Why scale is important when it comes to Model Railwaying

Model railways are the hobby of constructing scale models of railroads for display or operation. It is a hobby that people of all ages can enjoy. This hobby has many more complex aspects, such as building more detailed layouts and adding scenic features to improve their design. Many railfans, once satisfied with simple operating layouts, are now taking the next step in their hobby by constructing detailed and remarkable models.

As model railroading shifted from a simple hobby to a more active form of engineering, many new and complex scales have been developed. Some people opt for simpler scales, while others find that their interest in their hobby grows with time. Some common scales that have been developed in recent years are the following:

HO Scale

It is the most popular scale for model railways. The scale is 1:87. It is a realistic scale for model trains. It is excellent for hobbyists looking to build their layouts in a small space and anyone looking for great variety in locomotives and rolling stock. The best thing about the HO scale is that it’s a realistic and affordable way to get into model railroading.

N Scale

The N scale is 1:160, meaning it is a bit smaller than HO Scale. It is best suited for adults, as it can be challenging to find layouts and scenery designed for children.

O Scale

The O scale is 1:64. The scale is mainly popular among adults and children interested in building a layout for themselves. It is an excellent compromise for those who want to model the layout of a real railroad but do not want to spend a lot of time making it as large as the HO Scale or N Scale. 

G Scale

G scale is the largest scale model railway designed for garden railroads. It is 1:22.5, much larger than even O Scale. It is usually made from metal to withstand the weather of a garden railroad and may be powered electrically or by steam locomotives, making them suitable for children.

Common Uses of Scales

Some common uses of different scales are listed below:

  • Model Building. When you build a model railroad or house a miniature railroad layout, the scale used is determined by the purpose of the model. If building a model railway track layout for fun and enjoyment, it’s essential to use a scale that allows for easy construction and looks realistic.
  • Scenery. The scale of the model is determined by where the scene is set. If you transform an urban environment into a countryside, you must use an appropriate scale. If you want to build a model based on a historical event, then the scale must be decided by the scale at that time. You can look at DestinationScanner for depictions of different destinations worldwide
  • Collectability. In this case, the scale used is determined by what products you want to collect the most. O gauge models are some of the most valuable ones in the market because these models are so expensive.
  • Materials. If you want to create a complex model with moving parts like a cab and an engine, then you will have to use a scale that allows for such things. Some models are made of plastic components, while others are built from wood and metal.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Scale?

The scale of the model railway is one of the most critical factors in its design. There are many benefits to choosing a particular scale, including:

Minimal Effort

Scale is perhaps the easiest thing to keep in mind when planning a model railway. Most people use the scales of the real-life versions of the train they are recreating, making planning a model railway much easier.


Many people like their model railroad to look as realistic as possible. In this case, you should use a scale that is a standard size in the real world. In many cases, this would be a larger scale like 1:64; but if detail and realism are more important than realism, then use an open scale.

Age Appropriate

One of the main concerns when planning a model railroad is how much fun it will be for the younger children. If you have younger children or know someone with them, you will likely want to use an age-appropriate scale. Using an under-the-table scale will allow you to build something smaller and ensure the kids can operate it safely.


Scale is a very cheap option. It is one of the most cost-effective methods of creating a different-looking model railroad. If you want to make a new model railway in your basement, then 1:87 would be a great choice. With this scale, most people can find the parts needed at their local hardware store.

Using scale as a planning tool is only one of this hobby’s many benefits, so it is essential to know how to plan your model railroad. It will save you a lot of time and money if you go for a scale that is as close to real-life as possible.