I need some advice (all of it!)

I need some advice (all of it!)

Postby Petercat » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:45 pm

Hello. This is where I need to reveal my ignorance of TT.
I've got a lot of experience in Z and N scales, building layouts and the like. What I know very little about are things that are TT-specific, such as:

1) Which are the best manufacturers, in terms of:

a) Reliability
b) Ease of maintenance and modification
c) Availability of spare parts
d) Accuracy of models
e) Anything else that you can think of

2) Is there anything unusual about the track that I should be aware of?
a) Assembly pitfalls and ways to avoid them
b) Pros and cons of the various manufacturers
c) Specific items to seek out or avoid
d) Which tracks will not play nice with others (BTTB comes to mind)

3) Support (Buildings, people, autos, bridges and other pre-made items)
a) Who makes the most accurate and proportional accessories? I have two TT bridges that look like HO.
b) Which company's products are easier to use? Build? Modify (kitbash)?

4) General
a) What voltage do TT trains run on? I assume twelve...
a) What amperage power supply is needed?

Getting to know a new scale isn't easy, friends. I know so little that I don't really know what to ask. Any advice that you can give will help, if only by leading me to the right questions!


This is all that I have so far (and a starter oval that hasn't arrived yet):
TTfirst001.jpg
I bought the four extra cars in the rear because, well, I like long trains!
"It's Peter, not Pete. Pete sounds like a bird fart.
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Re: I need some advice (all of it!)

Postby jmass » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:04 pm

Pete, just to give you an idea of what you can do with the kuehn starter set heres a picture of how i had it set up on a 2and a half by six foot table. kuehn has a lower rail profile than tillig track and i dont know if theres an adapter piece.
dog ebay 019.jpg
makes a nice little layout. joe
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Re: I need some advice (all of it!)

Postby AstroGoat760 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:20 pm


1) Which are the best manufacturers, in terms of:

a) Reliability
Assuming that you are referring to new manufacturers, each has their own little quirks, but Roco and Tillig seems to be among the best out there for overall quality and longevity among mainstream manufacturers. Peresvet items tend to have a few drive train issues, and Lok-N-Roll items tend to need a little adjustment before they run good. However, if you are good with modifications and kitbashing, any brand will work fine. Being able to modify things you want to work for you if a very good skill to have in TT.

b) Ease of maintenance and modification
For new items, Tillig has this hands down, so much that Tillig parts are often used in "home brew" kits and models.

c) Availability of spare parts
Again, for new items, Tillig

d) Accuracy of models
For the most part across the board, aside from the low-end basic sets, most items from each manufacturer is accurate to a point.

e) Anything else that you can think of
Not at this time.

2) Is there anything unusual about the track that I should be aware of?
a) Assembly pitfalls and ways to avoid them
The Tillig turnout kits bear a reputation of being hard to assemble

b) Pros and cons of the various manufacturers
Pros and cons of different manufacturers actually have varied over time, and as a general whole, all TT manufacturers have gotten better over the years.

c) Specific items to seek out or avoid
Seek out what you wish.
I would recommend avoiding Rokal items, unless you plan on having the locomotives wheel's replaced, as they are a bit thick and will not always play nice with modern track.

d) Which tracks will not play nice with others (BTTB comes to mind)
There are adapters that Tillig makes that connects the old BTTB track to the newer Tillig track.
Generally each brand only works best with it's own type, but that has changed a lot with the newer tracks. The main concern now is with maintaining the rail height when using tracks with different profiles. I have some Keuhn track and some Tillig, and they can connect, but it takes a little shimming to make them level out at the rail head.

3) Support (Buildings, people, autos, bridges and other pre-made items)
Auhagen makes a variety of buildings, people, autos, bridges, as well as components good for kitbashing and/or scratchbuilding. There are a variety of smaller makes that make cars and such. Mini-Things has a small line of 1940's-1960's era vehicles for example.

a) Who makes the most accurate and proportional accessories? I have two TT bridges that look like HO.
That depends on the manufacturer. I have a number of Auhagen buildings, and they all look right so far. Bridges tend to fit the terrain, and may or may not "fit" right.

b) Which company's products are easier to use? Build? Modify (kitbash)?
That is pretty much the same across the board. Auhagen does have a line of card-stock buildings that are cheaper to buy, but are a little more of a pin to modify and to build, owing to the materials.

4) General
a) What voltage do TT trains run on? I assume twelve...
Twelve Volts, Direct Current is correct. A power pack made for HO will work just fine. Some folks run HO scale DCC systems on their TT trains. Not me however, I have too much in my older TT collection that will not fit a decoder in them without major modification.

a) What amperage power supply is needed?
That depends. The more you expect to use the power pack with, the larger the capacity power supply you will need. The actual amperage needed for a pike is a rather vague subject, as there is a lot of variables, including motor types on the locomotives, number of powered accessories, and so on. For regular, non DCC use, an MRC Tech series power pack will work just fine.

Keep in mind that I have a fairly old collection, and most of what I have is twice as old as I am, and I also tend to do a bit of tinkering, restoration, and scratchbuilding, mainly to stay busy. Aside from track, I run a mix of old and new (mostly old).
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Re: I need some advice (all of it!)

Postby Petercat » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:13 pm

Joe-
Thanks for the photo, it helps me realize what I've gotten myself into. Are those curves 15" radius? Yikes!
I was planning on a small 24" x 48" portable display layout! Too much time with the smaller scales....
At least it's not HO.
Time for the flex, I guess. And a 30" x 54" layout would still be portable, sort of.
The difference in rail height shouldn't be a problem, that's what diamond whetstones and files are for.
And please, please call me Peter. People on forums call me "Pete" when I've upset them!
"It's Peter, not Pete. Pete sounds like a bird fart.
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Re: I need some advice (all of it!)

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:28 pm

My $0.02:

1) Which are the best manufacturers:
Tough question. Roco, Kuehn and, Tillig are the big ones and they're all pretty good (unless you're a rivet counter then nothing in any scale will ever satisfy you :wink: ). Out of those 3, Tillig has the most "mishaps" but you have to look at that relative to the fact that they offer about 100 times more models than the other two. For ultimate quality (and price) Kres.
Avoid Peresvet locomotives like the plague.

2) Is there anything unusual about the track that I should be aware of?
Kuehn track has a more realistic profile and color.
Tillig track has by far the biggest selection of rail pieces (Kuehn should as well within the next few years).
BTTB - don't bother. It was great 50 years ago.

3) Support (Buildings, people, autos, bridges and other pre-made items)
Check out Auhagen and for people - Preiser.

4) General
a) What voltage do TT trains run on? I assume twelve...
12
a) What amperage power supply is needed?
How many locos you planning on running?

And if you haven't already, check out the links section on this site - there's a massive amount of info in there.
My website: https://www.ttnut.com
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Re: I need some advice (all of it!)

Postby Petercat » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:48 pm

AngrySailor302,
Thanks for all of your information. Much becomes clearer!
I've used Auhagen in N scale, and the quality/price ratio is impressive. You get a lot for your money!
For me, "proportional" means a fairly tight fit. I think a train looks best coming out of a tunnel or across a bridge when it has minimal clearance. But that's just me, and my habit of building small layouts.
"It's Peter, not Pete. Pete sounds like a bird fart.
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Re: I need some advice (all of it!)

Postby Petercat » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:55 pm

Conductor, Angrysailor302, I can't see running more than two trains at a time. I'm a runner, not an operator.
"It's Peter, not Pete. Pete sounds like a bird fart.
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Re: I need some advice (all of it!)

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:10 pm

If you're only running 2 trains I don't think there's any need for amperage concern.
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Re: I need some advice (all of it!)

Postby Arseny » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:49 am

Welcome to TT-world, Peter!
What country, what proototype do you want to model? German, Czech, American, maybe Russian?

Concerning manufacturers: Roco is the best (most acccurate), Piko is the cheapest, Tillig is the biggest. :smile: Decide!
Also you can find a lot of different small manufacturers...

Be careful with old Rokal stuff. Although they can run well on the modern rails, they can't pass through the turnouts (switches). Look here:
rokal-br24-2-6-0-t1035.html

Tracks: do not use old BTTB tracks (you can find some on Ebay or somewhere else). But if you have some, you can use special connectors (from Tillig) to connect them with modern Tillig or Kuehn tracks.
If you use old Zeuke or BTTB stuff, be careful with the Kuehn or Kruger tracks - they are too low. Although they look well, you can get some problems with old locomotives/cars, they can strike the ties by wheels. Test them before you buy a lot.

Radiuses: most of TT-scale locomotives can run on 310-mm radius curves. Although some big American locomotives can not, and German BR01 will take it hardly. You can use 353-mm curves also.

Buildings: there are very few American and Russian buildings in TT. (Some American buildings are available from BTS RR or ideenladen.de). But you can use Auhagen, Busch, Vollmer and some other. I like Busch buildings:
busch-freight-station-t1391.html#p13994

Some Auhagen buildings are H0/TT scale, i.e. 1:100 approx. But I think they can work.
Also you can use some H0-scale buildings in TT, especially industrial buildings or big station buildings. For example, Peresvet use H0-scale Faller's station "Bonn" building on their layout.

People and autos: The people figures are available from Noch and Preiser. Some American autos are available from Mini-Things and also from Ukrainian manufacturer RailTT. There are a lot of German, Czech and Russian autos available from Ukrainian, German and Czech manufacturers. And also from Herpa, of course. If you need American autos, you can use also use Russian ZiS-150 as International K7, YaAZ as Federal truck, and also "kitbash" Volga GAZ-21 to use it as 1952 Ford.

Also you can use "wargame" 15mm scale people and autos (and some buildings too). They are rough, and they are a little bit bigger than neccessary (they are 1:100 in fact) but I think they can work, especially if you paint them well.
A lot of different eras are available, from American Civil War up to modern days.
I have GMC trucks, Dodges and Jeeps from 1940s (WWII), and I want to buy some cowboys and gunfighters from 1880s. 8-)

For example, some my cars:
jeeps-t1597.html
The wooden buildings from Ideenladen.de, Chevrolet police car and Ford station wagon car - from Mini-Things, International truck is kitbashed Russian ZiS-150, and jeep is "wargame" 15mm from FlamesOfWar. Standing "businessman" is from Noch.


Power supply and voltage: you can use 12V DC, the same as for H0-scale models (and N, I assume). Modern TT locomotives are DCC-ready. But I am not sure, if you can use DCC for old HP stuff.
Some modern power packs use "impulse" mode; I tried to use it with old HP locomotive, but it did not work. But of course it works with modern locomotives.
Concerning amperage - it depends on the locomotive. Old unlubricated locomotive can need even 0.7...1A. Lubricated locomotive in a good condition will need 0.5A or even 0.3A.
If you will use only 1-2 trains, you can use any power pack, as you like.

Also pay your attention to the couplers. American stuff usually need Kadee or Micro-Trains couplers, or old HP couplers. They are connected to the cars/locomotives simply by screw.
European stuff use another couplers, they are not compatible (although Kadee couplers looks like the Russian coupler SA-3, Kadee is rare in Russia). If you use European stuff, you can use BTTB-style couplers, new Tillig couplers, Roco couplers, and maybe old Zeuke couplers (if you buy some old stuff on Ebay).
They are not 100% compatible.
For example, your cars and locomotive use BTTB-couplers.
Modern cars and locomotives use NEM-shafts, so you can use any NEM-compatible couplers you like.
Tillig offers BTTB-style and Tillig-style couplers for the old BTTB- and Zeuke cars and locomotives (mounted with "flat tail").
But some old cars use only one type of couplers and they can not be replaced easily.
For example, I have old Zeuke 4-axle long coaches (passenger cars), with Zeuke couplers, and they can not be replaced.
And also some old Peresvet's cars use BTTB-couplers without NEM-shafts.
As for me, I decided to use BTTB couplers for my European and Russian stuff (I replaced couplers on my old cars from 1970s), and Kadee or MircoTrains for my American stuff.
I tried Dapol couplers, they are NEM-compatible and looks like Russian or American couplers, but I am not satisfied.
Last edited by Arseny on Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:22 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: I need some advice (all of it!)

Postby Arseny » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:59 am

And I want to add my 2 cents... sorry, 5 copecks :smile: from this side of Iron Curtain :lol:

While the "gold era" of TT in America was the 1950s, in Eastern Europe it was 1970s. Almost every Russian boy (and I think East German too), at least in the big cities, had some toy trains from Piko or BTTB. And a lot of them were TT-scale. (TT is more popular in Russia than N, up to now).
BTTB produced a huge amount of TT-scale locomotives and cars (a lot of them were exported to Soviet Union and other East European countries); VERO produced buildings.

So, you can find a lot of old TT-stuff on German Ebay. They are cheap and they can work well, if thery are in good condition.

BTTB is still alive, it is Tillig. It was founded in late 1940s as "Zeuke" and started TT production in 1957, later it was nationalized and renamed into BTTB, in 1990s it was de-nationalized, then it was sold to Mr.Tillig... and so on. But it is still the same company.
They re-designed most of their old models; so sometimes you can find 2-3 versions of the same model, from 1960s, from 1980s and modern. Of course, modern models can use DCC, they run smoothly with new engines, they have nice detalization... But at the same time, if you need cheap model, you can find old BTTB on German Ebay and it will work!

But be careful: some Ebay-sellers try to sell some old BTTB or VERO stuff with an unadequate price. They can ask $100-200 for a building or car! Maybe they think "It is 'vintage', so it must be expensive". Haha. If so, every Russian guy would be the millionaire! :lol:
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