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Naught wrong with OO - General Model Railway Discussion. - Other Areas. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Jul 31st, 2022 07:23 pm
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BCDR
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Hi all,

Barry's recent comment that "There's naught wrong with OO" caught my attention. For anybody new to the hobby or returning after a few (or more years) years there are some underlying issues and compromises inherent to modeling in OO. For the record, I used to model in OO, but for various reasons moved over to EM gauge (18.2mm) for my GWR 4mm scale activities. I continue to model in 4mm scale, as well as HO (3.5mm scale) and On30 (1:48 - 6.35mm scale).
"OO" today uses 16.5mm gauge track. This equates to a "real scale" track gauge of just over 4 feet. (Peco used to sell their 16.5 gauge track as "HO/OO" track). Essentially narrow gauge when modeling 4mm/foot, 16.5mm is the correct gauge for HO modeling (3.5mm/foot), fine scale excepted. Sleeper spacing and width have improved dramatically, and this has improved the appearance of the track. Code 100 rail is still widely used, but is very over-scale for anything prior to the 1960's. Code 75 is much better (and equates to 90lb rail, commonly from the 1920s until the 1960s).

OO locomotive bodies/tenders and freight and passenger stock bodies are scaled to 4mm/foot, which is correct for 1:76 models. The track however is scaled to 3.5mm/foot, and this has resulted in dimensional compromises. Fitting what is 3.5mm gauge running gear to a 4mm scale body is the issue. For steam locomotives this often means modification to the width over the running plate, the width over the pistons, and the location of the wheel splashers, as well as the width of the chassis. One the reasons why the rods are often at a wide angle from the wheels. For diesel locomotives, freight, and passenger stock, this often means narrow wheel frames and bogies. Anybody converting stock to EM or P4 gauge standards knows these issues well. South East Finescale kits for example are designed with a 3.5mm scale chassis, old Keyser kits have 3.5mm scale running plates, wheel splashers and frames. Older offerings from the mainstream manufacturers such as LIMA usually have wheel frames to 4mm scale, which can result in quite a gap between the wheels and frames.

For many years tension lock couplers have been the standard for OO. The recent introduction of NEM-type couplers in OO has had some problems, mainly because no British manufacturer has followed the dimensional specifications for the coupler boxes (NEM 361) as they are not members of the European association (nothing to do the EU). Issues of loose fitting and droop are well known (the "Dapol Droop" for example). Modern era 12" to the foot stock uses knuckle-type couplers, not hook and chain, so Kadee type couplers or similar are more appropriate. Tension locks are a lot more forgiving than knuckle couplers when it comes to S-curves curves and gradient changes, so "yer pays yer money and makes yer choice".

This hobby is full of compromises, but running what is 4mm scale bodies on 3.5mm chassis has some inherent issues. My personal take is that running OO diesels or steam locomotives with internal pistons on track with decent sleeper spacing and dimensions looks a lot better than steam engines with outside pistons. Even moving up to EM gauge (18.2mm) is a compromise, as even then bogies on diesels are usually not wide enough and a significant amout of butchery is required. The track looks a lot better though.

This my personal take on some of the issues with OO, many of us are perfectly content to run their 4mm scale trains on HO/OO track. After all, it's YMR.

Nigel




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 Posted: Mon Aug 1st, 2022 10:21 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Hi Nigel

Whilst my comment "nought wrong with OO" is technically inaccurate in many ways, I stand by my opinion that, for what it is, its OK.

You are quite right when you point out that our hobby thrives on compromises and even EM is a compromise.  Very few of us (even the P4 and ScaleFour exponents) can eliminate all compromises so I guess its a case of which you are prepared to accept.

We have (most of us any way), as a matter of course, accepted that we have "steam" or "diesel" engines powered by electric motors running on a 2-rail track that carries a current with rails set at the wrong gauge, fixed to sleepers which are the wrong size and spacing.  The rolling stock (and engines for that matter) are unsprung, unbraked and few have any method of loading or unloading.  Our cranes dont work, building doors and windows dont open, our signal boxes have no control over trains (especially for those if us who have built layouts without working signals :oops: :oops: :oops:), there is no track/signal interlocking, our freight stock is never unloaded.............

And these are the layouts that we consider to be iconic, something to be aimed at etc etc!!!

For me, its a simple choice - accept the compromises or take up ping-pong - I would not be able to produce a layout with no compromises, or even one with very few.

We are free to make whatever decisions and accept whatever compromises we want - that is the wonderful beauty of our hobby - we are all right.  People may not accept my "standards".  Fine, I do it for me and I like it.  Rule 1.  More importantly, we can agree to differ and still share a beer and a chat!!

Barry



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 Posted: Mon Aug 1st, 2022 11:17 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Barry,

Nothing wrong with OO, as long as the inherent compromises to the gauge and scale are recognized.


When I came back to the hobby after a 50 year break I thought my first home layout (and and it turns out last) in OO was fine. Exposure to C+L OO Finescale track with decently sized sleepers at the club was an eye opener. Next lightbulb was when I had to regauge a Hornby Saint that was derailing through some slip points - that's when I realized Hobby had to reduce the width across the piston and the foot plate to accommodate what is a 3.5mm scale width chassis to a 4mm scale body.  After moving to EM gauge was when I realized that diesel bogies were often scaled to 3.5mm. LIMA for some reason used correctly scaled bogies, which makes conversion a breeze. 


OO is what it is - 4mm scale bodies on 3.5mm scale track and running gear. Those who are happy will continue to live with it, those who are looking for finer scale modeling will move on. Hence the 3.5mm UK outline modelers, and those who regauge to EM and P4. Room for everybody.


Nigel





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