What is British G Scale

DafyddElvy

Registered
10 Feb 2021
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West Lothian
I pose this question purely out of interest, what is british G scale, I am a G scale come 1:20.3 (15mm : ft) modeller living in Scotland, if I model modified Bachmann trams and the Isle of Man systems am I a british G scale modeller, my intention is not to be facetious but seek clarification.

David
 

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
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The problem is "G" scale is a misnomer - it's actually a not a fixed scale. It depends on the prototype. It really refers to product that can run on LGB type track systems using the 45 mm gauge with code 332 rail. It could mean anywhere between 1:32 and 1:13 scales. Most IOM, 3ft gauged representations, to run on 45 mm gauged track, are made to 15 mm scale. As are models of Irish NG and US NG and most logging lines that ran on 3ft gauge too.

The problem comes when you start to look at LGB's representations of Swiss/German/Austrian NG prototypes that are nominally made to 1:22.5 scale and Piko's representation of German std gauge at 1:26. Never mind Bachmann's more mainstream products like the Big Hauler and tram ranges. I say nominally as we start getting into the realms of the rubber ruler here when setting a model's proportion, never mind supposed scale. All are designed to run ideally on the same market predominant 45 mm track systems and consequently all get referred to as "G" scale products. Even 16 mm scale, distinctly the preserve of mostly UK based enthusiasts, when run on 45 mm track (as most product sold as this scale can be) rather than the historical norm or 32 mm gets referred to as "G" scale - the are a lot of freelance models produced in that scale.

Confused ? You will be. Max
 
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Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
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North West Norfolk
In some ways. and not contradicting Max in any way, there isn't much British G scale. A lot of British outline tends to be 16mm : 1ft and runs on 32 mm gauge track.

That is probably because, as you've already found out, apart from the Isle of Man, the Southwold Railway and the famous Scottish aluminium works line, there weren't many 3ft gauge railways in the UK - some very small industrial lines, but few of note. The Irish Narrow gauge network was fairly special, but is not that well supported by manufacturers in large scale / 15mm : 1 ft.

So there you are.

Like you, I model US outline in Fn3 as I find the proportions better suit the narrow gauge :):):):)
 

Martino

Kit bashing, The UK narrow gauge, The GWR, Aviatio
Max is right, you will be confused! The problem is that G Scale and G Gauge don’t really exist in that there are no standards. The manufacturers, and I think LGB are the real culprits here, have (as Max says) rubber rulers and create all sorts of things at different scales. The only thing common with LGB is that it all runs on 45mm track. I have, for example, an LGB New Orleans street car which is ostensibly ‘G’, but as the real things run on 5” 2.5” track, what is the actual scale?

In think it‘s always best to state what gauge you’re using and the in which scale you’re modeling.

So in your case (and I’m the same) 45mm gauge track and modeling at 1:20.3 or 15mm/ft. I’ll stretch that to 16mm/ft and everything looks pretty good.

For ease - G scale is really just another term for large scale and covers a multitude of disciplines
 

David1226

Registered
24 Oct 2009
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There is always another route, if you are interested in British outline narrow gauge, and that is to go freelance. I came to G Scale from years of modelling freelance British outline in O-16.5, where everything was scratch built on second hand 'OO' chassis and everything was out of your imagination. When I started in G Scale, there were no British outline models by any propriety manufacturer so I had to kit bash Continental or American outline models in order to Anglicise their appearance, and by buying mostly second hand it was a relatively cheap option.

I have attached links to my freight and passenger vehicles to give you an idea of what I mean. There should be further links attached to each picture to take you to the appropriate thread on how the vehicles were constructed/modified.
https://www.gscalecentral.net/media/albums/the-claptowte-railway-freight-stock.47/
https://www.gscalecentral.net/media/albums/the-claptowte-railway-passenger-stock.134/

dig 150526007.JPG

dig 180507003 - Copy.JPG


David
 
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Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
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Much as I detest the use of the word gauge when expressing what scale you model, as in 00 gauge, etc., I think this is the exception (always an exception), and we should just say G Gauge, and for the pedants, followed up by a real scale, .ie. G gauge, 1:29, or whatever.
The given is that we run on 45mm gauge coarse scale track (LGB in generic terms).
 
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Greg Elmassian

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So in the US, G Gauge is 45mm... G scale implies you run something that USUALLY runs on 45mm track but not always.

The scales can be anything from 16mm to 1:24, 1"29, 1"32, 1:20.3.... so when someone says they run G scale, the next thing you hear is what scale(s) do you run? (i.e. the term G scale is a waste of breath in most cases)

Greg
 

trammayo

Interested in vintage commercial vehicle, trams, t
24 Oct 2009
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Isn't LGB = Lehman Garten Bahn? (forgive my ignorance).
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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Then you could if one wanted to be controversial call Gauge 3 G scale as it is pretty well the same scale as us but on standard gauge of 63.5mm. Reading between the lines the scale comes out as roughly 13.5mm to the foot another weird part of our system that uses imperial and metric to describe a scale or gauge. We got into this sort of mess Donkeys years back and it will never be resolved. Acres of magazine pages and billions of kilobytes of net text have talked about it for years. In my humble view the best solution was dreamed up by a well known sage who’s name I forget now but he used track gauge , scale and real track gauge in a mix. Thus 3ft (prototype) gauge scaled at 15mm to the foot on 45mm track Gauge gives a representation. Cant remember how he showed it in a simple way.
 

Paul M

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This could go on and on! Just remember Rule 8
 
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JimmyB

Semi-Retired; more time for trains.
Having read the above my tupence worth, 0, 00 H0, N are scales, i.e. a specific ratio (though some do vary slightly), yet taking N for example this is of N Gauge not N Scale (9mm to 1 Foot), but G Scale is actually G Gauge, the constant being the Gauge (45 mm) and not the scale as adequately described above.
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
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This could go on and on! Just remember Rule 8
It usually does, probably worth linking in some of the earlier discussions on this as the same ground is generally covered over and over again. Now if my search head was on and in order.........
 

DafyddElvy

Registered
10 Feb 2021
79
8
West Lothian
Well I suppose I did ask.

I am very, very, new to 45mm gauge modelling and I am just trying to understand things a bit more.
I have been modelling 7mm scale Scottish pre-grouping and having moved house recently the plan has always been to expand in to the garden, I like trams and I have always been a found follower of narrow gauge systems so 45mm gauge seemed the obvious choice.
Other than the Manx systems I'm afraid it's the European tram systems which interest me most, but I do see a couple of Bushmills Railway vehicles looming somewhere in my future which it could be said is british 45mm gauge modelling.

Thanks for all the clarifications.

David
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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Well I suppose I did ask.

I am very, very, new to 45mm gauge modelling and I am just trying to understand things a bit more.
I have been modelling 7mm scale Scottish pre-grouping and having moved house recently the plan has always been to expand in to the garden, I like trams and I have always been a found follower of narrow gauge systems so 45mm gauge seemed the obvious choice.
Other than the Manx systems I'm afraid it's the European tram systems which interest me most, but I do see a couple of Bushmills Railway vehicles looming somewhere in my future which it could be said is british 45mm gauge modelling.

Thanks for all the clarifications.

David
Goad you have been sorted some. If you are doing Irish then certainly 15mm to the foot gives you that perfect scale gauge relationship on 45 gauge track. If you did the same acale with any continental things you build Tram wise at least they will be roughly the same size accepting a somewhat narrower profile look to the track gauge. If you wanted larger prototypes like some of the main Swiss and East German Harz lines on metre gauge, then LgB having monkeyed about with the scale some will give you models that pretty well match for size. When I was modeling Irish at 15/45 I was happily using LgB Wagons and Coaches that had DR on the side on my line to represent Donegal Railway, even the coaches were the correct red/creme colour.
 

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
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Having read the above my tupence worth, 0, 00 H0, N are scales, i.e. a specific ratio (though some do vary slightly), yet taking N for example this is of N Gauge not N Scale (9mm to 1 Foot), but G Scale is actually G Gauge, the constant being the Gauge (45 mm) and not the scale as adequately described above.
I know what you mean...
But N gauge is 9mm track gauge, but not 9mm to 1 foot! ;)
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
30,064
3,604
North West Norfolk
Well I suppose I did ask.

I am very, very, new to 45mm gauge modelling and I am just trying to understand things a bit more.
I have been modelling 7mm scale Scottish pre-grouping and having moved house recently the plan has always been to expand in to the garden, I like trams and I have always been a found follower of narrow gauge systems so 45mm gauge seemed the obvious choice.
Other than the Manx systems I'm afraid it's the European tram systems which interest me most, but I do see a couple of Bushmills Railway vehicles looming somewhere in my future which it could be said is british 45mm gauge modelling.

Thanks for all the clarifications.

David
It's worth looking at overall dimensions on products and kits - this will give you an idea whether you can comfortably run something on your line.

The classic case in US outline is Aristocraft's 2-4-2 Rogers loco which is allegedly 1:29, but sits quite comfortably with other 1:20.3 locos and stock :nerd::nerd:
 

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,998
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Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
I have a foot in two camps - 16 mm and 15 mm. In the former I have mostly models of prototypes that ran on 2 ft gauge lines, yet I run 45 mm gauge exclusively, not 32 mm. It's an anomaly that exists in that part of the hobby as the manufacturers realised there were a lot more operators out there with 45 mm gauged lines than 32 mm. To make a model financially viable they had to offer a product , where practical, that was either readily re-gaugable between the two standards or could be ordered in either gauge standard. They were right, there is an awful lot of product now available in the 16 mm scale. Both prototypical and freelance. Rarely does one notice the scale/gauge discrepancy. People wanted the model.

In the US they have the right idea with regards to nomenclature - 15 mm narrow gauge scale models are sometimes referred to as Fn3 - F = 1:20.3 scale, n = narrow gauge & 3 = real life track gauge 3ft. Now if only the rest of the model world followed that logical sytem universally. Oh, and I also do 009 :D Max

My one and only tram ( I did have one of LGB's New Orleans trams once) - An OcCre Madrid tram in 1:24 that uses a 45 mm gauged motor block, that comes out of a 1:29 scale US std gauge model. The driver ? That's a Bachmann one usually supplied with one of their trams, c 1:22.5. Now I am just being perverse. Max

20190129_095739.jpg
 
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ebay mike

Retired, but still hoarding. (GOF)
6 Dec 2011
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The initial question is a bit like trying to define the scale of the Matchbox toys I remember as a child. Beautifully crafted and mostly in proportion, but all designed to fit in the same sized box. If the package size is considered the 45mm gauge the contents become the plethora of scales used. Never mind the rubber ruler, when I was little we adopted rubber eyes and it worked.
 
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