Which Scale Should You Choose?

In order to ascertain which scale you should begin with, you need to consider these factors:

1. How much space is at your disposal?

2. The size of the model train equipment you would like to work with.

3. The accessories that are available for the scale you have selected.

Let us have a look at the items above and go into more depth.

1. How much space is at your disposal?

In terms of scale, a layout in HO scale will be approximately half the size of the same layout in O Scale. The turning radius’s in HO scale are also much tighter than O scale, and the tunnels are much smaller. Also bear in mind that it is easier to hide mistakes on HO Scale than on a bigger scale. The bigger the scale, the harder it is to make the layout look realistic. These are some of the reasons why HO scale has become so popular.

So how much space will you need?

A layout space of 6 x 4 feet would be enough space to create a great HO scale layout with a continuous loop. If you don’t have this kind of space available, then you may want to look at an N Scale layout which will only require about 30% of the area required for a layout in HO scale.

2. The size of the model train equipment you would like to work with.

It is no secret that the majority of us railroaders are fairly old. Ouch…. I mention this, because bad eyesight can be a major factor in selecting the scale of equipment. Attempting to work on Z Scale equipment with these handicaps can be extremely frustrating. Airbrushing for example requires precision skills. Conversely, for the younger child model railroader, HO Scale upwards is a better fit, as they will find bigger scales easier to work with. Bigger rolling stock also tends to be heavier, and therefore more difficult to derail.

3. The accessories that are available for the scale you selected.

In general, the popularity of HO Scale has created a demand for accessories for this scale. As a result manufacturers have come to the party, and more accessories are available for HO Scale. If you are considering running DCC’s (Digital Controller’s) which would have many switching operations, then HO Scale is normally the choice.

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