OO9 or SM32?

So I’ve been wondering about my slate quarry 8” and then maybe a small layout….

… I’ve been lusting after photos of Dinorwic, buying books and reading build threads such as this one…

… so I bought some really beautiful Shapeways’ castings.

They are beautiful:

Really, really beautiful and as I feared, really small.

So now I’m wondering about really being able to get into the detail.  How about the opposite extreme – 16mm!

What do you think?  I love scenery and OO9 packs that in but I also love details and you won’t struggle to see them in a large scale.




13 thoughts on “OO9 or SM32?”

  1. james.magill.jr@gmail.com

    Hello Kathy,
    If I understand the dilemma, it’s a choice of scale? Why choose? Why not both? A small layout with the scenery you love and highly detailed dioramas in the larger scale to show the details you cannot obtain in the smaller scale.

  2. Séamus MacGinnus

    fun but I’d imagine SM32 would cost big $$ bucks. or in your case big ££ ! 😉 either way will love to see how you make out…esp. as your layout is going mining with possible mixed gauges in New England? I too have been researching the Lime mining efforts in the Berkshire Mountains from NY and Connecticut up through Mass. to the Vermont line back in the day for my ON30 project. keep me posted?

    1. It is big bucks but you don’t need as much. One loco and a few wagons are enough for the kind of layout I can fit in. In HO, a Rapido RDC is the same price more or less as a Slaters’ Quarry Hunslet kit.

      It’s going to be a Welsh slate mine. As I’m half Welsh, it would be wrong to do any other sort!


  3. Hi Kathy,

    I found your blog by accident looking for something else (and watched some of your excellent YouTube videos, I have a suspicion you narrowly avoided catching me on camera at Warley 2017), but then spotted your slate quarry layout postings. As a UK West Midlands based owner of an 009 slate quarry layout (Chwarel Tegid, Google should find the web page if you search for it) I feel compelled to encourage you to give 009 a try. I know 009 is small, but it’s very rewarding because of what you can do in the space (that said, I came to 009 via N gauge, so to me it’s a “large” scale.) I’ve managed to build a working incline and a working Blondin ropeway for my 009 quarry layout and there’s a second working incline on it’s way for the “companion” layout Bryn Tegid. Since it looks like you’re working in HO for you’re big layout, you shouldn’t find detail work in 009 to be any more difficult than you’re used to even though the rolling stock can be small.

    If you feel like having a chat to some 009 modellers in person to find out more, please come and see us at the monthly “West Midlands Narrow Gauge Group” meeting organised by the local 009 group, the next meeting is 8th Jan, 7.30pm at Moorfield Hall Community Centre. Attendance is typically 20+. That said, all scales are welcome and we have members who work in larger scales so we’d be interested in your quarry plan regardless. I joined back in 2015 when I stated my 009 layout and haven’t regretted it, although it did cause work on my N gauge layout to stall, so be warned…

    Tim W

    1. Hi Tim

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ll definit google your layout! There’s not many slate layouts out there and a working blondin is really appealing.

      I think I’ll be doing at least a Diorama in OO9 in the New Year. I did succumb to an SM32 quarry hunslet which arrived under the tree at Christmas. When you start measuring up even small huts at that scale then it really makes you realise how large it is!

      I can’t make the 8th but would be interested in coming.

      I’ll check your layout out and be back in touch.


    2. Tim

      I had a look at your layout and it’s lovely! I’ll hopefully get to see it some time in 2018.

      How do you power your blondin? I’m toying with doing one and yours looks excellent.


  4. Hi Kathy,

    The meetings are 2nd Monday of the month, so 12th Feb and 12th March are the next ones if you can’t make January. I can’t promise to be at every meeting myself (I might be up a mountain somewhere), but I made 10 out of 12 in 2017. Non members of the 009 society are welcome, but the organiser does ask everybody for a £3 contribution to the cost of the venue.

    The Blondin power is very simple, a motor with an integral gearbox costing a few £ with home made winding drum attached. I think the motor gearbox has a 1:200 ratio, I bought mine on line from a website called Greenweld, but I’ve seen the same type of motor on the Squires stand at shows. Control is via simple double throw push to make switch. The Blondin hanger uses model boat rigging parts and rigging thread for the cable. The key problem is to work out how the haul rope is threaded through the pulleys, I worked this out by carefully studying a picture of the “preserved” Blondin at Dinorwig on the Penmofra website. Get that right and all you need is a sufficiently steep angle on the support rope and it should “just work”.

    Both the Blondin and the No. 1 incline were described in a recent article in 009 News, I can let you have a copy if you want it (most of the details are also buried on my NGRM forum threads).

    Chwarel Tegid and Bryn Tegid will (hopefully) be appearing at a small number of shows this year (Midlands and Wales) I’ve done a number of submissions, but don’t have confirmed dates yet.

    Tim W

    1. Hi Tim

      I looked at your layout and the working blondin is awesome! I’d love to see the article on how you did it.

      Hope to see it in the flesh sometime this year.


  5. Hi Kathy, in case you haven’t seen this already, Bachmann have just announced an 009 RTR Quarry Hunslet model for the 2018 programme. So authentic 009 quarry motive power just got a lot easier to obtain.

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