What is N Scale anyway?

N Scale model railways are the world’s second most popular scale. They actual scale is 1:148 or 1:160 (depending on what part of the world you obtain models from), but they all run on tracks that are 9mm wide.

The other popular scale for model railways is HO. This scale is 1:87, with tracks 16.5mm wide, so the models are nearly twice the size as N Scale.

This means that it is possible to get more N Scale model railway into any given space than HO Scale.

Two trains of the same locomotive and carriages. Large one is Hornby Dublo, smaller one is N Scale. Both are Castle Class Locomotives with 2 passenger carriages.

N Scale trains and wagons can be found for many countries world wide. America, Britain, and Europe are common, but models can also be found from other countries too, with Japan and Spain coming to mind.

With the reduced overall size of N Scale, everything is smaller of course, and this can be a challenge for some people. Parts are smaller and more difficult to work with, and everything is that little bit harder to see. However the last point is also a bonus – details that are necessary in larger scales are less important in N Scale, and in many cases as long as it passes the “3 foot rule (1 metre rule?)” it will be fine. What is the 3 foot rule? Well, most often the trains and layout are viewed from a distance, not right up close, so if it looks acceptable from a distance then it doesn’t need more detail. Of course this doesn’t prevent people from adding incredible amounts of tiny detail to their models and layouts. I can personally only marvel at the skills some people have to create their models.

Don’t let the above points put you off though. N Scale is not so small that it is outside the possibility for most people, and I can only say that I took it up in my 50’s when I already was wearing glasses, and I don’t have a problem with it. If you are thinking of giving N Scale a go, then give it a try!