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Why not "O"?

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Why not "O"?
Posted by traindaddy1 on Saturday, June 09, 2018 7:18 AM

Please "don't shoot the messenger" 

Seems like (to me) that the "Model Railroader" guys and gals concentrate on HO and smaller gauge/scale projects.

Before you "send me to the other forums like the Classic Toys etc., I'd really like to know why, in your opinion, there isn't more interest is the larger "O". 

As always, many thanks.

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Posted by Brunton on Saturday, June 09, 2018 7:26 AM

In a simple phrase - "space required."

For a given amount of railroad, the space required for a scale O layout (not tinplate) is about four times that required for HO, and about 16 times that required for N.

I had the pleasure of seeing a large O scale layout in California many years ago. An O scale Big Boy came chugging around a large radius curve, and it looked absolutely incredible! But most of us don't have the kind of space needed for something like that in O.

Then we also get into the cost (that Big Boy, way back in the 1980's, cost several thousand dollars), availability of models and all that as well.

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Posted by snjroy on Saturday, June 09, 2018 7:28 AM

Hi there. I have a portable 2 rail O scale in construction, but my main layout is HO. Why not O scale for my main? Here is a list of my reasons:

-I can't stand the appearance of 3 rails

-O scale is expensive. 2 rail equipment is more expensive!

- HO takes less space

-HO has wider road offerings

-HO equipment is better adapted for operations

Simon

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Saturday, June 09, 2018 8:05 AM

snjroy
-I can't stand the appearance of 3 rails

I think we are talking about O scale, not O gauge model railroading.

Space is certainly the number 1 reason for the rather low interest in this scale, but most likely followed by the lack of scale locos and cars.

In Europe, things are quite different! 7mm scale has been always strong in the UK, both SG and NG model railroading. In Germany, O scale is experiencing a renaissance since a few years, mainly driven by Lenz (the DCC people). Having said that, HO scale is still the dominant scale.

Cheers,

Ulrich

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Posted by DSchmitt on Saturday, June 09, 2018 8:17 AM

Unfortunatey new O scale (2-rail) is now very scarse in Americia.  This is especially true of locomotives. O is harder to find than even a few years ago, and there is very little selection of types of locomotives and cars.  Most O made today is 3-rail O gauge. 

http://www.oscalekings.org/

Proto48 which uses the correct track gauge is even harder to find, it is basically a scratchbuilders scale. 

https://www.proto48.org/

 

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, June 09, 2018 8:17 AM

traindaddy1
I'd really like to know why, in your opinion, there isn't more interest is the larger "O".

How do you know that there isn't?  On what, are you basing your statement?  Maybe spend some time in the classic trains forum, and ask the members there why they don't show more interest in HO.

My grandson's O scale is in my basement, along side of my HO.  Lately, I've been running it more than he has.  He's a teen now and has many other interest, and we only have him for a short time each summer.

This is a forum centered around HO.  I just don't get your off-the-wall question???

Are you asking why O isn't a main topic on this forum?  Or are you asking why members in here model in HO and not O ?

I don't get it.

Mike.

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, June 09, 2018 8:21 AM

I certainly agree that space is the big impediment.

Coming in second and third:

There's less available in O scale.  That's a problem if you are an off-the-shelf type of person, and you want to follow a particular prototype.  I don't know about the availability of parts, O compared to HO, because I don't work in O.  I do suspect there are more parts available in HO, though.

There are more people working in HO.  Which means if you want to have a play-date, there are more people who share your scale.  In particular, I am in Free-mo.  It is HO scale.  There are about 8 people in Northern California active in Free-mo.  What do you think it would be in O scale?

Someone could suggest a fourth:  cost.  But O scale people seem to have fewer pieces of rolling stock.  Thus "saving" money.

 

Because of all of the above, I am happy staying in HO.

 

All that said, I LOVE O scale.  It is grand.  It is glorious.  Years ago, I bought my one O scale locomotive (and caboose).  Brass.  4-8-4.  It sits on the mantle.  It's never run.  But it IS a sight to behold.  Which explains its placement.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, June 09, 2018 8:27 AM

mbinsewi

This is a forum centered around HO.  I just don't get your off-the-wall question???

Are you asking why O isn't a main topic on this forum?  Or are you asking why members in here model in HO and not O ?

I don't get it.

Mike.

 

 

It is CENTERED on HO because there are so many more people working in HO.  There is nothing keeping other scales out.  But it is wise, when someone comes in from a different scale, for that person to self-identify.  That's to keep people from assuming they're HO.

Over on the Atlas Rescue Forum, there ARE sub-forums for the three major scales.  Not here.

 

By the way, here's the number of topics on that forum since it started:

 

HO  4661

O  50

N 183

 

 

Ed

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, June 09, 2018 8:52 AM

7j43k
It is CENTERED on HO because there are so many more people working in HO.

Ed,The reason the  N Scale count is low is because there is three great N Scale forums. Why hang out on a HO forum?

One of the most beautiful ISLs I ever seen was a O Scale two rail that was 16' x 2'.

That Atlas 2 Rail RS-1 was a master piece with its added details.

Have you compared O Scale 2 rail prices with HO?

Larry

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, June 09, 2018 9:03 AM

When I switched away from N scale in the 1990s I looked very hard at 2 rail O scale, and even Proto-48 as options.

.

My experience with the "dream house" layout left me knowing I had made bad choices in this hobby. I was never going to want a large layout that required multiple operators and massive amounts of equipment. 

.

My interest at the time was a layout that would fit in my small duplex with my growing family. I was going to build a switching layout, what is now commonly called an "ISL" on one wall of the bedroom. I needed one locomotive and about 10 freight cars.

.

Even back then, with Atlas and Intermountain making O scale rolling stock, and Lorrell Joiner promoting the scale, the final decision was made on availablility of equipment and supplies. With HO scale I could have everything with no compromises. There was even so much more available in N scale than in O.

.

Now that I am going to have a 11 by 22 foot dedicated layout space in my house, I am glad I chose HO. I can do what I want in HO. With O scale there would be a lot of compromises.

.

-Kevin

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Posted by mobilman44 on Saturday, June 09, 2018 9:34 AM

Three reasons............

Space (lack there-of), Cost (consider twice HO), and Availability/selection of components.   The latter of course is just the result of the supply demand circle.  Less demand, less supply......demand picks up, the suppliers will produce more in quantity and selection.

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, June 09, 2018 9:36 AM

People say they shy away from N scale because they can't handle the details. Fair enough. But the fact is that you don't really need all the fiddling details in N because they can't be seen, especially at 24 inches. It's nice if they're there, but not a disaster if they're missing.

In O scale, if the details are missing, they're noticed. You have to show rivets and door knobs and hatch handles; even eyeballs, belt buckles, and wrist watches on the figures.

That's why I don't do O. I'm sure there are other reasons.

Robert

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Posted by tstage on Saturday, June 09, 2018 9:51 AM

traindaddy1
Before you "send me to the other forums like the Classic Toys etc., I'd really like to know why, in your opinion, there isn't more interest is the larger "O".

Well, you might also ask "Why not more 'S'?".  It's smaller than O and larger than HO.  Unfortunately, it suffers the same fate as O when it comes to availability.

I grew up on American Flyer and enjoy the size but there just isn't much out there presently that offers what HO does for my particular prototype.  And while N would allow for more layout in the same-sized footprint as my HO layout, the choices for modeling steam/early diesel are - again - very limited.

Tom

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Posted by G Paine on Saturday, June 09, 2018 10:01 AM

Even On30, which uses HO gauge track, suffers from the same space, availability, and cost concerns as O standard gauge. It can run tighter radius curves than O standard, but everything else (buildings, vehicles, scenery, etc.) takes the same space

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by traindaddy1 on Saturday, June 09, 2018 10:31 AM

Many thanks for all of your well thought out replies. Appreciate it.

 

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, June 09, 2018 11:27 AM

G Paine

Even On30, which uses HO gauge track, suffers from the same space, availability, and cost concerns as O standard gauge. It can run tighter radius curves than O standard, but everything else (buildings, vehicles, scenery, etc.) takes the same space

 

On30 is the only reason there is alot of what there is in O. 

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Saturday, June 09, 2018 11:50 AM

I used to know a man who, because of his old age, switched from HO to O scale because he wanted more details and he wanted to be able to see them. His layout was small. He only had a couple of locomotives and a few freight cars but he had one of the nicest layouts I’ve ever seen.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, June 09, 2018 12:04 PM

Lone Wolf and Santa Fe

I used to know a man who, because of his old age, switched from HO to O scale because he wanted more details and he wanted to be able to see them. His layout was small. He only had a couple of locomotives and a few freight cars but he had one of the nicest layouts I’ve ever seen.

I agree with this. Wholeheartedly. I love the idea that I may one day build a 1:48 diorama of sorts. About 5 feet by 3 feet. With a fully-detailed Challenger sitting majestically on a turntable. Maybe under a sanding tower. Something. But in the meanwhile, I like the panoramic vistas and wide open spaces of my N scale thing. And not sweating the details.

Robert

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Saturday, June 09, 2018 12:08 PM

rrebell
On30 is the only reason there is alot of what there is in O.

Interesting point of view!

However, I don´t think that statement will earn you lots of friends "over there" - in the CTT forum.

Cheers,

Ulrich

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Posted by cuyama on Saturday, June 09, 2018 12:19 PM

SeeYou190
I was going to build a switching layout, what is now commonly called an "ISL" on one wall of the bedroom.

By the way, small switching layouts are only referred to with that acronym on this and maybe one other forum. The term is inaccurate in fact, since a good part of the trackage in most small switching layouts (except the industry spurs themselves) would be owned by the railroad, not the industry. And the railroad would do the switching.

The exception is modern industrial parks with their own switcher, but most of the small switching layouts folks are building are intended to operate as a branch or terminal area of a railroad (Class 1, Regional, Short Line, Terminal Railroad, etc).

The ISL acronym is also ambiguous, since it could stand for Industrial Short line, Independent Short/Switching Line, Isolated Short Line, etc., etc.

This is not directed at you at all, Kevin, but once every couple of years I am moved to refute the notion that this acronynm is “common” or widely accepted – or accurate in any way.

Clarity is good, IMHO. And is doesn’t take very long to type "small switching layout" in the interest of accuracy.

Byron

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Posted by cuyama on Saturday, June 09, 2018 12:48 PM

cuyama
The exception is modern industrial parks with their own switcher

The other exception I should have mentioned is the true industrial railroad such as a large cement plant or something like the Coors brewery in Colorado that rosters its own motive power. Although these can also be great subjects for a layout, they are not what most people are building as small switching layouts.

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Posted by cuyama on Saturday, June 09, 2018 12:49 PM

rrebell
On30 is the only reason there is alot of what there is in O. 

That's a very HO-centric view and demonstrably false.

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Saturday, June 09, 2018 1:08 PM

I know a bunch of O scalers - A couple of shining examples are Gary Schrader and Dave Adams.

Check out O scale west for some more info on the scale and what is being done these days.

For us heavy metal, SP fans, the detail on the latest Key Cab forwards in O scale is almost enough to make you want to switch scales just to run that loco!!!

I think the reasons for less O scale have been pretty well covered in this thread, but it is awesome when you see a well executed O scale layout.

Guy

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Posted by Paul3 on Saturday, June 09, 2018 2:08 PM

I'm not a fan of tinplate.  It's too toy-like for me, no matter the scale.  But I do like scale O-scale (two-rail).  It's impressive, and I admit I have four 2-rail undec. O-scale locos and a half dozen cars.  However, every time I think about finishing them up, I add up the cost of all the O-scale detail parts and think of what I could get in HO instead.

For example, in HO scale if I need a Hancock Air Whistle detail part, it's $1.00 for a pair.  In O-scale, it's $5.00...each!  A dynamic brake blister for an O-scale GP9 is $50, and so on.  Yikes.

Also, the cost of the rolling stock isn't cheap, either.  An Atlas NE-6 caboose in 2-rail O was $75.  At the same time in HO, it was $27.

How about track?  Atlas O Code 148 flex track is $18.25 for 40", a #5 switch is $92, and a #7.5 is $97.  In HO, the Code 83 flex is $6.95 for 36", #6 switches are $22 to $24, and #8's are $23.

It seems just about everything in O-scale is roughly triple the price of the same thing in HO-scale.  And that's if you can actually find the stuff, and have room to set it up.

So, to answer the question, the reason why O-scale isn't more popular is due to various factors: 1). Price, 2). Availability, 3). Space.  Other than that, it's a great scale.

 

 

 

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, June 09, 2018 2:22 PM

Tinplate Toddler

 

 
rrebell
On30 is the only reason there is alot of what there is in O.

 

Interesting point of view!

However, I don´t think that statement will earn you lots of friends "over there" - in the CTT forum.

 

Byron's comment about the rrebell statement notwithstanding.  CTT (from what I have seen) is largely focused on 3-rail O guage, hence the "classic toy trains".  Two rail scale doesnt really fit into the "Classic Toy Trains" genre.   

When you talk about O, you could be talking about 5 different things

1) O-27 Toy trains with less than scale dimensions (tin plate stuff too)

2) O guage - Somewhat less toy and more of scale (car body is usually scale), still has oversize wheels and truck mounted couplers, etc.

3) O scale - 1:48 scale dimensions, but runs on slightly wide gauge track

4) Proto 48 -1:48 and runs on scale 4' 8.5" track.

5) Various Narrow guages of O

 

I fit into 2 above with the equipment I own.  I dont run said equipment.  Why?  A 7 car passenger train is over 14' long.  I have room for exactly two passenger stations, and suspending my disbelief to do laps isnt my thing.  It gets too boring, then you end up spending money buying new interseting things to run through the unchanging scenery.

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Saturday, June 09, 2018 2:29 PM

I am quite aware of the different O gauge and O scale standards, but they all boil down to something which is 1/48 scale, but running on different tracks. However, accessories, buildings and structures find their home on any 1/48 scale layout. I dare to say that the most recent creations in that scale from Menard´s find more homes on a "toy" layout, than a "scale" layout.

Oh, btw - don´t let my low post count or handle fool you, I am a dyed-in-the-wool scale modeler with a record of 55 years in the hobby, who has built layouts from Z scale all the way up to a live steam garden layout.

Cheers,

Ulrich

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Saturday, June 09, 2018 2:43 PM

Tinplate Toddler
but they all boil down to something which is 1/48 scale

Not all, the O-27 stuff is not even close to scale.  The trucks are actually wider than the car body.

Tinplate Toddler
accessories, buildings and structures find their home on any 1/48 scale layout

See your next comment...

Tinplate Toddler
I dare to say that the most recent creations in that scale from Menard´s find more homes on a "toy" layout, than a "scale" layout.

There is a reason for that.  They arent really scale.  They are actually marketed as "O Guage".

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Saturday, June 09, 2018 6:32 PM

I disagree with some of the negatives.

There's actually quite a lot available for 2 rail O scale.  Atlas makes much of (maybe all) their Trainman and Master line in 2 rail as well as 3 rail.  Much of MTH's Premier line of steam locomotives is available in 2 rail with scale wheels.  Their Premier line of diesels usually have a conversion kit available.  Premier is their detailed scale size line.  Both Atlas and MTH make conversion kits for their rolling stock.  So while you may not have as many locomotives for a specific railroad as HO does, there's plenty to choose from and the major railroads are pretty well represented.

Thanks to 3 rail O scale, there are plenty of structures available, both RTR and kits.  Many laser kits are made in multiple scales including O.  When looking at sizes, all scales including HO favor smaller prototypes.

It does cost more per piece and there are fewer places offering discounts.  Unlike HO, there really is no budget line available (although you can find some older, cheaper items at train shows).  So for a given budget you'll have fewer items.  It's just one of the many trade offs we make in the hobby.  But if you can afford multiple locomotives in HO, you can find something in O to get you started.

Space is another issue.  It does take a lot of room for O scale.  This is the issue that put me in S scale.  I just don't have enough room for the layout I want in O.  For me, this is a trade off issue.  I could have a layout in O, just not as many towns along the mainline.  But many folks are very space constrained, so HO or N is the best way for them.  I think this is the major reason for few O scale layouts.  I also think this a major reason there are so many 3 rail layouts - with it's much tighter curves you can fit a layout into some pretty tight spaces.

Paul

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Posted by traindaddy1 on Saturday, June 09, 2018 6:59 PM

mbinsewi MIKE:

In all due respects, the question was based entirely on my personal observations of the postings I've read on this forum.

It was, in no way, implying that the name "Model Railroader" should be changed to "O" nor would I even suggest that the name be changed because, as you stated, "This is a forum centered around HO".

I'm truly sorry that you "don't get 'my' off-the-wall question???

Seems like, upon reading many of the replies, other viewers took the question in stride and just offered their constructive opinions. And I really appreciate their contributions.

This is a great hobby no matter what gauge/scale one favors.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, June 09, 2018 7:00 PM

It still comes down to space, money and time.

Life, and model railroading are full of compromises, given unlimited resources, I might want to be in two rail O scale.

But I reject the idea of limiting my other modeling goals to be able to model in that larger scale.

I like long trains, mainline action, reasonable detail, that make HO the right size for me.

My current layout space is about 1000 sq ft. We are possibly moving soon, and the new house we are expecting to get has a 1500 sq ft basement - just for me.

That will build a suitable empire in HO, and a short line in O. 

Not interested in a short line.....

Sheldon

    

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