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Now that MTH has announced they will be going into S scale I am considering selling most of my equipment and going over to S scale. A little information about me: I like scale models but I’m not a rivet counter. I have no interest in AF or postwar S scale. I like steam and my preferred CC system is DCC. The main reason I am thinking about leaving O scale is the cost seems to be pricing me out of the market. Not just locomotives and cars but track especially. Atlas O 2 rail track and turnouts are prohibitively expensive and the alternates are not much cheaper. At the current rate of rising prices what I will I be able to afford in 10 years?

 

The things I like about S scale are (not in any particular order), it would seem to be cheaper for locomotives and rolling stock, it takes up less space, scale sized vehicles are easily and readily available at very low cost, in S scale you don’t have to convert from 3 rail to 2 rail, and S scale would seem to be the perfect size for model trains—it has some of the heft of O scale and some of the space savings of HO scale.

 

The things I don’t like about S scale are track seems to cost almost as much as O scale track, not a large variety of steam locomotives available, not a large variety of structures, not a large variety of passenger cars and some brass may cost even more than O scale brass.

 

For the two above paragraphs my perceptions may be off because I don’t know a lot about S so please correct anything I say that is inaccurate.

 

The biggest thing that is holding me back is that over the last 14 years I have a lot of $$$$ invested in O scale (both 3 rail and 2 rail but I won’t sell most of my 3 rail stuff). I realize I will take a serious hit if I sell out.

 

Here are my questions:

 

#1)Are turntables and transfer tables available in S scale?

 

#2)Are there any S scale companies that make “Atlas like” rolling stock and Passenger cars?

 

#3)What about couplers? I don’t care at all for the Lionel/AF bear claws. Do other companies have good working more scale like couplers?

 

#4)I’ve always wanted a scale Trainmaster but don’t have one because I don’t like most of the Trainmasters that were done in O scale. I know these were done very well in S scale but what about other diesels? Are E7, E8, Fs, FAs, PAs, and GP7-9s done well in S scale?

 

#5) Does anyone make Atlas like flex track for S scale? How about roadbed?

 

#6) What are the predominant minimum radii for running scale steam equipment in S? In O this is O72 for 3 rail and either 56" or 72" radius for 2 rail.

 

I saw the thread about the drive system China drive vs. horizontal drive and not to get into a debate I think the China drives are great for museum type operation where the trains run fast and for many hrs but for a hobbyist like myself I much prefer the horizontal motor which usually has smoother start up speeds. Does Lionel use the China drive system in their S scale diesels? If not, I doubt that MTH will either but I have no official information this is just my opinion.

 

BTW, back in the mid-90s for a time S Helper Service was located in New Brunswick,NJ and many times I delivered their mail. One time the gentleman was home and I mentioned that I liked trains so he took me in the garage and showed a small test layout and many brand new boxes of S scale trains. Oh, how I wish he would have talked me into S scale back then! I would practically be on easy street now!

 

This is a tough decision and I am going to take my time making it. Thanks in advance for any help or advice.

 

 

Last edited by Hudson J1e
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I got into S scale a little and know a few companies that make stuff in S scale.

There is; S Helper, Gargraves, and K-Line(if you can find it) for S scale track & switches. K-Line made some S scale items but they are mainly undersized O gauge stuff mounted on S scale trucks.

MTH makes S scale items but I don't have anything current in S scale trains, just post-war A.F. From what I have seen with MTH prices for H.O. scale I am staying away from them.

Not sure but I think the other company making S scale stuff is AMerican Models.

 

Now about the size factor, I really don't see any advantage to doing S scale because most of the curves that I have found are 42 inch and above. That is even larger than the 036 Fastrac curves by Lionel. Also another factor in S scale is the voltage; A.C. or D.C.

 

Lee F.

Thanks for the reply Lee. Yes, before making a final decision I want to see what MTH will be charging for locomotives, cars, etc. I agree their HO stuff is pricey but it certainly looks good and from what I hear it runs good too. Still HO is cheaper than O.

 

So everything in S scale is made to run on a 21" radius? That would be a big space savings over O scale (2R) which is what I have. I was planning a layout with 54" radius curves (O108) as a minimum. With S I would surely go larger than 21" radius. Just a guess but I would think 36" (O72) or 40" (O80) minimum radius would look good for running S scale equipment.

 

I apologize for not making it obvious that I am a 2 railer.

Phil,

 

I made the same decision you did a little over a year ago.  I was to the point that I really wanted to shift towards 2 rail O, but found that for my personal preferences, it simply consumed too much space.  I've found that S is just about 30% - 33% smaller and scales down pretty well.  For me, this meant I could use a #8 in S, where I could only squeeze in a # 6 in O.  I found this very handy for crossovers. I'm not sure everything you want to run, but I've found that about 45" - 50" radius is very comfortable for 4-8-2's and 2-10-2's with all their drivers flanged.  Depending on what you want to run, I think 40" radius is about right.  Keep in mind, I like broad curves also. 

 

Here is what I can say to your questions:

 

1. I do not know of anyone that currently makes a TT or transfer table in S.

 

2. S Helper Service Freight Cars are as good or better that Atlas O, IMO.

 

3. Kadee couplers are available in S

 

4. American Models makes a Trainmaster, but I am not sure how correct it is for what

    you want.

 

5. Shinohara makes code 100 flex track along with #6 and # 8 TO's.  You can also get

    just about any type of TO available from Tomalco.

 

Lastly, with MTH, they have pretty much said that you will not even see production samples of newly tooled SD70ACE's until late next year.  IMO, sometime around spring York, you will probable see an MTH catalog with SHS F-units that have PS3 and DCC compatability.  

Port Lines is advertising a new turntable (scroll down about 1/4 of the web page for photos)

 

I returned to S after 25 years in three-rail O. There are fewer offerings in S but I think it's fair to say the basics are covered. For me, less rolling product is an opportunity to focus on other aspects of layout building, such as buildings from Clever Models.  I'm also spending much less on train stuff.  

 

 

 

Brady

Last edited by Brady Burdge

Thank you very much Rusty and Troy for answering my questions. I sincerely appreciate it. It seems Lee is correct in stating that there really isn't a large space savings in S scale when it comes to the curves (if one likes broad curves). Troy mentioned 45-50"R curves and I was going to use 54"R for my 2R O scale layout. Yes I could fit 2-10-2s on the S scale side and not fit them on the O scale side. Yes, it is a lot to think about. Thanks again for your help.

 

I thought the AM Trainmaster was awesome. Definitely good enough for me. As I said I am no rivet counter. If I go to S scale I hope I can find one.

 

I've never heard of Tomalco. I will have to check them out. I hope they have a website.

 

BTW, I was checking the website for AAA Turntables and I found out that they do list a S scale TT. The website shows a price of around $1K which is slightly less than what I paid for my 32" Millhouse River TT. However, I am not sure if other add on items are needed which are not included in that price. Anyway, just wanted to mention that there is at least one TT available for S scale. Thanks again guys. [Just now saw Bradys reply.] Thank you Brady for the link to the TT.

 

 

#4)I’ve always wanted a scale Trainmaster but don’t have one because I don’t like most of the Trainmasters that were done in O scale. I know these were done very well in S scale but what about other diesels? Are E7, E8, Fs, FAs, PAs, and GP7-9s done well in S scale?

The AM Trainmaster is a good looking unit.  Better than Lionel’s or William’s O gauge offering up to the Lionel collector series.  Having said that, there are some short cuts taken on it so I’d say it’s better than Athearn’s Blue Box offering of their Trainmaster but not up to their Genesis line.  AM offers an E8 that is pretty darn good looking.  The Fs, FA’s, GP9/18 and PAs are basic models of the Athearn Blue Box style.  Detail them to the level you want.  There are detail parts available out there.  Running qualities are generally very good.  For SHS units, you are getting Kato/Atlas quality units in detail and running qualities. 

 

Greg

One new question guys and I won't bother you guys anymore!

 

If buy a new Lionel boxcar or some other company's rolling stock with the bear claw (I gather from what I've read above I won't have this problem with SHS) will it have the KD mounting pad on it so putting KDs on it are easy like MTH does with their scale rolling stock? Or will be like what Lionel does with their scale rolling stock and not have any type of pad at all and the user has to fabricate something to put on KD couplers?

 

It's not that I am against doing this type of work, usually I can do it but it just isn't fun to me. I can understand why it wasn't done back in the day but for Lionel to still be selling scale rolling stock at the prices they charge and not give the user the option and benefit of a KD coupler pad is IMHO a real kick in the pants.

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

One new question guys and I won't bother you guys anymore!

 

If buy a new Lionel boxcar or some other company's rolling stock with the bear claw (I gather from what I've read above I won't have this problem with SHS) will it have the KD mounting pad on it so putting KDs on it are easy like MTH does with their scale rolling stock? Or will be like what Lionel does with their scale rolling stock and not have any type of pad at all and the user has to fabricate something to put on KD couplers?

 

It's not that I am against doing this type of work, usually I can do it but it just isn't fun to me. I can understand why it wasn't done back in the day but for Lionel to still be selling scale rolling stock at the prices they charge and not give the user the option and benefit of a KD coupler pad is IMHO a real kick in the pants.

Phil, keep on asking those questions, we're glad to answer them if we can.  (Besides, we like to show off how smart we are!)

 

S Scale America and the former SHS are drilled to accept the Kadee 805.  They also include scale wheelsets.  (MTH may change that and have a separate stock number for scale wheel cars.  We don't know yet.)

 

The Flyer compatible coupler on SHS and SSA is on a talgo arm going back to the bolster.  Unscrew the truck, remove the coupler, mount the Kadee on the pad, install the included spacer on the bolster, remount the truck.

 

American Models stocks and sells Scale and HiRail cars and locomotives separately, but they have a similar set up on their HiRail freight cars.  The older cars are set up for the #5 HO coupler, so it's up to the user to drill for the 805.  The 805 wasn't out when AM started up.  There is no spacer for the AM cars, the HiRail versions just ride a tad higher because of the compatible coupler arm.

 

Currently. AM scale wheeled cars have their dummy "snap lock" coupler installed.  Scale wheeled locomotives usually have a package of Kadee 805's thrown in. 

 

Lionel's method is unknown until the cylindrical hopper comes out.  The catalog description is a little confusing on how they're going to be set up.  I've heard rumblings that there will be a Kadee mounting pad, but nothing official.  Stay tuned...

 

It's also somewhat unclear if scale wheels will be included or available separately with the new scale detailed freight cars.  The U33C's were originally supposed to have scale wheels included, but Lionel changed their mind on that.  There is a bracket and screws included for mouting 805's on the U33C's, however.

 

Any suitable taditional Flyer has a sheet metal or plastic frame with trucks rivited on and no provisions for mounting a Kadee.

 

Rusty

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Thank you very much Rusty and Troy for answering my questions. I sincerely appreciate it. It seems Lee is correct in stating that there really isn't a large space savings in S scale when it comes to the curves (if one likes broad curves). Troy mentioned 45-50"R curves and I was going to use 54"R for my 2R O scale layout. Yes I could fit 2-10-2s on the S scale side and not fit them on the O scale side. Yes, it is a lot to think about. Thanks again for your help.

 

I thought the AM Trainmaster was awesome. Definitely good enough for me. As I said I am no rivet counter. If I go to S scale I hope I can find one.

 

I've never heard of Tomalco. I will have to check them out. I hope they have a website.

 

BTW, I was checking the website for AAA Turntables and I found out that they do list a S scale TT. The website shows a price of around $1K which is slightly less than what I paid for my 32" Millhouse River TT. However, I am not sure if other add on items are needed which are not included in that price. Anyway, just wanted to mention that there is at least one TT available for S scale. Thanks again guys. [Just now saw Bradys reply.] Thank you Brady for the link to the TT.

 

 


Phil, I've been finding out that everything just seems to "fit" with S that used to really make me struggle in O.  Granted I like pullmans and big steam, but really, for those models, I find that 54R is just your minimum.  When you make a change to S, now, your minimum is about 40R-42R and that 54R makes everything spread out nicely.

 

Also, I'm just now finnishing up selling off my O scale and so far, it has gone better than I thought it would.  All I can say is be patient and be willing to answer ALOT of basic questions like: "Will the Lionel train you are selling run on Gar Graves track?" and I think you will be happy with the return you get on your stuff.  I've found that there are manny more people out there bying trains than I was aware of and if you help them, they will buy your stuff and generally pay your price.

Larry Morton is the go to guy at Tomalco Track, google them.  He sells S scale Microengineering, flex or rail, and sells turnouts.  A 3 ft stick of flex is about $6.80, compare that to Atlas O at about $16 a stick.
Customtraxx of Indianola Iowa has turnouts you won't believe (they're beautiful!) and around $42.  Compare that to an Atlas #5 or 7 in O at around $90 - $95 bucks!
And...S is 4ft 8 1/2 in. Between the railhead as God ordained, not 5ft, as in O!
Welcome aboard, should you decide to come our way!

Hi Phil,

 

Haven't communicated with you on a forum for a couple of years because I've been hanging out mostly on the "S" forums instead of O. Still have some O display pieces but sold off the O and replaced it with S. This is my 2nd venture into S as I did it once before around 2000/2001 but it didn't take. Don't get me wrong, O Scale 2R is great, but I wanted more than a switching layout and S allows me to do that. It is also large enough to build in for aging eyes and none of the smaller gauges are for me.  

 

I think you'd like "S" and there is a lot more available than what you see on the surface. Most regular hobby shops don't carry much in the way of "S", but there are a lot that do and some who specialize in "S".  You have to change your mindset from O to S. You'll find it on eBay or on the S gauge yardsale forum or just by asking for something on any of the S forums. I've seen S for sale on the OGR "For Sale" and "Wanted" forums too.

 

I don't agree with the statement above that there really isn't any size advantage modeling in S because there sure is. As you pointed out S is about 33% smaller than O so in any given space you will have more modeling and space to run trains in S......just like if you modeled in N or HO you'd have more space for running trains than in S. The beauty of S is you gain the operating space but can still see all the detail from a distance. And because the trains are smaller the same radius curve in S appears to be larger than O because the trains are smaller.

 

The smallest commercially available radius in S that I'm aware of is 15", then 18" and then 21" (SHS sectional track with roadbed). Using flex track I suppose you could go smaller, but why?  The beauty of S or any smaller scale is you can have larger appearing curves which makes your equipment look better while running.

 

You can learn a great deal about S (at least S scale) on the S Sig Forum @ sscale.org. Lots of history covering AF up to present day, but mostly geared towards S scale rather than Hi-Rail. There is also a list of S suppliers which will give you a good idea what's available. And with Lionel and MTH jumping into S it will only get better.

 

All opinion of course but check it out.

 

Butch

 

 

One minor correction that I want to add into the discussion is that the Kadee couplers for S scale are #802 and #808. The only difference between the two is the 802 is cast in black plastic while the 808 is cast in brown. The 805 is the older style all-metal O scale coupler.

 

I also wanted to add that there are a few sites on the net that can help you answer your questions on S scale.

 

www.nasg.org (National Association Of S Gaugers)

www.sscale.org (S scale Special Interest Group, NMRA)

http://trainweb.org/crocon/sscale.html (Craig O'Connell's S scale website)

www.sscalenews.com (S scale site with some tips and older catalogs)

 

Hope this helps,

 

Robyn (CarolinaRail)

 

Thank you very much for all your help and answers. I really appreciate it. I'm sorry that I can't give you guys an answer right away. It took me almost a year to decide to switch to 2 rail O from 3 rail. However, my train room should be done by the end of the year and then I want to start building a layout in 2013. One minute I think I should switch to S and then the next minute I think the opposite. It's a tough decision. I have to agree with Troy that going to S scale does solve many of the struggles or things that I don't like with O scale. I think the biggest negatives for me are, number one that I have so much invested in O scale especially with conversions and number two I would be going from a small niche scale to an even smaller one.

 

Recently, I got into digital slot cars and set up a track in the basement for me and the grandkids. The cool thing about slot cars is they are way cheaper than trains and they can be set up very easily. Anyway, I asked the guy at the slot car store what was the most popular scale and he said 1/32 which is what I have. It was certainly nice being in the most popular scale for a change. Did you guys know that HO slot cars are actually 1/64 models. They have incorrectly called them HO since the '50s! I never knew that until recently.

 

I was looking at some S scale videos on you tube yesterday and wow there are some really nice layouts out there. I saw a SP Daylight passenger train that just looked great. The spacing between cars really captured the prototype.

 

Thanks again for all your help.

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Thank you very much for all your help and answers. I really appreciate it. I'm sorry that I can't give you guys an answer right away. It took me almost a year to decide to switch to 2 rail O from 3 rail. However, my train room should be done by the end of the year and then I want to start building a layout in 2013. One minute I think I should switch to S and then the next minute I think the opposite. It's a tough decision. I have to agree with Troy that going to S scale does solve many of the struggles or things that I don't like with O scale. I think the biggest negatives for me are, number one that I have so much invested in O scale especially with conversions and number two I would be going from a small niche scale to an even smaller one.

 

Recently, I got into digital slot cars and set up a track in the basement for me and the grandkids. The cool thing about slot cars is they are way cheaper than trains and they can be set up very easily. Anyway, I asked the guy at the slot car store what was the most popular scale and he said 1/32 which is what I have. It was certainly nice being in the most popular scale for a change. Did you guys know that HO slot cars are actually 1/64 models. They have incorrectly called them HO since the '50s! I never knew that until recently.

 

I was looking at some S scale videos on you tube yesterday and wow there are some really nice layouts out there. I saw a SP Daylight passenger train that just looked great. The spacing between cars really captured the prototype.

 

Thanks again for all your help.

Phil,

 

It was a pretty tough decision when I switched from HO back in '85, I had a pretty sizable investment there, even thought of going back from time to time. 

 

I like to say S Scale is an aquired taste.  Take your time, there's no need to rush.

 

Here's a couple of places you might like to poke around in.

 

The S Scale SIG:

http://sscale.org/

 

The National Association of S Scalers:

http://www.nasg.org/

 

Rusty

 

Butch, it's nice to hear from you. I don't think we talked since the old Atlas forum. I hope all is well.

 

Thank you very much Rusty. I will check out those sites. And since you said I could keep asking questions I thought of two more:

 

#1) Is there an S scale layout somewhere near me (NJ) that my wife and I can visit and see S scale in action?

 

#2) I know Lionel sells steam locomotives with TMCC and Railsounds but is there anyone out there that sells steam locomotives with factory installed DCC and Sound in S scale? I've done TMCC/DCS/DCC convrsions and I don't find it to be a fun part of the hobby.

 

Thanks in advance.

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Butch, it's nice to hear from you. I don't think we talked since the old Atlas forum. I hope all is well.

 

Thank you very much Rusty. I will check out those sites. And since you said I could keep asking questions I thought of two more:

 

#1) Is there an S scale layout somewhere near me (NJ) that my wife and I can visit and see S scale in action?

 

#2) I know Lionel sells steam locomotives with TMCC and Railsounds but is there anyone out there that sells steam locomotives with factory installed DCC and Sound in S scale? I've done TMCC/DCS/DCC convrsions and I don't find it to be a fun part of the hobby.

 

Thanks in advance.

The east coast boys are going to have to answer you about NJ S scale railroads, I'm in the midwest and don't travel much anymore.

 

The SHS 2-8-0 was the only mass produced S steam locomotive available with DCC or DCC w/sound installed.  I believe some of the installations were done at SHS.

 

As Brady stated, MTH plans to install their DCS/DCC system in the former SHS loco's.

 

AM steam is available as DC, AC or AC with the extremely mediocre Ott sound sound board. 

 

The good thing about AM steam is their simple construction, think Mantua/Tyco HO of the 1960's.  The Pacific's are pretty basic, but there ESE Hudson and Santa Fe Northern have fairly nice detail for being cast in.

 

After I removed the smoke unit and chugger assembly, I did a test install of an MRC DCC/sound decoder in the boiler on one of their Pacific's and was able to fit the supplied spreaker in the smokebox.  I'm hardly a DCC wizard, but the installation wasn't at all difficult.

 

Another defense about AM steam is their drive.  Each driving axle is geared and the mechanism is like a big diesel truck.  The rods are only along for the ride so there's no potential for binding.

 

Rusty

Rusty, I was just looking at the AM website and their diesels look pretty good but most of the steamers look more on the toy side of things. Kind of like how Lionel was 15 years ago. I don't mean to knock them just my opinion. The Hudson and the SF Northern look pretty good though. More importantly how does their stuff run? Smooth start ups? Can they crawl at low speed? Quiet mechanisms?

 

I am considering buying the TM. I've always wanted one and even if I don't choose S scale I can always use it for display. Thanks.

Phil,

 

AM steam runs pretty smoothly and you can get decent slow speed response out of them.  They all have a Flyer-like piston and smoke unit, which I'll admit is toylike, but there's a switch to turn off the smoke and the whole thing comes out easily.

 

The drives are bullet-proof.  There is a little noise amplified somewhat by the resonance of the boiler, but nothing I find objectionable.  We ran a Pacific at an open house for 6 hours straight with no problems.

 

The USRA Pacifc is a very basic locomotive with solid performance and was AM's first steam locomotive.  It doesn't take much to improve their looks.  Each succesive steam locomotive became better detailed, although as I mentioned earlier, most of the detail is cast in.

 

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

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Last edited by Rusty Traque
Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Rusty, once again thanks for the information. Do the AM steamers have a flywheel? In other words can one install PS 3.0 in them? I realize PS 3.0 kits are not available yet but I'm sure they will be someday.

 

If no flywheel will HO decoders handle the amperage of S scale?

Yep, AM steam has Flywheels, so do the diesels, as did the SHS loco's.

 

The few decoders I've installed in AM and SHS diesels are the Jenz JST Gold decoders (1 amp) and they seem to do fine.  Haven't lost one yet. 

 

The decoder I installed in my test AM Pacific is an MRC "Brilliance" steam decorder (rated at 1.5amps if I recall correctly) that I blew out the headlight circuts on, due to my own inexperience at the time.

 

I know some guys have installed the HO Tsunami's in the AM Northern.  I kinda plan to do that one of these years.

 

Rusty

Originally Posted by John Albee:
Larry Morton is the go to guy at Tomalco Track, google them.  He sells S scale Microengineering, flex or rail, and sells turnouts.  A 3 ft stick of flex is about $6.80, compare that to Atlas O at about $16 a stick.

A couple of years ago I went on a layout tour with a club in Hendersonville NC (South of Asheville) and may have met Larry mentioned here. If memory serves correctly (?) this guy manufactured Tomalco Track and had a really nice large S scale layout. His home was beautiful and perched up a mountain. Nice guy too!

I've checked out the Tomalco website and it is very encouraging. The track is less than half the price of 2 rail O. In fact everything I have seen in the last 2 days about S scale is very encouraging. It's amazing to me that more people aren't in this scale. It does have a lot of good points and advantages. The only disadvantage I have found is that brass steam engines actually cost more in S scale than O scale. I saw 0-6-0s for $1400. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because I have also seen some HO brass steam engines cost more than O scale brass. I'm not sure why this is. I always thought that the less people you have in the scale the higher price. Maybe there aren't many HO guys into brass. At my LHS there is a super nice HO Erie steam engine (I forget the exact model--might be a Northern) and it is $1,800. This kind of stuff is out of my price range. I wonder if anyone will ever make a die cast steam engine like the Atlas 0-6-0 in S scale for around the same price?

Phil:

 

Check out the NASG web site and click on the Clubs toggle.  There are two clubs in New Jersey listed.  These are very active and will be more than happy to point you in the direction of layouts you might visit. 

 

SHS will be at York (think it is this weekend).

 

Steamtown will be the 2013 NASG national convention.  Something to look forward to!

 

Roger

Phil,

 

As promised, here's a couple of photo's of an American Models USRA 4-6-2 dressed up a little:

rKGB 102309 03

 

rKGB 102309 06

 

I'm not Joe Uber-modeler, but I do like to improve things.  The model is straight DC.  DCC will come one of these days.

 

Parts came from a variety of sources, including from some companies unfortunately no longer with us and a couple of scratch items.  I tend to buy steam locomotive parts when I see them, whether I need them or not.

 

I can tell you, that if the loco wasn't a good runner, I wouldn't have gone through the trouble.

 

I've found that even with the basic model, painting the rims and driver axle ends black immediately improves the looks.

 

You mentioned moderate price, well detailed steam.  The scale wheeled SHS 2-8-0 with DCC/sound MSRP'd for $525.00.  They occasionally show up on the secondary market and MTH will likely re-release it:

KGB 111007 09r

 

It's based on a B&O consol and is a good runner also. My only real complaint with it is SHS used a dark gray/grimy black finish instead of black.  But that's just my opinion.

 

Rusty.

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Phil,


I manufacture both the E-Z Engine Turntable and Transfer table in "S" gauge.

The TT come in several sizes from 16 inch to 33 inch diameters (1 inch increments) 

and is offered in pit depths of 1-1/2 inch to 2-1/2 inch (1/4 inch increments).

Transfer Tables pits are 26 inches long (bridge length) and are 16 inches wide. Pit

depth is 1-1/2 inch.

Both units are DC motor driven and can be manually eye-balled to stop or have

an optional indexing system.

I will be at the YORK PA train meet October 18-19-20 with both units. My tables are in the SILVER Hall on the END WALL, row Z, tables 1 & 2 near the registration desk.

I can EMAIL pictures of the Turntable.

I will have a 20 inch, 25 inch and 33 inch diameter Turntable at York as well as a Transfer Table.

Hope to see you at York PA!

Have a great day and an even better tomorrow!

 

Dave


 


There are die cast S scale steam engines out there.  They were initially made by a company called Rex.  They had an 0-4-0 tank engine (B&O prototype IIRC) and a 2-6-0 with a square tender and an 0-6-0 with a slope back tender.  The boiler is the same for the two 6 drivered engines.  With some additions, they could be built to resemble PRR engines with Belpair boiler/firebox add ons.  Bill Lane recently showed his Rex 0-6-0 on the S scale yahoo list.  That is a list that would be good to get on to ask questions.  Lots of opinions and ideas there.
 
Greg

Butch, yes it was the RRM models I was looking at. Thanks for the explanation of S scale brass.

 

Roger, I will check out those links. Thank you. I've looked at the NASG Convention and it really sounds great but the problem for me is on that exact weekend I always go to this one car show. It is my favorite show and I never miss it. Unfortunately, it would seem that the NASG Convention is on the same weekend every year. Bummer.

 

Rusty, those engines do look very good. You did a nice job on detailing them.

 

Dave, I usually speed through the Silver Hall because most of the stuff there I am not interested in but I will stop by your booth. Still not sure which day I am going this year but I should be there either Thur or Fri.

 

Thanks for the suggestions Greg but I really can't stand that Yahoo format. I am one list there and I plan on deleting myself. 

 

Thanks to everyone you all have been very helpful.

One other observation about S (not a complaint) is that I checked Ebay and and both SHS and AM have only 25 auctions each on there. Of those 50 auctions only 3 of them are locomotives. Three diesels and no steam. Where do you guys buy S scale on the secondary market?

 

Last night I went to my friend Steve's house (corsair29 here on the forum) to see his layout and run trains. We all had a good time. Steve has a really nice 3 rail layout with all scale equipment. He has a bunch of locomotives many of which are weathered. The weathering really makes the details pop out and I was saying to myself could I achieve similar results with S scale? The first thought that comes to mind is I don't think so. I'm not saying I've made a decision. I did decide that I am going to wait until April York of next year to see what MTH has to say then. At that point I am going to start building a layout. I am not like most 2 railers who build a bunch of nice models at their work bench and don't get around to building a layout until they are well into the retirement years or never. I have been wanting a layout for 10 years now. I want to have the track done and trains running with a year or two after I start it.

 

I looked at an older Lionel catalog yesterday and if they only made their steam engines DCC compatible that would be a huge help because the engines are already 2 rail so there would be no machining costs to run in on my railroad. In the one catalog I looked at the only scale piece Lionel offered was a steam engine. It was the Challenger and not that bad of a price for $1K. Unfortunately, all of Lionel's other offerings looked like they were still using the old A.C. Gilbert tooling from '50s. Not my cup of tea.

 

One of the guys at Steve's last night told me that MTH did not buy the remaining inventory from SHS and that SHS only has a limited time to get rid of it so they may have some good prices at York on rolling stock. If yes, I plan on picking up a couple of boxcars.

 

Sorry to ramble on. Thanks again guys.

Last edited by Hudson J1e

Well, Phil, I'll admit the secondary market is a bit slim, my usual exposure is the Fall S Fest held in Milwaukee, Chicago, Rockford-Beloit and St. Louis on a rotating basis, usually in November.

 

There's also the Spring S Spree held in Ohio and the various NASG Conventions.

 

I think the Central New Jersey folks also hold an annual event.

 

All these events are open to everyone, no memebership required.

 

Lionel also made a very nice USRA light Pacific and Mikado, along with the recent Challenger and the soon to be released Y3a.  Admittedly, these are all deep flange and AC/TMCC or Legacy. 

 

We keep plugging away for scale flanges and DCC steam on the new Flyer, hopefully we might get it one day.  It was a major surprise to us that Lionel's doing scale flanged diesels with the U33C and SD70.  Plus DCC compatibility for the diesels is in the works.  I think Lionel's waiting to see how well both the DCC and scale wheel diesels are accepted by the scale crowd before commiting to steam.

 

Some of the boys on the S Scale Yahoo board have been rather critical about Lionel's recent offerings.  It's usually a pretty good group over there but there are a couple of boisterous uber-modelers over there that refuse to accept today's reality.  And yeah, the format is clumsy compared to here.  But my evil twin sticks around over there anyways.

 

Rusty

Plus DCC compatibility for the diesels is in the works.  I think Lionel's waiting to see how well both the DCC and scale wheel diesels are accepted by the scale crowd before commiting to steam.

Are you kidding me? Wow! I never thought in a million years that Lionel would ever make any their locomotives more compatible with other operating systems. But I don't understand if DCC is in the works (if I understand you correctly that would mean it is not in the locomotive now) then how could Lionel be waiting to see how something is accepted if it isn't out there for people to try?

 

Yes, I realize that to change one's electronics costs money but once the R&D is done I don't think it is hard to make a board that will run off of TMCC or DCC with the flip of a switch like MTH does. I also don't believe their is a significant cost increase by making a board run off of TMCC or DCC as compared to a board that solely runs off of TMCC. I do have one PS3 locomotive and it runs great under DCC which is usually how I run it. If memory serves the original TMCC digital instructions were based off of DCC instructions. Or so I was told.

 

I remember the Pacific and Mikado, despite the Flyer flanges they looked like really nice engines.

 

Let's say I want to order the U33 would the major Lionel retailers stock it or take an order for it? Or can my LHS get it? Provided if it has DCC. I'm sick and tired of paying $150 or more to add CC and sound.

 

Where is the sale? (4 cars and a caboose for $100) That sounds like a good deal.

 

Rusty, you are right about the annual event in NJ. I believe it was in July or August. I saw some pics of it and it looked pretty cool. If I get into S scale I will attend next year and join the NASG. I've been reading back issues of the NASG magazine. You probably know this but you can download older issues for free from their website.

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Plus DCC compatibility for the diesels is in the works.  I think Lionel's waiting to see how well both the DCC and scale wheel diesels are accepted by the scale crowd before commiting to steam.

Are you kidding me? Wow! I never thought in a million years that Lionel would ever make any their locomotives more compatible with other operating systems. But I don't understand if DCC is in the works (if I understand you correctly that would mean it is not in the locomotive now) then how could Lionel be waiting to see how something is accepted if it isn't out there for people to try?

 

 

Well, if something is in the works, that means it's under development and not ready for prime time.

 

You are correct that it's not in the U33C's, or anything currently released.  I would imagine that once a working DCC decoder is developed to Lionel's satifaction, it would become available in all the diesels released afterwards.

 

As I mentioned before, there has been some vocal resistance on Yahoo about Lionel entering the scale side of the market.  There's is the feeling that among some that S Scale will be "toyified" and no longer be the last gallant stand of true scale model railroading.  (OK, I'm being a little overly dramatic, but when my evil twin showed off the Challenger over there, it was a bloodly weekend that wound up with everybody being on moderation...)

 

You weren't the only person suprised.  I never thought Lionel would make any ovetures to the S scale market. 

 

Back in 2003 I talked with a rep who hinted at duplicating the Scale O stuff in S with scale wheels and Kadee pads, but that was several managment changes ago and I figured the Pacific's and Mikado's would be the only thing close to scale S from Lionel.

I think Lionel's off to a good, if not slow, start.  Even if they decide the scale market isn't worth the bother (I hope not,) an expanded, well detailed Flyer line is good for S in general.

 

S Scale had a renaissance in the 1980's and 1990's.  Hopefully, it will have a second renaissance in the 20-teens.

 

Rusty

OK, Rusty I understand now. Has Lionel actually come out and said that a TMCC/DCC decoder is in the future?

 

There's is the feeling that among some that S Scale will be "toyified" and no longer be the last gallant stand of true scale model railroading.

 

Once again you've got to be kidding me! Isn't S scale 90% toys right now? How could Lionel getting into the scale side of S change that? I don't know what those guys are thinking but I totally disagree. IMHO, Lionel has the best sound in O scale (by far), and some of the best rolling stock if not the best in O scale. Their engines are hit and miss. Some I like and some I don't. If they come out with a scale line that's comparable to what they've done on the Standard O side I can see no reason why that would be bad. Will everything they put out be a big hit? No, but anytime a big company makes something for a niche scale it has got to help someone in that scale. I totally agree with you they are off to a slow start. 2003? Wow that was 9 years ago. I wonder if MTH will get them in gear? I agree with you I hope S has a renaissance.

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

OK, Rusty I understand now. Has Lionel actually come out and said that a TMCC/DCC decoder is in the future?

 

There has been no "official" announcement.  There was some discussion back in March:

 

"I have a question for the folks here on this thread... I am toying with a DCC decoder (derived from a design I created 8 years ago!) as a swap for our TMCC radio board.  If successful, a one board swap out without any wiring changes would allow DCC support with our current motor, smoke, and light controller; and also link to the RailSounds system.  Would folks be willing to purchase the "DCC adapter" to plug and play upgrade locos such as the SD-70, Y3, U33?  Figure costs at $50/board for evaluation of the concept.  No promises, just exploratory feedback - as I may run into some technical issues in the current board set that prevent this concept from working out...

 

 

jon

CTO, Lionel LLC"


The entire discussion appeared in this thread, as is usual around here, the start of the thread has little to do with responses further down:

 

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/d...256#4527055145197256

 

I haven't heard anything to indicate that DCC's been abandoned.

 

Rusty

Oh, I see. I met Jon once at York many years ago and he told me it would be no problem to have DCC control or work with railsounds. He even emailed me a picture of a circuit that would do it. Jon's a great guy and very smart too. I've been a 2 railer for about 10 years and back then what I wanted to do was have a DCC motor driver board that would hook up to RS. It would have been great to have DCC with that awesome Lionel sound. I have a couple of Lionel engines that I had 2 railed and I wanted to do this to those engines. However, the circuit board never materialized and I couldn't build just from a picture and no specifications. I'm no electrical engineer.

 

I hate to be negative but I seriously doubt the powers that be at Lionel will allow it. Their message to me is get hooked on our product and don't buy anything from anyone else. I realize it is business and they are out to make as much $$$ as possible but I just don't care all that much for TMCC/Legacy or DCS. I know TMCC/Legacy can do a lot of things that DCC can't and I know all about how they have so much more bandwidth and how they are so much better than DCC. It has been told to me time and time again on this forum. I don't begrudge anyone else's opinion. They are certainly entitled to it as I am entitled to mine. And I am not saying that the 3 rail systems are bad systems. When they work they are awesome! No doubt about it. What I like about DCC is #1) that the non-proprietary feature of it was created by model railroaders for model railroaders and #2)is that whenever I give any command to a locomotive 99.99999999 times out of a 100 that command is obeyed by the locomotive. With DCC you can forget that there even is CC system. It almost like you still have the ZW throttle in your hand. Just last night I was at Steve's house and I was talking to a guy who is called HO Bob (for the obvious reasons) and he said the same thing as me. It's not that there is anything wrong with Steve's layout it is just that once in a while you push a button on the remote and for whatever reason the command doesn't get to the locomotive. I never owned Legacy but I have seen this happen with both DCS and TMCC and I have seen it happen on every 3 rail layout I have ever operated on. I don't mean to say that it happens all that often, it usually is just once in a while but for me when I was in 3 rail it usually happened just before a collision! Seriously, when I first got TMCC in the late '90s it was so frustrating that I almost smashed it against the wall but as I later found out this was probably because of grounding issues. If only there was a forum back then I probably would have had a lot more fun with the trains. Anyway, sorry about rambling on.... At least MTH will have DCC compatibility that's a guarantee!

 

Looks like I won't be buying Lionel in O gauge or S scale! It's been about 12 years since I bought a Lionel locomotive. I think the last one I got was the Postwar Celebration Texas Special F3. Oh well.....

Last edited by Hudson J1e
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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Last edited by Rusty Traque

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.

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.. 

Last edited by GARDNER

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.

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.

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?

Last edited by Hudson J1e
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.

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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

 

 

Last edited by up148
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?

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

 

 

 

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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.

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.

 

 

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.

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.

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

I agree. Three rail O has certainly helped both 2 rail O and S.

 

I found this video on You tube.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=699NBq3WCFA

 

What company made the EM-1?

 

And that other thread where you showed the link to the video of that Y3 which was converted to scale flanges and DCC. I wonder does anyone else do these type of conversions? And they said that to convert to DCC was just software do you think it is possible to convert other Lionel locomotives to DCC by changing the software? If yes, they should sell the program to us folks instead of a $75 charge for each engine. This way one does not have to send every locomotive through the mail.

You have  do some rewiring and so far only the Y-3 the factory installed DCC module. The Y-3 will run on anything:

 

American Flyer 30B transformer.

DC power supply

DCC system

TMCC

 

It has DC motors. it does not have AC motors

 

Lionel did a lot of engineering on just about everything with this steam engine model. The 2-8-2 is almost impossible to convert to scale. Maybe the Challenger is a possibly. The Big Boy was a total joke, it belongs in the scrap metal pile.

 

The EM-1 is a brass import by Southwind Models. 

 

Rusty Rustermier

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

And that other thread where you showed the link to the video of that Y3 which was converted to scale flanges and DCC. I wonder does anyone else do these type of conversions? And they said that to convert to DCC was just software do you think it is possible to convert other Lionel locomotives to DCC by changing the software? If yes, they should sell the program to us folks instead of a $75 charge for each engine. This way one does not have to send every locomotive through the mail.

S Scale Locomotive and Supply is the only one I know of doing scale conversions, and it's for the Y3 only.  And the conversion WILL void the locomotive's warranty.

 

SSL&S was considering scale conversions when the Mikado's were announced back in 03, but there was some reason it wasn't practical or economically viable. 

 

The SD70's, Y3's and if I recall correctly, the second run of U33C's are the only locomotives that currently have the electronics that will support DCC.

 

As far as the DCC software, I doubt Lionel would offer it separately if for no reason other than to control their intellectual property.  There would be nothing to stop (other than the threat of voiding the warranty) one person from upgrading all his buddies loco's once he bought the software.  Perhaps, they'll consider making it available to their authorized service stations in the future.

 

Rusty

As far as the DCC software, I doubt Lionel would offer it separately if for no reason other than to control their intellectual property.  There would be nothing to stop (other than the threat of voiding the warranty) one person from upgrading all his buddies loco's once he bought the software.  Perhaps, they'll consider making it available to their authorized service stations in the future.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Bill Clark, from this Forum and former SHS DCC installer, has been authorized to the DCC and (or?) DC corrections for the Y3.  My understanding is the DC programming is so the Y3 can run on conventional (non-filtered) DC.  It also will correct the backup light confusion.

 

Both Jon Z and Bill know much more about this and I hope they will both add to this thread.

 

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:
 
 

As far as the DCC software, I doubt Lionel would offer it separately if for no reason other than to control their intellectual property.  There would be nothing to stop (other than the threat of voiding the warranty) one person from upgrading all his buddies loco's once he bought the software.  Perhaps, they'll consider making it available to their authorized service stations in the future.

 

Rusty

Rusty, you're probably right but let's think about that. This isn't HO. We're talking about a scale that we want to grow. Not offering DCC compatible locomotives or at least letting one buy the program that changes the software to DCC compatibility for a one time cost is not something that is going to entice scale folks over to S Scale. Adding a $75 fee to every locomotive is to me something that might send the scale folks over to the MTH side who we know will not be charging extra for DCC compatibility. And I don't see how anyone would be able to steal Lionel's intellectual property. It's not like you can install this software in any locomotive. It only works with their products so one would have to buy their product to use the software. You're are right about one guy buying the program and doing all his buddies locomotives BUT this isn't HO. Just how many S scalers live within driving distance of one another in this country? Not that many I would guess especially on the scale side. But once again this is Lionel we are talking about and they are always (IMHO) seem to be more about sucking every last dollar out of the enthusiast than most other companies. We know all the manufacturers are out to make money but with Lionel it seems to me they do the least amount of R&D but yet charge the highest prices.  I don't hate Lionel, I have some of their stuff and like what I have. I just feel that they try to keep this a rich man's hobby. Just my opinion.

Sometimes I wonder if S is a forgotten scale? Recently I saw two ads that said "Good for both HO and O scale". Well, if something is good for both HO and O scale then, wouldn't it automatically be good for S scale? So why not mention it?

 

Over on the 3 rail side there is a thread about MTH HO. Some guys said that they were thinking about going to HO. So a few minutes ago I asked why none of them had considered S scale? I was just curious.

 

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/d...01#15790232524515201

Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Sometimes I wonder if S is a forgotten scale?

Yes and no.

 

It's more like an identity crisis.  For good or bad, S is mostly associated with Gilbert American Flyer. 

 

I know the scale crowd would wish that perception would go away, but it's never going to happen. 

 

Plus, S suffered the most from Sanda Kan firing their customers.

 

However, with Lionel making bona-fied scale detailed and compatible products like the SD70 and MTH joining the fray with the former SHS line, there should come more recognition of S in all it's forms; traditional, hirail and scale.

 

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque
Originally Posted by Hudson J1e:

Rusty,

Are there any older AF steamers that can be updated or upgraded either with paint or added details to run on a scale layout? Sort of like how Lionel did the scale Hudson back in the '30s. I guess they would not have can motors correct? Is there any market for a better drivetrain?

Scale conversions for Gilbert Flyer locomotives has been pretty much relegated to the olden days.

 

As I recall,the "old" S Scale Locomotive and Supply company (a manufacturer of brass locomotive crafstman kits) had conversion drivers (or mechanism kit, I don't really remember) for the NYC Hudson. Another company called Nixon made drivers for the 0-8-0 and wheels for the diesels.

 

The "new" S Scale locomotive and Supply Co. is making some of the brass detail parts available again. The only Flyer conversion presently is for the Y3.

http://www.sscaleloco.com/

 

River Raisin also has some detail parts available:

http://www.riverraisinmodels.com/parts.html

 

S-N-S Trains makes can motor conversion kits for old Flyer:

http://www.snstrains.com/

 

The Hudsons, 0-8-0's, early Atlantics, K5 and Northerns were probably the best candidates for upgrades and conversions.  The 393 and 21085 Pacifics were cruder by comparison, although i did see one 21085 converted to scale wheels some years ago. 

 

Frank Titman used to take the Reading Atlantics and make all manner of Reading steam locomotives out of them, but that's also when the old SSL&S was still in full swing.

 

At the last S Fest, there was a K5 with outfitted with an American Models drive on display, so some folks are still scalifying old Flyer every now and then.

 

I'm not sure if there would be a viable market for Flyer steam conversion drives nowadays.  The costs of development and manufacturing might be on the high side.

 

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque

Hudson J1e:

 

Not sure how extensively you wanted to modify the AF steamers, but assume you weremay be interested in reducing the wheelset/driver flange depth and tread width.  January, 1962 volume 2, No. 3 S Gauge Herald has an article on how to turn the AF wheelsets and the driver flanges to scale using a Dremel tool (available from Mobley Library from NASG; or, contact me off forum and I can copy one for you in PDF).  The July 1968 issue of Model Railroader, Pg. 66+, MR Clinic has an explination of how to use a lathe to turn large flanged HO European manufactured wheelsets to a more prototypical profile.

 

Roger

A tad harsh, perhaps....
 
The L-AF Big Boy was never intended as a scale piece, but rather to be a conversion of an existing K-Line piece providing an articulated steamer for those with Gilbert and hi-rail layouts equipped with TMCC. Many had petitioned K-Line to do precisely this. Parked next to a Gilbert No. 283 or 312AC or the typical stock AM die-cast steamer, it looks quite respectable.
 
If you ever have the opportunity run a BB with Legacy, you might note that the sounds are truly robust, smoke is prodigious, and the Odyssey II cruise mates with Cab-1 and Cab-2 control better than the more recent offerings from Lionel. In short, it provides a visceral impact akin to the 'real thing' most S scale engines do not. BB's can put on a good show for the public on modular layouts.
 
A great model it is not, however. The new Y3a is far better in that department. The L-AF BB represents what train collectors call a transition piece. But, the numerous Tuveson mods correct several shortcomings (modifying existing product is a time-honored tradition in S) and make the BB a satisfying loco to operate on Flyer/hi-rail layouts that collectively still constitute the majority in S gauge. Heck, so modified, it will even back dependably through curved Gilbert turnouts.
 
Have fun.
 
Bob
 
 
Originally Posted by Rustermier:

 

 

 The Big Boy was a total joke, it belongs in the scrap metal pile.

 

 

Rusty Rustermier

Last edited by Bob Bubeck

Lionels Big Boy:

 

     If you don't care that it is too short, and too tall. About 10 feet too short and 2 foot foot too tall.

  It started life as a "O" gauge model then went through several iterations and was acquired by Lionel. it is NOT "S".

 

   Lionel pulled the opposite long ago with the 027...... "S" gauge models on "O" gauge track????? That made it very easy for some of us. Toss the couplers and the trucks. Kadee's and scale trucks and your off and running.

 

     I have no proof other than total rumor but I was informed that Lionel has every intention of redoing the Big Boy into a respectable S gauge size model.

 

    My understanding was the K line Big Boy was a quick total sell out.

 

      I do know that it isn't even a stand in for the scale guys where the Lionel Challenger and Y-3 are supurb, so are the new diesels.

 

  Yes, there are scale guys that will buy the new Lionel along with some of the older AF for conversion purposes. All of the older Gilbert that I've converted over the years at least started life very close to scale, very close. The couplers I tossed along with the trucks. I grind  a lot of the details off and added brass parts and a new paint job. (I never heard of a real railroad named, American Flyer).

 

  I no longer cut up AF passenger and make them scale length. I have too many Flyer collectors here that would have the big one if I did that, besides, they keep me supplied with all sorts of older scale stuff from the 50's.

 

Rusty

 

(Rustermier)

Originally Posted by Rustermier:

Lionels Big Boy:

 

     If you don't care that it is too short, and too tall. About 10 feet too short and 2 foot foot too tall.

  It started life as a "O" gauge model then went through several iterations and was acquired by Lionel. it is NOT "S".

 

   Lionel pulled the opposite long ago with the 027...... "S" gauge models on "O" gauge track????? That made it very easy for some of us. Toss the couplers and the trucks. Kadee's and scale trucks and your off and running.

 

     I have no proof other than total rumor but I was informed that Lionel has every intention of redoing the Big Boy into a respectable S gauge size model.

 

    My understanding was the K line Big Boy was a quick total sell out.

 

      I do know that it isn't even a stand in for the scale guys where the Lionel Challenger and Y-3 are supurb, so are the new diesels.

 

  Yes, there are scale guys that will buy the new Lionel along with some of the older AF for conversion purposes. All of the older Gilbert that I've converted over the years at least started life very close to scale, very close. The couplers I tossed along with the trucks. I grind  a lot of the details off and added brass parts and a new paint job. (I never heard of a real railroad named, American Flyer).

 

  I no longer cut up AF passenger and make them scale length. I have too many Flyer collectors here that would have the big one if I did that, besides, they keep me supplied with all sorts of older scale stuff from the 50's.

 

Rusty

 

(Rustermier)

Rusty,

 

I think you'll find the Flyonel Large Lad was more of a "trial balloon" to see if there was a market for new big Flyer steam. It was an experiment and an opportunity for Lionel to introduce something new with a minimal investment.

 

Yeah, us scale guys wouldn't and didn't buy it, but others did.  So, if nothing else, it succeeded on that count. 

 

Personally, I feel that if you stand back about 20 feet, turn around and close your eyes, it looks pretty good.

 

But, there are folks out there that are happy with the Large Lad.  However, I notice you never see any photos of it next to a Challenger...

 

While Lionel's going to have to balance there production between "traditional" Flyer and the new scale stuff, I think they're on the right track now.  I agree we may see a new scale proportioned Flyer Big Boy in the future. If Lionel doesn't do it, MTH probably will.

 

Lionel is looking to add value to the American Flyer Line, if they weren't they wouldn't have bothered adding DCC compatibility, Kadee brackets, scale wheels on some products and the new pilot mounting.

 

Admittedly baby steps, but Lionel could have not bothered.

 

We'll get a better idea of what's going to happen with Flyer (and MTH) in a couple of weeks.

 

(The other) Rusty

It appears to me that Lionel is a very conservative and risk-averse organization.  Their roots are with toy trains and they probably do not feel they truly understand the scale market.  Some folks, like SHS to name one, will mortgage their homes for a fling with a new scale loco.  I doubt that Lionel will ever do that.  Nor do I blame them.

 

I see lots and lots of small steady steps in the general direction of making things easier for the scale guys.  I see and hear from lots of scale guys who have ordered the SD70 diesels with scale wheels.  Most folks in my circle of S buddies, have yet to see a Y-3 in person and close-up.  When they do, a preconceived notion of what Lionel is may well change.

 

I have seen the Lionel 3-rail O gauge Big Boy and it is truly beautiful.  If one is made in S scale, it will not be distinguishable from a brass import.  Lots of room here for optimism.  So if a Polar Express is also made, why complain?  We are still getting products that might be suitable for kit-bashing and conversion to scale or repainting.  SSL&S is willing to help us with scale conversions when feasible.  We are in decent shape in an overall sense. 

 

Leave us not quibble over the details.

 

Cheers...Ed L.

Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:
.........
 

Personally, I feel that if you stand back about 20 feet, turn around and close your eyes, it looks pretty good.

 

But, there are folks out there that are happy with the Large Lad.  However, I notice you never see any photos of it next to a Challenger...

 

 

(The other) Rusty

 

I believe that we all are in agreement that the Little Lad is not the world's greatest model. Not S scale, but it is S gauge. It was never intended for the hard-bitten scale crowd. The Challenger and the U33 with scale flanges were in an advanced stage of development before the BB's were ever delivered. In the Gilbert Flyer world (or demi-world) of coal loaders, Mystic stations, No. 355's, 21155's, etc., however, the BB is a source of operational enjoyment under TMCC. In that intended mission and within the broader of interests in S, it has been reasonably successful. 

 

Bob

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