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Discussion Starter #1
This is not a complaint by any means. I am new to models trains and chose N scale due to spacing constraints, and the various youtube videos with beautiful N scale layouts had me hooked. It would be cool to learn to scratch build as much of the world around my train as I could and just have fun. So off I went.

I get my Kato M1 track set in today and oof:eek:, until you see it in person you just can't grasp the true size of n scale. So I start using a converter to scale stuff down because I am terrible at math, I had to break out the calipers to put some visual reference to scaled down people or windows lol.

Just submitted my amazon order for a nice set of tweezers and lighted magnification :laugh::laugh::laugh:
 

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Welcome to the world of miniatures, Robert! Yes, N is small, but someday find a Z scale train...they are microscopic!! :eek:

One thing about N, you can get a lot of railroad in a small space. Some of us need magnifiers to do the tight work, but tweezers and patience go a long way. Good luck!! :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Welcome to the forum, and to N-scale

This is not a complaint by any means. I am new to models trains and chose N scale due to spacing constraints, and the various youtube videos with beautiful N scale layouts had me hooked. It would be cool to learn to scratch build as much of the world around my train as I could and just have fun. So off I went.

I get my Kato M1 track set in today and oof:eek:, until you see it in person you just can't grasp the true size of n scale. So I start using a converter to scale stuff down because I am terrible at math, I had to break out the calipers to put some visual reference to scaled down people or windows lol.

Just submitted my amazon order for a nice set of tweezers and lighted magnification :laugh::laugh::laugh:


Robert;

N-scale Is great, especially for small spaces. However, if you are used to a larger scale,( maybe memories of Lionel trains?) It can take some getting used to.

I started with Marx O-27 as a child, switched to HO-scale as a teenager, and then to N-scale as an adult. Each scale change generated a "Gosh this is tiny!" :eek:reaction. After I got used to the smaller scale though, it became "normal-size" and my former scale seemed huge! Give it some time and you may find the same thing happens for you.

As for scaling things down, especially for scratchbuilding, you may find a scale ruler very helpful. A typical scale ruler is made of stainless steel, and is one real foot long. It is marked in scale feet and inches , usually for several different model railroad scales. If you see a published plan in Model Railroader Magazine that is in HO-scale, you can measure the scale dimensions on the HO portion, and then measure them out in N-scale feet, on the N part of the ruler. No math required. "General" is one well-known brand. You can order a scale ruler from www.modeltrainstuff.com or www.micromark.com

Yes tweezers and a magnifier are essential tools for model railroading in all the popular scales. Even O-scale trains have some small parts. So do HO-scale trains.
If you think N-scale is small. check out Z-scale, or T-scale!

Scratchbuilding is quite possible in N-scale. The photos show some of my scratchbuilt, N-scale structures.

Again welcome, and don't worry, you'll get used to it! :D

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

Allentown covered bridge.jpg

Black River Sta. east side.JPG

Cape Rip. Lighthouse and cottage.JPG

Cedar Falls water tower close up.JPG

Cedar Falls water tower open.JPG

Seattle union station concourse end 1.JPG

Seattle Union Station showing scratch built interior.JPG

Wooden road bridge at Black River Junction.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Welcome to the world of miniatures, Robert! Yes, N is small, but someday find a Z scale train...they are microscopic!! :eek:

One thing about N, you can get a lot of railroad in a small space. Some of us need magnifiers to do the tight work, but tweezers and patience go a long way. Good luck!! :smilie_daumenpos:
Robert;

N-scale Is great, especially for small spaces. However, if you are used to a larger scale,( maybe memories of Lionel trains?) It can take some getting used to.

I started with Marx O-27 as a child, switched to HO-scale as a teenager, and then to N-scale as an adult. Each scale change generated a "Gosh this is tiny!" :eek:reaction. After I got used to the smaller scale though, it became "normal-size" and my former scale seemed huge! Give it some time and you may find the same thing happens for you.

As for scaling things down, especially for scratchbuilding, you may find a scale ruler very helpful. A typical scale ruler is made of stainless steel, and is one real foot long. It is marked in scale feet and inches , usually for several different model railroad scales. If you see a published plan in Model Railroader Magazine that is in HO-scale, you can measure the scale dimensions on the HO portion, and then measure them out in N-scale feet, on the N part of the ruler. No math required. "General" is one well-known brand. You can order a scale ruler from www.modeltrainstuff.com or www.micromark.com

Yes tweezers and a magnifier are essential tools for model railroading in all the popular scales. Even O-scale trains have some small parts. So do HO-scale trains.
If you think N-scale is small. check out Z-scale, or T-scale!

Scratchbuilding is quite possible in N-scale. The photos show some of my scratchbuilt, N-scale structures.

Again welcome, and don't worry, you'll get used to it! :D

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

Thanks guys, love those scratchbuilts! Yeah I am eyeing the scale ruler on micro center but its back ordered. Ill have to check out modeltrainstuff. Thanks again
 

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Amazon has that model railroad scale ruler. If fact, I found a couple or three there.

But you don't need that scale ruler yet.

You need a train! Nothing will give you a good visual reference of size that your first train. Amazon has them. Lots of them.

Since you have the M1 basic loop, you're going to need a passing siding, and a switching yard, and a viaduct, and a couple of additional loops, and a double crossover for those loops, so you may as well add V1, V2, V3, V5, V6 and V7 to you collection.

Don't worry. Amazon has them.

And while you are at in, you'll want a big ol' bag of DC extension cords and feeder tracks and whatnot, but Amazon has those, too, plus tons of buildings, both pre-made and kits.

At this point, you're hooked, and you might as well just call up Amazon and have them send you one of everything. They'll have it there by Friday. It's not like in the old days when you had to drive to the next town over just to see what the hobby shop had there stuck on a shelf behind the Wilton's cake decorating supplies.

No worries about the space, either -- Like you said, this stuff is small.

I like N scale because I can run the Super Chief with A-B-A F7s and and eight-car consist on a hollow-core door. Do that in HO! (Yes, I know I could do the same thing in Z, but I am old and I want to be able to see my trains.)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Amazon has that model railroad scale ruler. If fact, I found a couple or three there.

But you don't need that scale ruler yet.

You need a train! Nothing will give you a good visual reference of size that your first train. Amazon has them. Lots of them.

Since you have the M1 basic loop, you're going to need a passing siding, and a switching yard, and a viaduct, and a couple of additional loops, and a double crossover for those loops, so you may as well add V1, V2, V3, V5, V6 and V7 to you collection.

Don't worry. Amazon has them.

And while you are at in, you'll want a big ol' bag of DC extension cords and feeder tracks and whatnot, but Amazon has those, too, plus tons of buildings, both pre-made and kits.

At this point, you're hooked, and you might as well just call up Amazon and have them send you one of everything. They'll have it there by Friday. It's not like in the old days when you had to drive to the next town over just to see what the hobby shop had there stuck on a shelf behind the Wilton's cake decorating supplies.

No worries about the space, either -- Like you said, this stuff is small.

I like N scale because I can run the Super Chief with A-B-A F7s and and eight-car consist on a hollow-core door. Do that in HO! (Yes, I know I could do the same thing in Z, but I am old and I want to be able to see my trains.)
I have an engine and 2 cars en route. Though its probably a mix mashed trio.

#176-5500 Undecorated EMD SD80MAC MIB

Micro-Trains N 07300201 40' Standard Box Car with Single Door, Full Ladders, and No Roofwalk, Genesee and Wyoming #100003

Micro-Trains N 11500071 65' 100-Ton Log Car with Log Load, Norfolk Southern #111527

Yeah amazon has a lot of nice kato track, turnouts and all manner of goodies that I am trying very hard not to buy. :laugh:
 

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"Buy it from amazon"

I have an engine and 2 cars en route. Though its probably a mix mashed trio.

#176-5500 Undecorated EMD SD80MAC MIB

Micro-Trains N 07300201 40' Standard Box Car with Single Door, Full Ladders, and No Roofwalk, Genesee and Wyoming #100003

Micro-Trains N 11500071 65' 100-Ton Log Car with Log Load, Norfolk Southern #111527

Yeah amazon has a lot of nice kato track, turnouts and all manner of goodies that I am trying very hard not to buy. :laugh:
Robert;

You may be getting subliminal messages from "Alexa" while you sleep! :rolleyes:

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Get an N scale PODS (~$11.00/pair at most online hobby shops). It's 16' long, 8' wide, and 8½' high. It will help you visualize distances. :)
 

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N-scale PODS?

Get an N scale PODS (~$11.00/pair at most online hobby shops). It's 16' long, 8' wide, and 8½' high. It will help you visualize distances. :)

GNfan;

What are N-scale PODS?

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I need more track :laugh: but very happy I went n scale due to spacing and even happier I did not do an 8x4 but 6x4, it would have been a bit cramped. My kato engine arrived so when I get home from work I’ll see how she runs.

6’ x 4’ framed and braced. 3’ legs. May go higher but need some more 2x4 otherwise I’m gonna give it a go at this height and see how it feels. Foam is 8x4 sheet of Owens Corning cut to fit, so I have some spare foam, I just need a theme now and find a layout that works :smilie_daumenpos:


 

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That's GR8 Robert! You have your basic oval, and there is lots of room for turnouts and expansion, and scenery. Enjoy the hobby! :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Suggestions

I need more track :laugh: but very happy I went n scale due to spacing and even happier I did not do an 8x4 but 6x4, it would have been a bit cramped. My kato engine arrived so when I get home from work I’ll see how she runs.

6’ x 4’ framed and braced. 3’ legs. May go higher but need some more 2x4 otherwise I’m gonna give it a go at this height and see how it feels. Foam is 8x4 sheet of Owens Corning cut to fit, so I have some spare foam, I just need a theme now and find a layout that works :smilie_daumenpos:


Robert;

Congratulations on what you have done so far!

The legs don't need to be 2x4s. 1x3s are cheaper, easier to cut, lighter, and plenty strong enough. If your layout will be subject to moisture, (basement, garage, etc.) then you can screw and glue (with yellow carpenter's glue) a 1x2 & a 1x3 together in an 'L' shape. This "L-girder", as it is known, will still be a bit lighter than a 2x4 the same length, but will be stronger, and so rigid that it will be virtually immune to warping. Painting all the wood parts of a layout also helps seal out moisture, and protect against warping.

You can use the extra pink foam, cut into smaller pieces and glued in stacks, like the layers of a cake, to form hills. Foam can be cut with a handsaw. The surefoam rasp tools shown are good for shaping. You can do final shaping and smoothing with sandpaper. All this cutting, shaping and sanding makes lots of foam dust, which gets all over the place. Keep a shop vac handy! I hold the shop vac's hose right next to the shurefoam rasp to catch most of the dust before it spreads.

You might want to consider skewing your track oval so it lies somewhat diagonal to the foam. This can leave more useful spaces for scenery and structures. It also makes the layout a bit different and more interesting than running parallel to the edges of the table. All these suggestions are just that. The decision to use any of them, or not, is strictly up to you.

Have fun!

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

L-girder 6.jpg
'L'-girder side view. Once the glue has dried, the screws can be taken out and re-used on your next project.
The yellow carpenter's glue is so strong that the wood itself will split before the glue joint does.

L-girder 3.jpg
'L'-girder end view.

Surform rasps.jpg
Surform rasps. The gray straight one may not be available, but the yellow curved one does the job.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Robert;

Congratulations on what you have done so far!

The legs don't need to be 2x4s. 1x3s are cheaper, easier to cut, lighter, and plenty strong enough. If your layout will be subject to moisture, (basement, garage, etc.) then you can screw and glue (with yellow carpenter's glue) a 1x2 & a 1x3 together in an 'L' shape. This "L-girder", as it is known, will still be a bit lighter than a 2x4 the same length, but will be stronger, and so rigid that it will be virtually immune to warping. Painting all the wood parts of a layout also helps seal out moisture, and protect against warping.

You can use the extra pink foam, cut into smaller pieces and glued in stacks, like the layers of a cake, to form hills. Foam can be cut with a handsaw. The surefoam rasp tools shown are good for shaping. You can do final shaping and smoothing with sandpaper. All this cutting, shaping and sanding makes lots of foam dust, which gets all over the place. Keep a shop vac handy! I hold the shop vac's hose right next to the shurefoam rasp to catch most of the dust before it spreads.

You might want to consider skewing your track oval so it lies somewhat diagonal to the foam. This can leave more useful spaces for scenery and structures. It also makes the layout a bit different and more interesting than running parallel to the edges of the table. All these suggestions are just that. The decision to use any of them, or not, is strictly up to you.

Have fun!

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment 518518

View attachment 518520

View attachment 518522

Awesome thank you. I do got some turnouts and more track in route, and I like the idea of positioning the oval diagonally
 

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What track and turnouts?

Awesome thank you. I do got some turnouts and more track in route, and I like the idea of positioning the oval diagonally
Robert;

What brand and type of turnouts did you order? Your basic oval looks like Atlas sectional track. Is that what you are using? If so, the track is OK, but the Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts are not OK, in fact they're quite bad. I attached a file "All about turnouts" which should help you pick a better brand. The other files just have lots of information n model railroading in general.

Good luck, & have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf

View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

View attachment Paintbrush Pine Trees.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

View attachment N-scale cars for sale.pdf

View attachment N-scale houses.pdf

View attachment Lighting a layout with LEDs.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Robert;

What brand and type of turnouts did you order? Your basic oval looks like Atlas sectional track. Is that what you are using? If so, the track is OK, but the Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts are not OK, in fact they're quite bad. I attached a file "All about turnouts" which should help you pick a better brand. The other files just have lots of information n model railroading in general.

Good luck, & have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment 518548

View attachment 518550

View attachment 518552

View attachment 518554

View attachment 518556

View attachment 518558

View attachment 518560

View attachment 518562

Thank you for the links. All my tracks are kato unitrack, M1 oval, kato # 6 turnouts (right/left) from one of the sideline kits.

I'm keeping my first layout all unitrack go limit the number of variables in the equation
 

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Kato Unitrack turnouts

Thank you for the links. All my tracks are kato unitrack, M1 oval, kato # 6 turnouts (right/left) from one of the sideline kits.

I'm keeping my first layout all unitrack go limit the number of variables in the equation
Robert;

Looking at your photo, I couldn't see the gray plastic roadbed under the track. May be my 71-year-old eyesight! :laugh:
Both Kato Unitrack, and Kato #6 turnouts, have a very good reputation. You should be happy with your choice. If you go down a couple of threads in this N-scale section, to the thread, "What's the most reliable N-scale track?" you will find many recommendations for Kato Unitrack.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 
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