2012 N Scale Preview

Now for something completely different! I'm not sure if this is a 2012 "preview" or a catalog "review" - sort of both (and you'll catch me confusing the two in this video!).   The basic idea behind this was to provide an overview of some of the most interesting new items announced for 2012 in the recent releases from the European manufacturers.  The bad part is that sorting through all the catalogs will no doubt miss some major news, and I expect I'll further display some of my ignorance of European railways as well!  The good news is that its not as long as some of my recent videos! :-)

I also realize that this video is probably about two months late given that many of these catalogs were released in February, but perhaps there is still some material that is new to some of you that is of value.

If you're wondering why I don't cover anything from Japan, the answer is simple...their new releases are not only much more frequently announced than the European manufacturers, but there is also excellent coverage on the JNSForum.

Similarly, the UK (which I have not really spent any time on in this blog or my video) has some excellent coverage on some of the UK forums such as the N Gauge Forum or New Railway Modellers.

As for North American, well, there appears to be plenty of information, and not really in the scope of this blog!

I would love to talk about N Guage from other countries...Touchrail in Taiwan is hard to get any information from, I have no idea of anything in South America or other parts of Asia.  


  1. That Belgian 18 series is a truly gorgeous looking thing. I saw a real one pass a few weeks ago near my place pulling some recent double decker coaches and I was just amazed by those looks. That modified Taurus nose just fits wits better with the new SNCB(or NMBS as I like to call them) livery than any other belgian trains currently rolling in belgium. the proportions are just right. I didn't know there was an N-scale model of it!

    You're right about the TGV, the picture in the KATO catalog shows a world record locomotive with cars from an 'ordinary' TGV Atlantique behind it.

    The Talent also looks great and some other stuff you already mentioned.
    I wonder where to find all this Interesting stuff without expensive shipping(nothing compared to what you probably have to pay). I know One site with good shipping costs conrad. be but their N-scale offer is well priced but quite limited and there is just one modeling shop in Brussels which is mainly HO.
    But seeing this I think I will figure a way to get wat I want anyway.

    I wish you lots of fun with your coming purchases and with your current fleet!

  2. It’s worth noting that Arnold is actually Hornby UK who bought the defunct Arnold Brand name and started production in China. The models are good (I have a few) and Chinese production is generally excellent but Hornby UK (Arnold) are charging German prices for Chinese manufactured goods.

    Another excellent review: Keep up the good work.

    Ross S
    North Berwick
    Scotland UK

  3. Thanks Jerry! Am I the only one to feel like a kid before Christmas when I see such posts? ;-)

    I lived in Brussels for 2 years, I actually found N scale without too much difficulty. You surely know better than me, but just in case:
    - Van Den Bossche in Jette does have quite a lot of N (for a small store). They also carry a lot of Zimo digital products; and could order anything you'd like (albeit at the "UVP" - catalog price).
    - A store which I forgot the name recently started doing a bit of N, it is on Rue du midi in the center, literally 1 min away from the Grand Place. They don't have much N, but they were my main source for ESU digital products.
    If you want cheap online products (for delivery in EU), I would advise:
    - www.voelkner.de
    This is the "hidden" cheap subsidiary of Conrad. They carry the exact same products but sometimes a bit cheaper; and deliver anywhere in Europe. You can even search for Conrad article numbers on their website.
    - www.modellbahnshop-lippe.com
    They have good prices, a HUGE choice of products in stock; I have been buying their for years without a single problem. Their website is automatically translated from German, so expect bizarre phrases in French or Dutch, but that's really not a big issue. They do speak (at least) English for support question.
    (Jerry, they do seem to deliver outside the Union, maybe you might want to give a look and see how they would charge)

    True, prices haven't gone down. On the other hand I remember Arnold products 12 years ago: they contained many small pieces, as a swiss watch, and had the tendency to break more easily than sturdy Fleischmann models IMHO.
    I have recently bought one of their "Walfisch" ("Whale") EMUs, and despite being chinese-built, it inspires much more confidence. I bought it in Paris at Transmondia (a shop that Jerry visited); and the guy there who is an expert confirmed Hornby has done a pretty good job on quality.
    We'll see on the long run...

  4. @Pierre Thanks for the shops. I couldn't find a lot of Brussels Nscale shops on the Internet and didn't want to run around all shops in the 'modeling' section of the golden guide because most of them just sell no trains and most of those that sell trains sell HO.
    So thanks for helping me on my quest for good and not too expensive N-scale stuff, which brings me 1 step closer to building a layout.
    I'm quite new to the hobby and have just made 1 HO layout, and I'm starting with N soon (whenever that is), I will be reporting about it on the Internet.

    P.S.: I do feel like kid too when I see that kind of posts too!

    I'll go check it out soon.

  5. @Brusseleir
    Glad I could help a bit, but don't expect miracles: online shopping will likely be your main source for "planned" purchases...while stores with their limited offerings will be good for browsing, expertise (M. van den Bossche knows a lot, also does decoder installs if you want) and unreasonable "coups de coeur" (I bought my ESU ECOS II on a sunny Saturday...).

    I guess success of the N Scale mainly depends on the square meter prices... understandably it's much easier to find N in Paris than in Brussels...
    I always wondered why americans with big garages can fall for the 1/160 scale. Jerry would have to answer that ;-)

  6. Wow! A lot of comments to catch up on!

    @ Brusseleir - I am REALLY excited about the HLE 18! The SNCB paint scheme (except for the terrible boring version on the Traxx electrics) is simple, but very elegant and I'm looking forward to seeing this on my layout!

    Also, looking forward to hearing about your progress on your new N scale layout!

    @ Hi Ross! Yes, I've been a little disappointed that Arnolds prices seem to be on the higher end given the expected 'discount' you think that China production would provide. I am encouraged by Pierre's comment that the quality is good however!

    @ Pierre - Hello my old friend! :-) Yes, I have shopped from Modellbahnshop-lippe before and have found their service and selection to be excellent! I try to support the importers in the US and Canada first to ensure their business is healthy, but they often don't have all the stock that Mbs-L will have! A top shop and I would recommend it!

    Now as to your question about 'why' N scale in the USA where we have these huge houses with enormous basements and garages? :-)

    Well, I think that may be a little bit of an exaggeration but probably true to a degree! I don't think there are as many 'basement empires' as the magazines seem to portray, it seems many more modellers these days are going either the club route or the modular route. I think the economics of N scale work with wherever you are...longer trains, and more scenery are preferable by many of us and are easier the smaller you go! That is my preference! I do envy the detail and selection of our HO friends, but I also try to check out their prices as well and am encouraged that N is still a good deal cheaper than HO! This helps me to have longer trains too! :-)

  7. I may be biased as someone who moved from HO to N a while ago, but I am constantly baffled by people doing modern model railroads in HO scale. Modern equipment, especially in the US is huge and typically run on a scale that can't be replicated even in a palatial garage. Many modern auto transporters and intermodal cars run roughly 30 meters long. Combine that with the modern unit trains that run these cars in blocks of 20+, all behind a group of 3 to 6 six-axle diesels.

    The detail on newer models by companies like BLMA rival those of the HO world. Diesel model reliability has become phenomenal in N scale, especially with the improvement of DCC equipment. N scale no longer requires sacrificing significant detail.

    I find it off-putting to see a modern HO layout with a trio of 4,400 HP locomotives pulling ten intermodal flats across a prairie.

    But that's just my opinion.