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Evening All,

Newbie here with a couple questions. Like the title asks, is N gauge right for me? I had an old all-in-one HO scale kit when I was 10, and I ran it to death. I was thinking about starting up into some serious building (since I got the good graces from the wife!) =o) and the format I want to go into is mainly N gauge. Being in Japan, of course I want to go with the Japanese scheme, and make a commuter system layout. I just visited a new hobby store the size of Wal-Mart that just opened up over here, and almost everything was N. Granted there were track and cars and such in all the other gauges, but the abundance of everything was N gauge. Shoud I just give in, or scout out some choices from other locations? Second question, has anybody ever done a Japanese setup before, or know someone who has? If so, any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the help, and all the great ideas so far from this forum.

Have a great Day!



Maytag "Danged Agitator"
I chose N sxcale because I could put twice the RR together than in HO. I have a 10' 5" X 15' room that is filled with my layout and my workbench.
Dear Doc,

I re-started my model railway hobby 4 years ago with Z-track but changed to H0 due to the more and more comming locos with sound-decoders giving me but also all visitors of may layout a lot of fun. Also you should think about converting to DCC and that can be really a problem in small locos in N-track. On the other hand I've not much space and I'm limited to a switching yard. In N-gauge you've 4 times more space than H0 giving you a lot of more space for your ideas!
I think in Japan N-gauge is so popolar since they have very very limited space in there flats and that's the main reason.
In Germany I found following WEB-page (also in English language) giving you an overview about Japanese model-railroad stuff:

I think the main supplierer in japan is "TOMIX".

Have fun!


John W

Why not try building a few building kits in the different scales that interest you. That way for not much of an investment you might get a "feel" for the scale you are most comfortable with.

John W


> I could put twice the RR together than in HO.

It's actually 4 times as much. N scale is roughly half HO, so a 4 x 8 HO layout could fit into 2 x 4 feet in N scale. Put two of them end to end, and two more beside that, and you'd have 4 layouts in the space of one. (Techically it's 8 times, as much, since it's also half as high, but that's almost never a concern in model railroads...)

PS - Something I've always thought would be cool to do would be to build an HO scale trackplan using N scale track. Don't scale it down by half, use the same 18 or 22 inch radius curves, all that stuff, only tighten up the track centers as you need to make it realistic looking. You'd have wider curves, longer yards and siding, more vertical clearance if there were multiple levels. All in all, it would be really neat I think...

Why don't I try it? After a day on the real thing HO looks too tiny to me, let alone N scale...


Planned and ready

Evening again!

Thanks to all for your helpful posts. When I visited the hobby (mega warehouse) store again this last weekend, I bought a KATO layout book to help me decide. After careful review, I thought it would be best to make a layout with some help form the book. Even though it is all in Japanese (and my japanese is pretty limited), the plans they have are all diagramed and organized, all the way down to exactly how many pieces of each track you need, and what the MSRP is for everything. If anyone is interested, and possibly has the Japanese layout book, I am doing plan No. 309. It is a 2 layered plan which is the size of a normal piece of plywood here in Japan (91x182cm). I have plans on expanding it to double the original size adding another portion and making it into an "L" shaped layout. It's going to be challenging, but hey, that's why I'm doing it. I plan on starting the benchwork this upcoming weekend, so if anyone is interested, I will start posting pics on the "virtual layout" thread once I have something to show. Thanks again for all the help!



Registered Member
Staff member
Hi -doc, Welcome to the Model Railroadforums. Just a couple of points to ponder. IMHO, the scale you choose is as much of a personal thing as the layout it's self. All the scales have many excellent points to consider, and the detail on some of the smaller scales is unbelieveable. If you want a large layout but have limited space, then perhaps consideration should be given to N or Z, especially if the major source of supplies are in that scale. There are usually other mitigating factors which can determine one's choice, In my case what I wanted to build would have been possible in N scale, however age takes it's toll on the dexterity of the hands and eyes, so in my case, N scale would be too difficult, Z would have been impossible so I settled on HO. Even at that the size of my layout is a satisfactory compromise of what I wanted. Since we have no local hobby shops close by, I use mail order for supplies and that evens the availability of supplies. Think out the best options for yourself and go for it. Good luck on your choice, if you have any other concerns regarding your choice of scale, don't hesitate to post a question, that's what this forum is all about, sharing information.
Cheers Willis

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