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Use of off-scale structures on a layout

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el Gato Gordo View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Nov 2017 at 10:36am
On another Forum a fellow commented on his desire to use some 1:148 buildings on an N scale layout, and wondered whether they would look over-sized.

There are times when slightly out of scale structures will not look out of place on a layout.

For example, often buildings of slightly other scales will work with 1:160. If you look around (not in modern, Boxes made of Ticky Tacky type developments) you will see a wide variation in sizes of doors and windows. I would think that a building of 1:148 would look just fine, especially a commercial or industrial or public building like a station. I have a Faller model of the Castle Lichtenstein that is sold as N scale, but to my eye looks like Z scale - 1:220. It looks okay at the back left corner of my layout, giving a little forced perspective:

The building at the left, with the tower, is the Faller model. I carved the outlying buildings and fortifications from blue/pink foam in relatively the same scale. Z scale (1:220) is so different size-wise from N that I had to use it with no other N scale buildings nearby. But I would think that a station or commercial building at 1:148 would be fine right next to a 1:160 building. Normally a Z scale building will look too miniscule on an N scale layout.  But set to the back, with no other structures around, it works.

When you think about relative differences, 1:148 (UK N scale) is only 7.5% larger than 1:160, while Z scale, 1:220, is 37.5% smaller.  In order to make Schloss Lichtenstein work, I had to remove a Vollmer N scale house from the back corner which dwarfed the castle. Then the question was, what to do with the hole left by the foundation of the house?  Rather than create yet another Z scale structure, I made a small formal garden:

And the 1:148 scale VW bug looks good next to those Preiser 1:160 people.

Rheinland Bayern Bahn
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RRVRR View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RRVRR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2017 at 8:19am
1:148 compare to 1:160 is pretty much the same as when you have 1:100 structres and use it on 1:87.

A lot of kids on the market are not in scale. I bought an HO Aldi Market (I guess from Faller) and build it but it is far from scale and looks art. They match the door and windows size but the overall building size is scaled down to a small house. Unfortunately I will not use it on the layout since no matter where I will place it it does not work. Also I still got some passenger cars they are made to 1:100 scale in the same way - means they are just shorter as they should be. Most passenger cars you buy in HO are not in scale, except they have the print "exactly 1:87" on the box. They are around 2" longer as the ones they regularly sell as HO.

When you compare N-Scale to HO you will notice that the N-scale rolling stock appears more realistic, it just seems longer. They are more to scale as the HO stuff.

I'm not a fan scale mixing but you do not have a choice otherwise you ending up in scratch building most of your structures. Having smaller scale buildings in the background can work if you really have a good eye and make sure nothing else distract that angle of a far away building.

MiWuLa does it a lot because even they would run out of space if the would do it to scale.

Edited by RRVRR - 14 Nov 2017 at 8:26am
best, Markus

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BR42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2017 at 4:50pm
Hello Markus:

Actually, most cars in HO are in scale.  Since cars with less than 4 axles are short, there is no question about them being in scale, so I will only talk about the once with 4 axles.  These fall into two big groups, namely those which are in reality less than 26.4m and the 26.4m cars.  Those of the first group have been produced in scale since the 1980s, at least as far as the West German manufacturers are concerned.  These include all pre-war coaches as well as the rebuilt cars from the late 1950s and early 1960s. 

The second group of cars aremodels of the modern coaches built since the 1950s.  They have a length of 26.4m which turns out to be 303mm in HO.  Till the 1980s, these were produced in 1:100 scale with a length of 264mm since they were considered too long for most home layouts.  First Liliput Austria and then Roco produced them in 1:87 scale since the mid 1980s alongside the 1:100 scale.  In the 1990s, Fleischmann (and later Trix/Marklin) introduced an intermediate scale of 1:93.5 for these cars giving them a length of 282mm.  These are .8" shorter than the scale models.  There are very few 1:100 cars still on the market. 

With longer cars, the main concern is the overhang of the car in curves.  This overhang o  can be computed as  o = d^2/8r  where  d  is the distance between the pivot of the boogies and  r  is the track radius in the curves.  Because of the d^2, a 1:87 scale 26.4m car has a 30% larger overhang than a 1:100 car, while it has a 15% bigger overhang than a 1:93.5 car.  For those of us with limited space, i.e. whose layout has curves with radii less than 24" , these cars are a better solution than either the 1:100 or 1:87 cars.  The former make modern cars appear almost as long as pre-war rolling stock, the latter looks somewhat out of proportion to the layout.  The 1:93.5 scale preserves the length relations of pre-war and modern rolling stock, but also does not overwhelm things.  Nevertheless, if one use the (in)famous R1 of 36cm (14.2"), then they might look out of place too.

Of course one could just run the old-type cars, but most modellers want to have both old and new equipment.  The center part of my layout is about 10'4' by 6'2" and I opted for the 1:93.5 scale cars with a minimum radius of 18".


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