Updated on 17 October, 2021
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.