Leaving N scale and moving to HO

Colonel Jan 27, 2013

  1. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well never thought I would be doing this however after discussions with GATs yesterday he planted the seed about moving from N scale to HO. I am currently in the process of moving house and dismantling my N scale layout and designing a new layout - see this thread

    http://www.trainboard.com/grapevine/showthread.php?144528-New-MoPac-layout-shelf-layout-end-to-end

    I really want a shelf style switching layout with detailed locomotives with sound. I have approx 80 N scale locomotives with a lot being custom painted in MoPac. To convert all of these to DCC would be both time consuming and costly so it makes sense to switch now.

    In N scale you either buy Atlas or Kato with the odd life like, in HO what are the manufacturers I should consider which provide DCC with sound?

    Can you point to any good around the wall switching layout in HO?

    Looking forward to participating here in the Ho forum.
     
  2. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Err... Atlas, kato with the odd Life Like? I had to say it.

    I think Ho scale is much more forgiving overall. Even a so so mech won't be quite as noticeable as in N scale. There are a lot of good finds on ebay of older locos. But if you are making a small fleet I'd look at BLI as well. Athearn has some nice stuff. Intermountain maybe? I'm not well versed on it to be honest my entire collection is old european stuff.
     
  3. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome to HO! As Geeky said, I believe HO is much more forgiving as well. I think you will enjoy the relatively limitless options at your disposal.
    I can't give the advice you seek re: DCC with sound, as I'm pretty much a bottom dweller (DC/no sound). Living the dream though! :)
     
  4. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I will be modelling 4 axle GP7, GP9 and GP 20 with a couple of switchers I'd prefer models already fitted with DCC and sound but I will be adding details etc similar to my N scale roster
     
  5. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

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    As it happened I was just re-reading my 2010 edition of "Model Railroad Planning" and it has an article on Mr. Charlie Duckworth of the MoPac. It's a model of said line's Jefferson City - Bagnell branch line. That article may give you some good ideas for your branch. That Ozark scenery show looks nice as he's rendered it. Also, I know that there is a "YouTube" clip or two of his line on the internet.

    As for sound, I've got Bachmanns' S-2 so equipped and two of BLI's Centipedes and an SW-7 and they are terrific! Don't know about other makes but those 2 mftrs. have nailed it. If I could afford it (80 - 100 engines) every one would have sound.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2013
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Here is one I adapted to N scale. "The Bekin United RR". Model Railroader magazine of July, 1991. Page 74-75. It was a lot of fun for me. Perhaps there is an idea in it you could use?
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K TrainBoard Member

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    I was in the same boat early last year. Still trying to sell my N Scale collection... mostly through eBay and the N Scale Yard sale list on yahoo. Those two have generated the most bang for the buck. Short of that, you could contact N Scale Supply, Dan's Train Depot, or similiar outfit and ask what they would give for the full lot. They won't get you top dollar, but it's the fastest method for sure.

    As for locos with DCC and Sound installed, these are the ones I've been buying:

    Kato - The Kobo brand has LokSound installed by the Kato USA team.
    Atlas - Factory installed QSI Quantum Sound
    Athearn Genesis - Newer release are Sountrax Tsunami. Older Genesis have MRC (haven't heard anything good about these and have avoided them so far).
    Intermountain - I really like the ES44DC that I have. Believe it is also a Tsunami Sound system factory installed.
    BLI - They use their Paragon 2 sound system. I have two AC6000's and love both. The SD40-2 needed some tweaking to stop the coffee grinder noise from the trucks, but it sounds good.

    The only Athearn RTR engines I own are a pair of SW1500's and they are both really good runners. As a habit though, I have stuck with the Genesis line from them.

    If there are others out there that have factory intalled sound, I'm not familiar with those.

    Check out Lance Mindheim's blog for some good switching layout ideas (old and new):

    http://www.lancemindheim.com/EastRailTrack_plan.htm

    http://www.lancemindheim.com/downtown_spur2.htm

    Brian
     
  8. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Brian thats good advice, i just ordered four of lances books
     
  9. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I found Athearn Genesis SP Black Widow F7A-B units on H0 Interchange. They have Tsunami sound and are really interesting. It's the only sound I have, though, so I can't compare. The options for sound on a Tsunami decoder appears to be infinite...multiple horn types, air discharge rates, bell rates, mars flashing rates, horn sequences, etc.
     
  10. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

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    I know that Athearn is coming out with GP7/GP9s for various railroads- not sure about the Jenks Blue or not, but you can get DCC with sound. If you wanted to go with the late 1970s, you could go with their GP15-1s with DCC & sound. I have seen these locomotives in action, and they look & run great. Also, since MP had quite a few of them in service, you would be good.

    Atlas- B23-7, MP15AC. Not sure if sound-equipped, but you should be able to get them DCC-equipped.

    Walthers- LifeLike Proto GP18s, both high and low-nose. They also had GP7s and GP9s, and based on personal experience they run well.
     
  11. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes it looks as though I will have lots of great modelling options. I am trying to limit myself to ten locomotives lol but we will see, certainly only 4 axles.
     
  12. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

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    Good luck with that!!!
     
  13. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    May not be that hard when you get Sticker shock from an HO loco with DCC and Sound.
     
  14. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    My favorite part of all these 'should I or shouldn't I scale topics is how most contributors interject their own scale biases. I've modeled Z up to On30 and I like 'em all. This man's question is N or HO. Since this is a heavily N weighted site it is only resonable he will get more N votes than HO. Alas, I guess that is the price he must pay for asking such a question. Me? I'm going into my HO trainroom now. Jim
     
  15. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Jim it's ok I was a biased N scaler up until a few days ago.

    My modelling requirements have changed over the past 20 years as an N scaler. Btw I was a Ho modeller for the 20 odd years before that
     
  16. Brian K

    Brian K TrainBoard Member

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    Are we reading the same thread??? Haven't seen any response trying to convince him to stay with N. Most responses have covered his questions on HO switching layouts and engine availabilty with DCC and sound factory installed already...

    If you want true scale bias, hop over to Trainorders....talk about folks with severe cases of HO bias....yikes!

    Brian
     
  17. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Is train orders still going that's a forum I haven't been too in a long long time.

    I appreciate all the responses and don't feel anyone has tried to cha he my way of thinking.

    Brian thanks for the top on Lances website I have been doing a lot of reading and am waiting on his books to arrive.

    Lance has a YouTube channel and Wow the effect his locos and sounds have are amazing.

    Do most manufacturers use LED lighting on their locos or do you upgrade them?
     
  18. Brian K

    Brian K TrainBoard Member

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    I know Athearn is still using regular bulbs in both their RTR and Genesis lines (wish they would change). The rest that I have are all using LED's. I'm still a novice on the electrical side of things, but learning quickly.

    I haven't seen Lance's YouTube channel, so will check that out. I have three of his books as well. Simple, but effective.

    There are a lot of guys out there doing some awesome stuff with led lighting. Jim Rinker is one of those. Check out these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX1BJuNXuWw

    I'm the new owner of FEC #510 now... :) Figure if I can't learn from his work, I'm lost...

    Brian
     
  19. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Brian,

    The LED lighting is amazing exactly what I'd like lol
     
  20. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Brian, I will have to agree with you for the most part. While not rampant in this thread I hope you know what I'm getting at in big picture here. Jim
     

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