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T Gauge..and how its perceived by others

Postby dkightley » Tue May 16, 2017 1:19 pm

Having had what has seemed to be a bit of an uphill struggle to get T Gauge accepted by those "old school" railway modellers I have had contact with whilst I've been exhibiting The Bridge, I thought I'd ask the following two questions of members of this forum....

What is your opinion of the acceptance of T gauge throughout the railway modelling community?

Has this level of acceptance changed over time, and if so, what do you think has influenced the change?

I have my own thoughts....but would like to hear comments from others before I tell what they are.

I know most users are "browsers" and refrain from posting.....but on this occasion, I would like to gather together the thoughts of as many forum members as possible.......
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk
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Re: T Gauge..and how its perceived by others

Postby martink » Wed May 17, 2017 10:44 am

The most frequently heard comment in my experience is that "it is too small for me". Since the average modeller is getting on a bit, deteriorating eyesight is a legitimate issue. Many people I know that had modeled in N in the past have switched to OO or O for just that reason. My usual replies are that T gauge models have the same amount of fiddliness per square inch, and that being short-sighted really helps :-).

The other common observations relate to the speed of the trains, operational issues like poor points and no shunting, and the limited range of products available - especially in RTR. Not so obvious to observers, but very important and generally learned the hard way, is reliability and cleaning/maintenance requirements. It is a sad fact that these small models are a bit cranky.

Large, impressive exhibition layouts such as the Bridge and Orbost do make a difference - people really react differently to "full size" layouts such as these. Smaller models, no matter to what standard, tend to be dismissed as novelties, just as in the larger scales.

So, for the scale to advance, at least IMO, we need at least one of: more big "proper" layouts, better running and operation, and/or a wider range of track and rolling stock. Or, going further out on a limb, the ability to do things that cannot be done in larger scales, carving out our own niche.
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Re: T Gauge..and how its perceived by others

Postby MIHS85 » Thu May 18, 2017 7:45 pm

I’m one of those users who’s browsing regularly on this forum without posting, but I’d like to add my two cents to this one.

It’s my impression – mainly from following continental modelling forums and publications – that there is an awareness of and continued latent interest in T gauge, but that many people still hold back for the operational issues and limited range of products mentioned by martink (better points and please, a steam loco!).

Just a hunch, but another issue is perhaps the fact that the standard of detailing and photographic realism people have become used to see across other scales all the way down to Z is now often at a level which is difficult to achieve in T, especially with respect to rolling stock and buildings. The difference hardly shows when viewing a layout from a normal distance, but can be painfully obvious when seen through a macro lens and when showcasing in a magazine or forum. (One answer to that is perhaps to accept the limitations and find a level of abstraction which can still be aesthetically pleasing when well done).

Aside from improving operations, reliability and product range, I would agree that more big layouts are a way forward, especially in combination with emblematic landscapes and structures which cannot be done in other scales. But even in T most won’t have the time, space and resources to pull off a big project. So I do believe that the other strategy to promote T and bring more people on board (probably also necessary for its commercial viability) is to play on its ability to keep it small and simple, and try to spin a positive story around that gimmick reputation. I’m sure there are quite a few railway modellers with projects going in other scales who would find pleasure in testing new things and honing their skills in doing a neat little layout or operational diorama in T within a reasonable amount of time, keep it chucked away from wife, kids and cat (and yes, in a briefcase, if needed ;) ), take it out in those quiet moments, place it on the living room table next to a glass of wine or beer and just enjoy the trains passing by.

Orbost, The Bridge and Sarum Bridge are fantastic eye openers and it would be great to see more of that, but I myself also draw a lot of inspiration and motivation from some of these very small, simple and well done layouts here on the forum.

Cheers

Chris
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Re: T Gauge..and how its perceived by others

Postby msimister » Fri May 19, 2017 11:19 am

I haven't had any feedback about T gauge from other modellers but one of my sons gasped when he saw my GWR railcar and said the obvious, 'It's tiny!'

Regarding size, I have limited space so while I'm in awe of The Bridge etc my own OO gauge layout is just 10' x 2' and that's pretty much all household management will allow. I don't want to dispense with my OO so, for me, T gauge offers opportunities for another layout or several within limits acceptable to The Boss. So far I've one very small layout in a laptop box but have acquired two more such boxes with the intention of building another T gauge layout, possibly a four part end to end layout which can be set up and dismantled in a minute or two on the kitchen table and stored away compactly when not in use.

As The Bridge and Orbost illustrate, a big T gauge layout really means a lot of general modelling of town scape and countryside, not railway specific. Nothing wrong with that, just a comment.

Hope that helps.
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Re: T Gauge..and how its perceived by others

Postby zdrada69 » Sat May 20, 2017 6:41 am

Here in Poland there is practically little awareness of T scale. It is not awailable in shops, nobody is showing layout. I know 2 persons who expressed any interest in T scale equipment. Both were/are thinking to use tracks for N or Z narrow gauge as I do.Photos or videos from the Internet are shown very rarely on Forums rather as a couriosity not serious model making. There is little response and the most cammon is "It is really tiny". Well I have to say that even Z scale is still perceived as a couriosity but this is changing slowly especially because of 2-3 persons who show that serious - high level of accuracy and Polish prototype models is something that can be achived.
When I look at current trends I ust say that the main reasons not to look at T scale seriouslu apart from lack of availability are:
- toy like image - there are a few videos of T gauge on YouTube. Most of them are showing "out of the box" layouts - low level of weathering, unrealistic - "Made in China" looking trees, track without rust and weathering
- high - unrealistic speed - I know it is not true - but the image is that only "Shinkansen" can be prototypical
- unrealistic points.
Two other obvious point are:
- this is for "good eyes" people
- this is for "sharp and stable hand" people.
That is still one of main comments as far as Z scale is concerned.

I think the starting point to make any positive image of the T scale would be presence of one of those really wonderfull high level of realism layouts mentioned above on Model Railway Exhibition - we practically have one or two nationally recognized events. On the most popular one some awarness of Z scale was build due to the fact that there is always one or two layouts from Germany but until now It did not resulted in Polish origin layouts yet.

I hope to add a bit to awarness of T gauge but I must say that will not be really T scale. I will use it for Z narrow gauge... :oops:
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