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admin 03.10.2014

Whether you are brand new to model railroading, just coming back into the hobby after a break, or a seasoned modeling veteran, you’ve probably heard of N scale at one time or another. In the 1960’s a German company, Arnold, created the first commercially available N scale models. If you are starting out, there are a bewildering number of things involved with model railroading and it can be pretty overwhelming.
One of our main goals here at Model:160 is to provide a resource for model railroaders interested in N scale. My grandson has gone gaga over the Seven Dwarfs, and that was all he wanted for his 3rd birthday cake. Just like my other cake (Thomas-James face) I baked a huge sugar cookie and then decorated Snow White using my home made MM sugar icing by piping it onto the cookie.
The diminutive size and lack of sophisticated production techniques back then resulted in models that left a lot to be desired. There is something about a tiny mechanical device with so much detail and its ability to pull a long train around a similar small landscape.
Most people that dive into N scale will admit that it can be a little intimidating at first. Keep in mind though that you could go to your local Hobby Lobby and buy a layout in a box that you can run around in circles today. For those of you already in N scale we hope you will be able to take away some new trick or technique. These models had spartan details, weren’t always the smoothest runners and had a tendency to growl their way around a layout when they did run right.

The length of the freight trains you can model is substantial – a scale mile-long train is only 33 feet in N scale. Everything seems very small and you’ll probably have a deep fear of breaking something. The level of detail, size and quantity are only limited by your wallet, skills and amount of time you can devote to this hobby. There are a vast number of ways to complete a modeling task and while our staff and contributors have many years of collective modeling knowledge, we’re still learning and experimenting all the time. I used my biggest star shaped Wilton tip to make the bottom border and a smaller one for the top border and then later added my friend's daughter's name and age with home made MM fondant (tinted pink). Over time though, N scale quickly came into its own and today we have advanced technologies allow for very small models that can be built with a tremendous amount of detail.
H0 scale is the most popular scale today according to both the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) and Model Railroader magazine. The support community for N scale, particularly online, is tremendous and there are a ton of people willing to pitch in and help whenever you are in a bind.
The single best piece of advice we can give (that is also the most ignored in this hobby) is to pace yourself and start small. If you find a way that works better for you or delivers a better result, by all means use it (and let us know about it!).
During the 1960’s many modelers made a gradual shift to H0 scale as it was about half the size of O, allowing more trains in a smaller space. Likewise the locomotives available today are quiet, run smoothly, and are capable of pulling very long trains – over a scale mile long or more!.

H0 scale modelers enjoy a very diverse and robust number of models in nearly any prototype and road you might be interested in modeling. DCC can also integrate with your home computer allowing computer control of everything from turnouts to signals to automated running of trains. We all have dreams of recreating that amazing full-basement layout we saw in Model Railroader magazine.
Model:160 being an online resource means that this is a fluid project that can be edited and improved upon continuously.
The quality of H0 scale models was evolving rapidly into something that looked more and more like the real thing.
N scale also currently offers quite a bit more equipment than in the past and the number of roads available to model is fairly diverse. The reality, especially starting out, is that it is very easy to get overwhelmed and we’ve seen a LOT of people start a massive layout project and literally abandon it not even half way through. The hard core N scale modelers are even super detailing their models with lots of tiny additional detail and weathering them with rust, dust and even graffiti all in an effort to try and emulate the real thing.

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