Why Model in TT scale?

     There are several reasons that I can think of right now.
* One may be because N scale is too small and HO scale is too big.
* Another may be because the other scales are becoming too expensive.
* Another may be because you like the challenge of scratch-building.
* And one other may be that you are thinking of starting a small Cottage Industry at home, and you want to test the waters and some manufacturing processes without having a huge demand for items right away, and to see how good you may be at it.
Of course there are other reasons as well, which I can't think of right now.

     And speaking of starting your own modeling business, TT scale is wide open for more small manufacturers to get into.  However, be aware that just because you may be an excellent modeler and you produce something for TT scale, if it is not a quality product, word will get out about it and it won't sell very well.  On the other hand, if it is well made and of good quality for a reasonable price, it will probably do very well indeed.  But at the same time, don't expect to get rich from manufacturing in TT scale.

The Challenge of Modeling in American TT scale.

     American TT scale is a challenge to model in because there are few items available.  But things are getting better.  New items are coming out every year, although you will not hear about them in the Modeling Press.  This is because TT still has a small following.  Where you will hear about them is here on this web site, and at the TTSMR group at Yahoogroups.com.  There are both regular items that remain available, and there are also some special runs of items that are only available when they first come out.  Some items require you to order by advance reservation and can take up to a year to be delivered.  More often than not, these items require no deposit or money up front.  Also, don't forget to do an Internet search every once in a while for TT scale.

What is readily available.

     European TT scale trains and accessories are available from a dealer in New Jersey.  (Euro Train Hobby)  They carry almost the full line of Tillig track, which is code 81, and is second to none.  They also carry Augen plastic buildings, which are nicely made and quite a few of them can be made to look American without too much trouble.  They have European locomotives available that can have their shells removed and a new shell built to model almost any type of locomotive you want.
     You can also get TT scale track and turnouts in code 70 from www.ttscale.com through DnS TT.
     There are RR cars, both passenger and freight, and some locomotive chassis drive units for converting toy type models to actually run on TT scale track.  There are also some detail items available too.  Like I said before, more items are being added every year.  Most of the items that you will find at www.ttscale.com are made by modelers who wanted more items to run on their own layouts, and are made by hand using cast resin and other common modeling materials.  These are good quality kits that rival any cast resin kits on the market today, in any scale.
     Building kits are somewhat limited, but they are available.  A modular building kit is available from Possum Valley Models, and BTS has several laser cut TT scale buildings.  Coastal Engineering also has a building or two, plus a tunnel portal for TT scale.  DnS TT, also at www.ttscale.com has a line of plaster building and building accessories.
     Automobiles are available from Mini-Things in limited models at the present.
     Of course all of these items are kits.  But, Sleepy Hollow Models does make an excellent plastic boxcar, either in kit form or built up and lettered.  They also have nice Bettendorf freight trucks.

Making Items in Other Scales work for TT.

     The real shortage in TT scale seems to be buildings, some detailing parts, and decals.  If you use some imagination you can make buildings in other scales work for TT scale layouts and dioramas.  Sometimes the items from the other scales, mainly HO and N scale, can be used as-is, but you should be prepared to do a little modification to them.
     As was pointed out many years ago in the modeling press, model railroad buildings are not made to real-world scale by kit manufacturers.  If they were, they would overpower our layouts and trains.  Model buildings are made smaller so as not to take up valuable layout space, but are also made to be as believable as possible.
     A good selection of buildings seems to be the most short in supply.  Look for small HO buildings, or large N scale ones.  As an example, one of the European produces of American buildings came out with a Meat Packing plant a few years ago.  They said on the box that this building could be used for either HO or N scale by changing the doors, of which both sizes were included in the kit.  Well this turned out to be an excellent building for use in TT scale.  Although I used the N scale doors (because the building was not right up front on my layout) I could have just as easily installed TT scale doors to build it to proper TT scale.  So, if you haven't figured it out by now, it is the doors that really determine the scale of the building.  Woodland Scenics make some excellent HO metal buildings.  I consider them to be small for HO and have used them as-is on the front areas of my own layout.  However, there are some things that you can do to change them to appear smaller.  One is to lower the foundation all around the building.  Sometimes when doing this, you also take some material from the bottom of the doors.  This is OK.  Just be sure that you add a small step and maybe the very bottom wood piece on the door to make it look complete.  On N scale buildings, you can build up the foundation and install bigger doors.  You can also add small HO details to a large N scale building to give it a different appearance.  The fact that the building sits a little higher than the original, has larger doors, and has bugger than N details, will all fool the eye into thinking that it is a building that "belongs" to the layout.
     Although RR cars are getting more plentiful, it is possible to use HOn3 RR cars and even some HOn2 1/2 RR cars.  You may have to alter their height some, like on a caboose, but for the most part, they will lend themselves to TT quite readily.
     As for decals, N scale RR car decals will work out quite well.  As a matter of fact, there was a line of TT scale decals available, but because TT modelers were using N scale decals, the TT decal line has been discontinued.

So you see, if you are really interested in model railroading in TT scale, there are items around if you just look for them.  You must keep an open mind and look everywhere, not just in the model magazines and hobby shops.

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12-20-05