Tipped over

Last weekend my kids and I were guests at a FREMO-meeting of the local americaN-group. The subject of this meeting was set in the early transition era with a focus of steam operations. I’m more into diesels nevertheless it was a lot of fun. We stayed for a little more than four hours. Most of the time we spent holding a throttle and running trains.

My seven year old daughter was a little reluctant and didn’t want to run a train on her own in the first place. After we had completed our first “jobs” she ran a steam powered passenger train from the staging yard into the large yard. I helped her with coupling and operating turnouts and she enjoyed it a lot. Especially filling up the water tanks of the locomotive, which was symbolised with hourglasses: “There is an hourglass that takes five minutes!”

My nine year old son ran the trains on his own and just needed help with uncoupling. He likes switching most and his special love is running locals with some switching at the local industries.

On our way home the kids where enthusiastic and wanted to build some N-scale modules on their own. As I was thinking in this direction before, it didn’t take a lot work to convince me. So I’m tipped over towards N-Scale.

HO vs N. A devastating comparison

The last few days I spent a quite some time with track planning. I planned two very comparable layouts, based on Palmetto by Lance Mindheim. My first version is in HO. As I am used to this scale and I was pretty sure that this is the scale to go. Then I tried the same (or similar) in N scale. There are #10 turnouts available for the Atlas code 55 track. Awesome!

The result is devastating. I created a N scale version that is 25 % shorter and uses only 60 % of the real estate. Additionally it uses #10 turnouts instead of #8. The scene has a much more generous look and might cope with more rolling stock without unrealistically cluttered.

Switching layout like Lance Mindheims Palmetto in HO and N-Scale compared.
Switching layout like Lance Mindheims Palmetto in HO and N-Scale compared.

I am now in a scale-selection-crisis. I have excluded N scale due to my crafting skills – or better the lack of them. I thought my space would allow my to create some interesting HO scale layouts and operations. I’m sure it does. But I must acknowledge that I like the Idea of this spacious scenery and “tiny” trains a lot. I will visit a FREMO americaN meet in two weeks and hope to experience some nice, prototypical operations. I will have a look at the models and their quality. My kids will accompany me and their opinion will certainly be part of my considerations. That might tip me over in the either or other direction scale.