Hobby And Toys Choosing Between Different Scale Model Toy Trains

Choosing various commercial scale model toy trains and what makes them different.

Scale models are exact replicas of an original. The size is a proportional reduction for the whole model. So 1:36 would be for every 36 feet of the original, the model would be one foot. Scale applies to length, width, height and all parts of the original. It is completed to mirror the original in paint and decorations. Scale model trains come in six standard sizes. They are Z, N, HO, S, O and Garden.

The most popular scale size of model trains today is HO scale. It is a ratio of 1:87. This means a 50-foot freight car is a convenient seven inches. There are a large number of available trains and accessories in this scale making it very easy to find items. There are plenty of kits with track, trains and scenery for the beginner. Even more experienced modelers like this scale because it is large enough to be seen, but small enough that many extras can be packed on the layout.

The next most popular scale of model toy trains is called N scale. It has a ratio of 1:160. It was introduced in 1965. Therefore a 75-foot engine would be around 5 1/2 inches long. Even though it is small, it is popular with many modelers who do not have a lot of space for layouts.



The smallest of the scale model trains is Z scale. Its ratio is 1:220, making a 75-foot engine just four inches long. The Marklin Company introduced it in 1972. They are small enough that you can take them on vacation with you. In addition, they are less likely to take over all the spare room in the house. These trains are high quality and with a good selection of accessories, you can make a detailed layout.

Another popular scale is the O scale trains. They have a ratio of 1:48, making a 50-foot freight car around 12 1/2 inches. Lionel produced many model trains of this size in the 1940's and 1950's. S scale is a ratio of 1:64, but there is not a lot of interest in this scale in the United States.

Garden railways have gained a lot of popularity. They are about twice the size of O scale trains. These big trains take up a lot of room but are easy for children to handle. The colors are attractive with lots of fancy trimmings. When building a garden railroad, the large size means that it will be difficult to take apart and store, so research a design that will work best for the climate.

Parents play an important role in helping their children with buying a model railroad. Find a local dealer who is knowledge and friendly. The trains, no matter the scale, should run reliability and have good couplers.

Children tend to like fast trains and have eye-catching detail. The more action the better will keep a child's attention. Freight cars should have opening doors and freight that can be on- and off-loaded. Engines need lights, sounds and smoke. If you are worried about all the pieces working together, keep purchases to the same brand.

© High Speed Ventures 2011