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January 2016 Railway Modeller - comment piece

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If decent RTR models did appear in 3mm maybe you could also get the equivalent of the 4mm combination of Bachmann body on Comet chassis for those who do care about the gauge, with etched chassis from Brynkits or someone.

Wouldn't be too much of a problem. There's a good range of fine scale wheels from the 3mm Society. If the locomotives were designed in the right way then it might be possible to simple drop out the 12mm wheels and slot in 14.2mm wheels in much the same way that Ultrascale wheels can be used with some commercial offerings in OO. If not, then it's not too hard to design replacement etched chasses suitable for 14.2; etching is now becoming more widely used and I'm one of several people who have started to do their own chasses. The only important criterion is that there's enough clearance within the body with things like splashers to enable the wider finer wheel sets to be used, which shouldn't be a problem providing attention is paid to it..

 

Wagons and coaches all use a standard length axle, whatever the gauge, and if commercial offerings used this then conversion would be no problem. I think 14.2 modellers like myself would welcome ready to run coaches which could be adapted simply by changing the wheels. So I reckon commercial offerings for 12mm gauge would be relevant right across the gauges.

 

Nigel

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Hi Ben

 

If a manufacturer was only interested in "modern image", ie no steam, then I think 1:120 would be viable, in this sense that the physical constraints disappear or could be worked around.  However, the range of suitable scenarios would be limited; I have the impression that a lot of modern stuff really needs a fair amount of space to be effective.

 

Selling to existing 3mm modellers alone wouldn't support a commercial offering, nevertheless that existing base would provide a good start. At a rough guess I'd say there are probably around 500 members of the 3mm Society of whom maybe half are active modellers, probably around 80% using 12mm track and 18% using 14.2mm, with the odd 2% including Irish broad gauge, narrow gauge, Brunel 7' gauge and others. There are probably better figures out there but these shouldn't be too far out. However, the "inactive" group include those just interested in running their Triang TT, and also there are quite of few Triang users outside the Society who don't join because they think (unfairly) that it doesn't cater for their interests; these Triang users are also a potential market. New users would come from a variety of interests, as they do in other scales; some would be keen to whack track down and run trains just to see what it is like, some may already be interested in 3mm but put off by the lack of ready to run, some may be essentially collectors who are simply interested in attractive models.

 

If it came to pass, then I think it important that the models are fully up to the standards of other scales, rather than regurgitated Triang. But quality itself would be a selling point.

 

Nigel

Edited by NCB

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Hello again,

I wish to state here that I really do respect and admire the work so many of you guys do in 3mm scale, it's great that you have the patience and skills required to do so.

I should guess that the present state of 3mm is approximately that which 7mm was some 20 or more years ago;

You have a society, there are some specialist kit makers and parts like wheels, motors etc are also available.

All well and good.

Now, say Arnold or MTB come along and produce something British in this very useable scale? 1/100 or 1/120?

 

1/100 - would give you the home market, just UK modellers! The home market is currently the kit/scratch builders who like 'being different' to the 4mm & 2mm (& 7mm!) 'box openers' (I'm not including the kit/scratch builders in these scales here).

 

1/120 - would give you any new starters and any 'box openers' moving from other scales PLUS the rest of the world - collectors, 'box openers' and real, honest to goodness modellers who are established in this scale and might fancy something British outline as a change from their local scene. I frequent German, European and US forums and such folk do exist.

 

IF a re-newed British TT should emerge, I urge the adoption of 1/120th scale as being the only option that will generate sufficient sales to make the investment worthwhile.

Cheers,

John E.

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Hello again,

I wish to state here that I really do respect and admire the work so many of you guys do in 3mm scale, it's great that you have the patience and skills required to do so.

I should guess that the present state of 3mm is approximately that which 7mm was some 20 or more years ago;

You have a society, there are some specialist kit makers and parts like wheels, motors etc are also available.

All well and good.

Now, say Arnold or MTB come along and produce something British in this very useable scale? 1/100 or 1/120?

 

1/100 - would give you the home market, just UK modellers! The home market is currently the kit/scratch builders who like 'being different' to the 4mm & 2mm (& 7mm!) 'box openers' (I'm not including the kit/scratch builders in these scales here).

 

1/120 - would give you any new starters and any 'box openers' moving from other scales PLUS the rest of the world - collectors, 'box openers' and real, honest to goodness modellers who are established in this scale and might fancy something British outline as a change from their local scene. I frequent German, European and US forums and such folk do exist.

 

IF a re-newed British TT should emerge, I urge the adoption of 1/120th scale as being the only option that will generate sufficient sales to make the investment worthwhile.

Cheers,

John E.

Hi John

 

But you still have to answer the question of how British prototype steam locomotives can be manufactured to run on scale track. If the manufacturer adopts near-scale wheels it's possible, give or take a few compromises. But in the case of 1:120 that rolling stock would be running on much finer standards than the rest of the world uses for TT, so it wouldn't be compatible.

 

The market is anybody who wants to run British outline stock, mostly the home market but as you point out there is a worldwide interest in this. Indeed, there is a small but significant number of 3mm modellers spread throughout the world; they are active, are members of the 3mm Society, often contribute to discussions on the Society e-group, and even to the Society magazine Mixed Traffic. As they tend to live in less crowded parts of the world they have the space to develop quite large layouts, and some of them do.  I think nearly all of them use 12mm track, which is the nub of the matter. A product which runs on 12mm track can be used, potentially, by anybody who has 12mm track, irrespective of whether it's 1:100 or 1:120. So the 1:100 market isn't just the home market.

 

By the way, the home 3mm market isn't just kit builders and scratch builders; there's probably as many people running Triang TT, in and out of the Society, as there are of the others. Would they buy new RTR 3mm? You bet they would!

 

Cheers

Nigel

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Hi Nigel,

Thanks for your most interesting comments above, I had forgotten about the original Tri ang TT ers!

As to how to manufacture British outline steam locomotives to run on 12mm gauge track, I can only draw on my own H0 scale experience (where folk said it can't be done because the body is too small for the motor, the motion can't fit and so forth), well I have two steam locos with outside cylinders and Walshearts motion - a DJH S160 2-8-0 and a REE models Southern dock tank and they seem to be fine!

Maybe there is a slight increase in the width over the cylinders, it's not noticeable and the wheels are all RP25 standards- all I can say is that they look and run really well, as do my approximately 60 or 70 German steam locos! As I said above, I frequent some German forums and I'm sure it would soon come out if their proportions were wrong.

I do understand and indeed "get" why 00 exists (I still abhor it though), I just think that there has to be a way of solving any engineering problems that the restrictive British loading gauge causes in our modelling.

I'm sure that if it can be done in H0 (and in EM etc) then it can be done in 1/120th scale on 12mm track - without altering the standards of the track. No doubt the current track standards in TT will be NEM standards?

I've certainly seen just how stunning the latest German steam models look, I don't think they look compromised, are they?

Cheers,

John.

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The latest German steam models do look superb. But there's a prototype advantage in that the wider loading gauge means cylinders can be bigger and/or moved further out, likewise the outside motion, so wider than scale wheels are easier to accomodate.

 

A couple of 3mm examples using 14.2mm gauge and 3mm Society finescale wheels. The Manor gave no real problems, because that sensible Mr. Collett put the cylinders/slide-bars sufficiently far forwards that the cross-head is well clear of the leading crank pin. The 42XX on the contrary was a swine to get right; if you look at the prototype there's only an inch or so between the back of the cross-head and the leading crank pin, and that's after the GWR recessed the crank pin into the leading coupling rod. I drifted the cylinders outwards by 1mm each side, filed the cross-head nut down to half thickness, and even then it's just workable.

 

Nigel

 

 

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post-26119-0-78840500-1452817643.jpg

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Hi Nigel,

Beautiful work there, as I say, I really do admire the work you guys do in 3mm, your 42xx is especially stunning.

I know the restricive British loading gauge is a pain, after all 1 inch on the prototype is what, about 8 thou in 1/120th scale**? And THAT's with dead scale wheels so definitely a problem with (useable) overscale wheels.

I admit, the smaller you go (scale wise) the more over scale your wheels & motion become unless you go for a much more scale profile, I'm guessing that you're modelling Proto 3mm? I still think it can (just) be done commerically but probably at too high a price.

All I can think of in H0 is that they must cut away a lot of the back of the cylinders and possibly narrow the frames, certainly some models do have quite low profile wheels and are no good on 'train-set' curves! Some models even have coarser bogie and trailing wheels and very fine drivers.

 

Maybe it is indeed just 'too difficult' to do British outline (steam anyway) in such a scale. On that note, I'll bow out now!

Cheers,

John.

 

** Yes! I know - in 1/100th scale it's an easy 10 thou!

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The wheels are 3mm Society fine scale, a bit wider than true scale (1.65mm versus 1.375mm). You can imagine the 3mm fine scale standards as being roughly EM scaled down to 3mm and the gauge then pushed out to 14.125mm (for 14.125mm track; you can use the same standards for other track eg 12mm gauge or 13.5mm gauge). In other words, the tolerances are more forgiving than S3/P3 would be.

 

Nigel

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Guest 40-something

I would sell my granny for a UK outline TT range, but to what scale?  

 

1:100, great midway point, but would be underscale when on 12mm track.

1:120, a bit smaller but there is an established range of track, mechanisms and wheelsets out there.  

 

What should a manufacturer choose?  No idea but if I was looking for an easier way to test the market, then a 1:120 starter set would be it.

 

Track - available

Mechanisms and wheelsets - available

Rolling stock - some modern stock may suit.

Loco's - none.

 

So what loco's?  Well a loco that has been used in both the UK and in Mainland Europe would be an obvious choice.  The class 66 is the main contender, but as has been pointed out, this is getting released soon (ableit in European form).  So how about other loco's that have been exported from the UK?  The main ones, all post steam, I can think of are 20's, 37's, 56's, 58's, 87's, 92 & 2 generations of the Eurostar.  There are probably others, and most definitely some steam loco's esp after WW2.

 

Would any of those make it a bit financially easier on a major manufacturer?  With a few small detail changes the loco's above could be sold in their European guise as well as UK guise. So for instance a 56 could be sold with a few Cargowaggens, track and controller?  

 

I'd certainly dip my toe in the water if a starter set became available.

Edited by 40-something

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Hi 40-something,

 

You mention a class 56.  There is an active TT market in Hungary - this creates additional revenue for anyone brave enough to produce them in 1:120.  The same is true of a class 86.

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Hasn't 47375 just been exported aswell?

If so you have examples of class 20 (sold to France and the albeit 1 of Kosovo DRS circa 1998) class 37, 56. 58, 66 and 92 all being used abroad, there could be a market for loco tooling for continental TT gauge models. Various wagons have been used both sides of the tunnel, I believe seacows have now been exported to Hungary as well as the cross channel freight options

Units are probably restricted to the Eurostars?. I know we exported some Mk3 sleeper to Scandanavia - have any others been used elsewhere.

 

There could therefore be a case presented for a modern day TT scale model to test the water, even if it is a mainly European release with a UK livery option

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http://www.lemkecollection.de/de/Spur-TT

 

Lemke seem to have solved the problem of producing a UK loading gauge loco at 1:120 as GM did in building the full-size version! Special case I suppose. 140 quid didn't seem a bad price for current European RTR.

 

David

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http://www.lemkecollection.de/de/Spur-TT

 

Lemke seem to have solved the problem of producing a UK loading gauge loco at 1:120 as GM did in building the full-size version! Special case I suppose. 140 quid didn't seem a bad price for current European RTR.

 

David

 

Modern stuff, diesel and electric locos and DMUs, isn't much of a problem. If you're using over-wide wheels you may need to stick the bogie sideframes a bit further out, but it's not really noticeable; I suspect Lemke have done this, and probably a lot of the continental stuff in any scale has done this.  The problem is with quite a lot of British steam locomotives. It COULD be done, with very fine wheels and the track to match, but I suspect other options would be deemed more practical.

 

Cheers

Nigel

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Perhaps they are still struggling. I hadn't noticed "Verfügbarkeit: Aktuell nicht lieferbar" = Availability: Currently not available. Two years after the original announcement!

 

David

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If you're lamenting the lack of TT in the UK, just spare a thought for the US. There was an article in the June Model Railroader entitled "What became of TT scale?" and the answer is pretty much nothing. It made very little headway when first introduced in the 40s and what was produced was inferior to the HO models. It always lagged behind and then with the introduction of N over there in the 60s it more or less died a death. There is one north American manufacturer who makes the odd thing but that's about it. As far as I can tell there are no kit-buiders' or even scratch-builders' groups over there like there are here. If there are they must be very small and well hidden.

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It's sort of alive; there's a message board http://www.ttnut.com/

 

I think the problem is lack of experienced modellers willing to give it a go. Worsley Works introduced an SW1200 body kit a few years ago and I think sold quite a few of them, and it could have been the start of something good, but there didn't seem to be the dynamic to take things further. I built one of the kits out of interest, went together very nicely and I managed to get my hands on a motor-bogie which was spot on.

 

In comparison, the 3mm Society has the advantage of always having had some modellers who knew what they were doing who ensured a range of parts were available.

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It's sort of alive; there's a message board http://www.ttnut.com/

 

I think the problem is lack of experienced modellers willing to give it a go. Worsley Works introduced an SW1200 body kit a few years ago and I think sold quite a few of them, and it could have been the start of something good, but there didn't seem to be the dynamic to take things further. I built one of the kits out of interest, went together very nicely and I managed to get my hands on a motor-bogie which was spot on.

 

In comparison, the 3mm Society has the advantage of always having had some modellers who knew what they were doing who ensured a range of parts were available.

 

I really like the Zeuke models, the SW1200 (which I note has DCC) and the tank cars in particular. Well, actually, that's about all they've got! But not bad prices.

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