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Bill Hebb

Posted - 2012 January 30 :  10:34:29 AM  Show Profile
Have any of you thoughts on Koester's editorial in Model Railroad Planning latest issue, regarding his thoughts that the current baby boomers, as they reach retirement age will significantly tend to move to the larger scales such as S, O and G? His basic tenant is that the larger scales are easier to see for older folks. As it is generally noted that retiring persons often downsize their living space, it seems almost contradictory that at the same time a retiree downsizes space, they would move to a modeling scale that requires significantly more space. Thoughts?


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Roger Perkins

Posted - 2012 January 30 :  10:52:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit Roger Perkins's Homepage
I have been retired or "redirected" since July 2005 and continue to model in n-scale. We have had less railroad layout space in our current residence, but I hope to change that.

I am not convinced that limitations in visual acuity or other physical parameters is a sound argument for projecting that holder modelers will move to larger scale.

Available space for model is at the top of my list and thus n-scale continues to meet that criteria.

Country: USA | Posts: 3351 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2012 January 30 :  10:55:13 AM  Show Profile
I haven't seen the article, but I doubt the premise. After all, Tony himself isn't getting any younger, but it hasn't stopped him from making an additional re-investment in HO.

And I think you're right on the money in regards to downsizing living space. I caught the model railroading bug from my uncle, who was into Lionel and American Flyer (S), then got into HO when he downsized the first time, and finished up with an N scale tabletop layout when he moved into assisted living.

Sure, some folks will move to larger scales if they have the physical need to. But that's not everyone, and it will likely be exceeded by the number of modelers choosing smaller scales as their available space shrinks.

Interesting topic, Bill.


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Posted - 2012 January 30 :  11:03:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit geocan's Homepage
The other factor not considered is the significantly largre investment required in O or G scale.
You don't get an O or G scale SD45 for $110 MSRP and the pricing is such that discounts if any are much smaller by percentage.

Wig-Wag, LLC

Country: USA | Posts: 1523 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2012 January 30 :  11:07:13 AM  Show Profile
I've got news for you. I'm on the tail end of the boomers at age 62. They've already hit retirement age and are doing precisely what they want to do.

Most do not have room for large scale railroads. Look for, HO and N scale to be their scale of choice.

From the side door pullman: My primary scale is N but I do have some HO. Being on a set income means I won't be buying to much new stuff.


Search long enough and you will find a prototype for just about anything you desire to build on your model railroad.

Edited by - BarstowRick on 2012 January 30 11:37:34 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 181 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2012 January 30 :  11:19:31 AM  Show Profile
I'm 71 and now wear tri-focals. Wouldn't consider leaving N scale ! Heck.....I couldn't afford to switch scales on my retirement income.

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Posted - 2012 January 30 :  11:23:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit Puddington's Homepage
Dear Tony:.......Maybe your friends with massive pensions and/or large amounts of wealth that somehow escaped the last three years of the economic mess were in are moving to larger scales but I don't know anyone doing so....some "facts" if you will...

a. larger scale = larger space needs... most of my retiring friends are empty nesters who can't wait to sell the 2800 sq ft home and moving into something they can manage better.... I'm not sure but the last time I checked O scale curves needed more space than N scale.....

b. Cost - Most of my retired friends have a fixed income or something similar; that doesn't usually translate to $ 800.00 shoping trip to the LHS to buy an O scale locomotive......

c. Accumulated stock - Now I'm only 48 but I've got 30 years of n scale stuff here; worth many thousands of dollars; what am I going to do with it ? Sell it at pennies on the dollar to change scales...? I don't think so....

Medical science has done wonders with laser eye surgery, progressive trifocals (I know of what I speak) and other aids... and, there's this really neat thing that we have now that allows even poor eye site like mine to eak out a decent n scale custom build.... the Opti visor....

Tony; you've never really accepted n scale and I suspect you never will; so I respectfully suggest you go back to spending your time running your HO railway in an uber prototypical manner and let us n scalers worry about our failing eye sight and tiny trains.


Mike from Peterborough

It's 1973 in my world so please don't mind the Geeps; Trainmasters and C Liners.....

Country: Canada | Posts: 1025 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2012 January 30 :  11:26:53 AM  Show Profile
As one who has only celebrated a few anniversaries of his 40th birthday, I have seriously considered the move to O scale. What appeals to me is the size which for me is easier to handle and all of the options available that just can't get crammed into an N scale loco or freight car. I guess I am saying that vision and manual dexterity/coordination does play a role in it for me. I moved to downsize (even at 40 something), but I still have a decent space for any scale railroad. Right now it is a blank slate and I am really struggling with whether or not to abandon N scale and go with O.

Cost isn't an issue for me as I could have a handful of O scale locos with all the bells and whistles for what I have invested in hundreds of N scale units. And that doesn't even count the thousands of freight cars I own or have owned. I would bet that I would spend far less in O than I do in N. I buy a lot of stuff on impulse in N at a $15 car here and a $20 car there. It would be hard to be an impulse buyer when those cars are $40-$50 and up.

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Posted - 2012 January 30 :  11:45:30 AM  Show Profile
I think on one hand it makes logical sense that as you get older our eyesight doesn't get any better (up close) and handling of tiny parts *could* become more frustrating or difficult. However I think as we all continue to fly the flag for n scale and continue to show the possibilities, it makes more people consider it as the amount of modeling you can cram into a small space is great.

There have been times that I wished there was something between HO and N scale. :)


Country: USA | Posts: 229 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2012 January 30 :  12:35:58 PM  Show Profile
Well, I am retired and I started a new N-Scale layout as part of my new non working life. Plus my pace of modelling has picked up as I have more time.

As for Tony Koester's editorial, he has to write something to fill the space. I on the other hand, have not bought an MR for many years. --Brian

Country: Canada | Posts: 62 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2012 January 30 :  1:20:33 PM  Show Profile
The benefit of poorer vision is you can run a long train with all the cars having the same number and couldn't care less (cause you cant see the numbers). As well, everything looks just fine from your perspective and, because it's your railroad, you're having fun.


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conrail north

Posted - 2012 January 30 :  1:25:28 PM  Show Profile
Good day
I'm an "old guy" and I returned to N scale last year after working in a larger scale for more than 20 years. I like the idea of having a reasonable layout in a relatively small space.
My vision is not that good but I find working in N is not really more difficult than working in HO - don't forget when you work in larger scales one tends to try to make the models more detailed, so more small detail parts are used.
I use good quality models that are available now, but would like to see a wider range of items made available on a regular basis.

Country: Canada | Posts: 63 Go to Top of Page

w neal

Posted - 2012 January 30 :  1:39:31 PM  Show Profile
Yep, Wig Wag nailed it. Its a money thing.

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Posted - 2012 January 30 :  1:56:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit dkruse's Homepage
I doubt very seriously that there will be any kind of general trend as baby boomer hit retirement, at least none that can be predicted today. Each person has their own reasons for the scale they choose. I get really annoyed when people attempt to predict future trends based on past trends. The only thing you can be certain about the future is that things change.

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Posted - 2012 January 30 :  1:57:02 PM  Show Profile
Going the other way, many future retirees will have to move to smaller residences, due to lack of money, which will favor either smaller scales or more clubs.

N. Kalanaga
Be well.

Country: USA | Posts: 4452 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2012 January 30 :  2:16:53 PM  Show Profile
I'd suggest if your eye sight is changing fast enough that you can see a difference that changing to a larger scale is just stop-gap measure. HO this year, O next, G the following... Find a good eye doc.

I think I know more N scalers over 60 than under; I don't know of anyone who has been in this for a long time and wanted to change. I know some who have been in HO all there lives bitch about how hard it is to see N scale details, but they'd also bitch the finer details in HO are also too small. The 3 foot rule is scale agnostic.

Bill Kepner
Ft Collins, CO

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