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How will TT:120 differentiate itself from N, OO and 3mm scale?


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Hi there,

 

For me one over-riding reason:  It is the only RTR British scale that has the correct track gauge/scale combination.  N, 00 and 0 are all out, to varying degrees.

 

I have always preferred N to 00 and for me life is too short for a bodger/kit/scratchbuild scale but I could look seriously at TT:120 as a side project.

 

cheers

 

Ben A.

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I think many will find it attractive for the same reasons people here in North America find it attractive (but here are ultimately put off by the dearth of available product): it has the advantages of both HO(OO) and N: big enough to get a good level of detail, small enough to make good use of space and get better depth of scene than in the bigger scale.

 

As for TT v 3mm... I think two things: 1, are there any RTR models available in 3mm? All I know of is kits... and 2: scale compatibility with TT in the rest of the world. Although this doesn't apply to locomotives and rolling stock except perhaps to adapt chassis, Continental accessories e.g. buildings, road vehicles, other such things could be used/adapted in a British setting.

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32 minutes ago, britishcolumbian said:

I think many will find it attractive for the same reasons people here in North America find it attractive (but here are ultimately put off by the dearth of available product): it has the advantages of both HO(OO) and N: big enough to get a good level of detail, small enough to make good use of space and get better depth of scene than in the bigger scale.

 

As for TT v 3mm... I think two things: 1, are there any RTR models available in 3mm? All I know of is kits... and 2: scale compatibility with TT in the rest of the world. Although this doesn't apply to locomotives and rolling stock except perhaps to adapt chassis, Continental accessories e.g. buildings, road vehicles, other such things could be used/adapted in a British setting.

 

You'd be surprised how many Faller, Kibri and similar buildings that are sold as HO scale are actually 1:100 when you take a ruler to them. Same goes for industrial plant. I have used an HO water tower kit on my 3mm scale layout as it is actually 1:100. I also have nominally HO cement silos, which again are closer to 1:100 than HO. I shudder to think what scale these guys' TT offerings actually are.

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1 hour ago, britishcolumbian said:

Although this doesn't apply to locomotives and rolling stock except perhaps to adapt chassis

I'd say it does! There are lots of opportunities to use British and Continental stock side-by-side if you go looking for them.

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36 minutes ago, whart57 said:

 

You'd be surprised how many Faller, Kibri and similar buildings that are sold as HO scale are actually 1:100 when you take a ruler to them. Same goes for industrial plant. I have used an HO water tower kit on my 3mm scale layout as it is actually 1:100. I also have nominally HO cement silos, which again are closer to 1:100 than HO. I shudder to think what scale these guys' TT offerings actually are.

 

The major producers' (like the aforementioned) buildings don't surprise me at all, I remember in the early 90s after the reunification Faller and I think Vollmer labelled their 1:100 kits as HO/TT or "auch für TT geeignet". I haven't used any of their full kits, but  Auhagen's windows and doors are to scale, and generally smaller buildings are too; most of the kits that I have used or seen myself are from smaller producers and are to 1:120 scale... but with large buildings like factories and industrial installations scaling down isn't rare at all simply due to practicality - and also because many of them can vary in size, e.g. a chemical storage tank... unless there are doors on a building to give it away, for most situations it doesn't matter that much unless one is modelling an actual building in an actual location (and even then, with larger buildings/installations, compression is necessary anyways...)

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Posted (edited)

It’s a fair question that could make for entertaining discussion amongst modellers and enthusiasts, as I doubt there’s a single or a simple answer.  If we’re able to look back here in a few years it’ll be interesting to see which observations and ideas are turning out to be closest to the mark.  As TT:120 starts to evolve I also expect we’ll see changes in how it is marketed, received and adopted too, so I’d expect answers to this question to change over time as well.

 

With that in mind, three thoughts that come to mind at this stage, if I may:

 

First, if I unpack the question, part of the challenge is defining what I understand by “N, OO and 3mm scale” to begin with.  I’m not referring to technical differences, but rather how we engage with the hobby.  A quick example to explain:

 

The Hornby Flying Scotsman Train Set I ran on a Trakmat on my Lounge floor for an hour or so on my day off (before it was put back in the box) was an OO Gauge Model I bought when I was getting back into the hobby.  So is Tony Wright’s Little Bytham.

 

I’m not a skilled modeller and my time is limited, so I need some degree of r-t-r (track and locomotives in particular) and easy to build kits.  For me this rules out better OO, finer scale 4mm modelling or 3mm scale, but that doesn’t apply to all OO modellers.

 

Having the correct gauge/scale combination as the start point, as mentioned by @Revolution Ben, is therefore a clear benefit.  It gives me a head start when it comes to realism.  But for other OO modellers, switching to TT:120 might not offer that step up.

 

Second, nostalgia often plays a big part in what we want to achieve in the hobby.  Personally, I have fond memories of my early N-Gauge 4’ x 2’ layout (despite the reliability issues of 1970s N-Gauge).  N-Gauge is now very different, but that’s not what it means to me: the launch of TT:120 has made me somewhat nostalgic for a simpler time, when there wasn’t an abundance of choice in r-t-r, and where expectations were consequently quite different.  I’m sure that’s part of the personal appeal of UK TT:120 for me right now (but I’ll happily accept it’s my own quirky way to enjoy my hobby).  I’m more excited by the chance to be part of something new than which prototype I’ll be able to model.  Again, that won’t be the same for many other modellers, especially to begin with.

 

Third, I sold off my OO Collection because I was ultimately unable to achieve what I wanted to in OO in the space I have.  But I moved into Narrow Gauge modelling instead, so I’ve already solved the space problem v OO.  That’s not my point.  I’ve done a bit in H0e / HOn30 and a little bit with H0m.  It’s great fun, and I enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being part of a minority interest, but I do find some of the components in H0e / HOn30 a bit fiddly, especially when it comes to bogies - which are the same size as N-Scale.  I like H0m and like the look and feel of 12mm track though, so the third reason I’m attracted to TT:120 is because (physically) it is more or less the same size as what I’m used to - not because it’s different.  Even though we’ve not seen any UK product yet, I can be confident the size should work for me.  So that lack of difference is encouraging me to try TT:120.  

 

To test this point, I’ve ordered a Continental Station Building Kit to try out so I can see how I get on.  The fourth of my three thoughts is that having reawakened a latent interest in Continental Modelling through H0e and H0m, a common scale for either UK or European models is another big selling point.  I don’t think I’d have been tempted by a UK-specific scale offering now. 

 

So I’m afraid my points may not be at all typical, sorry, but hopefully illustrate some reasons for wanting to try TT:120.  The one thing I really hope we avoid is some of the more argumentative debates that seem to accompany new and proposed product releases.  I tend to steer well clear of the discussion on Trade Forums as a result.  I just want to have a bit of fun, and this is a chance to try something new and a bit different.  Thanks, Keith.

 

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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44 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

So I’m afraid my points may not be at all typical, sorry, but hopefully illustrate some reasons for wanting to try TT:120.  The one thing I really hope we avoid is some of the more argumentative debates that seem to accompany new and proposed product releases.  I tend to steer well clear of the discussion on Trade Forums as a result.  I just want to have a bit of fun, and this is a chance to try something new and a bit different.  Thanks, Keith.

 

 

Keith,  thank you for your thoughts, because some are very like my own.   I come from the days when you got the new annual catalogues from manufacturers and if you were lucky, there were 2 new locos for a year, and you either liked it or lumped it, or more likely there was one new model and you had a choice of Green or Maroon :) .    Scratchbuilding seemed harder then,  fewer people doing it and if you wern't in a group, then there was no internet to help you out..  you either sank or swam on your own.

 

I remember saving up 2 years worth of Christmas and Birthday present money to get my first Peco Jubilee in N  -Gauge at (I believe) £7-10-0

 

For the first time, however, there is a scale/gauge combination where the gauge is correct to scale.  This may not be much to many but it's always been an issue for me.   Now, most people have become innured to this because there has been no alternative (And I am talking ready to run, not specialist society).   In fact, I have even heard people at exhibitions say the track is to wide when looking at an EM/P4 layout becaue they have been indoctrinated into seeing the railways as portrayed by the models.  For some years, I modelled in 009.. not because it was 4mm in a minimum space, but because the track, even though course, was the right width for the model on top of it.

 

I currently operate in N gauge,  yeah, track bugs me, but at my time of life, whilst I  would love to be doing things in 2mm finescale,  time, eyesight and general mobility are against me these days.

 

I can't go 4mm standard gauge in any form due to lack of space.

 

Like you, I stay out of the Trade Forums whenever possible due to all the angst displayed, not because it annoys me..  everyone has the right to their opinions, whether right or wrong, it's just to me as an old fart, I find the discussions about the latest stock rather tiresome, when there is such a plethora of things available and I can't quite see why people complain about a bodyshell being 1mm too long when their track gauge is 2.5mm to narrow :)  (Well I can, but it seems rather irrational/irrelevant to me) 

 

Regards

 

Graham

Edited by Moria15
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Speaking as a generally H0 scale modeller, I welcome this scale to British outline for all the reasons above: the correct scale to gauge combination.

I do also model British outline in H0 scale and it’s a difficult and time consuming process, so for me, the ability to have all the hard work done for me is a major draw.

 

 I have attempted most of the major British outline scales, over the past forty plus years, I’ve even had three serious attempts at P4. There was always some drawback or another for me, lack of skill, motivation, too many interests etc.

 

Whatever I do in TT (1:120) will be small, a side interest as my commitment to H0 is massive but I see it as something that will help me relax and simply enjoy it all.

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Posted (edited)

The PECO announcements and there various pitch articles in the July Railway Modeller show inconsistency of purpose. Or more likely, PECO riding two horses to keep their options open. I refer to the turnouts they have released and those they have announced. The medium radius turnout has a nominal radius of 3' and is just over 7" long, while the promised short radius points have a nominal radius of about 13" and are just over 5" long.

 

The medium radius points are more or less the same length, radius and divergence as the B6 point kits the 3mm Society has just commissioned from British Finescale for 14.2mm gauge. The target market for these is clearly the finescale modeller. I expect they will be excellent products but they won't be space savers over OO gauge. As an aside the nominal radius of 3' represents a comfortable curvature for scratch built engines with flanges on all wheels, limited sideplay and reasonably tight clearances at check rails, suggesting that 3mm scale modellers haven't been entirely forgotten.

 

The short radius points are a different matter. These are the space savers. The radius equates to a two chain curve, corners found only in dockyards and similarly tight industrial locations. As PECO have announced that this is what they are going to make then that is a marker for rolling stock makers to be sure their stuff will go through it. As they will anyway given existing track makers like Tillig already produce curves that tight.

 

The two layout designs printed in Railway Modeller reflects the two horse straddle. One is a potentially finescale BLT, the other a table top layout with all the compromises that entails.

 

Speaking from a position of experience in modelling a scale between OO and N this causes me concern. I'm interested in this venture as I look at my increasingly gnarled fingers and can see a time coming not too many years hence when scratchbuilding and kitbuilding is no longer an option. I suspect too that when the time comes my access to a generous space for a layout will be curtailed too. My concern is that I won't find the short radius options - radii 15" or less - attractive but the space won't be there for 3' radius running. I do hope PECO plug the gap in a later release with something like an A4 in finescale terms or 20" nominal radius in ordinary modeller's terms.

Edited by whart57
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57 minutes ago, whart57 said:

The short radius points are a different matter. These are the space savers. The radius equates to a two chain curve, corners found only in dockyards and similarly tight industrial locations. As PECO have announced that this is what they are going to make then that is a marker for rolling stock makers to be sure their stuff will go through it. As they will anyway given existing track makers like Tillig already produce curves that tight.

 

The two layout designs printed in Railway Modeller reflects the two horse straddle. One is a potentially finescale BLT, the other a table top layout with all the compromises that entails.

 

Speaking from a position of experience in modelling a scale between OO and N this causes me concern. I'm interested in this venture as I look at my increasingly gnarled fingers and can see a time coming not too many years hence when scratchbuilding and kitbuilding is no longer an option. I suspect too that when the time comes my access to a generous space for a layout will be curtailed too. My concern is that I won't find the short radius options - radii 15" or less - attractive but the space won't be there for 3' radius running. I do hope PECO plug the gap in a later release with something like an A4 in finescale terms or 20" nominal radius in ordinary modeller's terms.

 

I wasn't aware that Peco had announced a radius for their small points yet?  I know they said that the minimum radius in that TableTop plan was 12" thus limiting it to small locos and 4 wheel carriages, but that doesn't mean the points will be that radius, and even if they are, why is this an issue?  N gauge can happily run on 9" radius, in fact even smaller if you only allow small locos and 4 wheel stock, so 12" in 1:120 is larger "in proportion" than N minimum radius ?

 

Everybody has their own standards that they want to run to, and personally, I think Peco have done the right thing, and made it suitable for all that might be interested in this scale.

 

Yes a TableTop layout that is roundy roundy will inevitably need compromises, but the track gauge doesn't need to be one of them.  After all, you could use HoM peco track which is 20" radius (I believe) if you were prepared to compromise on rail height.

 

Personally, for a Branch Line Terminus, I hope they go bigger than 3' radius as even  a B5.5/B6 is pretty damn tight, even though it looks huge based on the compromises we are already adjusted to in modelling :)

 

Graham

Edited by Moria15
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I don't think PECO are necessarily doing the wrong thing, just that the announcements so far seem to be PECO hedging their bets.

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2 hours ago, Moria15 said:

Personally, for a Branch Line Terminus, I hope they go bigger than 3' radius as even  a B5.5/B6 is pretty damn tight, even though it looks huge based on the compromises we are already adjusted to in modelling :)

 

I agree, as someone who builds their own track (in OO-SF), I'd certainly be using the same radii in TT:120 as I currently do.  The attraction to me is more space in and around the model.  I already have my Tim Horn boards @ 9' X 18" (6ft scenic) and will keep the same track plan as the 4mm with the exception that sidings are better placed and longer, I intend to keep the 3 coach max train length (I intend to run only 2 coach sets, Pull-Push etc) but increase platform lengths slightly.  And I'll have more room at the back to mix the fore and backgrounds together in terms of scenery.

 

 

Edited by Tim Dubya
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Diifference with 00 is pretty obvious; much smaller. Maybe with N is not so obvious until you look at what Corgi have done with  their static TT models; they have a fineness and presence which has eluded even the best N models, and show there is a clear slot between N and 3mm to be filled. My view is that to fill it manufacturers will need to aim for the highest standards, even if prices are high.

 

Between TT and 3mm it's more difficult; currently it's between off the shelf, and a very wide range of kits and components which support those who build their own. Though a 3mm modeller, I'd be surprised if I didn't try a, probably modest, TT project, just out of interest; I like this sort of scale and done properly think it deserves to succeed.

 

Nigel

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Posted (edited)

I should preface this post by explaining I've not been a regular reader of Railway Modeller for many years, so I'm not familiar with the editorial approach that is taken (I subscribe to BRM).  But after I mentioned TT:120 to my Dad, he cut out and posted the relevant pages from July 2022 RM (all bar the Collett drawing I think).  I've therefore had a chance to have a read, but please note it is a bit out of context. 

 

With that in mind, what really strikes me is that the driving rationale for TT:120 seems to simply be the limited space in modern housing.  Modellers who have layouts may not see this as a problem, but it is presented as a serious external issue for the hobby to consider that isn't going to go away (several examples are given).  TT:120 is offered as an ideal response to this issue.  It is small enough to fit our shrinking spaces without being too small for the level of detail many like to see (and to be able to see).

 

I posted my personal reasons for being interested in TT:120 in my previous post above,  In terms of a general answer to the question being asked - which is a fair one - I'm not sure Peco (and others) see it as a competition between scales, rather a contest between the hobby and other things that take up space in smaller living spaces.*

 

Technically, it looks to me like Peco are taking advantage of developments in N-Scale (ie: Code 55 track) while aiming for the degree of detail now achievable in OO, and why not?  The Scale fits in between, so let's draw on the best of both.

 

Some modellers may wish to go down a more finescale route, others will prefer more r-t-r, some will be happy with 3-D printed kits, others may scratchbuild, and others may hope for RTP buildings and accessories in time.  How the Scale develops is down to us and what we put in to making it work as modellers: pioneering within an established pastime.

 

Peco have perhaps played to their strengths with GW buildings and a couple of classic Peco plan book layout suggestions.  Heljan are bringing their experience in UK outline diesels to the party with the 31, and Gaugemaster are partnering with European manufacturers for their scenic range (which is what they do).

 

When I look at it like this, the question then changes and becomes this: what can I add?  As a hobby, the more I put in the more I'll get out.  Some are already getting started, and full credit there of course.

 

My answer won't satisfy everyone (it may not satisfy anyone), but that's what I take away from the Railway Modeller articles on TT:120.  The same could have been said of many new innovations over the years - I think it's what Peco are saying here.  Just some thoughts - time for me to finish speculating and get ready to model, Keith.

______________________________________________________

 

* I commented on this point in the Peco thread last week:

With a follow-up post pointing to some research I'd found on the web a few days later:

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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4 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

When I look at it like this, the question then changes and becomes this: what can I add?  As a hobby, the more I put in the more I'll get out. 

 

Quote of the week.

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I’m moving to TT120 as I want a challenge where the end product will look right. British N is too small, OO is compromised, I’ve tried British HO scale and couldn’t get on with it and I’ve dabbled with 3mm scale but found it compromised like OO unless I built and laid my own trackwork. I think the charm for me in 1/120 is that it’s all new, nobody has really done it before so it’s a great chance to do some modelling and test some ideas out.

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As a person whose interest is piqued by the announcements, but who has no modern r-t-r in either 00 or N, I can say what potentially differentiates in my eyes:

 

- better detailing than N;

 

- more exact scale/gauge ratio than either 00 or N;

 

- more spacious feel in the same modest area that I’m thinking of devoting to a small-scale essay than 00;

 

- slightly less invisibly small and difficult to prevent looking toy-like for scenic purposes than N (still a demanding scale in this sense though);

 

- initially very limited offerings should impose a bit of mental discipline to prevent straying and whimmery.

 

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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The idea of a British RTR scale that has correct gauge track has been mentioned several times in threads dealing with TT:120.  Interesting as there have only so far been promises of RTR stock but much speculation of kits, 3D and otherwise.  This may follow the 009 and 0-16.5 pattern of Peco producing track first then the trade following up.  RTR 009 has only just been available but there still is no RTR 0-16.5, but lots of kits and donor chassis for both scales.

 

There are existing options for correct scale/gauge ratio systems but work is required to adapt RTR 00 to EM, for which RTL and simple kits are available for track and points; P4 still requires point construction.  All this leads me to think that it really is the scale that may be the big attraction for many!

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1 hour ago, Jeff Smith said:

There are existing options for correct scale/gauge ratio systems but work is required to adapt RTR 00 to EM, for which RTL and simple kits are available for track and points; P4 still requires point construction.  All this leads me to think that it really is the scale that may be the big attraction for many!

A key difference is that EM and P4 are still British-specific scales. TT is not.

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1 hour ago, eldomtom2 said:

A key difference is that EM and P4 are still British-specific scales. TT is not.

Not the point I was making but never mind.....

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4 hours ago, Jeff Smith said:

The idea of a British RTR scale that has correct gauge track has been mentioned several times in threads dealing with TT:120.  Interesting as there have only so far been promises of RTR stock but much speculation of kits, 3D and otherwise.  This may follow the 009 and 0-16.5 pattern of Peco producing track first then the trade following up.  RTR 009 has only just been available but there still is no RTR 0-16.5, but lots of kits and donor chassis for both scales.

 

There are existing options for correct scale/gauge ratio systems but work is required to adapt RTR 00 to EM, for which RTL and simple kits are available for track and points; P4 still requires point construction.  All this leads me to think that it really is the scale that may be the big attraction for many!

 

There are things like Halling motor bogies for H0m that would probably do well under a diesel or multiple unit body. That would extend the range of what is available quicker than RTR rollouts could. It's a blow that Hollywood Foundry is no more though the Mashima motors they relied on are hard to come by too aren't they.

 

There are some nice small coreless motors available off eBay. They are 8mm in diameter - so fit between the wheels of a 12mm gauge mechanism - are 16mm long in the body and have 1mm diameter double ended shafts. I'm using one for a Colonel Stephens Ford railbus in 00 and tested it on the club track a couple of weeks ago. After some 40 minutes solid running it was barely warm. A clever CAD person could design a 3D printed motor bogie round that motor that could power DMUs and DEMUs. On Shapeways there's a Derby Lightweight single car in N that might well be scaleable up. Among other things.

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5 hours ago, Jeff Smith said:

.  RTR 009 has only just been available but there still is no RTR 0-16.5, but lots of kits and donor chassis for both scales.

ISTR RTR 0-16.5 is on the way (Lynton and Barnstaple, again) — from Lionheart Trains I believe.

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