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What is scale?

In model railroading, "scale" refers to the size relation of the model to the prototype. There are several scales of model railroads. The most common being O scale, HO scale, and N scale; O being the largest and N the smallest. HO scale is the most popular and the scale is 1:87. This means that one inch on the ruler equals 87 inches on the prototype. So, for example, if you have an object that is about 7 and a half feet long in real life, it would be about 1 inch long on your model railroad.

N Scale is 1:160. If you have been paying attention, you will understand that this means that an object that is about 13 feet long in real life will be about 1 inch long on your layout. I like HO scale the best but I, like many model railroaders, have to deal with lack of space for a large layout, so I have chosen N scale to do my modeling. N scale is about 1/2 the size of HO scale and so you can get a lot more N scale "modeling" in the same space than with HO scale.

HO scale (left) alongside a similar style N scale covered hopper (right) relative to a quarter.  As you can see, N scale is about 1/2 the size of HO scale.  What does this mean?  One can get nearly DOUBLE the amount of "stuff" in the same space when modeling N scale compared to HO scale modeling.

 

 

 

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