N Gauge Train Sets
N gauge train sets are relatively small compared to other model train scales, making them perfect for people with limited space available. You can build a pretty impressive layout in a small room with an N scale model railway. However, I would personally recommend going for a larger scale such as the OO scale or HO scale if you are planning on letting small children play with it, as these larger scales are much easier to handle and more sturdy than the N scale. On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a very small space available you might want to look at the Z scale model railways. I've never been a fan of the Z scale simply because I find it far too small and fiddly to work with. The N scale offers a great comprimise between space and size.
N gauge modelling has grown very popular in the past 10 years. Historically this scale was rather small and often had inferior quality locomotives and accessories. However in recent years as technology has become more advanced there has been a huge increase in quality throughout the N gauge model offering.
Although all N gauge model trains run on the same 9mm wide track (it is called N scale because it fits on Nine mm track), there are slight variations in the exact scale used by UK and US N gauge train sets. The UK N scale runs at 1:148, while the US equivilant N scale runs at 1:160. This means when purchasing an N gauge model train set it's a good idea to stick to your preferred variation, which depends on the type of model train you wish to build.
Buying a train set is a great way to get started with your collection for model railways. A typical train set consists of a locomotive, some carriages or wagons, track (usually just enough to complete a single loop) and a controller. Since these train sets include everything you need to have a functioning model railway it makes a perfect present for someone who is interested in trains.
When it comes to choosing which N gauge model train set to buy, the main factor is the style of engine you want to have. This can be a very personal choice, and that's why there is such a wide selection available. Another consideration is whether you want a locomotvie from the UK, US, Germany, Japan, or somewhere else. Each area trends to have companies that specialise in creating those types of trains. For example if you want to model Japanese N gauge trains you can choose from brands such as Tomix, Microace, Kato, Greenmax or Modemo. Other brands to look out for when buying N gauge train sets are Bachmann, Atlas, MicroTrains, BLMA, Bluford, Caboose and Exactrail.
Here are a few useful tips to bear in mind before assembling your train set:
- Choose an appropriate space - you obviously need to have enough space for your train set, and also enough room to walk around your train set. You also want to find a quiet place to set up. The last thing you want is to have your dog walk over your train set and knock your locomotive off the track.
- A tabletop is ideal, but be careful - A table will help protect your track layout from being stood on and be less likely to get damaged. However be careful you don't have the track too close to the edge of the table, especially around bends in the track as your locomotive could derail and fall off the table.
- Make sure the area is clean - Part of the fun of building a model railway layout, for me at least, is taking photos of the finished track, or even a video of the train in action. The photos or video can be spoilt if you have laid your track on a dirty surface.
- Have good lighting - Proper lighting for your model railway is enough for another article in itself, but make sure you have enough light, both natural and artificial lighting (you will probably be playing with the train set at nights as well as in the day time). There's no point getting a realistic train layout if you cannot see the details of your creation!
Once you have your N gauge train set complete and you are happy with the size, you can look to add more track, additional locomotives and even start designing your own layouts and landscaping to create a professional display.
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