Questions on S Scale

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Rusty, one last question: If you were just starting a S scale layout today (not AF) what code rail would you choose?

My preference would be code 100 rail, which is what I have currently.  But to be brutally honest, if I were to tear it down and start over I would probably go with AM's code 148 rail and go the HiRail route. 

 

I have a bunch of AM & SHS stuff that is HiRail, plus some of the Lionel/Flyer Mikados and Pacific's. 

 

As I've discovered looking at some of the layouts on the 3-rail side, given a proper environment, even the "bear claw" couplers begin to "disappear."  Here's a couple on images of mine from 2001 when I used to modulate.  The CHASM modules are HiRail on AM track.  I apologize for the relatively poor quality, the old Sony Mavica just can't match today's cameras.  All the equipment is HiRail.

 

 

hw0104

 

hw0106

 

hw0145

 

hw0122

 

When I was showing videos taken of this stuff from this show to a serious HO friend, he didn't notice it was HiRail.

 

Rusty

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Rusty, thanks for the information. I really appreciate it. Great pics!

 

When I went to 2 rail one of things I liked most about it was going to KD couplers. The "bear-claw" really didn't bother me as far as looks went but I could not do any switching with it. I had to ram cars together at high speed to get them to couple. It was very frustrating and not to mention extremely unrealistic. I've noticed that in S scale the since the bear-claw is the same size and the car is smaller the size of it really does bother me. It's just not something I want or like.

 

The pics you posted do like great and I agree with you that the higher rail code is not really noticeable but to my eye, and everyone is different, the bear-claw really sticks out (mainly the 3rd pic down) slightly spoiling an otherwise perfect scene. Just my opinion.

 

As for the code rail I have 148 now in O scale and the scale guys scream it is too large but it doesn't bother me. What does is I have one of the Fast Tracks fixtures for making switches and filing the code 148 rail takes forever. It is a lot of labor. It takes a lot longer than filing the HO code rail FT shows in their videos. So another advantage of going to S, for me anyway, would be going to smaller rail which is much easier to work with and much cheaper too.

 

MTH is coming out with code 128 rail for O scale. It lists for cheaper than Atlas O track. I wonder what it will look like? I'm definitely going to York next week to find out as much as I can about S scale and the new MTH track which would solve some of my problems with O scale.

 

I'm trying to look into the future (my future) which is hard to do. Right now I have ranch house with a rather large basement. Even though it is a large basement it is still a little tight for O but would be great for S or HO. I also have to have room for the slot cars and my drums and a place for people to sit so I can't fill the entire room with trains. Even if I had no other hobbies it would be expensive to fill this entire room with code 148 O scale track. I mean what if I lose my job? What if I am forced to move out? It's pretty much a guarantee that the new house will not have room for O scale 2R but probably would fit S scale in some form.

 

I don't know.... this S scale decision is really tough. Is any of the AF stuff good enough that if it were detailed it could be used on a scale layout? Does anyone make scale detailed trucks for S? How about if I wanted to re-power a locomotive, any drive systems available? I realize this is just speculation but do you think Atlas would ever consider entering S?

 

I know I said my other question was the last one--sorry about that.

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

I ordered some of the new MTH SCALE TRAX 2-Rail Track, but I did notice on the MTH Website that the prices were $7.99 and $6.99 a Piece instead of $4.99, so I asked MTH on Facebook and they said that the Website is correct..Also I believe the Track will actualy be Code 148 instead of Code 128, that`s what the Website says .. MTH is making a Starter Set in 2-Rail of a German Steam Engine and Freight Cars for BUSCH, so I believe MTH will move into 2-Rail RAILKING.. 

Hi Phil,

 

I've been following this thread for a while now, and am enjoying it thoroughly!  Whatever your decision, remember that it's YOUR railroad and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.  Since you said you're not a rivet counter and you don't like the bear claw couplers (BTW the hard core guys refer to them as "lobster claws") the hi-rail route sounds about right for you. 

 

With that in mind, I agree with Rusty's confession on using AM's code 148 track.  There are a number of well respected model railroaders out there who have used it with great results.  One disadvantage with it is that the turnouts aren't all that "scale" friendly, in that trains taking the diverging route with scale wheels will pick the frog point.  However, a simple fix is discussed in the directions with the turnouts.  The fix, however, will render the turnouts unfriendly to the Flyer wheels (which the hard core scalers refer to as "pizza cutter" wheels).  Some big pluses on the AM track system are that it's practically bullet proof, looks good, comes in section varieties and flextrack, and is made in the USA.  On my new layout, I used SHS's flextrack which is labeled as code 125, but measures .135" or 137" depending on how well you can read a micrometer.  My turnouts are made with a Fast Tracks jig using SHS rail.  However, with the recent sale of SHS to MTH, the track isn't available any more, but may soon be.  Exactly when is the question. Why did I go with SHS track?  I guess it was a toss up between the two.  I decided on SHS because I'm a cheapskate, and got a few boxes on a great sale.  I also am a DIY type guy and like making things, so the turnouts were a fun challenge.  They follow the style of Tom Stoltz' turnouts and can accommodate both scale and hi-rail wheels.  Do a search on his products.  But he cannot get any more rail, so he's in a bind now as to making more turnouts.  Besides, he's also very backed up on orders since he isn't in business to make a lot of money, and has a real day job.  As to making turnouts on the FT jig, I used a small belt sander to rough in the taper on the rails and finished them off in the FT filing fixture.  I made 20 of the turnouts and got to a point where I eyeballed the taper on the frog and closure rails instead of using the jig. 

 

As far as detailing AF stuff for use on a scale layout, guys have been doing it for years before the advent of American Models and SHS.  However, the new rolling stock from AM and SHS is great right out of the box.  I have to admit to being in the "close enough" school of model railroading.  I enjoy counting rivets from time to time, but don't dwell on it.  I also enjoy seeing and running my old AF items, and bashing new ones.  So as far as scale detailed trucks, either SHS or AM's are just fine with me.  Adapting them to AF can be done.  With the smooth running of AM and SHS locomotives, why re-power them?  Unless you're referring to Flyer steamers.  Can motor conversions are available for them at a reasonable price and it's a drop in swap.  Something a MoPar man can appreciate. ;>

 

Thanks for bringing this whole thread up.  It's made us all stop and realize why we're in S, and livened up this forum.

 

Jerry Poniatowski

Wayne, MI

 

 

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

MTH is coming out with code 128 rail for O scale. It lists for cheaper than Atlas O track. I wonder what it will look like? I'm definitely going to York next week to find out as much as I can about S scale and the new MTH track which would solve some of my problems with O scale.

 

 

 

I don't know.... this S scale decision is really tough. Is any of the AF stuff good enough that if it were detailed it could be used on a scale layout? Does anyone make scale detailed trucks for S? How about if I wanted to re-power a locomotive, any drive systems available? I realize this is just speculation but do you think Atlas would ever consider entering S?

 

I know I said my other question was the last one--sorry about that.

Keep asking questions, Phil.  They are making this a rather productive thread. 

 

It's better to ask than not, and even if you don't decided to go into S, I don't feel like I'm wasting my time.  You're asking very good questions.  I don't want to lie and say it's as easy as going into N or HO. 

 

I'm assuming MTH's track will look suspiciously like the old SHS S-Trax.  That the former SHS track in the front, Lionel's FastTrack behind and code 100 on Homa-bed in the background:

 

Track 031012 01r

 

We'll have to see if MTH continues with the specked ballast effect.

 

It is a tough decision to go into S today.   A lot of things I could say with certainty 2 years ago I can't say today.  We're still suffering from the Sanda Kan Shuffle, it may still take a little time to stabilize.

 

It was also tough in 1985 when I moved up from HO. 

 

SHS hadn't been born yet.  There was a secondary market of old Kinsman kits, Flyer conversions and the occasional S Scale Locomotive and Supply kits.  Sunset and Overland came and went, while another brass company started up, Omnicon, the owner died several years later and the company faded away. 

 

Then there was American Models with their FP7 and very small assortment of cars.  They didn't even have a caboose yet.

 

A "friend" worked me over for a couple of years.  I would get clubbed on the head on a dark and stormy Friday night and wake up either at a CASG meeting or at an S Fest.

 

But, it was two things that did finally make me decide: 1) I moved into a house with a space perfect for the HO railroad of my dreams and 2)American Models.

 

If AM wasn't there, I likely would have stayed in HO, even though I has a pretty fair selection of Postwar and MPC Lionel tucked away back then.

 

"Scale" Lionel/Flyer is still in the embryonic stage.  You know about as much as I do regarding the new stuff.

 

Traditional Flyer can be reworked into something respectable.  I won't go into the gory details, but all these are conversions using AM trucks (which they do sell separately and some AM parts I happened to glom on to back then.

 

 

rKGB 020710 06

OK, this one's a ringer, It's a Lionel/MPC 9040 body converted to S...  But the rest are Flyer conversions.

 

rKGB 020710 01

rKGB 020710 02

rKGB 020710 03

rKGB 020710 04

rKGB 020710 05

 

Scenery Unlimited has a catalog that is a decent reference book, they carry a lot of the old cast metal detail parts.

 

http://www.sceneryunlimited.net/

 

As mentioned earlier, AM has trucks, hopefully MTH will continue making the SHS trucks available separately.

 

I hope we're answering your questions factually without creating an overload.

 

Rusty

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Gardner, very interesting information. Thank you. Unfortunately, it blows a gigantic hole in my theory of that I found someone who has cheaper track than Atlas. If the $7.99 price is for a 17" piece of track then two fo them would be roughly $16 for 34" while Atlas charges I believe $17 for 40". Pretty much the same price. This gives S scale once again the advantage in track cost.

 

Jerry wrote:

As to making turnouts on the FT jig, I used a small belt sander to rough in the taper on the rails and finished them off in the FT filing fixture.  I made 20 of the turnouts and got to a point where I eyeballed the taper on the frog and closure rails instead of using the jig. 

 

 

 

Jerry, awesome idea! When you say "on the rails" exactly which rails do you mean? The point rails?

 

Thanks guys for ansering my questions and posting the pics. Rusty, those cars look great. I especially like the weathered gondola. I have one of those MPC era cars. I had a feeling it was a S scale boxcar! Your track looks awesome too.

 

Like a lot of guys I started out with Lionel trains around the tree as a kid but even as a kid I disliked the way the track looked and the way some of the cars looked. I could tell even then that some of them weren't to scale. At least they were not to scale with each other. My favorite car was the scale milk car I had. In the early '80s I got into HO because of the track and the scale equipment but being still young at model railroading I didn't really know what I was doing. Not to long after I got out of the hobby. The bug bit bad in 1996 when by chance I went to a local train show. I decided I was going to get back into Lionel and only collect postwar but those old feelings came back about the cars not looking right so I switched to scale cars and engines. Then the track started bothering me again and it took a year but I decided to go to 2 rail. I thought that this was a logical progression but it really wasn't. Very few others followed this path. I'm not saying that they should have followed me but I thought others would have come to the same opinions about the hobby. My point is I now see a similar thing happening. The fact is there are many advantages to S over O but yet I am the only one asking these questions. That is kind of scary to me.

 

Another thing that is scary is:

 

Posted by Johnnyspeed:

I like S, but I can't take the way things are going right now. I'm switching to HO where I can model the PRR steam era. I'm willing to give up some size for product availability, scale fidelity, standards, performance, and affordability. I hope it works out well for you guys, but it just isn't for me.

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

The software would not let me write anything below Johnnyspeed's comments.

 

One thing I will guarantee to you guys is that I will never go back to HO. IMHO, it too has gotten very, very expensive. Even though I still have 20/20 vision the trains are just too darn small. When I had HO they constantly came off the track. I was using Atlas sectional track so in theory it should have been in gauge but knowing what I know now maybe some of the cars wheels weren't. I never thought of that back then. I have to say that O scale tracks very well. When I had the test layout I don't think I had derailments that weren't caused by me.

 

I was reading an interesting article in one of the old NASG magazines and the guy was saying how he can sometimes use HO buildings for S scale. That's awesome because HO buildings are always much cheaper than O scale buildings. Another cost savings for S. There are enough track systems in S so there's no problem there, scenery, electronics, and benchwork are the same for all scales. There is a decent amount of rolling stock available from various places so that isn't a problem. So it would seem to me that S scale has everything one would need except for the locomotives (specifically steam) themselves. I don't mind learning to scratchbuild structures or looking for HO or O scale structures to work in S scale but I can't scratchbuild a locomotive. First of all I don't know how and even if I did I don't have the tools needed. Whether I get into S or not I sincerely hope that this changes in the future.

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

 

The fact is there are many advantages to S over O but yet I am the only one asking these questions. That is kind of scary to me.

 

Another thing that is scary is:

 

Posted by Johnnyspeed:

I like S, but I can't take the way things are going right now. I'm switching to HO where I can model the PRR steam era. I'm willing to give up some size for product availability, scale fidelity, standards, performance, and affordability. I hope it works out well for you guys, but it just isn't for me.

Phil, you're not the only one to ask questions, but I must say your depth and persistence is something I haven't seen in a long time. Most folks will ask a question or two then disappear.

 

Keep 'em coming.  We won't get tired of answering if you don't get tired of asking.


Jonnyspeed's comment is not so much disturbing as it is understandable.  S isn't HO (or even O for that matter) as far as availability, never was and very likely never will be.

 

The fact that folks like Jonnyspeed (and there have been others) indicated an interest in S is is encouraging, but he's made a rational decision based on his wants and needs. Perhaps he will change his mind, perhaps not.  We can't force anyone into the scale. We just have to keep plugging away...

 

But there is hope (As an S Scaler, one has to be optimistic...) with Lionel getting a more aggressive with Flyer and MTH buying SHS. It is a transition period for both companies at probable one of the worst economic times, but once the manufacturing climate settles down, things will improve.

 

Right now, all the scales are suffering to some extent from the current climate.  Few have their own factories anymore.  HO probably is suffering less so mainly because of the density of manufacturers(OK... importers/contractees) and modeler population.

 

Rusty

 

Well, I hope if anyone else who reads this thread also gains some knowledge from it.

 

Rusty, I am just curious, not that it is a big deal but that guy who hit you over the head and dragged you to S scale meets is he still in S scale? I assume you are still friends. If I had a friend in S scale like that it might push me over the edge. The fact is none of my friends are into O 2R. Most all of my friends are 3 railers and a few are into HO. The few 2 railers I know live far away. So going it alone doesn't bother me. One time Pete Krumier told me that model railroading is a solitary hobby and it really is true. My other question is:Ever have any regrets with S scale?

 

I was just reading the December 2007 issue of The Dispatch. On page 21 there is a great photo of the Lionel Alton Limited. The steam engine looks great even with the pizza cutter wheels. I was wondering what type of track it is on? Looks like it might be Gargraves. Actually after thinking about it, it may be that code 148 track you showed me earlier.

 

My next question is, I was looking at the track picture you posted and what is the code rail for Lionel track? Is it shaped like real railroad rail or is it like O gauge fast track?

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

 


As to making turnouts on the FT jig, I used a small belt sander to rough in the taper on the rails and finished them off in the FT filing fixture.  I made 20 of the turnouts and got to a point where I eyeballed the taper on the frog and closure rails instead of using the jig. 

 

 

 

Jerry, awesome idea! When you say "on the rails" exactly which rails do you mean? The point rails?

 

Hi Phil,

 

I should have been more careful as to which rails.  You're correct in that it was the point rails that i was referring to.  Both they and the frog are inserted in a filing fixture that FT sells.  With larger code track, using a file is a long tedious process, but if you use a small belt sander to SLOWLY remove metal, and then insert the rail into the fixture, it won't take nearly as long.  However, after a few turnouts, I was able to taper both the frog and the point rails close enough so as not to have to use the fixture. 

 

Also, before coming out with their new track, Lionel usually used their K-Line derived tubular track in their catalogs for illustration purposes.  However, their illustrations were sometimes heavily modified by photo editing.  Their new track is very close to the size of SHS track, and a couple of very creative guys on the S lists have found ways to make them compatible.  I think the Lionel track measures out to be close to .135".  Not exactly sure right now. 

 

Jack - I would have written to you off line, but you don't have an email address in you profile. At least I couldn't find one.  Anyway, mine is there, but I was hesitant to put it in the message.  But what the heck, it's <poniaj@wowway.com>. 

 

Jerry

 

 

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Well, I hope if anyone else who reads this thread also gains some knowledge from it.

 

Rusty, I am just curious, not that it is a big deal but that guy who hit you over the head and dragged you to S scale meets is he still in S scale? I assume you are still friends. If I had a friend in S scale like that it might push me over the edge. The fact is none of my friends are into O 2R. Most all of my friends are 3 railers and a few are into HO. The few 2 railers I know live far away. So going it alone doesn't bother me. One time Pete Krumier told me that model railroading is a solitary hobby and it really is true. My other question is:Ever have any regrets with S scale?

 

I was just reading the December 2007 issue of The Dispatch. On page 21 there is a great photo of the Lionel Alton Limited. The steam engine looks great even with the pizza cutter wheels. I was wondering what type of track it is on? Looks like it might be Gargraves. Actually after thinking about it, it may be that code 148 track you showed me earlier.

 

My next question is, I was looking at the track picture you posted and what is the code rail for Lionel track? Is it shaped like real railroad rail or is it like O gauge fast track?

Yes, the friend is still in S, he had Flyer as a kid, I had Lionel.  We met when we belonged to a local HO club and discovered we lived about a mile apart, so we started carpooling to the club, then hobby shop excursions.  Little did I know what I was in for!

 

Regrets, I've had a few... 

 

Well, not really, but I do a little rubber-gauging. I've got a little of everything.  If something in another scale catches my eye, I'll buy it.  I'm waiting on the Kato N scale "Silver Streak Zephyr" right now because of my interest with the Burlington, plus the fact that I think the E5 is one of the neatest locomotives in the world. 

 

There have been times when I entertained going back to HO, but I like S much more, in spite of the limitations.

 

I don't have the Dispatch issue handy, it's around here somewhere, so I can't answer that question, but the Lionel pizza cutters will run fine on both AM and SHS track.  But I can offer an image of it posed on code 100 track:

 C&A 121408 03

This is one of the reasons I hope Lionel has success with scale wheeled diesels and freight cars and branches out into scale wheeled steam.  Baby steps...

 

With regards to FasTrak vs. S-Trax, I did a couple of posts a while ago which can best explain my observations, but they are 100% operationally compatible with slight modification.

 

First impression:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/d...ent/4245430050739874

 

Joining the two:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/d...ent/4527055137442588

 

Rusty

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My next question is, I was looking at the track picture you posted and what is the code rail for Lionel track? Is it shaped like real railroad rail or is it like O gauge fast track?

 

 

I’ll jump in here.  On the samples that Lionel sent me the rail is the same as SHS rail -- more or less code 137.  MTH will be offering SHS rail in the spring of 2013, I believe.  And, yes, is has a real railroad rail profile.  The head width of the SHS rail is narrower than the AM 148 so it looks a bit lighter.  I personally find it easier to work with than the AM, but not so much that I would lose sleep over the difference.  I use both and mix them together without consequence.  I also run some scale wheeled equipment in addition to Hi-rail and Flyer,

 

I share your dislike of the ‘bear claw’ couplers.  I use Kadee #5 couplers and prefer them over the Kadee ‘S’ coupler because the #5 allows for much closer coupling between cars… But to each, his own.

 

There is plenty of steam out there for S in Hi-rail.  The SHS 2-8-0 (though getting hard to find), AM 4-6-2 and 4-8-4 plus the Flyonel 4-6-2, 2-8-2 and two of the three articulated.  I say 2 of the 3 because I’ve heard the Big Boy is not really S scale.

 

As far as Hi-rail verse scale you have to judge for yourself.  If you look at Brooks Stover’s layout you will find it is HI-rail even though it is one of the best ‘scale’ layouts in any gauge.  The track is AM 148 as are the turnouts.  I can’t believe he used the AM #4s but he did.  For a link to Brooks layout look in this forum on October 4th under ‘Terrific S-Scale layout’.  If you can see the ‘pizza cutter’ flanges, you have great vision.

 

Plenty of pictures have been posted of Flyer to scale conversions for rolling stock, but I would like to encourage some shots of Flyer engines.  I know Jerry has some including a Flyer K5 with Kadee couplers.  Maybe he’ll post some.

 

Tom Stoltz

InMaine

Great and fascinating thread. I have said that if I were to do over I would seriously consider 2 rail O scale. But I still like to run my my childhood Flyer so that won't happen. My comments are viewed as heresy among the S scale crowd. 

 

Speaking of HO building here are some pictures I posted before.

 

The two store fronts and the red background building are modified HO, DPM and City Classics I believe.

001

 

The tan shed is a $1 bashed (butchered?) N Plasticville kit and the red one is a bashed cheapo  HO kit.

002

 

Some of the S scale modelers frown on HO kits and others are more tolerant. Since my layout is more low rail it doesn't matter to me.  The biggest objection has to do with brick size but painted with no mortar lines, it doesn't look that bad especially to my bifocaled and previously cataract ridden eyes.

Cal

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Originally Posted by Tom's Turnouts:
 I say 2 of the 3 because I’ve heard the Big Boy is not really S scale.

 

Tom, the Flyer Big Boy is about 1:58 scale using tooling from the K-line O27 Big Boy.  There's a couple of other cosmetic issues, too.  I didn't buy one for this reason and was really apprehensive about the Challenger, in spite of assurances from Lionel.  I'm glad Lionel didn't proportion the Challenger to the Big Boy.

 

The Big Boy sort of looks OK on it's own, but when side-by-side with the Challenger, well...

 

It's interesting nobody's ever published a side-by side picture with the Big Boy and the Challenger (that I know of.)

 

Rusty

One time Pete Krumier told me that model railroading is a solitary hobby and it really is true.

 

Phil, what ever happened to Pete Krumier?  When I was more active in O 2R I used to follow the 3RS forum pretty closely as I found some very good modeling there. He seemed to be one of the main driving factors to 3RS and then all of a sudden nothing. Is Pete still with us?

 

My other question is:Ever have any regrets with S scale?

 

Good question!  I went back to 2R O after about a year+ in "S" scale back in the early 2000's and couldn't come to grips with the limited availability of product (sound familiar)in "S".  After another 6-7 years of only limited modeling due to real world business requirements and a move to a new house I took another look at "S" and realized everything I needed was pretty much available in "S". 

 

So, I bought a good selection of the foundation "S" scale items I'd need......all the while selling off my "O" 2R (again).  If nothing is ever produced again in "S" I'm still a happy camper because I have everything I need to be very content in "S". I still have a few really nice pieces of O brass that I display in my office but that is it for O 2R going forward.

 

I also picked up an HO Athearn Veranda Turbine a few years ago because they were so cheap during the sell off by Athearn. I pull it out every once in a while to look at it and it just looks like "N" scale to me. Way too small! I could never model in HO again, but I keep it around to remind me whenever a new HO item comes out that catches my eye. Just because you're commited to model in one gauge doesn't mean you can't buy something in another gauge if you like it.   That's the nice part about our hobby.

 

Butch

 

 

Phil, what ever happened to Pete Krumier?  When I was more active in O 2R I used to follow the 3RS forum pretty closely as I found some very good modeling there. He seemed to be one of the main driving factors to 3RS and then all of a sudden nothing. Is Pete still with us?

I don't know Butch. I haven't talked to him in a few years. I assume he is still modeling in 3RS.

 

Thanks a lot for all the information guys. I sincerely appreciate it.

 

I said earlier in this thread that Lionel would never do DCC in their locomotives. This is one time I am very happy to be proven wrong.

 

I've been reading up as much as I can on S scale in whatever spare time I've had over the past few days. I've come to the conclusion that S scale has a serious chicken or the egg problem. What I mean is I think if more product were offered more people would get into S scale and the flip side is if more people got into S scale then the manufacturers would offer more product. One of them has to come first for the scale to grow, but which one?

 

I've become friends with a few guys on a slot car forum and I told one of them, who was a former model railroader, that I was thinking about going into S scale. I didn't try to talk him into it in any manner but he said, "I looked into S scale a few years ago, but the lack of RTR stuff stopped me from buying it. I think I will eventually get back into HO, but if more things are released RTR in S maybe I would go that way." This lead me to the chicken or the egg theory.

 

Somewhere, I can't remember where, I read something to the effect that when the HO guys get really old and they can't see anymore they will move up to S. I heard the same thing in O scale. Now this is me being negative again but by and large I don't see this happening all that often. So what does an HO guy do when he gets too old to see the trains? I'm not sure but I would bet that the minority will go to a larger scale. Why not? Well, (these are my guesses)  number one especially for O scale, he may not have the room for it, and number two again this is really for O scale, he may not like the prices of the locomotives and cars as compared to HO, and number 3 for both O and S you are asking him to sell off everything he has which, if he is an older guy is usually quite a lot. This is hard for a lot of people to do and it can be a real hassle. It is one of the main reasons I haven't jumped into S scale so far. I have over 30 locomotives in various states of conversion to 2 rail and conversion from DC/DCS/TMCC to DCC. I've always wanted to finish these projects someday now I would have to abandon them. On the other hand that isn't all that bad of an idea! I read in The Dispatch [Feb '07] I wish I had a dime for every time some modeler in another scale has said "if only I didn't have so much invested in XYZ scale, I'd switch to 'S'"! I'm sure you've heard the same thing!" It's true though. It's a big thing, at least for me, to sell everything and start over.

 

I went to a HO club a few Christmases ago and I remember there being a few older guys there. I didn't get the impression that they had any thoughts of changing scales.

 

I mentioned above that some guys may balk when they hear the price of O scale. I am exactly the opposite. I would rather pay $1,100 for a well built larger well detailed steam locomotive in O scale then pay $400 for similar steam engine in HO. Why? because when I look at the HO engine I feel like I paid $400 for this tiny little thing? I feel ripped off kind of. With the O scale engine I still feel a little like it is over priced but I don't feel as ripped off.

 

I've been looking closely at the AM steam engines and they remind me of the Williams brass models of the early '90s. Good dependable models but void of any real detail. Still I don't think they are a bad deal for the price.

 

What I find strange is that there are no 0-6-0s or 0-8-0s in S scale. These are everywhere in O scale and were very common locomotives on the prototype.

 

I'm tempted to buy that new Lionel locomotive to try out S scale but it's definitely not the era I want to model.

 

Sorry for being long winded. Would anyone know if AM has a booth at York? I'd like to see what their locomotives look like in person. Also what or who is MLW?

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:
 

I've been reading up as much as I can on S scale in whatever spare time I've had over the past few days. I've come to the conclusion that S scale has a serious chicken or the egg problem. What I mean is I think if more product were offered more people would get into S scale and the flip side is if more people got into S scale then the manufacturers would offer more product. One of them has to come first for the scale to grow, but which one?

 

I've become friends with a few guys on a slot car forum and I told one of them, who was a former model railroader, that I was thinking about going into S scale. I didn't try to talk him into it in any manner but he said, "I looked into S scale a few years ago, but the lack of RTR stuff stopped me from buying it. I think I will eventually get back into HO, but if more things are released RTR in S maybe I would go that way." This lead me to the chicken or the egg theory.

 

Somewhere, I can't remember where, I read something to the effect that when the HO guys get really old and they can't see anymore they will move up to S. I heard the same thing in O scale. Now this is me being negative again but by and large I don't see this happening all that often. So what does an HO guy do when he gets too old to see the trains? I'm not sure but I would bet that the minority will go to a larger scale. Why not? Well, (these are my guesses)  number one especially for O scale, he may not have the room for it, and number two again this is really for O scale, he may not like the prices of the locomotives and cars as compared to HO, and number 3 for both O and S you are asking him to sell off everything he has which, if he is an older guy is usually quite a lot. This is hard for a lot of people to do and it can be a real hassle. It is one of the main reasons I haven't jumped into S scale so far. I have over 30 locomotives in various states of conversion to 2 rail and conversion from DC/DCS/TMCC to DCC. I've always wanted to finish these projects someday now I would have to abandon them. On the other hand that isn't all that bad of an idea! I read in The Dispatch [Feb '07] I wish I had a dime for every time some modeler in another scale has said "if only I didn't have so much invested in XYZ scale, I'd switch to 'S'"! I'm sure you've heard the same thing!" It's true though. It's a big thing, at least for me, to sell everything and start over.

 

I went to a HO club a few Christmases ago and I remember there being a few older guys there. I didn't get the impression that they had any thoughts of changing scales.

 

I mentioned above that some guys may balk when they hear the price of O scale. I am exactly the opposite. I would rather pay $1,100 for a well built larger well detailed steam locomotive in O scale then pay $400 for similar steam engine in HO. Why? because when I look at the HO engine I feel like I paid $400 for this tiny little thing? I feel ripped off kind of. With the O scale engine I still feel a little like it is over priced but I don't feel as ripped off.

 

I've been looking closely at the AM steam engines and they remind me of the Williams brass models of the early '90s. Good dependable models but void of any real detail. Still I don't think they are a bad deal for the price.

 

What I find strange is that there are no 0-6-0s or 0-8-0s in S scale. These are everywhere in O scale and were very common locomotives on the prototype.

 

 

You've made a very perceptive observation about S, Phil.  But, I can tell you that had not Ron Bashista of American Models not taken the chance, no matter how hard my freind would have tried, I wouldn't have come up to S.  So in my case, AM was the chicken, (or was AM the egg?) 

 

I finally did have to close my eyes and haul the bulk of my HO to a hobby shop willing to buy it.  I'm sure I took a beating, but that wasn't my concern, I wanted to make a relatively clean break. 

 

As to us coots, when we get older and eyesight and perhaps dexterity declines, it's a tough call.  Perhaps the bulk of HO'ers just ease into the armchair, content with what they've done and just follow the magazines.  I don't know what I'll do when the situation arises, I'll burn that bridge when I'm standing on it.

 

If you added up the employees of AM, SHS and SSA, I don't think you'd come up with a number of employees in total that equal what Lionel or MTH have, and steam Locomotives are an expensive and complicated proposition.  The SHS 2-8-0 faced many delays and took more resources than Don Thompson realized.  I'm sure both Don T and Ron B figured a road steam locomotive was a more saleable proposition.  And there'd be the usual cry, "but you can get a Flyer one..."  

 

S Gaugers tend to circle the boxcars when something is announced.  There's always been a "gentleman's agreement" not to do something major that someone else has done.  Almost every time I bring up a USRA light Mike, someone invariably says "Overland already did one. (yeah, 20+ years ago...)  You can still find one..."  Now that MTH and Lionel are more engaged in S, that agreement is finally gone.

 

 

Rusty

Originally Posted by Old Goat:

"MLW", maybe => Montreal Locomotive Works

 

The current video on the NASG website features steam and diesel:

http://www.nasg.org/Site/FeaturedVideo.htm

 

And this brief video on an S scale shortline is sweet:

http://vimeo.com/51475189

 

Here's the link to the video author's website:

http://pmrr.org/Layouts/Chartiers/Videos.htm

 

Matt

I had the link on my home computer, I didn't want to answer until I knew for sure:

 

http://www.mlwservices.ca/

 

S Scale, Canadian style.

 

Rusty

Well I'd like to thank Phil for kicking this topic off and all the others who provided input.  I had pretty much the same questions/concerns Phil did about s-scale.  I became interested in S-Scale a couple years back when I started into On30 ...using AM & SHS cars to supplement my rolling stock fleet.  I started noticing the details such as using real wood for decking on flat cars or lining OB gondolas, etc..  I looked seriously into O-scale 2 rail but the price of turnouts really discouraged me.  I've signed up for a couple S-scale newsletters and I'm anxiously awaiting to see what MTH comes out with.  Thanks again for all the well timed info.

 

Mark

Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:

 

I can post some pictures of a reworked Pacific tonight, but here's a picture of the Northern, also slightly reworked with an MV lens, graphite paint, numberboard decals and crew figures:

 

Ready to Roll

 

There's also a little pixel magic with the sky...  This appeared on the cover of the NASG Dispatch a year or two ago.

 

Rusty

That looks great Did you strip the original paint first or just paint over it? I just bought one of these and I do NOT like the factory high gloss finish.

 

Cheers,

Ken

Over the past week the hot topic on the S-Scalelist at Yahoo has been the American Flyer Y3. Me being a dedicated S Scaler and not knowing one thing about American Flyer, I decided that I would look into this wonder of wonders. I checked out the nice photos that Rusty posted and it is indeed a very nice looking model! Nothing like that ugly, over sized and out of scale Challenger they did a few years ago. I then tried to find a price or dealer on the internet. I found no mention of it even at the LIONEL SITE. I have also notice no one has mention what this thing sells for on any of the forums. It that because it is so expensive? 

 

Another Rusty

Originally Posted by Rustermier:

Over the past week the hot topic on the S-Scalelist at Yahoo has been the American Flyer Y3. Me being a dedicated S Scaler and not knowing one thing about American Flyer, I decided that I would look into this wonder of wonders. I checked out the nice photos that Rusty posted and it is indeed a very nice looking model! Nothing like that ugly, over sized and out of scale Challenger they did a few years ago. I then tried to find a price or dealer on the internet. I found no mention of it even at the LIONEL SITE. I have also notice no one has mention what this thing sells for on any of the forums. It that because it is so expensive? 

 

Another Rusty

Hi Rusty,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

 

Retail for the the Y3 is $999.99 in the 2012 Flyer catalog.  Charles Ro lists them for $839.  I got mine from my LSH who knocks 10% off and eats the city and state taxes.

 

I think you're confusing the Challenger with the Big Boy that was derived from K-Line tooling.  The Big Boy was somewhere around 1:60 proportion.

 

The Challenger was built with all new tooling, is to 1:64 proportion, and is a very good model in itself.  

UP 3977 111811 03

 

The Y3 is even better.

 

Lionel really seems to be making a commitment to S.  It started very slowly in 2003 with the Mikado's.  They've expanded beyond "traditional" Flyer now.  They're doing things like scale wheels and including Kadee mounting brackets on diesels, DCC compatibility on the SD70's, something they haven't done for the O gaugers.

 

Rusty

 

 

 

Attachments

Photos (1)
Originally Posted by glockr:
Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:

 

I can post some pictures of a reworked Pacific tonight, but here's a picture of the Northern, also slightly reworked with an MV lens, graphite paint, numberboard decals and crew figures:

 

Ready to Roll

 

There's also a little pixel magic with the sky...  This appeared on the cover of the NASG Dispatch a year or two ago.

 

Rusty

That looks great Did you strip the original paint first or just paint over it? I just bought one of these and I do NOT like the factory high gloss finish.

 

Cheers,

Ken

Hi, Ken.

 

Sorry I didn't respond earlier.  Been juggling a couple of things and haven't checked in on this thread lately.  

 

With the exception of the graphite smokebox front and some minor rework , the 2920 is in AM's "factory finish."  I never got around to applying an overcoat of any kind.  This one is from AM's first run of Northerns.

 

Rusty

A few thoughts from someone who has had 'S' and "0" for awhile. And really, not a technical or artistic person. Keep in mind I love both scales. I have about 400 S rolling stock and probably 800 in O3, O2 and some on30. Unfortunately, S has not had the availability that O experiences today. I am not sure S is really cheaper if that is important. Just this week I ordered 8 RC O 3 rail switches, 18 pcs of gargraves track, a few insulators, and track nails and a case of cork roadbed, and 1 bb structure to approximately replace some O  2 rail track. Cost:approx.$600. A lot of money for a retiree., And as long as us old geezers stick around there will be enuff manufacturers around. Gargraves makes really nice track and is working on their switches. S Helper Service, now MTH is beautiful. You will not find the vast selection of structures in S that you do in O right  now. That can all change. You might want to visit one of the local S meets to see and talk to others. I personally haven't been to one in about 10 years, but I really enjoyed them and learned from them. As you can see from your other writers these S guys are really dedicated, knowledgeable, and passionate about S. Lay your hands on back issues of S gaugian magazine. Also, you might want to hold onto your O stuff while exploring S.  I have regretted selling stuff in the past. It appears Lionel and MTH are ready to go to war for the High end prototypical S market. There are only so many train guys to go around, but maybe they see a lot of HO guys moving up to a larger scale. Time will tell. Have fun exploring S and absolutely  the best of luck in your modelrailroading, whatever that may be.

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

 

 

The other thing I didn't like about S scale was the track. If you go with scale track then you need the wheels with the smaller flanges. Many locomotives are not made with the smaller flanges thus making a small selection even smaller.

 

If S scale was cheap like HO then maybe if finances got really bad I might be forced into it but even HO is not cheap anymore.

 

Ah well, the dilemma continues. I sincerely hope that S scale does grow.

Woah there, pardner...

 

The HiRail side of S has a much better selection than the scale side.

 

Admittedly, the one and only current brass manufacturer, River Raisin, doesn't offer HiRail wheeled steam, Lionel/Flyer, AM and the former S Helper Service do, (and I assume MTH will eventually.)

 

Lionel HiRail offerings were a USRA Light 2-8-2, 4-6-2, UP 4-6-6-4 and N&W 2-8-8-2 (OK and the oversized UP 4-8-8-4.)  There is also the re-released Gilbert bast UP FEF-1 4-8-4.  Scale wheeled steam is not an option at this time from Lionel, except for an after-market conversion on the 2-8-8-2.

 

S-Helper offered their B&O 2-8-0 with Hirail or scale wheels.

 

American Models offers a USRA Heavy 4-6-2, Streamlined PRR K4 4-6-2, NYC Empire State Express 4-6-4 and Santa Fe 2900 Class 4-8-4 with either Hirail or scale wheels.

 

I freely admit S scale isn't for everyone and the selection, availablility and pricing may seem daunting, but there's been a surprising amount of stuff made over the past decade.  Unfortunately, it can be somewhat of a "treasure hunt" to located some items.

 

S is at a crossroads right now, we're all eagerly waiting to see how Lionel continues with the expansion of the American Flyer brand and how MTH is going to reboot the former S-Helper Service line.

 

Plus, the LCCA is hinting at some S offerings.

 

Even if you don't choose to be in S, stay tuned.  Things are getting interesting!

 

Rusty

Originally Posted by Brady Burdge:

Well this guy did pretty well in PRR..  

 

PRR in S Scale

Yea that is true, but you know it is pretty darn easy to make a statement like that without actually looking into things. #1) The PRR is one of the most popular railroads modeled in any scale, if not the most popular railroad modeled so of course there will be more available for that road. #2) If you actually read his website you would have gotten the impression that he has been doing S scale for many years. One can't go to a few shows come up with that kind of collection in S scale in a short period of time unless you are Donald Trump and he even might have trouble doing it. #3) He (not Trump) obviously has a much larger budget than me as almost all of his steam locomotives are brass and S scale brass ain't cheap.

 

I've always said that model railroading isn't a race or a competition. For the most part I've enjoyed the ride so far. I've built up my modest collection in the 15 years I have been in O scale. One other thing that turned me off to S scale is that I would be virtually starting all over with almost nothing. It would be kind of like going back to the beginning but if it is the only way I can stay in the hobby I will do it.

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

What I said was "Well this guy did pretty well in PRR..", that's all. I provided a link to information, not an open door for accusations. 

I know how popular the PRR is, I grew up in PA.  25 years in O gauge,  I saw the offerings

I did read the site.

In his presentation I counted 11 plastic deisels, many are still available in several road names at reasonable prices. http://www.americanmodels.com/
Originally Posted by Brady Burdge:
What I said was "Well this guy did pretty well in PRR..", that's all. I provided a link to information, not an open door for accusations. 

I know how popular the PRR is, I grew up in PA.  25 years in O gauge,  I saw the offerings

I did read the site.

In his presentation I counted 11 plastic deisels, many are still available in several road names at reasonable prices. http://www.americanmodels.com/


Well, what the meaning seemed to be to me was hey it is so easy to do why can't you do it? I guess you didn't mean it that way but when you make a one sentence statement like that without really explaining yourself you must realize it can be taken in many different ways. In my recent posts I never mentioned anything about diesels. I agree there are plenty of diesels available in S scale.

 

 

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Originally Posted by Brady Burdge:

Since this thread had been moved above the line I presumed it was available for more broad discussion.  My mistake. 

Brady, of course this thread is available for broad discussion. I took what you said the wrong way. Obviously, you didn't mean it that way. That was my mistake. I apologize. I'm cool with it. Let's move on.

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:

Hi, Phil.  You raise some valid points.  I’m hardly the fount of all S knowledge, but I’ll try to respond as best I can.  I did most of this off-line so the format's a little different.

 


 

But, the past offerings doesn’t really help someone who’s looking at S today.  I won’t deny there’s even a small band of scale folk that feel if something was offered once, even if it was 20-30 years ago, it doesn’t need to be offered again.

 

I’m hoping MTH’s new and Lionel’s increased involvement in S resolves some of the issues you’ve mentioned. 

 


Drop by anytime and feel free to ask more questions.

 

Rusty

Rusty,

You may not be the fount of all S knowledge but you know a real lot and your answers are a big help to me or anyone else considering S scale. Thank you and I like your format better than what this forum offers. It's more like what the original forum was like.

 

Your post has a lot of good information in it. I appreciate it and I did not know about those other NYC steam models. I do have one more question: Why would any S Gauger not want to see a new updated model produced that hasn't been made in 20 years?  We all know that as technology has progressed models have gotten more realistic. Would not a new model of something desirable help S scale to grow? This line of thinking makes no sense to me.

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

The former S-Helper Service S-Trax was next, but lacked crossings and turnout variety and Lionel is surprisingly behind in expandingS FasTrack.


 

 

Hi Rusty,

 

Don’t forget there was at least on ‘cottage industry’ manufacturer of Hi-rail turnouts and crossings using SHS rail.  I would think there would be room for more turnout builders; however neither Lionel nor MTH seems willing to be a supplier of rail at present.  Let’s hope that’s because they are going to copy some of the Hi-rail designs.

 

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

I do have one more question: Why would any S Gauger not want to see a new updated model produced that hasn't been made in 20 years?  We all know that as technology has progressed models have gotten more realistic. Would not a new model of something desirable help S scale to grow? This line of thinking makes no sense to me.

Some of the long time S Scalers are a funny lot.  My main criticism of some of my fellow S Scalers is they've been living in the S Scale bubble so long, they don't realize there's an outside model railroad world.

 

Almost every time some suggestions are mentioned for certain new locos, a few always pop up and say "But so and so already did one!  You can still find them!"

 

Yeah, I've stumbled across a unique old time piece occasionally, but I for one don't feel like searching under various rocks or do a scavenger hunt to find my equipment.  That's not how you get new folks interested in S (or any other scale for that matter.)

 

Fortunately, Don Thompson of SHS and Ron Bashista of AM didn't listen to these folks, otherwise, S Scale would still be stuck in the 50's and 60's.  For me, the AM FP7 was part of that "perfect storm" I mentioned earlier.

 

As I mentioned before, Lionel's SD70 and Y3 really shook the S Scaler bushes like no other previous scale proportioned Flyer loco.  I think it was the addition of DCC and Kadee brackets more than anything else.  The fact that both models are darn nice helps, too.  Attitudes are finally changing.

 

Believe it or not, I frequently point to the growth of the 3-rail O market over the past 20 or so years as an inspiration for growth in S.  In the 1980's, the 3-rail market was nowhere near what it is today.  And I think it's even helped the 2-rail O scale guys out a little.

 

Rusty

Originally Posted by Tom's Turnouts:

The former S-Helper Service S-Trax was next, but lacked crossings and turnout variety and Lionel is surprisingly behind in expandingS FasTrack.


 

 

Hi Rusty,

 

Don’t forget there was at least on ‘cottage industry’ manufacturer of Hi-rail turnouts and crossings using SHS rail.  I would think there would be room for more turnout builders; however neither Lionel nor MTH seems willing to be a supplier of rail at present.  Let’s hope that’s because they are going to copy some of the Hi-rail designs.

 

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

Sorry, Tom.  Didn't mean to omit your turnouts.

 

Rusty

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