Mar 30, 2002
What are advantages of N? And disadvantages? Just starting here still undecided.
Oh boy - can open - worms everywhere!
Seriously - with N you can have a much greater scenery to track ratio which will help trains and scenery look proportioanly more realistic, as well as modelling more realisitc sized industrial buildings and towns, with out having to compress. You can also have more railroad in less space, as well as longer train lengths and wider curves in the same space as HO.
Disadvantages - N is slightly more expensive than HO, and availability of product is not as good - although it has been improving over the last couple years. N is a little more fragile than HO.
I have heard it said that if you want to model specific trains go HO, but if you want to model a railroad go N.
Advice - stick with the better quality brand names in N - lower quality product can chill the entusiasm quickly.
Much has been said but my choice if I had the space and money would be O scale. That isn't possible so I am an N gauger. If I was starting over, I would go HO because of the availability of steam locos which are virtually non-existant in N and the few that are are pricey. If you model diesel era then N locos look good and run well if you stick with the better quality ones as previously mentioned by AJB
I'm an Nscaler, however, I feel that there are more things to consider about choosing a scale than the curve radius and the details that can be installed per square foot.
How old are you? How good are your eyes? Do you have steady hands? Do you get frustrated easily? Do you want to kitbash engines and rolling stock or use items just as they come from the manufacturer.
Model in a size that is comfortable for you equivalent to your capabilities. That is the scale you should choose because that is the scale you will be comfortable and happy working in.
For me, it is all about size. If you have a 20 by 40 foot basement, then you may want to think about HO scale since you will have enough room to spread out your layout. Unfortunately, I only have half of a garage which leaves room for a 16 by 8 foot layout area. This size in N scale still allows me to run long mainline trains and have room for fairly wide curves. If I tried to squeeze an HO scale layout in that size area, I would be running 10 car single unit trains and would be limited to small four axle power that can make the tight curves. As for detailing, you only have to do as much as you are comfortable with. Running new Kato and Atlas locomotives along with quality rolling stock will be acceptable right out of the box without any modification or detailing. Once you have more experience, you can progress to detailing the equipment a little at a time.
As for price, the gap seems to be closing between HO and N. Also, since HO is larger you would probably spend much more on detailing parts and supplies. I can remember spending over $75 on building a detailed HO scale locomotive after starting with a $25 Athearn unit. In N scale, you can find Atlas and Kato units around $60-$70 and spend an additional $10-$15 on detail parts. Overall, it really isn't that much more expensive.
In the end, it all comes down to what kind of modeling you want to do. But always remember, a hobby is supposed to be fun.
Well, the advantages are: with N you can fit much more railroad in a given space, and run longer trains, and the railroad looks much more realistic. The disadvantages are: the smaller size takes some getting used to, and teir's not quite as much equipment available, although the gap is closing. In fact, some people say that, at the rate it's going, N will surpass HO soon as the most popullar scale!
The advantages I can think of for HO, if you have the space, are the quantity of product they have, which sumtimes seems endless. While we in N scale have alot, HO has about 50 times that, and often over a bigger spectrum of prices. However, in many ways N Scale is cheaper. (look at the N Scale Kato SD9043MAC vs. the HO one). Also, if you are big into massive amounts of detail, then HO is also better. Not to say there is no detail in N Scale, just look at BLMAs outstanding products.
Also to take into consideration is era. I think N scale is better for the modern era (1970+) as that is what the majority of the equipment is aimed at. In HO the equipment is for almost everything, but the New Modern stuff is <big><big>HUGE</big></big>. The Kato SD9043MAC they are about to come out with in HO must be over a foot long !
I am not going to rehash what has already been said, except to say, the for modeling what is out there today, N is the scale. I was a "reluctant" convert to N. However I have discovered I enjoy modeling today's goodies, and today's goodies are big. Unless you have a very large space to model in, N is the best contemporary scale there is.
In HO if you lash two SD90's together, with long intermodal cars and the auto rack cars, you end up with a very long train in terms of feet occupied on the track but with only 10 cars which isn't very typical looking of a mainline freight. Contemporay equipment can reduce the effective size of an HO layout almost in half. Whereas N scale is just coming into its own in size with contemporary equipment. Two SDd90's lashed together with the same intermodal and new auto racks, in the same space as the HO train can have at least 20 cars and look at least mildly prototypical, an HO lash up as I described it would look out of place.
There's a lot to be said for todays RR scene. Intermodal trains offer variety not seen in the boring red 40 ft box cars found in the steam/diesel transition era. Long grain car consists have almost a poetry snaking their way through canyons. Center Beam wood cars and large chemical tank cars, and a plethora of great large freight goodies are out there for N scale modeling.
If your colour is red, red box cars and red buildings, then the steam/diesel transition period is for you, and maybe HO. If you like today's trains and towns and railroad scenes, then N scale is more in your line.
You mean that there are other scales besides N-SCALE?!? Are you sure? Next you will try to make me believe that some genius has figured out a way to control each engine on it's own, independently of other engines! GOLLY GEE!!
I guess that since I have been in N-Scale since the early 70's, I am sorta what you call an N-Scale NUT. I have watched N-Scale develope thru the years to become what it is today. I am sure that there are plenty more new ideas coming for N-Scale and HO Scale also. What your personal choice of scale to model in boils down to, which scale are you more comfortable working in. N-Scale is getting to be just as detailed as HO. You can have a lot more scenery area to work with on an N-Scale layout. But HO Scale still has a whole bunch more fine running engines, cars, detail parts, but N-Scale is knocking at the door. Look at KATO, BACHMANN, LIFE-LIKE, MICRO-TRAINS, INTERMOUNTAIN, etc etc all have been doing in N-Scale. These manufacters are the reason that N-Scale has taken off like it has. They are making some fine models.
Now if we can just get a few more good running steamers like the KATO 4-6-4, 2-8-2 and the BACHMANN 2-8-0. Who knows, maybe BACHMANN would make a 2-6-6-6 C & O Allegehy? (YEAH BABY!!)
A large railroad in a small space for a advantage.
A disadvantage harder on the eyes and hands
went you get older.
I've dabbled in both HO and N, so I feel confident in telling you my opinion. Here goes :
Nscale: small, a bit more fragile, less motive power & rolling stock available, but the quality is much better. Track is getting much closer to scale, locomotives now run at less than scalded-cat speed, more detail parts are available (tougher to work with than HO, but the results can be awesome), more buildings are coming out, and you can build more railroad into the same or less space.
HO: most popular scale, with more inventory of locomotives and rolling stock, all of which is looking & running better all the time. Large inventory of just about everything you want, plus the option to build in Proto:87 (fine-scale
track and wheels). Takes up more space than N, so if space is a premium, you may be limited as to what you can do.
I've done N scale on & off since the 1970s, but today the quality is so much better. It is a bit more difficult to kitbash or scratchbuild in N, but if you look around on Trainboard (especially the Freelancers forum) you'll see some awesome buildings and engines.
I'd say go with N scale, but whatever you want to model in is OK with me- hey, it's railroading (oops, did I utter sacrilege in here?)
of course you can control every single loco by it's own !! All my 69 Kato and 27 Atlas N scale locos are DCC eqipped.
I probably wouldn't even go for HO if I had a large room (20x30 and up). The modern N locos are very smooth runners as long as you stay with the market leader (Kato). Also there's a steady growing selection on cars. But again, stay on the more expensive side. Some of the cheap products are simply junk.
Find some pics of my N scale layout in the picture galleries of my homepage
Aside from the availability models to choose from, I believe there are no differences anymore between HO and N. I recently completed an N scale layout and love it, but after operating for a while, found out I prefer HO, simply because I like the size.
I model in HO. A freelance division of the C&O Railway.
I prefer HO because of the size, availability of products, and because it is a happy medium of all scales... IN MY HUMBLE OPINION. For me to happily model in N scale, I would almost have to have some of the same skills as a jeweler.
However, N scale has MANY advantages that I must say I envy.
The ability to depict a larger land mass in the layout </font>
Because of the above, the ability to create more scenery depth and give the modeler more options </font>
The ability to run longer trains because of the scenery </font>
And for some, the ability to not worry about super small details because at that scale, it wouldnt be THAT noticeable (depends on ones perfection level) </font>
I have seen absolutely gorgeous N scale layouts. The layout this month featured in Model Railroader that is owned by the fellow at Bar Mills is one of the nicest looking layouts of any scale I have seen.
If one has the inclination and most of all the confidence in working in a smaller scale. N scale is the answer.