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Whatever happened to TT scale?

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Whatever happened to TT scale?
Posted by MJ4562 on Thursday, July 10, 2014 10:23 PM

Whatever happened to TT scale?  Why did it never take off like N scale did?  Is it more popular outside the USA?  Any chance of it making a comeback?  Seems like it would be a good compromise scale for aging baby boomers that want to down size without going all the way to N or Z.  

 

 

Disclaimer: Yes, I googled it.  Seems it was a victim of too many scales and no manufacturer support. Just curious what others have to say. 

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, July 10, 2014 10:41 PM

Still strong overseas. The reason it never cought on is it is too close in final size to HOn3 and there are lots of famous narrow gauge real railroads over here.

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 10, 2014 10:44 PM

TT scale is alive and kicking - maybe not in the US, but in Germany. It has been a quite popular scale in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin wall. It has gained popularity ever since.

Piko, Roco and some other manufacturers recently have entered into the market and there is a nice selection of locos and rolling stock available. If I were into modeling German prototype, I´d be in TT scale.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Thursday, July 10, 2014 11:07 PM

In the U. S. TT scale was driven by a single enthusiast, there was never much product available and N scale (in the form of Arnold Rapido) came along with a much broader product line and captured the 'smaller than HO' market.

Way back then I was (mildly) interested in TT.  I still have two pairs of TT trucks in my junkbox.

One MR editor noted in an editorial that the most successful scales are roughly half or twice the size of the other popular scales.  Note the progression O (1:48 or thereabouts) S (1:64) OO (1:76) HO (1:87) TT (1:120) N (1:144>160) z (1:225).  The next big winner might come in at 1:320 or so.  1:24 on G gauge track already has some following.

TT became more popular in Europe because it's easy to scale in metric units - and, possibly, because it doesn't owe lip service to the English system of measurement.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - in 1:80 scale aka HOj) 

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Posted by modelmaker51 on Friday, July 11, 2014 12:16 AM

I think TT was popular in eastern Europe, especially east Germany, was because of the lack of product in any other scales. In the eastern block before 1989. Piko was just about the only major manufacturer of model train equipment. THeir catalog was mainly H0 and TT and TT was very popular because of price and size. 

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Posted by MJ4562 on Friday, July 11, 2014 12:55 AM

tomikawaTT
One MR editor noted in an editorial that the most successful scales are roughly half or twice the size of the other popular scales.  Note the progression O (1:48 or thereabouts) S (1:64) OO (1:76) HO (1:87) TT (1:120) N (1:144>160) z (1:225).  The next big winner might come in at 1:320 or so.  1:24 on G gauge track already has some following.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - in 1:80 scale aka HOj) 

Interesting observation.  Makes sense given the development of the major scales while the hobby was relatively young.   It will be interesting to see if that continues to hold true as lifestyles change and the hobby evolves.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Friday, July 11, 2014 1:11 AM

TT lacked the major support it needed to get started and established.

After WWII, the hobby increased in popularity, but many/most folks didn't have room for O scale.  Manufacturer's went with the small scale HO.  By the time Hal Joyce had gotten TT off the ground HO was established.  TT never attracted major support and limped along for a while and pretty much disappeared in the U.S.  with the arrival of N scale.  There have been a few attempts to restart it, but no major manufacturer has appeared here.  In Eastern Europe it became the favorite instead of HO and continues to be popular there.

S scale the other "in between" scale has done better primarily because American Flyer made a total commitment to it after WWII in the toy train market.  It's the toy train market that has kept S scale alive just as it has kept O scale alive.  Both these scales have large manufacturers who make exact scale models with toy train wheels and couplers for the Toy Train enthusiasts.  And then also provide a version with scale wheels for the much smaller "scale" market.

Enjoy

Paul

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Posted by bagal on Friday, July 11, 2014 1:58 AM

Well, I think if todays technology was available back when the scales were being developed, the main scales might have ended up as Z, TT, S, G. There is the (more or less) geometric progression again - 1/32, 1/64, 1/120, 1/220.

 

 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, July 11, 2014 4:51 AM

bagal

Well, I think if todays technology was available back when the scales were being developed, the main scales might have ended up as Z, TT, S, G. There is the (more or less) geometric progression again - 1/32, 1/64, 1/120, 1/220.

 

Probably..HO is still to large for small home layout-sighting unrealistic sharp curves needed for these small layouts.

N Scale isn't the answer for many due to the lack of certain types of locomotives.

Larry

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, July 11, 2014 5:14 AM

Gidday, Here's a link to another TT thread. I'll stand by my comment that it was a case of bad timing. 

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/225588.aspx?page=1

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Posted by MJ4562 on Friday, July 11, 2014 7:37 PM

bagal
Well, I think if todays technology was available back when the scales were being developed, the main scales might have ended up as Z, TT, S, G. There is the (more or less) geometric progression again - 1/32, 1/64, 1/120, 1/220.

I think this is very accurate.  That is coming from someone researching starting a home layout from scratch, with no vested interest in any particular scale--after a 20 year absence from the hobby.  

While looking at layout configurations and equipment, I find HO is a little too big and N is a little too small.  HO was probably fine when boxcars were 40', diesels first generation and manufacturers only made small steam models.  N scale suffers from oversize track [Code 55 is too heavy for most prototypes] and handrails. TT would be just right. S scale would be right for larger scale and Z would be right for really tiny. 

With the hobby market established as it is, I dont see the scales changing, although it is possible that TT might jump the pond and offer American prototypes on European chassis. 

 

I agree with Brakie, here. HO is just a little too big for most home layouts.

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, July 12, 2014 9:31 AM

The only serious manufactures of TT scale were the East Germans, and it never migrated to this side of the Iron Curtain. This is called World Politics.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, July 12, 2014 11:15 AM

 Wait TT based on metric? No it wasn't. TT is 1/10" = a foot. Just means you need an architect's scale instead of a typical rule graduated in 16ths. Maybe a metric application to English units, but it definitely was not created using metric units of measure. 12 years after Hal Joyce (HP Products) created TT in the US, Tri-Ang released some products using 3mm to the foot (which fit in nicely between 2mm "N scale" and 4mm OO). The true TT scale though,m is most definitely not metric.

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, July 12, 2014 12:22 PM

Lion - I stand to correct you. True, the former East German business Zeuke, later Berliner TT Bahnen and now Tillig, was one of the very few manufacturers of TT trains, but the sold to to capitalist countries as well, mainly West Germany. Now that the Iron Curtain has fallen nearly 25 years ago, TT is growing stronger each year. For a lot of folks hard-pressed on space, TT would be the ideal choice, as it is big enough for a high level of detail, but small enough to fit a decent layout in a tight space.

Roco has recently entered into the TT market, but only with German prototype models like the one below:

 

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, July 12, 2014 1:19 PM

 TT would be such an ideal scale for those who want DCC and sound but need something smaller than HO. TT is smaller enough to matter, yet big enough to still get decent size speakers in for sound, unline N scale. But I think it is probably destined to be a niche scale, at least in the US. All those "Why don't they make <insert favorite loco here> in <insert your scale here>" - multiply by 1000 if you take up TT, at least for US prototype equipment.

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, July 12, 2014 2:18 PM

What you want it to be and what it is are two different things. S scale is slowly dying though some of the stuff in it is amazing but I don't think PBL can save it and if they were to go. TT is still going strong in some countys but the future dose not look bright as you need scale of numbers to survive long term. We have however entered the age of manufactures dictating things again. O scale was in trouble and up pops Bachmann with their On30. Now O scale buildings and people and etc. are back in demand. Same thing happened but in a different way to HOn3 when Blackstone showed up. We have, as modelers started to demand more detailed stuff and those scales that don't have the number will slowly disapear but on the bright side, I don't think and have ever gone totaly extinct!

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Posted by narrow gauge nuclear on Sunday, July 13, 2014 1:08 AM

TT is a scale.  It was invented here but never blossomed here.  It is great that the Euros and Russians took to it.

Let's face it, however, until rather high scale US type locos and rolling stock appear, coupled with TT scale autos of american cars and trucks and perhaps some TT scale basic US type structures, the scale is just not going anywhere here. 

HO and N are locked into the U.S. market and are the bulk of all MR sale volume.  O and HO narrow gauge materials are coming alive because there are O scale and HO scale people and buildings to go with these scales narrow gauge offerings and have been for years.

TT scale U.S. people and cars and structures are just non-extant for the most part here.  There are a few diesels of U.S. type that are produced in TT, but the selection is abysmal.

Most folks who are MRs want good faithful replicas of their favorite motive power and rolling stock.  Unfortunately, it is just not there in TT.

I am not against the scale.  Successful U.S. manufacturers just don't see any money in it at all.  That is what happened to TT scale in its country of origin.  The intial interest in it was low and remained so just long enough for N scale to blow any remnants of it here out of the water.

Technology was not there for TT's introduction and the advance of technology to the degree than N scale was viable, killed TT.  A double technology whamy slammed into TT and K.O'd it in the U.S.

 

Richard

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Posted by MJ4562 on Sunday, July 13, 2014 12:07 PM

Unfortunate, but yes, the reality is HO and N are too entrenched and there is not enough room in the business for a new scale.  I think it is understood that this is more of a hypothetical discussion. 

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Posted by gmcrail on Sunday, July 13, 2014 6:22 PM

I remember that when TT was first available (or at least when I was first aware of it), back in the mid '50s, its nickname among many modelers was "Too Tiny".  And HOn3 was nearly all scratch-built, including locomotives.  Of course now with N and Z, that seems a bit silly, but then N & Z weren't even dreamed of back then. Smile

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Posted by NEMMRRC on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 9:02 AM

I recall in the 1990's one company began an effort to mass produce TT models. Sadly this company's factory burned down. I cannot recall the company's name.

 

Jaime

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Posted by MJ4562 on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 10:08 PM

tomikawaTT
In the U. S. TT scale was driven by a single enthusiast, there was never much product available and N scale (in the form of Arnold Rapido) came along with a much broader product line and captured the 'smaller than HO' market.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - in 1:80 scale aka HOj) 

Anyone know why Arnold Rapido ignored TT and went with the more challenging (smaller) N scale? Did TT come out before or after N?

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Posted by MJ4562 on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 10:11 PM

gmcrail

I remember that when TT was first available (or at least when I was first aware of it), back in the mid '50s, its nickname among many modelers was "Too Tiny".  And HOn3 was nearly all scratch-built, including locomotives.  Of course now with N and Z, that seems a bit silly, but then N & Z weren't even dreamed of back then. Smile

 

"Too Tiny" - interesting how times change. 

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Posted by narrow gauge nuclear on Thursday, July 17, 2014 12:49 AM

TT was introduced shortly after WWII in the mid-late 40's long before N scale and had about 20 years to develop before N took over.  TT never moved much after the initial excitement over the new scale died out and by the mid 50's was sort of dead in the water with only a very few US suppliers.

To my way of thinking, I never saw a creditable TT scale U.S. production steamer though there were a very few in production.  Slowly, the limited manufacturing pool of this special, smaller scale died out due to lack of interest as well as highly detailed and functional HO locos and rolling stock in huge abundance constantly entering the market.

HO Scale detail came up fast in the 50's and by the early 60's. The O scale goliath was mortally wounded as HO was the number one scale in the U.S.  A position it still holds today and with good reason, too.

N scale was just what the doctor ordered and technology was ready to move with it as well when it was introduced.  The modern, mobile, 60's family with limited space looked on HO as being just a tad too big for a new generation of young MR's in cramped apartments and frequent, on-the-go, movers.

TT became a mystery to many newbies in MR and only we old timers remember much about it.

 

Richard

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j p
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Posted by j p on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 12:45 PM

TT scale did not die. It still exists. The TT scale community is maybe rather small, but there are people worldwide who like North American TT scale. The number of North American RTR models in TT is rather limited, but there are some: SW1200 switcher, ARA 1937 40' boxcars, Fowlers... and dozens of kits.

A good place to start with TT scale would be the board of its community: www.ttnut.com

If you find N scale too small and H0 scale too big, TT is the way to go, especially if you are not afraid of kitbashing :)  Everyone will be very welcome. The more people get involved in it, the more variety it adds to the scale and makes the future RTR projects possible - and who knows, maybe TT even returns back to the pages of MR some day?

Several of the posts here may need some correction: TT scale is an American invention. 1ft equals 1/10 inch. This was an advantage in 1950s. People just took the size of the prototype in feet, divided by 10 and got the size in TT in inches! Can it be easier that that?

My area of interest is Pennsylvania Railroad, in TT-scale (of course).

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Posted by tinplatacis on Monday, September 19, 2016 10:35 AM

OO scale, TT scale, Q scale, Standard... Lots of scales have been tried here. I personally find HO to be too small, but that's just me. I really am amazed when I see the work of those who build in these scales, ones that were often ahead of their times.

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