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|Model gauge||45 mm (1.772 in)|
|Prototype gauge||1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge|
G scale was introduced by Ernst Paul Lehmann Patentwerk under the brand name LGB and was intended for indoor and outdoor use. Lehman Patentwerk, founded in 1881, started producing LGB in 1968. The remains of the company were bought by Märklin and production of certain items continues.
The G name comes from the German word groß meaning "big". More recently some people have come to interpret it as standing for garden scale.
'G Scale' versus 'G Gauge'
G gauge track has a spacing of 45mm between the railheads (tracks) (c.f. 44.45mm for 1 gauge and 53.975mm for wide gauge), but that does not determine the scale to which the models are built because, to maintain a constant track width when real-life counterparts have a variety of railroad gauges, the scale has to vary. The most common full scale practice using a spacing of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge, whereas some narrow-gauge railways (serving mines, etc.) have rails only 3 ft (914 mm) apart. Although often built with standard-sized doors, a narrow-gauge train is in most other respects smaller than its standard-gauge cousin: its cars are generally narrower and shorter, allowing them to navigate often more sharply curved and lighter built tracks.
Model trains are built to represent a real train of standard or narrow gauge. For example HO scale (3.5 mm to 1 foot) (and also, although inaccurately, Double-O/OO at 4 mm to 1 foot) models all use 16.5 mm gauge track to represent standard gauge trains while a narrower-gauge track such as 9 mm N gauge is used to represent real narrow gauge.
G model-railways depart from this and always use the same gauge with the trains instead built in different sizes depending on whether they are intended to represent standard-gauge or narrow-gauge trains. Because of this it might be more correct to speak of "G Gauge" rather than "G scale" since the consistent aspect is the gauge, 45 mm (1.772 in), but the term "G scale" (or 'Scale IIm') is used when 1:22.5 is used (see below).
The 45 mm gauge originated from '1 gauge' or 'Gauge One' which was first used in Europe and England and used to model standard gauge trains in the scale of 1:32.
LGB were first to adopt the term 'G Scale' and used the gauge of 45 mm (1.772 in) to model 1,000mm gauge European trains in 1:22.5 scale.
Below are some typical scales with more specific terms that all run on G Gauge's 45 mm gauge track:
- 'Gauge One' scaled at 1:32 (3/8" to the foot) used to model standard gauge trains of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge gauge.
- 'A' scale. Uncommon term for 1:29 scale first used by AristCraft for modeling standard gauge prototypes on 45mm track. Incorrect scale/gauge but proportionally a similar size to other popular brands of the time.
- 'G' scale 1:22.5 used to model European trains that run on 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge track. This scale-gauge combination is called 'Scale IIm' according to NEM 010. 'G' term comes from the German word groß meaning "big".
- 'H' scale (Half inch) 1/2" to the foot scale. 1:24 used to model 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge or 'Cape gauge.' Incorrect scale used for 3 ft (914 mm) gauge track.
- 'F' scale (Fifteen) 15mm to the foot scale. 1:20.32 Correct scale/gauge typically used to model North American narrow gauge trains on 3 ft (914 mm) gauge track.
- 'Seven Eighths' 7/8" to the foot scale. 1:13.7 used to model trains on 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge track.
- '16mm scale' 16mm to the foot scale. 1:19.05 Originally intended for modelling 2 ft gauge prototype railways on 32mm track (SM32). The models are often re-gaugable to also run on 45mm track. This scale has also been used to model 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge prototype trains.
Global Manufacturers and their scale product sizes
Locomotives and rolling stock only
- Accucraft has five scales – Fn3 is 1:20.3, Gauge 1 is 1:32, their ½-inch scale is 1:24. They also build 1:29 scale North American models in live steam and electric under the AML brand, as well as British live steam and electric models in 1:19 scale [also called 16mm] and Isle of Man live steam and electric models in 1:20.3 scale - the Isle of Man uses three-foot gauge track, the same width as the dominant US Colorado narrow gauge.
- American Model Builders is 1:24
- Aristo-Craft (REA) made two scales during its run: 1:29 and the “Classic” series, 1:24 (some models were closer to 1:32 scale), before going out of business during the great recession.
- Aster (C&S Mogul) is 1:32, 1:30 for Japanese prototypes and 1:22.5 for European and Japanese narrow gauge.
- Bachmann's "Big Haulers" series is to 1:22.5, while their "Spectrum" Series is to 1:20.3 scale and their train streetcars is 1:29
- Buddy "L" (Keystone) (modern) is 1:22.5 scale (almost identical to Bachmann, except cab is taller), older (legacy) equipment runs on rails spaced 3-1/4 inches from the pre WWII era.
- Chicago Train Works is 1:32
- Chucks Custom Cars is 1:22.5
- D.A.N. is 1:22.5
- Delton/Caledonia Express is 1:24
- Eastern Railways is 1:32
- GHB is 1:32
- Great Trains/American Standard is 1:32
- Hartford Products (except SP boxcar and stock car) is 1:22.5 (SP boxcar and stock car) is 1:24
- Hartland Locomotive Works products are engineered to fit with 1:24 scale Narrow Gauge equipment and 1:29 Standard Gauge equipment.
- Kalamazoo is 1:24
- Keystone is 1:22.5
- LGB is 1:22.5
- Lionel is 1:32
- Little Railways is 1:20
- Mainline America is 1:32
- Märklin "MAXI" is 1:32
- Model Die Casting (except caboose) is 1:32, (caboose only) is 1:24
- MTH Rail-King is 1:32
- Northern Fine Scale Stock in 10mm scale British only freight stock in kit form
- Precision Scale is 1:32, (narrow gauge only) is 1:24
- PIKO is 1:29 for the American cars, the wood-sided passenger cars 1:22.5
- Roberts Lines (Zephyr) is 1:32
- USA Trains “Ultimate” Series is 1:29, “American” Series is 1:24
- Wrightway Rolling Stock 1:32 and 10 mm scale custom built British North American and European passenger stock. [Ontario, Canada]
LGB and numerous other manufacturers [Train-Li, PIKO, Peco] produce track made of brass which can remain outside in all weathers – a quick wipe and it is ready for use. Track can also be obtained in less expensive aluminium as well as oxidation-resistant, though more expensive, stainless steel.
- Gn15 - G Scale models of 15 in (381 mm) gauge trains on 16.5 mm (0.65 in) gauge track
- Rail transport modelling scales
- Model railway scales
- SE scale
- Gauge 1
- Garden railway
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