Author Topic: What got you started in "N" scale?  (Read 5654 times)

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Rich_S

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What got you started in "N" scale?
« on: May 02, 2014, 07:20:54 AM »
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Seeing some of the other threads on this forum, got me to wondering; I know don't wonder to far or I'll get lost  :facepalm: but as the subject line suggests, what got you started in "N" scale?

My first N scale train set was a Christmas present from my maternal grandmother, it was an AHM / Lima Minitrain set like this one.



I still have the cars and locomotive, although the F7 does not run. The power pack, track and box have been lost to time. Of course when I received this set, I was already heavy into "HO", it wasn't until the late 80's when Kato released their GP38-2 that got me into "N" scale.



So what got you started in "N" scale???
« Last Edit: May 03, 2014, 05:40:06 PM by Rich_S »

Chris333

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2014, 07:36:34 AM »
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My very first N scale was a Bachmann set with the MDT Plymouth  and like 3 cars. I was about 7 or 8 and I found a $50 bill in the middle of the road on my bike. So Dad took me to the hobby shop to properly dispose of it.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 07:57:36 AM by Chris333 »

w neal

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2014, 08:26:16 AM »
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Dad brought home an Atlas N set, after being properly advised - for the era mind you - at the local hobby shop. An amtrak F-7, a warren tank car... N Scale has stuck ever since. Like you Rick, it was the Kato GP-38 that brought me back into N scale after a lapse of many years. Going from Minitrix to the Kato mechanism's standards was a revolution. Love the selection in HO, but I always find myself saying "Think how much N scale I could fit into this space." I remain in N because I like to make things more "spacious" as the Reid brothers say. You just can't beat all that room between towns.


« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 08:29:26 AM by w neal »
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VonRyan

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2014, 08:32:03 AM »
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My grandfather started me in N-scale when I was three. He had to put the hobby on hold because the basement was being used for my grandmother's ceramics business. (I still have what's left of his HO stuff)

So he could keep an eye on me, and endulge my love of trains, he put a narrow stretch of plywood behind the countertop where molds would sit to dry, and even cut a hole through the wall into the workshop, so I kinda had a tunnel. It was a basic dogbone running off a Tyco power pack.

The first engine was a black GP-7 or 9. IIRC it was a LifeLike. I think still have it somewhere.

The engine I remember most is an F40something painted for Amtrak. It was my best runner.
Even after my grandfather passed, I still stuck with the trains. My mom and grandmom even relaid parts of the track at some point to try and minimize derailments.
My grandmother even bought me a Bachmann Spectrum Dash-8, at full retail, in Conrail Quality (all I saw by my house was CR on the former PRSL Penns Grove branch, so naturally it was a favourite). The engine was always a good, smooth runner. No outrageous top speeds. Only problem is that it wouldn't take the tight curves in the workshop, so in a sense I got my first taste of point-to-point running.

What really got me into the hobby in a more serious way is joining my local N-Trak club, which also happens to be the very same club I have memories of seeing at the local Greenberg shows as a child.

I could go into a heck of a lot more detail, but this thread is just about how we got our starts, so. I'll leave it at that.


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davefoxx

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 08:38:16 AM »
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Ironically, it was the availability of Atlas' line of mass-produced Code 55 track.  I attempted N scale in 1994 (when Micro Trains was offering body mount kits to fill the gaping pilots of Atlas' Geeps), but ultimately went back to HO, because I couldn't stand the look of Code 80 track.  When I discovered in the early 2000s that Code 55 was being manufactured, back I came, and I've been here ever since.

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basementcalling

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2014, 08:39:33 AM »
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When I came back from Germany as a 12 year old kid in 1981, I wanted another train layout like the HO one my dad and I had before we moved there on his tour of duty.

We found an old collection of Bachmann cars and an Atlas/Rivarossi SW 1500 (that ran very well, and looked snazzy in the black and silver paintscheme I brush applied I think). I convinced Dad to spend the $30 the local hobby shop wanted for a Con Cor PA-1 in ATSF livery, and I adapted a plan from the 101 plans book by Lynne Westscott. Narrow gauge purists would cringe with a plan for Georgetown Loop being used for full sized N, but the ability to let scenery dominate the trains really hooked me. The layout had every stereotypical 4x8 problem you can list, but trains operated, the mountains were taller than I was, and only a little mold grew out of the globs of Sculptamold I used to make rock faces in a cold garage where it took 3 weeks to dry completely. The colors were kinda realistic.

From then on I was hooked, and I managed to build a small shelf switching layout under my lofted bed in college, then hit the NTRAK craze with a couple modules.

Peter Pfotenhauer

Denver Road Doug

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 08:53:35 AM »
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In short, it was the Kato DCC-ready Burlington Northern SD40-2.

I modeled mostly HO-scale, had a couple of false-starts in N, and then pretty much got out of the hobby altogether during college.  I was very interested in command control before I left the hobby but couldn't really afford it.   DCC was on the scene at the very tail end but not really in N yet.  So basically I said that if there was ever a quality BN SD40-2 in n-scale that could work on DCC, that is when I will get back into the hobby, and full force with N-scale.   I'm a huge BN and ATSF (and now BNSF) fan and grew up watching the Powder River coal boom with tons of SD40-2's and C30-7's and the SD40-2 was simply a cool locomotive.  Some time in 1999 I picked up a Model Railroader at a Barnes & Noble and on the back cover there it was....Kato BN SD40-2, decoder ready.   The rest is history.   8)
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

TiVoPrince

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 09:00:28 AM »
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Interesingly
it was the tunnel motor announcement...
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u18b

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 09:04:56 AM »
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It's my wife's fault.

28 years ago we were newly married and we would dream about kids.  I'd  talk about doing trains with my son.

She thought... OK.  Why wait.  Let him start now.
Gave me N scale for Christmas.

What a great woman!
Ron Bearden
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"All get what they want-- not all like what they get."  Aslan the Lion in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis.

mcjaco

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2014, 09:07:23 AM »
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The Atlas Forum, seeing the Kingsbury Branch in person, and meeting Skibbe and Denton.  That iced it.  I knew I could model in N just as well as I could in HO.

Scottl

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2014, 09:12:07 AM »
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Quote
Ironically, it was the availability of Atlas' line of mass-produced Code 55 track.  I attempted N scale in 1994 (when Micro Trains was offering body mount kits to fill the gaping pilots of Atlas' Geeps), but ultimately went back to HO, because I couldn't stand the look of Code 80 track.  When I discovered in the early 2000s that Code 55 was being manufactured, back I came, and I've been here ever since.

I have a similar kind of start. My first interest in n scale was in the mid-1990s and I was underwhelmed, especially with the Lifelike GP38 I bought at the time and the clunky code 80 track that was the same size as HO rail.  Jump ahead to 2004, when I visited Caboose Hobbies in Denver and I was amazed at the Atlas locomotives on display and the code 55 track.  I bought an SD60 on the spot, and have rarely looked back. 

Rich_S

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2014, 09:23:13 AM »
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Great feedback guys, keep them coming. It's great reading how people got into "N" scale.

@DaveFoxx, When I purchased the Kato GP38-2, I also purchased the Micro-trains pilot conversion kit  :D

@U18B Thankfully I have a good woman as well. For my birthdays, I always find a gift card for the local hobby shop in my birthday card. 

@mcjaco The Kingsbury Branch has always been a inspiration along with the Reid Brothers Cumberland Valley System.

@Scottl It's funny both you and Dave mention the track. When I was into "HO", Atlas Brass code 100 was the big thing in "HO" scale track. Code 80 Nickel Silver "N" scale track didn't seem that large at the time  :facepalm:

 

Rossford Yard

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2014, 09:24:27 AM »
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Well, it was the good kind of slow trickle effect.....

I had built an HO layout with two roommates back in Chicago, and one went into N soon thereafter, so I was exposed to the idea of it, but not ready to plunge.

Moved to Texas after getting married in 1984, and found the garage switching layout I built not much fun, or clubs, since I like long trains (but not clubs).  Kato and Atlas were starting to make good running and reliable N scale locos, furthering my interest in N.

When I bought my second house in 1990, it had a loft 12 x 17, and the wife agreed the layout could go up there.  At the exact same time, an N scale layout came up for sale, due to poor health of its owner, that was exactly 12 x 16.5'.  It fit perfectly into my space.  I changed most of it over time, but it was quick and ready bench work (my weak spot, plus small kids sleeping in rooms nearby would have prevented much late night work of that kind) and the ability to run trains right away while I was making changes.

So, it all seemed like some kind of destiny.  I became an overnight N scaler.....

conrail98

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2014, 09:28:46 AM »
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My dad pointed to a corner of the basement and said if I wanted to build a layout, we could do it there. I wanted to do our favorite train watching area, Trenton through the Morrisville Cutoff, and could only do that in N. I started buying up Conrail and Amtrak stuff and track but went off to college before beginning anything. Alas, if only they'd make an AEM-7 in N scale, then I'd probably be able to go back and rethink my layout area,

Phil
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Philip H

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Re: What got you started in "N" scale?
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2014, 09:47:46 AM »
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I got the original N Scale Primer in 1979 for Christmas - and carried it to Spain for the semester we were living in Seville.  After riding Spanish, French and Belgian trains, and seeing the Ibertren N scale stuff in about a dozen shops, I was hooked.  Still have the book and the N scale I picked up over seas . . .

When we got back I had a lat birthday present of a bachman U36B, about a dozen cars, and enough track to build the EZ and Quick on an old door (!).  I ran that thing in all its incarnations until college, when I went N trak . . .

But it's really all my Uncle David's fault.  Besides modeling the EBT in HOn3, he ran the NASA Railroad at KSC until the late 1990's. 
Philip H.
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