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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
IM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE BEST SCALE WOULD BE FOR ME. I LOVE THE D&RGW, ESPECIALLY THE K-27'S AND K-28'S. CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT A GOOD SCALE WOULD BE FOR AN INDOOR LAYOUT...I'VE HEARD OF HON3 AND ON30 BUT I DONT REALLY KNOW THE PHYSICAL SIZES OF THOSE SCALES....MY DAD HAS AN HO LAYOUT BUT IT SUX B/C THEY DONT MAKE THOSE KOOL ENGINES FOR HO SCALE...SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!!!
 

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First of all this really depends on wether you are going to build or buy your equipment -locos and rolling stock etc. I would recommend that you stick to one of the "semi commercial" scales such as ON30 -which is 7mm to the foot running on 16.5mm gauge track. I use 16mm to the foot on 32mm gauge track -the very "English" SM32...

regards

ralph
 

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Depends, how much space are we talking about?

I run indoors G scale, but dont run K-27's but there are some who do, but they are in some very large spaces of course .
 

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MMI makes a K28 in brass in On30 and On3. Bachman makes a K27 in their Blackhawk HO plastic line. There is a lot of HOn3 available in HO ready to run. I have bought some brass K's on e-bay for HOn3 at reasonable prices. Micro Trains has started making very detailed DRGW rolling stock in HOn3 also. You didn't say how much room you have, but the 20.3 K 27 and larger takes at least a 16 foot (8 foot radius) curves to run and look good. If you are planning a outdoor layout in the future, I wood start with 20.3 and build a switching layout for now and start buying loco's, rolling stock and track for you future RR outside. You could also start building structures for it also. This is easier on the budget than trying to buy every thing all at once.
Hope this helps
Rodney
 

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I'm going to be the voice of negativism here and suggest you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Narrow gauge mainline (meaning mainly D&RGW in the US) operation, limited room, and especially a limited budget simply do not work well together in my expereince.

HOn3 - I started playing in HOn3 years ago, and have some beautiful models, but they have never run well. I never had the time or money it would take to make them run the way a comparable HO, or even N scale steamer would right out of the box and for half the price. There are plenty of K-27/28/36/37 models in HOn3 (probably as many or more than any other scale), but they're all going to be brass. That may mean painting them yourself, or re-working the mechanism, or spending a small fortune, or all of the above.

On30 - You'll be able to use all the HO mechanisms, and make some beautiful models. If you want a mudhen, you're going to have to kitbask it or buy a limited run engine, which I seem to recall were going for upwards of $400. If you just want narrow gauge in general indoors, I'd say it's the perfect scale. If you're willing to scratchbuild or kitbash, thet again I'd say it's the perfect scale. But if you want RTR, accurate 3' gauge models, look elsewhere...

1:20.3 - There are some truly stunning models in this scale. The biggest negatives here are cost and size. These things are huge. A typical indoor layout that would do a Fn3 mudhen justice would be little more than a loop of trach around the walls. That's okay, though, because it'll help keep you from breaking the bank filling a room the way you can (and probably will) in smaller scales.

My advice would be to figure out what you really want, and what you are able and willing to spend, in time, space, and money. Then you can make a more informed decision about which scale you get into. Remember, there's nothign wrong with working in multiple scales, or changing from one to the other. If you have any clubs nearby, it would be a good idea to at least visit. Same goes for a good hobby shop. I have yet to meet a model railroader (or any railroader, for that matter) who doesn't like to voice his opinions to anyone who will listen.

It seems odd, doesn't it, that the most popular locomotives (K series) on the most popular single narrow gauge railroad (Rio Grande) would be so poorly represented across all the scales, and so expensive? For what it's worth, that's the biggest part of why I quit modelling Colorado narrow gauge. I find it's a lot more fun to work in a larger scale on a smaller prototype - cheaper, easier, and more unique.

Whatever you do, remember to ask questions and always enjoy yourself! Don't let anyone tell you it can't be done, but listen to the people who suggest it might not be a good idea sometimes - then prove them wrong, if you like! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thank you so much ken, that has been the best advice i have recieved in a long time about model railroading. and you hit the nail on the head about the D&RG. again, thank you so much.
 

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MMI (Mountain Models Imports) has an On30 scale K27 for around $300,
which IMO is a very good price..

http://www.staubintrains.com/trainshop/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=595&cat=K%2D27

and On30 is a great scale for an indoor layout..especially for a Colorado 3-foot layout..
(yes, On30, if you dont regauge, is 2 and half foot gauge, not 3-foot gauge)
but tons of people are modeling 3-footers in On30..

If you are a purist, you can also find quite a bit in correct On3 scale..
however a lot of future offerings might only be available in On30 (such as Bachman locos and rolling stock) so you would have to re-gauge a lot from On30 to On3..which is doable if you want correct On3..

a lot of people just stick with On30, and dont regauge, just because its easier.

Scot
 

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Posted By DKRickman on 08/04/2008 12:02 PM

1:20.3 - There are some truly stunning models in this scale. The biggest negatives here are cost and size. These things are huge. A typical indoor layout that would do a Fn3 mudhen justice would be little more than a loop of trach around the walls. That's okay, though, because it'll help keep you from breaking the bank filling a room the way you can (and probably will) in smaller scales.
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I found your post to be excellent and restrained both in content and tone.

It did give me pause. I have yet to put track down, but I want to run Fn3 indoors. Moreover, I wanted Fn2, for dual gauge and a sawmill site, and 'S'n2 (in 20.3 scale--I don't know the correct nomenclature for S gauge @ 20.3 scale)--for a mine. All gauges will be PP. All this in a U-shaped space approx 12' across x 22' for each leg. U shaped. However, I wish to model a ca 1875 backwoods SL and I intend to do my own scratchbuilding and tracklaying--wood and strap-iron with spur switches. I also intend to limit the Fn3 engines (and probably the others) to 0-4-0T's and all cars will be two-axle on tight radii. I like F scale because of my age and eyesight. I'm a retired tool and die maker; building the rolling stock doesn't pose an insuperable challenge.

After reading your thoughts, I'm forced to wonder if the Fn3 will work, given each 'leg' of the 'U' will be something under 48"W due to an aisle. I realize that's cramped, but I'm not so much a runner as a switcher. I would however, like to hear your thoughts if you care to reply.

Les Whitaker
 
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a U-shaped space approx 12' across x 22' for each leg.

if you use R1 curves, you need about four and a half foot for a circle. let us suppose, four and three quarter. so both legs would be nine and a half foot together. leaves you an access of two and a half foot wide.
farther from the endloops, nearer to the "bottom" of the U you can make the tables less wide, to have more moving space.
i don't see, why that should not work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
so im just a bit confused but things i've read and seen, can you run On30 engines and rolling stock on HO scale track? i dont have a lot of room to work with inside so im leaning to the On30 and building a rectangular yard layout for now until i move into a bigger place.
 

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Yes you can run On30 stock on HO track.

The main difference between HO and On30 track will be the tie spacing.

At a guess, the NMRA gauge for HO and On30 (excluding clearances as On30 a physically bigger) should be the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
i've been trying to find video that shows the difference in size of how much bigger if at all are the engines and rolling stock of On30 than those of the HO scale, but havent had much luck. is there much of a difference in size?
 

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Kormsen,

Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your reply. I hope to use less than R1 radii in the tight spots. No loops, no Wyes, just turntables where and if needed. My thinking was that if I kept the cars & engines relatively short-wheelbased, everything should work out fine in Fn3. The other gauges, no problem.

Les
 

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On the question of size comparison HO vs On30 ...

HO is approximately 1/2 the scale of O but the size comparison is standard gauge to narrow gauge. Comparing linear dims, ng is typically about 70-80% the size of sg OR 50-65% in areas like car sides OR 35-45% in volumes. In other words, if you mixed HO and On30 together, the On30 rolling stock would look way too big - about 1.5x too large for the HO comparison.

If you use HO track for HO scale, normal centre to centre spacing is 2 inches (or a bit less) ... if you use HO track for On30, normal track centreline spacing is about 2 and a quarter to 2 and a half inches.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
would a 2ft x 6ft layout be sufficent for On30 for just a nice little yard layout with some switches? im thinking of using HO track since i already have a lot, i was going to buy one of the bachmann 2 truck shays(colorado mining) as well as maybe two box cars and two ore cars...with that said would 2x6 still be a enough room to move that kind of stock around smoothly?
 

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Posted By Les on 08/04/2008 8:25 PM
I found your post to be excellent and restrained both in content and tone.

-snip-

After reading your thoughts, I'm forced to wonder if the Fn3 will work, given each 'leg' of the 'U' will be something under 48"W due to an aisle. I realize that's cramped, but I'm not so much a runner as a switcher. I would however, like to hear your thoughts if you care to reply.

Les Whitaker


Thanks for the compliment, Les.

Given your space and choice of prototype, I'd say that Fn3 (and Fn18 - 1:20.3 on S track) would be a perfect choice. I think you'll find that you can pack a lot of operation onto a relatively narrow shelf. The two limiting factors are the curve radius - not a problem for you if you limit yourself to 2 axle equipment - and car length - again not a problem for you because 2 axle cars are nice and short.

If you haven't seen it already, you really should have a look at Carl Arendt's excellent website about micro layouts. http://carendt.us/index.html

Even though you're far from working on a micro sized layout, you should be able to get some excellent ideas on packing a lot of fun into a tight space.
 

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Posted By bucknutdave on 08/05/2008 7:20 AM
would a 2ft x 6ft layout be sufficent for On30 for just a nice little yard layout with some switches? im thinking of using HO track since i already have a lot, i was going to buy one of the bachmann 2 truck shays(colorado mining) as well as maybe two box cars and two ore cars...with that said would 2x6 still be a enough room to move that kind of stock around smoothly?




Dave,

See the site I mentioned in my post above. Yes, 2x6 can give you plenty to do in On30. If you have the space, another good option might be a small switching layout a little longer and narrower - I built a very nice one :cool: in HO scale, 1'x8'.



The biggest problem you'll find for a yard is the need for some sort of switching lead. Ideally, this should be as long as your longest yard track, plus an engine. As the equipment gets longer (from a larger scale or a later era), either you have to lengthen the yard or handle fewer cars. You may find it more apealing to model a small industry (a sawmill or mine come to mind) instead of a yard. Again, the site above has a lot of good ideas to draw inspiration from.
 
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