Why N Scale?

One of the big advantages of N scale is that you don't need to take over a room of the house or the garage to build a layout. (Though I'm dreaming.... I hope my wife doesn't read this.) Modelling HO scale takes a serious commitment in real estate at the beginning, unless you're content to make/collect models and run them at a club. In N scale, as little as 1800x600mm (6'x2') can give you a quite servicable railway. Even as small as 1200x600mm (4'x2'), you can run some trains around though length of train and useful layout options become limited at that size. One of those utility tables with folding legs from Bunnings is a simple starting place and big enough for a useful layout. These can be stored under a bed or behind a door.

An alternative starting point is to build a few T-TRAK modules. These are simple to make, simple to set up and pack up and simple to operate. The whole concept is about keeping things simple so you can run trains fairly quickly without spending months or years building the layout first.

My first layout, which was always intended to be just to practice some of the skills I was reading about, was 1200x600mm. It did not take very long to out-grow this. One or two feet longer would have been much better and would have lasted me much longer. It pretty much means you can add one or two feet to the length of train you run, which in N scale means a good length train. I'm now building a new 2100x900mm layout which should be much more servicable. It will split easily in two for storage when not in use. This has been overtaken by a few T-TRAK modules for something much quicker and easier for now.

Why Victorian?

American or British would be easier and cheaper for a beginner but I find it more satisfying modelling the trains and countryside that have been part of my life from childhood to today. I can go for a drive today and see most, if not all, the trains I am modelling (though some are bit tricky to find). I have found the extra bit of effort in building models from kits to be an enjoyable and rewarding extension to the hobby and not too daunting for a beginner but it is even better now with excellent quality (ie. far better than I could do) models now being released ready-to-run.