N scale is a popular scale for model trains and is also known by the abbreviation “N”. The scale was originally introduced in Europe and is a scaled-down version of the prototype “Gauge 1” (1:160) scale. The N scale is most popular with model railroaders and is most popular with model railroaders.
N scale trains are a popular form of toy train models. They are very popular with collectors because the model trains are very detailed and realistic. The problem with N scale model train is that there are many different types of N scale trains. Some of the most common N scale trains includes the Kato N scale trains and the Atlas N scale trains. There are many other types of N scale trains and these trains and models can be quite expensive and can be large in size.
N Scale is an old-school scale that began in the late 1970’s. It is still used today for all of its amazing features. This scale is popular for its huge amount of detail, accurately replicated scenery, and its ease of set-up. While this scale may have slower running trains, it offers a wider variety of trains which are all commonly used.
Creating N scale model train layouts is a fantastic pastime that will provide you with many hours of pleasure!
However, while creating a model train layout, the first thing you should consider is the scale you wish to utilize.
There are a variety of scales and choices to consider, and deciding on one early can save you a lot of time and aggravation afterwards!
With that in mind, behind HO model trains and O gauge trains, N scale or N gauge trains are perhaps the third most popular type. So, whether you’ve never heard of N scale model trains before, or if you’re already a fan of N gauge and want to learn more, keep reading to find out why it may be right for you!
N scale model trains are what they sound like.
N scale model trains are very popular due to their tiny size and ease of operation.
They’re also very detailed, so making them takes a lot of time and effort to guarantee that everything appears normal and genuine (which, in this instance, makes them look amazing)!
What is the N scale?
So, what is N scale, exactly? N scale model trains come in scales ranging from 1:148 to 1:160, depending on the maker.
Although the majority of N scale trains are 1:160, some manufacturers produce slightly bigger locomotives and cabs, so keep that in mind and do your homework before purchasing!
Then there’s the issue of rail height to consider. This may vary depending on the arrangement you wish to design and the height that is appropriate in that scenario.
What does the N scale code mean?
Code 55 rails, which are 0.055 inches tall, and code 80 rails, which are 0.080 inches tall, are two of the most common height codes. Buying the same height rail just means that when you lay them down on a level surface, they will line up and you won’t have to worry about joiner lines.
If real-life railways are taken into account, a realistic scale would be 0.040 inches. The locomotive and cars, on the other hand, would not have adequate stability in this scenario and would most likely tumble off your track. Plus, it’s so tiny at this size that you’d have to be a stickler to see the difference!
Because code 55 rails have wider flanges or rims, they are not necessarily suitable for N scale model trains. This implies that the wheels may not sit properly and are more likely to fall off, so you’ll need a very sturdy structure to accommodate for this.
This is why it’s critical to do your homework on the model train’s size and the rail’s height.
Model Trains in N Scale Dimensions
That’s all well and good, but how large are the trains, I hear you say?
Regrettably, this is dependent on the train! Every model train is somewhat different in size, but this will give you a good sense of what a n scale train looks like!
Every 1 meter of the train is 0.625cm or 0.246 inches long at 1:60. So, a 22.5-meter-long locomotive like the GE Dash 9-44CW corresponds to a 14-centimeter-long or 5.5-inch-long n scale train.
A traditional boxcar to pull behind your railway is approximately 15-18m long, depending on the manufacturer, or 10cm wide.
Depending on whose manufacturer you buy from, you may be able to fit your cab and two boxcars on a 30cm ruler!
N scale model trains have a long and illustrious history.
Creating scale trains has been a pastime since the 1920s, but the Arnold business produced the first N scale model trains in 1962.
The HO scale train was first quite popular since it was half the size of O gauge trains, but it was still too enormous for many people and needed a large layout. Because N scale model trains were half the size of HO models once again, they quickly became the standard for many modelers.
Because of the size of their homes, N scale trains are particularly popular in countries like Japan, which is why you’ll see more N scale layouts in highly inhabited regions. You may put more effort into the environment since your trains are smaller. And the greatest thing is that your landscape will stand out quite a bit, especially when contrasted to bigger trains.
In Australia, the United States, and Europe, the same thing occurs. When it comes to N scale model trains, most manufacturers concentrate on the US, British, and European prototypes since they tend to provide a wide range of models to meet your requirements.
It’s worth noting that N scale model components and N gauge railway lines may be utilized in bigger sizes if desired. On HO layouts, trains and buildings are sometimes utilized to create a feeling of forced perspective.
One thing is certain: N scale model trains have come a long way, and with it, a plethora of new creative possibilities!
N Scale Train Sets vs. N Gauge Train Sets: What’s the Difference?
Regardless of scale or height code, the gauge of these N scale trains is always 9 mm, regardless of minor scale variations.
When you hear the phrase N gauge train sets, it refers to the width of the track from one rail to the next. The scale is the proportion/size of the model train, while the N gauge simply measures the distance between rails. As long as the train is N scale, it will operate on any rail.
Even though they seem quite similar, there is a significant variation between the two, thus before buying, make sure that the scale (1:160), gauge (9mm), and train-track code (55) are all the same as what you currently possess!
Manufacturers of N scale model trains
It may be difficult to find the top N scale train manufacturers or companies. Some firms have been producing locomotives and railway sets for quite some time, but there are also some exciting newcomers to the market!
You may also discover defunct businesses whose products are still popular among collectors, but are perhaps better suited to advanced modelers.
It’s important to remember that trends change all the time, yet some businesses are better than others.
Manufacturers of the highest quality N scale:
Kato Trains is a Japanese train company.
Kato is a well-known maker of N scale models. While they have a wide selection of model vehicles for your railroad, their locomotives stand out in terms of construction quality.
Naturally, this comes at a price, since Kato N scale train sets are notoriously costly.
In said that, quality comes at a price, and based on what others have said, they are some of the finest locomotives available, capable of withstanding a great deal of labor and strain for a long period. If you’re a fan of N scale, this is certainly a brand to check out!
Atlas Trains is a train company based in the United
Atlas, on the other hand, is more inexpensive and provides excellent value for money. They design and manufacture railroad rails, locomotives, rolling equipment, and other components. Their model train kits are sturdy and have a lot of attention to detail, and they can be found almost everywhere in the globe!
Micro Trains are miniature trains that run on a small scale
Micro Trains is another excellent example of N scale model trains and rails. They also do an excellent job when it comes to designing accessories such as landscape elements. Because the business has been operating for a long time, they have almost everything you’ll need to build a fantastic N scale train set.
LifeLife, for example, is one of the other businesses. While not as well-known as some of the others on our list, they are extremely cheap.
Athearn Trains is a train company based in the United Kingdom.
Athearn model trains have been in business since 1976, and they specialize in both HO scale and N gauge trains! They’re a higher-end brand, but they’re well worth the investment if you want something that will last a long time.
If you want to buy Athearn goods, you should go to Amazon or a local shop instead of going to their website, which may be difficult to browse.
Bachmann Trains is a manufacturer of model trains.
Bachmann trains have been around since 1833, and they are one of the most well-known train manufacturers in the world. They specialize in anything from HO to N scale and have one of the most extensive collections of hobby model equipment available. After purchasing Graham Farish manufactures in 2000, they began producing at a N scale, and they now have a 20-year catalog of N scale items to browse.
While their site seems to be a bit out of date, their actual store is really clean and contemporary, and it’s quite simple to browse and locate what you’re looking for! For additional in-depth information, check out our Bachmann Guide.
N scale train layouts: how to construct them
The first thing you should do is take modest steps. As a newbie, the last thing you want to do is invest in a costly layout only to regret it later.
Your first emphasis should be on building a basic N scale layout, after which you may extend. Understanding the mechanics of constructing a layout is the goal, and then building on that knowledge is the goal:
- First and foremost, get your model train. All of the manufacturers mentioned above have excellent N scale starting kits. If N scale trains aren’t for you, check out our electric train guide for some HO and O size options!
- You’ll now need to build up a train table. In this case, you should simply utilize whatever works best for you. You can use a coffee table for a tiny layout or a dining table for a larger one since it’s N scale. Even a couple of trestles and a piece of ply will suffice!
- You’ll need enough track after you’ve got it set to go. Check to see whether the tracks you buy are compatible with your N scale model train. Many trains will operate on Bachmann’s EZ Track, but be sure to double-check with your train maker to be safe.
- Obtain some accessories, such as railway stations, houses, or even a few trees, if feasible. These accessories will give your model a new lease of life. Even if you’re working on a small scale, a couple of these things should be included.
- When laying down the track, try not to maintain it at the same level all the time. To elevate the track, you’ll want to utilize some small inclines constructed of sturdy materials. The goal is to have both elevation and straight pathways. It will give the music a far more appealing visual appearance.
- Connect the track to your power supply. If you don’t have the electrical system ready to go, the model trains won’t function. Most ready-to-run and beginner kits will have everything you need for this step right within the box.
- You now have a basic n scale layout to work with, and you may build on it if you wish! You may buy additional track sections, bridges, and other ornamental components. Some individuals are so enthusiastic about their designs that they handcraft their own ornamental items. If you don’t have the time or skill for that, you may simply get a wide variety of components online!
In the N scale, voltage and material are utilized.
When it comes to running a model train, you must first determine the proper voltage. Some locomotives need a lower voltage, while others require a greater voltage. The lowest and maximum voltage values are usually displayed on the box by the manufacturer. Having said that, when you buy a train set, it usually includes a power supply unit.
However, unless otherwise stated on the box, you should not operate any N scale locomotives at more than 12 volts. Normally, about 10 volts is OK, but if you’re using a DCC unit to operate several trains, you may need to modify it.
If you notice any issues or hear any sounds, you will almost certainly need to decrease the voltage. The easiest method to find out the safest voltage for your model is to look at the product box.
You want your environment to appear as natural as possible when it comes to the materials you employ. There are a plethora of products available to help you create a realistic appearance. Woodland Scenics, for example, has a large selection of grasses, resin water, paints, and accessories to help you properly detail your models. Otherwise, the business from whom you purchased your train is likely to have its own line of n scale buildings and accessories.
If you wish to add finishing touches, you should constantly consider your track’s design. Before you start, try it out a few times to see what’s lacking or if you want to add any embellishments like inclines, mountains, or valleys.
The last elements should give your landscape a feeling of reality. Because these model trains are meant to appear and feel like actual trains, you want them to be as accurate as possible.
Empire Builder Ready To Run 68 Piece Electric Train Set – N Scale by Bachmann Trains
- 68-piece freight train set that is ready to go
- Tender with Operating Headlight is powered by a Northern 4-8-4 Steam Era Locomotive.
- Wood Reefer Car, Single Dome Tank Car, Center-Flow Hopper Car, Plug-Door Box Car, Wood Stock Car, Wood Braced Gondola Car, Open Quad Offset Hopper Car, Railroad…
- Oval of Nickel Silver E-Z Track, Power Pack, and Speed Controller, 44″ x 24″
- 1:160 N Scale
It does, however, have a few drawbacks: Bachmann’s EZ track may be fussy, and if not connected properly, can result in derailment. Others have claimed that they have discovered that other brands, such as Kato, provide a superior overall product.
So the bottom line is that for the money, we believe this is one of the finest N scale train sets available. There are some higher-quality kits available if you have an additional $100-200, but you’d have to be a true model train enthusiast to invest that much money.
Tips to keep in mind
- Early on in the process, consider the landscape space. It’s possible that your aspirations are bigger than the available space! Having even a rudimentary pen and paper plan early on may save you a lot of time and aggravation later on when you run out of space.
- Establish a budget and stick to it! Yes, it is extremely simple to get enamored with model trains and spend a lot of money on them and various layouts. That’s why you need to be extremely cautious with your spending, otherwise you’ll wind up with two mortgages and the finest layout in town!
- Choose the higher-end brands. Because you want a nice layout and train set, choosing a higher-quality brand early on will ensure that your purchases endure for years, saving you money in the long run!
- You may start with a simple layout and build to it as time goes on. Concentrate initially on building a decent railway, then extend the entire landscape if desired.
It’s a lot of fun to start your own N scale model train collection. This is a fantastic pastime since it enables you to be as creative as you want while also allowing you to devote as little or as much time to it as you desire.
Sure, if you want to concentrate on realism and excellent graphics, it may be expensive – but you are in charge and can do anything you want with it.
That’s all there is to it! N scale train sets are fantastic starting models, because to their size, quality, and low cost.
Do you want to learn more about model railroading? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Model Trains! OR, if you’re interested in learning more about different train scales, check out our article on model train scales explained!
For as long as he can remember, Peter has been constructing model trains. This site is a creative avenue for him to go further into various sizes and elements of the model train community and hobby. He is an ardent lover of HO and O scale.
There are many ways to enjoy model trains; for example, you can ride or drive the train, or ride the model. But, one of the best ways to use a model train is to build a model train track.. Read more about used n scale trains for sale and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are N scale trains good?
N scale trains are a good choice for people who want to start out with a small model railroad.
Is N scale cheaper than HO?
HO scale is more expensive than N scale.
What is the best track for N scale?
The best track for N scale is The Train by the band, Queen.
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