New to TT and the forums

New to TT and the forums

Postby Seligman Sub » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:00 am

Greetings all, thanks for having me! My name is Brad and I'm dipping my toe into the TT scale arena with a U15 hopper order off of Shapeways. I'm a semi active modeler in both N and HO and after reading up on TT recently it really fueled my interest in the scale. I did a couple card stock models of a ES44 which reaffirmed my interest; it really does seem like the goldilocks scale.

I've perused the forum and if I remember correctly there was a attempt to see if a NA track manufacturer would be willing to create flew track tooling. As I recall they wanted ~$10k. If that's the case has there been any thought about trying to raise funding via kickstarter? Not sure if there is enough NA TT modelers to raise the funding but if you could get a couple hundred the average donation would be reasonable. Seems to me TT needs quality NA prototype flex track as the foundation for a revival.

I'm hopeful that baring a miracle US entrant into the TT scale from the manufacturing side, that the pending 3D printing revolution will breathe new life into this scale. Although I have to admit even with very fine detail that top of the line SLA printers produce they still leave print lines and I'm not sure they'll be able to overcome that. Still exciting times. Thanks again for having me.
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Re: New to TT and the forums

Postby CaTTwoman281 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:17 am

Welcome to the wonderful world of TT, Brad!
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Re: New to TT and the forums

Postby j p » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:25 am

Welcome to the TT community, Brad!
I am not sure if U15 hopper was the easiest start. I have not tried to make those yet.
But I have a decal set for SCL version of the U15 if you need one.
Regarding the track: I am not quite sure if the demand is sufficient for this. I'd like to see more engines, more cars, and especially more modellers in NA-TT. The track can be made in China for the start. People with higher requirements on the track can buy from Mark (SAZ model) or Michael (Art&Detail).

- Jan
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Re: New to TT and the forums

Postby scaro » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:37 am

Welcome on board.

Kickstarter has been attempted in the Australian N scale market, which has about 200-300 followers. They achieve critical mass because most model the two rail systems of the most populous states. Even there, two attractive projects attempted by a respected manufacturer and modeller failed to get sufficient subscribers; the 60 day time limit didn't help with one, which came close.

NA TT doesn't have critical mass - and won't - there are a huge number of American railroads and it's unlikely anyone would consent to model the same railroad and era, which is the reason HOn3 works, by contrast. Because there's very little support, and that's been the case for decades, and disputes that led to molds and masters being locked away for decades until they were so damaged as to be unusable, and the scale's former email list and newsletter fading away, the scale is marginal.

However to be fair most of those old models were not of a quality to attract anyone to a modelling scale these days. There is an interest in American outline in European TT but many of the available models are not only incredibly expensive but are at best, caricatures of real American trains. This is an ingrained mindset, sadly.

3D can be a part of the answer though due to issues with line contours and print orientation, it is much better for producing parts than complete models, but most designers are too in love with what their model looks like on the screen to appreciate these limitations. I think that is changing.

Old NA TT was a kitbashing and scratchbuilding scale. People are disinclined to scratch-build these days, and unless you are a home manufacturer, it's hard to do in TT.

If a big manufacturer does not take up TT, even for a short time, it will not achieve a sufficient base of modellers. Some manufacturer responses to attempts to interest them have been, well pretty juvenile ... one said we'd need to demonstrate 10,000 (?) sales before they'd look at it.

Daft response ... where, for example were the 10,000 modellers in Z scale before Marklin developed it?

From the UK, where most popular loco prototypes have already been done in OO and N, and there's a sense that the market is saturated, a manufacturer (the one who came up with the response above) did start sniffing around TT or at least 3mm. So evidently, at least in the UK, there was a view that there might be more money in pumping out common prototypes in more sizes, rather than focussing on rare models in existing scales. I guess the artwork is done, and with 3D design, things can be scaled more easily.

I'm not the one to say whether the NA market has those characteristics, however.

One attractive niche might be small scale steam, since N scale NA steam seems to have a lot of problems ... TT is a more viable size.
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Re: New to TT and the forums

Postby j p » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:57 am

scaro wrote:However to be fair most of those old models were not of a quality to attract anyone to a modelling scale these days. There is an interest in American outline in European TT but many of the available models are not only incredibly expensive but are at best, caricatures of real American trains. This is an ingrained mindset, sadly.


I do not agree with this.
For the first part: some old models are good: Joma brass tankcars, Kemtron 2-bay hoppers and Alco FA/B, some Christoph cars...
For the second part about the European TT: SW1200s are good and the price is low, maybe even too low. They are actually better than any other TT product from MTB (so far).
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Re: New to TT and the forums

Postby scaro » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:03 am

I did say 'many of' rather than all.

The SW1200 is cheap for what it is, I agree, it's very good. I suppose the price is to tempt interest in the scale. Whether it's had that effect, I don't know.

The FA is either too high or something else, but mine look odd ... I can't remember the discrepancies but there were a few.

I don't own many old TT cars but I have seen a lot, and had trouble finding many that aligned with a prototype. A few do, it's true.
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Re: New to TT and the forums

Postby Zs12 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:53 am

j p wrote:For the second part about the European TT ...

Don't forget the Gold Coast boxcars! As for the german products I don't know enough about their prototypes.
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Re: New to TT and the forums

Postby j p » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:06 am

Zs12 wrote:
j p wrote:For the second part about the European TT ...

Don't forget the Gold Coast boxcars! As for the german products I don't know enough about their prototypes.


I do not consider those European TT, since they were developed in USA, made in China, and sold to Europe later. Yes, those are very good. Not all of the paint schemes are correct though.

scaro wrote:The FA is either too high or something else, but mine look odd ... I can't remember the discrepancies but there were a few.


I'll check the dimensions. It could look too high next to Lionel's engines because those are smaller than they are supposed to be.
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Re: New to TT and the forums

Postby areibel » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:05 pm

Hi Brad,
If Ben's cheery outlook for TT didn't scare you off, then Welcome!
TT is a marginal scale, but it has been that way since the beginning. It's had more than it's share of problems, but I've been in it over 15 years and I think it's better than it has been in years. With both new guys picking up the ball and offering products (Sazmodel, Zeuke TT, RailTT, etc..) it's easier to find some of the basics. It's a little harder in the US to get some of it (especially track) but a lot of our European counterparts are very helpful! You will have to do some building, but I came from the "shake the box" world of HO kits and I'm getting better. It's not rocket science, just practice!
Steam will probably be the hardest to model, the only US steam locomotives are the original HP Products ones that are all 50+ years old in design. They're pretty generic, but they can be detailed up to look great. One of the projects I'd like to try is to build a new boiler for one of the existing chassis, either an HP or one of the European outline locos that are available from Tillig or one of the other German companies. Ken Rickman had a great article on scratchbuilding a boiler for a steam locomotive out of styrene in a couple of the back issues of Model Railroad Hobbyist, you can check it out online.
The 3D printing is improving as well. Shapeways has several different TT cars available, as you've already found. Their quality can vary greatly, which is the unfortunate part. But compared to not having a model at all, I'd rather have the option of having something to start with and going from there. And if you're at all computer oriented you can learn to use a basic CAD program like Google Sketch UP and make your own goodies! Other companies like Ponoko offer the same, along with laser cutting of 2D designs and different materials.
If you want to see some quality TT, check out a few pics on here from some of the members. Or on Youtube look for videos like this one- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yegMUPJccw
It's from Ingo Schwaetzer. The Iris Creek Valley RR was built by the German TT group http://www.aktt.de/cms/jupgrade/index.php . Ingo produces some nice ( and easy to build!) etched brass kits, along with models from Art and Detail, Lok N' Roll, etc..
There's a lot of interesting stuff happening at TT, I like to think we're making some progress and not just floating along!
And there's a lot of experience right here on this board, so if you have any questions just ask!
Al
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Re: New to TT and the forums

Postby ConducTTor » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:15 pm

Hey Brad, welcome aboard! You can start by clicking on the 3 rotating banners at the top of this site. They will give you an idea of what's readily available.

TT is tiny but slowly and surely growing. There are some exciting things in the pipeline though sadly I'm not allowed to elaborate at this time.

TT really IS the perfect scale. There are a bunch of great people on this site to help you with whatever. I hope you enjoy your time here!

Oh and if you happen to be interested in German trains, there are tons in TT :wink:
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