Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A new venture into Canadian railroading in HO

Probably the main reason that I decided to expand and include HO scale in our model railroading is the vast availability of Canadian Model Railroad products in HO. I have always had a real soft spot for the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railroads. The beautiful scenery which they call home and the colorful trains rolling through snowy mountain, prairie, or costal terrain has always been something that I wanted to model. I wanted to try to do Canadian modeling in S scale, however that was just not to be. There is such a lack of product in general in S scale that Canadian modeling is basically out of the question. HO however has a wealth of products from fine companies such as Rapido, Bowser, Intermountain, and Trueline Trains just to name a few. Here are a few quick pics on our old diorama of some recent acquisitions:

Multiple scales?

So it has been a while since I've posted to the blog. I was mainly going to model in S scale. I have since decided that I am not going to restrict myself to just one scale. My good friend Troy said something to me the other day that really hit home and made a lot of sense… He said why not model them all? There's a lot of wisdom in that thought. I think he's right. So going forward I will be posting blogs about all three scales that we will be modeling here at railfanx. New 3rail O, S, and HO layouts will all begin construction in the spring of 2012. Hopefully :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Frog Juicers

I received and installed my new Hex Frog Juicer from Fast Tracks the other day on the small S scale switching layout. The Frog Juicers are made by Tam Valley Depot. What an awesome product! It just flat works. It is so simple to hook up and use it is silly! Simply connect the power input to you DCC bus lines, then run one wire to each turnout frog (6 total in the case of the Hex Juicer)and you are done. Operationally, there is nothing to do... The board handles evrything for you. Even running my short wheelbase SW-1s through at super slow speed I experienced no loss of power what so ever. The Frog juicer simply detects the dead short and changes the polarity of the frog to match the route faster than the DCC system can "see" that there is a problem. What an absoulutely perfect product! Thanks Fast Tracks for quick shipping, and thanks to Tam Valley for a GREAT product! I will post a video review soon, but check out the webpage for now: Frog Juicers

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Trying S Scale!

S scale is in a funny spot. Wedged between HO and O Scale it is likely never going to be as popular as either. That is a shame because it really is the "perfect" size. O scale is fantastic for its level of detail and sheer mass (some 8 times the volume of HO). However, that same size is also the biggest problem with the scale. Curves of 50"+ radius are the norm unless you only run very small equipment (even then 36"r is required). HO on the otherhand just seems too small for my taste. It lends itself well to scenery and is the most popular scale, but if you grow up with bigger scales it is often very difficult to go back down in size. Most HO layouts run 30"r+ though. Now don't get me wrong... we love O Scale and we appreciate HO and N. Come to think of it, we've never met a train we didn't like no matter what the size :) Enter S scale. It is large enough to "feel" big and see details, but you can run just about anything out there on 21"-27" radius. We have about 500sq ft available as potential layout space. I've been drawing O scale plans by the dozens trying to get a good fit. The only way I have been able to fit a resonable around the walls style layout was to drop down and use 36"r. It looks like we can build a much nicer layout that fits into the space by using S scale.

I have heard from many people that there isn't enough product available in S scale. Oddly, I have found that there is little available in O scale for the Great Northern or Chessie System that we want to model. A quick look at what American Models, S Helper, Smokey Mountain, Tomalco, Custom Trax, and others and I found at LEAST as much available in S scale.

I don't think I will give up on O Scale. I still love the size and detail. We plan to purchase some land in the future where I hope to have a dedicated building for my dream O scale layout. So I will still pickup pieces for that layout as well as my current O scale switching layout, but I think that the basement empire in our current house may wind up being S scale... I'm going place a couple orders from S Helper, American Models, Tomalco, and Custom Trax to test the waters and see how we like it. I'll do reviews as the products come in and post them here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

What will the new year bring? Not sure. I received 3 very nice N scale engines (2 Kato,1 Atlas) for Christmas that I am looking forward to running soon. I'm working on a design for a 10' N scale layout that will pretty much be an operating diorama with lots of scenery and little track. We have decided that I need to build a new home office and separate trains and office space sometime in the next year. Now that I know I will have the existing space fully for trains, I am not sure what scale to do... N, HO, and O all have their positive and negative points. Well, that decision can wait for now. I'm going to get back to planning my N scale diorama layout. Send me an email or comment if you have a plan like that.