Dean’s been in touch with an interesting post on N scale weights.
Changing couplers, wheels and weighing your rolling stock may seem like a bit of faff, but I suspect it’s the difference between a smooth running layout and a derailing one.
Please do leave a comment on this one, would love to know what you all think:
“Cheer’s Al, from Dean in New Mexico.
As anyone who follows the progress on my layouts may have guessed, I tend to be cheap, buying low priced cars, then fixing them up.
All my freight cars were bought in two parts: a Bachmann train set (the Bachmann “Golden Spike” set with two engines, four cars, track and a DCC controller—no longer available) and two sets of multiple freight cars from overstocked dealers.
I’m not a prototypical modeler and the only visitors to my trains are grandchildren who don’t care how they look, just how fast they run.
But with the low-priced freight cars, I’ve had lots of trouble keeping the rolling stock on the tracks. It was more a question of seeing which set of cars could make up a train that could make it around the layout without derailing.
I decided to do something about it and to tune up my freight cars.
The first thing was to use a consistent set of couples and wheel sets.
Here is a photo of some of the couplers and wheelsets that were on the cars. As you can see, they are all different and some don’t even couple consistently.
Although I prefer metal wheels, they tend to bump over turnouts, so I’ll stick to plastic wheels for now.
Here are the couplers and wheel sets, bought from China, that I’m standardizing on. They come in a box of a dozen sets which for around $15 can be purchased on eBay (search for “N Scale 1:160 Roller bearing Truck Coupler 33″ Plastic Wheels”). I’m with time converting all my stock to this wheel set.
Next, I correctly added weights to my cars. The NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) sets the standard weight of an N-scale car at 0.5 oz plus 0.15 oz for each inch of car length. Here is a table with the results for various car lengths from 2.5” to 5”
I bought a small digital scale (from Amazon) and started to weigh my cars.
A 50-ft boxcar weighed 0.56 oz; it should have been 1.06 oz. This is typical of all my cars, way underweight. I’m mostly using ¼-20 nuts as weights. This car took five nuts to increase its weight to the correct value. The nuts are attached with a few drops of super glue.
When done, the car was actually right on.
I don’t recommend buying tin-lead solder now, as it’s much more expensive than in the older days, but, if you have a roll of solder in your toolbox, you can melt a blob of it until you get the correct weight.
The same number of ¼-20 nuts was needed for a 40-ft boxcar, coming in close to the recommended value.
My set of open gondolas each took four ¼-20 nuts. I attached them with super glue to pieces of cardstock so that I could remove them if needed.
The long tanker is a problem. It’s grossly under weight (0.4 oz rather than 0.99 oz). Any place I put it on a train other than the rear car would lead to derailment.
Other modelers have suggested that you can snap the bottom of the tank apart from the top to add weight, but I haven’t been able to do that.
I’m trying to come up with some kind of liquid that I could squirt into the car then allow it to set up—maybe liquid epoxy. Any ideas from readers would be appreciated.
The caboose needs one more nut to make the correct weight.
For more information on my techniques and for some shots of running trains with the tuned-up cars, see
Thanks, Al, for all you do and thanks to my viewers! I appreciate all the support.
A big thanks to Dean for sharing his N scale weights and wheels info.
Please do leave a comment if you can help Dean with his adding weight with a liquid.
That’s all for today folks.
Don’t forget the silly sale won’t last forever, so please grab it before it disappears.
A few of you have asked how to donate to the blog – thank you – but the best way to support the blog is just to buy the Beginner’s Guide.
I often wonder if I should change the Beginner’s Guide to:
“It’s been a few years and I want to get back into model railroads”
What do you think?
Anyhow, here’s the Silly Offer for $9.silly deal I’ve put together.
I know many of you already have the Beginner’s Guide and buy it just for the new printable buildings – that’s absolutely fine by the way.
In fact, if you’ve done that, thank you for supporting the site.
I know it seems like the prices of things go up daily at the moment, so that made me even more determined not to increase the silly deal price this year.
I really hope all the free bonuses:
A) Makes it seem mad not to grab this offer
B) Keeps the show on the road so I can continue to post each day
I have to say it’s jolly quiet compared to other years, so I’m pinning my hopes on the new printable scenery buildings, and of course, the Beginner’s Guide.
Here’s what you get all for an amazing $9 – let’s start with the 5 new printable buildings:
Heres what they look like on there own:
All the buildings are HO scale. Just reduce the print by 54% for N scale.
In addition to the 5 new buildings above, you also get all these:
And here’s Bonkers John in his usual fine form:
If you have ever mulled over whether to buy the Beginner’s Guide, now is the time to grab it.
(A lot of you already have it and just buy it for the new buildings – that’s fine.)
It’s just $9 and you get every printable building on this page bundled in as well: It’s $9 for the lot.
The Beginner’s Guide sells at $27, but today you are saving $18 just on the Guide.
Bundled with the guide are all 19 buildings on this page. They sell at $9 each on the store. So that’s a $171 saving.
All in all, you are saving $199 dollars – it’s a real saving too, have a look at the store and see for yourself.
I know many of you already have the Beginner’s Guide, and you are buying it just for the new buildings alone, and that’s absolutely fine.
So there you go.
Hope you enjoyed Bill’s pics and vid – he really is the gift that keeps giving.
And if you’d like to feel the warm glow of supporting the blog, the silly $9 offer is here.
PS Just so we’re all clear – this silly sale is only for a day or so.
PPS Also, any purchase on the blog comes with a no quibble, money back guarantee, no questions asked – I really do want you to be delighted with your purchase.