and experience few, if any problems. As with much in this great hobby of ours, it’s really all down to personal choice and preference. If your eyesight or manual dexterity isn’t what you wish it was, then there is little point in having the smallest scales. But if you have the space and funds, there’s no reason I can think of not to suggest even G (large scale) to the beginner.

    As for T gauge. Well, I wouldn’t really recommend it to a beginner, although the makers of it have designed the range with beginners in mind. Their first sets even came with a pre-assembled oval of track.

    I’m also into 5″ gauge, but that is probably a little outside the scope of this forum. In any case, I don’t have any 5″ gauge trains yet.

    I should point out that all my modelling has been carried out on a tight budget over many years, lest anyone form the impression I must have a lot of money to have so many scales at once. I’ve been a railway modeller since the early 1970s, so nearly 40 years experience under my belt. :)


  16. Quinton Parker
    4 years ago

    I have a question. Is the “gauge” in HO track the same “scale” as the rolling stock?
    In other words it says above that the engine of an HO model is “1/87″ the size of a real locomotive. Is the track scale also 1/87 size?

    If not which scale AND gauge are in equal proportion to the real thing?
    Quinton


  17. Bob
    4 years ago

    I like my HO but have been imagining going to O , only because my grandkids enjoy the trais so much, I keep thinking that o would be more fun to watch.
    However $$ keeps me from switching at this point and I have many years put into the layout I have now.
    Who knows maybe some day when I retire


  18. Joel
    4 years ago

    What is said about the relative scales is very true. I have decided to model in HO becasue of the compromise between the detail of O guage and the size of HO. However, much of what I model is not availabe in any guage so I scratch build a lot of my cars and most of my buildings. Yes, it does take longer, but I feel it is more rewarding.


  19. Jimbo
    4 years ago

    I have always worked in OO gauge and find this the most popular gauge to use. I think N and Z gauge are fine if you are short of space but to small and fiddley to enjoy the layout, O gauge is the opposite and you need plenty of space to build a good layout and can be costly.


  20. John Suther
    4 years ago

    I believe that HO is the best.

    Why?

    Because it’s not too big like o scale, which requires more room, and not too small as “N” scale, which for elderly RR modelers, may be too small to see, work on, etc.(Speaking of myself)

    But, one thing I know for a fact is this: if they don’t start to control costs of equipt., buildings, etc., then I personally will not have to worry about any scale at all!!!

    I hardly can afford to be a Model Railroad Hobbyist now! Thanks for letting me blow off steam!


  21. Ken Kime
    4 years ago

    I sell RV’s for a living, people ask what’s the best one, well that’s the one that fits your budget, life style etc, lots of etc.

    There is no magical answer and this applies to model railroading as well. While I do agree with the 3 listed principals I believe you also have to add time, meaning how much are you willing, or able to devote to your hobby, and I also believe skill level applies as well, where does this lead us.

    Let’s face it, N and HO have become exceptionally ready to run from track to rolling stock to, even scenery. S, O, G not so much, until just recently S and O didn’t even have much of a R-T-R track system but they are no where near the Kato track in N or EZ track in HO.

    While I model in 1/4″ scale I have to admit if you really want to put your hands on a Chessie SD-50 or a 10k gallon funnel flow tank car, you are most likely to be able to see that in almost any hobby shop, in HO.

    I do disagree on the comment about a realistic layout being not that achievable in a larger scale, I have seen O switching layouts that were much more realistic than a large HO layout on several levels running loops around themselves!


  22. Tim Barr
    4 years ago

    My hands are not in the greatest of shape so anything smaller than HO I could not handle. Price is also one of the bigget considerations.


  23. t.brady
    4 years ago

    Living in UK 00 is most popular and from what I have seen is a good compromise between size and detail (though I am amazed at the improving N scale RTR models available). I have yet to commence a layout but ‘getting there’ with a Loft clearance completed and now contemplating baseboard construction. (probably MDF with Cork topping) Favourite magazine is Model Rail closely followed by the Hornby Mag.
    Regards T.


  24. Bruce Olson
    4 years ago

    For me, the room I have dictates that I use HO. Which is fine, because it lets me detail really easily. I do have plans to expand sometime. it is fun and enjoyable, especially in winter.
    Has anybody seen a baseball park? Nothing big, something like a minor league park?


  25. Brian
    4 years ago

    I enjoy N and HO.

    There tends to be more available for HO in my area, but it is incredible how much you can fit into an N scale layout.

    I have a coffee table that I am putting an N scale into. I have a full oval with a yard fit into a 2 1/2 foot square table.


  26. Peter Seelig
    4 years ago

    Hi Dan,

    I model now in both gauges, HO and O. The scenery and buildings that I use will fit both. Hawthorne village and/or Dept 56 fits both elements. So when I obtained the Polar express and the Hogwarts express the villages and other accessories fit perfectly.

    The Polar express fits winter scenery while the Hogwarts express fit the Alpine and British lay outs.

    So this is what I have and display at home.

    Later on I will try making DVD and send it through email if I can

    So thank you for placing the question in your email.

    With best regards to you and your program I remain yours truly Peter Seelig


  27. Alex Kanarek
    4 years ago

    I just “fell into” HO scale because a local supermarket chain started offering classic steam locos with goods wagons in HO scale at Christmas.

    The detail was very good (I found out later they were made in Germany) and the price was amazing (CAN$100 for a full set with oval track), so I bought two different ones on two successive Christmases and my layout just grew from that.

    I find I am happy with the space it takes up and the detail I can work in. And, of course, as you have said, the choice of stuff for HO is overwhelming. Can’t find any more bargains like those that started me, however!


  28. jack mcginnis
    4 years ago

    HO is the only way to go for me.
    1. Size allows more layout than the larger scale equals a more relistic layout.
    2. More supporting ancillary equipment available including cars, people, sturctures, etc.
    3. Money. More bang for the buck.


  29. Charlie Colitre
    4 years ago

    It’s all really a matter of personal preference. I model in N scale because of space limitations (room size) and because I make my layout modular to make moving easier.


  30. Scott Springstead
    4 years ago

    Due to limited space I am planning an N Scale RR, but it really wouldn’t make a difference if I had more room as I am one of those that likes to pack as much as possible into the space I have and N makes that possible.

    Also I am not into fine detailing my rolling stock so N gauge lets me get away without it. I am more interested in modern railroads so N fulfills my requirements for required locomotives.

    I plan on having 1 or 2 steam engines but thy will be modeled as restored units and will be run as excursion trains for rail fans which will also allow me to have a few passenger cars.


  31. Tom Stack
    4 years ago

    I prefer N scale.

    Manufacturer build quality is now excellent.

    Space requirements are about one-fourth that of HO (which is about one-fourth of O scale). Much more action per square foot is achievable.

    Sound is becoming more available every year – thanks to ever shrinking electronic components. But speaker size limits options more so than in HO and larger locos!

    Cost is comparable to HO. Some items are a bit less costly – but not a bunch.

    Small size can be challenge when building, wiring, and painting compared to larger scales. Being near sighted can be a benefit!

    DCC and N scale allow a high degree of prototype operations in a small space – except for big people space needs!

    Any railroading is a rewarding creative hobby and great fun but not cheap nor for the faint of heart.


  32. Robert White
    4 years ago

    Aging eyesight and coordination combined with space limitations limit me to HO but I’d love to see some OO scale broad gauge or narrow gauge modeling as well as the European HOe and HOm narrow gauge. Question: Do 1/72 armor, ship and aircraft models work at all well with OO scale railways (1/76)? Has anyone tried that? 1/72 and 1/76 are a bit big for HO unfortunately.


  33. Mark Ingersoll
    4 years ago

    As a kid, I grew up with O – so my tendency is to stick with O. Sure there is cost and room factors – but it is a hobby and not a competition. My choice is neither better or worse or less than or more than anyone else’s choice. Maybe for once, size doesn’t matter as the enjoyment is the same.


  34. Foster Hawkins
    4 years ago

    I am starting my first layout as I type. I decided to go with HO scale. For me N looked too small and difficult to work with, as I have fat fingers. O looks to toy like and the accesories look very toy like FOR ME!

    I have seen very beautifle layouts in every scale but HO seems to be the best of all worlds!


  35. Peter
    4 years ago

    As I am interested in model engineering my favorite scale is 1:19 narrow gauge (garden railway) on 32mm Peco track.

    I also use N gauge for my indoor layout which is useful when I am unable to run live steam on the outdoor track such as in the Autumn when the leaves REALLY DO cause problems on the track!

    I am at the present time modeling my local heritage steam railway in N gauge. The advantage over HO for me is that of space. I would not have the space to model the railway in HO.

    Cost is also a major factor as my garden railway is quite expensive, the cost of one live steam loco can easily exceed the total cost of a decent N or HO gauge layout!


  36. DonMcc
    4 years ago

    ‘Which scale is best?’, is not a good question, it should be ‘Which scale suits you?’ for what you wish to model; some good comment precedes this.
    Space availeble, era, pocket limit and what you actually want to model, usually dictates the scale.

    I’m British, live in the US and model in OO & HO, .75″/foot, (3.5″gauge) and 1-1.16″/foot,(5″gauge), the latter two are live steam loco’s and these are expensive because the machinery, skill and space required to build and run them.

    For me, 4mm and 3.5mm is best, I can see and fit good detail and afford it, friends have 2mm for their reasons, I find it too small, others have 7mm, which I like, but is more expensive and in space.

    What you visualise in your available space dictates the scale, the cost is something else that comes along anyway.


  37. Joe Oetjen
    4 years ago

    I love trains! I did HO for several years and lost it all to a fire. I started again in O – just for a scene under the Christmas tree. However, I am never happy with just a circle of track.

    I read a comment someone wrote about them preferring track and trains to a realistic scene and I must agree with them. Buildings are okay and look great but the more trains I can run the better. I am currently running O – which I love, and so many reasons; puffing smoke on almost all steamers; the horn, whistle or bell; it is larger and easier on these old eyes. Having it on the floor behind furniture it is large enough to see, and if accidentally stepped on, does not ruin the track.

    Granted it is expensive. Been a few years since I was able to purchase something due to the economy. I am thinking I will start an HO layout when funds become available – just so I can cram as many trains as possible on the 7×4 board that I have in the basement.

    Happy railroading!

    PS – I am single so I can have trains in the kitchen if I wanted to. Just difficult to cook and avoid the main line. Also – when I had HO, many times I had a derailment and the cars crashed and fell over the side of the table onto the floor – with loss of rolling stock. O is heavier and stays on the track better. Also you do not have to worry and connecting a left hand switch to another left hand switch. You can reverse the direction without complicated electrical connections.

    To each his own. As long as we get to run our trains!


  38. Steve Moss
    4 years ago

    Personally I prefer N Scale due to I can only fit an 8×4 foot area and I want to fit a lot into it.
    Still have to build it but I have been stocking up on supplies…
    Steve


  39. JIM Deveney
    4 years ago

    HO is the best scale to have if you have the space to run it.I am lucky to have all the space for my lay out.In my opinon the HO scale is best to work with if you are an older person like me.


  40. Jim Jette
    4 years ago

    I am back to O 3 rail. I got a Lionel set for christmas as a kid. In the 60′s I went to HO. I did HO for many years. When my grandson came along, we got him a Lionel set. After that I went back to 3 rail. Now Iam a O 3 rail operator and collector. Along the way I found Lionel Prewar O. I operate and repair them too.

    “A day without trains, is a day wasted”


  41. Warren Marble
    4 years ago

    I have a church youth group with several adults to assist. Looking for a project to keep everyone interested (literally ages 8 to 80!) I brought out the American Flyer trains from my own youth, added to them on Ebay, and now we are constructing scenery. The trains seem to mesmerize almost everyone who sees them! The S guage is a bit limiting space wise, but that is what we have and it seems right for us.


  42. Donald Chavez
    4 years ago

    I am runing HO on a 6.5 x 10.5 room with a double loop track. I started HO before N got enough material to work with. I like HO because it is the right size for my big hands and I do what I want to with it.


  43. Jeff Cornelius
    4 years ago

    I want to model the railroads in my local area as they were in 1946 and 1962. That equipment is only made in HO.
    I want to run trains at Christmas time among the popular ceramic buildings. Those are approximately O scale, and On30 works well in the “quaintness” dimension. And for compact passenger train freelancing, N scale works well. So I do them all!


  44. George
    4 years ago

    I am using LGB G scale because I won’t to build a garden railroad and this manufacturer and scale is the highest recommmended for outdoor use. Plus my big clumsy hands can handle this scale much easier than the smaller scales.


  45. john sanders
    4 years ago

    I started out loving “O” size but with lack of money
    I ended up with “o27″ and since have desided its the best, only I use “O” track only. ( sonme of my O trains and o27 are the same size.
    thanks John


  46. Ken
    4 years ago

    Dan, I have HO, O, and On3 scales. The HO’s are nice and one can hide a lot of the detail short-comings. But, they are hard to work with especially if they de-rail, particularly if behind the scenery.
    Now, I use all three gauges. O is for the main part of the layout, On3 is for carrying logs out of a forest with narrow turns, and the HO is used to portray the illusion of height or distance.
    All gauges have their usefullness.


  47. Tim
    4 years ago

    I have always loved trains my Grandfather retired from the R/R and I have the O27 the Ho and the N scale I think I have about seven or eight trains all together but dont have the space for a layout I have tried a couple of time’s but my biggest problem is finding somewhere that I can buy part’s for the repair on my loco’s I like to do the work myself I just can’t find the part’s. I live in west Pheonix Az. if anyone know’s where to go I would appreciate the help.


  48. Trailrider
    4 years ago

    All of the above considerations are valid! Available space is always a prime consideration.

    True, you can get much more layout in a given space with the smaller scales. But ease of handling and working on details can be a consideration for those with less visual acuity than when we were younger.

    Also durability when young children are present, can be a consideration. Certainly there is a LOT of stuff available in HO scale. A lot, but maybe not quite as much in N. Still less in Z and in S. O-scale or its hi-rail/tinplate versions can be pretty expensive (and HO isn’t, these days???).

    So, IMHO, there is no “right” answer.

    You have to decide what will work for you. I am currently building a new layout in a 14′x14′ room. As I like running passenger trains from the “transition” period, long runs make them look great!

    I might, therefore have elected to go to N-scale. But with 50+ years worth of locos, rolling stock, and buildings on hand, not to mention track and turnouts, I’ll stick to HO!

    Green boards, all!


  49. Cosie
    4 years ago

    I agree with Steven Breiter. Maybe because I started with “O” scale some fifty years ago, and I have some original pieces! I own a bowling centre and one of these years I’ll have it set up at the lanes for kids to see and maybe even try out. But it has to be a magnificent set-up, or I won’t do it…and that’s maybe why I’m still dreaming about it! In the “O” scale three track, I use the heavier one. Is that “OO”? What a great hobby. Cosie


  50. Burke Frandsen
    4 years ago

    I am modeling HO scale. There are more accessories available and the locomotives are less expensive than O. I also have a train I set up around the Christmas tree every year that is On30.


  51. Larry Bangle
    4 years ago

    I have had model trains for 60 years, all guages. My layout inside is N and outside G. I didn’t pick HO because everyone seemed to have it. Today since there is so much HO, it would be the most feasible for beginners cost wise. My N layout is 14′x 27′. I would never have been able to have an HO layout with as many accesaries in this space. I also built it in modules, and it grew through the years.
    The main thing is enjoy the hobby.


  52. Roger Pipkin
    4 years ago

    I have waffled between HO and N scale for years. Space and Era (Steam) are the deciding factors for me. Being in the Military for well over 20 years, moving was a part of life. Space is a premium at the moment so N scale is out running and HO is on the shelf. Someday (maybe) enough room for both?? As long as you enjoy what you are doing, does it really matter what scale you run? SP Forever!!!


  53. Reg Stocking
    4 years ago

    The best scale is 12″:1′, but it’s a bit impractical for most of us. The best for you is the one that will let you come closest to the overall effect you want in the available space and budget. If you model a small branch line, a larger scale will work in a space a much smaller scale would be needed to model a major railroad and get the effect right. No one scale is best overall; what’s right for you depends on a number of things.


  54. Jim Hackett
    4 years ago

    I have been model railroading since the 50′s when my Father got me started in HO gauge trains. Since then I have tried N gauge with my sons.

    I also have O gauge that my father started with in 1945 and 1946. I have some of the MTH and Lionel trains in DCS and TMCC, as well as other makes that are conventionally controlled.

    I was pleased to find out that Mike’s has HO gauge trains that can be run like the O gauge Locos but I haven’t gotten any since I have way too many HO engines to convert over. Just enjoy what makes you happy. Or go with what fits your budget or space. All gauges have their own advantages and disadvantages.


  55. albert p wilson
    4 years ago

    HO is right for me. I can buy decent engines and accessories @ a price I can afford. O is great under the Christmas tree along with Porcelin Houses. (that my wife collects) Narrow guage 0 would work with that setup also. Also take into consideration what you are able to model considering your eyesight, dexterity, etc.


  56. Murray Moen
    4 years ago

    This is a question I have been pondering.
    I have both S gsuge which I received on my twelfth birthday and HO which I purchased about 7 years later.

    They are still boxed up since I went into the military.

    Some 49 years later I have been contemplating setting one of them back up. The only model railroad club around my neck of the woods is N and thus, I haven’t been able to get any hands on support without driving great distances to hobby shops.


  57. Buddy McDaniel
    4 years ago

    I believe its a matter of choice. I have had an 11X24 room with HO for some time. (15 yrs) Now my interest has gone to G gauge for an outdoor layout. I’m just waiting for sppring to get started. I’m npot concerned so much with the reality but for the enjoymnet of watching trains run.


  58. Troy Carroll
    4 years ago

    I want to model the HO scale. My question is what is the formula to convert to scale from the linear and vice- versa?
    I am wanting to start om my first layout before Easter of this year.
    Troy


  59. gary
    4 years ago

    I HAVE Z-N-HO-O-G- AND HAVE FUN WITH EACH.TIME AND SPACE IS THE BIGEST PROBLEM. TAKE CARE GARY


  60. GZ
    4 years ago

    All the scales are good.

    The Best scale for you, is the one that makes you feel good and you are comfortable with.

    There are many stages in your life, so just pick the one you feel the best with, according to the environment you are living in at that time.


  61. Kirill
    4 years ago

    I am playing with HO scale since I was 4…
    Right niow I am working on a interesting layout (continuous loop with 1 station, 3 levels) approx. 4 by 8 feet.
    Accidentally my son is 4 now is also loves playing with trains.
    There is also an interesting scale very poular in Europe but not known in US- it is called TT, 1:120 with 12 mm standard gauge. It is in between N and HO.


  62. Thomas
    4 years ago

    I love HO but am considering N because of being able to build more in the same space. Right now I live in an apartment and will not consider building any kind of layout until I’m in a house.


  63. Michael Flynn
    4 years ago

    HO, the only way to Go!
    Everything is easier to handle, cost efficient, parts readily available, and there is more of us to find info on.
    Happy railroading!


  64. John Kokolski
    4 years ago

    I wanted to get back into the hobby a few years ago.
    Not having any patience, the LL roadbed track made sense. I have since upgraded to the Bachmann nickle-silver. HO was what I started with as a kid,and that is what I went back to. A simple 4×8 has grown into a layout which runs the length and width of the house.

    Hindsight being what it is, I am kicking myself for not going N. I think it would have been fun. Whenwe leave this house, that is where I am headed.


  65. Lionel Colon
    4 years ago

    I’ve been in the hobby, in and out, for over 3 decades. I personally found that what makes the scale of choice best for anyone is primarily the people they are with, as well as the points made out in the talking points.

    I started in HO and was in it for 11 years before switching to N. Where I live, I’ve encountered many HO’ers with an attitude I didn’t care for and were also making being a modeler intolerable. When I began to deal with N Scalers in 1989, it was like a whole new world was opened.

    I don’t put all HO modelers in the same category, but there are enough modelers out there, regardless of scale, to give enough unnecessary grief.


  66. Jim Hazen
    4 years ago

    I like H O because it is affordable, thus easy to obtain, I will have room in my basement for a decent layout,[I am still collecting] and it is easy to handle.


  67. tommy tinney
    4 years ago

    i am fairly new to model trains, my 6 x 32 is o scale but i have a lot of ho scale trains my family and friends get me at yard sales so i am trying to work ho into my o scale and i think i have it worked out but i like both scales . i also have a g scale to put outside this summer tommy tinney


  68. John Bennell
    4 years ago

    Further to my earlier comments on the most satisfactory HO scale. I live in the UK where models here are 00 scale. That’s 4mm to the foot ( 1/76 ) but the track gauge is still HO ( 16.5mm ). Confused ? I am. but it gets even more complicated.

    In the 1930s manufacturers where unable to fit electric motors into the relatively small sized British type of locomotives, so they adopted 00 scale but kept the 16.5mm track.

    Why they didn’t change to HO in the 1950s when smaller motors were available ? Who knows ?

    But then along came the EM ( eighteen millimetre ) brigade with their 18.2mm track and keeping 1/76 scale. This still isn’t correct as 1/76 of the 4 feet 8 and a half inch gauge track should be 18.83mm. Finally the P4 men came along with their 18.83mm track. 00 gauge is by far still the most popular compared to these 2 other gauges.

    I model SNCF HO scale with some DB thrown in and now Canadian Pacific HO, so I don’t get involved with all this nonsense.

    I had a Tri-ang 00 scale set in my youth in the 1950s and soon realised what a load of rubbish it was, especially compared to the German made models. So lost interest until later in life when I started the SNCF layout.

    I am now on a mission to convert the UK to HO, the most satisfactory scale.


  69. Bret Sutton
    4 years ago

    Answers to Troy Carroll and to Quinton Parker:

    Each scale has an associated ratio – the ratio of the model’s size to the real thing. The four most common traditional American scales, O, S, HO, and N, have ratios of 1:48, 1:32, 1:87.1, and 1:160 respectively. (Well, 1:48 is nominal for O, but exact for Proto:48, but that’s another story.)

    Another way of saying it is that O scale is 1/4″ = 1′; S scale is 3/8″ = 1′; and N scale is 3/40″ = 1′ (although nobody talks about N scale like that).

    HO scale is an English/metric hybrid: it’s defined as 3.5mm = 1′. That means its true ratio is 1:87.085714285… For practical purposes, it’s rounded to 1:87.1. But forget that: if you want to model a 6′ tall man in HO, just make him 6×3.5mm, or 21mm, tall.

    Quinton, standard U.S. gauge is 4’8.5″ between rails.

    In HO scale, that’s about 16.479mm. Once again, 16.5mm is good enough for our purposes, and that’s what’s used. A number of other gauges have been used on American railroads: 6′, 5′, 3′, 2.5′, 2′, and even 18″.

    When you apply the HO ratio of 3.5mm to the foot, you’ll get gauges of 21mm, 17.5mm, etc. So, no matter what scale you’re modeling in, the gauge of the track will depend on what you’re interested in modeling.

    Most HO modelers use either standard gauge or HOn3, which is 3′ narrow gauge. Both these sizes of track are commercially widely available. And if you want to model HOn2 1/2, it just so happens that N-scale standard gauge track is almost exactly the right size.

    So, in answer to your question, HO-scale track (as is true for most other common scales) is sized correctly in proportion to the rolling stock.

    Now, garden railways – that’s a whole ‘nother topic altogether…


  70. Jeremy Hall
    4 years ago

    There is another dimension to scale – is everything going to be the same.

    I model my rolling stock in HO (1/87th) but populate my layout with people ranging in scale up to 1/72nd and for smaller things (like vegetables) these are also overscale.

    But for other things (eg aircraft) I use a smaller scale (1/100th). This a matter of availability (and cost) and the viewability of the item (scale size pumkins are rather small and do not standout).

    One other thought is where the items are on the layout (larger at the front smaller at the back for perspective).

    Re scale and gauge:

    Standard HO track is the right size for standard gauge (1435 mm) railways. But there are other gauges in use around the world – Broad Gauge (wider than 1435 mm – up to 7 ft (for Gods Wonderful Railway) and Narrow Gauge (4ft, metre, 760mm, 2ft 6inches, 2ft etc).


  71. Thomas
    4 years ago

    Tom here, from Staten Island.

    I’ve been reading the offerings to the “Which scale is best” discussion and I’m fascinated about several things, especially the number of British (English? Scottish? Welsh? Others?) contributors. They’re among my favorite people on this Earth.

    For Me, with age advancing, HO is still my favorite, but have been considering Sn3 so I can keep railroading,as my eyes and co-ordination aren’t what they used to be. That way the scale is big enough to model but in most cases, will fit in HO space.

    Please, one favor: there was a post from Bruce Olson on 1/8/2010 asking about baseball parks. Well, you got the right guy for that so please give my e-mail to Mr. Olson, I’ll be glad to describe many ballparks of both major & minor leagues and if he tells me what city/town he lives in I can probably direct him to the nearest ballpark of the type he’s interested in.

    OMG!!!! he’s not going to model a ballpark for his layout is he? Even a small one will take up a bunch of space.


  72. John Baughan
    4 years ago

    I’m modelling in OO as in the UK I can get masses of kit in that scale. I’m not a purist I just want a layout on which I can run anything I want.

    For that reason my main layout is a preservation site which has a junction link with a modern line running close by. I am also about to start building a T scale railway which will represent a ride on miniature railway on the same site.


  73. Peter J. Coburn
    4 years ago

    I have modelled in HO and N, 20 years ago. I gave all my layouts away for various reasons. After a long gap in my passion I recently have resumed my hobby.

    Due to space, getting a little older with eyesight not as sharp, I decided to go to On30 scale (1:48). Narrow guage using HO track (although I used On30 code 75 scaled flexi-track). Now, I can have the best of many worlds:

    :: small layout size board (900x1800mm)to start
    :: big enough to work with and still get great detail
    :: freestyle scratch buiding
    :: easy scale mental conversions when building
    :: can run my On30 engine & rolling stock on most HO layouts (1-2mm spare to clear HO bridges/tunnels etc) just because I can and not for the asthetics ;-)

    Probably a few other reasons, but you get the idea.

    Kind Regards,
    Peter


  74. John Howard
    4 years ago

    I agree with most of the posts, money and space are the critical factors. I live in the UK and am building a 00 layout. If I could afford it a live steam layout in the garden would be nice.


  75. tom scott
    4 years ago

    well i play with O /027 & HO & N scale also …dan


  76. Chuck Ingraham
    4 years ago

    HO of course gives you the realism and value for your investment.

    You can either be a serious or casual railroader and get great satisfaction from your layout. The most important thing to realize that you must invest time upfront in bench work that is absolutely flawless, otherwise you will spend a lot of time with epoxy and contact cement fixing broken rolling stock.

    In the real world, engineers are very exacting on how they design and build track beds, inclines and curves.

    Why not a second layout?

    I found that when an HO modeling problem gets too intense and I start to get frustrated,(5 minutes progress for 5 hours work), I back off and enjoy my “O” gauge trains.

    These are forgiving and reliable and simpler to repair. If you have the space for an “O” gauge layout (using the trains your Dad gave you that you saved in the attic), its a good diversion; sort of R&R.

    Its inexpensive to get rolling stock and you don’t need a sophisticated set up.

    Chuck


  77. Jerry LaFavor
    4 years ago

    Dan: I have a small “N” scale layout running two trains and I am building a “HO” layout on a 5′ X 10″ board.

    I have cabinets full of my “G” trains from a previous outdoor layout. Over Christmas I bought a couple of HO N guage trains and two trollys for my Christmas layout and because I wanted to try it out.

    This is HO Narrow Guage which is “O” scale on HO track. I liked it but to add the “O” scale buildings takes up more room than I want to use.

    Also, the only engine equipment is from the steam engine days because HO Narrow guage was used to haul wood, etc. in areas that did not have enough room for the larger track.

    Looks to me that “HO” sort of solves most if not all problems with space and accessories.

    Jerry


  78. Col P.
    4 years ago

    I am building an HO all roads layout. in three rooms of my house will have a 12 foot by 12 foot table.

    The main thing is what room you have to build your layout.

    And the main thing is whatever tickles your fancy.


  79. Walter Norman
    4 years ago

    I model in HO on my main layout, but like N, S, G & On3.
    HO being the most popular, can get a lot of RR in while saving lots of space. I like the size best of all the Scales, also most affordable with the most accessorie
    available.


  80. Henry Robbins
    4 years ago

    I guess it has all been said , I have been modeling for about 7m years, my main layout is HO scale. I also have some O and some N scale trains that are for display purposes only. As My age is getting on working with smaller than HO is almosy impossible for me.
    But I like all the different sizes as they are all trains . And that is what it is about.


  81. Mike Kaludjer, Canada
    4 years ago

    Every scale is nice to watch, but none are for me.

    To me, scenicking a table [gridwork is worse] is like doing a jigsaw puzzle I don’t have the patience. A few buildings, various freight/passenger cars, some trackside effects (crossing gates, track signals, etc)
    make the running of SHORT trains (means more traffic) noisy, attention-getting, and, when coupled with engine sounds and actions, TO BE FUN!

    FUN is my goal.

    My wife has played (through my construction) with HO ans G-scale — both sides of my personal favourite O-27 gauge [short and to the point].

    Being the coin’s edge in railroading, O-27 fits 3 ft by any length, with plenty of traffic action.

    However there is ONE THING available in O-gauge, or -scale, that I haven’t seen in any other size — ACTION BETWEEN THE TRACKS!!
    All touted scale work looks the same beyond the rails.

    The world comes to a stand-still. That taxi cab stood in front of the same store since it was added to the scene. I never accepted such a condition, which is what pleases me about O-27 — tight curves both on the main line and on Main Street. It has automobiles and trucks MOVING AROUND MY CLUSTER OF BUILDINGS.

    K-Line [now by Lionel] gave the model railroad a new dimension.
    Indiviualized freight and passenger service is shown in its 18-wheelers and busses. SuperStreets models life without the grandeur of locomotive size and train length. It completes the railroading hobby.

    O-27 gauge may not look real to the keen eye, but it is small enough for any (even roll-away) space and big enough for the kid in many of us electric train players.

    PLAY is the root of my philosophy!


  82. Roger
    4 years ago

    I’ve had American Flyer, (S Gauge), since I was a kid, so that’s what I like. Flyer and Lionel are the most collectible of model trains, which makes them appealing.

    But if I was starting from scratch, I would go with HO. It has the most variety of equipment at the cheapest price.


  83. KEN
    4 years ago

    Iam starting out and went with o scale .
    I like the size and the detail of the engine and rolling stock. I have a 1 year old son and I
    hope that it will be easier for him as he gets
    more involved with the hobby.


  84. Nick
    4 years ago

    I have been modeling in HO scale for the lastforty years.I had a shot at N gauge but went back to HO.You can fit a lot in a confined space plus it’s an easy scale to scratch build.It has a lot of good engines and plenty of good rolling stock.I have two grandsons that are starting to get intrested in model railroading.It has brought me many years of enjoyment.
    Nick


  85. Dylan O'Sulivan
    4 years ago

    i have always used HO and even with the little space i have can generally get reasonably good reasoults


  86. Glendolyn
    4 years ago

    G scale, gauge 1…. LGB narrow gauge style for me, AristoCraft diesel for grandson.

    Biggest problem is lack of affordable accessories/scenery…which forces us to be creative ….. in the long run we are more involved than just buying and dropping in place, and hopefully that will leave better memories for him.

    Frustrating part is being in the less popular niche and seeing so much 00 stuff we would like but not available in our size…..and we are too invested to make change now.

    Also lack of active local club is discouraging especially to younger railroaders.


  87. Dale
    4 years ago

    I like working with HO scale. Buildings and layout are EZ to find and work with. It’s EZ to stay focused on what Im building without thinking I should change scale or start another project.

    Currently working on WWII layout with HO scale. It’s a lot of fun and is constantly evolving.


  88. Stu Winnie
    4 years ago

    I recommend HO, but prefer S gauge (I know scale and gauge are different, but I don’t recall hearing it referred to as S scale).

    S gauge track was hard to find, so I bought 3′ Lionel flex track, tore it apart and laid my own track. A cool accidental discovery was that when heavy trains rune over track that you lay yourself on wooden ties, it sounds very realistic.

    I used old truck pieces to make a little car I could use to keep the track gauge accurate while I nailed it and while the glue dried.

    The shed was about 12′ by almost 15′ which was the biggest layout I knew of at the time except for in museums or magazines. I had a wonderful S gauge layout that went all around the walls and across a diagonal bridge to clear the swing of the door.

    To operate it, you had to come in, close the door, and crawl under the bridge. It included a tiny yard and room for a turntable which I scratch-built myself (at 13 years old no less) out of rails I stripped from Lionel tracks and parts from an old record player turn table.

    The turntable never really worked that well without assistance from my hands, and was hard to line up the rails, but looked great, as it rotated. I also was lucky enough to find 4 or 5 narrow gauge curve track sections in the same scale and some very wide radius curve pieces (3 different radiuses) so I could have one triple track where the curves stayed parallel around the corner! Fond memories!

    I love my old Gilbert trains! However, reality seeped in somewhere about 30 years ago when I had to give the tool shed back to my dad and build a new layout in a much smaller place in the house.

    Eventually I switched to HO because S gauge was even harder to find back then. HO let me have more options of track layout in smaller space, was, much more available for less cost than S gauge, and the smaller scales like N were just too small for detail and to get everything working correctly.

    I see why HO is the most popular. If asked, I would recommend HO. It’s a little too small for detail for artistic types like me, but one can have room for plenty of turnouts, “whyes”, bridges and multiple levels.

    I had plans for, but never built it, using HO scale in the background along with my S, to give a perspective of great distance. I was going to have a one-way HO line up in the mountains (not a loop), winding a bit, almost straight, near the two far walls.

    I still have the trains! Unfortunately they are packed away because, I became more interested in girls and, alas, adulthood took over. I probably won’t start another layout until I retire in a few years.

    However, I have created very detailed HO track plans. Over the years, I have meticulously collected all the things necessary to make whichever of those plans I choose. I have had a lot of fun planning for various room sizes.

    Each of my plans is organized by room dimensions and includes a list of exactly what I don’t have stored away in order to complete the layout. For example, I have everything I need for the the 10′X10′ room plans, but my plans for a 12′X14′ has a short list of odd track pieces and turnouts that I’d need to finish it (as if ant layout will ever be finished).

    I also planned in stages so I can build a short bit and get running right away, but won’t have to tear up much to add turnouts and expand.

    Anything larger than S has always looked too toy-like to me and I never could ignore that middle rail on Marx and Lionel. It has just always ruined the illusion. All my life, the real trains around here have only two rails.


  89. peter
    4 years ago

    hi dan i use oo scale as i dont have a lot of space to play with you have to use the space that you have got
    Peter


  90. Joel
    4 years ago

    I model HO for those three reasons you gave. N scale is great for space, O is great for Detail, HO is good for both of these reasons.


  91. Peter Seelig
    4 years ago

    Hi Dan,

    I started with HO because it seemed more realistic at that time. Yes space was limited and so this was perfect for me. The rails seemed more like the real thing also.

    When I started collecting Hawthorne Village I found that O gauge was more suitable. I did have an ON30 size for a while but through various reasons things did not work out for me.

    Now I use the O gauge. The table I use is 5′ by 9′ and the trains that I have are more suitable and little more in scale.

    I have not given up on HO but may alternate it with the villages I have.

    So it all depends on what the person can work with and I am sure you are not wrong with your explanations.

    Thank you for my in put.
    From your friend Peter Seelig


  92. Eric
    4 years ago

    I model mainly HO myself with a bit of N as a friend models in N and we have a layout in both scales that we take to local model train shows. But I believe all scales have their good points and bad points. It depends on what each person is looking for. I like HO because it is easier for me to work with. My friend likes N because he doesn’t have much space.


  93. Joe
    4 years ago

    I like the n scale for the room that I have to work with and the cars are not too small


  94. mike
    4 years ago

    I use n scale or gauge which ever you wish to call it. I also run DCC. I prefer the amount of space it requires to do my setups.


  95. Brian from Michigan
    4 years ago

    When I was younger, I had an American Flyer O scale layout. As I got older I enjoyed the variety and selection of HO product. Now, as I am older with grandchildren, I starting to think that O scale is better for us “oldsters” because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to work with smaller scales. (ie. eyesight goes, steady hands go as well) Still can’t beat the selection and variety with HO though.


  96. Gomer Champion
    4 years ago

    HO scale is what I chose for my seven year old daughter. We have a 4ft x 8ft layout, we started in the middle of December. We built the fram and put the plywood on top and used 1inch pink insulation foam. We got the layout about half finished. One set of track is already layed and the second set of tracks is going to have a rise in the track of about 3 to 4in in height. We got the part of the scenry put down and I am using a green grass 33 x 50in on a vinyl mat, it’s mafg by woodland scenics. You can take a heat gun and shrink it around objects underneath the mat. I have enjoyed working on the HO, with my daughter.


  97. stephen dickinson
    4 years ago

    In my youth our family had a Lionel set which among 8 kids did not last…Now after being at a point in life able to “play” again, I chose N scale because of the small area needed to set up a layout, being a lab tech used to working with small items and being able to buy over 120 pieces of rolling stock and locomotives, scenery materials, etc. at a store selling closeout stock.I am still in the planning mode before I set it all up. But now i can hardly wait!!


  98. Wayne Wiley
    4 years ago

    I like N because you can get in a small space. I have quite a few scratch built buildings already made.
    Hope to get started with the layout soon. I have a plan so just need to find the space.


  99. Jim More
    4 years ago

    I used to model HO/ OO but I am now into Sn3.5. There is not a lot of ready run in what I am into. I am modelling NZR of which there are plenty of kits about. It is more for the experienced modeller. My reason for going Sn3.5 NZR is that it uses standard 16.5 track as used by HO/OO railways.
    Jim M


  100. Terry
    4 years ago

    Dan, You are on the right track, anything free is like fishing for customers. You get a feel for what they want and get them involved in the hobby more.

    My self I have to many Dream Plan Build CD’s (according to the wife) that have a lot of information and places to go for taking pictures.

    Some of the advice I gave out is from experience, the books I have and the DPB CD’s. The article about scale sizes is correct, as what you can handle, the amount of room, what you can create, and your eye sight.


  101. Junior Johnson
    4 years ago

    I personaly perfer HO the N or Z is just to small for me to see what I am doing.


  102. Jason Werren
    4 years ago

    I prefer HO scale but the way I look at it, it is what works for you. If I could have my wish, I would model in 2 rail O scale. I just love the size and the way they rumble on the rails, just like the real thing.


  103. Frank
    4 years ago

    I recommnd O gauge. We have always had O gauge because of the detail that can be modeled, the power and controls that can be put inside the engine and the realism that is expressed in the scenery. Cost and space are always considerations, but so much detail is lost in the smaller gauges that it pays to wait and enjoy what you enjoy modeling. After all it is a hobby to be enjoyed.

    I also enjoy working with 1/4 of an inch equals one foot and have found many ways to model buldings , bridges, rail yards and port facilities in this scale. the devil is in the detail with O gauge and O Scale.


  104. John Pearson
    4 years ago

    Hi Dan,I am currently building an HO scale railroad, I’m up-sizing from an N scale which I was very happy with as far as detail and such but as I got older so did my eyesight.

    I would say that if you have the room HO scale has more options as far as detailing goes so I’m staying with that.

    John


  105. Rob
    4 years ago

    Well, my choice of train chose my gauge for me…the first of 4 sets with track and transformers.

    I found an O-Gauge Polar Express greatly reduced while passing through a department store in January 2008. I didn’t realize I’d get so involved, but for the last several months I have been working on telling the movie story on a 5′x10′ table (sitting on top of a portable ping-pong table).

    I have collected all the cars made for it and have been very happy with the size and space. Cost has not been too bad, thanks to eBay and Craigslist!


  106. Tom Bray
    4 years ago

    I think another plug for large scale trains is in order.

    My wife and I have downsized our house since the kids have moved out. I have wanted to do a layout for years but but never really had the space. With our current house, an indoor layout was still out of the question.

    Our new house was missing all but the builder’s meager attempt at landscaping and we decided that trains were an excellent addition to the backyard flower garden. The layout is approximately 40′ x 20′. There is already a spur wandering out into the yard for little extra activity.

    We current run 1:24 and 1:32 trolleys and locomotives and are very happy with them. Some narrow gauge (1:20) equipment is on the wish list.

    The larger size is nice and for the most part I don’t need a big magnifier to work on or enjoy the equipment.

    Large scale rolling stock is lot more expensive than the mainstream O, HO, and N scales. Finding traditional hobby shops that carry large scale products are also few and far between so there are a lot of purchases made on the internet.

    Our backyard is the hit of the neighborhood. Plus we don’t have to clean up the house to have friends over to watch the trains run.

    One other advantage of an outdoor layout is that the scenery doubles as landscaping.


  107. Paul Stanley
    4 years ago

    00 scale seems to me to be the best value for money, and also gives great detail. When deciding what scale to start with I looked at what was available, what was the cost and how much detail did I want.

    0 scale was just too expensive and Z/N scale did not give enough detail. 00 scale: no magnifying needed!


  108. Tom Champion
    4 years ago

    How to pick scale? Plan what you want to do with the amount of space you have. What’s available? Anything you want to learn to scratch build. last, but not least, how much detail are you interested in creating? Diaramas work well for those with limited or un-limited space.


  109. Marge S
    4 years ago

    As you can see from my HOn3G2 email address I am doing 1:87 in both standard gauge (a little of it) & 3′ narrow gauge (lots of it). I chose HO because I have a 20×30 basement that I put under a log house, so I can. I also chose that scale because there is so much available.

    I’m retired so I would have trouble seeing & detailing N. My major interest is modeling & building & I love detail. I am modeling the Thunder Lake logging railroad, which was 3 foot gauge, located in Rhinelander, WI.

    The G2 really means G too. But to be more technically correct it is 1:20.3, also known as Fn3, 3 foot gauge. I will have a garden railroad because I can. I have 5.2 acres. Plenty of room and more than enough locos & rolling stock. That will have 3 geared locos with a lot of logging cars.

    It will have lots of White Pass & Yukon, also 3 foot. I fell for the WP&Y when I spent 5 wonderful days on a special railfan tour. Best vacation ever. Way better than Hawaii. They only have a few miles of narrow gauge & no operating steam.


  110. Bill Mugford
    4 years ago

    On30, baby! O = 1:48 scale. “n” = narrow gauge. “30″ = 30 inches between the rails, versus 4’8.5″ in standard O scale.

    It’s O-sized, therefore big enough to see amazing detail. On30 runs on HO-sized track, and its engines and rolling stock tend to be slightly smaller, running on tighter radius track. In fact, you can design a very detailed layout in 1.5X the space of HO and 75% of normal O-scale. Bookshelf layouts are easily created.

    On30 scalers are often incredible modelers and kitbashers. On30′s drawback actually provides its greatest opportunity. Though mostly stuck in the “boilers and pipes” era (1860′s to 1950′s), On30 equipment shows almost unlimited diversity due to its ad hoc builders’ imaginations.

    Bachmann, MMI (a division of PSC) and Accucraft make exceptional engines and rolling stock in On30. Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette is perhaps the very best RR magazine ever! Logging, mining, interesting industries and mountains are the domain of narrow gauge.

    By now, On3 guys are gagging and turning red, blue and steaming. That’s because On3 (3′ between the rails” is actually true American narrow gauge, a la Colorado and elsewhere. On3 guys wish Bachmann had simply designed everything in On3 AND mass-produced track and switches in that scale. Except to the purist, the visible difference between On30 and On3 is almost indiscernible.

    Bachmann’s On30 can easily be regauged to On3, and MMI makes both On30 and On3 engines.


  111. Bill Mugford
    4 years ago

    On30, baby! O = 1:48 scale. “n” = narrow gauge. “30″ = 30 inches between the rails, versus 4’8.5″ in standard O scale.

    It’s O-sized, therefore big enough to see amazing detail. On30 runs on HO-sized track, and its engines and rolling stock tend to be slightly smaller, running on tighter radius track. In fact, you can design a very detailed layout in 1.5X the space of HO and 75% of normal O-scale. Bookshelf layouts are easily created.

    On30 scalers are often incredible modelers and kitbashers. On30′s drawback actually provides its greatest opportunity. Though mostly stuck in the “boilers and pipes” era (1860′s to 1950′s), On30 equipment shows almost unlimited diversity due to its ad hoc builders’ imaginations.

    Bachmann, MMI (a division of PSC) and Accucraft make exceptional engines and rolling stock in On30. Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette is perhaps the very best RR magazine ever! Logging, mining, interesting industries and mountains are the domain of narrow gauge.

    By now, On3 guys are gagging and turning red, blue and steaming. That’s because On3 (3′ between the rails) is actually true American narrow gauge, a la Colorado and elsewhere. On3 guys wish Bachmann had simply designed everything in On3 AND mass-produced track and switches in that scale. Except to the purist, the visible difference between On30 and On3 is almost indiscernible.

    Bachmann’s On30 can easily be regauged to On3, and MMI makes both On30 and On3 engines.

    On30 is a bit pricier than HO, but you need less than half the stuff. I think it works out about even and is loads of fun!


  112. melvin
    4 years ago

    Hi Dan, excelent article. My favorite is HO.

    Right now i have under construction my first layout. is more easy than N scale. i am doing my own buildings from fine cardboard, balsawoods, foamboard 3/16in.

    i am taking my time and i enjoing that. i am going to make my scenery and everything that i’m going to do is from scratchbuilding.


  113. ron kirschner
    4 years ago

    I believe your 3 points are valid.I began with & still use o scale trains.However,if I were to start
    all over again I would consider a smaller scale due
    primarily due to the ability to do more in a smaller
    space.


  114. Bill Buvinger
    4 years ago

    In 1947/8 when I started in “model railroading” I went with HO since that is what my mentor was using.

    I stayed with HO for many years ending with a HO traction layout using overhead wire in 1977/8. In 1981 I packed it all up and finally sold everything in 1986 before moving out of state.

    In 2009 I decided to return and build a new layout. Because I did not have very much space and needed it to be portable I have gone with N scale.

    It is a real challenge for me as I will soon be 78 years old. But I am enjoying as much as I did HO scale. At present most of my efforts are designing and building buildings in “little, tiny” N scale.

    Bill


  115. Tom Erkman
    4 years ago

    Which scale is best?
    That depends on quite a few factors:
    1: How much space do you have?
    2. How much money do you have? (No joking).
    3. How much time do you have?
    4: What scale, if any, do you already have a preference for?

    5. Do you have anyone available for those things you’ll need help with?
    9. What do you want to accomplish?
    10. What type of railroading dor you prefre? (i.e. passenger, logging, mining, general freight, et c.)

    And the list goes onand on. The real bottom line is answered by what you have available and what are you willing to do to get what you want.


  116. Richard Otte
    4 years ago

    First off Bachmann engines are a curse. I have two new ones my wife bought for me for Christmas that are both in need of repair with less than ten hours of run time on them.

    Bachmann is trying to improve their product but it’s still under improve as far as I’m concerned. I should say I’ve modeled in O,HO,N,and G. I’m at the time in N and yes it’s hard to handle,hard to see,and I still get away with super detailed custom paint job on my equipment.

    Atlas build quality equipment, but you had ask the question about sets and locomotives. I’m going to put it in point blank words. What they have been doing with the N-scale pricing all the way around is making any sense at all.

    A company makes limited production runs on equipment and the locomotive you want isn’t in a set or they sell you a set and don’t tell you there is track and power pack included. I know this for fact because I had a set for a year before I realized it had the track and power pack stuck in the bottom of the box where it couldn’t be noticed.

    Cheers for N-scale small size. Many of our manufactures are leaving beginner blind just by not labeling their package. Plus if you don’t trust the person who is selling you your equipment don’t drop a dime on their counter.

    The person who sells to you better know his stuff our he or she should lock their doors and sell out. Our hobby is for enjoyment,not for continuing to support a shop that is only interested in making money off of making us look stupid.

    Also get the books that will help you learn the hobby so you know exactly what you want and not what they you should of bought.


  117. Earl
    4 years ago

    HO so far. I am new at this and there just seems to be more info on HO and stuff available.


  118. Alan
    4 years ago

    Hi Dan,

    Basically I agree with what you said. After many years of being deprived of my hobby, due to space and money (lack of mostly). I am now in a position to convert the loft and build up there.

    My main project will be 00 scale, and using some bits that have been hanging arround a small N scale layout. A saying we have in the UK (you may have it there in the USA), is ‘a bit of what you fancy, does you good’. In other words enjoy what you have no matter what scale you’re working in.

    Alan


  119. ben woffenden
    4 years ago

    I AM MODELING IN OO AS THEIR IS GOOD RANGE OF TRAINS AT THE MOMENT , ALSO JUST STARTED TO DCC SOME OF THE TRAIN WHICH I BOURGHT, WHICH WERE DCC READY ,
    FIND THAT THE SPACE FOR THE CHIP IS A BIT TIGHT ON SOME OF THE STEAM TRAIN’S , BUT ALL RIGHT ON THE DIESEL’S
    WHY DO THEY NOT MAKE THE PIN’S AND THE CHIP AS ONE AS THIS WILL FIT BETTER , THAN ALL THE LENGTH OF WIRE THAT COME’S WITH THE CHIP’S


  120. colin hunter
    4 years ago

    Everyone has a choice, myself, I have 00,h0 and n.

    They all look O.K. but–with 00&ho unless there is a large layout one cannot get enough carriages behind a loco to look realistic.

    With n you can. Most of the comments I have read so far talk about “radiuses” I have seen excellent end to end layouts taking up space of 10ftx2ft.

    Two types of people model railways the anorak and the”lets play trains”which is more relaxing. At 74 I just love ENGINES.

    Enjoy the hobby.


  121. Stephie Isbell
    4 years ago

    I am using N HO O/On30 for all the reasons you give. I loose some good points n each layout, but the scale/guage is important for each layout.


  122. paul ednasen-rosser
    4 years ago

    i will agree with you it is a tough decision to
    make and as you rightly said everyones decision is thiers but my layout is a 6footx4foot and is oo gauge
    and i am happy with it


  123. Al
    4 years ago

    I personally think that scale is secondary. The love of trains is the key. Time, patience, and innovative ideas. I have seen 027 layouts on an 8X4 that would dazzle you all day. Also, the layout was mobile and could be folded and stored away. (PS – I love vintage Lionel)


  124. James Somes
    4 years ago

    I grew up modeling with both N and H.O. scales and still have a bunch of equipment from both, although I admit I have quite a bit more H.O. due to the fact I am currently modeling the NYC/PRR junction in Sturgis, Michigan (where I live) but plan on adding on and operating my N scale equipment in the background as another way to use forced perspective even more than just using smaller structures.

    I guess that way I can enjoy my two favorite scales still.


  125. tom
    4 years ago

    hi dan i don’t think you got it wrong.

    i think speaking for myself, i prefer 00 gauge myself as if you don’t want a mass of track then 00 is the way to go.

    if it was n or z gauge then you could have miles of track as well as a hell of a lot of detail such as bankings rivers ponds factorys the list is endless,but as i said in the end it is up to the individual as to what space they have got in deciding what type of gauge and layout the person wants to build.

    best regards.

    thomas


  126. tom
    4 years ago

    my comment is that it is solely up to the individual as to what gauge he or she wants to use as space can be a big problem


  127. sid
    4 years ago

    i just started building and i went to h.o scale becouse of popularity and space i have available
    i find there is a bigger selection with h.o scale


  128. bob M
    4 years ago

    I am strickly a Lionel man (O27). My father started my collection before I was born and now 65 years later, I’m still building it up. I don’t have a lot of space (10×10) but you don’t have to have everything in your layout at one time. I like to leave room to switch out accessories and trains. When the kids are over, it’s great to see them excited about something new.


  129. Terry R
    4 years ago

    My local (US) hobby store has a fine collection of all scales of railroading, so choice was pretty much up to me. “Space available” dictates 8′x 12′ so I’m working on a double-oval of HO-scale trackage. Having built in “N” scale a few years ago I learned that, at least with simple DC wiring and momentum power packs, the HO engines seem to start, stop, and move about more realistically. Also, at ‘prototypical’ speeds, hostling freight cars in the yards and achieving slow station-starts just seem more realistic in HO size.


  130. Dave Van Selow
    4 years ago

    I prefer HO scale. There seems to be an endless supply of accessories for this scale. Work space was also a consideration. I agree with Dan that this is a middle of the road scale: Big enough to make handling things easy, and small enough to let you put down a lot of track and scenery in a relatively compact space.


  131. Larry
    4 years ago

    I loved the lionel trains as a boy but now I have limited space and money so I choose HO scale I like it but have never been able to find any old steam engines, ( that I can afford), like the ones I used to watch go buy my home, in Kansas.


  132. Doug
    4 years ago

    I prefer O “Scale”. Its what I grew up with. Though I dont have a ton of room (20 X 10) thatst fine for me. It is expensive but HO is catching up with O especially in engines with digital sound, which is why I have been running O Scale. Personally, I enjoy watching any trains wheather it be Z gauge to 1:1 trains RULE!!!!


  133. Ralph Howell
    4 years ago

    I presently have a lot of HO scale trains and accessories I plan to get gone with later this year.
    As we get older we have a harder time with small things line N scale, especially seeing it and handling it. The less room it takes is great however small size is a real negative to me. Accessories seem to be slightly higher.I like both but going with HO.


  134. Dave Wright
    4 years ago

    Hi Dan,
    not an easy question for me to answer,I`ve only ever had OO so i`m going to chicken out of this one. Hope you get the answer you`re looking for !!!!


  135. malcolmshore
    4 years ago

    I have always model in 00 scale,supply of choice here in the UK,ready built or kits ,engines building and road transport at present iam working on a new layout in a u shape,15×4 by 11×4,10×4 for dcc.


  136. Ron Shilling
    4 years ago

    Iam going with O because i already have two sets, and the room to build.


  137. Jim
    4 years ago

    Hi Dan
    Good question……It certainly got a lot of interesting responses!

    I believe that each individual who is in the hobby has thier own “best” scale for thier personal reasons. This question is usually asked by a few novices, or beginners.

    But this question should be asked between deciding to get into the hobby, and making that first purchase! The first purchase answers the question!

    Most of us, myself included, got into the hobby by purchasing a “start up set”. The scale of that set determined which scale we were going to model. The most widely available scale in North America seems to be HO, and so it is probably the the most used!

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I am the type who makes spur of the moment decisions and purchases. And that is why I model in HO. Sets are available in “big box stores”, and specialty kits and accessories are available in most hobby supply stores. Used equipment of all discriptions are available on line. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be in the hobby, especially in HO scale.

    Thanks for reading, and enjoy the hobby in any and all scales.

    Jim


  138. Tyler Robbins
    4 years ago

    I think HO is not superior, but it is the ideal. It has enough size to contain the detail of the real trains without taking up the room that O and OO scale requires. I really like the fact that you can have a decent-size model layout without having to purchase a warehouse, and I also like the sheer variety of cars and engines to choose from. Finally, I like how you can make scenery that is detailed, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it.


  139. dre
    4 years ago

    I chose to work in HO scale, due to the number of accessories and choices. I think N. Scale is comparable. I also like the fact that withs little space both scales offer many layout opitions, and detail is still good enought that the little details and things can still be interesting. How ever I’m still learning and open to advise. Only been doing this a yr.


  140. Kevin
    4 years ago

    What about G Scale? or Garden size trains, why don’t you include this size?
    As for cost, in comparison to GOOD quality Ho/N scale the cost is about the same here in Aust.
    Could we have some feed back please?


  141. Gordon DeLong
    4 years ago

    Well Dan, I agree with you on this.Space is very important,I am building an HO layout and I’m ready to move it already (only half finished now).N and Z are just to small for my fat fingers and old eyes, O scalehas nice detail but a lot af space is needed.I also think that for the dollar,you get more for your money in HO scale. You most decide for yourself what scale to model in and there are alot of things to consider before you decide.


  142. billie
    4 years ago

    to each their own , my layout is 12ft by 8 ft and i’m on the ho scale. a lot of things i manufaftured my self. I enjoy working on it in the winter time. summer time i’m outside doing something


  143. ray
    4 years ago

    I find it a lot easer to handle the ho trains. I have scratch built several locomotive ,rolling stock and buildings. the details can be carried as far as the builder want’s to as there are so many suppliers that produce so many detailed that are not avable in other scales.


  144. Mac
    4 years ago

    All the comments I’ve read in this post are certainly valid and seem to come down to; model whatever scale you prefer depending on the space, money and eyesight you have available.

    One other issue I’ve found rather important is the radius of the curves on your layout, no matter what scale you decide upon. If you want to model passenger trains you need longer radius curve which will increase the size of your layout. “Standard” boxcars, gondolas, hoppers, reefers and such look and run great on the smaller radius curves, meaning you can pack more track onto a layout. But, a passenger train will have rolling stock that is 80 scale feet, possibly longer (and so are some flatbeds on a freight train) and they look pretty silly passing over the shorter/tighter radius curves, and can also lead to derailments.

    So, what I’m suggesting is, that no matter what scale you’re considering, before you make the final decision, you may want to decide what kind of railroad you want to model, as the length of the rolling stock will dictate the curve radius of the track which in turn will impact the size and the amount of space you need to have for your layout. For what it’s worth.

    By the way, I began modeling in HO last September and have been loving the hobby. I seriously considered N scale because, obviously, I could have a bigger railroad in the same 4′X8′ space but N is just a little too small for me to work with. I’m getting older, in my 50′s, and my dexterity and eyesight aren’t what they used to be so HO works well for me (and I don’t have the space for O). I also found that the 18″ radius curves I used, while they make for a great freight train layout, doesn’t accommodate the longer rolling stock, which is why I brought the subject up.

    One more thing I’ve discovered as I continue to work on the layout is that it’s still not big enough! It seems I always want to add more rail, trains, structures and scenery. Hmmm, maybe I should have gone with N and gotten better glasses.

    Thanks, Dan, for a great site to ramble on about a great hobby.

    Good luck on your scale decision and remember, it’s all about the trains (no matter the scale).
    Mac


  145. Don
    4 years ago

    In 1939 I received my first o gauge Lionel Passenger train (steam locomotive)for Christmas. The following year, a freight set of 6 rolling stock cars. I began adding to this in high school and have continued with O Gauge trains and accessories. Some of my vehicles are S gauge.


  146. Gerald
    4 years ago

    I’m considering N or possibly Z scale due to lack of space. I live in a single wide trailer so I need to keep my layout no wider than 2 1/2 to 3 feet.


  147. gino
    4 years ago

    HI DAN. HO IS MY LAY OUT ,DO TO THE AVAILABILITY OF ALL THE LOCOMOTIVES AND CARS AND BUILDINGS, ALOT MORE CAN BE DONE WITH HO IF YOU ARE LIMITED IN SPACE. MY LAY OUT IS 16X12X8X4 FEET WIDE WITH AN ADDITIONAL 18IN.X6FOOT AIR FIELD AT THE END.


  148. Tamlyn
    4 years ago

    I like all of them. I had an N scale layout that I had done with my ex and he took it and I really had no space for it where I was moving. That was years ago and I am resettled and just recently found out my new SO is interested to a degree. I am a musician and have a studio in our home (We are both studio musicians and met at Berklee College of Music in Boston) We have a large home but I can only alot 1 small room for the trains. I am using a 3’6″ X 6′ table and want complexity so I have chosen Z scale.

    There are a lot of disadvantages if you are sight challenged or lack dexterity and expense but to achieve the multiple levels I am designing it is the only practical choice but before any foam is glued or wiring begins everything will be blueprinted before I begin. Scenery is as important to me as the trains.

    To start with I acquired 3 locomotives and a Japanese light rail (catenary or track fed) that will be run as a separate city layout with 2 visible subway stations). About 100 freight cars and 2 complete passenger trains. I have about 150 buildings and road tape from Noch to put an interstate cloverleaf going through the layout.

    I build guitars as well so alot of my tools can be used for this. I can add a second table if needed but want to avoid doing so. I love working with tiny things and with the new laser tooling the detail in Z scale is amazing. I am also trying to decide what size to buy for my grandson, Either L and buy him vintage trains or HO.

    I have another area where I can use another one of these tables (same 3 1/2 X 6 table) He is 2 1/2 years old now so I have some time to think about this. Would love to hear anyones thoughts on this. I have some old HO cars (Ambrose wood and metal unbuilt kits) and a small set of N cars now.


  149. Larry Volzer
    4 years ago

    You probably will never get an answer to your question. I have worked in S,H,O,G, STANDARD and1/8″ scales.

    Each has it’s place of perfection. I have enjoyed working in all of these sizes because each has special charms. But nothing can compare with taking 8-15 passengers over a 1/8″ scale 26′ tall, 960′ long curved trestle while one of many other trains on the layout wait for their block signal to proceed the other direction toward you!

    I have several books from the UK from 1910-1912 showing this type operation. Boy, what an old hobby we enjoy!

    For the curious, check out discoverlivesteam.com for an international listing of club and private tracks which might be near you.

    Yes, Dan, even in Australia.

    Cost? 1′ of track costs less than the equivalent “G” track I use. And I could buy a whole train my size for the cost of some G engines. Of course there is the other end of the spectrum as well.

    Want a 4-8-8-4 in this scale? It can be had—–if you win the lottery.

    AND DAN, the larger size people could benefit from a how-to book. Are you up to the challenge????

    By the way, in cold weather, at 72 yrs, I prefer the HO inside layouts with their massive varieties of models to choose from. It beats “plowing snow” off the tracks on the outside layout.

    THANK YOU for your work in making this hobby more exciting.

    Larry Volzer


  150. dave
    4 years ago

    generally HO just started new basement shelf go round with switching yard. I like N but to small and HO is more available. I have an N set and O set but do not usemuch I like G for outdoors but lost everything of mine 2 years ago when our home flooded


  151. peter
    4 years ago

    hi Dan

    i still like oo as it is good to handle


  152. Michael warshaw
    4 years ago

    I love realism.

    If there was a perfect scale for me it would be S. But the reality is there is not much to choose from. O gauge has come a long way. I love the size but space is some what limited. I own lots of track and my kids like this gauge the most.

    Ho is the best for most available and giving me size and lay out options. Almost twice the layout for half the space and I can make it look a little more real than O gauge but less operating fun.

    Examples like tractors, cranes, coal operating stations and such. Marklin Trains are great and realism is awe some. Some operating gadgets so this is my favorite.

    Unfortunately not many Marklin dealers. So I own Marklin Ho and O gauge. As my kids grow up I will make the Ho larger


  153. Leslie Howe
    4 years ago

    Everyone usually has good reason for building in the scale or gauge of their choice. It all boils down to which is best for you based on space, likes and dislikes, cost, and many other variables that influence our decisions.

    There is one point I’d like to make concerning space. If you are choosing not to run “0″ gauge trains in favor of H0 based on the radius of the turns and cost alone, you are making a mistake.

    Lionel and Marx offered (and many manufacturers today still offer) .027 radius track designed specifically for those modelers who have a space problem in their home or apartment, and had very little room to build a layout in.

    People even build .027 layouts that can be slid under the bed when not in use. Because the .027 track could make a full circle or oval of track in the space of 27 inches, it actually uses less space (width) to build an oval of track than can be done in H0.

    Also, H0 doesn’t offer a radius of track that is as tight as .027. Further, even if you considered using flexible track, the H0 trains cannot navigate the equivalent of an .027 turn radius anyway. Also, .027 track is not as tall as the standard “0″ gauge .031 track, and costs less.

    Now for the trains themselves. It is true that the .027 trains are bigger than H0, and that you can’t have as many cars running in the same given space as H0. However, you can get operating cars and accessories that are not available in “H0″ or “N” gauge.

    Also, most other cars in .027 are at or near the same cost as many H0 cars. For proof, visit ww.readymadetrains.com

    The quality is far above the average, especially for the price, which is usually less than most other manufacturers. They even offer a really nice two motor RDC (rail diesel car) for around $125.00 dollars U.S., in many American road names.

    Their engines usually have two motors, and are often at or below $100. dollars retail.

    The details are more than one would expect on low priced engines and rolling stock. RMT has been in business for 8 to 10 years now, and offers a wide variety of novel and unusual items that are not available anywhere else.

    They offer fine details on their products, like excellent painting and lettering, die cast sprung trucks and safety chains, and other details such as directional lighting. They often have crew figures in the engine cab. The cabooses also feature interior lighting and scale marker lamps, as well as the other features mentioned, like Die-cast sprung trucks, etc..

    These are a nice surprise at such good prices. The engines are also a good weight, having metal frames and traction tires that help provide a good grip on the rails for hauling your cars around your layout. These are not road engines, but yard engines called “BEEPS”. They haul very well indeed for their size. Better than one might expect.

    They are short versions of the common “Jeep” American road/switcher engine. They also offer a “normal sized” .027 “SW” type yard engine which is very nice, along with the standard sized .027 RDC mentioned earlier. Their freight rolling stock (boxcars, tank cars, hopper cars etc.) are also standard .027 rolling stock.

    This is about 25% smaller than standard “0″ rolling stock, but will run easily on the same 3 rail .027 or larger radius track. They also offer another small “novelty engine”, as I call them, sized like the “BEEP”.

    It also has an unusual name that I can’t recall at this time. It’s a shortened “F” type offered as “A” cab, and “B” cab-less engines. Both these, and the “BEEP” run on a single two motored truck, as would be found on any “full sized” American “Jeep” road switcher or “FA” cab and “FB” cab-less freight or passenger engine.

    They also offer extremely short passenger cars that run on a single .027 standard truck, and also come in variety of American road names. At this time they do not offer steam engines. I don’t know for sure, if they export overseas, but I do know for a fact (because I’ve seen them on the company web site) that there are soldiers right now that are operating these trains on their basses in IRAQ.

    Either the stuff can be bought direct and shipped overseas, or these guys have friends who bought and then shipped the trains for them. At any rate, the company (RMT) is very proud that these soldiers are running RMT trains at these military basses during the soldiers “off” or “down-time”, when they aren’t risking their lives being shot at, or blown up!.

    These brave people sent photographs to the folks at RMT to prove it, and these photo’s are available for viewing on the company web site. This is just one of several manufacturers that provide a good product at a low price.

    While you can pay a $1000.00 to $2000.00 or more for a top of the line “0″ gauge engine from many manufacturers, there are many other manufacturers who offer varying sizes of Die Cast .027 gauge steam engines for $100.00 to $350.00 dollars, and they run reliably well.

    True, they don’t have as many features as high end trains. However, they usually have smoke. Also, they often have a Whistle, and are very likely to have a bell sound as well. Diesel engines often run in the same price range and usually have a horn, and many times include a bell sound as well.

    Add to that, the availability of many complete starter sets in the $150 to $400 range. With that in mind, the cost of .027 as compared to other smaller gauges isn’t so far out of line after all. I know. I’ve been in the toy train and model train hobby for some time, and I own many “N”, “H0″, “S”, “.027″, “0″, and “G” scale trains as part of my large collection.

    Some engines cost as little as $50 dollars new, and still run well years later. Others cost $900 dollars retail, and have many fine detail parts. I usually wait quite a long time to buy, depending on availability and or cost, as I’m living on Social Security benefits only, and being retired due to health reasons.

    Sometimes I wait a year or two, until I have a bunch of stuff on my “wish list”, and I have saved up the money. I often pay less than retail, by buying in volume. Getting together with friends and combining your “wish lists” is a good way to accomplish this.

    The retailers I bought from were usually very co-operative, giving me/us anywhere from 10% to 25% discounts on the purchases (unless it was an item that was already marked down to a “sale price”). Thus, even at retail (minus the discounts previously mentioned) We save $25.00, to as much as $300.00 dollars on a given “high end” item. The retailers could then liquidate a lot of their inventory all at once, and still make a pretty good profit in the bargain. Especially the stuff that’s been “hanging around a while” taking up space on his/her shelves.

    NOTE: You can usually get a pretty good price on stuff if you don’t care if it’s been slightly damaged (scratches or tiny dents etc.). They make a nice one or two evening project, especially if your into “Kit-bashing”, or repairing small problems on an otherwise perfectly operable train or accessory that you would normally cost a lot more money than you paid for it.

    I’ve been “into trains” since I was 5 years old. I’m going to be 60 years old this coming August, and I NEVER get tired of my trains. Some of my trains were given as gifts when I was a child. (Yes I still have some of them and they ALL still run!) Others I bought a few at a time, gradually building a very large collection.

    I got my grandson William into trains started at age two. He’s 4 years old now, and enjoys it even more when he receives a new train. I started him out with a battery powered Thomas The Tank Engine, and a few of Thomas’ friends and accessories. They’re about the same size as the “American Flier” “S” gauge trains, but a lot lighter.

    That way, he doesn’t have any trouble picking them up, and he doesn’t get hurt if he drops one on his foot!

    I believe that my grand son is now “afflicted” with a syndrome passed on by his grampy, and I’m proud to take full responsibility for it. It’s the dreaded “locomotive” or “locomotion” disease. Ha Ha! It’s easily treated.

    Simply administer a generous dose of “medicine”, by going to a hobby shop, or run toy trains at home or at a friends house. Beware however, as the friend might also have the same “affliction”, and that if may last for life!


  154. terry inselman
    4 years ago

    I like n scale.

    I like n-scale myself.i can do more in the same space with the smaller train.n-scale is large enough for me to work with and have enough room to have more than a circle.i am biulding a10.5 by 10.5ft.n-scale layout i beleive that as long as a person has fun and injoys whatever scale they choose is right


  155. Carman
    4 years ago

    To me there is only one scale to consider. That would be HO. Even before HO was 1/87th I prefered it. The range available is 1/72-1/87th. Depending on the quality of the item, these scales and all the scales between them can be mixed.

    I find this scale ideal for scratch building, I do not purchase many models anymore.

    Though I can no longer enjoy my model trains I can still plan, visualize and pray that one day I again will have the space for a model train and a game table. I love military miniatures, which is another reason to stay with HO. 20 millimeter is a good miniature scale and very compatible with HO. I get great enjoyment out of mixing and matching and I get the most enjoyment out of creating, be that painting figures, scratch building or modeling terrain.

    I have figured out how to make my own crushed foam, and some of the dye formulas, I like getting out into the bush to find my own tree mosses, and other natural supplies. I find binder twine makes an awesome grass and the right gauge of piano wire with miliput makes awesome cat tails, miliput also can be used for barks, filling gaps in models, creating details and parts or even sculpting a figure.

    I love ceramic stains for what you can do with them on plaster of paris for terrain and rock effects, even tunnel entries. I have even used different colored dirt to do base coverage with. Treat it like ballast and with that glue and water mix, you can get some pretty solid and natural looking result.

    So as you can see, HO is the scale of preference and to me the only scale of choice.

    Screw the space, you can configure HO to any space you want, you are only limited by your creativity and ingenuity.


  156. jimmy
    4 years ago

    I am in ho scale 1:87. If i could afford it i would go to g 1:24 scale so i could easily build radio control cars to go with it. oh neat fact about terminator 3 some movie models were done in 1:87 ho scale opening scene destroyed city of la.

    After judgment day they came up with a new idea for the 4×8 ers out two tabels 30in.wide 8ft long both tables on wheels for easy modular movement use pin or dowels for perfect re alignment every time quick electrical disconnects and short sections track to join table edges. Fully braked crazy wheels 8 needed frame &legs are stout enough 4x4s should work nicely put time and thought into this finished it will give 5×8 instead of 4×8 on finished
    lay out tabele also for n scalers.

    this will provide a whole lot of realestate to work with hope this helps a lot of people, Jimmy


  157. Phil
    4 years ago

    At the end of the day NO scale is wrong. It is a matter of choice, space and funds.

    O is very expensive, about three times the cost of OO and will rule out many. HO or OO has probably the largest following and as such has more to choose from.

    N and Z many will feel is too small, but if space is a premium is great. For gardens the larger O or G will be best So it is a matter of choice.

    My railway is OO and is housed in a dedicated room 22ft by 10ft and suits me very well. It is for me the perfect size as I get older the eyesight is not what is was and the smaller scale would, for me be a problem, always having to get the magnifying glass out to model anything.

    I also find the OO has more stock available for me as I am modeling the British Southern Region in the late 50′s early 60′s and I am not into scratch building.

    So for me there is no right or wrong or indeed no best.


  158. Dubravko
    4 years ago

    From the beginning I like N scale. There are two main reasons, first in space needed for the same HO layouts can be placed a lot more tracks, second I like small things. Level of details in N scale is pretty enough to enjoy and is not so important to me. So my answer is as stated in your question – the scale that suits you!


  159. Tom Giza, Las Vegas
    4 years ago

    I started out as a youngster with inherited HO, but I had this love for passenger trains and never owned one at that time.

    When I was in the service and N scale was just getting more exposure in the early 1970′s, I started working with that scale and have ever since.

    I am a fanatic for High Speed Rail Systems and N scale from Japan like Kato, Micro-Ace, Tomix have numerous N scale models, well built and of high quality.

    Even the European Thalys, Euro Med, Eurostar, and TGV’s are modeled from the Asian companies.

    Here in the USA, Con-cor’s Aero Train, M-1000, and Zephyer’s are great. And Bauchmann’s Acela is good too!

    European Companies like Mini Trix has a wonderful model of the Orient Express, and Rocco’s TEE DB Train is great looking.

    And as all modelers, I have numerous American train sets, and freight trains in my collection not all just HST sets.

    As A friend said one day looking at my layout “you would never be happy if your train just ran in a circle?” No I wouldn’t, And with N scale I can send a train set out of the main station and not expect it back for a while.


  160. billie
    4 years ago

    ho is 1/2 the distance between oo and n scale, with limited room is great, but if your really limited go for the n scale, i preferr the ho scale myself.


  161. ROBERT SCHWEITZER
    4 years ago

    HI DAN I WAS WONDERING IF U CAN PUT LIONEL TRACK OUT SIDE AND LEAVE IT OR WILL U HAVE TO KEEP IT COVERED ALL THE TIME?I HAVE A GREAT PLACE TO PUT IT . IT WOULD BE IN A GARDEN.
    THANKS
    ROBERT


  162. Howard
    4 years ago

    Even though i have had my first train set since 1951 or so,American Flyer, i prefer the S gauge. Maybe it’s because i’m a little bit old school or it’s that i just enjoy collecting them.

    I have a modest collection and still consider myself a novice. I do have HO that were my Dads from the 40′s and i have done some repairs to them, hoping to intergrate with each other As a line in the background distance.

    I do not have a layout as yet, but when i get some heat in the garage,and clean it out as i’m sure you guys would understand,i will start a layout for the trains. In the meantime i will keep making any repairs as needed,which i enjoy doing, and plan which size and design of the layout i’d enjoy building. Thanks! Howard.


  163. Leonard Hacker
    4 years ago

    I like N scale because I do not have a lot of room and can build a nice railroad layout in the space I have. I also like the fact there are a lot of building kits as well as scratchbuilding ideas just like HO scale is.


  164. Wild Eagle
    4 years ago

    Howdy Dan!

    I like the larger O scale trains, but like others have a problem with space. I have a lot of friends doing the HO scale, which I also like, although I am considering N scale.

    The only thing that I am not sure of is if I want to deal with the smaller parts associated with modeling N scale.

    After reading the above articles, (so many mentioning poor eye sight), I may have to opt for HO scale.

    Thanks for your web pages. I’m going to do a little more research on N and HO scale, and get started with a home layout for myself, so I don’t have to go to a friends’ house to run trains. Thanks again.


  165. Michael Sneed
    4 years ago

    HO is the best to me I have been into HO’s starting in 1958 and at 59 now HO to me is still king


  166. Richard
    4 years ago

    I model in two scales: HO indoors and G outdoors. There are so many options in HO and it has a size that gives heft to the locomotives and cars. So much is available in this scale. And now there is sound which really adds to the realism of HO locomotives!

    But speaking of heft, all the G (F) rolling stock and locomotives really are exciting, but the weeds which populate the out-of-doors also invade the right of way. In South Texas that’s a constant problem.

    Both are pleasing to me and my eyes!


  167. Danny A
    4 years ago

    Dan
    HO scale is the best for me because of my physical limitations. Reach is a problem and I can limit my layout to about 24″.

    The size will be 10′ x 56″ in a U shape with 24″ reach at any point. I will be able to have nice industry, scenery and track layout. The right side of the U shape is 4′ x 56″ which is open on both sides. Back side is 10′ x 24″.

    The left side is 56″ x 24″. Both of those sides are back against the wall. I am limited to that space. Ho is my best choice because I am missing fingers and my eyesight is bad.

    N scale I would have a problem and the detail is just to small.

    Danny A.


  168. Ritchie
    4 years ago

    HO is definitely the most popular and is generally the cheapest. I prefer N-scale because I can get more stuff in a small er space even though its a bit more expensive. Its still popular though and there are pleanty of accessories to choose from. Z-scale is even smaller, but more expensive and less to choose from.


  169. Roger Calhoun
    4 years ago

    I have On3, HO, and HOn3. For the novices the n3 means 3-foot narrow gauge. The On3 caters to my desire for detail but still allows for some running track in a reasonable space – tighter curves and smaller equipment. The HO and HOn3 allow more track and running distance for operating fun. Both are still large enough that I don’t have to stress about being able to see what I’m working on. I’ve worn glasses since childhood and N or Z scales give me headaches, even with magnifiers.


  170. Seabee128
    4 years ago

    N-Scale has been my choice mostly due to available space. Currently building a layout on foam board that measures 40″ x 60″. It is being built in 5 seperate stages. Each stage will allow the train to run as completed. As you move thru the stages more track and events are added. It has been a challenge so far and it keeps me busy. The detail in the N Scale is sufficient for me. And being 65+ has not changed my mind on the choice. If it works for you, go for it.


  171. KR
    4 years ago

    I’m currently building an N scale layout, and have been into N Scale exclusively for nearly 20 years.

    Don’t get me wrong, if I had unlimited space, I’d definitely agree, bigger is better!
    I’d love to build a full blown O Scale layout if I had the room.
    The only advantage that N Scale has for me is the space savings.

    I can do without the microscopic MT couplers that sometimes don’t want to work properly, the lack of pulling power going up grades, and the tiny parts and pieces that easily launch into outer space, never to be found again.

    Not to mention needing the steady hands of a brain surgeon and the eyesight of a fighter pilot to deal with these insanely tiny parts and pieces which can lead to psychotic episodes and high self abuse levels, leaving you wondering why you supposedly enjoy this hobby.

    The bigger scales are definitely easier to work with, and have a sense of realism and “weight” that is addictive.

    The fascination with N Scale is the “cute” factor.

    My friends seem to be fascinated by seeing something so tiny effortlessly traveling through valleys, tunnels, and towns.

    If you’ve got the room, O Scale is definitely a good choice. If you don’t, you can’t go wrong with N Scale.


  172. Ellen
    4 years ago

    The only scale for me is Z…….1:220. Although now that a smaller scale is available……T…….1:450 I still run mostly Z. I can get so much more into a small space and the trains and layouts are very portable so I can take my trains with me anywhere I go.


  173. Alan
    4 years ago

    I am in an unusual position where I was given some train “stuff” after the death of a friend. I don’t believe he was into trains but had aquired the stuff himself. I have some nice HO and some fairly common N. I have been researching both.

    I am leaning toward the N because the scale is right for detail. Most of the time I see what I want to see.

    In other words all have imperfections but for me the N is good enough to fool me. I can spot the problems with HO quicker. Especially noticeable are the trucks which for some reason seem to stick out on HO rather than be closer to the body of the train cars.

    1/160 scale is also an advantage. with high detail computer printer I can create whatever scenery background I need and even buildings can be designed and printed then placed on wood or cardboard blocks


  174. Alan
    4 years ago

    I forgot to mention that the big issue for N right now seems to be coupling. There is reason to go to the newer magnetic system but the cost is great and conversion is almost as much as the original price of the rolling stock. But in the long run N will be regaining momentum.
    Alan


  175. Don
    4 years ago

    Hi..I’m looking for people to go with a Ferris Wheel I built. The seats measure 3″ long, 1-3/8″ deep, and 7/8″ high (back). I need both children and adults, sitting and standing. The figures should be at least 2-1/2″ tall. Thanks for your suggestions. Don


  176. Chris
    4 years ago

    Well I think N scale is the best. The rail to landscape ratio is very realistic, recent models are of very high quality and since North American Railroads use huge, heavy duty equipment (at least since the 1930s) – it is a wonderful scale to represent these wonderful trains.

    I still dream about TT scale (1:120) but I know this will remain a dream. It will never happen. So my choice is N scale. Please support it!!!


  177. Bob
    4 years ago

    Dan I have a 4′ x 4′ N Scale layout with three tracks but I am completing a 16′ x 25′ double layer with a helix that has four tracks two up and two down, with double tracks on both layers and a 30″ x 16′ staging yard and a 6′ lifting bridge that goes between two double doors in HO Scale. I had a 12′ x 20′ HO Layout until we moved So I guess what I am saying is I prefer HO even though I have my O Scale trains that I started with when I was a kid. I also have O Scale going around the hall above the doors.
    Bob


  178. Bob
    4 years ago

    I prefer working in two scales – A minimalist HO track plan, and a more elaborate N scale plan. This gives the ability to pick very nicely scaled rolling stock for the HO layout with some great structures, but at the same time having the capability of elaborate switching and long runs and trains on the N. Guests can run the HO layout without much instruction and more skilled operators can operate the N.


  179. Stan
    4 years ago

    I like ho scale ..it looks more realistic than the smaller scale N &Z which are an eye strain.if you were to ask the question to model railroading lovers?which scale u perfer?i believe the answer most would say,HO scale is the one of perference.and second would be O scale and s the third .but what ever scale is perfered.. its all fun to be involved in the World”s Greatest Hobby.


  180. erik
    4 years ago

    Hello I’m currently in n scale primeraly because of space limitations I am a disabled person and live in a small studio apartment but thank GOD it overlooks the old CB&Q racetrack main line and I can watch trains out my window all day & night. Now getting back to model trains I have one wall that’s 19 feet long and i’m planing to build a 3 to 3 and 1/2 foot wide shelf layout with possibly lower level staging that’s a lot of railroad in a little space and do a lot more running than basement size layouts in larger scales. At the present I tinker around setting up a little switching track on my desk and kick some cars around it amazes me how good these little trains run I have one Atlas GP-7 at minimum throtle it takes 3 minites to go from one end of a piece of flextrack to other compaired to stuff from the 1970′s that barely ran. The only complaint I have about n scale most manufactorers still use the truck mounted couplers on most freight cars and only release about 1/2 stuff they make HO in N and make such limited runs by the time I scrape up the money thier sold out. LORD WILLING I’ll be able to come up with track and switchs material and do like Jim Hill and build my little empire. GOD BLESS!!!! ERIK


  181. Walt
    4 years ago

    Dan,

    Was just bitten by the bug in the fall of 09. I’m a newbie just doing my first layout – overlaid figure 8 with elevations to include a tunnel and a bent trestle bridge on a 2 module 5′ x 5′ layout .

    I’ve gotten my benchwork, wiring, elevation pillars, 5 MM ply roadbed cut out and cork bed, almost completed, attached to the 5mm ply. I laid out a full size track plan, on the living room floor, on craft paper and cut it out to use as a template. Did a lot of pondering – but all seems to be going well.

    I did quite a bit of research and reading since last fall and finally decided on On30 scale. I liked the detail and weight of the scale with the ability to run on HO track (Peco On30 Code 100 – PPCSL500). Another big factor for choosing On30 was the time period I wanted to model, which was the 1880′s, and On30 seemed to have the best selection of 4-4-0 steam locos and with some searching 14 and 20 foot rolling stock.

    Happy Modeling!


  182. Hostler
    4 years ago

    Hello Dan. I am modeling in N Scale these days because of space restrictions. My work situation dictates that I live in a camper trailer away from home for twelve days at a time, so I am building a dual level N Scale layout over the couch space in the camper.


  183. Don
    4 years ago

    It depends on who the train is for. Babies love the wooden trains like Brio or IKEA because the are simple and fit their hands. Young children like 027 trains because, although the cars aren’t to scale, they are easy to put on the tracks and they can take rough play. Teenagers like HO because it allows realism in the amount of space Mom and Dad will give them in the basement. Apartment dwellers like N or Z scale because they can have a cool layout under the glass of a coffee table, while remaining at peace with their non-railroading significant other. Once a railroader is into a home of their own, a move back up to HO is possible if there are no children on the horizon, or a return to wood block and 027 if there are. When the nest empties, there is time for serious HO building, but before long, the eyesight starts to go, the hands aren’t as nimble as before, and an O gauge or even G gauge layout seems the best. Model railroading is a lifelong adventure. Wherever you are on life’s journey, hop on and enjoy the ride!


  184. tommy
    4 years ago

    hi dan im starting modeling late in life so im going with 00 scale as i dont think i could work on anything smaller and havent room for anything larger, also it seems to be the easiest to come by in the shops.PS its something i always wanted, im sorry i never started earlier never seemed to have any time, always too busy doing nothing .now the time flys by to quick while i work away at my model in the attic i think i missed a few days somewhere, passed my by.


  185. Rubnel
    4 years ago

    I have decided on N Scale due to space.


  186. Opa John
    4 years ago

    Dear Dan, for me as a child of 65, O gauge was the only one I knew of and it was BIG we had maybe ten sets when I left to join the USAF in 65 and dad gave them to my uncle whose house burned down and all was lost.

    BUT the pics and memories are forever of them under every Christmas tree I can remember and in the basement on 2 sheets of plywood with buildings and accessories. When I got married got my daughter of 6 yrs 2 HO sets at a garage sale and now have over 30 sets and still building and gradually giving them to my 2 grandsons.

    Still have a set up from the basement set ups under the Christmas tree (drives the dogs wild running in circles chasing them) every year, even since my wife passed away 5 yrs past. I had to go to Japan late 70′s unaccompanied for 2 yrs during my 26+ yrs in service and had an N gauge set under my small Christmas tree to continue the tradition and still have it.

    The time of life getting the sets and the space available does a lot to determine the size, grandkids LOVE the HO, laughed at my N and could not believe my old O. I took them to a huge train store and they liked HO best so be it. Every birthday, holiday I am sending some of mine to them to hopefully do the same FOREVER. Have shown them how to care for them for years of FUN.


  187. nathan
    4 years ago

    I guess for me, when I get the house I am looking into buying will be H/O so I can incorproate a slot car set with it, Iplan tto make a layout with a NASCAR race in progress and it will be kind of a fistional type of set up, because I want to incorporate many aspects, mountains, hills, I aalso want a working mine in it, so it remains to be seen what I will eventually do. But that’s the plan at this point.


  188. Rich
    4 years ago

    All of them is the best. Each having the own reason for the size you want. I have all sizes myself and keep changeing them often. z n ho af and lionel I do like th 2 rail tracks the best si that leaves out the lionel trains but I do still have them. With bad eyes the af is more easier ti use. I like ho for it seems more really advilable in stores. But each to thier own. Thanks for reading


  189. Dave
    4 years ago

    Dan; I understand and can appriciate the detail and availability of product with HO scale modeling. However my number one reson for starting a layout was to get involved in a project with my dad. He had an HO layout, started with his dad. They never finished. When I was a kid it got destroyed in a move and never got replaced. My dad turns 80 next month. We only have space for a small layout. Hopefully, in a few years I will have a home that we can move it to and build on. But for now 60″ X 40″ is as large as we could go. That made our choice a no brainer, N scale. We have just gotten our main line loop down with pans for a turn around loop, a full yard, and a coal mine siding laid out. But we figured we would get the main line running first. Dad has just recsived the power transformer in the mail. We plan to wire it up tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed, I am counting on Dad to remember wiring his old layout, some 45 years ago. Dave


  190. cotton
    4 years ago

    welll i a n scale as i have limited room and it has come a long ways since its ealier days as the loco’s run much better same price as ho and if you have HO you more then likely would had room for o sacle layout as theres not much differnce im radius but i took n sacle as you can do so much in a small space and if you make a opps in paint nobody will see it they have miro light can make own street light as i dont find most light real and are not to scale in n ot HO but done with the track layout as i dont think i can make a better one that runs like it should so now i doing a small lionel layout nothing perment as that the great thing about o and g you can get it out run for a week or two buy something then put back into box maybe you can with some of this new track they have in the other scales but it to each his own haqppy rails cotton


  191. JOHN
    4 years ago

    I had an N scale layout when it first came out. The quality of engines sucked and there was very few accessories. That was 20 years ago therabouts. I went this long without for many reasons. Today I am building a N scale layout on (2) 4 X 8 tables in a T shape. I went with Kayto engines and track. Everything is excellent quality. I have 5.2 scale miles of track laid down with 14 switches. I don’t have the room for an HO layout that would suit me. I’m glad I went with N scale.


  192. gilshrat
    3 years ago

    Reply to Robert Can I leave o scale outside.

    The answer is yes and no. Atlas makes both three rail and two rail track that has been made so that it’s UV ray protected and can handle outside weather, though it is a bit more pricey compared to traditional Lionel track. However, most O scale equipment is not designed to be left outside. So you could build a garden layout with o scale track but you want to make sure you have a dry indoor place to store your equipment and you would not want to run your trains until the track has completely dried.


  193. gilshrat
    3 years ago

    As for the scale argument.
    I model HO. It is fairly priced and there is a huge selection of products available for it. Yet I also can appreciate N and O scale, Nothing in HO or N can beat the ruggedness of a diecast Lionel or MTH loco, especially their steam locos. N is nice because it is small and compact and I love the quality and detail of Kato track. Here is my breakdown of the scales.

    N Scale.
    Advantages:
    GREAT FOR SMALL SPACES, can build a good starter layout in 3’x6’ Standard Minimal Radius 11.25”, 19” for large steam locos and passenger cars; DECENT PRICING, pricing is competitive with HO for most equipment, quality starter sets from $100-$250. Good DC locos from $60-$150, good DCC/sound locos from $160-$400, rolling stock $10-$40. GOOD SELECTION, while not as big as HO still has lots to choose from, especially if you like diesels, most equipment interchangeable due to NMRA standards. DCC AND SOUND, the expansion of DCC equipped locs is growing and there are even sound locos in N from companies like BLI, Kato, and Athearn. RELISIC LOOK, most equipment is to scale and looks realistic.

    Disadvantages:
    SMALL SIZE, small parts make for difficulty in repairs and make trains much more picky and likely to derail and get stuck on switches and dead spots, more delicate and not good for small children. INSTALING DCC, while there is an increase in DCC N scale, many locos are still DC and it can be a pain to convert them over, in some cases it could involve routing out the metal weight to make room for the decoder.

    HO Scale
    Advantages:
    GREAT FOR LIMITED SPACES, takes up about three times the room as N but still can build a good starter layout in 4’x8’. GOOD PRICING, quality starter sets from $100-$250. Good DC locos from $80-$150, good DCC/sound locos from $200-$600, rolling stock $10-$40 SELECTION, largest selection in any scale, most equipment interchangeable due to NMRA standards. DETAIL, greater than N. SIZE small enough to do a lot with, but big enough to easily handle and have good detail. Standard Minimal Radius 18” but will need 22”-24” for large steam locos and passenger cars. RELISIC LOOK, most equipment is to scale and looks realistic.

    Disadvantages:
    SIZE, while bigger than N, HO is still small enough to be picky especially on switches and with steam locos, HO is about as delicate as N though easer to handle, not recommended for small children, Also if you like steam and passenger equipment you will want to use curves that are no sharper than 24” for smooth running and #6 or greater turnouts (switches) which take up a lot of space.

    O Scale

    O scale is a bit interesting in that there are three subsets to O scale, O, O27, and Two Rail O. O scale is 1/48, equipment is properly scaled down and looks fairly realistic, though couplers are not to scale. O27 runs on the same gage track as O but is not properly scaled down instead things are shortened so that the trains can navigate a 27” diameter curve resulting in a very toyish look, Two Rail runs on two rails instead of three (originally three was chosen to allow reversing loops without short-circuiting) Two rail is true 1/48 scale and looks the most realistic of all three but has limited product availability.

    Advantages;
    SIZE: while it takes up more room its large size is easy to handle and trains are not picky so you have a lot fewer derailment and stalling problems, also the larger size is more durable and great for small children (though as will all electric toys I would not recommend allowing children under the age of 8 to run trains without adult supervision), if you build an O27 layout you can still have a good starter layout in 4’x8’, if you go with O (2 or 3 rail) you will need 6’x10’. Minimal Standard Radius: for O27 13.5” (O27 diameter, for some reason O scale uses diameter instead of radius) but if you go with O you will need 27” (O54) or even 36” (O72) for large steam and diesel locos and passage cars) SELECTION is good if you go with three rail two rail is much more limited, The two major O scale companies out there are Lionel and MTH (Mike’s Train House), smaller players included Williams, Atlas O, K-Line (now owned by Lionel) and Weaver. Therefore there is a large selection to choose from however if you are thinking of two rail the selection is much more limited Atlas and Weaver are the two big players that I know in 2 rail, you can also convert 3 rail equipment to two rail this is fairly easy for rolling stock but can be difficult for locos.

    Disadvantages:
    SIZE bigger than HO and N takes up more space, PRICING, a lot more expensive than N or HO but you are also getting more massive product, quality starters sets from $175-$500. Good AC locos from $150-$400, good digitally equipped/sound locos from $600-$1400, rolling stock $25-$80
    DIGITAL INCOMBATABILITY, there is no standard in O scale like there is in HO and N for digital operations, Lionel and MTH each have their own system and they are not fully compatible, Lionel’s uses radio singles while MTH’s uses singles in the track similar to DCC, then other companies like Atlas embrace standard DCC.

    I don’t know much about G so I will not comment on that scale.


  194. Mikemo
    3 years ago

    I’ve just about been through them all. Mostly it’s what fits your space and pocket book, followed by what you really would like to have.


  195. Bob
    3 years ago

    I would just like to know if there are any new updates to the e-book, I bought mine when they first came out and I haven’t seen any new updates. Bob


  196. Dan Morgan
    3 years ago

    Hi Bob

    Yes, there have been updates to Model Trains For Beginners. You can always get the latest version by using the download link within your Clickbank receipt. Clickbank would have emailed you a receipt after your payment was approved.

    Hope this helps… If not you can submit a support ticket at http://modeltrainsforbeginners.com/support/

    Thanks

    Dan


  197. Fal
    3 years ago

    Hi and Thank you, Dan.

    I have read “7 Mistakes To Avoid Model Train.” Short but could add to my understanding to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
    And, I wanted the model train hobby in HO scale.

    It is based on the following considerations:

    1. HO Scale provides a more detailed description, in the sense that our minds can feel things that we’re playing.

    2. From the cost factor, for me it more affordable. I can channel my hobby without me feeling the weight of financial terms.

    I did not allocate specific budget to get what I need associated with this hobby. What I bought is what I thought was necessary at the time I have the money.

    I want to make a LO with a size about 320 x 240 cm. But frankly, I was difficult to determine how many actual track. And I want to use the Flex Track is more than the standard track, each 9 inches long. For me (which may be wrong), using the Flex Track will be easier.

    I once got a tip from a friend, that if you use flex track as a whole will cause friction wheel trains with sound tracks will not appear! But I have an idea to solve it this way: every nine inch Flex Track I cut and installed and then connected with rail joiners as a standard track. It would appear to be more complicated and time-consuming, but not impossible to do.

    Who knows I also get this aspect of art. (ART IF NOT BE GOOD easily imitated, BAD IF NOT be recorded!) What do you think, Dan?

    3. In my country, from a few model train hobbyist who plays more in HO scale. This will be easier to share information and communicate if you have trouble.


  198. Kaz
    3 years ago

    I have mainly worked with HO (00). It is the one most easily available, easiest to work with and one of the most inexpensive. I would love to work with N scale, mainly because you can make a bigger layout in a small space, it that makes sense! Z is probably too fiddly and until I buy a farm, G Scale is off the radar!


  199. BJ
    3 years ago

    One key consideration is the possible ages of the operators/users. I love N scale personally, because of what you can do per square foot of space, but right now I’m doing HO scale because I have a 6 year old.

    He’s pretty careful, but N scale is just too small for his hands to easily manipulate while HO scale is much easier. The problem I’m having with N scale is just because of my eyes getting older but that can be dealt with easily enough!

    When my son gets old enough, our “temporary” HO layout will be dismantled; I’ll start building N scale sections/modules before that, though.


  200. Jeff
    3 years ago

    Being retired military, I’ve done quite a bit of traveling. I’ve dabbled with model railroading ever since I learned of it as a Scout while earning the Railroading merit badge. I personally like HO, but never had the room (nor skill – mainly artistic) to create my RR vision. However, since traveling around the world and being able to see N scale in Germany, I would come closer to creating or helping to create monster layouts using the N-Trak standard to build several modules. Alas,… one of these days…

    Thanks for what you do for model railroading. Now that I have that bug bite again, I may just make ONE of those days something in the near future.


  201. Minton
    3 years ago

    In the early 1960′s, HO was the most affordable and available to a beginner with limited funds. Later, as N scale developed and became more reliable, I began to wish that I had modeled it, but would not change due to my investment in HO. Now that I am getting older and dexterity and eyesight is not as fine tuned, I am happy to be in HO. Even now magnifying lights are true friends.


  202. Jeff
    3 years ago

    HO has became the most prominent due to everyone’s large investment made when their only two choices were HO and S. Today, the N-scale equipment in train hobby stores rivals what is available in HO scale. Simply open the pages of Model Railroader magazine and you see photos of N-scale layouts that are the equal with respect to detail to photos of HO scale layouts. My local store in Maryland has 5 aisles, both sides of strictly N-scale. Decoder manufacturers now are offering far more mobile decoders for N-scale and manufacturers are now installing mobile decoders in diesel and stem locos right at the factory. The ability to take an HO scale track plan, keep the table the same size as HO and build that same layout in N-scale with the realistic spacing between layout elements led me to move to N-scale


  203. Nelson
    3 years ago

    Being a beginner, I prefer HO for the reasons stated above. Small enough for space constraints, but also big enough, in my opinion, to create great scenes with building kits. I have more fun customizing scenery than watching the train go round and round.


  204. Edward
    3 years ago

    As a kid I loved the Lionel trains tremendously, but when I got older I drifted away from trains until 1977. During Christmastime of that year I saw a train set I was intrigued by: Tyco’s “Road N’ Rail” set (I forget its real name) as it included a HO scale slot racing set with the train set, and the cars actually crossed the tracks, something like the old Motorific sets of the early 60′s. Anyway, I bought the set, but I really liked the train more than the cars. The reason was that HO scale operated on TWO rails like the real thing, unlike Lionel’s three rail system. After that, I was back into the hobby, this time in HO scale. And when a saleslady suggested I purchase kits instead of ready-to-run, I really got into the hobby: locomotives (diesels), freight cars, passenger cars, structures, scenery, etc became a monthly (sometimes weekly) thing! Today’s HO scale offerings are just unreal! Just a couple of days ago I received an Athearn Gas Turbine “Veranda” to go with the first “regular” Gas Turbine. The detailing of these locomotives, and others produced today, are a leap forward from what I purchased in the late 70′s to the late 80′s. I just LOVE it!


  205. John T
    3 years ago

    I have modelled in “N”, “00″, “009″, and “HO” and still have stock from these scales. I am now into ON30/ON18 because I find the scale an easy one to work with (1/4 inch = 1 foot) and I am able to reuse a lot of the 16.5mm and 9mm track and use some of the stock as donor mechanisms to scratch build stock.


  206. David
    3 years ago

    Like most folks, I grew up with Lionel Trains. Way back in the 70′s, I viewed HO trains to be mostly cheap, junkie trains. I never had one, nor operated one. I did operate Lionel trains. Now some 30+ years later, I had the opportunity to participate in an HO operating session, I’m hooked. I am still planning on having some O gauge trains running, but I am really looking forward to putting together an HO layout.


  207. Ian Parker
    3 years ago

    http://www.kimevents.co.uk/ ALL NEW Model Railway Exhibition Layouts. Ian says “The most popular model railway gauge in the UK is 00 gauge. According to the trade show stalls. So 90% of my exhibition layouts are 00 gauge. My wife prefers N gauge because it is so cute. So i decided to build 2 N gauge exhibition layout.


  208. Tom
    3 years ago

    HO is better for me because of its size, availability at hobby stores and I can model a railroad layout in a room that is around 12 x 15 feet with loop to loop capability. I guess I could have gone N scale with more track possibilities and have long train run etc. But with older age etc. those little engines, cars, buildings and people was not appealing to me!


  209. Walter Norman
    3 years ago

    I started with S or American Flyer, which my father got me when I was 12. Now I worked in HO,which was given to me by a friend. I decided to stay with HO. It is the most popular & has the most items available. I have built some N, but at 66 they are too small to work on now.


  210. Sam
    3 years ago

    For my layout, I want to O or O-27. But Dad wants me to use HO, because that’s what we already have, and that if I don’t want to use that, I have to ask Arthur Sherwood for help(he makes model trains no bigger than a match stick, and I’m sure they don’t actually work). Unfortunately, I had some bad experiences with HO. Like when I was trying to couple the train together and the couplers broke. So I guess I’ll have to convince Dad to use O-27 instead.


  211. Ryan
    3 years ago

    I use HO scale myself but i am very new to this hobby i dont have the room for a layout yet so my models sit on my shelving unit for now until i have the means necessary to build a layout


  212. william
    3 years ago

    the scale i chose was o27 gauge track because i have tons of ascesories , tons of track
    and all my lionel trains are that gauge and it lookes best. i also have a lionel standard gauge train on top of that layout. sometime this summer i will be putting up a train stet
    on the wall near the ceiling.


  213. Whip
    3 years ago

    I’m interested in z scale. It would seem that you can build quite a little empire in a 3 x 10-ft space.


  214. Steve Spence
    3 years ago

    I started out with HO when I was 6 years old, thanks to my father and grand father. After I grew up and left home, I switched my interests to G.


  215. Phil
    3 years ago

    I started in HO over 40 years ago. Dabbled in N scale for about 5 years, wife’s idea, then stayed in HO.


  216. Danny
    3 years ago

    I had Lionel when I was a kid, and my father and I would work on the layout, but I dropped out of the hobby when I got into my teens.

    After I left the military and got married I got back into the hobby. I found because of the space, and the size I liked HO scale.

    I could have got more N scale on my 4×8 layout, but when it first appeared, N scale was said to be very tippy, and besides I enjoyed the size of the HO scale.

    After ten years, I wanted more trains than I could fit on my 4×8, but like the comments above, my D&WRR had too much invested in HO scale, and I didn’t want to start over.

    I still think HO is the best scale.


  217. espeelover
    3 years ago

    HO has always seemed to give me the most satisfaction, both in reliability and realism.

    I have played with S, O and G (Fn3), but always come back to HO as my mainstay.

    Most of my friends model in this scale, so that is a factor as well.


  218. Alan
    3 years ago

    My personal opinion is that HO is best for most, particularly for beginners. This is primarily due to your third point of product availability.

    N scale or, if you are a real masochist, Z scale can be a real challenge to get on the track and model any detail in. Some may look at the lack of detail as a plus in that the modeling is done in a more impressionistic manner than realistic.

    It is natural to see less detail as one moves “away” from the object being looked at. The smaller scales tend to be far away even when you are right on top of them.

    O scale is beautiful if the attention to detail is kept and you have the space to put in a layout in this larger scale.

    Though there is availability of detail parts exist in both N and O, HO has them beaten hands down.


  219. Ken
    3 years ago

    I like both HO and S Scale. I have lots of HO equipment but lately I’ve been working in S Scale, mostly Sn3 and Sn42 (S Scale models on HO track).

    S narrow gauge is about perfect for me because the scale is large enough to be easy to work with but the engines and rolling stock are about the same size as HO standard gauge equipment so space isn’t as much an issue as it would be in S standard gauge.


  220. Mike
    3 years ago

    The best scale for an individual can only be determine by that individuals thoughts on what he/she wants to model and the amount of space it would require to build their dream.

    A small switching or logging operation can be done on a 2 foot by 4 foot plywood board. If you want a point to point operation a shelf type layout may be for you.

    An empire can be modeled in 1/2 of your garage or basement. The amount of space you can allot to your layout determines it’s size.

    Once you have that, then what you would like to portray determines what scale you should model in.


  221. Doug
    3 years ago

    I’m starting a layout in HO..
    I guess I should have looked a bit harder cos I didnot realise just how big HO was going to turn out to be.
    Still, I’m not upset in anyway.
    HO is what I chose and HO is what I’m sticking to.
    I’m starting on an 8 x 4 bench with set up that I can expand to an extra bench when I’m ready.
    Forming an “L” shape.
    To which I an expand further if required.


  222. the locomotive carafologist
    3 years ago

    I started back in the 60′s with ho that my parents got me. As per a lot of boys at that time it got replaced by slot cars. Five years ago I thought about putting up a christmas display in my field so I went with g scale and made a Christmas village with 3 tracks and period lights and buildings. I even added a hotel for elfs. (for short stays) If money and space are a concern then g scale is not for you. The best bang for the buck I think is ho scale. To help fray my cost of my display I have combined another interest of my carafology (putting ship and now locomotives in bottles) with so hair pulling. I can send pictures if anyone is interested.


  223. Edward
    3 years ago

    My personal choice is HO scale because I think it is the closest to the real, full-sized trains of yesterday and today. You have 2 rails, crossties in black or brown, rolling stock and motive power (locomotives) so detailed that it’s unreal! Add structures, scenery, figures, and vehicles and one kinda wishes he or she were that size!
    The larger scales, O in particular (I’m thinking Lionel here), are really great IF one has the space, but even if space is available, there is that much more one can do in HO.


  224. Jack in Greenville, SC
    3 years ago

    I am in HO. This is the king of scales for a reason. Product! There is more HO stuff out there than any other scale. That is because people in HO scale outnumber all the other scales combined (I believe 2 to 1).

    I have often wondered what kind of N scale layout I could build in my 2 car garage. No denying that there is some real nice stuff in N scale. Running 50 -100 coal cars behind several engines is quite attractive.

    But size does matter. I am nearly 60 and the eyes and flexibility isn’t what it used to be. These stubby mitts of mine have their limitations too. So my main line belongs to a short line and my trains are a dozen cars or so. I try to keep the cars 40 feet or shorter to make the trains appear longer. When the opportunity arises, I’ll take my Erie a-b-b-a FA lash-up to a club and run that 100 car train. It is fun either way and that is what really matters.


  225. ERNIE
    3 years ago

    HO – NO QUESTION


  226. hvsteve1
    3 years ago

    Well, everybody seems to be choosing between N or some version of HO. I have lived my whole life in the Northeast and most of my experience, individually and in clubs, has been HO with some of my friends also working in N because of the portability. I recently moved south and was introduced to G. Why G? Well, when you live in a part of the country with no basements and few attics, where do you put the railroad? G goes in the yard. No more problems with where to put it. Sure, the equipement is more epxensive, however, you usually get involved in a lot less “stuff” on your layout so it probably evens out. Another advantage of Garden Railroading? This is the scale where the wives get involved as you’re combining gardening with model railroading. What a difference to have my wife urging me to run out and take advantage of a deal on a locomotive rather than hearing, “What do you need with another one?”.


  227. Donald.
    3 years ago

    I started in TT scale after WWll. Became the Distributer for H.P.Products. That died when I moved to California. I built a slot car track (8 ft X 16 ft) for my 3 children and then an HO shadow layout for my youngest in his bedroom (4ft X 8 Ft) fold up over his bed. Now I am 89 and starting into N scale.
    I have a small apartment so the layout will be only 3 ft x 6 ft. I know it is difficult with my eye sight but I will manage. I have the layout in my mind and will send pictures as I progress.


  228. Ron
    3 years ago

    G Scale, I am working on a waterfall, and a lilly pond, and want to put the Train set up around and a bridge over the pond. Lot of work sure but keeps the mind going and thinking all the time. Only problem is getting information on the G Scale. Do not really know where to get the information. Like were is the best place to get the trains, do all track makers fit each other? etc….
    Hope this website provides a little wisdom, for a old man. lol


  229. csx modeler 1
    3 years ago

    HO scale is my choice because the size is niether large or small and i have a large enough space for it.


  230. tom
    3 years ago

    I happen to run two(2) boards one is HO and the other is o gauge i have fun with both. it all depends on what you like i donot think it matters


  231. Bobmat48
    3 years ago

    I grew up with American Flyer S-gauge and then sold it (like an idiot!) after college. Then I migrated to HO and enjoyed kitbashing engines, cars and structures for many years. Obviously the wide availability of products in all price ranges makes HO a clear winner. But now, 40 years later, I have rediscovered S-gauge, buying some old Flyer items from my youth and marveling at the “right size” of this scale. I never was an O-scale fan, although the true-scale models (not Lionel) are impressive. But as an Aging Boomer I appreciate the not-too-big size increase going from HO to S
    (about 36% larger) and it’s a shame this scale never caught on foir volume production. .


  232. mitchell davis
    3 years ago

    n scale is what i model. i am working on a 8 x 8 train table in my living room. i am going to have 5 trains running at the same time. i have the outer 2 lines done. so for my n scale is the best.


  233. Mike
    3 years ago

    I received an S guage American Flyer when I was 10 years old in 1953. I now have 4, which I put up every Christmas, as I did as a child. The layout is rather elaborate, multi layer 16′ X 20′. I enjoy putting together the village as much as the trains. Problem is, parts and new are not so easy to find at train stores. You have to go on line or to train shows. I just purchased an N guage set which I intend to display in a glass topped coffee table. Jury still out.


  234. John A. Kmetz
    3 years ago

    Which scale or guage is better well depends on the person and what they like to do.
    I have two layouts, one “O” gauge, and i am currantly building an “HO” scale layout.
    I like O Gauge because thats what i grew up with. I collect Lionel.
    As for HO scale well its a little less expensive but is also to scale which makes it a little more
    dificult to me, which makes it more of a challenge. i’ve always liked building models and in HO
    there a alot of kits (building,and rolling stock) out there. Right now i’m trying to figure out this DCC
    in HO. I have Lionel command control but this HO DCC is confusing to me. there are alot of systems out there and i’ve been doing some checkin around right now the layout is wired conventional.
    and i’ve started some scenery its all open gride so i can get to the wireing later if i need to.
    Back to the question which scale is best?

    ALL OF THEM I JUST LOVE TRAINS


  235. george
    3 years ago

    ho is the best scale it is easier to work with , less space is required, and there are more acessories because it is the most common scale, and there are more manufactuers of rolling stockand locos. The other scales are harder to find and not as many “goodies”


  236. Chef Jeff Tendick
    3 years ago

    I model mostly in N scale but have a lot of equipment in HO. I actually model both scales simultaneously, but the layout I work with most is N scale. I used to have a lot of O as well, but sold that off.

    There is a lot more available in HO where I live in the Chicago area. But N is becoming more popular and I also get a good chance to scratchbuild and kitbash in N. To me it’s a matter of cost and preference.

    Hope this helps!

    Chef Jeff


  237. Joe
    3 years ago

    When I was A kid I also had Lionel, but the cost of Lionel is ridiculous plus I don’t like the unrealistic 3 rail track. So I go with the next best which is HO.


  238. Donald.
    3 years ago

    My most compelling reason for chosing N scale is space. I live in a one bedroom apartment & no garage. I have built TT and HO scales before but my eyes and hands are not like they used to be so Iwill have to try harder. However it turns out I will enjoy the doing even if it is not up to my past efforts. It will not kill me but I will not be happy if I don’t like what I am doing..


  239. Donald.
    3 years ago

    Also things you have to do. I want a turntable and my largest locomotive is about 9 inches long. the N Scale turntable is only 7 inches so I bought an HO turnable and modified a few things. You have to think a little bit.


  240. Terry R
    3 years ago

    I echo Joe’s sentiments. As a kid, I also had some (O-27) Lionel engines & cars with which I was well pleased. However, when I became an adult, that “tubular 3-rail” track seemed hopelessly toy-like. Even with the stop-gap addition of Gargraves (phantom-rail) trackage, it still seemed phony!

    (I’m not exactly a rivet counter, but was still wishing for something a lot more realistic than THAT!) Therefore, because these “now-arthritic” fingers don’t deal well with tiny delicate stuff — and the only available train alternatives are ‘way out of my senior budget — I’m content with mid-priced HO scale.

    SIDE NOTE: If there were more kits and realistic looking accessories available for 2-rail “O” gauge, I most definitely would have preferred to go that direction; but, as things stand, I’ll stick with HO.


  241. Rich
    3 years ago

    HO for a number of reasons. First, after graduating from tinplate at the ripe old age of 9 to scale models, HO was the predominant and except for S the only viable option. S was still primarily American Flyer — scaled down tinplate.

    Second, I have enough room in my home which I could convince my parents to allocate to me for a layout to make a reasonable size layout. I have remained in HO because the vast majority of items over the intervening 50+ years were available in HO.

    Third, at my age seeing and doing detail work in N scale is a non-starter while I can still comfortably work in HO.

    And last and at this time in my life most important, what few kits remain and available detail parts are HO. I could not begin to imagine build a fleet of several hundred cars and over 100 locomotives with detailing in anything smaller and any larger scale with the exception of G just doesn’t interest me.


  242. bill
    3 years ago

    as a boy i had quite a large american flyer layout, but when i became a teen i felt the room required for that size was a bit much. so, i switched my preference to ho and have been modeling with it since the late 50s and have been very happy with the results. the only problem i have is the lack of models and equipment for the 1800s, which is my favorite period. thanks for the time. bill


  243. Whip
    3 years ago

    When I started over again after 50-some years, I really wanted to build in z-scale, hand laid,etc. I have a maximum allowable layout space about 13′x3′. My modeling skills are acceptable, my eyes are OK.

    The problem seems to be in equipment available – I think that z-scale presents enough problems with what are actually tiny stuff, without having to acquire another set of skills required by the tiny scale.

    Beside that,The cost of everything in z-scale is quite high, so I think I will be wasting money.

    So I decided that I should spend at least a year or two modeling in N-scale. Prices are quite a bit less than Z, and the models are not so extremely small. I can have a small empire with Z-scale, but the space available to me with N is almost twice the size of HO. So for now, it’s N for me.


  244. Sam
    3 years ago

    I like O. Sometime when I was in preschool, my dad bought me an HO set. The couplers broke the instant I tried to use them, it kept either derailing or stalling, and was frustrating to wire. I have never use O before, but according Lionel’s website, I soon discovered why 3-rail was so popular in the old days.


  245. Tamlyn
    3 years ago

    I have a 5″ X 15″ layout. I once had a smaller N scale layout but when I started this one I recalled how frustrating it was to find more room, so in spite of the difficulty working with tiny pieces & expense I decided to go with Z scale. This size layout in Z scale will allow me a wide river, mountains, a city complete with a light rail and subway, even an interstate highway intersection amd I have a herpa 1:200 Airport mat and an airport under construction, this includes a runway complex, parking garage ( the airport layout alone is 7 x 5) and scale airliners and a few military jets. There is no other scale I could begin to fit ll this in one room,


  246. Mary Jo
    3 years ago

    Received an N scale in 1968. I loved trains, small, and intricate and we lived in small apartment. Never set up but made all the buildings available. Now joined club in different part of the country and they have HO and O mostly so I have a mix of a few HO with a few HO buildings and mostly N. Can’t see has good or work with as fine, so who knows.


  247. zzmel
    3 years ago

    zzmel says:

    When I was a kid, my first train was a Lionel which was a toy train made out of metal. I guess I was around 6 or 7 years of age then. I would just set it up on the floor and watch it run around. That is when I started to get interested in trains.

    As a matter of fact I believe that was the only scale available at that time. My father had a friend who lived about 100 miles North of New York City and when I entered his house, all I saw was trains everywhere. He had at least a half dozen trains running throughout the whole house. It went through every room in the house through tunnels cut in the walls. It was an amazing site.

    In his basement was another model railroad empire complete with cities, lights and everything. You just had to see it to believe it. I would say he was a fanatic of trains. As I grew up I would ride trains just about anywhere. I rode the subways, El’s, Long Island Railroad, and the train from New york to Chicago transferring to the EL capitan from Chicago to Los Angeles. Enough of my travels.

    If I had a choice I would go with “HO” because the size is just right, looks more realistic, and has an abundant of accessories. Being that I have lived in apartments all my life, I had to settle for “N” gauge do to space limitations. “N” gauge is also excellent in that it is still realistic, accessories are available but not to the extent of “HO” and require a smaller area. As far as “Z” is concerned, parts are harder to get, more expensive, and as far as my eyes are concerned, I barely can see it. I was wondering if they will introduce “ZZ”. Just kidding.

    Mel


  248. Daniel
    3 years ago

    all train scales r good. but i like ho scales better.


  249. Alan
    3 years ago

    I have Lionel, HO and G trains. My four grandsons all have Lionel trains. My friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. are free to like or dislike whatever they choose. They are also free to have whatever size they want to use/model for themselves and build it any way they like. If someone wants to run a train of auto racks and TOFCs behind a 4-4-0 American steam loco, that’s their priviledge. Isn’t America a wonderful country?
    Just one comment on the original article: Guage, the distance between the running rails, applies to ALL trains, prototype or model, whatever the size. Enjoy!


  250. JOSE
    3 years ago

    DAN:
    INRESPONSE TO YOUR REQUEST FOR A COMMENT IN THE USE OF A PARTICULAR SCALE
    I CHOOSE THE Z-SCALE BECAUSE IT COULD BE ADAPTED TO THA AMOUNT OF SPACE THAT IS AVAILABLE ,ALSO IT IS MORE DETAILED THAT THE OTHERS SCALE.AFTER MORE THAN 27 YEARS IN THE HOBBY I AM VERY SATISFIED.
    THE ONLY PROBLEM I HAVE IS TO GET SPARE PARTS SINCE MARKLIN DISCONTINUED SOME OF MY LOCOMOTIVES.ALSO SOME OF THE DEALERS DO NOT CARRY MARKLIN Z-SCALE
    Z-SCALE IS A VERY REALISTIC WAY OF SEEING HOW THE TRAINS REALY WORKS.
    SOME OF THE PROBLEMS I HAVE IS THAT THE PRICE IS NOT FOR EVERYBODY. SOME USERS THINK NOT AS A HOBBY BUT AN ANTIQUE. THI SI SOMETHING BAD FOR THE HOOBYST
    I HOPE I HAVE SATISFIED YOUR REQUEST
    THANKS JOSE


  251. Ellen
    3 years ago

    As a response to Mel. There is not a ZZ but there is T which is a little under half the size of Z. Its 1:450 scale. I have done Z for over 5 years and love it and have done a little with T. It makes my Z look large

    Ellen


  252. Michael Sneed
    3 years ago

    I have been into HOs for 51 years to me thy are the best some of my Loco,s are as old as I am and still running I just turned 60 on the 5th of Sep. Guees what I got for my Birthday (Smile)

    Michael, Lover of HO’s


  253. Mike
    3 years ago

    I think the best scale for a person is the one they are comfortable with, have the space for and will enjoy operating. When I was a young I was given a Lionel train set for Christmas, I wish I still had that set now, it would be a worth a fortune.

    Then while in the Air Force I started an HO layout, and it got quite large and fun to operate while stationed four years in Fairbanks. I sold it to a friend who helped build it when I returned stateside.

    I then traded my HO operating equipment for N scale, but that layout never came about, as we came back to Illinois and raised our children. Now that they are all grown and I have two grandchildren I am beginning to mess around with Lionel’s O27 stuff.

    It is large enough for the little ones to touch and handle and it has all the neat operating cars, and the steam engine sounds and whistles that the kids and grandpa love.

    I have found attributes of each scale I have owned that I liked. HO was the most fun, because you could fit a lot of neat things into a small space. The Lionel stuff is fun, but it does require a lot of room, but as the eyes weaken it is easier for grandpa to work with.

    So after running through to many words, it boils down to the best scale is the one you are working with.


  254. Bill
    3 years ago

    Dan i think you are completely right.
    Scale compiles all the things you say . They must all come together.
    I work in HO scale, but i really like the S scale. Never had the room for a larger scale.
    now i have a lot of HO, but i cannot afford to change. also I have a lot of equipment in HO
    and cannot afford to change righr now.
    The big complaint i have is that the scale does not nessecarily jive with what it is supposed.
    I have HO buildings that are no bigger than N scale.also houses in HO cannot hold a car in
    the garage. I wonder? thanks for your interest in the little people.
    Bill


  255. dean
    3 years ago

    I love G scale there is nothing like it.


  256. Harry E.
    3 years ago

    I’ve been working with HO scale since the beginning, 50 years ago with my first HO scale layout. I tried N scale and just didn’t like it; too small — at least for me. My layout now, the Coal Belt Lines which is HO scale is what I like and I like working with the accessories. The downsize with a scale that is larger is space; that is if you don’t mind the scrafice. Around here they build house that are little better than “shoe boxes” stacked together in the name of “house”. No space for anything. I bought my house specifically for the stripped out basement. Nothing down there except the hot water heater and furnance when I started. However, as pointed out the first rule of thumb is: avaliable space and scale that will fit that space for operations. # # #


  257. matt
    3 years ago

    preferbly I like HO scale [O scales not bad to]


  258. Al
    3 years ago

    I am retiring and wondering what scale to get. Had O-27 when the kids were young.
    Seems O scale with AC current is easier to setup with reversing loops, etc. What is there to consider between AC (3 rail)or DC (2 rail) current?


  259. Dave
    3 years ago

    If you have the room, HO, my opinion is best, if only for the variety of locos, rollings stock, buildings and accessories (and it doesn’t take your entire basement for just one “Time Saver” puzzle). If not, N scale works well, as it is almost half the size of HO. Despite what people say, Z is not that much smaller than N, and as much as I like Z, I’ve been a little disappointed with it. True, you gain more space in the same area, but it is so freakin’ expensive! And it either has to be 1930s Pennsylvania, or the middle of Germany/Austria/Switzerland, for your layout (not that there’s anything wrong with that, lol). I have very limited space, so a 2′x3′ or 2′x4′ layout is all I can have, and thus I’m limited to either N or Z scale.


  260. Ellen
    3 years ago

    In response to Dave on Z scale. Z is no longer limited as to road names. There are many new manufacturers in Z and there are trains available in all road names and eras. I enjoy Z for the smaller size…..it is about 2/3 the size of N which means that the layout I make in Z on a 2′x4′ would take a layout that is 3′ x 6′ to make in N. The prices in Z are not any higher than for good locomotives in N. The big difference is you can’t get a junk locomotive in Z. I think you need to look at more than Marklin to see what is available in Z. There are many American manufacturers ie AZL, MTK and also some Japanese manufacturers ie ProZ. Check them out and then comment back


  261. iceman 3000
    3 years ago

    me i would like to work with three different types of scale lionel,ho,&n scale but curently work’n on ho / n scale. still in the planning stage. ho scale seems to be the best for me to work with why i don’t knw or may be i do been getting train sets ever since i was 5 yrs old. now just have a bunch of ho /n scale lying around my room,evey now and again i will set it up run it for bout an hr then put it away till the next time.


  262. Janelle
    3 years ago

    I have to agree with you as to use the scale you have room for. I have all of thr following, G, O,HO,N & Z. My “O” scale I made a shelf a foot or so below the ceiling & ran it around the room. “G” I put around the christmas tree & also set up a “HO & N” scale christmas table scene layout. I also do the major part of my modeling in “N” scale, in fact about half my basement is this. I also have a camper & enjoy going out but like to do some modeling during the summer to keep my skills up to date. Therefore I have started a “Z” scale layout. A circle fits on a TV tray. I am starting a “Z” scale on my enclosed front porch. So as you can see one can do many & I guess thats just about all of them. You just need to know what you want & if it is a small scale TAKE YOUR TIME & you can do just about anything you want. I suggest, look at your space. Do you want it all 1 scale or maybe 2 or more. Think about a ceiling layout & maybe your spouse could hang special things she collects from it. I am sure I just sent many into shock, but again, what’s your dream?? Once you know go for it. Take in a train show or 2 to get better ideas, sizes. Check your hobby show to see if you can get everything your hoping for in the scale you are thinking about, this will be a big help.
    I hope this information helps, GOOD LUCK!!


  263. Dave
    3 years ago

    Ellen,

    Thanks for the comments, and that’s good to know. As I understand it, Pro-Z runs with different power than regular Z, and its power pack would burn out MTL, Marklin, or other Z locos. That may have changed since I heard that, and if so, that’s good. I will say that Pro-Z’s layouts are really cool, and I may end up getting one. I am hoping that MTL will come out with more variety in their roadbed track (bridges, tighter radius curves, etc.) in the near future; all the stuff I have now is top-notch. I just don’t have $330 to plunk down for an AZL loco (or Marklin either, for that matter; I have one (1) MTL F-7 loco, and caboose in UP livery, and a bunch of rolling stock), although I know they are very good.


  264. Brad
    3 years ago

    Dan, I have been modeling railroading since the age of 8. I have had a HO layout for over 40 years. HO is to me the best overall scale. There is a good selection of detail parts and accessories so that a modeler can build as big or small a layout as he/she has space for.

    I agree with you the scale you want to model in is up to you, based on available space you have and the amount of detail you want.


  265. the locomotive carafologist
    3 years ago

    As someone who puts locomotives in bottles I can tell you the small the scale the tuffer it is. So think of the cost of n scale and also think of the heat problems that can occure in something that small. That figures in on the higher cost


  266. Ellen
    3 years ago

    Dave

    You are correct you cannot run anything but ProZ on the ProZ layout. The ProZ trains can be run on your regular Z layout tho and I often do. Z is expanding in a wonderful way and the last few years have been very exciting!!!!! Have fun

    Ellen


  267. lostcranes
    3 years ago

    I agree, scale is relevant to the space available to design/build your layout. I’m currently working with N-scale simply because I can build more RR in less space. I also have the concept of a modular layout which can be added to (or subtrated from) anywhere along the line as space permits. It’s built in sections which can easily (if that’s even possible in model building) be disassembled and reassembled once moved to another location. And the best part? Little to no benchwork required!


  268. Dan
    3 years ago

    Dan, I have been working HO for about 25 years , I like the detail, and yet it is small enough to fit a lot of stuff on a 4X8. O would be too big, and N is a little tiny. Also let’s face it, the mfg. make the most for HO, because it’s so popular , and N is a bit tippy, or at least it was 25-30 years ago. Now I have a lot of money tied up in HO,and can’t afford to write all that hardware and rolling stock off. So I am happy with HO dor the D&WRR.


  269. Vicek
    3 years ago

    Dan
    I like to model in OO as I have only English Steam Trains from the early 1930s – 1960s and some special American locos from the 1880s – 1900. I have found that its easyer to model in this scale as there seems to be alot of choices one can make with accessories and locos alike, I don’t have a space issue as my shed is 8m x 8m x 5.34m x 4.4m x 2.66m x 3.6m. If I was to work in N or Z scale I don’t think I would be able to get the detail right as my eye sight is not the greatest.I also have DCC chips in most of my locos and carriages but for the moment I run just DC so that my son can run his trains on my layout.


  270. Richard
    3 years ago

    Dan you are right on what you need to select the proper gauge, I say the main one is the amount of space needed to set up a the layout. I am doing my layout in o gauge due to the fact that was the first train set bought for me 60 years ago and i still love them I have incorperated dept.56 houses and have been getting ready to start my new layout, and i must say working with the large gauge is better for me now because the eye’s are not what they once were, let me say that your books were a great help in refreshing my memory to get going again.


  271. Doug
    3 years ago

    Out of 35+ yrs of playing/enjoying with trains, the most fun comes from watching the kids playing with lionel, easy for me very easy for them, and make sure they handle them with both hands and also don’t put your expensive toys in thier hands to start with. Everything else falls in place, your smiles, thier smiles, trains blowing whistles and thier laughs,, don’t believe me? try it. and in thier eyes, size of layout doesn’t matter. Enough accessories keeps them coming. And now Dan, what is your opinion of this? You are doing such a great job here….. doug


  272. david
    3 years ago

    I have mtmman setup in my garage its 20ft lon X10 ft wide and i run 5 trains onitof oo gauge
    I also have 7×6 shed that i am building Hgauge right now and i just enjoy it all
    so all in all i must som sisxty units on the lot of thenm

    David from south wales and im only 76 years young


  273. Ruthe
    3 years ago

    I have HO scale and unfortunately I had to give up the space we had planned to set it up in because of misfortune for a friend. The information provided regarding the different scales has been very helpful. We know someone that did N scale on her coffee table. It was very cute. I do not want to downsize my scale as I am getting older and it is harder to do the small stuff. I was raised and told girls did not play with trains. My brother could have cared less about the set up my Dad and Uncle made and played with. My Dad finally conceeded that I really could play and build model railroads but I had to learn how to build the set ups myself. I have done that. Just before I married my husband (who has no interest in train sets except at Christmas time when I put the O scale around the tree) my children and I moved to CA and I had to disassemble the set-up. We lost part of the set-up on our move. I have not had the chance to rebuild it but I think HO is the best for us.


  274. dave
    3 years ago

    i run ho because i got it for my son 30 years ago when he grow up it was all put away but now i am70 years young i have got it out again to run i am putting it up at the moment .the old trains still look good running around the track. my table is 8ftx4ft


  275. Ellen
    3 years ago

    lostcranes

    We do that in z scale. We do it for shows and we can be set up and running trains in around an hour at a show and torn down and on our way home in about an hour after a show. Some of our members also use this for their home layouts.

    Ellen


  276. Graham
    3 years ago

    I have been trying to builda layout in HO as that seems to be the easiest and the most stuff for. I am using an Atlas planning book that tells you how to build the layout from scratch. It really helps.

    As for which is best, I like all three sugeestions you have made but I believe there is a fourth to add to it and that is budget. HO stuff is heaper than N and N is cheaper than Z. A model railroad layout should fit into your budget as well.


  277. cullen
    3 years ago

    I think it depends on how much you want to spend and how much room you have. I recommend the ho scale because its not too big and not too small. The cost is reasonable. so i recommend H.O. scale!


  278. isaac
    3 years ago

    I like ho scale because were i live in portland vic the only place to buy is a the local “toyworld”!! and they only have ho scale stuff!! So being you i got a ho scale starter set for christmas so i had i was put in to ho by my Mum!


  279. Mahala
    3 years ago

    I have to admit to being a British traditionalist where scale is concerned. That is having a preference for OO gauge which is 1:76 (4 mm / 1 ft) scale. OO uses 16.5 mm gauge track which is the same as HO scale.

    In the more recent years, many railway modellers have changed to N gauge (scale =1:148, 2mm / 1ft). I agree that this is mainly for reasons of lack of space.

    However, the preference for prototyping either standard gauge or narrow gauge real life operations also has a relevance to this debate. That is to say whether it is the standard gauge of 4 ft 8½ inches being modelled or a (narrow) gauge of less than that

    I have become very interested in On30 (O-16.5) which is modelling a real narrow gauge railway of approx 2 ft 6 inches. The models are British O scale (1:43) in size running on OO gauge (16.5 mm) track.

    I hope my comments are seen as constructive and not just confusing the subject.


  280. George
    3 years ago

    I like HO, because it seems the scale is the most realistic. I want to build a garden layout with G scale, but there is no standard size, i.e., 1:27, 1:26. 1:25. etc. With HO you can buy rolling stock from different manufacturers and it is all compatible. The problem is having enough space in the house.


  281. yakov from israel haifa
    3 years ago

    about the scale its depence how big is your layout a big layout is recomended to take size n you can make a big layout in a small place but in a ho layout its more real and more nicer so have a good luck ps dont spand to much money if you can make things of your one way


  282. David
    3 years ago

    Budget & Space should determin what scale you pick. Ho scale is the most popular with a large range of models & accessories.
    “N” gauge is also a very popular scale and would compete strongly with HO gauge, but it is more expensive to buy . It is like a piece of wood measure it twice before you cut it, once you have cut it there is no going back, so once you have picked a scale HO or N or any other and started to build it , it would be very hard and expensive to change to another scale so make the right decision for your Budget & space.


  283. Gordon
    3 years ago

    Hi Dan just in from the shed or as I say my peaceful place. I don’t think it matters what gauge a person works or plays in. What matters to me is the enjoyment I get from the work I put into my layout, it’s OOgauge but thats my choice as the arthritus prevents anything smaller, and I have room for a 6′ x 4′ board. Less than 10months into the hobby but I am constantly reminded by the mistakes I make, as I did again tonight to read then re-read all and any instructions whatever the project. I must confess I am more at ease with scratch building, as more thought and planning goes into what I am doing, and I can experiment when not following someone elses instructions. Best wishes to all, experienced and beginners alike. Gordon


  284. R.L.H.S.
    3 years ago

    I love trains since I was mere but child and until now I am still interesting in trains either proprely trains or modelling train but prefer UK! Anyway I was my first model railways was OO gauge for long time then later I got HOe gauge (Austrian). The problems that I had, low vision and rather difficult to see these Gauges so rid of them and become O Gauge/7mm scale/1.43 scale. I know this size were great than old ones but I am still happy with this size. It’s up to them to choice Gauge to meet their needs or their money, etc.
    I may wish to say Well done, Dan for this websites. I always enjoyed to reads the news messages, etc. keeps going.


  285. aloosenut47
    3 years ago

    the wife and i like to work in G scale
    we like G scale because of the size of the equipment is easy to handle as our hands are stove up.
    we also have plenty of room to set it up
    we both like be be outdoors so this scale fits our needs ok


  286. Malcolm
    3 years ago

    I model in 4mm to the foot scale on 3.5mm the foof scale track,only because the British models are made to fit that particular combination of scales. There is a faction in the UK (mainly) which models in 4mm the foot on 18.83mm track gauge. You left one thing out of your choiches, the eyesight of the modeller! Old eyes need BIG trains to see!


  287. rafmtd
    3 years ago

    Well Dan ,

    the question a modeller has to ask himself is No1 how much space do i have , No2 how big a layout do i want . No3 do i have enough skills to make everything . No 4 can i aford to buy everything

    after thes questions HAVE BEEN ANSWERED HONESTLY zand n gauge will be in because of space restictions cost and the fact there is not that much available . O gauge will be out for space unless its out side but also will be out for the amount of work and out side railway needs unless your rich and have plenty of time so the only reasonable option is HO TT and OO due to the fact that HO and OO gauge are very popular and there is everything you want out there on the shelves you can choose which you can afford to buy and what you are capeable of making a small bedroom or garage loft or even a shelf layout around the room willgive a good run for the locos plus there are more second hand OO gauge items out there , and as you know the more tere are of things the cheaper they become due to market forces nearly all good modelshops have a second hand department trading in these is better than auctions like ebay as you can see the item first hand and if you do buy it you take it home with care unlike royal mail who throw it about . so all being even in size cost and skill Id say OO guage . plus they are the right size to be able to work on and detail also spares are abundant compaared to othe scales . just my logical common sence opinion .


  288. rick
    3 years ago

    dan, i inhered my dads n guage when he past away in 02 and i had an ho layout which was in my shed with two trains running, i made the mistake at a train show by trading my building and vehicles for some n guage stuff and it turned out bad, but i have three tracks runnig for awhile but my dads engines have died on me they are thirty to forty years old, dont get me wrong ihave alarge layout it takes up half my 16×20 shed lots of detail with buildings and trees bridges but vehicles i had to use mico machines which gave me more different style cars of newer years and they fit the people when standing next to the vehicles my biggest problem is i have deformed hands with artho and cant handle the scale any more so im started buying ho vehicles as you know from you and other to just do a roadway layout to do different road problems as fire and police in counter during storms and traffic i was a fire fighter and k9 officer in past just left the fire service last year,


  289. joe the bow
    3 years ago

    Space Not the final frontier but the first obsticle to any model railroader and in that I an no exception. Space available has always been my challenge so I was in N. I say ‘ was’ as at present space needs of the family come first and has caused the complete shut down of the railway. This has given me a wonderful opportunity to rethink what I want in layout operational content and create a history for the new line.


  290. Warren
    3 years ago

    As far as I am concerned it really doesn’t matter the reason one chooses the size that one does, just as long as you are in the train hobby….


  291. Mitch
    3 years ago

    Hi: I am a 77 year old model railroader fart. I have modeled in O,G,HO,N and a little Z. I have had two N scale layouts over the years and have enjoyed working with them all.. With that said I have sttled on N as my preference. In this time of model railroading you can find almost everything avaiable in HO in N. I agree with you that it all boils down to the three items you reference. Space, preference and availalbe accesories for your planned layout. DREAM, PLAN, BUILD> Happy modeling “Mitch”


  292. jack
    3 years ago

    HO. My mom worked for Mantua Metals in NJ when I was a kid (@55 years ago) and she would bring home scraps and pieces from her kick press work. They made Tyco Trains and I would manage to cobble together locos and rolling stock but had no money to build a layout. 24 years ago I moved and gave away everything I had accumulated. The Little General was one loco. Now, retired, I am building a 9 X 8 foot layout for HO. I really like HO for the amount of items I can fit on my small area. The accessories are endless and so much can be scratch built. My family now knows what to buy me for Christmas and my younger brother just gave me a suitcase packed with locos, rolling stock and transformers plus a huge box of track. The Internet is a resource I didn’t have years ago and the news letters and blogs are great. I can find a tutorial for just about anything HO.


  293. Dirk
    3 years ago

    Dan, I personnaly think it is wether you like “N” or “HO” scale, but as for me I like “N”Scale above “HO”Scale but due to the availability of “N” Scale stock here in Bloemfontein, Freestate, South Africa, makes it difficult just to do “N”Scale and if you can get stock, the MRR Dealers load their prices, therefore we rather go in for “HO”Scale because you can get stock more frequintly and almost at reasonable prices.


  294. Steve
    3 years ago

    I’d like to build a circuit elevate above the beams in my log home. this is basically a flat circuit approximately 75 feet around. Sicne it’s all wood I can easily mount supports and run a “rectangular-oval” ( – ie: a rectangle with rounded corners) of 6″-wide wood with underlayment supporting the track. My questions are these: I’m looking at an HO set – can a standard HO transformer drive a train this far? (75′). Is there special hardware needed to drive power that far? The corner curves will basically be near-right-angles, so I’d like to make them as tight as possible, it seems HO will allow a fairly tight corner. Obviously they won’t be right-angles, but what is the best guage for this application? I’m lookint at one of those collector holiday sets that says it uses HO track but is “”On30 scale”. What does that mean? All input appreciated.


  295. thomas aquino
    3 years ago

    I love a Ogauge they look more realistic , and are a whole lot more rugged HO and N scale are nice, I Have some HO stuff in my collection, Sure its nice but it just done for me


  296. Rosemary
    3 years ago

    I personally think that G scale is the best. Looks more real but does require a lot of space. But if you can put it outdoors the space can be unlimited. Thes cost of equipment and accesories is high though. it is also more difficult to find accessories and equipment to the correct scale. I am currently trying to decide how well O scale buildings will look with a G scale equoment or whether to make my own buildings.


  297. izzy
    3 years ago

    i find .HO scale to be the best….but that is coming from me. The club that Im the vice pres. for has 4 extensive layouts 2 are HO, 1 Nscale, and 1 Ogauge. Althought the Ogauge is nice, its big and unreal looking, N scale is way to small (im a big guy) for me to handle. So i model HO scale logging, however our one layout is freelance and is 12ft by 36ft and the other which is based on the NYO&W in Oswego Co. NY is a 24ft by 36ft.


  298. jimbo
    3 years ago

    I am a rails buff since i cant recall. H O is the only way to go. Space is important; but, as i am a slave to detail, realistically HOscale is a universe in itself. I live in an apartment and I can surelly tell you there is nothing like model railroading. i am jealous! And have no room. Roll on!

    Happy Holidays,

    Jimbo


  299. Rick
    3 years ago

    One more thing to consider when choose scale is sight. Previously working for a model train store I saw many people change scales when their sight change and could no loner see the detailing in the scale they modeled in. Some in N jumped to HO while others in HO jumped to O or G. But getting back to the question a hand on which scale to choose depends on many factors. What you want to model V.S. what’s available. The room size or space available of what you to model ( via layout, shelf or around the room) V.S. the scale you might to choose. Larger scales tend to track better than smaller scale due to the weight of the equipment used. But the smaller scales can be made to track just as well with a little more work added to it. And most importantly, what looks good in your own eyes. I’ve modeled both HO & N over the years but prefer N as you can build a much larger layout and run longer trains when the space needed for HO to do the same isn’t available. It all comes down to a matter of personal taste of what scale you want to model in and what looks good in your (o) ^ (o) eyes.


  300. ben
    3 years ago

    I have the N and Ho scale.I’ve always liked the N scale myself,however I’m tring to get my Grandson in to the world of Model trains.


  301. Michael
    3 years ago

    Think that a layout that is made to an appropriate size


  302. Hostler
    3 years ago

    I currently have a N Scale layout under construction and a G Scale in the planning stages.


  303. Richard
    3 years ago

    Remember as you pointed out, not to confuse scale with gauge. In many cases the best choose might be a narrow gauge prototype. In my case, (a fan of Welsh mining operations) I work in 00-9, or British 00 (1/76 scale) running on N gauge track.
    Same effect can be achieved with HO/N, O/HO. These result in an acceptable 30 inch narrow gauge, in the larger scale, and allow the building of rolling stock using the smaller scales locos, and cars.
    Popular some time ago, and making a come back , HOn 2 1/2, or HOn30, both HO 1/87 scale, running on N gauge track.
    For an HO/00 layout in confined space, the narrow gauge approach allows the use of the larger scale (yes some of our eyes are not up to N scale) and the smaller space requirements of the N gauge locomotive chassis.


  304. Peter the Mackem
    3 years ago

    I have a base of 8ft x 4ft and so fine OO by far the best scale to use. I find that the buildings in kit form show great detail better. But as you and fellow modellers say your space available is the main factor.


  305. Greg
    3 years ago

    I began modeling N when my wife and I started managing an apartment complex. We both play the piano as well and the top of our old upright piano made a perfect spot for a n railroad in the limited space of the apartment.

    I still run my father’s and grandfather’s Marx and Lionel 027′s on special occasions, but can leave the N ready to go all the time.


  306. Kevin
    3 years ago

    I have HO scale Steam and early Diesels as this was the main size when I started out just over 55 years ago. The equipment that I have is all DC. I ran 16 trains on a lauout that was in a shed 25 ft by 18 ft and I deployed small magnets in the bottom of each engine to work the magnetic glass encased reed swithches set in the track to work the numerous electrical relays to control the turnouts and section blocks and light signals that stopped each of the trains on sidings etc. the main marshling yards were indivually controlled by each operator. That layout took 7 years to complete, but I had to dismantle it when I got married. I am still building a new shed now that we have a new house that we moved into 3 years ago. Now that I have retired I dont know how I found the time to go to work as I have been busy getting the section in order. The shed will take me some time to complete and I hope to complete the layout in the next few years.


  307. matt
    3 years ago

    i use HO scale myself and with N scale its a little small for me to work with. i do have some S gague stuff but that is little big for me but that stuff is a collectible.


  308. Alan
    3 years ago

    Hi Dan

    As i am into more than one scale i like to advice people of 7 1/4 if they have the cash to do so if they don’t i then advice on do the comin scale like n scale or ho. please have a look at the web site i have supplyed


  309. Pat
    3 years ago

    I started off with a complex ‘N’ scale, but have now gone for a more basic ‘HO’ scale layout.
    See detail better, and easier to detail the little you have in HO, than the large amount in ‘N’.
    ‘N’ is good if you want long mainline runs, but space is limited.
    HO is good if you want lots of detail, and to be able to see it.


  310. Kiwihydroman
    3 years ago

    I have start with an OO scale set which will run HO as well ( I’m in New Zealand and OO is very common over here) . N is very fiddley and the Grandkids would find it very hard if not impossible to use. I have used a 1.22m x2.44 sheet of MDF as the base so that anything above HO/OO would be impractible


  311. Rudy
    3 years ago

    I find that HO is the best scale for me because its easily fits the amount of space I have and the price is right. I have no trouble getting the thing to master what I have in mind. I looked at O and its take up more space than I have. I have notice that the thing I need for the setup are harder to find and hold up the progress. I also believe the setup is better because you can land scape your model a lot better to get the real effects that you are shooting for.


  312. Ron Sr.
    3 years ago

    I have two layouts I have a 16ft x4ft HO and a 3 ft x 8ft N scale love both scales


  313. Rich
    3 years ago

    I had an N on 30 inch by 6 ft but a move had to box it up. Stiff hands and fingers at 83 another N makes it too dificult. Starting an HO on 4×8 with room to extend it with another 4×8. More to learn but much enjoyment.


  314. Mikado3962
    3 years ago

    My choice is Sn3. S scale, 3′ Narrow Gauge. The equipment is about HO Scale in size. A 30′ Sn3 Boxcar is about the size of an HO 40′ Boxcar and you can run 3 or 4 car trains and be prototypical. If you have room for an HO layout, you have room for an Sn3 layout. a 24 inch minimum radius curve will handle most every locomotive or car made. Also, because of it larger size, more detail is easier to see and do, plus you don’t need a lot of equipment, ie.cars and locomotives. Kitbashing and freelancing can be done with parts available. Unless you go with Brass, it can be done on the less expensive side, which also helps.


  315. will
    3 years ago

    i just started with a 47″x38″ life like trains freight express and i prefere ho scale


  316. Bill Reschke
    3 years ago

    The subject of scale could be debated forever. Additional factors that I see as common to many modelers are: (1) eye sight (2) manual dexterity (3) size you are comfortable to work with. One other factor that affects my choice is availability of equipment for the railroad and year we wish to model. I have worked with N, HO, S, and G scales.
    Because I model the early 1950′s with mostly steam and some transitional diesel power, I also model the New York, Ontario and Western (A New York State RR).
    HO scale has the most available equipment compatible to my needs.
    For pictures or discussion check out : Bill Reschke on Facebook


  317. Hostler
    3 years ago

    Bill I found three of you on Facebook, so I don’t know which is which. I would love to be friends with you and discuss trains. I am Greg Nevels.


  318. Bob
    3 years ago

    I set up an O gauge oval for my boys 6 and 9 y.o. for Christmas and they couldn’t be happier. Steam and sound, no bought buildings yet but they use their lego’s and have started their own scenery. I went with O because of the moving parts. I had N when I was little and liked it but am very happy with this set. I had picked up a HO set through Amazon that was a joke, really was just a toy and in doubling that price paid ended up with something that will last a really long time. In the end though I guess as long as the kids are happy, you should be too.
    My two cents.


  319. chuck
    3 years ago

    I grew up with 0 and 027 gauge.I have 36 engines and 176 train cars.Half of my basement is trains.


  320. Greg
    3 years ago

    Dan,

    I don’t think there is one scale that is best. Most of my modeling is done in N largely because as a pastor I am sometimes in situations where space is limited, and N will fit just about anywhere.

    I still cherish my father’s and my grandfather’s Lionel and Marx respectively and usually get them out for Christmas. They are obviously the easiest to work. I still remember a sign a model rail-roader had on his layout years ago, it stated, “This is my railroad, its just the way that I want it.” I think that’s probably the goal of most modelers. What is best is what is best for you.


  321. Bill Reschke
    3 years ago

    I have written in several times…….I am truly interested in helping new comers. There seems to be a common thread throughout the comments written. These two types of comments are either lack of knowledge and frustration OR those who take the attitude that model railroading is after all a hobby that promotes interest in many facets.
    My comment for all is HAVE FUN….ENJOY !!! It’s your railroad do it YOUR way !!!
    Their are many “seasoned” railroaders willing and able to help YOU!!!


  322. Dan Morgan
    3 years ago

    Thanks Bill for the offer. Have you joined our free forum at http://www.homodeltrains.info/forum/

    That’s where all the questions and conversations are happening. We would love another expert like you in there.

    Best Regards
    Dan


  323. MemphisTN
    3 years ago

    Some of my best model train buddies change scales like they change their pants. They can’t make up their mind. They can’t plan and they have no idea of what they want to do with what they physically have. What a shame. Consquently, they never have a railroad that operates for enjoyment. They spend more money then they can afford and are not interested in the NMRA AP program. Worst of all is the wasted time friends have spend helping them. Having said all that, I suggest that space, money and age are the determining factors for determining the right scale. Starting with a young family, I always suggest to keep it simple and big enough to handle without damaging. The serious minded modeles will know what is right for them and the undecide must think about space, money, and what they want to create. The wishy washy will never know the scale thay is right for them. I love HO


  324. Pete
    3 years ago

    My layout is 27′ X 6′ 6″ & I run HO scale & find it’s just great to do scenery & all buildings with. I broke my neck 30 years ago & have limited use of my arms, but HO scale seemed to be the best for me, I’ve built 4 different layouts in the last 25 years. I find also if you have to find ways to keep expenses down you can use so much real stuff such as sand, earth ,rubbish from under gum trees & mash it up, pebbles & twigs from different trees,mistletoe on gum trees make great tree trunks for all sorts of trees. Cotton wool makes good for leaves on the branches if you tease it out & then a little spray paint. Your imagination is the key to scenery. Happy modeling.


  325. Ironhorse
    3 years ago

    I run Lionel O27 gauge which is 1:48 scale, this is easier for me to work on because of its size I can see the working mechanisms better. I repair my own equipment. It is also the 1st train set I got in 1962 when I was 8 yrs old – I’m still a kid at heart at 56yrs. So, for me bigger is better and I have no problems finding items for it – if I can’t find what I need I make it!


  326. Terry R
    3 years ago

    I concur with Pete’s comment on Tuesday, especially the part about “keeping expenses down.”
    I’ve been on fixed income for over ten years now; and, in order to “keep railroading” I’ve had to get really creative to keep my 8′x12′ HO project alive. After four years of preparation & scrounging for cheap, useable stuff, it’s now about 40% ready to “show-n-tell.” Then just today, I was hit with yet another snag: my pension just took a really big hit w/higher insurance & a big jump in federal taxes! Still, the dream lives on. I’m finding new ways of “hinting at” city structures & developing faux features that photograph well enough until I can get (or make) the “real” thing. BOTTOM LINE:
    “WE DON’T STOP PLAYING BECAUSE WE GET OLD. WE GET OLD BECAUSE WE STOP PLAYING!”


  327. John
    3 years ago

    I agree with the answers given above. My $.02 comes from being from a railroad community, Danville, Illinois, which had 7 train lines converging in midstate Illinois just across the state line with Indiana. We even had the Wabash railroad pass through Danville and had to put up with blocking “Main” street while stopped at the passenger station. I started model railroading at 12 years old. I had an “027″ scale on a 4 foot by 16 foot table in my basement. I started in “HO” scale with help from my buddies Dad who had a humoungas (half his basement) “HO” layout he started after returning home from WWII. As my scoutmaster, he had several of us in the hobby, at different scales, which lead to this appreciation for the railroads that ran through our town and how we could emulate the prototypes. I’m now 64 1/2 and restarting my layout in HO for the 4th time having built a 24 foot by 32 foot addition onto my house with a raised attic (I have no basement) in order to build my layout framework. Buying Model Railroading Magazine through the years showed the differences in scales and informed me that HO was the “Standard” picked by the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) for emphasis on detailing and modeling. I find that structures and cars that you can scratch build are detailed with dimensions in HO up to “O” scale. I xerox the pictures or use a computer scanner to copy the picture and either way print a copy on paper already used on one side. The picture on the recycled paper is now dimensioned using my “HO” and “O” scale ruler (engineers refer to them as scales, also) and redraw the picture in AutoCad 2000LT and plot the structure in the scale I want to scratch build. This allows me to make thin paper templates to attach to wood or styrene with Elmers rubber glue to cut out with an exacto knife. I find that the “HO” scale cutouts are about as small as I want to go because of thin sections between cuts (a door next to a window as an example) and the heavy emphasis on windows and doors being cast in plastic in the “HO” scale. I have an “N” scale model railroad that I set up for my kids when they were small. The size seemed right for their little hands but the durability is not there. The current prices for “N” scale versus “HO” varies, but is too close to make cost a determining factor. I love the tons of rail lines on “N” scale layouts on the smaller layouts over “HO”, but the tradeoff for me is the ability to personalize my railroad by scratchbuilding the structures and scenery.


  328. Chris Tandy
    3 years ago

    I scratchbuild in N and HO, our unaligned group works on 1 layout in each scale together, but all have layouts in 1 scale or the other


  329. Bradd
    3 years ago

    I am planning my third HO scale model. I started in O scale. Pretty much I model HO scale for the reasons you mentioned.


  330. david
    3 years ago

    iave an n gauge layout because of the room i have,but would much sooner have oo,gauge. there is more equipment for oo gauge, the trouble with me is im never satisfied with what i have


  331. Bob
    3 years ago

    For detail you cannot beat HO. For available space N is great and portable if you need to move it. We have a camp so I built with N scale so I can take the layout there during the summer months. Although I prefer HO, and the price between the two is almost neglible (somewhat annoying considering the size difference), N was the best fit for me. Its amazing what you can place on a 30″ x 60″ table. And I extended it by adding another 48″. Both tables are portable with wire connecting plugs for the electronics. My first layout in N scale was 4′ x 8′ on a plywood bed. But with time it became more challenging to move to camp so I made the smaller layout. HO is easier to work with but I do like the perspective of seeing the enitre N layout and being able to reach any part of it. The debate will always continue with the anwser being a combination of many factors but mainly available space. Regardless of which scale you select, the main thing is to consume and enjoy the hobby as well as the history related to it.


  332. david
    3 years ago

    i have n gauge iv been working on for about two years and enjoy my layout,but i keep thinking oo might be better as i have arthritis in my hands and would be better for me ,being a bigger scale. thanks for a good site.


  333. R.L.Klaus
    3 years ago

    Just a reminder, relating to Bob, and Davids comments. Might give some thought to HOn30. HO scale on N gauge track. There is some ready to run avaliable and much N gauge running gear can be adapted to the HO narrow gauge. In many cases the space used is only a little more than an N gauge layout, but your working with details in the larger HO scale.
    For myself, I take a variation on this, Modeling the Ffestiniog Railway in Wales. For that I import british OO-9 kits. OO being 1/76 scale is slightly larger than HO, but many detail bits from HO work just fine.
    Of course the bottom line is run what you like.
    One last thought. If small children are involved with your train plans, bigger is better. O27 or G gauge are easier for children to deal with, and in general the more robust construction holds up to small hands better.


  334. Lawrence
    3 years ago

    My primary interest in passenger equipment makes N scale almost a necessity, since I don’t have acres to use for a layout. Gracefull, high-radius curves are essential if I don’t want operating trains to look obviously toy-like. Nothing quite kills authenticity for me like scale 80′ + varnish jerked around a too-tight curve!


  335. Scott
    3 years ago

    I’m going with HO scale primarily because I have a large enough area and I have tons of HO equipment from my beginning of model railroading in ’76 which began with a Bachman Bicentennial train set when I was 11 years old. It grew to a rather large layout 8 x 16 in my parents basement. When I moved out I did not have room for the layout, but my parents moved to another house so I had to salvage as much as possible. Now nearly 30 years later I am getting back into the hobby and enjoy it more now than when I was a kid.


  336. Roy
    3 years ago

    i would add two more criteria for selecting a model scale: How much are you willing to spend? How good is your eyesight? For youngsters, eyesight may not be an issue. But for more, ahem, mature modelers, N and even HO scale is kinda tiny. Although I am a “rubber gauger” and have small collections of S, O, On30 and standard gauge, if I had to choose just one, it would be S. S (1/64 scale, or pretty much right in betwen HO at 1/87th, and O at 1/48th) is small enough to allow a good sized track plan and lots of interesting scenery possiblities, but large enough to be reliable-more so than HO, and contemporary S equipment has amazing scale details. S engines and cars are less expensive than O, and a lot less expensive than standard gauge or G (garden scale). One downside of S is that there is not as much variety available as in HO or O. But S is catching up and today there is far more interesting, detailed equipment available than I can afford. HO is fine for the craftsman, but for younger and older modelers it can be challenging. Youngsters need something that is large enough to easily handle, like S or O. Older modelers, see above. Personally, I like anything that runs on rails, two or three :)


  337. Roy
    3 years ago

    S gauge is the perfect scale. At 1/64th, it is situated between HO at 1/87th and O at 1/48th. As older modelers will recall, A. C. Gilbert popularized S with his American Flyer trains. The company ran a distant second to Josual Lionel Cowen’s O gauge trains in the hey days of toy trains after World War II and until about 1965. Today, Wonderfully detailed S equipment is available from S-Helper Service, American Models, Lionel-which has remade some original AF equipment, updated and improved on, and created excellent new models as well. There are a number of other smaller manufacturersof S equipment.
    S is small enough to fit into tighter spaces, yet large enough for youngsters to easily handle and re-rail (and large enough for older modelers to see!). The equipment is less expensive than O. A unique feature of S is that a layout can be done as highly detailed and extensively scenicked, or as a toy train presentation with lots of operating excessories. It is very reliable eqipment, not subject to the derailments of the smaller scales like N or HO. Having said that, for me personally, I like anything that runs on rails, two or three :)


  338. Curtis
    3 years ago

    It really doesn’t matter which I think is better; it all depends on several items, avaliable space, cost, how much work you want to put into it. Me I prefer HO, but I also love working on may dad’s G (I even have my own power and cars). HO is what I started out with. Have thought about N as well since I live in a small area and little to work with now.


  339. baggagemaster
    3 years ago

    Hi everyone, I HAD a large layout in my basement. However I am now a wee bit older and am in a mobile home, But I am not “TRAILER TRASH” I just do not have the room.. I do still like trains and all that pertains to the railroad.. I have been a railroad “NUT” since an early age when my Dad took me me to the rail yards in Columbus Georgia. I believe it was 1945 or 1946..I like to travel by Amtrak but it has gotten so expensive.. I will not stop riding the rails when I can.. I support Rail Travel whenever I can help.. SEE YA SOON Baggagemaster……


  340. Helge
    3 years ago

    That’s a thing what do you like to do. Is the point landscaping and much traffic you have to take a smal scale like HO, N, HOn3. I like G-scale, at this time indoor because i’m a truck driver and have not much time to work in the garden. My plan is Fn3 running on the wall, and a swiching yard for G-scale 1/29 in L form at 3-4 ft high.


  341. jody
    3 years ago

    hi i have got a present ot a set of berliner TT bahnan set. my working top is 7foot x2 foot 6ins, as this is all new to me am i mad ?


  342. freddy
    3 years ago

    I have problems with tracks, what are the best tracks in you opinion.


  343. Dan Morgan
    3 years ago

    Hi Freddy, come and ask in the forum at http://www.homodeltrains.info/forum/

    That way you will get many opinions from experienced model railroaders.

    Cheers Dan


  344. Greg Nevels
    3 years ago

    Hey Freddy. I use Atlas track myself. Always been satisfied with it.


  345. Michael
    3 years ago

    I have always been a HO train lover To me thy are the best started in 1959 and Im still running my HO’s some of my Locomotives are 40 years old and still running most of my older locos are Rivarossi’s back in the day where the best


  346. howard
    3 years ago

    started as a boy back in 1967 with o-27 and changed to ho in high school then last year go back into ho with grandsons and building my layout now.do believe your right which ever guage maks you happy

    doc


  347. Mitch
    3 years ago

    Hi Freddie: I have tried most makes of track. I stared a new N sacle layout about 1.5 years ago andI have chosen to use Kato strack. It snaps together very securly and the turnouts work great with minimal derailments. I use DC so I have learnded to dismantal the turnouts so I can use manual blocks rather than the block system built into the Kato system. hope this is helpfull. Mitch


  348. Tammy
    3 years ago

    We decided on Z scale for several reasons. First is we wanted a complex layout with several modes of transportation including the use of a 9foot by 3 foot Herpa 1:200 Airport Mat complete with runways and Airliner parking (They make a Mat and Airport building in 1:500 the 1:200 building is due out this year) These models and buildings are exceptionally well detailed including ground vehicles, Airport personel and even hangers and military personel, equipment, and Jets or older prop planes. Most Planes are die cast , I have a 14 foot by 3 1/2 foot Z scale layout that has a rural area, industrial area and waterfront, suburban town that has become part of a larger city (I am using Luetke buildings for a lot of this because of the modern skyscrapers, including a 21 story and 14 story set and a whole modern city center, I am scratch building parking garages and interspersing buildings and landscapes as varied as any city suburban area. I even have a tract house neighborhood. In the waterfront I just added Microtrains new docks and waterfront buildings and have room for a cruise ship and several pleasure craft. There is a working monorail, A Micro-trains layout through out the city and Airport, A separate Marklin track layout that also runsthrou the whole layout and a Japanese Light rail system. I never could have even attempted something like this in any other scale so thats why I use Z


  349. Stan
    3 years ago

    After 30 years of HO’s I got my old Lionel trains out, that I had no room to put up for years. I’m like a kid again,buying new track and trains and as I tell my wife its all for our Grandkids.Big Kid having fun.


  350. Bill
    3 years ago

    I am an artist and the HO is the most realistic look for me . The N is too small and the
    larger scales are too large to look real.


  351. Matt
    3 years ago

    I model an O scale variant called Hi-Rail/3-rail-scale that allows for large equipment on 36″ radius (O-72) curves. That allows for operating a larger variety of equipment in a smaller (let’s say 12′x12′) space. Basically, this evolved out of true O-scale models of large steam and diesel locomotives being produced to run on 3-rail track back in the 1980′s. At that time, 36″ radius (aka O-72) was the largest curve and was the minimum for large steam. This changed the dynamic a bit as those wanting a larger scale can do so in a smaller space with the caveat that some things won’t “look” right going through such sharp curves and they’ll have to deal with larger flanges and couplers. Ironically, I’m a member of a club where we don’t have the same restrictions one would have at home and we run 48″ minimum radius because it looks better which has allowed several of us to switch over to body-mounted Kadee couplers and even scale-wheeled rolling stock.


  352. erich
    3 years ago

    because of space limitations most of mine are z & n.


  353. Brian
    3 years ago

    Hi Dan
    I work with N scale because I do not have the space I want to build my layout. I like it better for the long trains I can send down the line.
    If I had a lot of room (which I don’t) I would use HO, but I love N gauge.
    Brian


  354. david
    3 years ago

    i have n gauge, because i dont have a lot of room,one day i hope to have oo layout because n gauge is a bit small. as i get older it will be easier to see oo.


  355. william
    3 years ago

    I don’t think scale is the only source for choice when space is a problem. It is the only choice.I do
    think that what you see and what want is the proper choice for satisfaction. Of course you may
    have wanted something else but other factors came into play beyond your control. I prefer HO
    for it’s size and good appearance and easy to handling. I never have yearned for 0.27, O, G or
    any of the higher gauges because of space and costs being greater. So, so be it!
    William


  356. trains4u2nv
    3 years ago

    Thank you for all the great info you have provided. I agree that space is one of the most important considerations when deciding gauge. I also believe that the generation of your birth also determines what you may choose. For me, having been brought up in the 50 and 60′s and haveing been given American Flyer Steam Locomotives as a child; I chose O Gauge equipment. I also think O Gauge gives you much better visual appearance than HO. O Gauge also gives the youngsters a heavier and more sturdy piece to handle.
    Dave


  357. Barry
    3 years ago

    The reason I model in S . Is because that is what I had when I was a young boy. And since I am getting older it is better to see this then N or Z.


  358. Elton
    3 years ago

    I use HO scale. I find all I need for this and I have the room, I am using a 4×8 now and plan on expanding in the future.


  359. Bernie
    3 years ago

    I prefer HO because it is easy to work with and there are so many options to go with.


  360. Ken
    3 years ago

    My wife gave me an HO train set for Christmas shortly after we were married. She thought it would go well with my slot-cars which said HO but were really 1/64. I still have the original train set along with thousands of other parts collected over the years. HO is certainly the easiest to find materials for, and the parts aren’t too hard to find when you drop them on the floor. I’ve worked on a variety of scales for friends, up to 1::1 scale. It hurts when you drop some of those parts on your foot.


  361. Daryl
    3 years ago

    My first train set was an O gauge B&O diesel that I played with quite often. 55 years later I still have the train set in working condition but it is looking a little ragged and haven’t taken it out of the box in quite a while. I have HO and N scale now with an emphasis on more HO than N. My oldest son prefers N. I’m starting to build an HO layout now and have a 4×8 table started with plans for another 8′ expansion.


  362. Larry
    3 years ago

    I have chosen HO because of the reasons you stated and also because I purchased a bunch of HO gear years ago and have had it in storage and am just now getting around to setting it up. I am also looking at using Atlas 100 snap track. That is as far as I have gotten so far. I still have to decide of what power packs (transformers) will be best. I plan to start with DC at first with DCC as a later option. I plan to purchase DCC ready locomotives. I hope to model the transition period of 1945-1957. I would love to hear from anyone who has ideas for me. My first layout will be 4×8 with expansion possibilities.


  363. ED
    3 years ago

    N-SCALER MYSELF. MORE RAILROAD IN SPACE AVAILABLE, 15′ X 18′ ROOM. I ALWAYS HEAR THAT N IS TO SMALL OR I CAN’T SEE THAT WELL AND FOR SOME THAT IS WELL AND GOOD BUT FOR MANY AS THE SCALE GETS LARGER THEY START ADDING MORE DETAILS TO THE CARS, ENGINES, BUILDING, ETC. SO THEY WIND UP STILL WORKING WITH THE SAME FINE DETAILS JUST DIFFERENT SCALE. NOW WITH DCC AND NEW MOTOR EVERYTHING RUNS GOOD SO IT BOILS DOWN TO PREFERENCE.


  364. pumaone
    3 years ago

    I have HO for the very reasons you have stated. I think if there were more N scale acces. out in hobby shops you would see that scale being used. I dont think kids under the age of 8 or 9 should use HO . O scale easier to put onto tracks.


  365. Vin
    3 years ago

    I am working with HO scale and have a 4X8 dual oval layout presently.
    I need to become more familiarized with electrical switching and also decide if I go the route with straight DC setup or invest in a DCC infrastructure.


  366. rex
    3 years ago

    i prefer OO scale but with N i can have long trians that are realisitic compared to 00 and i just diont have that much rooom. i love N as there is a plethra of things abailable for this scale.
    ive had N since it was invented in the late 60s. i bought Minitrix British steam and later American diesel and freight wagons and and theyre still as good as they were new. theyre German precision and run perfectly. also N are usually cheaper to buy so i get more for my Buck.


  367. Pete
    3 years ago

    HO scale works best for me. When building kits, I can handle the small parts easier than N and see what I’m doing. Also has a wider selection than other scales.


  368. Bakes
    3 years ago

    Everybody has answered your q…. the scale that best suits you and your ideals…u can have all of them if u have the space.. The toys that best suit the boys and of course the girls.


  369. Mitch
    3 years ago

    Hi guys : I read all your comments and they all have merit. It comes down to one thing; which scale do you perfer. Space is certainly an issue, but if the interest is there the space you have will acommodate you RR. It may be limited but it is your RR. I myself am 77 years old and have modeled in every gauge you can think of except “S”. At one point I even had “G’ on about 300 feet of track in the yard including buildings signals real plants ,etc. I presently run “N” scale in a 12 x 15 outbuilding devoted entirly to my RR. It have mulipule levels so that I can have longer runs. It is your RR you decide. Happy RR. “Mitch” President of the “Great Upper Chesapeake and Susquehanna Rail Road”


  370. Dave Snow
    3 years ago

    This is a very good, informative article – most model railroaders use scale and gauge interchangebly, usually meaning the size of the equipment. I currently own HO & N scale trains – I don’t have the room for HO, so I ‘ve also gotten some N trains – several freight cars, 3 or 4 passenger cars, a pair of matched Rock Island cabooses w/different numbers, an electromotive self – powered articulated passenger engine, a damaged diesel engine, and a Rock Island U35B diesel. I’m planning, sometime in the future, to build some sort of operating layout with some scenery, nothing too fancy, just mainly to shoot pictures of for my own pleasure or to submit to a magazine, whatever. I owned the HO trains because I formerly belonged to a train club here in town which was mostly engaged in HO. I even built and scratch – built several buildings to eventually put in a 3 ft section to go along with the others for display purposes, which I never got around to.


  371. terry
    3 years ago

    I’ve always been with 00 scale hornby mostly although I have 2 baccman trains both diesel ,one is a collectors piece got elvis kin g of rock n roll and a pic of elvis.i live in the uk I prefer 00.I have digital and analogue locos.the problem I got is someone to encode my numerous 040 trains.I cant find a person that does this.oh I enjoy your site thanks keep it up,keep on rocking my world or railroading it cheers terry


  372. Otto
    3 years ago

    I have S, HO and N. My preference is N because I enjoying running long trains. My seven year old grandson models in HO. He is very responsible and loves to learn how to build things. My youngest daughter was four when she got interested in model trains and we model N scale. With patient overview I believe any child truely interested in modeling can be taught. Both my daughter and grandson have run trains at train shows opened to the public. Both had supervision when first starting. Once they understood how things worked and to respect the others running they where given a lot more freedom.


  373. "Rev" (Russell)
    3 years ago

    As a ninety year old model railroader, I have built layouts in O, S, HO, and four in N guage and I prefer the N guage. But with limited space and energy I have been considering building a micro layoutin what I think is”T” gauge. I know nothing about it and would like to hear from someone who has tried it. My last layout was N guage and I had a complete control board and had thirteen trains
    ready to run. How practical is this T guage and what is available? Russell McIntire, Clinton,
    MS 39056


  374. Gilbert
    3 years ago

    Hi everybody I have HO and HOE but unfortunately no room, my son has given me a small room to use. I gave all my ngauge away when i moved to Johannesburg now that I am back in Port Elizabeth I have started to unpack all my stuff. My layout was 33feet by 8 feet and now its in pieces due to changes in the room I used to use. The room size now is probably 12 feet by 8 with 2 lathes grinders drills etc in the way. Gilbert


  375. mark
    3 years ago

    i am struggling with G and HO….i am a retired tanker driver after 33 years and maybe because i hav ebing bin around large things i may lean that way.but right now because of the learning curve i am building my first rolling stock in HO..,but i bought a G scale 4-8-4 loco-n-tender just to get a fell for the size…price is kind of insignificant because i have the space but think by the time i get all the G scale stuff to gether to do it right i guess i have a small kings ransom in to it before i can get it up and running….


  376. Michael Sneed
    3 years ago

    I strated 54 years ago with HO’s and now at 60 Im still running them. The Locomotive that started it all 4-6-0 is still runing. Because of its wheel arrangement it would derail if the tracks were not laid right after laying new track this old Loco would be the first to run on the new tracks if she didnt derail all my other Loco’s did. sneed me your e-mail address and I will send you a photo of this tyco locomotive that is 54 years old and still pulling trains.

    Take care and enjoy your trains
    Michael Sneed


  377. Carlton
    3 years ago

    I’m using O scale. It’s what I started with when I was young. Perhaps if I was starting from scratch now I’d consider HO due to space limitations.


  378. Bud
    3 years ago

    Due to lack of Space I chose N Scale. I try to make my own Accessories.


  379. Tibi
    3 years ago

    I use HO scale, because it’s really “middle of the road”, and it’s verry popular here, in Europe. Easy to find everything for, from rolling stock to buildings and landscape components. And is easy to build something, not to little for details, not to big to use inside. But I like all scales, nice to look the rolling trains, from scale 1:1. :-)


  380. ohitsyoubob
    3 years ago

    I have decided to begin my new hobby using HO scale. I have enough room for a reasonably large L-shaped layout, I like the detail that HO offers, and because of the detail, I believe it offers a bit more realism than O scale. I considered N scale because I could get at least twice as much on a layout of the same size, but I didn’t want to work with components that small. I may reconsider later.


  381. ROY
    2 years ago

    Hi everybody, I don`t know where you are coming from, there is only one true model train scale, OO. If it was good enough for Hornby (who lived down the Lane) it`s good enough for me, and everything is available. ROY


  382. Lee
    2 years ago

    I chose N for lake of room.Have large den,but grandchildren moving in took over that.


  383. John
    2 years ago

    Regarding 00 scale. If it’s good enough for Hornby, doesn’t sound like much of a recommendation. They’ve, even now, not been able to produce a decent looking coupling. The track gauge is just plain wrong, and not a little bit wrong either, at least 2mm too narrow. other countries use HO, why not the UK? Could be a case of “we’ve always done it this way.”


  384. Bob
    2 years ago

    I have 027 that my brother and I got for christmas one year andlimited rolling stock. I also have HO and I really like it as it is easy to handle, has lots of accessories and rolling stock. I have no place to set up a fixed track but that hasn’t stopped me from collecting trains and rolling stock. I have thought of getting smaller scale so I could set up a small fixed track and layout but having a family it limits that kind of purchases, but someday.


  385. John
    2 years ago

    I started out ar age 10 with MARX 027 scale trains. In making expansions to my railroad I quickly ran out of space. My buddies Dad had modeled HO since the end of WWII and I was hooked on space requirements, two rails versus 3 and the realism of the model. When I started having kids I tried N scale on a pool table and quickly learned how fragile they are with little hands. That was 30 years ago and I am starting back into HO in a special space in my attic. The cost of todays ready to run and building kits lead me into scratch building again. I love it. HO is so realistic and modeling skills are best put to use in this scale


  386. Leopoldo
    2 years ago

    Have large interior 36×80 door.Like HO.and will do my best for lack of room.


  387. ezt maples
    2 years ago

    I have a dining room table 81×43 can i put a 8×4 piece of plywood on top to start a layout


  388. Jeff
    2 years ago

    Well living in wonderful California means “G” scale or Gardening railroading and there are lots of them in Northern California…….big train event going on now!


  389. Rich
    2 years ago

    My opinion about the various modeling scales puts HO scale as preferred
    because of:
    1. Larger manufacturer production runs make possible greater overall
    economy over time.
    2. Greater competition among sellers and manufacturers in HO scale.
    3. More item variety selection availabilities….more choices.
    4. More modeling information sources in aiding HO modelers…especially
    newcomers to the hobby.
    5. The players on the manufacturing and selling side of the hobby tend to
    jack up pricing if they have any kind of corner in certain areas of this
    hobby market. I think of one domestic manufacturer/supplier in
    particular. As buyers (hobbyists) the option is not to buy there and
    wait for the attractive item to eventually decline in price as it becomes
    available elsewhere. Patience.


  390. cool
    2 years ago

    i love the large size of g gage ,although i wish they had a wider selection of engines, rolling stock and various other items such as avalable in ho.also the price is getting so rediciously high it is virtually driving hobbiest from this gage.i really love the size of g gage ,because it makes the trains easier to see and to handle for us old timers.if only one of the major producers of g gage such as usa trains or aristocraft trains could come up with more rolling stock ,and come down some what on the prices,this would make for a much more enjoyable hobby.


  391. Cho Cho Bob
    2 years ago

    Hello everyone, I hope I don’t sound too silly. I am just starting out with the love of trains. I am a graduate of USC and a few years back we won a couple of national championships and there were some special trains made in there honor. I purchased 3 cars of HO scale. I would love for some one to help me to organize my HO train set. I would like to suspend my set in the air to , is there anyone out there who could possibly help? That would be great. I don’t have a lot of money so I would like to start small and be able to build. Thank you and as a rookie train lover I truly could use help. Cho Cho Bob.


  392. Dan Morgan
    2 years ago

    Hi Cho Cho Bob

    You should ask your question in the forum at http://www.homodeltrains.info/forum/

    There are many experienced model railroaders in the forum that would love to help you out.

    Cheers Dan


  393. Roger Barr
    2 years ago

    I agree with what you say, Dan. However, when it comes to scale size, there is also one more factor to consider: PRICE! I have found that the smaller the scale, the higher the price of equipment. Obviously, there are exceptions, but because of the intricacy of assembly at the factory, and the extra time required for the detail, the smaller scale equipment requires more time to manufacture, thus the increase in price.

    Another thing on turning radius in HO scale. I don’t think this is relevant, as turning radius are all proportionate to the scale in which one choose. Do keep in mind that there are choices in radius track as well. While my father and I were used to dealing with the tighter 18″ radius curve, we opted for 22″ radius for smoother running. Another way around this is to use “Flex Track” and determine the radius you desire.

    Ok, so there’s my two cents! Thanks for the info.

    Also, isn’t gauge still proportionate to scale??

    Thanks again!


  394. Ray Howard
    2 years ago

    I built my first layout in N gauge. The reason being that I wanted to fill a coffee table with the layout, a dream for many years. It is a great scale for limited space. However the accessories were very limited and so I have now progressed to 00 gauge and am getting more satisfaction from the vast number of locos and rolling stock. When the 00 is completed it will be pretty big, 22ft x 11 ft approx, but test have shown that it will run better and be far more impressive than the N. I have posted pictures of the N on the Facebook page. Small but satisfying to build.


  395. dave
    2 years ago

    This has got a good responce Dan, but as said it depends on what space you have , and eyesight.??


  396. Richard
    2 years ago

    For all practical intents and purposes, I have to say HO is best for me. It’s big enough to appreciate the detail, and small enough to pack plenty of “action” into a 9′x 11′ room. If I had LOTS of space (for instance, 1000 sq. feet, I’d go with O (had Lionel when I was a kid). It’s easyier to get down to track level and enjoy your Midnight Special come barrelling straight at you.


  397. TrainGuy247
    2 years ago

    I prefer working with N scale because it doesn’t take up much space, and is fairly inexpensive. But recently I’ve found out it might be a little more worthwhile with HO scale, as I’ve seen more accessories and stock in that scale. I might consider switching.


  398. Lawrence
    2 years ago

    I find it alot easier to model O Scale as it is much larger and easier to handle. I had both N and HO and I was always scared that if I dropped the engines or rolling stock it would break. I have broken more then my fair share of both!


  399. Keld Andersen
    2 years ago

    I like HO scale it shows the details on the trains very well and good to handle
    Regards
    Keld Andersen
    Denmark


  400. Ray Howard
    2 years ago

    I do not believe that a decent 00 (H0) layout can be built in a space under 12ft x 6ft. If you do not have that size available then go for ‘N’. In the UK there are many ‘N’ items available, the range of locos and rolling stock increases month by month. Metcalf produce amazing building kits for the houses, factories and shops. cars, figures and foliage are easily available and in a 6ft x 4ft area the most amazing layouts can be built.
    ‘N’ digital is also coming to the fore and should also be considered. many of you will have seen my coffee table ‘N’ layout but I cannot get any enthusiasm for a small sized ’00′. The layout I have designed for ’00′ is 22ft x 11ft and cannot be built until we move house in a years time. I already have many buildings and 9 locos with associated rolling stock. It is also DCC controlled. The main part of the layout has been laid on the dining room floor and tested so I do know that it works. It is a continuous run layout and, hopefully, will meet my ever increasing need.
    So, advice, it really just does depend on space available, no more, between ’00′ and ‘N’. ’0′ would really require a small fortune or club to produce a decent layout along with a really large room.


  401. Terry
    2 years ago

    Price is another thing to consider, not all of us have large bank accounts. So we model the scale that we can afford. I model in HO because of the price and the variety of trains, bldgs, etc.


  402. coalface
    2 years ago

    As a total newbie I started with 00 after doing much research . I chose this scale as it seemed to be better to work with for space and size of trains.My fingers are to big for N scale plus there are so many parts available.


  403. Cary Hewitt
    2 years ago

    I have 2 facets to my model railroading. 1) I like the scale modeling fo people such as Tony Koester and Eric Brooman. 2) I enjoy the “toy train” aspect of having fun with my trains, the not so serious part.

    To that end, I do my serious modeling in HO scale and I have some 3-rail O scale for my “fun time” playing with trains. To me, both scales have their appeal.

    So I guess my question is ” why only have one scale”? Use the scale(s) that appeal to you.


  404. Tom
    2 years ago

    I feel that you can do a lot more with HO but since I have a 1942 and a 1946 Lionel train sets I wanted to bring this part of my past back to life. I am still having trouble with the 1684 front wheels staying on track but the 1666 engine runs just fine. I have a 4 X 8 plywood sheet and my wife put a cloth around the bottom so I can store stuff under it. I have cowboys, Indians, soldiers, both metal and plastic and rocks ….. It is what it is and the past is gling around in a circle in my family room …. I guess happiness is what you make it

    Tom


  405. Donald Foster
    2 years ago

    We are currently constructing a HO Scale Layout in our Bungalow .The size is much easier to work with and overall looks much more realistic I think!

    I can understand how N Scale does suit some people though , depending I guess on space permitting and other reasons.


  406. Chuck
    2 years ago

    This was easy for me. I still have my Lionel set from the 50′s but besides that my son became eight years old just seven years ago. I just had to buy him his “First Lionel” set and at the same time I cleaned up my old set and added it to the deal. Well, he was pretty excited the first year and even the next year when I bought another set, Lionel’s Christmas Story set. By next year he was waist deep into Lego’s so he insisted on a Lego train set. Okay FINE! So much for my nostalgia. In the mean time I had been thinking about building a diorama in honor of my Dad’s work back in the 40′s-60′s. I hadn’t put the two together but one day it all did come together in my head and I had the theory for a great layout. Since then I have been acquiring all the parts and pieces. I’m hardly wealthy so it’s taken quite some time.Most of it came from Ebay which I became quite proficient at. I’m pretty much ready to start the actual layout now. I hadn’t quite decided on which of the spaces on our property to build it. I think I’ve got that figured too. So the only excuse I’ve got is time and more time. With the economy being the way it is I’m spending a lot more time at my work (the same as my Dad’s) than I’d planned at this stage in my life. That’s just the way it goes though. Oh, if you haven’t figured out which scale, it’s O/027. I’m also not that finicky about keeping to an exact scale so accessories and buildings may go from 1/43 to 1/50th depending on availability. I started out with MY collection right away with TMCC and glad I did.
    I’m also including on30 size for the older time line sections of the diorama. Part of the idea is to have the layout span across time lines.
    As to other scales…HO would be my other choice but my eyes and hands have trouble at that size. O scale is much easier to handle for me. I didn’t spend that much due to being quite judicial and taking advantage of Ebay pricing.


  407. Nigel
    2 years ago

    O gauge everytime. what you lose in layout you gain in detail. scratch building is much more rewarding than opening a box.


  408. Peter Moore
    2 years ago

    I prefer HO, as I have always suffered with bad nerves. I can handle the trains better.


  409. william
    2 years ago

    i allways had ho and i will allways have ho


  410. Martha Bishop
    2 years ago

    My husband models in O Scale and I in HO. We both prefer working in the scale we have, but we help each other out in planning and building. No problems. We say we would like to build a garden scale outside, but I really think we just like to talk about it.


  411. Buddy
    2 years ago

    I am useing 0 because that was what I had when I started this hobby. I do have some HO trains that I plan to use when I get around to it. Don’t have much space but I will do something with it.Gotto get O up and running first.
    Buddy


  412. JOEL U.
    2 years ago

    I USE N SCALE BECAUSE YOU CAN FIT A-LOT MORE CREATIVITY INTO THE SAME SPACE AS A BASIC HO LAYOUT AND GET MORE ENJOYMENT OUT OF IT AT THE SAME TIME, HECK ITS ALREADY GOT HO BEAT 2 TO 1, LOVE YOUR WORK, KEEP IT UP, AND THANKS AGAIN FOR THE GREAT INFO!!!


  413. John Kmetz
    2 years ago

    I have been reading these comments on scale and guage and there is a common mistake
    people are making. the curve track on HO,N.Z are all measured in radius, but O “gauge is
    measured in diamature. (O gauge O27,O31,O72) are all dia, (HO 22,20,18) are all radius.
    so you can build a lionel three rail O gauge layout in a smaller area than HO scale.
    I have built layouts in HO,N,and O gauge. To me the best is O its more forgiving easyer
    to wire up, more detail,and better sounds. And the price? well its not that much more and
    somtimes cheaper than HO.But they do have some realy expensive products.
    I stay with O not just that i like to run them, I also collect them. O gauge does not loose its
    value like HO,N,Z. I could go on forever talkin trains.
    My choice is O guage.


  414. Carmine A
    2 years ago

    Hi Dan!!
    I’m another one of those old fart modelers. I’ve done 2 large HO scale layouts, and one O scale 3-Rail “High Rail” layout.
    I’m in the planning stages of a new layout for my spare bedroom. I plan to keep this one, so it will be portable. I’ll be using Woodland Scenics Mod-U-Rail System. Build it yourself 3′ X 3′, and 3′ X 18″ sections, designed to easily bolt and unbolt together easily!
    Most people don’t know (and they rarely advertise!) that they also produce wooden stands, same top dimension as the module sections, and adjustable height, that bolt together, and are quite rigid!!

    Enough free advertising! My dilemma is on top of the new layout. Im stuck between two scales…
    N scale is dramatically improved lately in quality and performance, and affords me a lot of railroading in a limited space.
    Then, I was going to go with HO, but I recently discovered On30! Amazing how few people have heard of it, though it’s the fastest growing segment of our hobby!
    O scale (1/48th) trains, VERY detailed, very smooth running – on incredibly reliable HO scale track systems! It represents 30″ narrow gauge, however, most who do On30 layouts seem less interested in exact operations and general rivet counting, and more emphasis on fun, whimsy, and stunning scenery and structure building! Also, beautifully weathered and detailed locos and rolling stock. Most make up their own railroad names, only representing their rich imaginations! The trains are big, not too big, some can negotiate 15″ radius curves! You can actually build a fine and interesting On30 layout in LESS space than in HO!!!

    Anyway, those are my choices…..

    Cheers,
    Carmine


  415. Mitch
    2 years ago

    Carmine: I also am an old RR fart at 78 years and I too have have had O and HO and Ono3. I thought Ono3 would be a great scale to work with, but I real quick changed my mind. The scale is suposed to represent narrow gauge to O scale. Take an O scale human figure and try putting it into an Ono3 car. They do not fit. Try one in a Loco. They donT fit. Go with N scale and be done with it. You can get most everything in that scale to build a wonderful Empire.. I would higly recommend Kato track and trains. Happy Modleling. “Mitch”


  416. Carmine
    2 years ago

    Mitch,
    Based on quite a few factors, I’ve decided on N scale. You’re absolutely spot on about the On30 models! I actually believe they’d look better as S scale, standard gauge models!!
    N scale has made HUGE leaps in quality and performance. Almost everything now comes standard with knuckle couplers (no more stupid rapido couplers!!!)
    Facing obvious facts, I can get a whole lot of railroading in N!!!

    To address Dan’s research, scale choices are truly subjective these days! Every one of them run very well, and rarely experience the poor characteristics they did as late as the late-1990′s! Even Bachmann, the brand everyone loves to bash (and they had good reason!), is producing great equipment these days!! They even sell RTR N scale locos with DCC, that run smoothly, at scale speeds!
    Some love the charm of tinplate O gauge 3-rail, some love the high-intensity realism in HO, all want to enjoy their hobby!!

    Cheers!!


  417. AL
    2 years ago

    YOU FORGOT ABOUT REALISM, EASE TO WORK WITH AND ON. WITH A NUMBER OF MANUFACTURERS (AMERICAN MODELS, S SCALE HELPER, LIONEL JUST TO NAME 3). I HAVE BOTH “S” AND “O” AND THE REALISM IN S SCALE IS PERFECT. AMERICAN MODELS AS WELL AS S SCALE HELPER HAVE VERY REALISTIC FEATURES IN CARS AND ENGINES AND THE APPEARANCE OF SCALE IS SO MUCH NICER THEN “N” OR “HO”, PLUS THE QUALITY I SO MUCH BETTER. YOU NEVER MENTION “S” SCALE AND I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT. BELIEVE THERE ARE MANY OF US OUT THERE THAT PREFER THIS GAUGE TO ANY OTHER.


  418. Tom
    2 years ago

    Each scale has its place in model railroading depending on your circumstances and especially space. I have done model railroading from HO to G scale. My new railroad will be N scale all the items for the period I am going to model is available. The space that I have and what I have planned to do fits perfectly. Planning:patience: are the key points in having a great railraod again no matter what the scale. I have no perference.

    Happy rails to you!


  419. Max Thompson
    2 years ago

    I model in N gauge because of a lack of space.
    I do wish that there was more equipment available in N but I used to feel the same about British OO gauge.
    I do wish though that the costs involved in N gauge could be reduced and that there is a better second hand market.


  420. Tom Bondurant
    2 years ago

    Howdy……I ran across your article several weeks ago on the 7 mistakes most beginners make and was intrigued. I have been a ‘N’ scale model railroader in past years and truly enjoy the hobby. I retired about 10 years ago, but kept some of my ‘N’ scale equipment. I now live in a 36′ recreational vehicle and I would really like to get some suggestions as to what other RV model train buffs have done about creating a layout. I live alone in my RV, but don’t want to cramp my living space with a layout, but I sure would like to hear what others in my situation have done…..or think about doing. Thanks.


  421. Nigel
    2 years ago

    can’t agree with Robustman at all. H0 is not difficult to obtain in the UK. Nor is O gauge too expensive in space or money.
    I have modelled in N gauge, OO, On30 and O gauge.
    Currently I am in the process of finishing a 12′ x 2’6″ O gauge/7mm scale layout which features a raised mainline and shed with turntable on the lower level.
    I prefer 7mm scale because of the attention to detail and the running of locos and rolling stock which looks far more realistic IMHO.
    Mark Ingersoll has it right – it’s a hobby so whatever you feel happy with is the right scale/gauge
    but if you prefer scratch building then go for O.


  422. Dave Ward
    2 years ago

    I agree with your statements, It is all about what the modeler wants to.]have.
    I still have my original Lionel steamer set and I set it up for the kids every Christmas. It’s a no frills oval but the kids love it.
    As my son got older he wanted to get an HO layout so we put one together and still have some of the original pieces we started with.
    For me, I like N scale and have been trying to finish up on a layout now. I just retired at 66yrs and so far there is no challenge to placing anything on the tracks.


  423. Austin Wilson
    2 years ago

    I truly believe and this is what I am running is that HO is far the best scale to be using. N Scale to me is to small and O scale, well, just to big to set up in my basement. I love HO Scale, tons of track, engines, boxcars, buildings, engine house, trees and anything you need is on E-Bay. I can spend $16.99 for 4 trees at my local hobby shop or I can spend 99 cents on E-Bay for 16 trees with less than $5.00 shipping from Hong Kong to Canada. Mind ya, it takes 3 weeks to get my trees, but hey, I am still working on my layout. I have three tracks going around, all joined together at different locations. Slowly switching from Analog to DCC. I have 19 DCC engines now and currently 27 analog engines. I should be building an enclosed shelve for all my engines. Bidding on E-Bay for things is exciting and sometimes I pay extra and sometimes I get things cheap. I love HO Scale and I can see the trains, buildings, all the grass, rail yard easily. Now to get that darn tunnel done. Have a great day and happy railroading everyone.


  424. Dan Griffee
    2 years ago

    Hey Dan as a rookie in modeling I have chosen ho scale to model and with limited space I’ve hooked up a pulley system to lift the board to the celing and still put the truck in at nite.


  425. Randy Kiriluk
    2 years ago

    I am an old grandfather, user of the old Lionel O Trains back in the fifties, and wish I still had em, but in these retirement days, have taken a liking to N scale, with some good reading glasses. You can do so much with them in such a small space. Would like to see a wider variety of product though. Still in all very happy with those little buggers. I am too blind for anything smaller.


  426. Will
    2 years ago

    My grandfather built me a HO scale oval years and years ago as a child. And I loved it. Now that my own little boy is growing up and is showing an interest in trains, I’ve chosen to expand upon what my grandfather first built. For me, HO is the perfect fit. It’s small enough for me to put detail into it and make it my own while allowing me to have more on the layout. But it’s not too small that it’s hard to get things for it.


  427. Dale
    2 years ago

    N scale fits my preferences. I had HO as a kid, and I just want a larger layout than I can get with HO. I have to compromise to fit the room we have in our basement…


  428. Michael Kalka
    2 years ago

    I have been with 027 guage model railroad since 1957. It is the I received my first lionel train. I understand that this is 1:48 scale. I am currently attempting to build a 16 x 20 barn shed with a high gambrel roof to allow a second floor. This second floor will be my train room. I may have to build in sections due to the cost involved. I cannot wait to start building the train layout. I have drawn many possabilities and continue to draw different layout combinations.


  429. Delbert
    2 years ago

    I need info on 027scale??? also on 0 scale???


  430. Edwin
    1 year ago

    I’m missing scale Z (and not only in this message)……… as this is the smallest in size en widely available (new and used)


  431. Pete Frigola
    1 year ago

    My original set from 55 years ago was 027 and so I am building off of that. All my tracks are now 0 it looks great. Since I had enough room. 25×25 ft, I had the space. I am just laying it all out and then will put it down for real. There is much planning and laying out but that’s the what modeling is all about.


  432. Wayne
    1 year ago

    Even though i’m a beginner model rairoader in starting my 12′ X 10′ platform I’ve done a lot of research in preperation and even though with the small platform area that i have I wanted to go with ” N ” scale but there is so much more of everything available in ‘ H O ” scale that that is the scale I went with. Its true that your best scale is what is best for you and the available space you have . I hope with carefull planning I can get a lot in with my HO size like 2 seperate tracks plans and trains, 1 a freight line, and 1 a passenger line along with a smalll town , some bridges. a partial over/ under line, frieght & passenger terminal, an industrial area with a few mountains in the background . Wish me luck ! :-)


  433. Lee B
    1 year ago

    Any scale you prefer is right as long as you have the room. N gauge is great if you don’t like a lot of detail and Z scale requires steadier hands than I have. O gauge is great if you have a full basement to work in and anything larger is something you could ride on. HO is my personal choice and If you look at any catalog or website, HO is what sells the most and has the most suppliers by far. HO or 1/87th scale is the easiest gauge to work with and you can detail it to the max or just run a full train right out of the box. To face the fact that most manufactures pander to HO and as long people can build their own private world on a 4’ X 8’ piece of plywood, it is now and always will be the most popular.


  434. Jimi
    1 year ago

    Dan, I greatly appreciate all that you do for the hobby. I’m an old duffer just getting back in to model railroading. HO is my scale of choice. I already have some equipment in HO, packed away in boxes. I got started with an American Flyer back in the mid fifties, when I was 4 years old, but the first time I saw an HO layout I was hooked. I will begin unpacking in September and start building soon after that. I read everything I can get my hands on to learn more about laying track, wiring, scenery, and DCC. I think I’m hooked. I’ve been in recovery from alcoholism and drug abuse for 30 years and now I have another addiction to deal with.
    Best Regards,
    Jim


  435. Jerald McCormac
    1 year ago

    I model in HOn3. Since Blackstone has produced HOn3 everything to Great, the Best.


  436. Dan S
    1 year ago

    I’m new to the hobby and decided to go with N gauge. My layout table will be 3 1/2 feet by 6 1/2 feet. Probably big enough for HO gauge but the layout would be full in a short period of time. With N gauge I can build and expand for a long long time. I’m a model builder first and scratch building the structures will be a major source of enjoyment. Twenty three square feet of table should keep me busy. I would prefer the detail of HO gauge but you have to make a choice.


  437. Ian Hollis
    1 year ago

    I started a few years ago with N scale in mind and commenced building a 4 x 6 layout on particle board using balsa and foam. Principally due to my naievity and excessive ambition as a newbie to model railroading I eventually abandoned.

    Prior to retirement I re-assessed my ambition and skills after visiting my local Hobby store last year I purchased a NOCH pre-fab Koenigsfeldt layout. This layout is capable of being finished in either N or HO scale.

    So I have opted for HO now because I find it easier to see and build to than N scale. I guess it’s a case of HO now suits my older eyes and shakier hands. There’s also not much different in pricing so although I can fit less into the same area I can at least see it and give it more detail.


  438. Norman Carnow
    1 year ago

    Dan, I chose N gauge because I have limited space and you can do so much with it. My first railroad was N and I really liked it. It is very realistic looking and
    I’m very comfortable with it.


  439. Bud
    12 months ago

    I have been modelling N Scale for about 30 years and I think i always will. One can fit a lot more in a square mitre,and make it look very realistic’. Just takes a bit more time to do some things maybe but it is up to the you what scale you are happy with. I have had no problem these day of sorceing models and accessories N Scale. When it comes down to it pick what scale you are happy with.


  440. Norm Carnow
    11 months ago

    I like your explanation. As for me I picked N gauge for myself since I had one many years ago. Secondly I am limited in space and I am able to have a more elaborate layout in a small space. I have picked a cookiecutter design from Atlas
    that I like. I am in the early stages But I am learning alot from what you have said. Thanks Norm


  441. Big Blue
    11 months ago

    For me, nothing can compare to O scale trains (Postwar Lionel in particular). If you’re more into the modeling side of the hobby and don’t have a bigger layout, then go with a smaller scale. However, you won’t get the weight, heft, sounds, and appearance of O scale. My layout is only 5′ x 9′ but everyone that comes over and sees it remarks how great it is. Plus, these train are made to last forever and be passed down from generation to generation. I have a Great Northern electric engine that’s over 50 years old but still barrels down the track like it just came out of the box. Like I said, there are advantages with smaller scales, but to me O scale is the most romantic and coolest you can get…And saying that O is more expensive is a fallacy; with HO you’ll have to buy four times the amount to fill up your layout than you would with O, so it balances out.


  442. gene
    10 months ago

    i started an n scale layout about 6 months ago and it is a good practice to learn patientce.


  443. Chuck Ingraham
    10 months ago

    Actually, I suggest having layouts in both O and HO. (If you have the room).

    This is good for your sanity. Why, because working with one scale can get too intense and then a hobby becomes an obsession, (or rather frustration), when a stubborn, but minor problem defeats the purpose of just having fun.

    So, when I’m up against a a situation where im getting too much into the “weeds” with my HO layout, I turn to my O guage Classic Toy Trains, some of which go back to WWII, and just watch them run, put my eye to the track and ear to the base and listen to the effect of weight of the drivers pounding on the boards.– Closest thing to having a real train pass by, (even with the doppler effect).

    Then when my patience has been restored and my “attitude has been adjusted”, its back to the seriousness of my HO empire!


  444. James G. Proudlove
    9 months ago

    Hi fellow model railway enthusiats, I got my first train set when I was eight years old. It was a HornbyOO frieght train. Now I am a few months off going sixty and all that time she has been sitting in a box waiting for me to get to work and build a model railway in which she can take pride of place. Over the years I have collected well over $5000 worth of rolling stok, buildings and scenic miscellaneous to construct my layout. The question of scale was made when I was that little boy some fiftyone years ago. My eyes are dim and my hands a little shaky. OO/HO scale is about right for me and the space I have to model a Welsh NWLR and LMS branch line model railway.


  445. Bill McGroom
    7 months ago

    I am probably crazy but here goes. 40 years ago, I built an N gauge in my basement. I had to give it up when we moved 700 miles. I put it on a back burner and here I am trying to build another layout. Only difference is I have more room and more trains. I will attempt to build 2 HO layouts, 1 o27 layout, and 1 N gauge layout. I will either do it or end up in a rubber room.


  446. Col. John Rhodes
    7 months ago

    I like N scale for several reasons. I’m working on a 4′X8′ platform with a farm on one end and the other end reserved for a town. Both in the 50′s. In between is a lake with boats, fishermen and bridges. There is a fruit stand and motel. There is also some abandon small industry and a coal mine. It is the fall of the year with yellowing grass and colorful trees. A funeral is going on beside the church in the cemetery.

    Gee that sounds so good I need to get back to work. Besides some of the crops are ready to harvest.

    Using N scale you can get a lot of scenery and track on a 4′X8′. There is no shortage of items available for N scale. Whooo, Whooo!


  447. fluro
    6 months ago

    i have not yet started creating my layout because i’m still building the bench all i have to do is put a board on top to cover the bench and then the fun begins creating hills, valleys, structures stations and everything that goes with it now i am looking forward to ho gauge watching it go around and deciding where tp place everything on the bench i don’t fancy the other gauges they seem too small but then it depends on the space you have i enjoy the site and my knowledge is growing slowly ever s – o slowly cheers fluro


  448. fluro
    5 months ago

    fluro here i am modelling in ho scale the size is right for me there seem to be plenty of rolling stock that i can add to in the not so distant future as well as buildings stations i am still in the planning stage but i am getting there painfully ever so slowly at a snails pace i do not want to make a costly mistake so i find myself sitting at my bench planning that’s okay the headaches come when the electrics start as well the building it will be all worth it to see the engine and rolling stock complete a lap or two i am looking forward to running trains on my bench i hardly ever went into the shed that is until i built my bench now i am never out the blessed thing much to the annoyance of my lady who has to walk to the shed every time she wants to ask me something well thats all for now cheers fluro


  449. Ron Inman
    5 months ago

    I will probably use N scale, because I have a lot of equipment in that scale. It would cast too much to change. I like HO better, but changing would be too much. You can get about as much equipment in N scale now. So I will stick with it.


  450. Rich
    4 months ago

    I have layouts of 3 kind. I keep changing layouts from time to time.
    My N gauge has 3 loops and 2 yards that can holds about 10 cars each yards. 4 end sidings.
    My HO has 2loops and 2 reverse loops 5 end sidings. No really yards to hold extra cars
    My S has 2 complete single loops that can interchange to each other to make 1 great big single loop, with 1 passing siding, 1 passenger station side,1 yard for 6 engines 1 rolling stock yard to hold 30 cars has 7 switches in it.
    All in all my HO is my best. I also have z and lionel: z is greatly to small and lionel has 3 rails
    No layout but have a gauge of OOO and TT


  451. Paul Price
    3 months ago

    I am planning on building an HO layout, 4′ x 8′ or larger.

    Many years ago I had a large layout handling 6 trains, and I would like
    to build another handling 3 to 4 trains.


  452. James Seman
    3 months ago

    I have currently begun to collect the necessary equipment, tools, track and wheeled stock in N-Scale to reproduce the train setup from the “Flight of the Phoenix” episode of the T.V. show “Banacek” (1972)
    The multi-million dollar Phoenix, prototype for a revolutionary new car, disappears from a moving train, flat car and all the train traveling on a straight route without any “turnouts” until the thief installs a switch, uncouples the flatcar at both ends. when the engine section of the train passes the turnout the turnout ts switched and the flatcar goes on to the siding, then the turnout is switched back to the main line and a wench re-couples the train.

    I saw it “done” in HO on that TV show and always have wanted to try it.


  453. Jack Davidson
    2 months ago

    I am a “senior citizen” who has RETURNED to model railroading after a significant absence. Previously, I enjoyed HO gauge. It is large enough to work with easily, yet small enough to allow a variety of structures, etc. yet maintain a reasonable overall size. Since returning to model railroading I have switched to N scale because of the smaller total layout size requirement. While I find the N scale fun, yet challenging, I also find it frustrating when a locomotive is simply too small to allow a DCC decoder that I would really like to use. Also, even working with couplers and detailing accessories can be frustrating because of the tiny components. On the positive side, I really like the possibility of a variety of structures and track in a rather small total layout size. So . . . is there REALLY a BEST scale. I believe that the “best” scale depends totally upon the modeler’s requirements and preferences. However, if I had no self-imposed or other space restrictions, I would model in HO scale.


  454. Ray Blais
    3 weeks ago

    I have the space available to build a large HO layout but the room above my garage needs to be sheetrocked and insulated first and that is not going to be cheap with the cost of building materials today. I prefer N scale personally as I’ve always wanted to be able to run long unit trains as well as regular freight trains. N scale will allow me to run 100 car autorack trains and that would take a boatload of room in HO. I used to collect both scales in the early seventies but when Kadee came out with their first 40 foot boxcars, I was hooked for good on N and sold off my HO stuff. That plus my girlfriend at the time couldn’t see the wisdom of collecting two scales and she thought that N scale was ‘cute’.

    I grew up along an old Boston & Maine branch and got hooked on trains at an early age. I eventually became a locomotive engineer with the Central Vermont, New England Central and Springfield Terminal before leaving on a disability following two heart attacks in 2005. Running trains on plywood will some day be just as enjoyable for me as running real ones without all the headaches that go along with being an engineer today. I would love to recreate the longest train I ever handled which was four boxcars shy of being two miles long. I could never do that in HO unless I belonged to a large club and their aren’t any around here. The space that I have available for a layout is 59′ x 18.5′ and it would accommodate a train that size. I just have to hit the lottery to make my dream of a big layout become a reality.

    What would have been great is if TT scale had taken off like N scale has as it would have been a good compromise between HO and N. I would have gone with it back when I first started collecting model trains if some decent equipment had been available.

    As for which scale is the best, to each his own. I’ve seen some great Lionel layouts that I would have loved to have had when I was a kid. I’ve also seen nice layouts in S, HO and N. Probably the best one that I saw was Allen McClelland’s (spelling?) Virginian & Ohio which was on a layout tour during the NMRA convention in Dayton, Ohio in the mid seventies. I wish that I had half the talent that he has in building a realistic looking layout.


  455. Gary Sprague
    2 weeks ago

    I am 73 years old and am modelling in Z Scale. I picked this scale because of the room I have available. My layout is 66″ by 33″ which equates to 21ft in an O Scale layout. These are not trains that are conducive for children to use because locomotives and rolling stock are quite small. I have enjoyed putting the layout together, but find buildings are harder to build because I’m not as steady as I was three years ago. The downside to this scale, that I find, is that there are less items to choose from, when building it. I really like to run the trains on the layout, and just watch them go around and around. I can even fall asleep watching them…very relaxing.


  456. Michael Kalka
    1 week ago

    I have had Lionel 027 since 1957, I was seven. Of course I have had to mix with O. My big problem is that it has not been up and running for 30 years. In the last 8 months I collected a rolling stock from buying on E-bay. Now if I can build the 16 x 20 barn shed this spring, I’ll have a place to start all over again.


  457. Dave Hardgrave
    10 hours ago

    I have been collecting HO train items for years. Now that I have retired I have the time to construct my ‘dream’ layout. Not really because of limited space. I have too much time and have acquired a lot of HO stuff to change to N scale. Another limiting factor is that I have only vision in one eye so HO is small enough. So a compromise was made to continue railroading in HO scale. ‘Am continuing to construct the layout. No trains running at this time but I have decided on DCC to run the Southern Pacific free lance railroad threw town and country and dessert into the mountains and into the rail yard..

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