Model railroad enthusiasts use different scales and gauges for their craft but for beginners, who plan to build their first railroad, deciding on the proper scale to use is not that simple. If you have little knowledge about scales, you may not even know what scales mean and the different options available.
For starters, scale refers to a model train’s size in proportion to a real train. The gauge is simply the distance between your train rails, which is 4ft, and an 8 ½ inch size between the rails. When building model rails, you need to take the measurements seriously, and the scales you choose will play a major role in the success or failure of your project.
Here are some of the most important scales used for model railroading.
Model Railroading Scales You Need To Know
The G scale is one of the most important and commonly used scale for model rails. This scale had a 1:22.5 size and runs on a 1.75 gauge. It remains the largest scale in use and is ideal for expansive areas like gardens and roomy indoor spaces. The G scale is a favorite of children because they are rugged and durable. Some of the most popular scale manufacturers offer them for scale, with common examples being Bachmann, Lionel Large Scale, and USA Trains.
Have you heard of the O scale? It is a 1:48 scale with a running 1.25-inch gauge. This scale is a large one with intricate detailing and precision width. If you plan to build a tabletop layouts or want your railroad to run around a Xmas tree, this is the best option to go for. The first O scale was made by Lionel in 1900, making the t the oldest model train scale ever made.
Another important scale you will find among the collection of many railroad model enthusiasts is the HO Scale which is only half of the O scale. The HO scale is 1:87 with a running .625 gauge inches. It is perfect for hobbyists who wish to build their own layouts but lack abundant space for them. Many well-known manufacturers make their trains using HO because it gives them creative license to implement their design ideas and theme. The popular Thomas and Friends trains use the HO theme. Let us also add that this is the ideal scale for smaller trains.
The N Scale model trains have 1.16 size and a running gauge of .375 inches. In terms of size, this is the smallest scale of the lot meant for extremely small trains. The beauty of N scale is that it allows builders to build large layouts in very tight spaces. Due to their small size, builders can make better use of their space, and they come in different varieties. You have the luxury of choosing a design that suits your ideas.
Last but not least, the important scale to keep an eye on is the S scale. Commonly called the American Flyer, it is 1:64 and runs on a gauge of .883 inches. This scale is high-end and suited for intricate designs similar to real life trains.
How To Know Which Scale Is Best For Your Model Railroad Project?
Knowing the common railroad scales is not enough; you also need to know which train is best for your project. Here are some factors to consider when shopping for trains.
The age of the user or who the railroad is for should be a major factor when making selections. For an older hobbyist, larger scales are best because they are easier to work with. If you are buying the train for your child, opt for a smaller one
Space is another thing to consider. The last thing you want is to build a railroad in a tight space. Bigger isn’t always better, so avoid the urge to go for larger scales if you don’t have room for it. Before you make a purchase decision, be sure of the model design you want and whether your available space will be enough.
Always work with a budget when building your model railroad. The cost implications will depend on what you want to achieve with your designs. Since there are cheap and expensive models for every size, the choice is yours. There are 20-car trains and 8-car trains but let your decision reflect your design.
Remember that model railroading is a hobby, so relish the building experience every step of the way. Your goal should be to have fun, learn and improve your creative skills. If you factor your budget, design goals, and available space into account, your model railroad will look as lovely as you hoped.