Collecting n Scale Model Trains

Model railways, as a hobby, is based on scale. Trains, buildings and scenery are all manufactured at a reduced size to enable a railway layout to be created. HO/OO is the scale that is most widely used worldwide, but there is much to be said for the smaller N-Scale.

N-scale has existed since 1927, although it only really became popular from 1962 onwards. The increase in popularity is often put down to smaller living spaces. Size is an obvious factor, as the scale allows more to be made of a smaller space.The popularity of N-scale has spread around the world, and in countries like Japan, its popularity has surpassed HO as the scale of choice.

The actual size of N-scale varies between countries and manufacturers. The “N” in N-scale is an abbreviation of Nine millimetres. This means that in Britain a 9mm track width is used, with models made to a scale between 1:148 and 1:160. In other countries though a different ratio is often utilised. Historically these variations have not caused any great issue, with products from all manufacturers being interchangeable, although recent developments have seen a move a way from universal couplings.

Many railway modellers have their favourite manufacturers, and those who make use of N-scale are no different, with many firms recognised for their excellence. To build a complete layout though it is often necessary to make use of the epxertise of a number of firms.

For tracks there is no better manufacturer than Peco. A British company based in Devon, they have been in existence since 1946. There are two sorts of track produced. The “Set-track” is for those modellers new to the hobby; Set-Track consists of rigid curves, straights, crossings and points. The second set is “Streamline”, and is aimed at the more experienced modeller. Streamline track involves more complex curves, and also a need to wire up some of the points.

Peco also produces some good quality accessories, including scale scenery. The company also produces a range of rolling stock for the railway layout. New products from the firm can be found on their website, www.peco.co.uk

One of the best firms for n-scale buildings is also one of the most famous model railway companies, Hornby. N Gauge buildings and people are a difficult product to manufacturer to the same standards as HO/OO scale. Figures especially tend to lose details because of the intricate size of the models. Saying that Hornby do a good range of buildings in their “Lyddle End” range. There are over one hundred different items available to create a total rural village, but be aware that prices can be a bit steep, especially for the station and goods yard accessories. All of the products are available from www.hornby.com

Dapol is one of the newer manufacturers, as opposed to the traditional Hornby company. All of the products are made to a high standard, and their locomotives may be superior to Grafar’s versions.  With 73 different varieties currently available there is enough to make a detailed goods yard. Again products can be viewed from the company’s website, www.dapol.co.uk

The other manufacturer that is a must for n-scale modellers is the Graham Farish range. Also known as Grafar, the company has been acquired by the Bachmann company, and for once this acquisition has improved the modelling standards. This is something especially obvious with their locomotives.Coaches from Graham Farish have always been of a high standard, but now their locomotives are competing on a quality level with most of their rivals. Grafar products can be found at www.grahamfarish.co.uk

Prices charged new for locomotives, coaches and rolling stock from all companies is restrictive, but with the growth in internet auction sites, as well as toy fairs, an increasing number of bargains can be obtained. Rolling stock and coaches can be picked up relatively cheaply, at about a third of the price of new release prices. Locomotives though are always going to be an expensive buy.

N-scale modelling offers the chance to build a a complete layout in a space half the size demanded by a HO/OO layout. The detail that is now available from manufacturers also means that the quality and look is not harmed by the smaller scale.