"O" scale or "HO" scale

Spender wrote:


True, but most of what they make for O gauge isn't 1:48 scale. It's adapted to not fall off the tight curves.

OK, if you want to see it that way. The main criterion is: is it two-rail or three rail? Many scale models are offered in 3-rail versions.

I don't object. I just like to be precise. I like tinplate, BTW - those big trains make such a wonderful racket. ;-) But it's not scale modelling.

Ah, we all play with trains, whether we just watch 'em run or whether we simulate real railroad operation.

There is a difference between people who build railroad models, and people who model railroads. The former focus on scale, accurate detail, correct paint, etc. The latter focus on running trains, more or less like the real thing. The round'n'round guy is simulating train watching, a premier sport IMO. ;-) Prototype operation is a role playing game. Most people who play with trains locate themselves somewhere in the middle of these various options. They do a little bit of everything, with the aim of having fun. And sharing it. It's the ones at the extremes who cause most of the grief -- they want to believe that theirs is the only true path to enlightenment.
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That's true. However I think someone pointed out a while back that even HO and N layouts have grossly unrealistic curves that no prototype could actually negotiate.
I'm not an expert, but from what I understand the compromise with O gauge is in the way the trucks are articulated. The body of a loco may be to scale, and well detailed, but its trucks are articulated to an unrealistic degree which allows them to negotiate an O-27 curve. Sometimes that just isn't possible and a higher curve radius is necessary if the body is built to scale. The really big Lionel and MTH locos require an O-72 curve.
That shouldn't be hard to figure out. There are, or were, people here who drive real trains. They might know, for example, what is the smallest scale curve a real SD-40-2 loco could negotiate.
I have a couple of MTH 75' Auto Carriers that are 20" long from coupler to coupler. That is almost precisely 1:43 scale. They can negotiate O-36 track which, I believe, is anything but realistic as far as what the prototype would be able to do. Actually it's pretty amusing watching how far the body hangs off the track on a tight curve. I can't help but feel bad for anybody that was just standing at the curve watching the train go by when that car comes along.
That's why I bought some 1:43 scale ambulances for the layout. Just because a guy only 1.6" tall is stupid enough to stand that close to the tracks doesn't mean he deserves to die.
But you obviously know a lot more than I do about scale. Personally scale isn't that important to me. Nearly scale is close enough since I derive pleasure from operating the trains more than measuring them. I don't mean that to sound as though I believe people who insist on exact scale are anal retentive or anything. If someone wants exact scale, then that's what they want.

I'm not sure what you mean here. When I was talking about tinplate being a specific area, I was still talking about three rail trains. For example. MTH's Tinplate Traditions. They clearly look more toy-like and they are meant to since they are designed in the fashion of early model trains when scale wasn't important to anybody.

I'm not simulating real railroad operations yet. Partly because I haven't built a permanent layout, but mostly because I can't bear taking responsibility for all the scale deaths that would have occurred already.
Even if a real railroad had an old beater train they could run, I'm assuming they would not allow a 17 month old to handle the throttle. "Um, honey... I said blow the whistle, not run the train off the tracks."

My goal is more towards modeling a railroad, but perhaps not in the manner that any real railroad would. I'd like to have four trains running simultaneously, with switching so I can run any train on any line. And a lot of sidings so I can pull trains off, and pull others out.
With 143' being roughly one 1:43 scale mile, it can never be realistic. Unless I happen to have the opportunity to buy an old jumbo jet hanger. But having to use a golf cart to get from one end of your layout to the other might ruin the fun.
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Spender wrote:

That is correct. All model trains go around curves that are enormously tighter than anything the prototype can negotiate. Models are made to take tight curves to allow one to fit a layout into the kind of space most of us have for trains. All HO models are built to get around an 18" radius curve. Classic Lionel models could negotiate 15.5" radius (Lionel O gauge) or 13.5" radius curves (Lionel 027 gauge).

"Tinplate" is an older word meaning essentially Lionel, or Lionel compatable rolling stock running on three rail track under AC power. A lot of Lionel operators considered the term derogatory and the newer hobby publications tend to use the term "hirail". Lionel used to make a lot of true-to-scale equipment, and an equal amount of "selectively compressed" (i.e. short) equipment. Both sets of equipment were well made and good looking. O scale (as opposed to hirail) had closer to scale wheel flanges, two rail operation, and DC motors to permit reversing without messing with an E-unit. Three rail Lionel equipment won't run on two rail because the conductive metal wheels are mounted on conductive metal axles, which amount to a dead short on two rail track. Plus the stock Lionel wheel flanges are too deep to run on the lower O-scale track.

Excellent goal.
David Starr
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wrote:

There must be variable meanings to the term. From what I've seen in Lionel and MTH catalogs, the term tinplate is used to refer specifically to trains intended to be toy-like - harkening back to the days of trains sets produced at a price level most any American family could afford. The couplers are even quite different, and incompatible, than standard O gauge.

This was quite helpful. I have seen MTH offerings of the same locomotive in both high-rail and scale wheeled versions. I hadn't taken the time to investigate what the difference was.
Interestingly, MTH produces some locos that are designed to be user adaptable to either three rail DC or two rail AC operation. Most of the ones I have looked at claim to be faithful 1:43 scale models.
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make are scale models.< I don't believe that to be true however I have never measured their products so don't know for sure. It does appear in pictures however that their larger engines are not very close to O scale. If they were there is no way they could be made to run on the radius of track they currently run on.
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I may be wrong, but I think the trick is in how the trucks are (unrealistically) articulated.
But it would be interesting to find out exactly how tight a curve a prototype SD-40 or 4-6-4 Hudson could actually negotiate. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that no O scale model is realistic in that regard.
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(unrealistically) articulated.<
Current articulated models (like BLI and PCM, etc) have both the front and rear engine pivot around a center mounting point. Many modelers (myself included) call this the Riverossia(sp) curse <G>. Is also does not allow attaching some of the piping that should be there.
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Jon Miller wrote:

If you're going to demand that 15" long models go around 15" radius curves then something has go to give! A four wheel Big-Boy is going to look even less realistic than pivoting the rear driver frame! ;-)
Regards, Greg.P.
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Spender wrote:
> At any rate, I consider all models to be toys. Unless you are > modeling something with the intention of creating a full scale > version, all you are doing is making toys.
No. A couple of weeks back, I built a big wooden train for my son. I made it from a variety of scrap materials I had on hand, based it on no known prototype, then finished and painted it in a way I think he will find appealing. My son pushes it along the floor and chews it. That is a *toy*.
I've also been working on an HO Niigata Kotsu box-motor for my Japanese layout. I made it from styrene, ABS, deal, etched brass, cast brass and nickel silver parts, some bought in, some made by me. I used drawings sourced from the original carbuilders, photos from contacts in Japan, and off the web. It's painted and weathered to accurately represent the prototype car shortly before it's withdrawal in 1991. That is a *model*.
> Why do some people object to model trains being called toys?
I object to you presenting your opinion about other people's models as unequivocal fact. I object to the idea that I must adopt your definition of my models, and my hobby.
On another level, I object to the idea that something I built myself, using all of my skill and talent, is merely a toy.
When you yourself have built a model of your own, as opposed to merely buying one, you may be able to understand the distinction.
Mark.
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Mark Newton spake thus:

[snip]
Well, you're both right (see my new firestarter thread below).
In the most generic sense, all this stuff falls into the category of "toys", as it's totally inessential to the sustenance of life, or even commerce.
On the other hand, it's completely understandable how a guy who's spent umpteen thousand hours laboriously drafting, machining and fabricating a down-to-the-last-rivet 1"=1' scale model of a steam locomotive might object, might even bristle a little, if someone called his creation a "toy". Even if it is ...
(By the way, on my recent visit to the Cal. State RR Museum, such models were the high points of what I saw. Gawgeous. You need to see them if you haven't.)
--
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wrote:

I don't recall me having made any demand that you accept my opinion as fact.

"Merely" is the key word.

I'be built models of my own. Not trains, but cars and airplanes. They were toys, at least in the sense I would push them around or act like they were flying.
In my mind, a model with no function is art.
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Spender wrote:
> On Fri, 25 May 2007 22:41:21 +1000, Mark Newton
> >> Spender wrote: >> >>> Why do some people object to model trains being called toys? >> >> I object to you presenting your opinion about other people's models >> as unequivocal fact. I object to the idea that I must adopt your >> definition of my models, and my hobby. > > I don't recall me having made any demand that you accept my opinion > as fact.
You made this statement in a previous post:
"Unless you are modeling something with the intention of creating a full scale version, all you are doing is making toys."
You did't qualify this by saying it was your opinion, did you?
Anyway, what you choose to call your tinplate trains hardly matters in the long run.
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wrote:

Has the concept of using a model as a toy been considered?    
Is it a model if only the exterior is replicated, or does a model have to have the same sort of internal mechanism? Or is that a miniature?
I'd say that it's a model if it externally replicates the original. I'd also say that there's nothing which prevents me from using a model as a toy. (For me, "model" railroading is play.)
VBG.
I'm not sure, but I think "tinplate" originally referred to the Marx products and was used to describe products made from formed "tin" sheets with pictures of the original printed on them. MTH has a product line which they call tinplate. Some current Lionel products are also called tinplate.
The non-1:48 O guage may be called such things as scale, O-27, Lionel's "Lionmaster", and in some cases, "traditional". However, not all "traditional" is at the smaller scale.
Because of these variances, I'll generally just check the car lengths. For instance if a passenger car is 15 inches or less, I'll classify that as not being 1:48. There's just too much confusion caused by various manufacturers using different terms to do otherwise.
Carl
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wrote:

I've noticed that. MTH seems to mention scale more often when referring to certain models, but it can be a crap shoot with both Lionel and MTH. Different lines, inconsistent labeling of the boxes, etc.
I don't pay very close attention unless a car is ridiculously undersized (which often means it is intentionally so.)
I have some 1:43 cars, and 1:50 fire trucks. So... the little people on my layout ordered custom fire trucks because their firefighters just happen to be somewhat short. They're still brave.
Needless to say I never take a ruler to my layout.
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wrote:

I don't own any tinplate trains. You might want to bone up on the meaning of the term.
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Spender spake thus:

Alright, now I'm confused. I thought "tinplate" referred, technically speaking, to old models made out of sheet metal which are no longer made (at least not in mass production).
Someone here alluded to this term as a more generic descriptor of certain types of more "toy-like" models. What does this term really mean nowadays? Is there a generally-accepted definition?
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

I think it has a more specific meaning in the US - toy designs long past their use-by date which several manufacturers still churn out in small batches to be bought by elders wishing their childhoods would expire.

Model through to toy is a continuum, from models intended to replicate all visible parts of a prototype through to four wheeled plastic "choo choos" that whirr and do loop the loops. I guess the dividing line between the two for most modellers is whether or not the item faithfully reproduces a prototype (or imagined prototype) to a degree that takes little imagination (other than size) to identify said prototype.
Regards, Greg.P.
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Greg Procter spake thus:

Interesting, but doesn't address my question, which was specifically about the term "tinplate". But thanks for playing anyway.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Tinplate: (rolled) iron plate coated with a very thin layer of tin based compound.
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On Sat, 26 May 2007 15:41:37 -0700, David Nebenzahl

I believe there is an accepted definition, and it is the first one you gave. Such trains are still made by Lionel. MTH, and others. They are designed to look like toys, whereas their standard lines are intended to look like scale models.
People can argue about whether Lionel or MTH creates truly scale models, down to the last rivet, but there is a great difference between their model trains and tinplate trains.
They are all still toys, in my opinion, but tinplate trains look much more toy-like.
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