All Scale Modelers
What do all these scales mean? In a nutshell, scale refers to how much smaller than the real thing the model is. For example in 1:72 scale, a popular airplane scale, it means that the model is 72 times smaller than a full size airplane. In 1:22.5, LGB scale, it means that the train or figure on your layout is 22.5 times smaller than a full size train or figure.
At the other end of the scale world is when a model is referred to as, say 5:1. In this case the model is five times larger than the real thing. You will usually find this when looking at larger than life models of insects or microscopic things.
Scales can be listed as 1:X, 1/X, or A = Y. For example: 1:12, 1/12, 1 inch = 1 foot. Where X equals the model's size. Plus where A equals inches or feet and Y equals inches or feet. Note all this is equivalent in metric.
Railroad Scale Modelers
Where problems come up for railroad modelers is when scale and gauge are used interchangeably. This creates a nightmare, especially for new people. The “G gauge – scale” has the worst problem
Gauge refers to, and only refers to, the inside distance between the two rails of the track. Even though in real world measurement the inside measurement of “G” track is 45mm, when measured in different scales, the gauge is different! The same real world 45mm in 1:13.7 equals 24 inches; in 1:22.5 (LGB Scale) it is 39.37 inches or one meter. In 1:20.3 it measures out to 36 inches. And in 1:32 it measures out to 4 ft 8.5 in.
To keep your layout accurate, always use scale. Of course the right Scale Card and Scale Rule will always help.
Any questions? Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org, use “About Scale” as your subject line.