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Getting Started in O Scale

Martin Lovell

MARTIN LOVELL explains how to get started in this large scale.

Dapol O Scale Terrier Locomotive

One of Dapol's recent releases in O Scale - the A1X Terrier Locomotive.

Back in the 1950s and early 60s, an English train set would have been made by Hornby, made of tinplate and powered by clockwork, in what was called O Scale.

Locomotives and accessories were few, and mostly imagination made up for the shortfall, chairs became tunnels, the carpet became the scenery, and so on.

Later, these same trains were powered by electric motors on a 3-rail system, still made of tinplate, and examples of these can still be found, indeed, a superb layout can be seen at the Brighton Toy and Model Museum underneath Brighton Station.

Most toyshops of this era would feature an oval of track in their shop window, with a train being operated by a coin-in-the–slot mechanism, a penny, (and old penny that is) would cause the train, or trains, to whizz round for a minute or so, ah, memories!

As we all know, O Scale, due to its size, gave way to OO Scale, which meant that you could get more in a smaller area, and new houses usually didn’t have the huge loft spaces or cellars where most layouts of that time were erected.

So, apart from the dedicated few, O Scale was mostly ignored by the model railway manufacturers in favour of the smaller scales.

Nowadays however, O Scale is making a bit of a comeback.

Heljan O Scale Class 60 Locomotive

Something a bit bigger... Heljan's Class 60 in O Scale.

Manufacturers such as Dapol and Heljan are producing finely detailed Locomotives and Wagons, Peco produce fine scale trackwork both in their Streamline and Setrack versions, and figures and other accessories are also readily available.

For "across-the-pond" modellers, Atlas produce a range of track (pre-ballasted 3-rail, unballasted 3-rail, and unballasted 2-rail) which is of course usable for locomotives and stock of any country, not just American!

Atlas O Scale Signal Box

An Altas O Scale Signal Box. Although billed as American Outline, this is ideal for British layouts due to it's universal design.

Atlas and other manufacturers produce both pre-built buildings and kits for adding to your layout.

O Scale Preiser Figures

Preiser Standing Figures.

Figures can add life to your layout, and they are available in O Scale from Preiser, Model Power, and Springside.

If you are fortunate to have a large area for a layout, then O Scale is worth a look, but for a British outline garden railway, it is ideal.

O Scale compares favourably with G Scale equipment on price, which has become the favoured scale for the garden (apart from the live steam enthusiasts), so a garden railway can be built for less outlay.

I hope this article gives you a brief insight into the larger scale and as you know, we here at Gaugemaster have O Scale items in stock and on view, so do feel free to pop along and see us or check online.

Happy modelling!

Martin

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