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What scale can/should I use outdoors

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What scale can/should I use outdoors
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, May 31, 2003 2:19 PM
I live in Houston, Texas and am interested in building a train track outside for my son (and for me). I was planning on placing the track on top of landscape timbers (joined together) that I can get at Lowes/Home Depot inexpensively. (I know some of you purists are probably cringing at this notion, but I thought it would give me a secure base for the track). My question is whether I need to use "G' gauge track or if I can use something smaller. The "G" scale trains I saw at my train store are lot bigger than I think would look good in the space I was planning on using. I have an HO track and trains inside the house and I think this would look good outside, but I am not sure about durability etc. I would like to hear from others about their experiences. Thanks
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Posted by vsmith on Tuesday, June 3, 2003 1:12 AM
G gauge is the best if your outdoors and planning to power your train thru the track. HO track is probably too small for outdoors, far too easy to derail and getting yor track level on timbers sound almost impossible. I have seen HO track used for On30 scale trains outdoors, the track was set on a solid base material-concrete, with no ballast. The trains were battery powered-radio controlled, no track power. check out www.batterybackshop.com they specialize in this stuff. I would still stick to G gauge for outdoors, the track is darn near indestructable and the trains (LGB especially) take a lot of abuse, plus you dont have to worry about a small insect or leaf derailing your trains. Plus I think when you see a G guage versus an O or HO gauge train in an outdoor setting, you'll agree "Bigger is Better".

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by johngraser on Tuesday, June 3, 2003 6:29 PM
One other thing to concider is the plastic use in most G gauge trains have protection against UV rays where HO trains/track do not.

John
HO 19' x 12.5' with DCC Control Base on Southern Pacific's (Tillamook branch) Oregon
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 9:17 AM
I wouldn't consider using anything but G scale outdoors. The track is very durable and intended to be used outdoors. The trains are also much more durable and look much better with the plants because they stand out so much better than a smaller scale. You might want to take a look at Garden Railways magazine (see if you can pick up a few past issues at a train store). There's lots of excellent information in the articles, and they're currently running a series on building a point-to-point garden railroad that you might find useful.

Of couse, if you really want to go big, you could get a ride-on 1:12 train!
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, July 10, 2003 8:45 PM
The G in G scale stands for Garden, but there are several scales used... all the way from 1/32 to 1:20.3. In HO you're used to 3.5 mm is a foot where as in G or #1 scale 15 mm is a foot and at that size the equipment used can better take a licking than the smaller scales. And since HO isn't UV protected that Huston sun is going to warp your nice plastic cars. Better read Mark's Editorial in the August Garden Railways and do some further planning before you make the jump from HO, which you can make a great indoor layout for, to G where things are made to go outdoors. In G the 1/32 is smaller and relates to the true 4'8-1/2" between the rails and 1:20.3 is larger and relates to a true 3'0" between the rails or narrow guage. 1:20.3 is also referred to as F for Finescale and there's a magazine "Finescale Railroader" that pretty much caters to the narrow guage crowd.
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Posted by DannyS on Thursday, July 17, 2003 3:50 PM
Dear Scotty, in fact The G in G gauge, comes from LGB where the G stands for Grosse in German BIG! However most Garden Railroaders do use G Gauge to mean garden.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 18, 2003 1:26 PM
HO track was used in England for a big garden RR-Brian Burchell, as I recall. He used concrete bases, track power, and had a totally enclosed garden to control detrius. Not too much sun there, though. He finally switched to "G", i'm told. But after many years.
O scale has also been used, and was featured in both Garden Rwys and Model RR magazine earlier this year, in a story on a combined indoor/outdoor RR. We have a couple of "O" enthusiasts here in Puget Sound too.
To avoid UV damage, you can always paint the track ties and bring rolling stock indoors after sessions. Even at Disneyland, I'm told, the plastic buildings sitting outdoors need to be repainted every year! Good latex house paine should work fine.
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, July 20, 2003 7:07 PM
I just joint the club but are since 1954 into trains-being German it's Maerklin. I'm still puzzled about all the terms used in the big scales. It seems to be difficult to keep gauge and scale apart! A few answers to the question were correct as to G comes fromLehmann "G"rossbahn, which is German and means large train! Has nothing to do with Garden Railroad.
G scale has just become common for LGB and they like it because it creates an image for them and they are great trains -of course. But if the asking person is looking for a decent scale running on a 1 gauge track, which does MArklin, Aristo Craft, LGB etc etc in different "Scales"(1:20.5, 1:22.5 etc etc.) whereas Maerklin is one of the rare true scale to gauge trains!! Which means the scale of the rolling stock is the same as the gauge of the track namely 1:32. It does not look as akward as the LGB 1:22.5 on the 1:32 track and might fit better the needs of the asking member. The Quality of the all metal trains with baked on enemal paint is almost indistructible!
We had a store for years and for each LGB starter set we sold 6-7 Maerklin starter sets. Does that say something?
I just started a Garden Railroad and find Garden Railroad Magazin extremely helpful despite 50 years with trains from Z,N, HO and now to 1 Gauge! Thanks for allowing my input.
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, July 20, 2003 8:24 PM
I'm seeing a common thread here, Marklin has come to town.... Sehr gut ! But, for my two cents worth, they are expensive. The Marklin is of the wonderful "Tin Plate" style and should be considered carefully..... G may stand for "Gross" (Big) Lehman Gross Bahn means Lehman Big Trains, or you may use it for "Garden" (Garten) . Regardless, thes "Large Scale" or "Garden Railroad" trains run on 45mm track. Some also use 32mm or even 16mm. This is the distance between the rails. The Scale is the size of the model in relation to the "Real" thing. Here's an easy one. 1/48 scale , this means that one inch equals four feet. Divide by 12. So, a 60 ft box car in 1/48 scale will be? Times out, 15 inches....... Fud's first rule of Fun, "Does it look Good to You? If it does, go with it. Have Fun with your Garden Railroad and don't bog down with too much High Rail, High Scale stuff... Get the best price you can on good out door rail, (NOT BACHMAN ! INDOOR ONLY !) Save your money and skip the Stainless Steel track for now.... Get a nice starter set from whom ever you choose, Aristo, LGB, Bachman, (except the track) USA Trains, the Garden Railroad mags are full of good advice and product reviews,,, (not seen one in regards to Marklin, Wie So?). Spend some time looking and then take the plunge, you will not regret it..... Best of Luck!
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, July 21, 2003 1:11 PM
I ran around scale for a long time trying to decide on what to use. My brain really wanted 1:32 scale, which is the "proper" scale to model North American standard gauge prototypes on #1 gauge track. This limits you to Marklin (high quality, high price, limited NA.prototypes), Aristo-Craft and USA Trains (both lesser quality, lower price, lots of NA rolling stock). I believe that Aristo is actually 1:29 scale (which should be close enough to be visually compatible with 1:32) and I can't remember whether USA Trains is 1:32 or 1:29. There is also limited accessories (die cast cars, buildings, etc) available in 1:32 or 1:29 scale.

LGB is 1:22.5 scale, which is the "proper" scale to model most North American narrow gauge lines. It is also close enough to interact with 1:24 scale, which is easy to find in accessories..

I really decided based on the product. I like LGB and think it's a very good balance of quality, price, and availability of North American prototypes. So, I'm modeling 1:22.5. But I don't think that will keep me from using prototypes that were only built for standard gauge track.
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, August 30, 2003 4:06 PM
I have exactly the same problem
i have HO UP in the garage (17' x 2'6")
(as i live here in England space is minimal)
and a back garden that is only 26' x 30' , i hope to have an HO loop[ at least around the garden (this is all i can afford), at the moment this is up for review with the local planning commity - bank manager -or should i just say WIFE!
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, August 30, 2003 6:15 PM

No one has yet mentioned the possible problems with attaching track to timber outdoors.
Will the expension and contraction during temperature changes cause problems?

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, August 31, 2003 3:22 PM
Tardisious:

Yes. I thought the same thing when I first read his post. He says he is in Houston which would be less of a problem than say Minnesota, but...

If he lays track in the cool of the fall, it goes thru even the mild Houston winter, but when summer and its 100+ degree days arrive, that track is going to swell up and warp all over the place. The severity of this will also be affected by the material chosen. Alum. vs. steel vs. brass. I've found that brass tends to work the best and will weather to a near real look whereas steel will require a lot more care and maintenence.

Mike: (FutureGardenRR) --do you have a good source for 1:24 old autos? 1910 - 1925. I have found that 1:22.5 mixed with 1:24 usually works out pretty well. My loco is an Aster C&S (1:22.5) pulling a consist of Delton C&S coaches at 1:24. It looks great. But I'm still finding that these two scales are lacking in good accessories. I agree with vsmith. To a certain degree, us 1:22.5-1:24 scalers are getting screwed a bit. I would appreciate any resource anyone has to buildings, autos, etc, in these two scales.

I know about Pola and some of the others, but a good old style auto in this scale is really tough to find. Anything modern would be out of place.

Thanx to any and all who respond.

Regards,

LDH
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 3, 2003 10:47 PM
Today I was home on vacation. My next door neighbor is having a brick walkway installed. To my delight the brick guys had a trailer filled with stone dust. I asked them in the morning if they were going to be using it all, they replied they were going to use it all. In the afternoon, I invited them to my backyard to "see something interesting, a garden railway" A what they replied! When they saw the railway they couldn't believe it. They heard of such things but have never seen one. I explained to them that I use the same type of crushed stone they had on my track for ballast. They were full of questions. The funny thing is that they didnt get all caught up in scale or guage. It just looked great. A garden with a railray running thru it. At the end of the day they gave me a 5 gallon bucket of crushed stone. Nice guys. Just place your track on a nice trough of pea stone and cover the ties with smaller ballast stone, just like prototype. Your track will stay put. Don't limit yourself to running along beams, to much money and planning. Money for trains and track and time to enjoy them.
Pete
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, September 15, 2003 4:27 PM
FutureGardenRR

Yes, 1:32 is "proper" for Standard guage, BUT 1:22.5 is NOT "proper" for ANY American narrow guage.

In 1:20.3, also called "Finescale." 15mm works out to be ONE foot. 15mm times three equals 45mm, the distance between the rails or three feet. Therefore 1:20.3 IS "proper" for American three foot narrow gauge.

Check out the FinescaleRR magazine or the Yahoo 1:20.3 group for more info.

Have fun with your trains,
Scotty55
San Diego, CA
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Posted by vsmith on Monday, September 15, 2003 5:29 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Scotty55

FutureGardenRR

Yes, 1:32 is "proper" for Standard guage, BUT 1:22.5 is NOT "proper" for ANY American narrow guage.

In 1:20.3, also called "Finescale." 15mm works out to be ONE foot. 15mm times three equals 45mm, the distance between the rails or three feet. Therefore 1:20.3 IS "proper" for American three foot narrow gauge.

Check out the FinescaleRR magazine or the Yahoo 1:20.3 group for more info.

Have fun with your trains,
Scotty55
San Diego, CA


Yes, you are correct but some of us can't afford to be precise to 1:20.3 as most of the "scale" items can be too expensive (priced a Hartford boxcar lately?). I chose 1/2" scale for my layout and it works fine for me. (non-prototype industrial line-42" gauge) but for others I would feel perfectly fine seeing 1:22.5 equipment being run as 36" narrow guage. After all it scales to 3'-3", pretty dam close. Most Bachmann and all LGB is this scale and they look fine running together. As for Bachmanns Spectrum line, yes, the shay, climax, sideirod diesel, and the connie are 1:20.3 but the new indy and the older annie is way closer to 1:22.5 or even 1:24 . I've measure the indy and no matter what the Big B says it is the smaller scale, otherwise your dealing with a 5' high cab , same with the annie, ever measured how wide the cab doors are?, and the last time I checked railroads never hired Munchkins to drive thier locos. 1:22.5 is the best compromise avalible for us narrow gauge nuts on limited budgets.

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 12:50 AM
It is rare that I beg to differ with someone online but in this case I'm afraid I must.

Scotty55:

I will direct you first to the link at:

http://thehobbybarn.com/resources/measure/trains.html

where you can find quite a complete starting point for the definition of "gauges" and how they came to be what they are. Your comment that 1:22.5 is not "proper" Narrow Gauge is historically incorrect. It is actually 1.20.3 that is the newcomer to "Narrow Gauge" or as you call it "finescale" which means several things in several languages, to several people across all scales. I'm not even sure what the term "proper" means since the prototypes for 45mm scale Narrow Gauge STARTED as 1:22.5 and was the original standard until the so called "G" scale became trendy. The term "G Scale" is itself a misnomer and if you ask 6 sources how it came to be called this, you'll get 6 different answers.

Please understand that THIS level of scale detail is not important to me, tho I respect the efforts of those who pursue it to this level. I'm one of those nasty Live Steamers who puts the priority of RR modeling on the building of real working steam engines, and worries about the PRECISE accuracy of scale of my layout second. If it looks good to me, .... well.....It is MY railroad after all. :-)

Incidently, anyone know WHY standard RR track (full size) IS the width it is? Guess what. It goes all the way back to the Roman Empire whose chariots left ruts in the road, whose conquerors built wagons to fit the existing ruts, whose descendants built the first rail tracks to fit the width of axles of the existing wagons, whose Rail spacing became standardized in England and Europe and migrated to the "New" world in the west. Whose descendants couldn't navigate the tight turns in the Rocky Mountains leading to narrower gauge, (and being American) settled on 3 ft. which later began to be modeled by enthusiasts in 1:22.5 scale.

Many years ago

Regards,

LDH
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 1:09 AM
...And for a quickie more on point of "What scale can/should I use outdoors"---

As I understand it, NOBODY builds rails smaller than 45mm gauge that can withstand the rigors of weather outdoors. That to me would leave HO & N out. Especially if you live in something close to a tru 4 season climate. Especially since nobody is doing any "finescale" live steam in HO or N, leaving all the electric powered track to what must result in a real "bear" to keep conductivity in out in that weather.

I understand from the folks who have tried it, that the HO & N scale stuff deterioriates rather rapidly outside, and not just the track.

Regards,

LDH

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