I am thinking of putting together a small n guage loop but have no experience of n gauge at all (some of OO and a lot in other modelling areas). I have scanned ebay for locos and they seem to vary hugely in price.
Any basic hints and tips? Anyone into n gauge care to bung me an email?
a) eBay is an unreliable guide to price/quality ratio, to put it politely.
b) I prefer Kato, Atlas, and LifeLike for N locomotives. Don't know about UK outline locos, though. If you post a question about specific brands, you're more likely to get good advice.
c) Code 55 track looks much better than the trainset size code 80, but it's also more delicate, especially the flex track.
d) N gauge track requires a very smooth base, since the smallf dips and twists that OO or larger rolling stock doesn't notice can derail a N gauge loco or wagon.
e) Don't cram all the track you can get into the space available. It's better to use wide radius curves, etc. If you use the same space as you would for an OO scale layout, but build it in N instead, you will have relatively more space for scenery, wider curves on which long carriages will look good, longer passing loops, and so on.
f) OTOH, if you want a nice little layout in a small space, I suggest
30" to 36" wide by 42" to 60" long the minimum size. Big enough to use
11" radius, which IMO is the minimum acceptable for N. And transportable in just about any car.
g) Keep in mind that "normal viewing distance" in N is 300-500 scale feet - far enough that many details that you can't do without in OO are simply not visible. This simplifies construction of buildings, trees, bridges, and other scenery, and even of wagons and carriages.
h) N is small and light enough that an insulation foam base glued to
6mm ply is more than strong enough in sizes up to about 36" x 48".
i) Arnold-Rapido style couplers (those squarish things) are unreliable compared to the buckeye style couplers made by MicroTrains.
Nor is any marketplace where rarity or collectability can be more important than quality in setting the price. It can still be a guide to prices once you've established what you want.
Recent Farish (by Bachmann) seems good quality to me.
I would say quite the opposite. Code 55 flex track *is* code 80. It's just that some of the rail is embedded in the sleepers. This makes the code 55 flexi track *more* robust in that the rails are held much more tightly in the track base. You can even get away with no additional anchoring at baseboard edges for this reason. Have you actually used code 55 flexi-track?
Very much agree here. I'm in the process of planning a fairly large loft layout. Initially I was beset by the train set mentality of cram in as much track as possible. Now I'm firmly of the opinion that N allows for a "less is more" philosophy whilst still delivering a lot of "play value".
I'd start off using diesel models as they tend to run better than steam locos. And I would buy brand new locos or models by Dapol or Graham Fari= sh models made by Bachmann, as older Farish models had some problems. You could start off with a Farish train set like this one...
Thanks all. I'll let you know how I get on, in case anyone is interested!
I'd start off using diesel models as they tend to run better than steam locos. And I would buy brand new locos or models by Dapol or Graham Farish models made by Bachmann, as older Farish models had some problems. You could start off with a Farish train set like this one...
I would second the suggestion to use diesel outline - The new Bachman Farish engines have a new chassis which runs very smoothly. I have had problems with Farish steam outline (the ones I bought in the 1980s run perfectly, a few purchased in the last few years all have problems. Diesels also have better pick up from both bogies, and the bogies can follow track better than a rigid chassis.
My own stuff was pre-grouping steam, mostly Farish with a few continentals with white metal kit bodies (which tend to run superbly). I then ventured into early BR diesel, definately better running. More recently I built a layout for a kiddie using Fleichman stuff - two starter sets, which include curved points, a double slip, three way point and two each left and right hand points. Everything works perfectly, very smooth running, but I purchased some old curved points and these de-rail Farish engines. I have not tried any new Farish diesels on the Fleichman curved points but would suspect they might have problems as the inner radius is 7.5" (handy for the entrance to fiddle yards). Curves of less than about a foot radius do not look very good and I understand the new Farish models can only go down to about 11 inch radius (havent tried these yet)
For baseboards I have used 0.25" ply on 2x1 frame, no problems but do go to a wood year to get decent ply, the DIY shops stuff is awful. I built a layout in a shed using spur shelving carrying melamine covered board topped with 'insertion jointing' (a kind of wood pulp based felt used for concrete buildings), Peco track ballasted with chinchilla sand glued with flexible (book-binding) PVA, quiet running and no problems. Depth of this baseboard about an inch (needed because of location) after several years there has been no warping and everything runs okay. The best option is probably ply top with a 2-3" deep ply frame underneath (holes cut for wires) but I have only limited experience with that, although no problems and it is light. I am told the Peco foam underlay disintigrates after a few years, although the last time I used it it was okay after five years when the layout was scrapped.
Points operated using either bowden cable (set into the felt) or piano wire run through tubes (plastic, metal (well greased with Denso Grease) and even rolled newspaper sealed with PVA (wrapped round a greased wire again all set into the top of the baseboard). For an outdoor layout I tried fishing line to operate points at the far end of the garden and that worked, I used a fishing weight hanging on the currently pulled line to remind me which way the points were set.
I have been working on a website, mainly to do with freight, with an N gauge bias, may be of interest . . .