N Scale Vs HO Scale

OCDiver Aug 31, 2022

  1. OCDiver

    OCDiver New Member

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    I’ve always loved HO scale, but I’m on the fence about a new layout either being N scale or HO scale. My train room is 14’ x 7’7”. I have enough room for a 26 radius but I won’t be able to reach the furthest part due to the fact that won’t be able to walk around the layout.

    Should I go with N scale to be able to 18” radius which reaching would be of no issue?

    Thank you!


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  2. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

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    queston is do you have the rolling stock track ect already ?
    How is your ability to handle small locos ,parts ect ?
    you can get more track space with n scale than ho..... if reaching is a problem maybe n scale would be better.... choice is of coarse up to you witch you would prefer.
     
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  3. OCDiver

    OCDiver New Member

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    I have not purchased anything yet, still in research and design stage.


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  4. OCDiver

    OCDiver New Member

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    My goal it to have a long train of long multi-max auto racks. Those are recommended to have 19” radius for N scale, and 26” for HO.


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  5. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    I run long autorack trains on my 4x8' N scale layout, my minimum radius is 18". I was an HO scaler for around 25 years before I converted to N. Mainly because 18" radius in HO was a curse, while the same in 18" is a blessing. If you do want wider curves, you have to sacrifice by having less complex trackage on your layout, which for me is fine since my forte is scenery and that allows more room for that. The scenery-to-train scale ratio in N is also more impressive than in HO. You can have mountains/hills/canyons tower over your trains in a better way than HO in the same space.
     
  6. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I got back into this in my 70's after dabbling in N Scale in the late 60's and decided to go back to N for most of the reasons Metro mentioned above. Then I bought some engines and set about installing decoders. Since everything was so small I wondered if I had made a mistake. Stuck with it and now N doesn't seem so small and I actually think having to deal with the size actually helps me moving on with old age.

    Sumner
     
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  7. OCDiver

    OCDiver New Member

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    That’s really good hear, I’m definitely leaning towards N scale. I also would like to have a big yard for switching operations. I I appreciate the response.


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  8. OCDiver

    OCDiver New Member

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    Thanks, that makes a lot of sense.


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  9. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

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    yeeeeee a another n scalier (y) let the party begin
     
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  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, in a room that size, in HO, your train would literally be chasing it's own tail. N would give you a better chance of enjoying a long train. N would give you a better yard, as track spacing can be tighter, allowing more tracks an capacity. In HO a yard would take up almost half the space possible. Reach in N would be no issue. That would be mostly controlled by the depth of your benchwork.
     
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  11. MRLdave

    MRLdave TrainBoard Member

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    I do N scale, and ditto to what everyone else said. I usually say "decide what your goals are, and then do the biggest scale that works". For your goals I'd say that would be N scale.
     
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  12. OCDiver

    OCDiver New Member

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    Yea it looks like my decision has been made. I appreciate all the advice. N scale it is.


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  13. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    If you are near any club size layouts you might want to visit them also. When I'm in Phoenix I try to visit one of the three large club layouts on the west side of town ( HERE ). One has a large N and HO layout. Nice to see N and HO side by side for a comparison.

    Sumner
     
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  14. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, unless you have an airplane hangar at your disposal for a layout space, N is the best option if you like long, modern trains.
     
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  15. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, I've been in N scale for over 15 years now and in my hands N feels like HO to me now. HO on the other hand, feels like O scale to me now.
     
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  16. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Compared to HO scale, the main disadvantages of N scale are model availability, and detail available on those models. If those are not an issue, N scale clearly provides the capability to model 'larger' scenes in smaller spaces.

    BoxcabE50's comment about N scale yard track spacing has limitations when it comes to human fingers fitting in between and manipulating railcars, but even if you have to space the tracks out a little farther apart, it's not like you'll be at HO track spacing. Also, per non-scale foot of yard track, you can fit more railcars in N scale than in HO scale.
     
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  17. Bigfoot21075

    Bigfoot21075 TrainBoard Member

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    For me (and I have waivered a lot on this) HO Scale provides better opportunity for WOW detail levels you just can do in N scale. I am STILL wavering on this as the benefit to N scale is HUGE. I can literally have an N scale empire in the same space that I can just have a workable HO layout. In N scale I can also run ANYTHING I wish with no restrictions due to my planned 18" Radius curves
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2022
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  18. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    That's what is so great about this hobby: we have different scales to suit different modelers' goals, preferences, and limitations (including space and/or dexterity).

    I would add variety of choices in locomotives, rolling stock, structures/kits, etc. to the advantages of HO, but N is catching up.

    Not only can some of those small HO scale details not be replicated in N scale, they couldn't be SEEN in N scale either!

    But in the end, available space won out for me. Compared to N scale, there's not nearly as much one can do on a Hollow Core Door in HO scale.
     
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  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    As for 'WOW' details, you can do some pretty darned good scenery and detailing in N these days. Take a look at the most recent Weekend Modeling thread. "pomperaugrr" has an uploaded video on his N empire which shows some fantastic scenery, etc.

    Nothing against HO here, as I have also modeled in it. Aside from decades in N, I have also worked in HOn30 for a long time. Although the track and rolling stock is diminutive, pretty much everything else is full scale HO.
     
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  20. Pfunk

    Pfunk TrainBoard Member

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    I always wanted HO but found when I had a space of my own it was a little limited so started planning in N. At first I thought it was a bit of a handcuff that some things that were available in HO weren't in N, but I have been blown away by the level of detail and what people (occasionally even myself HAHA) do with N scale. I have two N Tomix trains that I think look tenfold better detail-wise than their HO counterpart.

    If space is your issue, then there are considerations, but don't hold back on N scale because of detail. The nicer ones just cost more, and are usually well worth it.

    The other thing is whether you plan to build anything yourself or if you want to buy and place everything. Scenery - esp figures and vehicles - are so much easier with HO imo, but it seems like you can just buy and plop anything you want in HO from box to layout. I actually really like creating scenery when I can't find what I want - it means nobody else is going to have what I have. But I can see where HO would be more attractive to someone because of that.
     
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