Sunday, December 8, 2013

Crisis of Scale

The first post on this blog noted the transition of my modelling interests from heavy mainline coal hauling action to short industrial spurs and switching.  I'd previously been fairly dedicated to acquiring equipment to support the former and luckily my era interests (mid-70s to early 80s) haven't changed so some of it is reusable for the latter.

However, my recent internet wanderings have led me down the path of potentially switching to O scale (specifically P:48) for this Frisco Hill Track endeavor.  Why you ask?

A few of the more interesting blogs that I follow (Lance Mindhiem, Mike Cougill, Trevor Marshall, et. al.) have posted in the past about what drives anyone in this hobby.  Most build a model railroad to have something "come alive" for them and that something varies for everyone.  Often it is childhood memories or the thrill is derived from having 12-15 people execute T&TO operations across a long mainline.  I've found that what I seem to most enjoy is the close-up simulation of the switching.  Almost as if I could be the conductor or engineer without having to get up at 2am and work in the freezing cold.

In thinking about how to recreate that for my own enjoyment, there are a few aspects of the larger scale that are appealing to me:
  • The overall mass of the objects conveys a greater sense of realism
  • Greater detail
  • Sound -- specifically the opportunity for larger speakers to generate more bass
  • Potential for battery power -- Imagine being freed from feeders!
  • Working handbrakes -- Think accessory decoder and small actuator to engage brakes on each car.
  • Room for batteries and speakers aren't a problem if combined with powered trucks.
    • Kato recently brought them out on the GE P42
    • NWSL also has the Magic Carpet
None of these things require the larger scale, but most are made easier by it.  One thing I remain perplexed about regarding O-scale is the scaling  Seems most rolling stock produced today follows 1/4" (except for wheelsets, but Protocraft has the solution there), though I'm unsure if the concessions made by the manufacturer to simultaneously release a 2-rail and 3-rail model affects this aspect.

Well, that's all from the armchair (keyboard?) modeling department this evening.