One of the first things new model railroad enthusiasts learn is the terminology. Things like scale and gauge become everyday lingo. We've outlined some of the most popular scales used for these popular model toys. Keep reading and before long, you'll be an old hand with all things model toys.
First things first, let's define scale as it's used in reference to model railroads: Scale is the proportion to an actual size train or its prototype; the smaller the scale, the more you can fit into your allocated model train area.
G Scale - 1:22.5 - G scale is most often used in garden layouts and is sometimes referred to as an LGB scale. It's ideal for those who appreciate gardening and landscaping.
O Scale - 1:48 - Although similar to the O27 scale, there are a few differences which we'll outline below. If your goal is to keep the proportions as realistic as possible, you should consider a large area to build around this scale. The trains are bigger than all other scales except for G scale, and incorporate DC currents.
O27 Scale - 1:48 - Similar to O scale, O27 is differentiated by the curves in the tracks. The O 27's area is a 27" arc or circle while the standard O Scale will encompass 31". Another significant difference is the 27's shorter and thinner rails. This is a particularly popular scale since there are so many accessories available that are life like and have working parts.
S Scale - 1:64 - It's been said the S scale isn't quite as popular as many of the others; however, many of us are sentimental and are drawn to this particular scale since it's what we're most familiar with from our childhoods.
HO Scale - 1:87 - Another popular scale, the HO is 1/87th in terms of comparison to the real thing. Its size is considered ideal and easily works on standard plywood sizes. This is another scale that offers a lot in accessories.
TT Scale - 1:120 - Many tend to avoid this scale simply because suppliers of accessories aren't plentiful.
N Scale - 1:160 - Not the smallest scale, but very close. That said, it's a popular scale for model toys since it's perfect for those with limited space. Its size is half of what the HO offers. Like long curves and a lot of scenery? This might be your best option.
Z Scale - 1:120 – This is the smallest sized trains, but ideal for really tight spaces or smaller bedrooms. Another strong point the Z scale brings to the table is its ease of transportation.
With just a little consideration and thought about how you intend to incorporate your model railroad into the available space, you can easily choose the best scale for your needs.
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Joe Kanooga is a father of two kids, a successful business owner and the author of numerous articles about model railroad toys. Click here to download a free railroad model toys guidebook filled with hobby tips, ideas and information.
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