Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I’m sure this type question comes up regularly, so I should first ask the forgiveness of dedicated members of the Narrow Gauge Modelling community, who no doubt keep patiently reprising the answers each time a novice like me comes along.

 

As my thread title indicates, I’m tentatively interested in finding out more about American H0n30 modelling in the UK?  With a limited budget and other interests I’m also actively pursuing, I’m wondering how much is ‘out there’ in HOn30 these days, noting the current wide range of models available in OO9?  I know there’s some amazing HOn3 equipment - and great layouts - but my budget wouldn’t stretch that far even if it were my only interest, hence my wondering about HOn30:

  • Are there some inspirational layouts around to look at - I’ve not found much yet, but I may be looking in the wrong places?
  • What are the pitfalls (ie: are there compatibility issues between today’s loco mechanisms and older controllers - or vice versa)?
  • Related to this, how integrated are other features of older products with new ones - eg: couplers, wheel sizes, track standards?
  • Is there a DCC assumption (I think that would rule me out for several reasons, to be honest)?

 

Like many others, I grew up in the 1970s / early 1980s with a variety of interests across railway modelling I’m now returning to, in my case after a change in vocation which saw my primary interest (not railway related) become my job some years ago.  I’ve had a lot of help and encouragement planning and progressing my standard gauge interests in American HO Santa Fe modelling and Great Western Branch Lines, but I only managed a very brief dabble with some European HOe 10 years ago.  At that time all the buildings, people and vehicles I had were in 4mm scale for my OO modelling.  I found the smaller size of the HOe rolling stock accentuated the scale difference too much, so I traded it in for more Great Western Branch line stuff  (I am quite happy with the cliches I grew up with). 

 

Three things have really sparked this exploration and prompted this question now:

  1. My long-term HO Santa Fe project has started much better than I expected (helped by the advice and kindness of RMwebbers), and I’m ready to look for the HO accessories I’ll need to go with my first Santa Fe layout several years ahead of expectations.
  2. I’ve become very conscious one thing that changed in the hobby while I wasn’t looking has been the shift towards short-term product runs and availability: if you don’t get it while you can, it’s gone!  Things I saw just a few years ago have already vanished.
  3. The amount of HOn2 1/2 that I remember from years ago (as it was known then) doesn’t seem to have persisted.  Is this correct?  On30 seems to be doing well - perhaps a function of the reliability issues I recall with 1970s N gauge (where my modelling began)?  If I am to add some Narrow Gauge to my list of projects, it would need to be in 3.5mm scale for it to happen.

 

I’ve read the discussion on “American outline OO9” a couple of pages back, but was still left with these questions, so I hope it’s OK to ask afresh (an internet search tends to point me to American Forums from a few years ago reviewing the difference between HOn3 and HOn30).  There have also been changes to import rules this year of course.  I suppose my answer to the other obvious question: “Why not UK OO9?” is that, while I think its great - and hunt out the Narrow Gauge layouts when I can get to exhibitions - a standard gauge branch line ticks that box for me when it comes to model layout building.  I’m in no rush, and have plenty to be getting on with, but just wondered if there were any thoughts.  Thank you, Keith.

_______
 

Edit: I should perhaps acknowledge the gauge issue with HOn30, being 2mm too wide for the 2’ prototypes I think are usually modelled - makes a change from the reverse problem with OO.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
Additional comment on gauge.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Hando said:

Minitrains make some relatively low-cost American H0n30 RTR locos: http://www.minitrains.eu/mt-steam.html

and also freelance carriages: http://www.minitrains.eu/mt-pass.html


Thank you - from what I’ve read the modern (2010 onwards?) revival of Roco Minitrains has seen much greater reliability than the earlier versions?
 

The Forney locos look good to me for Maine 2’ modelling - the Fiddletown and Copperopolis liveried coaches are interesting: freelance as you say but with that interesting ‘backstory.’  
 

I’ve seen @PaulRhB’s thread for an F&C layout, and I think he says on it they’re not producing any more of those models - a good example perhaps of the short-run models we now see (I don’t know Paul personally, but he’s also contributed helpfully to my Standard Gauge US research on my parallel HO thread).

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes unfortunately Andreas said the US range didn’t do well so it would be slowly wound down, grab it while you can. The Minitrains modern stuff runs beautifully and none even has a Dcc socket ;) it’s easy to convert though if you wanted to go digital. 
 

On the plus side the ex Chivers Finelines range is re-emerging slowly under Matt Chivers Five79 brand so the white metal loco bodies and the plastic wagon kits should emerge in the next year or so hopefully. 
https://www.five79.co.uk/009-Narrow-Gauge-Kits/

 

There are also lots of good bits on shapeways from body kits for N gauge chassis to various detail parts for bashing locos. Search HOn30

 

Here’s Neil Briggs’ range 

https://www.shapeways.com/shops/mynermodels?section=HOn3&sort=

 

 

Edited by PaulRhB
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

Thank you - from what I’ve read the modern (2010 onwards?) revival of Roco Minitrains has seen much greater reliability than the earlier versions?

 

Yes, although as far as I know modern Minitrains has nothing to do with Roco (some of the original wagon designs were similar though, possibly with common origins). Likewise the Egger-lookalike Minitrains stuff is inspired by the original Egger stock but does not use the original moulds.

  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith,

Merseyside &South West Lancs Group for all NG modelling.

 

We are hoping we will be able to restart our meetings in Rainford, Merseyside later in the year, if we get

the go ahead from the government.

Saturday afternoons and we cover all NG modelling with layouts, show you how and the sales tables.

Most welcome to join us, just drop a me a line.

 

Stan Williams.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, stan williams said:

Keith,

Merseyside &South West Lancs Group for all NG modelling.

 

We are hoping we will be able to restart our meetings in Rainford, Merseyside later in the year, if we get

the go ahead from the government.

Saturday afternoons and we cover all NG modelling with layouts, show you how and the sales tables.

Most welcome to join us, just drop a me a line.

 

Stan Williams.

 

Hi Stan, thank you - that’s really helpful. (I’ll send a separate PM with my details, but wanted to acknowledge the offer on the thread).  Appreciated, Keith.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 01/03/2021 at 13:11, PaulRhB said:

Yes unfortunately Andreas said the US range didn’t do well so it would be slowly wound down, grab it while you can.

 

Thank you for this - it’s good advice, but sums up my dilemma quite nicely:

 

Basically, any undiscovered skills I might have currently remain untried and untested: I’m only now having a first attempt at scratchbuilding a small structure, for example - and haven’t used a soldering iron for over forty years.  Most of my posts on RMweb have been about research or planning (and appreciating the inspirational modelling there is on here).  I have a number of simple standard gauge rolling stock projects to undertake, mainly fitting couplers and trucks, and some repainting.  These would be very useful skills for NG modelling.  I also have a couple of layouts / dioramas to build.

 

So by the time I might have more funds, and be ready to take an additional step into active NG modelling, I’m beginning to think finding what I’d want to get me started may have become very difficult: the kind of ranges I was looking at in HOe ten years ago seem less easy to find in the UK than they did then (and prices have risen a lot).  I read recently of an HOn30 modeller who does several daily searches on eBay, which I’ve never used, and I’ve seen a very long thread on the NGRM Forum about eBay prices.  I realise this is not unique to NG, and I also thought carefully before going into US HO.

 

For me personally, an attraction of American NG is that common-carrier passenger cars and boxcars look to me rather like scaled down versions of their standard gauge cousins.  This means a longer train will fit into the same space, and buildings which have been scaled back for modelling may start to look bigger again.  I know some NG modellers are attracted by the differences to standard gauge trains and operations, or to save space - I’m more the other way round.

 

So I’ll keep collecting advice and ideas (with thanks for the pointers so far) and I’ll do some research to refine my questions.

 

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

 

Thank you for this - it’s good advice, but sums up my dilemma quite nicely:

 

Basically, any undiscovered skills I might have currently remain untried and untested: I’m only now having a first attempt at scratchbuilding a small structure, for example - and haven’t used a soldering iron for over forty years.  Most of my posts on RMweb have been about research or planning (and appreciating the inspirational modelling there is on here).  I have a number of simple standard gauge rolling stock projects to undertake, mainly fitting couplers and trucks, and some repainting.  These would be very useful skills for NG modelling.  I also have a couple of layouts / dioramas to build.

 

So by the time I might have more funds, and be ready to take an additional step into active NG modelling, I’m beginning to think finding what I’d want to get me started may have become very difficult: the kind of ranges I was looking at in HOe ten years ago seem less easy to find in the UK than they did then (and prices have risen a lot).  I read recently of an HOn30 modeller who does several daily searches on eBay, which I’ve never used, and I’ve seen a very long thread on the NGRM Forum about eBay prices.  I realise this is not unique to NG, and I also thought carefully before going into US HO.

 

For me personally, an attraction of American NG is that common-carrier passenger cars and boxcars look to me rather like scaled down versions of their standard gauge cousins.  This means a longer train will fit into the same space, and buildings which have been scaled back for modelling may start to look bigger again.  I know some NG modellers are attracted by the differences to standard gauge trains and operations, or to save space - I’m more the other way round.

 

So I’ll keep collecting advice and ideas (with thanks for the pointers so far) and I’ll do some research to refine my questions.

 

 

Have you had a look at the 009 Society (assuming you’re not already a member)?

  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

Have you had a look at the 009 Society (assuming you’re not already a member)?

 

Good point, thank you - the Merseyside and South Lancs Group mentioned by @stan williams above is part of the Society.

Prior to lockdowns I wasn’t a member of any clubs or societies, as the combination of my job and family life filled my time.  I have appreciated the help and encouragement of RMwebbers over the past year, so I should definitely think about it: there are a number of good societies covering my areas of interest.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
(Edit to connect to reference to Merseyside and South Lancs Group)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, friscopete said:

TOMA MODELWORKS in Japan are making some superb  Hon30 kits of a 13 ton shay and some Forneys,Printed resin .Superb detail  ..i believe they are also making them in Hon3

 

As you indicate, very nice, and if I’ve remembered the Yen : £ exchange correctly rate the prices look reasonable too.

Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Patrick SPF said:

Sunningwell Command Control import Blackstone Models HOn3 though I understand stocks are currently limited.

 


Thank you - I don’t know enough to know if a 3’ car (passenger or freight) would have the same / similar prototype dimensions as a 2’ car - ie: if you could take an HOn3 car and replace the trucks so it would run as HOn30.  I suspect it would look rather too big behind an HOn30 locomotive?

 

Of course there are modellers who properly re-size rolling stock, but I’ll hazard a guess it isn’t often done with items as valuable as Blackstone Models products?

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

Good point, thank you - the Merseyside and South Lancs Group mentioned by @stan williams above is part of the Society.

Prior to lockdowns I wasn’t a member of any clubs or societies, as the combination of my job and family life filled my time.

 

Yes - I’m not sure about the Merseyside group specifically but a lot of 009 Society and related local groups are different to and less formal than a traditional model railway club in terms of commitment and meetings. Having access to members’ sales could also be useful along with 009 News (the Society’s magazine), although I’m not sure how many members we actually have at the moment who model US H0n30.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just started in HOn30 myself and have aquired a few bits of Minitrains items.

Also their Krauss loco chassis is very similar in size to some of the US Porter locos so I intend to scratchbuild  body based on the Yosemite Short Line Porter for it.

 

I have also just bought a number of Yosemite Short Line resin freight car kits from Railroad Recollections in Canada. http://www.railrec.com/

They do a variety of other kits too.

 

As others have mentioned there seems quite a bit available on Shapeways.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you to all who’ve responded: all good stuff and very helpful.  
 

For anyone similarly interested in finding out more about HOn30, one thing I’ve found helpful is to try and remember to search online for both HOn30 (with a letter ‘O’ - the usual version) and H0n30 (with a number ‘0’).  For European models H0e is conventional, but ‘HOe’ appears.  ‘HOn2 1/2’ is less common now - harder to type on a computer - but is still around.

 

After doing a bit of thinking, I’ve bought a copy of Tony Koester’s Kalmbach Guide to Narrow Gauge Modelling.  It doesn’t set out to be the most detailed “how-to” guide, but is written from the point of view of a standard gauge modeller exploring the world of narrow gauge.  As this is where I’m coming from, it’s pitched exactly right for me.  Reading that is my next step.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
On 07/03/2021 at 08:38, Keith Addenbrooke said:

After doing a bit of thinking, I’ve bought a copy of Tony Koester’s Kalmbach Guide to Narrow Gauge Modelling.  It doesn’t set out to be the most detailed “how-to” guide, but is written from the point of view of a standard gauge modeller exploring the world of narrow gauge.  As this is where I’m coming from, it’s pitched exactly right for me.  Reading that is my next step.

 

Simply to provide an update, rather than leave a loose end for anyone finding this thread when looking for UK HOn30:

 

I very much enjoyed reading Tony Koester's Kalmbach book - for me it was ideal.  I've also had a look at the links suggested above to find out more about what's available to get me started.  I'm not an experienced modeller, or bargain hunter, so this is key.  Adding it all up, European H0e looks to be an easier way to begin rather than US HOn30 at the moment: more seems to be readily available in the UK, and I was impressed with what I had a decade ago.  As I'm finishing a small 'Cakebox' build project I've been working on in US HO, I'm looking at what's next.  Narrow Gauge has clear benefits for the layout space I now have, but there'll be a German or Austrian flavour rather than an American one, at least for the time being.

 

Thank you for the advice and pointers - it has confirmed the attractions of a Narrow Gauge Project; it'll just be a bit different.  Keith.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.