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model trains
handful of friends
model railroads
model train
rule of thumb
Model Trains HO
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Model Trains HO

First things first, if your here reading this article you should already know that model trains are not your regular sized vehicles. It does not matter if you are quoting model trains HO scale or any other scale, model trains are meant for hobby purposes and fun. Model railroads are incredibly detailed scale models of linking train stations and surrounding countryside.

When I was younger my grandfather has a handful of friends who were 'well into' the model train scene and used to take me around their houses often to experience them. I absolutely loved it and within about a month my grandfather had started to set up his own train set/landscape himself. He was told model trains HO scale was the way to go as it is well known as the most widely used and popular scale worldwide.

The model trains scales can be looked at from smallest to largest - O scale is 1:48, OO scale is 1:76, HO scale is 1:87, N scale is 1:160, Z scale is 1:220. I've already mentioned that model trains ho scale is the most popular but there are two more scales I would recommend if you are unable to get hold of any decent local HO equipment and these are O scale and N scale.

It is recommended to think very hard about what you want out of this hobby before you decide on which train scale to choose ( most model train equipment is pricey enough and you do not want to be lumbered with an expensive set that is no good to you. This is why I will always recommend model trains HO scale as this scale is near enough exact to the 00 gauge that is so popular in the UK ( where model trains and railroads are very,very popular indeed ).

The N scale I mentioned is usually linked more towards the model train scenery equipment with a lot of forestry green spaces involved in the overall model. The HO scale, as I mentioned is my favorite because of it's ease and popularity. Space is a factor you must really examine if you decide to use the HO scale so keep in mind this rule of thumb - The minimum radius for an HO scale curve is 18″ so try to imagine the overall size of the railroad track you will be creating. If your looking for a model train scale to start with, model trains HO scale are the way to go - enjoy!


Street Talk

Craig S  

Would just like to add that while 18' is the minimum curve radius, many of the newer articulated locomotives and longer rolling (especially the 40+ foot passenger cars) will derail much easier on an 18" curve than the more standard 30". Better to plan on a larger radius if you plan on using the longer locos and rolling stock. I have a mine layout that uses the smaller steam locos with 18" curves that works well but by experimenting I know my longer trains don't navigate 18" curves very well. Hope this helps someone avoid any headaches!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks for the additional information Craig, the more the better!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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