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.

1 comment:

  1. John,

    I am a lurker on the O List you have been posting on about buying S Scale. I am in S Scale for 23 years and am building my layout now.

    Reply directly to bill@lanestrains.com I can get up up to speed a bit.

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