Before you get too overly excited and jump in your car and dash down to the hobby store to get your hands on one of those beautiful O gauge trains in the store window-stop!
Take a breath and just arm yourself with these tips first so you save yourself some hassle down the road.
There are three common mistakes that amateurs make when trying to put together an O gauge (aka O scale) set.
Let’s take a look at them:
* Do your trees and the rest of your scenery have the proper scale in relation to your models trains? Remember, O gauge trains are bigger than most of the other train scales. They have a scale of either 1:43 or 1:48. That’s relatively big for a model train. Now remember, in real life trees and buildings actually tend to tower over trains. A lot of model railroaders make the mistake of making their buildings and trees too small. Having the right proportions for your layout creates a beautiful sense of depth. There’s nothing like seeing your O gauge train come steaming out from around the mountain and then through a tree lined bend.
* Are the turns on your track too tight? Because O gauge trains are bigger they often need more track to be able to make a turn. This isn’t N scale where the trains can practically make hairpin turns! If you create turns that are too sharp you’re gonna end up with a pile up. Also keep in mind that just because 2 models are both O gauge, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the same length. One of your trains may be able to make a corner but the other one may not.
* Can your train make it up your steep grades? Again, because O gauge trains are pretty big and heavy you will need quite a bit of track to get them up hills and inclines. Unless you have a large space to work with, you may not want to plan for an elaborate track that goes over and under itself in a bunch of crazy ways!
Well I hope these tips will keep you from pulling your hair out when you get down to building your O gauge. Don’t let these “common mistakes” shy you away from choosing O gauge as a train set. O gauge is by far my favorite type of model train and I would encourage anyone to take them up in their collecting and building endeavors!