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Can someone take the time to post  pics showing the differences between the various G scale manufacturers. If somone is able to and has different make models in their possesion such as an LGB and/or Bach boxcar compaired to a USA and/or Aristo Boxcar, or other types.  MTH, Accucraft, New Bright , MDC, Rea, Marklin...ect. This could be a good knowledge for someone like myself who doesnt have first hand knowledge of the different manufacturers and thier size/ scale.  When looking for used models online not knowing how their different sizes compare makes mixing and matching manufacturers tough. And add any details you think would help in purchasing to match up scales.
thank you
 

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It's not quite so clear-cut. A narrow gauge 28' box car done to 1:22.5 can be (and often is) roughly the same size as a 40' box car in 1:29. (That's ostensibly why Aristo-Craft chose 1:29 as their scale--so their cars looked good with LGB's and the like.) In some cases, a model can actually represent a prototype car in a handful of scales. Also, when you have manufacturers like LGB who "fudge" the proportions of a model so it fits the rest of their product line, it's virtually impossible to give it any scale, suffice to say it "more or less" fits in with the rest of their product line.

It's far easier to pick a genre of railroading you like, chose an era, and then tailor your choices to match.

A thumbnail of the major players:

Aristo-Craft: Mostly 1:29 models of standard gauge prototypes. Notable exceptions: "Aristo-Craft Classics" line, 1:24; their brass speeders and railcars, of varying scales.

Bachmann: "Spectrum" series models are 1:20 (3' gauge prototypes). "Standard" or "Big Hauler" product line is 1:22.5, also of narrow gauge prototypes. This product line is size-wise compatible with LGB, Ariso, etc. The "Spectrum" product line is noticeably larger.

LGB: Scales vary based on model. The LGB "program" dictates that all models are roughly the same size so they look good in a train, regardless of prototype, era, etc. When they started out, they had a stated scale of 1:22.5, which is what prompted Bachmann to use that as their stated scale. Aristo, as stated above, chose their scale so their standard gauge prototypes would be visually compatible with LGB's trains.

USA Trains: Mostly 1:29 standard gauge prototypes. Some models (their wood refrigerator cars, wood box cars, and some others) are stated to be 1:24, though are--in reality--almost carbon copies of LGB's cars. Again, they visually play well with the rest of the product line.

Hartland: Stated to be 1:24, but--like LGB--tend to be a bit fast and loose in that regard so that they "look good" with other brands.

Accucraft: Depends on model. All offerings are accurately scaled to their stated scale, though Accucraft makes (or has made) models in 1:32, 1:29, 1:24, and 1:20.3.

AMS (division of Accucraft): 1:20.3 models of 3' narrow gauge equipment. Similar in size with Bachmann's "Spectrum" series; noticeably larger than other brands and scales.

AML (division of Accucraft): 1:29 models of standard gauge prototypes. Compatible with Aristo-Craft and USA's models of the same scale.

MTH: 1:32 models of standard gauge prototypes. The "proper" and historic scale for standard gauge trains running on 45mm track. The trains are noticeably smaller than their 1:29 cousins. Some say the difference is negligible, though it's a 10% difference in size.

Based on your moniker, avatar, etc., I'd bet that you're a fan of standard gauge trains, probably the 60s/70s era, possibly later. In that case, I'd stick with USA and Aristo-Craft's line of 1:29 trains. They both offer models that fit that era very well. Some of LGB's standard gauge models may work, though they could be a touch on the large side.

Later,

K
 

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Discussion Starter #3
K, very "what i was looking for", and much more information than i expected to get. good post for future modelers too.I appreciate that and am glad you added the part about what i may be interested in mostly due to my avatar. Yes my goal is to build a train on a budget and buy some used models that macth my USA stuff. I figured the USA and Aristo stuff was going to be similar not ever seeing any aristo in person though. But i have come across alot of LGB and Bach stuff on ebay. i new they are a larger size but wasnt sure how much. the differences in size is a big deal to me and do not want a train of cars rolling down he track then one that has a roof sticking up an 1" highet than the rest of similar cars because i never asked what the difference is.

anyone else care to add a pic of what you may have.
 

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Cheepy,
After noting some of your statements in your post, I believe you would be wise to check some of the mail order hobby shops rather than EvilBay until you have a better handle on prices, as alot of Evilbay sales are higher than the stores IMHO.

Dave
 

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I wouldn't suggest keeping the same size on everything, Just take a look at the trains going buy in life they are diffrent length's and height's, But Not width. If you are going for the realistic look.
 

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Jason,

There has been some excellent info and advice given already.  

On my website under the GRR misc section, there are some pics of the MTH Dash-8 (1:32) and it also includes pics of MTH 1:32 and other mfg 1:29 rolling stock together.  

I will say that for the most part 1:32 and 1:29 don't really mix well.  1:32 rolling stock with 1:29 engines would probably have the best shot at looking right.  So if you want to run engines of both scales you are almost forced to have two different sets of rolling stock.  However, depending on your taste, I really like the idea of using the Bachmann 1:22(I think it is) scale coal hoppers with both my 1:32 and 1:29 engines.  Perfect intermediate size to me, inexpensive and already have metal wheels.  They also have box cars etc, but it depends on your taste and what you are looking for in detail.  

Raymond
 

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I agree with Jason on the size of all sorts of hoppers, freight, coal, and other cars used to haul goods. I live near Chattanooga where they have a huge yard close to the middle of town, and there are so many sizes of the different types you would have a hard time putting together a consist of same size cars. There is a Burger King we eat at from time to time, close to some tracks that parallel US 27, and you would be amazed at the many sizes of cars that go by in a consist. About the only one that seems to have the same size cars are the car rack consists. 
 

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Ah, but in the "real world" while the cars are all different SIZES, they are all to 1:1 scale and LIMTED in size by the same loading gauge (Plate B, Plate C, etc).

And the counter of this, even if to the same lodading gauge A 1:22.5 narrow gauge loco pulling 1:29 standard gauge cars looks silly, markings are different, ladder/grab spacing is off, style of car does not match, etc.

If your models are 1:29, run stuff sold as 1:29 with it and it will be fine. If 1:20.3, then 1:20.3, if....
 

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I'm a beginner to this hobby. I once saw a post where it was pointed out that the difference between 1:29 and 1:32 was most visible where the cars had a lot of volume--i.e. boxcars--than where the cars had less--i.e., flatcars. This is exactly right--I have a couple 1:29 steam engines and a motley assortment of rolling stock, including two MTH cars. The MTH reefer is noticably too small in a train with Aristo 1:29 boxcars. But I have an MTH flatcar which looks great and works perfectly, although someone wit a sharp eye for scale would see it as wrong right away.

But to complicate things, I also have a bunch of 1:24/1:22 narrow gauge stock which looks reasonable with the 1:29 engine. The 1:24 cars are also noticeably smaller than the 1:29 cars, but less so. The MTH reefer looks ok matched with just 1:24 cars, but it's still smaller. I would run it in a 1:24 train but you'd notice the size difference especially if you looked at the detail parts

To complicate things, as far as I can tell manufacturers are often kind of casual about scale. I have an LGB boxcar that's some scale all its own. I have two USA trains boxcars that are some scale I can't quite identify. There's a Bachmann tank car that looks good to me--a 1:29 tank car would be really big, maybe too big.

If you want a modern prototypical look, with lots of identical cars, stick with one scale, but if you want to run a mixed train in my limited experience it's possible to pick cars based on the look rather than strictly scale length. When I set up a train I often try to ease the transition between cars to make the size difference less apparent--I run all the 1:29 stuff together, then use a gondola and a flatcar as visual transitions to the smaller 1:24 stuff. I'm thinking of buying some MTH passenger cars, even though they're 1:32 AND small for 1:32, because I'm concerned that the Aristo passenger cars are just too long to store and run well, and I think visually the smaller size cars might look charming to people who aren't looking for accuracy

People are delighted by a train running around, even if the scales don't match.

It's a miserable day here--sleet and freezing rain and the kids are home from school. Maybe I'll be able to take some pictures
 

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Ok, here are some size comparisons, but they aren't as useful as they should be because they aren't comparisons of the same prototype. For what it's worth

The reference here is an AML 40 ft boxcar (on the left) and an aristocraft 40 ft. boxcar (on the right)

first, an MTH reefer car--really small

Then an MTH flatcar

Then an LGB Boxcar (repainted--it was originally green and said "Big Train Operator." I inherited it and don't know where it came from)
 

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Now a Bachmann "Big Hauler" boxcar


And a USA Trains boxcar--an older boxcar--I think their new stuff is all in 1:29?


That's all I've got time to do now. As I say, I think you can get away with mixing this stuff more easily is you pay attentipn to how the train is made up. I usally go from 1:29 boxcars to a 1:29 hopper to a 1:29 gondola to a flatcar, and then run all the 1:32 and 1:24 stuff at the end of the train
 

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I will start by repeating the old adage ... it is your railroad so run whatever turns your crank ...

But the question was asked ... what looks good together. Clearly size has tremendous influence and as has been pointed out, the different scales often produce models that do not size well together.

There are other issues as well that were not mentioned. Truss rodded cars were virtually non existant in standard guage interchange service by the early 1920s and were outlawed in interchange service in the mid 30s. Placing those B'mann truss rodded cars in a consist with steel cars just looks plain wrong to my eyes ...

A similar point can be made for cars with vertical brake staffs and brakewheels above the roof walk. These were gone by the early 30s ... archbar trucks disappeared and then were outlawed in interchange service in the 30s. Again those narrow gauge cars (even if the same size as the 1:29 sg cars) just do not fit in well with the steel cars commonly seen

In the diesel era, roof walks disappeared from cars in the 60s and the brakewheels were lowered on the car ends ... those transition era cars do not play well with the more modern cars.

If some degree of prototypical accuracy matters to you, the best bet is to stick to the same scale and the same era. Doing a little research on prototypical practices for the era you find interesting does help as does a bit of research using the suppliers ads in GR magazine.

Regards ... Doug
 

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It's true that the more you know the more you see that's wrong. Before I got interested in gerdening, they were all just "plants." Now I can see all sorts of differences and placements that are wrong and won't work.
I started out with a bunch of mismatched stuff I inherited, and I assume over time I'll get it down to where it all matches. But for the most part, the only person who notices will be me!
 

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More great info and photos have been provided. 

Jason,

Sorry, I guess I should have specified that I meant, generally speaking, one scale engine does not mix well with another scale car.   My comments are, if you buy 1:29 scale box cars you probably won't be happy with pulling them with a 1:32 scale engine and vice versa.  See the photos on my website as I indicated.   If you are talking about trying to mix different rolling stock within the same train that's fine and you may be happy with that.   My only point was that there can be a drastic difference between the engine and car sizes to the point where you might generally not find it acceptable.  (i.e. the MTH pulling the 1:29 box car.) 


Raymond
 

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I was initialy drawn to Bachmann 1:22.5 due to its general  availability and low price over here.  I avoided  LGB  because of its price.   I then discovered Aristo-Craft.

I have been very tempted on occasions to buy other manuacturers stock either because they had a loco or car that I liked or because it was at a reduced price.

Luckily I wasn't led astray :rolleyes: and so I just have the two makes,  which I do not mix and run on separate occasions.     
I have four Bachmann consists, J&S cars (6),oil (5), coal (6) and boxcar/reefer (5) and I can also mix'n match the stock. 
I run a mix of the Aristo stock - having fourteen items of r/stock on the roster all 1:29.  I do not have any Delton stock.
As Bachmann seem to be going 1:20.3 I will not  expand that range but will add to the Aristo range as time goes by.
 

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Posted By lownote on 02/22/2008 9:22 AM
It's true that the more you know the more you see that's wrong. Before I got interested in gerdening, they were all just "plants." Now I can see all sorts of differences and placements that are wrong and won't work.
I started out with a bunch of mismatched stuff I inherited, and I assume over time I'll get it down to where it all matches. But for the most part, the only person who notices will be me!


I agree that the more I get into this, the more I see inaccuracies.  I also find that I am more and more limited in what I can purchase to dispel the feelings of loss of realism about my RR.

When I started, I just wanted steam... REAL STEAM, not electric simulation.

Then I needed a consist to supply some resistance to make the engine "sound-off" a bit.  My engine was 1:32 scale and the only rolling stock I could get (locally) that was close to the correct scale was a 1:29 scale boxcar and it just looked terrible directly behind the loco.  I then found some MDC cars that were supposed to be 1:32 scale and they look pretty good (after I put some "O-gauge" couplers on them).  (I also found that if I added that 1:29 boxcar to the end of the train it didn't look so bad.)

At that time I didn't have an era in mind of what I wanted to model so the styles of the cars did not affect how I felt about it.  Then I began to want to pay attention to that and needed to select an upper limit year to model.  I have not really settled on what that year is and now I find I may need to set a lower limit year due to the outlawing of certain features on rolling stock.

Track-side decoration can have a lower, lower limit year because there would be less law governing what one would see; i.e.: a horse drawn wagon would be perfectly acceptable for any era up into the 1950's (I remember a horse drawn wagon in the 1950's that went up and down the alleys in my neighborhood with the driver calling "Old rags and junk!" periodically and people giving him used clothing and broken appliances!), but a boxcar with a vertical brake-wheel staff would not be valid after the 1930's.

Granted, it is good advice to run what you want to run, but getting what I want to run gets more and more difficult as my eye for what appeals to me sharpens.

Our complaining about scale and  gauge disparity, even if only in our own eye, is a good thing, because if we don't express what would cause us to part with our hobby dollar, then the manufacturers would not know what to offer and the range of selections would be much more limited.

To that end... I want more 1:32 scale rolling stock that would have been common in the late 1940's to mid 1950's.  I have plenty of boxcars and coal cars, but would like some tank cars, flat cars and gondolas.  Steam went away by 1960 and I was born in 1946 so a few years after that is what I remember, so my lower limit is 1949 and I think I want to set my upper limit to 1955 or so.

ALSO, to ease my research turmoil, not only do I now want the manufactures to list the scale (as a numeric ratio [i.e.: "1:32"], NOT a letter [i.e.: "G"]) on the box (AND HEY! retailers!!! "in advertisements", too!), but I would like them to list the era for which the the rolling stock would be valid.  Those garden RR'er's that don't care, do not have to read the box; those that DO care, will be more at ease dumping their dollars in your direction.
 

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The other confusing thing, to me, about "G Scale" has been the fact that the LARGER scales--1:22, 1:24--result in SMALLER cars for no clear reason other than market inertia. 1:22 and 1:24 seem to almost universally be confined to narrow gauge prototypes. So the Bachmann boxcar in the photo above is both bigger--in its details--and smaller, in that it's narrow gauge.  It's odd--has anyone ever made a 1:22 Pacifc? Why is 1:22 always narrow guage? Because a mainline model would just be too big? How about a 1:20:3 Mallet--that'd be something to see..

For a newbie it's very confusing to discover that figures which fit my LGB mogul are way too big for my Aristo Mikado, althought the aristo mikado was vastly bigger in real life, but then the mogul was narrow gauge, but wait, it's modeled in 1:24

I think I've got this down, but when I tried to explain this to my wife when she asked why the same figures don't work with every trains, her eyes glazed over...
 

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Lownote

The reason that 1:20.3 and 1:22.5 are ng is because ... the track gauge set at 45 mm represents 3 foot ng in 1:20.3, metre gauge (Euro ng) in 1:22.5 and 42 inch (Cape Guage) in 1:24. SG in F scale (1:20.3) does exist commercially but it requires a gauge if just over 70 mm.

Regards ... Doug
 
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