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Thread: Model Railroader Editor quote on N scale (supportive!)

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    Default Model Railroader Editor quote on N scale (supportive!)

    On page 8 of the October 2019 issue of Model Railroader, in the From the Editor column, editor Hal Miller gives his thoughts on the National Model Railroad Convention and Train Show, and among them was the following paragraph:

    I think if the hobby is experiencing growth anywhere, it's in N scale. Younger people coming into the hobby are embracing the smaller scale for its economy and footprint. That's the way I see it.
    Andy

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    YESSSSSSSSS!!!!!


    Metro Red Ln (Metro Red Line)
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    Economy? I want some of what he has been drinking.
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    Economy? I want some of what he has been drinking.
    Compare it to the larger scales and everything makes more sense. Although, he might have meant "economy" as in "more trains/layout size per square foot."

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    Economy? I want some of what he has been drinking.
    Longer trains in less space, better track-to-scenery ratio, Gordon, is what Hal's referring to, I think.

    MR's Canadian Canyon project layout from 2018-2019 is a real gem in N scale. I think the Red Oak layout was too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    Longer trains in less space, better track-to-scenery ratio, Gordon, is what Hal's referring to, I think.

    MR's Canadian Canyon project layout from 2018-2019 is a real gem in N scale. I think the Red Oak layout was too.
    And don't forget the Salt Lake layout...game changer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroRedLn View Post
    And don't forget the Salt Lake layout...game changer!
    Oh yeah!

    Curious how whenever MR does a project layout in N scale, it's always something unique, even going back to the Enfield & Ohio in 1966. Footprint, construction technique, theme, what have you.

    They just don't build a 2x4 version of an HO layout. ...

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    Guess I'll have to raid my own single malt.
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Economy of space.

    Doug
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJake View Post
    On page 8 of the October 2019 issue of Model Railroader, in the From the Editor column, editor Hal Miller gives his thoughts on the National Model Railroad Convention and Train Show, and among them was the following paragraph:

    I think if the hobby is experiencing growth anywhere, it's in N scale. Younger people coming into the hobby are embracing the smaller scale for its economy and footprint. That's the way I see it.
    Andy
    I think they were having a bad day!

    But in all seriousness that's a good start!

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    When I got into N scale as a teen, it was exactly for both those reasons, space and more financially economic. I know, it's hard to see the where N scale is cheaper when looking at the new products coming off the factory floors, but when you're just getting into the hobby as a financially limited teen, you aren't usually looking at new items. I was buying used trains at a hobby shop, train shows, wherever I could, and while it is a little harder to find used N scale than HO scale, it really is lower cost many times. Prototypical accuracy wasn't in the budget at the time, so I ran what I could afford. Like people say, you can spend as much or as little as you want in the hobby. My first few years in model railroading, my locomotives were all under $40, my top budget for freight cars was around $5 each, $10 if I really wanted it. Yes, my first layout wasn't top of the line, but I had fun! We all get spoiled by top of the line products now, and I think many times we get so wrapped up in professionalism in the hobby that we forget the humbler, simpler beginnings some of us had. Nowadays, when I get a new product that doesn't work exactly perfectly, I just think back to my early days and remember how glad I would have been to have had this much more expensive locomotive, and dig in and fix it with the skills I learned fixing used locomotives in my early days. It's all part of the hobby for me, and I enjoy it all!

    Andrew

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    If Hal is correct, and I have no reason to doubt him, two interesting phenomena are occurring that bode well for N scale.

    The first is what Hal's already pointed out: younger modelers appear to be opting for N scale over HO and larger scales. (I'm purposely omitting Z and T scale because they have little significant market share despite their appeal.) I think space and value are driving this.

    The second phenomena is that many older N scale modelers -- primarily the Baby Boomers -- are apparently (and admittedly it's anecdotal data) sticking with N scale. A recent thread on this forum supports that. This runs counter to the projection Tony Koester made early this decade that a substantial number of aging Boomers might abandon N and HO for On30 or S.

    So, perhaps in the next analysis, we'll see N scale gaining market share on HO scale, perhaps up to 30 percent, maybe higher, of active modelers indicating it's their primary scale from the current 25 percent. MRH keeps pretty good tabs on that data and shares it. So keep a weather eye open, mates.

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    @conrailandrew
    That pretty much sums it up for me.

    Reading your post brought back some memories for me Andrew. Ha!
    I remember when KATO first released the GP38/38-2 and it listed for $49.95!!!!
    The Atlas GP9's at the time were only $20.00 and the RS-3's were...... $34.95 I think? (I was still digging through couches for coins at that point)
    "W
    hy do they cost so much? How much better can these be than the RS-3's?" I asked Harold.
    After asking (and I can still see the smirk on face to this day) he happily took one out and ran it on the test loop for me.
    My whole world changed at that moment!

    Let's hope that Hal is right.
    Last edited by Allen H.; 2nd Sep 2019 at 11:43 AM. Reason: spelking
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    Does anyone remember John Leaders? His layouts really showed how cost effective the hobby can be. He was working on an Council Bluffs themed layout when he fell off the grid. I don’t think his blog has been updated in years.
    Marias Pass

    Orin Line
    Karl

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    I do!!
    I loved looking over his layouts, the first one was his coal field layout that you posted.
    The last time I talked with him was 4 years ago and his last update was three years ago.

    http://nscaleaddiction.blogspot.com/...e+Addiction%29

    I know he said he was extremely busy helping his folks with the family farm at the time.
    The Little Rock Line blog


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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    Does anyone remember John Leaders? His layouts really showed how cost effective the hobby can be. He was working on an Council Bluffs themed layout when he fell off the grid. I don’t think his blog has been updated in years.
    I remember the blog, but not his name. Nonetheless, a talented modeler to be sure.

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    The younger participants are usually not faced with abandoning an existing HO or larger scaled investment, but are hopefully offsetting the market losses due to an aging population of existing participants.

    Particularly with younger participants, it is also an indirectly economic decision to model in N scale:

    Younger adults can afford smaller apartments, condos and houses, and don't have a spare bedroom or most of a basement to dedicate to their model RR hobby (which more and more likely is also not their only significant hobby). They also change jobs and move around more often, so the boat anchor of a large, room-filling layout is less appealing to them.

    Combined with that, the typical trains they see today at 1:1 are long, unit trains of coal gondolas, tank cars, covered hoppers or containers, which are difficult to show well on less than a room-sized layout at HO and larger scales. N scale brings those trains down to physical sizes that can be modeled and shown well in less than an entire room, perhaps on only a hollow-core door or a single sheet of plywood and/or foam-board. Note that these latter sizes are also less demanding of framework and carpentry skills and tools.

    To cater to these new entrants in the market, MR should be emphasizing more, smaller layouts, in smaller scales (like N). They've had recent project layouts like this, but their feature layout articles still tend to be the basement- (if not building-) filling layouts where larger scales dominate.

    But let's not forget that, while N-scale may be the only sector that is growing, it has a ways to go before it eclipses the market size of HO. As a general market publication, MR has to apportion their content to the overall market, particularly the market for the magazine, which the younger audience does not purchase as much as older audiences do.

    Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    Guess I'll have to raid my own single malt.

    Is it the economy-sized bottle?

    Okay, okay, I'll stop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    The second phenomena is that many older N scale modelers -- primarily the Baby Boomers -- are apparently (and admittedly it's anecdotal data) sticking with N scale. A recent thread on this forum supports that. This runs counter to the projection Tony Koester made early this decade that a substantial number of aging Boomers might abandon N and HO for On30 or S.
    There has always been this assumption that degrading eyesight is a factor for modelers to abandon smaller scales and go bigger. But that doesn't take into consideration technical advances in medicine (e.g. cataract surgery, lazik, etc) to prolog/improve eyesight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    So, perhaps in the next analysis, we'll see N scale gaining market share on HO scale, perhaps up to 30 percent, maybe higher, of active modelers indicating it's their primary scale from the current 25 percent. MRH keeps pretty good tabs on that data and shares it. So keep a weather eye open, mates.
    This is something I keep tabs on ever since leaving HO scale. Here's what I noticed:

    - Kato (a multi-scale company that is majority N) has a consistent hold on market share, mainly due to Unitrack and its strength in Amtrak and other passenger trains (It has been the first to release the ACS-64 and Viewliner baggage car in any scale).

    - Atlas, since acquiring BLMA has REALLY upped its N scale game. I'm totally not a "one manufacturer" kind of modeler, but I did notice that 80% of all of the new/used rolling stock I have purchased this year came from Atlas. They are also a multi-scale company, but for the last couple of decades, they seem to be growing more of their product catalog in N.

    - Athearn reluctantly entered the N scale market in 2003 after being acquired by Horizon Hobby. Their N scale offerings have always been limited and modest (though with landmark releases like the Challenger and Big Boy steam locos, but suddenly they are starting to enter the N scale intermodal game with a slew of containers coming out.

    - ScaleTrains, a newcomer on the block (though their principals are all former Athearn employees), is also a multi-scale company and though their releases are still majority HO, their Big Blow Turbine and GE ET44 GEVO were total game-changers as far as N scale locomotives.

    - Tangent Scale Models is another multi-scale newcomer, also with an emphasis on prototypical quality.

    - The same can be said for Canada-based Rapido Trains, which is still majority HO, but their N versions are just as high-quality.

    - Though former N scale intermodal king Deluxe Innovations went out of business, newcomer Jacksonville Terminal Company has taken up the crown, in a huge way, with prototypically-correct containers for modern and '80s-'90s eras.

    - Longtime N veteraN Micro-Trans has started keeping up with the competition with body-mounted couplers, lower ride height and now metal wheels standard.

    - The biggest trend I've witnessed among N scale manufacturers in the past decade and a half is metal wheelsets. When I started out, the only brand on the block was Intermountain (the crude version with the huge rims). But then Fox Valley showed up in a big way, and the flood gates opened with BLMA, ExactRail, Athearn, Rapido Trains, Tangent and even MTL.

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    I was going to post my beginnings in N scale but @conrailandrew pretty accurately described them in his . Even now that I have a bigger budget, I still find myself hard pressed for space to dedicate to a layout and that is what keeps me in this scale (well that and all the rolling stock I've collected over the years )

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