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Model Trains

model railroading

Model railroading is the most versatile hobby in the world. It incorporates multiple disciplines including history, engineering, carpentry, electrical wiring and circuitry, digital command control (DCC), sound and lighting, painting, airbrushing, using multiple types of material to create structures, terrain and scenery. The model railroader essentially becomes a jack of all trades as he works to create his dream layout.

How to choose a scale

Z Scale: by Marklin, even smaller than N Scale (1:220). This scale is great for coffee tables railroads, there once was available a working layout in a briefcase complete with scenery.

 N Scale Size

N Scale: smaller than HO scale - (1:160) or 1/160th the size of the prototype. Available from Atlas, Bachmann, Kato and Model Power. Also very popular because you can create a greater model railroad empire in a smaller space than with HO. If you like a lot of scenery with long trains curving around inside an interesting landscape, this is the model railroad scale for you.

 HO Scale Size

HO Scale: the most popular scale - (1:87) or 1/87th the size of the real thing. Available from Atlas, Bachmann, Mantau and Model Power. Not too big. Not too little. Fits on a 4x8 foot piece of plywood fairly well for a nice small layout. Also you'll find more supplies, equipment and accessories made for this model train scale than for any other.

 O Gauge Size

O & O27 Scale by Lionel. This is also 1:48 scale, but the difference is in the tighter curves. (O27 track sections will make a 27" circle compared to the standard O scale track sections which will form a 31" circle.) Also, O27 rail is a little shorter and thinner than standard O scale. Lionel is the primary, or at least the most famous, manufacturer of O27 these days - most, if not all, produced in the 3-rail version running on AC current. Lots of accessories are available with working parts.

 G Gauge Size

G scale: (1:22.5) commonly used for garden layouts, it's big and impressive. Available from LGB, Bachmann and Lionel. If you like working outdoors, doing real landscaping and gardening, this is the most likely model train scale you'll want to use.