G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
For many beginners to the hobby, there is confusion on the subject of scale and gauge. Scale refers to the ratio of 1 unit on the model to X units on the prototype. So 1:24 scale means that 1 inch on the model represents 24 inches on the prototype, thus the model is 1/24 the size of the prototype. Gauge refers to the width between the rails.

However, that is just a simple footnote. One thing I noticed is that there doesn't seem to exist an all encompassing list of the scales and gauges. I am in the process of making such a list and here is a pdf link to what I have so far: ** UPDATE: I have uploaded a new pdf that has three parts; part I having all the scales and gauges, part II has various narrow gauge scales, part III has the outdoor scales listed**

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9_...xELXM/edit



It is a pdf from Google docs.

On another forum, people are helping to add in additional scale/gauges which I have missed. So far, I have 82 scale and gauge combinations, 80 of which are on the pdf. I've included on my computer SM32 and 2mm scale. Since MLS has a larger following of large scale, riding scales, live steam, and more people: I was hoping for some additional scale/gauge combinations. So far, I have most everything between T scale at 3mm gauge all the way to 15inch gauge which is used as a miniature riding scale and as a private working railroad gauge. In other words, I've set the ceiling as 15 inch gauge since any gauge above that is typically used to haul materials, thus making it a legitimate railroad and not simply a model.

One member of the other forum brought up the question 'what will be accepted on the list.' Thus far, all the scales listed have a decent following, or were developed by a company and were at one time featured in a publication such as a magazine or book. However, I thought it would be wise to develop some basic requirements in order for a scale/gauge to be included in the list:

The scale/gauge combination in question must be able to meet at least two of the following:A. The scale/gauge combination is modeled by multiple modelers.B. At least one fully operational railroad must exist to demonstrate the abilities of the scale/gauge combination.C. The scale/gauge combination is supported by at least one club/organization of private modelers or an international organization such as the NMRA.D. The scale/gauge combination has commercial products available in either railway equipment, structures, vehicles, and/or figures.E. The scale/gauge combination has been recognized in a magazine, book, or other publication that is in print. This requirement excludes online publications with the exception of online magazines which have an editor, multiple writers, and advertising as seen in any other magazine.*Proof of the requirements, with the exception of requirement option E, can be through online or through print.*

For each scale/gauge combination I have the following: the recognized name of the scale/gauge combination, the gauge of the track in both millimeters and inches, the prototype gauge being represented, the length of a standard US 40 ft boxcar (using 40 feet instead of the true dimension of the car), the status the scale has in the modeling community, and one or two quick notes that are important about the scale. I have the list made with scale going from the smallest size, and the differing gauges within each scale also going from smallest to widest. I haven't had much luck with "wide gauge" combinations and I could use some help.
Again, two requirements must be met. The basic idea is to show that the scale/gauge combination is used by more than one person or has been shown to work on a layout. Plus, I think it is important that the scale/gauge be recognized publicly by either a group of individuals, a club or organization, or even a publication. In other words, some fantasy scale/gauge combo that has only been used once and never shown to be successful ether through a layout or through a publication is not a legitimate model train scale. If a scale passes at least two of the requirements above, it will be accepted without question.

So with that, I need help determining scales and gauges I may have missed and I need help correcting errors. I think the folks on MLS can help especially with the larger scales and gauges. However, any information would be appreciated.

Thank you!

--James
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,235 Posts
James:

It looks very nice, but I found parts of it a little confusing.

I think that it would be a little more more helpful if you grouped the various scales by increasing gauge of the track, for me that is the defining characteristic. Our multiple of "G" scales show up in different parts of the table, not one after another.

Since this is for beginners, rather just than saying "Standard Gauge", I suggest adding the actual width as in Standard Gauge (4' 8.5").

You might check with Scot (Scottychaos) to see if you can add his scale/gauge illustration to your PDF. It is the best example I know of to help explain our scale/gauge confusion.

Chuck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Chuck,

I was thinking about making another pdf, but using just the gauge instead of the scale to categorize every scale/gauge combo. Seeing as though it may be confusing to some, this is something I will have to do. Also, I see what you mean about the standard gauge being confusing, the next version of the pdf I'll be sure to relabel that as 4' 8.5" instead. I can certainly try to use Scotty's illustration if he gives permission to do so. Good tips, glad you brought them to my attention.

--James
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,235 Posts
Armor:

I just went to the site you recommended. James's table is much more informative, at least to me. They specifically list Fn3, but under LS it just says varied. None of the scales are mentioned: 1:22.5, 1:24, 1:29, 1:32, let alone mention what they represent.

Maybe I looked at the wrong section.

Chuck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
armorsmith,

Glad you brought up the NMRA standards and different scales.

While their list is comprehensive, it doesn't include everything. Looking online, the NMRA missed most Japanese and European scales as well as minimum gauge models like Gn15 and Gn18 and On18. I'm attempting to include every scale and every gauge combination that modelers have used with success and/or published their idea, making it available to the public through a printed resource.

The NMRA, though I find very helpful, tends to ignore scales that are not "normal" by their standards; and thus their list is limited to models primarily found within the US or UK and have a large commercial market backing each scale. Since the hobby is much broader than the NMRA, I feel a list that shows all the modeling scales and gauges would be more helpful to a beginner who is trying to chose what scale and gauge works best for their situation than a list of pdf's showing the basic scales typically used and several other pdfs full of wheel and track standards. Helpful to a modeler replicating a prototype, but not helpful to a modeler trying to find their niche.

But thank you for bringing up the NMRA standards because these scales are the most popular with the most ready to run models and kits.

--James
 

·
TDY to Earth
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
IF you actually look at the NMRA focus .. stated or otherwise.. it is North American prototype modeling in the primary scales/gauges.. standard gauge and 3 ft narrow gauge. Every overseas NMRA member I have ever met or corresponded with models NA prototype, especially the UK contingent... who have their own NMRA Region.

Other prototypes are included to provide for the appearance of a "broad church".

Just my humble opinion from NMRA Life Member #3070
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
That explains a lot, especially why NMRA never got around to developing standards for the 'other' scales and gauges. Never the less, I feel that ignoring the scales other than what is usually found in North America to be limiting.

I will say that not only does there appear to be a broad church, it IS a broad church; on the model and the prototype. There have been railroads on every continent except Antarctica, and in a variety of gauges. It's perfectly well and fine that an organization such as the NMRA is primarily focused on models within North America, but I feel that someone, somewhere should show that there is more to the hobby than North American standard gauge and 3 foot gauge.

I don't have a sour opinion of the NMRA, they have done great things for this hobby, but I also recognize their limitations.

Just my humble opinion from a "Rubber-gauge" life member.

--James
 

·
Senior Dish Washer
Joined
·
3,203 Posts
I can only hope that this list you are putting together will get posted as a sticky so it doesn't get lost in the never ending threads we keep posting. We really need a INFO section where stuff like this can be posted without the ability to leave comments, It then would be so easy to look through the different posts and see the info posted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I hope that this becomes a sticky as well. If it doesn't, I plan to continue updating the list anyways , and therefore this post won't be too buried.

--James
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
646 Posts
The scale vs gauge dilemma has been hashed out so many times I am wore out on it. WAY too many people equate scale and gauge as one. I can model in any scale I wish on 45mm track and the gauge in scale will be whatever the mathematical relationship between the scale ratio and the 45mm gauge works out to be. I look at this all encompassing table and question "Why do I care about all these dead, Japanese, European, New, etc scales?" There are scales vs gauges in that table that I have never heard of.
Chuck, I agree on the NMRA not being real clear regarding F and Fn3 scales, however I believe this falls back to the time frame when the NMRA considered large scale a toy and had not real interest in them. The manufacturers did their thing, and at this point the NMRA can standardize all they want, i doubt anyone is really listening.
If someone wants to do something really useful to large scalers, generate a table clarifying the large scale mud pie.
When I first got interested in model railroading back in the early '70s, I read an advertisement for the LGB that was being imported back then. I looked at the stuff and thought to myself ....45mm, what does the scale out to at 3' gauge? Lets see .... that's 1:20.3, not the 1:22.5 advertised on the box. I say this to demonstrate that scale and gauge are only related by the modeler making the model, not some standard. And speaking of standards, I found in the G1MRA standards two gauges referenced ... 45mm and 44.45mm. Which one is actually correct? Which one is the standard written for?
James, your table is a great effort and displays a great deal of information, but for a brand new modeler trying to understand the hobby I fear it will be far more confusing than clarifying. There are things there I had to look twice at. How may of the scale/gauge combinations published there can you provide documented standards for so someone can 'follow along'? Stating a scale/gauge is there and helping a modeler understand it and utilize it are two different worlds.
My tuppence worth
Bob C.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Bob,

The idea behind this list wasn't to give an all encompassing guide that is in depth enough to understand every scale and every gauge including their standards. Rather the table is to show the options a modeler has. You see a particular gauge or scale on the list, the next step is to go find information about that particular scale or gauge. So this initial pdf is an index, not a map or an encyclopedia. To provide details, standards and important information for every scale and gauge would take a full website, or several books. The second point for this table you made clear yourself. "There are scales vs gauges in that table that I have never heard of..." is exactly why the table exists. A new modeler may have heard of HO or N scale, but perhaps not 7/8ths or On3. In addition to that, I believe there is a good chance that a particular person would prefer a lesser known scale or gauge over a more mainstream scale or gauge. A modeler can't understand or use a scale they'e never heard of, but that doesn't mean the scale or gauge is of no use to the modeler.

Finally for standards, only a few of these scales have definite standards. As you said, someone can make up all the standards they want, and it means nothing to the manufacturers. Therefore are standards really that important beyond coupler compatibility, gauge, and a few other obvious dimensions? It may be just my opinion, but standards, beyond some really important and quite frankly practical ones, aren't important information to a beginner. After all, how many beginner's books to HO scale have page one being filled up with the NMRA standards for HO? None that I've seen. Instead, simple information which explains HO scale's size, gauge and pros/cons are usually in the first chapter, followed by an introduction to who makes that particular scale or gauge, track, trains, structures, layout building techniques, scenery, details. It isn't until hours of looking for extra information does a modeler really run across a list of standards for a particular scale, and even then to a beginner that information isn't as important as being able to use the equipment.

The one exception to this is in large scale, where very little is standardized. Therefore, couplers, trucks, wheels and even the scale of the equipment has to be made the same for a modeler's collection of large scale equipment in order for everything to operate smoothly and have some sort of compatibility. That is why, unlike the NMRA, the section of the pdf I've included separates the different scales generally used into their respective scales and the gauges which they represent. While the NMRA may think of large scale a simply a toy train scale, G scale has gotten more serious and more deserving of attention.

Despite all this, I must agree you make a valid and very useful point...

You are quite right, to a new modeler, this is simply a list, an index. Even an index has the page number listed for the item in question, and so that is the next step. As you pointed out, modelers need to have more information other than a few words and numbers representing each option. To this end, I have failed to produce such an encyclopedia of scales and gauges. Indeed to a new modeler who has yet to fully understand what 'scale' is and what 'gauge' is and why we name the scales using letters, numbers, or a combination of both, this list is not of much help, and so information will need to be included in the next update of this list which thoroughly explains scales, gauges, the names the difference between countries in names and standards, probably even the metric and English systems of measurement will need to be explained. In fact, it has taken me years to develop an understanding of all these topics, and I still don't fully understand it. New modelers need to have even more than a brief summary. If it is information that a new modeler wants, then I'll be happy to oblige. This pdf was supposed to be a simple project, documenting the bare information about each scale and gauge combination. A prototype essentially.

Now we have an index, now we need an encyclopedia.

I say then that perhaps a website, or a blog, will be the most help in giving information about each scale and each gauge so a modeler could use to make a decision on what is right for them. Perhaps this would better than a simple list?

--James
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top