N#2: The Attraction of N-scale

A series of write-up on N-scale (Ngage and Njoy in Nscale):

N#2: The Attraction of N-scale

N-scale has been the second popular choice since its introduction more than half a century ago due to its smaller size. Some details especially smaller parts such as handrails, rivets, etc. that modellers look forward to in HO-scale would not be present in N-scale.

In exchange for such compromises, N-scale offers more space – both in terms of length of trains and area for modelling. For example, 8-car freight train in HO-scale would give you 15-car freight train on the same length of track, about 85% more capacity.

In terms of area for modelling, if one were to maintain the same area as one would for HO-scale for example on a 4ft x 8ft plywood, N-scale gives you 2.7 times more area. Or, to put it in the other way, the same HO-scale track plan on a 4ft x 8ft layout would only need 2.4ft x 4.8ft. Hence, you can take any HO-scale track plan and realise it on N-scale by scaling it down 60% (this is a commonly adopted rule by N-scale modellers: 50cm grid in HO-scale = 30cm grid in N-scale). Although mathematically the scaling of HO-scale to N-scale is 54%, the rounding up to 60% gives some space for less tighter curves.

The choices of models for N-scale are fast increasing and match closely to the choices available in HO-scale. Typically, a model train manufacturer introduces their N-scale models between 6 months and one year after the introduction of their HO-scale counterparts. Sometimes a model is only available in N-scale or in HO-scale but not both. In terms of price of a HO-scale and N-scale model and accessories, we see an almost 1:1 term. Again this depends on the popularity and availability of a particular model.

In the N (end), it is a personal choice of individual modeller. The purpose of this series is to present an option to existing and new modellers of N-scale as an alternative scale. It is to create an awareness that N-scale is not a toy size but rather a scale that could over some balance between running model trains and modelling its surroundings. After all, trains run for a purpose from point A to point B – be it for passengers or freights. Trains cross towns, cities, mountains, lakes, jungles, deserts, snow covered paths, etc. N-scale can give you some of this realism.

N-scale exhibitions from Modellbau Süd, Germany.


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