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|Model gauge||45 mm (1.75 in)|
|Prototype gauge||1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge|
Large scale or G scale (45 mm or 1 3⁄4 inches, G gauge) is a track gauge for model railways which, because of its size and durability, is often used outdoors. These garden railways use a fixed track gauge of 45 millimetres (1.75 in) to represent a range of rail transport modelling scales between narrow gauge (~1:13‒1:19‒1:20), metre gauge (1:22.5), Playmobil trains (~1:24), and standard gauge (~1:29–1:32). These scales all use the same track and wheel profiles, allowing different scales of models to be operated together.
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 45 mm between the railheads (tracks) (c.f. 44.45 mm for 1 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 uses 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 counterpart: its cars are generally narrower and shorter, allowing them to navigate more sharply curved and lightly built tracks.
Model trains are built to represent a real train of standard or narrow gauge. For example HO scale (1:87 or 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.
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 1,000 mm 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 is 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 45 mm track. Incorrect scale/gauge but proportionally a similar size to other popular brands of the time.
- G scale is 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. The G 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) 15 mm 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.
- 16 mm scale 16 mm to the foot scale (1:19.05). Originally intended for modelling 2 ft gauge prototype railways on 32 mm track (SM32). The models are often re-gauged to also run on 45 mm 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 16 mm] 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 10 mm 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 - 1:22.5-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, ~1:13-scale models
- Maßstäbe, Nenngrößen, Spurweiten [Scales, nominal sizes, gauges] (Specification) (Report). Normen Europäischer Modellbahnen NEM (in German). 2011. p. 1.
I/IIm/IIIe/Vi/Vilp … Modell-Spurweiten 45mm 1 3⁄4 Zoll. (6) Für große Spurweiten ist auch die Angabe in Zoll üblich.
- S-1.3 Standards for Scales with deep flanges (Standard) (Report). National Model Railroad Association NMRA Standards. 2009. p. 1.
The term LS (Large Scales) is used to refer to range of scales developed to be able to be operated together, typically in an outdoors setting, for example a garden. LS models all use the same wheel and track profiles to facilitate interchange.
- S-3.3 Standards, Guarded Track, for Deep Flanges (Standard) (Report). National Model Railroad Association NMRA Standards. 2010. p. 2.
Large Scales … covers all common commercial scales running on LS 45mm gauge track (1:32, 1:29, 1:24, 1:22.5, and 1:20.3) without regard as to whether the trains are standard or narrow gauge.
- "Home". Northern Fine Scale.
- "Rolling Stock". Wright Way Rolling Stock. Archived from the original on 7 November 2006.
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