Re: What got you in to HOn3?

Craig Linn

Thanks Chris for the file.  And thanks to everyone who has answered so far.  I think this will really help my presentation go a bit further (and to some area’s that I didn’t think of…so thank you.)

Keep em coming!


On Jan 16, 2021, at 5:22 PM, claneon30 <chrislaneon30@...> wrote:

Lo rez should you wish to consult it Craig.

Chris Lane - Editor HOn3 Annual

On Jan 16, 2021, at 3:24 PM, duncan <train3guy@...> wrote:

Hi, Craig,

   You might want to get a copy of the 2009 HOIn3 Annual.  I wrote the lead article.  It was about why HOn3 was perhaps the best scale/gauge combination for modeling narrow gauge railroads. As has been pointed out by several respondents so far, a question about why HOn3 was chosen often includes, or involves, why narrow gauge is chosen.  While closely related they are two slightly different topics.  In addition to the article above, I also gave clinics about every year at Caboose Hobbies, when I worked there, on the topic of Narrow Gauge and why it was such a good choice to model in.

   To directly answer your questions: What got me into HOn3 was the fact I love history.  So, my first HO modeling was of period railroads - wooden cars with truss rods and turnbuckles, false front buildings, fluted domes, diamond stacks, short trains, steep grades, small towns and the like.While in college I had heard about narrow gauge and decided to check it out a bit more.  i bought a LaBell combine and built it.  I instantly liked the looks and proportion of the model.  My girl friend, now my wife - a girl from Denver, gave me a copy of Narrow Gauge in the Rockies (also mentioned by another responder).  I read through it and was fascinated by the history - the Elephant Corral in Denver, the story of the elephants helping a stranded circus train over the mountains, the Face on the Barroom Floor and so much more.  That got me into narrow gauge.  It fit what I was already interested in - period railroading.  And since I was already doing HO modeling, it was natural to check out HOn3.  As I looked at HOn3 and the other narrow gauges I slowly began to realize there was more of everything in HO scale.  That pretty much sealed the deal on HOn3.

   I think the most important of the many things I love about HOn3 is the size.  As I say in the article it is small enough to get lots of railroad in a give space, yet large enough to be very highly detailed and operate very well.  Model railroaders of all stripes have to deal with limited space.  This usually causes steep grades and sharp radius curves.  HO narrow gauge uses those necessities to advantage.  We use sharp radius curves and steep grades to replicate the Georgetown Loop, the climb to Alpine Tunnel, the climb up Windy Point, the curve around Chattanooga Loop, the yard in Red Mountain, or at Como, the trackage between the mines in Leadville and so on.  We use that imposed space and size restriction to our advantage in modeling the prototype locations we choose.  We can probably get  two sites into our railroads where the space limitations would limit larger scales to just one.

   Maybe a couple of things to watch out for in HOn3.  One is the equipment.  Be careful of used equipment  Used equipment has often been modified in some way and may not perform as you would expect.  It may have been used a lot and have some operational problems.  As mentioned earlier by you, clearances are a critical factor here.  A narrow gauge K-37 has the clearance requirement of a standard gauge HO 2-8-0, because they were built from such engines.  So, the clearances on the layout need to be larger if you are running that class of locos.  Also snow plows and some maintenance equipment will require larger clearances.

   Secondly, would be to realize modeling narrow gauge is often going to require building things.  A friend moved to HOn3 from N scale, because as he was getting older he was finding it hard to see things and switching to a larger scale helped with that.  He chose HO narrow gauge because it was closer to his usual N scale. But, after he was well into building a layout he began to realize the need to build rolling stock kits, structure kits, detail items and so on.  He was used to just taking the structure out of the box and placing it on the layout.  Same with the cars.  He was not used to having to build things.  As a matter of fact he said he had never really built any kind of model, prior to his entry into HOn3.  So, realize narrow gauge modeling will require building things.  There are a lot of r-t-r rolling stock models out there now, as well as some structure models.  And they are a great help in getting a layout up and running with equipment and some structures. But, stamp mills, specific depots, mills, and other railroad specific structures will take either building a kit, scratch building, or kit bashing. Same for cars.  You can't find a r-t-r model of a DSP&P Charcoal car, a Tiffany reefer, or a 4000 series box car, let alone an HOn3 Pullman Palace Sleeper!

   Others have pointed out many of the other advantages of modeling in HOn3, but these are my answers to your questions. Hope they are of some help!

   Duncan Harvey

<Harvey PG 8-10.pdf>

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