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The Many Scales of Model Railroading

By August 11, 2008

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I try to keep track of what others are posting on the web about model railroading. There are a number of respected modelers who have blogs or information sites about model railroading, and there's always more to learn in this field.

Last week I found a blog post about the "three scales of model railroading". This article extolled the joys of model railroading, and informed beginners that there are three scales to choose from: HO, N, and G scale. Now anyone who is even remotely familiar with the hobby probably knows that there are more than three scales in the hobby. And while HO is the largest selling scale in the world and that N scale is the second largest, G scale is not third and probably not even fourth.

I'm not writing this because of one blogger's inaccurate post. I'm writing this because, in the week since that article appeared I've seen copies and equally inaccurate revisions of it on no less than four other sites. I knew that plagiarism was a common practice on the web, but I didn't know how common. In the history of model railroading there have been many scales. In my article on scales and gauges I cover the ones that I know to be still manufactured and marketed today somewhere in the world.

If you're new to the hobby, I'm confident you'll find this article that I've written more accurate and informative than the "three scale" articles that are popping up here and there.


August 12, 2008 at 6:36 pm
(1) smarmoofus says:

Interesting… I only had a childhood interest in model railroading that fell by the wayside when I was about 11 (well, I never really outgrew my interest, but I didn’t pursue it, either), and even I know there are more than three scales. Whoever wrote that original article couldn’t have done much research at all. One visit to a hobby shop would’ve been enough.


August 13, 2008 at 9:36 am
(2) Lahle Wolfe says:

Wow, Randall. The 11 scales you talked about in the article click-through is a far cry from only 3! I hope people will bookmark your article for future (accurate) reference.

The Internet is a great place to find bad information. It is always a wonderful to find thorough and accurate information from someone who is an expert rather than a copycat. An added plus is that this site is actually manned by a live person who responds to questions in his forum.

Great site, and, great work!

August 14, 2008 at 9:28 am
(3) Kendra says:

I too am slowly becoming aware of the plagiarism on the web. Its disheartening. But I’m glad to see that you’re providing your readers accurate information. Keep it up!

February 8, 2009 at 10:19 pm
(4) Craig says:

Your list of scales is interesting, but incomplete. I suggest looking on the NMRA web site for the scales they recognize, just as a start.

In the big ranges, in addition to G (1:22.5), which incidentally is *not* an NMRA scale, there is F (1:20.3) and H (1:32). F and H both run on “1″ rail, but F is for 3′ gauge and H for standard gauge.

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