A Choice of Scales

As the jack of all hobbies I often find myself trying to spur others onto a hobby.  I have already related my efforts to get people to blog  and to find a hobby for my friend so as to keep him from other more dangerous hobbies.  Unfortunately my friend has not taken to blogging, and fortunately he hasn’t resorted to mind altering chemicals.  Neither of these things has deterred me from sticking my nose in and trying to raise interest in a hobby with a colleague of mine.

My colleague is a very good military modeller–prize winning in fact.  He is also far more disciplined than I–he actually completes most of the projects he starts.  We have been discussing his entry into the world of model trains.  Thanks to the internet he has done a lot of research and is pretty secure in his choice of era and subject matter.  My contribution has been mostly to act as a sounding board.  His only question is scale.

In Model trains there are several scales.  HO (as I have been told) is the most popular.  There are bigger trains: G, O and S and there are smaller scales.  These are N and Z.

My colleague is considering the two smallest scales.  He is fascinated by miniaturization and is currently leaning toward Z.  Of course he has never seen a Z scale train up close, let alone the buildings and landscape material.  We will probably have to travel to a couple of hobby shops (LHS–local hobby shop in the parlance of the model railroad crowd)  to get to see a good cross section of what is available.

When I started in trains I quickly gravitated toward N scale.  I had dreams of running 100 car freight trains all across my basement.  As unrealistic as that dream has shown itself to be, I can’t get that image out of my head.  Someday, probably when I join an N-track club, I will make that a reality.
something very Canadian

Choosing scales is a tough choice.  HO offers the biggest variety of equipment and accessories, and benefits from the volume of sales.  It’s biggest drawback is that it takes up a lot of room.  N which is not exactly half as big offers a slightly less wide variety but thanks to advanced manufacturing techniques doesn’t suffer from a lack of detail.

Z scale is the smallest, and perhaps hardest to find.  The biggest advantage of this is that you can pack a whole heck of a lot of railroad into a small space.  I have seen a lot of great creations involving tiny spaces and highly detailed Z scale layouts.  The biggest drawback is that there just isn’t as much stuff being produced in Z scale.  There aren’t walls of trains and building kits.  Sometimes there isn’t even a corner, just a small shelf or tiny display case.

I didn’t mention the difficulty you might encounter if your eyesight is not quite perfect–hoping of course that it was obvious.

the battery is to give you an idea of scale (AA)
Should you find yourself wanting to take up trains, get yourself to a hobby shop and see it up close before you go online and plunk down a lot of money.

I just thought that I would add some pictures of my collection of freight cars.  I haven’t included my Japanese trains, but someday (if people want that) I will put my pictures of them up on this blog.

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