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  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 3 posts
Posted by Lar08 on Thursday, December 12, 2019 3:03 PM

I would like to have comments about mixing scales and gauges on a Garden Railway layout (i.e., LGB with Bachmann with USA Trains, etc.

  • Member since
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  • 794 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, December 12, 2019 10:21 PM



You hit on a topic that seems to make frequent and often "animated" rounds!  At root if it, multiple scales representing multiple real-life track gages run on the same 45mm track gage that many "large scale" models share, regardless of the prototype they represent.  To add to the confusion, most manufacturers take some liberties to ensure compatibility with their own and competitors' products and to hold down production costs by enabling the sharing of components across multiple models.

All that being said, I do not have the experience in terms of manufacturers and product lines that some folks on this site have, so I offer that as a caveat before answering your question about comatibility.  Most of my fleet is LGB (1:22.5 scale, or European meter gage), and it looks and works fine along Bachmann (1:20.5 scale, U.S. 3 ft gauge), Piko  (1:20.5 scale, U.S. 3 ft gauge), Hartland Locomotive Works and Delton Locomotive Works (beats-me-scale, beats me real world gauge). Purists will correctly note the scale / real world gauge comments are subject to debate!  


As for me, I cannot pretend to be a purist. I call it all all 1:24-ish PLAYMOBIL scale when it comes into service on the Oberammergau, Ogden & Olomana RR (the Triple O), a mishmash of equipment that takes its strategic guide from the mostly 3' narrow gauge railroads of my O'ahu home.  To achieve the * ahem * "exacting" standards of this so-called scale, I hold up a PLAYMOBIL figurine next to the item, and if the PLAYMOBIL figurine looks OK next to the locomotive / railroad car / building / plant / whatever, it means that the item will work visually on our Hawaii-inspird narrow gauge railroad.  Now I all I have to worry about is does the item fit thematically with the story of the Triple O and whether or not I will get in trouble for purchasing it?Stick out tongue  This "scale" has also made the math rather easy for my half-baked scratchbuiling attempts.  You might summarize this method as pick a theme for your empire, pick a real world gage, and go by sight from there.  You can search this forum for my blog "Progress on the Triple O" ( and get a sense from the photos as to whether or not this system works visually and conceptually for what you plan to do.



Whether purist or PLAYMOBIL-ist, though, many a wise person who has been in this hobby much longer than my five years has said to me, "Your railroad, your rules!"  Go out, get dirty, and have fun!





P.S.  I just noticed you've been a member since 2008.  My apologies if the above diatribe was "talking down" to someone who has clearly been around the hobby longer than I!


  • Member since
    February 2015
  • From: Ormond Beach, FL
  • 383 posts
Posted by chocho willy on Friday, December 13, 2019 9:46 PM

Well I have been doing G scale since the mid to late 70ths, and I am by no means a rivet counter , I have use LGB, aristo craft, Lionel, Delton, + MDC and others, when I started there was no American products of any quality on the market. Exception was Playmobil which was adaptable to the American standard, I've had scankit , Pola, model power and anything else that looked correct and  if you take the time to read (   it will explain a lot. Kalamazoo cars are shorter than LGB work great on tight radius railroads with a American look, along with Playmobil like Eric uses for photo shoots (which are some of the best I have seen) Delton had a few buildings but Pola was the predominant manufacture but were in my option over sized. The buildings which might have been to scale dwarfed the trains and I believe took away from the display, and I have several but most, due to tragic storm damage have been converted to more than 1 building which can be seen at ( I build a lot of kit bash stuff and when do I usually build close to 1/2" = a foot as it is just easy to use, like I said I'm not a rivet counter. I believe that if it looks good to you run it or build it, while I appreciate scale model master products I believe the hobby is supported by many different aspects,  just look at the different "scales" that run on the same track. Eric uses a playmobil figure to see if it looks right which is great but if you have a dollar bill in your pocket, folded in half it is 3" which in 1/2" scale is 6' check door ways and they should be a little taller, don't disregard bird houses so look at anything that looks right, toys, planes, trucks, fairy garden buildings, this is suppose to be fun. I at one time had a Playmobil 3 story hotel that I build in horde Florida aqua and coral colors that sat next to my water fall, name of the railroad was Coquina Falls and this was the grand hotel that tourist came to in Florida to see, the closest place it could be viewed from was approximately, 25' and all the tourist were Playmobil figures, and all visitors saw was colorful figures not toys. So my motto has always been, if you like it that is all that maters, mix and match, "run what you brung". Nothing wrong with scale exacting detail but to me enjoyment is what is most important, remember when you quit playing, you get old,  Bill coquina falls

Tags: make it fun
  • Member since
    December 2019
  • 1 posts
Posted by ChiefSquid on Monday, December 23, 2019 10:02 AM

We have two independent  track loops. one has small tight curves so we stick to smaller engines and cars on that loop while on the bigger one we "build" trains with whatever cars we feel like. Often different scales and eras, You never know what will show up. Part of the fun for us is just enjoying the variety. Somedays we try to be more "era" accuurate, but don't worry if the scale are perfectly matched 

  • Member since
    February 2013
  • 794 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, December 27, 2019 9:18 PM
I might add that the accessories are more important than the rolling stock, in some cases. We have two cattle cars from different manufacturers built to different nominal scales. If I load one with the elephant that came with it and the other car with PLAYMOBIL horses in the other, for instance, it looks "wrong" to anyone over the age of four. - Eric

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