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    Prototype Modeler - October 1978 - Page 5

    During this past summer I attended the S Scale Convention down in the Washington area and found it to be both interesting arid informative. The convention was particularly interesting in one particular aspect and that involved a discussion of specific gauges and how they relate to prototype modeling; or I should say how they relate to modeling the prototype. HO scale offers a really wide variety of many many prototype replicas of the ready-to-run variety be it of the plastic or brass variety. N scale offers less in the way of variety but it is practically all ready-to-run. O scale offers a surprising variety but little of it ready-to-run excepting for brass power. S scale offers a little less in variety with practically no ready-to-run. This puts some modelers in that scale on the defensive but it puts many more on the offensive.

    The general consensus at the convention was that S scale was practically ideal for the prototype modeler in most respects though even the most die-hard S modeler freely admits that scale is not for the modeler interested in ready-to-run and little interest in building models. Some referred to S scale as the "modeler's" gauge while others referred to it as the "builder's" gauge. But regardless of what name was used practically all of the prototype modelers there felt it was the ideal gauge for those interested in modeling the prototype. There was enough of this comment to warrant a closer look at how this comment applied.

    One of the major objections normally heard about O scale is that it takes up a lot of room for even the smallest layout. The major advantage is that the models are large enough to permit the inclusion of almost infinite detail. S scalers counter that S is al most as large and permits the inclusion of practically as much detail to satisfy the most critical detail-ist yet is small enough so that a reasonable size layout can be built in the average basement. On the other hand, S scalers point out that while minute detail is possible in HO it is beyond the ken of most HO modelers. They use the question of brake rigging as an example; while it can be done in HO there are woefully few who do include this detail. They also point out that the question is rarely even discussed in N scale although it is still possible and a few modelers do include it.

    One of the major arguments that have been heard in the past against S scale is the need for the modeler to be a scratch builder. At the convention this was argued against very effectively by simply pointing out the multitude of kits available of all kinds. They were right since there was certainly a profusion of kits in evidence including structures of many kinds and varieties, rolling stock-of most types and periods, passenger cars of both the lightweight and heavyweight varieties; and power that was remarkable in its completeness. Steam locomotive kits were shown in Zamac as well as in brass which included a surprising variety; in fact, I have to admit that I picked up a Southern Pacific Consolidation in brass kit form with a really classy little Vanderbilt tender complete with Andrews trucks. The kit could easily be adapted to a Union Pacific class as well. The available steam power kits also included Mikes, Pacifics, and a fine Berkshire kit that was reviewed in MR a few years back.

    The wide range of kits available were all of the craftsman type but all were well within the ability of the average modeler to construct. There will be some reviews of many of these kits in coming issues of Prototype Modeler. One of the important functions that PM can fill is that of providing reviews of the many products available in all scales in their relationship to the prototype. MR and RMC both provide excellent re views of the many products available but PM can and should provide the necessary in formation to relate these products to specific prototypes. This issue includes a wide variety of reviews as they apply to the prototype and we're planning to add a regular column for this purpose in every issue of the magazine. We'll review kits in all scales, not just the one that may be the most popular. Several are already in the mill of products being produced in S scale. Too, we'll carry articles for kit-bashing and super detailing in these other scales as well. The Pennsy X-29 box car article in this issue is an example of a step in that direction. Certainly our coverage will continue to be mainly in HO since that is by far the most popular scale in the hobby.

    For those modelers currently in HO that are not as satisfied as they think they should be it might be wise to consider the possibilities of other scales. It might even be time well spent to get an S or 0 scale kit and spend a few nights putting one together; it would very probably be an enjoyable project and would certainly give you a "feel" for what other gauges have to offer.


    Bob Longo

    Article Details

    • Original Author Robert R. Longo
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date October 1978

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