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Author Topic: All G scale  (Read 12656 times)
ironlake

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« on: July 16, 2012, 08:33:24 PM »

Is all or most G scale stuff 3 ft narrow  gauge oriented?
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Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 09:37:45 PM »

No, Narrow gauge is actually a small part of the hobby.  Other manufacturers make large quantities of standard gauge items.
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Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
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armorsmith


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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 09:49:33 PM »

Absolutely NOT!

The two largest 'G' scale suppliers are almost exclusively standard gauge.  Aristo Craft produces diesel and some steam standard gauge equipment in 1:29, and USA Trains produce diesel and steam in both 1:29 and 1:32.These are the two dominant manufacturers. Generally speaking the most available and widest variety of track is also produced by these two manufacturers. The third manufacturer making standard gauge stuff is MTH, in 1:32. If you want big steam they make a Big Boy and a Triplex.

If you watch eBay there is a plethora of defunct/bought out manufacturers legacy stuff running the 1:32, 1:29 and 1:24 scales available.  Depending on your eye, the 1:24 stuff can be interpreted as either standard gauge or narrow gauge.

Bob C.
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047678

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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 12:01:32 AM »

Armorsmith, You have hit on the single biggest problem with large scale model railways.  It is commonly known as 'G' scale, but that is a misnomer.

Every other scale uses a scale ratio and then sets the track gauge to differentiate standard or narrow gauge.

For example, 'O' scale (in the USA) is 1:48 (or one quarter inch scale)  (Ignore Lionel etc, I am talking two rail, accurate scale models)  If you run equipment on 32mm gauge track you have standard gauge.  If you run On30, you still measure a quarter inch to the foot for building, but the track is 16.5mm.  This equates to 30 inch or 2 foot, six inch.  On3 uses 19mm (i think - whatever the 3/4 inch equivalent is) and it accurately reflects three foot narrow gauge.  For most people this makes sense.

Garden railways typically use 45mm track for all large scales.  (The English use 32mm as well to represent narrower gauges)  The first mass manufacturer in 45mm track was LGB, and they chose to model one meter narrow gauge (39.37 inches) so the scale ratio is 1:22.5.

Early American narrow gauge modelers took the 45mm track and modeled in 1:24.  This is a great scale for building rolling stock or structures, as it is one half inch to the foot.  (Easy conversion.)  However it equates to 42 inch or 3 foot 6 inch.  Not a popular gauge in the States.

For 45mm track, standard gauge equipment would be 1:32, or 10mm equals one foot.  Popular in England in the early days of model railways and easy for building, using a metric ruler.

Bachmann began modelling narrow gauge in 1:24, but improved accuracy with the Spectrum range, which is 1:20.3, or 15mm to the foot.  This accurately reflects three foot gauge on 45mm.  [Bachmann took a lead here and should be congratulated for it.  Accuracy of scale/gauge is lacking elsewhere.]

The different scale/gauge combinations are set out below.  Measurements are relative to 45mm track gauge.

1:32 = 56.69 inches or 4 foot 8 and 5/8 inch.  (Just 1/8th inch over.)  I consider this too close for argument.

1:24 = 42.52 inches or 3 foot 6 and 1/2 inch (1/2 inch over)  Again, close enough.

1:22.5 = 39.86 inches or 1.0125 metres.  (12.5mm over, just under 1/2 inch) No argument.

1:20.3 = 35.965 or 1/32nd less than three feet.  Almost perfect.

Now we strike the problem!

1:29 = 51.378 inches or 4 foot 3 and 3/8 inches.  What railroad ran on 4 foot 3 and 3/8th?  It is basically 10% smaller than standard gauge 1:32
and 20 % bigger than 1:24.  It is a nothing scale/gauge combination.

If trying to model a particular railroad, you should shop for items which list a scale/gauge ratio which matches your prototype.  Quality manufacturers advertise this.  You will find that anything listed as 'G' scale is probably 1:29 or has no accurate prototype and is simply built to look similar to currently manufactured equipment.  I refuse to support these manufacturers.

Sorry this is so long.  Hope it helps.
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Kevin Strong


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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 03:13:43 AM »

A few corrections to the above:

Bachmann's "Big Hauler" line is 1:22.5, and many of their models are fairly accurately scaled, albeit with wheels 3" farther apart than the prototype. 

1:32 is 3/8" to the foot, which 100 years ago when the gauge was originally defined as 1 3/4" scaled out to 4' 8". This was later changed to the current 45mm. The Brits upsized that to 10mm/foot for simplicity in measurement, with the resulting scale ratio of 1:30.5.

And while LGB is theoretically 1:22.5, they play very fast and loose with that, building models of both standard and narrow gauge prototypes ranging in effective scale from 1:19 to 1:29 when compared to their full-size counterparts.

Quote
...It is commonly known as 'G' scale, but that is a misnomer.
It's not a misnomer--it's how we and other modelers (and more importantly retailers) refer to the collection of scales we run in the garden. It doesn't matter what it "used" to be defined as. Meanings evolve over time, and specific references take on generic meanings all the time.

Quote
...You will find that anything listed as 'G' scale is probably 1:29 or has no accurate prototype and is simply built to look similar to currently manufactured equipment. 
I can't agree with that. The manufacturers who don't state any particular scale for their product lines (or certain parts of it) produce largely 1:22.5 and 1:24 models. Aristo, USA Trains, and Accucraft--the big 1:29 manufacturers--are each very good about stating their particular scale on the packaging, and equally diligent when it comes to scale fidelity.

1:29 may have been an "invented" scale, but it follows an established tradition of choosing a physical size for the trains that may not be 100% accurate for the gauge for very specific reasons. It's actually slightly less of a scale/gauge discrepancy than what exists in OO scale compared to HO scale, which both run on 16.5mm track. In the case of OO scale, the size was chosen because motors were just a bit too large to fit in proper HO-scale models of the smaller British prototypes compared to their larger US counterparts. In the case of 1:29, it was because 1:32 had historically proven to be  visually too small to appeal to the US garden railway market. And let's not forget that in the US, "O scale" trains run on 5' gauge track, hence the "Proto 48" movement, which has actually been around pretty much from the beginning as well.

So, before we go describing a single scale as "a problem," let's remember to put things in a bit of perspective. It seems the above poster defines "problem" scales as any scale for which an accurate prototypical gauge doesn't/didn't historically exist. By his argument, 1:24 is a "legitimate" scale because there were historically 42" gauge railroads. Fair argument, except that none of the manufacturers making 1:24 models were building models of that 42" gauge equipment. They were building models of 3' gauge equipment, thus introducing a 6" gauge discrepancy--greater than that which exists in 1:29. Wouldn't that render 1:24 equally problematic?

The reality is that model railroading is full of "problem" scales, and virtually all of them are mainstream. I think we get to hung up in this hobby over the whole scale/gauge thing, and what we think is "accurate." Accuracy has nothing to do with where the rails are in proportion to the train. Accuracy in model railroading has to do with the overall premise; a cohesive theme, setting, purpose, etc. That's what sets railroads apart from others. Much of that cohesive theme lies in a particular attention to consistent scale, but that scale can be anything--it merely needs to be consistent. Build a railroad with a consistent scale, and the gauge becomes indistinguishable.

Later,

K
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047678

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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 06:16:30 AM »

The original poster asked whether G scale was standard gauge or narrow gauge.  Clearly, if referring to 1:29 'scale' the answer must be both.

1:29 models try to bridge a gap between standard and narrow gauge equipment.  This is a gap which should never be bridged.   If I want toy trains I would play with Brio or Lionel.  I thought the poster wanted some accurate information to actually model a true scale to gauge ratio, that is what I tried to offer.

I was looking for a forum for scale model railways.  I must be in the wrong place.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 06:18:21 AM by 047678 » Logged
armorsmith


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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2012, 07:55:26 AM »

047678

You might want to revisit the original question.  I simply provided information as to manufacturers that produce primarily standard gauge equipment that runs on 45mm track. (Thanks Kevin for adding Accucraft, I forgot them.)  Yes, I mentioned some scales as a reference point.

Kevin, by AristoCraft's own admission in an article posted on the old web site, the 1:29 scale was chosen by the company solely for the 'WOW' factor.  They wanted 'bigger is better'.  Since the web site has been revamped I am not sure this is still available.

It would not be difficult to overwhelm a new recruit to large scale with information trying to 'educate' himto all the history and pitfalls of large scale.  I have found it best to answer direct questions with small amounts of additional back up information as I did in my original post   Having come from the 'accurate' On3 scale where 1:48 rules I remember the difficulty I experienced getting my head wrapped around that which is 'Large Scale'.

Bob C.
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tac

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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2012, 09:00:25 AM »

1:29 = 51.378 inches or 4 foot 3 and 3/8 inches.  What railroad ran on 4 foot 3 and 3/8th?  It is basically 10% smaller than standard gauge 1:32
and 20 % bigger than 1:24. 

Sorry - a mistake has snuck in here - 1/29th is ten per cent BIGGER than 1/32nd, not smaller.

And for the record, very little ENGLISH narrow gauge is around the 2ft gauge you mention, but most Welsh narrow gauge hovers around the 2ft mark, usually half an inch or so on either side, for reasons best known to the builders.  It would be better if you had written British, rather than English.  The garden rail scale of 16mm to the foot [linear scale of 1/19th] is based mainly on the use of readily available 32mm gauge track.  See the website of the 16mm Society for more lucid explanations that mine.

Also, please note that although US 0 scale is 1/48th [easy to convert] at 1/4" to the foot, British 0 scale is 1/43rd or 7mm to the foot, and European 0 scale is 1/45th... 

tac
Ottawa Valley GRS
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Kevin Strong


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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2012, 01:19:58 PM »

Quote
...1:29 scale was chosen by the company solely for the 'WOW' factor. 
Absolutely, hence my "1:32 had historically proven to be too small..." comment. It wasn't for lack of effort by some early manufacturers, but it just never had that physical size of the larger stuff from LGB. That's the size that lit people's fires in this country, and anything physically smaller just wasn't going to catch the attention of the modeler. Even today, MTH has had a very difficult go of it with their 1:32 stuff. They're selling stuff, but it's largely because they're making iconic locomotives (Challenger, Triplex, etc.) not because there's a newfound push for scale accuracy in that camp. We're a hobby very much dominated by the "Wow" factor.

Quote
1:29 models try to bridge a gap between standard and narrow gauge equipment.
In terms of the above-mentioned "Wow" factor, sure. But it's no different from modeling a 3' gauge C-16 to 1:24, or a 2' gauge Austrian loco to 1:22.5. All the manufacturers have been guilty of fudging the scale/gauge ratio at one time or another in the interest of marketing. It's the nature of the beast. You can't single out 1:29 as being the red-headed stepchild. The whole family has red hair.

Quote
This is a gap which should never be bridged. If I want toy trains I would play with Brio or Lionel.
You wrote this in your first post:
Quote
"For example, 'O' scale (in the USA) is 1:48 (or one quarter inch scale)  (Ignore Lionel etc, I am talking two rail, accurate scale models)"
You're calling 1:48 models running on 32mm track "accurate scale models," even though they have a track gauge 4" too broad. How is that different from 1:29 models running on rails 4.5" too narrow? There are venues for absolute accuracy in all camps (1:32, Proto:48, and drawing from my OO scale example from earlier, HO scale.) But if your litmus test is O scale as a measure of scale accuracy relative to gauge, then by and large, pretty much everything in the large scale environment falls reasonably close to that mark.

Quote
I was looking for a forum for scale model railways.  I must be in the wrong place.
Well, if you insist on casting anyone who compromises on track gauge as one who should just as soon play with Brio, then yes you are. Many of us do care about things like accurate scale/gauge relationships in our own modeling (hence our support of Bachmann's 1:20.3 stuff) but that's where it stops. Whatever another modeler cares to do on his own railroad is fine with us--many of us even have equipment in those other scales which we'll readily bring with us to run there. We're pretty flexible here. We have to be; our trains get derailed by slugs and toads. You can't take yourself seriously when cleaning slug slime off of a locomotive.

Later,

K
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Hamish K

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« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2012, 07:20:10 PM »

LGB invented the term "G". They used to describe their products as IIm (you used to see this on their boxes) which is the standard european designation for 1:22.5 scale running on 45mm gauge track representing metre gauge. However "G" was used for marketing purposes and to cover the fact that not all LGB items were to 1:22.5 scale or of metre gauge  prototypes. Thus "G" has always been used for any scale running on 45mm track. "G" gauge would be more accurate than "G" scale. It would help if all manufacturers  clearly stated the scale of each item, then we could make up our own minds as to what we wished to use.

To return to the question, if the item is 1:29 or 1:32 scale it is almost certainly of a standard gauge prototype.  If it is American outline of 1:22.5 or 1:20.3 is will usually be of 3 foot gauge prototype, although Bachmann's Forney and Lynn are of 2 foot gauge prototypes. (Lynn ran in England, but was a typical American Baldwin locomotive) European models can be metre, 750 or 760mm (both close to 30 inches) or 60mm (just under 2 foot) gauge prototypes. 1:24 has been used both for 3 foot and standard gauge models.

Hamish
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JerryB

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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2012, 08:01:56 PM »

<snip>

1:20.3 = 35.965 or 1/32nd less than three feet.  Almost perfect.

<snip>

This is a very fine point, but the actual scale is 1:20.32. Dropping the .02 from 1:20.32 causes the (very small) error posted above.

On 45mm gauge model track, that works out to exactly 36" gauge. Not just "Almost perfect," but rather an exact scale / gauge factor!

Happy (Scale Model) RRing,

Jerry
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047678

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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2012, 01:51:50 AM »

Thank you Jerry.  I was quoting the scale the manufacturer quotes.  If you divide 15mm into one foot, or 304mm, you get 1:20.2666 recurring.
Either way, Bachmann Spectrum, at 15mm to the foot on 45 mm gauge track is probably as close to accurate as we are going to see in the large scales.

The point about HO versus OO is relevant, but it goes back to the difficulty of making small motors back when the scale/gauge was struck.  The point I made about 1:48 O scale was not that the gauge was exact, but that O scale narrow gauge uses narrower track, like the prototype, not larger rolling stock on the same track.

My original intention, which has been lost, was to give the original poster some information with which to start making his purchases.  If he wants an eclectic collection of shiny toys in the garden, that is his prerogative.   But if, like me, he wants to start a collection of appropriately sized models, which he can use to follow a prototype with some degree of accuracy, he now has some useful information.  Many newcomers to the hobby buy items they later regret purchasing when their knowledge base grows and they become more discerning.  I hoped to help him, or others, avoid that.

Current day modelers are in a position where we should not be limited by technology or knowledge.  There are publications encouraging people to become Master Model Railroaders and spread their experience, techniques and wisdom.  Why am I a pariah for pointing out things which can lead to more accurate modelling?

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Barry BBT

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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2012, 03:35:05 AM »

I'm having an issue with the largest manufacturer in the world, in our hobby.

First, ten years ago Bachmann celebrated ten years in the hobby and introduced the "Tenth Anniversary" ten wheeler loco.  This also represented sales of 1 million of that loco's predecessors.  Ten more years have past, which suggests to me an additional million locos have been added to their population..

I don't believe any other manufacturer can match those figures, I am confining this statement to large scale, but I don't really know about other scales.

Furthermore, Bachmann is owned by the largest toy manufacturer in the world.

Barry
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There are no dumb questions.
Old John


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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2012, 11:45:30 AM »

Has anyone noticed that Ironlake, the original questioner, has been absent from these conversations, I'll hazard a guess that his curiosity was satisfied  by the first two replies - just an observation....
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Kevin Strong


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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2012, 11:55:51 AM »

Quote
Why am I a pariah for pointing out things which can lead to more accurate modelling?
It's not what you're saying, it's how you're saying it--taking a very elitist tone. Case in point:
Quote
If he wants an eclectic collection of shiny toys in the garden, that is his prerogative.   But if, like me, he wants to start a collection of appropriately sized models, which he can use to follow a prototype with some degree of accuracy, he now has some useful information.

The tone of that statement ("appropriately sized models") implies that anything less than 1:20.3 or 1:32 is "a collection of shiny toys."

That's the nerve you're touching. Sure, there are lots of people in this hobby who just don't give a fig about scale and run a string of 1:20 stock cars behind their 1:32 Big Boy. (And good on 'em for doing so--they're enjoying the hobby as they want to.) But that's only one end of the spectrum. There's also an equally strong "scale model railroading" side to the hobby that is frequently ignored--high quality modeling done in all the scales, even if the track gauge isn't 100% accurate to the prototype. So what? We all have our reasons for choosing the compromises we do. My dad's 1:24 railroad is every bit based on prototype practice as my 1:20.3 railroad. Plenty of high-quality 1:29 modeling going on as well--models and railroads that would blow the doors off of any NMRA contest. Yet you would characterize these as "shiny toys" simply because the gauge is slightly off for the scale of the model? Sorry. 30+ years of hearing that tripe; I'm tired of it. It's about time the modeling community accept large scale for what it is, not what they'd like it to be.

Later,

K
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