Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Understanding Model Railway Scales

This comes up a lot so I thought I'd do a brief explanation of model railway scales, what they mean, and what scale they actually are!

First of all...scales...

What do they mean?

A scale is usually represented as a ratio e.g. 1:9 scale.

The left hand number represents 'real life' the right hand number represents 'model life'.

So basically what this means is that for one real horse, you would have nine model horses.

This means that the larger the number on the right the smaller the model.

So say you had a horse that was 162cm high (for the curious this is around 16hh).

The 1:9 scale model would be 18cm high.

The 1:12 scale model would be 13.5cm high

The 1:24 scale model would be 6.75cm high

The 1:32 scale model would be 5.0625cm high

The 1:64 scale model would be 2.53125cm high

So as you can see the larger the number on the right, the smaller the model horse.

So what about model railway scales?

Well these are the common scales:

G - 1:22
O - 1:43-1:48
OO - 1:76
HO - 1:84
N - 1:148 - 1:160

As you can see the scales aren't always consistent, they vary between different countries and manufacturers, sometimes quite considerably! Which can be quite problematic!

So how do our model horses fit in with this?

Well the most common small scale is Mini Whinnie which is 1:64 scale and therefore falls somewhere between O-OO.

Below shows a mini whinnie with an OO scale item:

And another:

As you can see Dog Food looks a little large!

But do not fret, you can often use your imagination and a bit of creativity to utilise items to fit in with 'our' scales. For example you can use trees such as the one shown as topiary in show jumping courses, or build up the hedges to double height for a more realistic finish.

As with all things model horse, it is all about creativity!