Why choose O14?

While many of the contributors to this blog are experienced and talented modellers, I am taking on O14 from very much a beginner’s perspective. Having started out in OO9, using N scale mechanisms under body kits for prototypes of varying gauges, perhaps a more logical step up would have been to follow a similar process in O16.5. So why did I choose 14mm?

The larger scale makes building small industrial locos and stock a more practical proposition for me, but that could apply to any track gauge in 7mm scale. However the same small stock highlights the extra 2.5mm between the rails when you are aiming for a 2′ railway, either through the need for frame extensions or elongated proportions. So as I was moving to 7mm for greater detail and accuracy, and starting with a blank slate, I thought I might as well try O14.

All fine, except the next realisation was that 14mm implies hand-built track and hand-built loco mechanisms – another big step up from my OO9 world. Well, it can, but it doesn’t have to.

At the risk of sounding like a bit of an advert, I had the good fortune to meet David Janes shortly after he had taken over Roy C Link’s range of kits. Learning that the Ruston LBT came with a pretty much RTR mechanism, and the track system simply required rail to be spiked to correct gauge holes in the sleepers, I thought I didn’t have much to lose trying it out.

Reality has been slightly more convoluted. Plain track is fine, but I’m still tackling my first turnout. It took a few months to pluck up the courage to add the tiny feed wires and pick ups to the Ruston chassis, but the same process would have been much more daunting in 4mm.

I am still in two minds over whether 7mm will become my “main” scale, but my experience with O14 so far has inspired me to try and stick to the right gauge for the prototype – whatever that might be. Hopefully I can continue to provide useful updates here as I get to grips with it all one step at a time.