N or HO scale

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

#1
I've got so much time and money wrapped up in my HO layout, but I'm going to have to tear it down. I'm doing some remodeling in the basement and there is no way around it. As a result, space will be a premium. Thinking of going to N scale. I know nothing really about N so I have a few questions:

1. Given how small this stuff is, how do rolling stock do compared to HO...is changing over to KDs a real pain? I've had to swap out most of my HO trucks and wheels, does most newer stuff need the change over? Are derailments any worse/better than HO?

2. Locomotive maintenance...any pros/cons in N scale?

3. Track...easier or harder to lay or clean? Turnout issues? Shorts?

4. Cost concerns....in general it looks like they are comparable no?

Thanks!
 

Olie

Active Member
#2
I've been very interested in N scale for the same reason. I will be following this thread as I'm sure many will add their experiences and knowledge.
 

migalyto

Active Member
#3
Sorry Allen I wont be able to share experience on every topic. I did the opposite in May of last year. I switched from N scale to HO. I have yet to start a layout till late spring early summer. I would think, the theory of laying track would be about the same. I used flex on my N with Peco turnouts, and found it very easy to lay, solder, and glue the track down. The locomotives have come a long way in N over the last few years. I had Kato, and FVM mostly, and had zero issues with them. They ran really nice, and were a breeze to add DCC.

As far as the rolling stock, it too has come a long way in detailing, and free rolling. I would assume the same is also true as the track laying that coupler height, weight, wheel gauge, and metal wheels make all the difference in performance. I had very little derailment issues (most of the time it was operator error).

As far as cost concerns, I have found that N and HO are pretty comparable as well. N scale might be a smidge cheaper.
 
#4
Been in N scale for a number of years. I can help with hints and try to clear the air some.

1 the engines pound for pound will out pull the HO, a 30 car train with one powered loco is not unheard of
2 kadee trucks are, as in HO the way to roll.
3 Same as HO the track laying, taking the time and care when laying it will result in a good running RR.
4 structures, lots to choose from, plastic & wood kits, lazer cut kits have made the chore of building them. No more difficult than a plastic kit, with 5 x the detail.
5 the myth, HO has better detail....

A picture says a thousand words:

DSCN1145.JPG DSCN0012.JPG DSCN1176.JPG

greg
 
#5
I started in N scale when living in a barracks in the mid-70's, sold most of the N & switched to HO in early 80's; packed everything as the family grew and needed more space.

60 years old now, retired and empty nest. Picked up an inexpensive Bachmann N set on sale. Lot of difference in today's N equipment in detail and performance. I like the idea of long trains (ran in an HO club for 20 years) and N will provide that. The snap track with preformed ballast was a nice touch, the F7 locomotive runs well with very little motor whine and the paint was very sharp. I purchased additional blister packs of track and built a simple folded over oval in 30" by 60".

Here's the drawback, the N set did not have the bulky Rapido style couplers I was familiar with and that led to difficulty coupling cars. 60 year old eyesight. I had to breakout the OptiVisor to couple them together and also relied heavily on the re-rail track.

So in the final analysis of my particular situation: I have too much invested in HO including some nice brass steam locomotives and the N scale would be difficult to work with without the Optivisor. I will keep the 30" x 60" N-scale layout to practice some scenery techniques (extruded foam) and get my operating enjoyment as I plan and build my branch line HO aggregate hauler.

Whatever you decide Have Fun! it was great seeing my 7yo & 2yo grandkids operating the N scale train this afternoon.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

NP2626

Active Member
#6
This is really a personal choice. Nobody can make this choice for you! Weigh the good and bad aspects of N scale in comparison to HO and go from there. I'm close to 68 and worry about whether my eyesight can continue with HO, going smaller is not on my horizon! I will say that N Scale does allow maximum scenery to railroad, which is a nice thing about N.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#7
I've got so much time and money wrapped up in my HO layout, but I'm going to have to tear it down. I'm doing some remodeling in the basement and there is no way around it. As a result, space will be a premium. Thinking of going to N scale. I know nothing really about N so I have a few questions:

1. Given how small this stuff is, how do rolling stock do compared to HO...is changing over to KDs a real pain? I've had to swap out most of my HO trucks and wheels, does most newer stuff need the change over? Are derailments any worse/better than HO?
I run with N Scale and (so far) have not had any issues with my trucks or couplers. With that being said the majority of my engines are Kato. As for derailments I assume you are concerned about the weight of the engines/rolling stock that may make them more prone to derailments. As said, my engines are Kato's and they are pretty weighty so I have had no problem with them derailing, nor have I had any rolling stock derail either - even on completely "floating track". N Scale engines and rolling stock hold the rails as well and (in some cases) better than HO models.

2. Locomotive maintenance...any pros/cons in N scale?
Maintenance where the engines are concerned is pretty much the same as for a HO scale engine. The only difference, as far as I can tell, is the size of the parts. Having a magnifier helps with these matters though.

3. Track...easier or harder to lay or clean? Turnout issues? Shorts?
Track laying is no harder or easier than with HO track. I have had less issues with the N Scale turnouts (Peco Insulfrog) than I had with HO turnouts but perhaps that is more due to having more experience now than I had when in HO Scale. Essentially though, the turnouts are the same in makeup as their HO counterparts.

4. Cost concerns....in general it looks like they are comparable no?

Thanks!
You are right there. N Scale can be a little cheaper than HO but essentially the cost difference is negligible where track, engines and scenery are concerned. Of course, that is subject to what make of each you choose to buy.

I was a little concerned about changing over to N Scale initially due to the smaller size of everything; however, you do get used to the smaller size and it has ended up being no harder to work with than the HO stuff I had. The up side is you can do more (much more) in N Scale than you could in HO Scale in the same amount space. If space is a factor, and it seems to be in your case then I would recommend moving to N Scale. Even if the space you will end up with is less than you had for a layout, you will be able to do much more with that space in N Scale.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#8
I am pretty well like boatwrench. I had an N scale layout with over 11 scale miles of main line alone back in the 70's. I tore everything out because the locomotivs of the time were crap. The locomotives available today are now excellent. The variety of locomotives is a lot greater in HO scale plus the availabiluy of different road names.

You can get a larger variety of structures and detail parts in HO scale.

One thing that frally griped my in N scale was to grossly oversize rail. When I moved to HO scale, I went with code 70 rail which really is a big improvement. Now that I am older, I can't believe that I actually modeled N scale because with age, eyesight is not what it used to be.

It is your choice of course and you have to do what's best for you.
 
#9
I just made the switch to N because of space also. Yes, the size makes it a little more difficult than HO, but I can do more in the space. I'm using code 55 Atlas track. So far no regrets.
 



ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com