Beginner’s Guide to Model Train Scales

The first mass-market model train sets were created by the German company Marklin in 1891. By the 1950s, model trains were the most popular boy’s toy in Europe and the US. But do you know how popular the hobby remains?

If you are starting to collect, then you should know that not all trains are created equal. Read on as we give our guide on model train scales.

HO Scale

HO scale train layouts are one of the most popular, particularly in the US and Canada. They have a good size that is a 1:87 ratio. This means that it is 87 times smaller than its real-life counterpart.

As it is such a popular model size, there is an abundance of models and train types for it. From rolling stock to buildings, you can find everything you need to build your model set up. Parts are also easy to replace should anything go wrong.

O Scale

An O model train scale is double the size of HO models. This can be better if you have a lot more room to build your track. If you do not have excellent eyesight, it is also good for painting and repairs.

The scale comes in at a ratio of between 1:48 and 1:43. With this, you can easily switch between O and HO scales if you should wish. Being another popular gauge it is also quite easy to find parts, models, and scenery.

N Scale

Another popular choice, the N model train gauge is roughly half the size of a HO model. Being smaller allows for a small and detailed design. As you have more space, you can utilize a more realistic design for the railway’s scenery.

Unfortunately, fewer models and additional items are produced for this gauge. You may have to work hard to find pieces, craft them yourself, or restore older ones.

G Scale

The G scale refers to any model train size larger than O. These ratios can include everything from 1:32 going to large models like 1:12. They require a lot of space and are usually used for outdoor projects, in places such as parks and gardens.

Many serious hobbyists will use G scale trains, modifying their outdoor spaces to build a large, working track. There are lots of extra products available as a result, from figures to landscape items.

S and Z

These model train gauges are the rarest and seldom seen. S has a small scale of 1:64 and is rarely made anymore. The American Flyer brand is one of the few still in production.

Z scale is the smallest train you can buy. They are 220 times smaller than their real-life counterparts. Very often they will come packaged inside other objects to show just how tiny they are.

Choosing Model Train Scales

Now that you understand the model train scales the choice is up to you. Think about how much space you have to use your set. After this, consider if you want to be able to buy parts and accessories easily.

This article is one of many to help you in your leisure time. From travel to hobbies, we can help you enjoy your downtime in the coming year.


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