I'm considering TT but need advice

I'm considering TT but need advice

Postby dead_wallet » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:22 am

Hello!

After 25 years give or take I'm looking to get back into Model Railroading. I've done the whole "pick a scale" thing and I keep returning to TT as potentially an optimum choice. Would you be able to answer some questions for me?

1. I keep reading about how TT is dominating in Europe - particularly Germany and Russia; however when I read their forums (through a translator) that doesn't seem to be the case. Am I wrong in this? For example Wunderland - the huge display in Hamburg - is HO for all I know. Can someone point out some large displays in Germany and Russia that showcase TT?

2. Is TT narrow gauge (TTn3, TT9, NZ120) achieved as easily as replacing the trucks with those from N gauge? If it is, will any N gauge trucks work? Or does an entire locomotive have to be rebuilt? I know in HO narrow gauge it requires significant modifications but since TT is closer to N I'm curious if I can get by with off the shelf locos and simple modifications.

3. What is the status on the current mainstream builders. From what I can tell Tillig, Roco, and Piko are the only ones. What is the quality like today? I read in the archives that at one point Roco was better than Tillig because they were using ancient tooling. But what about in 2017?

4. Ultimately I would like to go Narrow gauge to take advantage of Kato's excellent N gauge Unitrack. But if it's more trouble than it's worth does anyone make the equivalent Unitrack for TT scale? I'm looking for something that may not be the most realistic but is extra durable and forgiving for someone who is very undecided on their layout.

5. American locomotives. This is a touchy subject as I know some of these producers are advertisers here but; what is the quality like and what are the best? Part of me wants to stick with the "big 3" in Europe because their trains seem so much more advanced (DCC, Sound.) The ones in the links seem not only primitive as if they are utilizing ancient tooling. Like I said I am a newbie - please correct me if I'm wrong! If I go with American models I particularly want to stick with things related to the Wisconsin/Illinois/Missouri/Iowa/Indiana area. I would prefer modern too.

Thank you for your help and assistance. It feels like I'm racing against the clock because it seems like even though Shapeways exists less and less stuff is available. Also this forum has appeared to die down compared to 5-10 years ago.
dead_wallet
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:39 pm

Re: I'm considering TT but need advice

Postby Sventton » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:58 pm

Hi, welcome aboard, others will answer with more authority I am sure, but:
1) I don't think anyone has ever claimed that TT is the dominant scale in Europe. However, it is more of a mainstream scale there than here...I am sure in Europe it would be ranked HO/OO, N, then TT. Scales O, Z, and S would be the more obscure.
2) I don't know of any MR scale where you simply take off one scale's trucks and pop on another's to make narrow gauge. So No, it would take work. More likely fitting TT bodies to N scaled chassis and power trucks.
3) Current quality of the European models is right up there with the best in HO, IMHO.
4) Look at the Tillig bedded track available if you are looking for something similar to Kato's.
5) There are few currently available US locos, though when they are available they are limited editions and expensive. What you are probably looking at are photos of the original 1940's to 60's era items of HP Products, Gandy Dancer, Kemtron, etc. Not to discourage you, but when one is developed it is usually mainline power and not narrow gauge. John
Sventton
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:21 pm

Re: I'm considering TT but need advice

Postby dead_wallet » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:32 pm

Hi Sventton! Thank you for the quick response!

Ok, narrow gauge is out.

Hopefully someone can chime in on how the 2017 Piko/Tillig/Roco models measure out against each other. Based on prices I've been able to find online Piko is anywhere from $100 to $150(!) cheaper than Tillig. I don't know if that's because Piko is behind the times or if the quality isn't as good/detailed - or is it possible Tillig is way over priced?
dead_wallet
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:39 pm

Re: I'm considering TT but need advice

Postby tomvanhoy » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:39 pm

It seems to me that the current trend in all gauges is toward digital controls. I know Tillig makes locos with and without digital is more expensive, no surprise! I guess you need to think about whether you wish to run US or European prototype and proceed from there. Much more available in Euro style.
Best Wishes,
Tom
tomvanhoy
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 6:15 pm

Re: I'm considering TT but need advice

Postby Arseny » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:39 am

Welcome aboard!

dead_wallet wrote:1. I keep reading about how TT is dominating in Europe - particularly Germany and Russia; however when I read their forums (through a translator) that doesn't seem to be the case. Am I wrong in this? For example Wunderland - the huge display in Hamburg - is HO for all I know. Can someone point out some large displays in Germany and Russia that showcase TT?


TT is quite popular in Russia, but of course HO is more popular. So, TT is not dominating but is very popular. Here in Russia TT scale is more popular than N and takes 2nd place.
TT is also popular in Eastern Europe - Czech, Poland, Slovakia, and former Soviet republics - Russia, Ukraine,
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia...
For example, Ukrainian manufacturer RailTT offers a lot of American autos in TT, Czech company MTB offered American locomotive SW1200 in TT, and there are a lot of small Czech companies offering some TT stuff.

As concerns Russian TT-scale layouts: there is a very interesting website: http://12mm.ru. It is in Russian, but you can try Google translator. Or simply look at the photos.
The page with layouts: http://12mm.ru/index.php?p=4

Some interesting layouts:

The big modular layout of the Moscow TT-club: http://12mm.ru/ram. The plan of this layout is here: http://12mm.ru/base/schemes/scheme12/big12.jpg

Big modular layout of the Peresvet company: http://12mm.ru/viewcard.php?id=62!61!73!65!2f!6d!61!6b!65!74!73!2f!6d!61!6b!65!74!30!36!2f
They use it for the railroad shows.
The "Peresvet" is the biggest TT-scale manufacturer in Russia.
BTW, Peresvet offers TT-scale trucks (I mean bogies) that are similar to the American ones and can be used for American railroad cars

"Winter" Peresvet's layout: http://12mm.ru/viewcard.php?id=62!61!73!65!2f!6d!61!6b!65!74!73!2f!6d!61!6b!65!74!30!33!2f

NIKO company layout: http://12mm.ru/viewcard.php?id=62!61!73!65!2f!6d!61!6b!65!74!73!2f!6d!61!6b!65!74!33!30!2f

Small demo-layout of the "Semaphore" hobby shop: http://12mm.ru/viewcard.php?id=62!61!73!65!2f!6d!61!6b!65!74!73!2f!6d!61!6b!65!74!32!30!2f

Very interesting Ukrainian layout of the first Kiev railroad station: https://youtu.be/KQIJ4R2Yi4o
http://oriental-express.com.ua/maket/



I do not know much about German layouts, but some German fellows have built the "American" layout in TT.
Some old photos from the ttscale.com website: http://www.ttscale.com/layouts/icrk/icv_main.html
They are here on this forum.

Also, Joern have nice mini-layout:
http://www.ttscale.com/layouts/ibrr/TT-IBRR.html
He is present here, on this forum.

dead_wallet wrote:2. Is TT narrow gauge (TTn3, TT9, NZ120) achieved as easily as replacing the trucks with those from N gauge? If it is, will any N gauge trucks work? Or does an entire locomotive have to be rebuilt? I know in HO narrow gauge it requires significant modifications but since TT is closer to N I'm curious if I can get by with off the shelf locos and simple modifications.


Some Russian modellers use N or Z gauge trucks for narrow gauge, but of course locomotives and cars have to be competely rebuilt. Some narrow gauge stuff is available in TT too.

3. What is the status on the current mainstream builders. From what I can tell Tillig, Roco, and Piko are the only ones. What is the quality like today?


Tillig, Roco and Piko are the biggest, but not the only ones. There are a lot of smaller manufacturers also, For example, MTB, Peresvet, Kuehn, Busch, Arnold, PSK, Peresvet, TT-model, Norkin-model, Lok-n-Roll, etc, etc.

4. Ultimately I would like to go Narrow gauge to take advantage of Kato's excellent N gauge Unitrack. But if it's more trouble than it's worth does anyone make the equivalent Unitrack for TT scale? I'm looking for something that may not be the most realistic but is extra durable and forgiving for someone who is very undecided on their layout.


Tillig offers "bedding tracks" in TT (12mm gauge, i.e. standart gauge, not narrow gauge) - as I know, it is licensed TT-scale version of the Kato's Unitrack.
https://www.tillig.com/eng/Bettungsgleissysteme.html

5. American locomotives. This is a touchy subject as I know some of these producers are advertisers here but; what is the quality like and what are the best? Part of me wants to stick with the "big 3" in Europe because their trains seem so much more advanced (DCC, Sound.) The ones in the links seem not only primitive as if they are utilizing ancient tooling. Like I said I am a newbie - please correct me if I'm wrong! If I go with American models I particularly want to stick with things related to the Wisconsin/Illinois/Missouri/Iowa/Indiana area. I would prefer modern too.


The biggest problem for the American TT is the lack of the locomotives.
But some stuff is available.
MTB offered SW1200 some time ago; maybe you can still find it.
For example, Zeuke-TT still offers it: https://www.zeuke-tt.com/
or maybe you can find it on Ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/mtb-Diesellok-SW1200-SOO-Ep-V-neu-unbespielt-/282653306394
(SOO line would be good for the Wisconsin, wouldn't it?)
Also, German company Lok-n-Roll offers some TT stuff: https://www.lok-n-roll.de/
Or you can try to find some old models on Ebay, or try Shapeways.
Old Kemtron ALCO FA model was good, especially if you use modern German BR218 as power unit.

Thank you for your help and assistance.


Good luck!
Last edited by Arseny on Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:25 am, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
Arseny
 
Posts: 2611
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:42 am
Location: Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Re: I'm considering TT but need advice

Postby Sventton » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:04 am

Looks like Arseny has given you tons to consider. In terms of quality, I have several recent Piko releases and find them just as detailed and smooth runners as the Tillig, and MTB also. They are DC, given a small home layout, I'm not really in need of dcc, though I have had Rici's system in HO. You have nothing to fear about the price differential.
Sventton
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:21 pm

Re: I'm considering TT but need advice

Postby RodTT » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:47 am

Just as a rider to the American side of things - I've recently taken the plunge and am building a small US switching layout. In the last 2 or 3 months I've acquired two of the MTB switchers from Zeuke, they are very good runners and have NEM 651 sockets so can be converted to DCC (don't know about room for a speaker though). I also bought some boxcars and tank cars from them, and a flatcar kit and 50ft boxcar kit (the last one they had) from Lok-n-Roll, from whom I also got some spare wheelsets and couplers. I finished off by buying the Shapeways 50ft gondola (hence needing the spare wheelsets) and some Shapeways road vehicles.

Zeuke are planning on releasing a hopper this year.

So you can do US outline, and it is growing very slowly, but it seems to be very much a case of grabbing it while it's there. I don't now how successful you'd be if you wanted large quantities.
RodTT
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:06 pm
Location: York, England

Re: I'm considering TT but need advice

Postby Andy Carlson » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:50 pm

Don't be so quick to rule out narrow gauge. Standard gauge modeling often mission-creeps and at some time someone will realize that they have to have a lot of engines, even more cars, both freight and passenger. The situation of narrow gauge attracted me because I don't need more than 2-3 locomotives, and not having any US prototype narrow gauge freight cars isn't a deal killer because you only need a few, and narrow gauge cars are the simplest cars to scratch build.

An excellent running steam locomotive in N gauge is the Athearn (Former Roundhouse) 2-8-0. The loco, though runs very well, looks funny with the small cab and tall tender. Fortunately, the tender works out well for TTn3 and after replacing the N scale cab with a scratch built TT scale cab, changing some domes (I made my own stacks and domes) the engine looks like a D&RGW (F&CC) C-18. I have bought new N 2-8-0 locos for $55. Code 40 track is available as micro-engineering flex track and making switches is quickly mastered with Fast Tracks jigs.

American TT standard gauge will soon show its shortcomings when a modeler tries to build up a roster of engines and freight cars. Sw 1200 switchers are nice, but not much else is available, especially if one desires good appearance and operation. A 10 car freight train with nothing but '37 AAR box cars and some Flower clone single sheathed wood cars will be less than satisfying. I don't know where to send you to find a decent looking caboose.

TT would benefit if a firm committed to bringing out Athearn quality locomotives (Plural) and a variety of freight cars. Track would be nice, as well.

But back to TT narrow gauge. With so few locos and cars needed a complete model railroad is not out of reach.
-Andy Carlson Ojai CA
Andy Carlson
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:14 pm

Re: I'm considering TT but need advice

Postby j p » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:52 pm

Andy Carlson wrote:American TT standard gauge will soon show its shortcomings when a modeler tries to build up a roster of engines and freight cars. Sw 1200 switchers are nice, but not much else is available, especially if one desires good appearance and operation. A 10 car freight train with nothing but '37 AAR box cars and some Flower clone single sheathed wood cars will be less than satisfying. I don't know where to send you to find a decent looking caboose.

But back to TT narrow gauge. With so few locos and cars needed a complete model railroad is not out of reach.
-Andy Carlson Ojai CA


Look at the engines made by Jes L. So many of them for diesel era! Those alone would be already too many for quite large layout. https://www.shapeways.com/shops/3d_world_locomotives?section=1%3A120&s=0
Regarding the freight cars: other boxcars can be found too. 40' PS1, 40' double sheathed, Canadian Dominion cars, 60' waffle boxcar, 40' high-cube, 60' Gunderson boxcar. Then 8000 gallons tank cars, G31 gondolas, wood chip cars, some flat cars, coal hoppers, covered hoppers, various Florida phosphate cars and even taconite hoppers.
Cabeese are available too, but those can be tricky. It depends which railroad you want to model.

Regarding the narrow gauge TT: I have some narrow gauge TT scale models, some steam engines, some diesels and some cars. No layout for them (yet).

Jan
j p
 
Posts: 1194
Images: 69
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:08 pm

Re: I'm considering TT but need advice

Postby dead_wallet » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:43 pm

Thank you all so much for the information.

I've been giving it some deep thought - especially some psycho-analyzing to figure out my thought processes and why I want to proceed the way I do.

So to begin with I need to make some measurements for the area I wish to model in, acquire a table, and some Tillig bedding track. That's the easy part. Fortunately I live (relatively) close to Reynaulds in Elburn Illinois so I can acquire it and items from there.

Next I will acquire some European locomotives/cars (more on US in a minute). For this purpose I will likely stick (initially) with Piko DC for getting started and feeling like I'm getting somewhere. Things like the $225-$250 Tillig/Roco DCC/Sound models will have to wait. I've heard zero complaints with Piko and they are much more reasonably priced. In addition I may even meet them this fall at Trainfest in Milwaukee.

At the same time this is going on I'll probably join a HO/N scale Model Railroading club. Even though it's not TT I can learn the basics such as maintenance, wiring/electronics, etc. But more specifically try to see if the club has a Shapeways guy that can show me the ropes. Who knows, maybe the guys will let me have a small section for TT in their layout.

The end game would be learning how to make my own TT Locomotives/cars. But that is going to take time because if it were easy everyone would be doing it.

The issues I have with buying US locos from Germany is if I am going to pay upper Tillig/Roco prices then it has to be a locomotive that has aesthetics that I love. There has to be an emotional attachment to it rather than "it's all there is." I feel nothing for the switchers at Zeuke; and for Loc-n-Roll I weep because the only locos I'm interested in are in the Archive/Sold-out (forever?) page.

So there is that. I'm going Euro at least initially until I can build up some chops for building locos. (If) Loc-n-Roll introduces/reintroduces something I'm interested in I'll buy it.
dead_wallet
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:39 pm

Next

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests