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The Best Model Train Scales of 2021

  Updated on 17 October, 2021

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Quality-Checked
Generated From 25K+ Reviews!
Bestseller No. 1
Walthers Trainline HO Scale Model Norfolk Southern Tank Car
  • Perfect for every HO railroad
  • Durable molded-on details
  • Realistic paint for good looks
  • Rp-25 metal wheels
Bestseller No. 2
N Scale Railroading: Getting Started in the Hobby, Second Edition (Model...
  • Martin McGuirk (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 11/02/2009 (Publication Date) - Kalmbach Publishing Company...
Bestseller No. 3
Complete Beginner's Guide To Model Trains
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Williamson, Albert (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 59 Pages - 01/20/2014 (Publication Date)
Bestseller No. 4
Gift For Model Train Enthusiasts | I Dream In O Scale
  • O Scale Model Train Gift
  • Distressed Model Train T-Shirt For Guys
  • Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem
Bestseller No. 5
P50 Model Trains Architectural 1:50 O Scale Painted Figures O Gauge Sitting and...
  • This tiny plastic people is very helpful props for model train Layout...
  • These model figures look very real.
  • Size:Approx. 35mm(H) or 1.38''(H),as the picture shows.
  • Scale:1:50,Suitable for O Scale.Material: Plasic.Color:Assorted...
Bestseller No. 6
Bachmann Trains - Santa Fe Flyer Ready To Run Electric Train Set - HO Scale...
  • Complete Ready To Run Freight Train Set
  • Powered by a EMD FT Diesel Locomotive with Operating Headlight
  • Includes; Open Quad Hopper Car, Gondola Car, and Off-Set Cupola...
  • 36" Circle of Snap-Fit E-Z Track, Power Pack and Speed Controller
Bestseller No. 7
Maintaining and Repairing Your Scale Model Trains (Model Railroader)
  • Volhard, Jim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 80 Pages - 05/01/1999 (Publication Date) - Kalmbach Pub Co (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 9
Trains and Railway Modelling in Germany: Modellbundesbahn - One of Germany's...
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Markus Lenz (Director)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)
Bestseller No. 10
Backyard Railways - G-Scale Model Trains in Action for Kids
  • A fun video for the entire family.
  • View model trains as passenger, engineer and track-side spectator.
  • Large indoor and outdoor layouts.
  • Bill Spicer (Director)

Read More About Model Train Scales

How Scales Keep Your Model Train Scenery Real

Model train scales are important accessories to any model railroader's railway layout. However, when choosing one it is important that you do not get too carried away with the first scale you lay your eyes on. Buying scales in the wrong size can be a big problem if you do not know what you are looking at. Below we offer some Model Train Scales buying advice that should help you make the right choice.

First of all, it is important to remember that the two different types of scale, Z and N, represent diameters of track between 0 and 400mm. Most model railroading scales have a particular number of scales in their range. For example, there are Z scale, N scale and HO scale. The HO scale is the largest, and the largest pieces of railroad trackages belong to this scale.

Next it is important to remember that model train scales can not be used as absolute measurements for size of scale, because the ratio between actual size and Z or N scale is not constant. The ratio changes depending on the actual dimensions you wish to represent. For instance, the ratio between actual size and Z scale is actually greater at lower scales than it is at higher ones. This means that you would need to choose the model train scales that you are most comfortable working with, and then work within that range.

In addition, many hobbyists prefer to use actual size to represent size of their layout pieces, because the relationship between the scales can become quite confusing. If the Z scale is divided by ten, then the ratio between actual size and scale Z is one. However, if the Z scale is divided by forty, then the ratio between actual size and scale Z is one plus one, which is actually a greater ratio than one to forty-one.

Choosing the ideal set of model train scales is an important aspect of becoming a more successful hobbyist. The most popular model train scales are based on scales manufactured by Deltamond, N scale, Bachmann, and Atlas. These manufacturers make scales for both passenger and freight scale.

To determine the ideal Z scale for your layout, simply find the Ideal Z Scale in the model train scales list provided by your model railroad club. This is the most accurate representation of the ideal Z scale, as it is widely regarded as the ideal Z scale. Your ideal Z scale will be one with a ratio that is a multiple of one hundred and thirty. For instance, if you found your Z scale list displayed at ten, you would then multiply the size you wish to build your layout by ten, to arrive at the ideal Z scale. Some of the scales used for trains with these ideal ratios are the Bachmann, Atlas, and N scale.

The actual sizes of these models vary greatly depending on the manufacturer and model type. Bachmann trains generally measure from twenty-six inches to thirty-eight inches, while the N scale trains range between twenty-four to thirty-six inches. Freight scales, which are generally preferred for passenger trains, come in a variety of sizes from one inch to seven inches. Lastly, the gauge, or size of the track, will influence the size of your layout, since the wider the gauge, the larger the trains can safely travel on the track. Many people use gauge markers to keep track of their layouts.

You should choose a scale that is based on an ideal ratio, and follows it closely, such as one:thirty. This is the ideal ratio used by manufacturer's to create these scales, and will give you an idea of how the actual size of your model railroads will be. Scales can help you create a realistic looking railroad layout, but unless you buy a railroad that is the right scale for your layout, the tracks you create will not look as real as they should. Always consult the manufacturers specifications to determine what scale your model train should be.