What
is "Scale Model" Railroading?
The Great
Scale Model Train Show is devoted to scale model
railroading. The
information below explains the difference between
"scale" and "nonscale".

What is SCALE?
A scale model is a virtually EXACT replica of the
original, usually reduced proportionally to a different size.
The "scale" is a dimensional ratio where one foot of the
original is reduced some number of "scale feet" for the
model. As an example, 1:48 scale means an object 48 feet long would
be one foot long as a model. The scale model is dimensionally
correct in length, height, and width. Its parts are
proportional to the scale. The model is usually finished to appear
as the original appeared. For model railroading there are several
scales, each identified alphabetically for ease of reference. The
most common model railroading scales are:
SCALE 
Z 
N 
HO 
S 
O 
Gn3 
Proportion 
1:220 
1:160 
1:87 
1:64 
1:48 
1:22.5 
With scale modeling there is some reasonable deviation in size to
accommodate function. An obvious example is couplers, which are
generally oversized to ensure functionality. Couplers are defined by
a standard and are accepted throughout the model railroading
community, including The Great Scale Model Train Shows.
What is NonScale?
Nonscale models are generally categorized as toys. The model
may or may not be a copy of a real object. If a model of a
real object is out of proportion and/or varies from its true
configuration it is a toy, and not a scale model. The most
obvious examples of toy trains are oversize wheels and track, or engines and rolling stock that are severely out of
proportion.
Are all scales seen at the Scale Shows?
The Great Scale Model Train Show includes all of the
popular model railroad scales. These are the scales that have an
associated railroad scale letter, such as Z, N, HO, etc. So
you will see 1:220, 1:160, 1:87, etc.
