Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
January 19, 2021, 03:40:13 AM
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Check out the photo gallery link above or >click here< to see photos of recently announced products!
+  Bachmann Message Board
|-+  Discussion Boards
| |-+  Large
| | |-+  Scales
« previous next »
Pages: 1 [2] Print
Author Topic: Scales  (Read 21223 times)

View Profile
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2013, 12:53:53 AM »

@Scot - 1/29 has been around far longer than that.  It was related to me (I wish I could remember by whom) that Aristo Craft chose that scale to be the same size as the pre-war 'standard gauge' tin plate trains. Also, if I remember the gauge of the standard gauge trains was like 2-1/8 or some such.

@GG1 - A little more clarification on the scale issue.  In the engineering circles, 1:22.5 is a standard European/ISO scale for engineering drawings.  Not so here in the states.  LGB models were generally speaking of European Narrow Gauge prototypes, European narrow gauge being 1 Meter.

As for scales on 45mm* track, there is another thread either here or on another fora that runs down the list.  I will repeat it here for convenience.  For all practical purposes -

1:32  45mm = 56.6929 - just slightly over the standard 56.5 in American modern mainline
1:29  45mm = 51.3779 - not really a railroad gauge that I am aware of, but accepted in the Large Scale circles, although for model conversion, exactly 3 time HO scale.
1:24  45mm = 42.5196 - a bit over 42in, which existed in the US and abroad.  US railroads were usually logging or mining operations.  African continent still runs 42in gauge I believe.
1:22.5  45mm = 1m gauge - standard European narrow gauge
1:20.32  45mm = 36.00 gauge - very common narrow gauge.  Denver and Rio Grande Western had hundreds of miles, others of note - East Tennessee and Western North Carolina (Tweetsie), East Broad Top.
1:13.5466  45mm = 24in gauge - most notably the Maine 'two footers', the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes.

*   I am not sure how to clarify the actual track gauge.  The G1MRA is not clear on the gauge, and for many years they were the definitive source for Gauge 1.  The G1MRA standards state track gauge as 45mm (1.772in), however in their Gauge One Scene page on their web site they state 1.75in (44.45mm)  To further muddy the waters, our favorite web authority, Wikipedia, mentions that the correct gauge for 1:32 would be 1.766in (44.84mm).  I have chose for my purposes to use 45mm.

Confusing?  You bet.  Now add that some manufacturers claim a particular scale, but I think their ruler is made of some kind of rubber.

FWIW  Bob C.
G gauge since 1972

View Profile
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2013, 06:37:52 AM »

Those photos that you posted for me back in February had some of the Hubley 1/20th vehicles on them.  Those are the one that I emailed you. I still haven't been able to successfully transfer pix from photobucket to this site.
In case anybody's interested, my 15" radius curves are still working fine.

Mesquite Short Line
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2013, 09:37:44 AM »

Armorsmith, that "presentation" of facts is very close to being the "system" of my dreams, especially in that it is very understandable. Got any pull in the NMRA? You also helped me figure my 1980's Lionel D&RGW is likely 1:20.32 scale( or rubber scale Cheesy)
 (I wore my old guys rule shirt early yesterday  Cool Then a shirt with an orange kitty and a big letter D  Wink Today I think a life is good shirt is in order Grin)

edit: addition of "1980s"
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 07:11:49 AM by GG1onFordsDTandI » Logged
Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947

View Profile
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2013, 10:06:44 AM »

Chuck, Forgot about that!  I will take another look. Bill

Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway-Missouri Western Railway
Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
Colorado RR Museum-Brakeman-Engineer-Motorman-Trainman
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
Kevin Strong

View Profile WWW
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2013, 11:06:05 AM »

A lot of the "pre-LGB-era" garden railroads I've seen in the magazines (all well before my time) were 2.5" gauge ("Gauge 3" or "scale II" depending on which land mass you're standing on). That scale has similar "issues" to large scale, as the track gauge is stated either as 2.5" or 64mm depending on whether you use imperial or metric, and the scale people use for the trains that run on it historically has ranged from 1:24 (simple for us Luddites who use feet and inches) to either 1:22.5 or 1:22.6 depending on which specific reference you're looking at.

In terms of naming the scales based on numbers, there was an effort put forth around 15 or so years ago to make that happen. It used "LS##" where the number signs were the specific scale of the trains. If I recall, they were also color-coded, so "LS20" would have a different banner color than "LS29." It never went anywhere. The overall sense I got was that by doing that, it fragmented the market. People would stop buying 1:29 cars and running them with their 1:22 locos, etc, and manufacturers at that time relied on that cross-pollination of scales to keep sales viable.

From what I've seen on people's railroads of late, I don't know things are any different today. That ability to run everything together is still a hallmark of many hobbyists involved in large scale railroading, and with the shrinking economy (thus shrinking pool of customers that follows), I don't know that manufacturers would willingly sign onto anything that would segment their market. Some--at a minimum--are marking the scale on the box and/or marketing literature.

The other problem we run into with any kind of distinct separation based on scales is that there are so many things that don't fall into those categories. Bachmann's "Li'l Big Hauler" line is strictly a toy line. Same with the Thomas stuff. Piko took a page out of Aristo's playbook, and builds their stuff so that the models are the same overall size as those offered by LGB, etc. The result is that their models range in scale. Many are close to 1:26, but it's not consistent. I've got one of their starter sets here, with an 0-6-0 (freelance, no scale), hopper (1:32) and caboose (1:24). Many scales in the same box!

When I worked with the NMRA on their current wheel and track standards, we purposefully stayed away from any attempt to categorize specific scales under the "Large Scale" umbrella since all are designed to work together on the same track. The only exceptions were "#1 scale" (1:32) and "F scale" (1:20.3) since the former had long been established as its own scale and the latter had some level of commercial support in terms of standard gauge "F scale" (1:20.3, 70.6mm gauge) in addition to Fn3 (1:20.3, 45mm gauge). (It helped that one of the guys working with us was a manufacturer making F standard gauge stuff.) But while these two scales are specifically broken out, the specific values for the standards are the same as the generic "Large Scale" standards. (If I recall, wheel tread width is the only place where we got more specific on each individual one.) As a result of that specific push to stay away from compartmentalizing the various scales we have in large scale, I don't see the NMRA looking to switch gears on that front. (Nor do I see them having an impact anyway--how many of Bachmann's offerings are advertised as "Fn3" as opposed to "1:20.3?" And the "F" designation has been around since shortly after the scale began to gain traction.)




View Profile WWW
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2013, 04:46:00 PM »

@Scot - 1/29 has been around far longer than that.  It was related to me (I wish I could remember by whom) that Aristo Craft chose that scale to be the same size as the pre-war 'standard gauge' tin plate trains. Also, if I remember the gauge of the standard gauge trains was like 2-1/8 or some such.

Thats part of the legend, but not the most important part of it.
The more important aspect was matching already existing LGB trains..

Aristocraft created 1/29 scale around 1988 to match already existing LGB trains in the USA.
They wanted to make an American Standard Gauge line of models, but the correct 1/32 scale would have resulted in models noticeably smaller than LGB rolling stock..So to match LGB in physical size, they made them larger, and 1/29 scale was born..

This way, people who already had a lot of LGB rolling stock (which was basically *everyone* before 1988, since LGB was pretty much all there was) could buy the new 1/29 scale trains and run them with their existing LGB trains, and have everything visually match..
The invention of 1/29 scale was a business decision, and a good one! Wink

From the horse mouth, Lewis Polk in 2007:

ďDear All,
Itís very simple. My father was a Lionel fanatic and
lived in Irvington, NJ, where Lionelís factory was.
He was a major distributor of their product and
loved Standard Gauge. Lionelís standard gauge
was1:29 and did not run on Gauge1 track,so it too
was out of scale for the track size.

My father, Nat, had sold LGB for many years too
and knew it was out of scale for U.S. sizes being
sized to meter gauge, not 3í. Therefore, like OO in
England he concluded that the track size was not
the most important thing in Large Scale and re-
quested 1/29. We made models in 1/32, 1/24 and
1/29, which was the one with the WOW! factor just
as Lionelís Standard Gauge was in itís time.
The fact that there was millions of miles of Gauge
1 track laid already meant that we needed to make
our trains run on Gauge1 tracks in order to become
commercially viable in Large Scale.The common factor
in Large Scale today is the we all run on Gauge 1
track in spite of many scale philosophies.

When we started there was only LGB and Kalama-
zoo and neither were in 1/32 scale or 1/20.3. We
made a commercial decision based on the WOW of
outdoor train size that had side benefits. It was3xís
HO, it matched LGB more or less and they had 99%
of the market at the time. It also matched Lionelís
Standard Gauge, so with a change of trucks [our
products] could run with Lionel Standard Gauge
Thatís it in a nutshell. 13 years later itís still working.
All the best,
Lewis PolkĒ


I have never heard of anyone putting new trucks on modern Aristocraft or USA trains 1/29 scale trains to match older Lionel trains..
although it has probably happened..
but the main focus was clearly matching LGB 1/22.5 scale trains..



View Profile WWW
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2013, 05:21:40 PM »

Im curious about Lewis' statement:
"Lionelís standard gauge was1:29 and did not run on Gauge1 track, so it too was out of scale for the track size."

Im not convinced that is true..the 1/29 scale part.
Lionel "standard gauge" trains ran on 2 and 1/8 inch gauge track,
then other manufacturers made trains to match, calling them "wide gauge"

Article about these trains:

The size of the trains themselves did not necessarily match the gauge of the track..
2.125" gauge track would scale to 1/26.6 scale, (or rounded up: 1/27) assuming US standard gauge.
but i dont think the trains themselves necessarily matched the track gauge..
Exact scale modeling was not a priority for tinplate trains..

I can find zero on-line references (apart from the quote from Lewis) where Lionel
standard gauge trains were ever referred to as 1/29 scale..
I dont think they were ever given a specific scale at all..they were simply called "Lionel Standard Gauge" trains..
(or "wide gauge trains" if made by other manufacturers..)

(note: the term "Standard Gauge" in relation to "Lionel Standard Gauge" has NO relation to "Standard Gauge" meaning
4 foot 8.5 inches! Wink They are two completely unrelated and different uses of the term "standard gauge")

So, I suspect that Lewis actually meant "Lionelís standard gauge was *close to* 1:29"..
And he was using that close relationship as another justification for creating his 1/29 scale line in 1988..

I have never seen any reference to 1/29 scale existing before 1988..
and I have never seen any reference to Lionel Standard Gauge being called 1/29 scale..
has anyone?

Here is a thread where the Lionel guys themselves are discussing it:

There is no clear consensus, even among people well-versed in Lionel..
It seems there is no specific scale to "Lionel Standard Gauge"..
Its essentially scale-less..
Its in a range roughly between 1/26 and 1/32, depending on the particular locomotives and cars in question.

So..getting back to 1/29 scale.
I still say that 1/29 scale itself, as a specific scale, did not exist before 1988, and it was invented by Aristocraft.

If anyone can dispute that, I would be interested to hear about it! Smiley



View Profile
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2013, 08:15:46 PM »

Lewis Polk:

. . . Thatís it in a nutshell. 13 years later itís still working.

And 6 years later Mr. Polk & Co. are out of business. Seems his idea of goofy gauge / scale combinations didn't work as well as he suggested.

Before a bunch of you jump on my comment, let me say that:

1. I DO NOT believe the scale / gauge combination Aristocraft chose was totally responsible for their demise, but it certainly didn't help. I have a reasonably large collection of LS trains, but not one piece from Aristocraft. In my case, it is largely because their scale / gauge ratio is incorrect and incompatible with my desire to have a model railroad rather than a collection of toy trains.

2. I absolutely defend anyone's right to run whatever scale / gauge combination they want.

The model train hobby has always tended to move from 'anything goes,' toward a recognition of scale / gauge and equipment combinations that are reasonably accurate. Equipment that is reasonably accurate in scale and gauge does not mean less sales to those who don't care, but it will increase sales to the scale modelers who do care.

Happy RRing,



Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
Boonville Light & Power Co. in 1:20 / 45mm
Navarro Engineering & Construction Co. in 1:20 / 32mm
NMRA Life Member #3370
Member: Bay Area Electric Railway Association
Member: Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources
Chuck N

View Profile
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2013, 08:45:15 PM »

From limited basis I agree with Scot.  For my first Christmas ( 1940, age 6 mo.) my parents got pre war Lionel, O-27 and "standard gauge" trains.  I played with them until about 1950 when dad and I started HO.

I remember that the passenger cars were way short compared to the locos.  In retrospect I would say LGBs scale choices to the extreme.  If it looked like a rr car that was OK. My guess is that
the only thing correct to the scale of the track was the trucks. 

I have been in this gauge since about 1980.  I still probably have more LGB than any other manufacturer even though I don't run it very often.

In addition to Bachmann Spectrum and others (1:20.3) I have and enjoy 1:22.5/24, and 1:29 trains.  I backed into 1:29 because of Aristo and USAt making "modern" cars that matched with my LGB.  For me it
is now 1:20.3 and 1:29.  I will not invest in another "G" gauge scale.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2013, 08:56:25 PM »

you could be right..but I doubt it.
It's also quite possible that if Aristo had chosen the correct 1/32 scale back in 1988, that their fledgling line would have quickly failed and died,
because the entire garden railroading hobby at that time had LGB, and no one would have wanted to buy new 1/32 scale cars
that were so small and out of place with their LGB cars..

It's possible that 1/29, and the fact that it is visually compatible with LGB, led directly to the *growth* of the hobby overall!
I own no LGB, 70% of my trains are Aristo and USA 1/29 scale, and 30% Bachmann..(just because I love the looks of the Spectrum Mogul and 2-8-0! they are gorgeous models that I had to have..but I dont consider myself an Fn3 scale modeler..only a 1/29 scale modeler.)

I personally highly doubt that 1/29 itself had anything to do with Aristo's eventual failure..
If anything, 1/29 led directly to its 25 years of great success in the hobby.
The economy is clearly the primary factor in Aristo's going out of business..
IMO, 1/29 scale has absolutely nothing to do with it at all..I think the past 25 years of growth in 1/29 scale prove that.

It's pretty clear that 1/29 scale has been very successful over the past 25 years, and im sure it will continue to be successful..
So much so that the Large Scale hobby has pretty much settled on only two scales, 1/29 for Standard Gauge,
and Fn3 for narrow gauge..sure, there are still other niche scales like 1/24 and 7/8n2 but none that are strongly commercially viable.
even the traditionally "1/32 scale only" manufacturers, like Accucraft, have begun to offer 1/29 scale products.
And even Bachmann is now offering 1/29 scale! Smiley
1/29 will live on..

Now if we could only get MTH to switch over to 1/29, all would be great! Smiley
MTH has some great products..I love their Baldwin VO1000, and they have the only good looking F-unit in the hobby.
But I wont buy them *because* they are 1/32 scale..they dont go with my 1/29 scale trains.
and im not going to model 1/32 *and* 1/29..I made my choice 10 years ago..1/29 wins.

« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 08:59:22 PM by scottychaos » Logged

Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947

View Profile
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2013, 09:43:22 AM »

Anybody have a photo of the MTH Baldwin VO1000 next to a USAT S4  or even better a picture of the MTH F unit next to a USAT F unit

Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway-Missouri Western Railway
Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
Colorado RR Museum-Brakeman-Engineer-Motorman-Trainman
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!

View Profile
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2013, 11:47:15 AM »

Just a gentle reminder that this is the Bachmann forum. A discussion of scale is fine - although I personally believe it to be an exercise in futlity in regard to Large Scale! I also understand that a discussion of scales in Large Scale leads to discussions of various manufacturers and why they do what they do. I would caution however that discussions of what other manufacturers should be doing with their respective product lines should be discussed on that manufacturers forum. I would also discourage discussions as to why some of these maunfacturers are no longer in business. Thank you.
Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947

View Profile
« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2013, 02:43:32 PM »


Sorry about my post involving other manufacturers I meant the last one simply to show the scale difference,  I am wondering if there is any truth to the rumor that Bachmann will be getting into 1:29 Scale??  I would love to see the value we now have in Large Scale with Bachmann products extend to 1:29 scale.  I know the market is limited and perhaps slow right now, but in the end I would like to see it happen!!

I do modify Bachmann products to run with more modern 1:29 scale products from another manufacturer.    Specifically the Bachmann 3bay hopper which I modernize  and also bash into two bay hoppers and the flat car which I modify and modernize into early trailer on flatcar flats.   Both of these Bachmann products work well with and look great with 1:29 products.


Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway-Missouri Western Railway
Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
Colorado RR Museum-Brakeman-Engineer-Motorman-Trainman
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!

View Profile
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2013, 10:18:57 AM »

My thanks for this discussion.  I'm fairly new to this whole doing it outdoors thing.  Well for that matter I'm new to model railroading in general.  I would appreciate it some of you with more experience/knowledge could help me out.  I'd really like a list of manufactures and the scales they use for their various lines.  With few exceptions I'm not seeing scales marked in ads, nor catalogs.  I know Bachmann Spectrum is 20.3 (Fn3), and I read above that LGB is 22.5, but what about everything else???  A chart would be wonderful.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2013, 06:48:44 PM »

this list is in desperate need of updating, I haven't touched it in several years, but it should get you started:

The Bachmann locos that are *not* 1/20.3 scale are mostly 1/22.5.
And most LGB is 1/22.5 scale, although many LGB locos are selectively compressed in some dimensions.

I really need to update that chart! Wink
maybe I will make a project of it for this winter..

« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 06:52:24 PM by scottychaos » Logged

Pages: 1 [2] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!