'TT' Scale

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by pjb, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. pjb

    pjb Member

    Dec 22, 2000
    Likes Received:
    In the discussion of 'OO'(76:1) scale relative to 'HO' (87:1)scale, 'TT'(120:1) was brought up. In order to focus on that scale, without confusing matters from the other discussion, I opened this thread to explain the what , and why of the goings on in 'TT' scale.

    It antedates 'N' (1:160) scale, but postdates 'HO'. It was
    created by an American named Joyce, in order to increase the amount of model railroading you could fit in a given space.
    He was not only a hobbyist, he also was a manufacturer
    that owned Huntington Pump, and set out to create a product line (marketted as HP PRODUCTS) postWW2,
    to fill his own and other space stressed model railroaders needs.
    It became popular, and RAILROAD MODEL CRAFTSMAN had
    a monthly column called "Off'n the TABLE TOP", for many years. 'TT', by the way stands for "table top", and attempts to make use of that idea of an empire on a Ping pong table.
    HP produced a number of steam locomotives from 2-10-2s, and mallets to 0-4-0s. They were constructed with formed stamped brass, and diecast zamac components in the same way as MANTUA made their 'HO' steam locos then (e.g.
    'the Goat'; 'Belle of the Eighties';'Busy Bee'; etc).
    Sherman Dance under the "GANDY DANCER"moniker, STAR LINE, LINDSAY,KEMTRON, TRU-SCALE and others made
    'TT' equipment.
    At the time that 'N' scale appeared it was called 'OOO'
    scale (referred to as treble O), and was no threat because
    the equipment ran and looked crappy. However, Joyce stopped making model trains to concentrate upon military sub contracting in the late Korean War. He offered the
    tooling on the market, but both constraints upon getting
    metals and the cost involved did not lead to a quick sale.
    Something else was happening, as well. Scale model
    railroaders , up to this period, were also required to
    attempt simple tasks requiring some dexterity such as
    assembling valve gear, and also were expected to add ladders, assemble trucks and couplers, and so forth. This
    changed quickly.

    AMERICAN FLYER produced two rail 'HO' scale trainsets
    that featured a NYC "Hudson", and Pennsy 0-6-0 and
    various passenger and freight cars. Gordon Varney got
    rid of his complicated steam loco kits, tossed out the
    multi-part metal railcar kits, and went to diecast locos,
    that had most of the detail cast on, and started making
    $1.25 molded plastic railcar kits with assembled sprung trucks.

    Recognizing, that a whole new audience could be garnered using plastic mouldings, Athearn, and MDC changed their products to catch the train. Overnight prices were
    dropping , and the scales that could not provide either
    low cost R-to-R, or easily assembled kits, were in trouble. 'OO scale', went quickly, and 'O' scale, and 'TT' attempted to get some plastic equipment , and die cast fixes .

    However, the inauguration of large scale low priced
    Oriental'HO' brass locos nearly extinguished both of these
    scale. The price margins on 'O' scale locos let the Japs
    make them, and find importers to sell them , but 'TT' did not fill the bill.It wasn't a "collectors" scale, and
    you couldn't make a lot on an individual loco.
    While the 'HO' products ran like crap, the buyers included thousands of people who had to assemble steam loco kits or have no locos at all, prior to this time. So repowering and
    making them work was no big deal. The U.S. 'TT' scale
    makers lacked the cash to update, or simply produced
    other products (including 'HO' trains) that made more

    'TT' on this side of the pond became a very minor scale
    to model railroad in (remains a major professional scale)
    and the 'TT' SIG of the NMRA, has a very lively YAHOO group that make and kitbash the few North American prototypes available.

    However, 'TT' had became very popular elsewhere,
    during this period, reflecting the fact that people were short of space to build layouts , and that 1:120 was
    about as small as one could go and have viewable,
    highly detailed, models. TILLIG, who I'm sure
    virtually everyone here is familiar with, since they
    produce the best quality 'HO' scale ready to run track components, also produces a complete line of
    locomotives and railcars in 'TT'.

    So do many other European makers, and the supporting
    structures, vehicles and figures cover everything one needs. Equipment for narrow gauge 'TT' scale is also made in a couple of gauges, and most of these pikes seem to reflect the wide usage of narrow gauge forest roads in eastern and northern Europe. Everyone in the world
    uses 12 mm gauge track for standard gauge 'TT'.
    However, the British who always seem to need
    to increase the bulk of their models, bastardized the
    scale relationship as mentioned earlier in the
    discussion wherein 'TT' first appeared.So there
    mass produced models that they call 'TT' are too large.

    Summarized , there are still North American 'TT' scalers,
    but the vast majority of 'TT'ers are in central and eastern
    Europe.There they have a large array of streetcars,
    trolley busses, and light rail equipment, to supplement
    a complete array of mainline rolling stock to choose
    from. The German offerings can be found on the
    WWW site,"kleinserien.de", that
    lists almost all model products made there. If
    you GoogleUp that site, and click on the appropriate
    scale, and trains, the lines made there will appear.
    There are others fromother places, but you will have
    to dig them up yourself. I know there is a Russian
    hobby manufacturers site, and
    I'm sure there are others out there as well.
    Good-Luck, Peter