Scale Modeling

Like most other scales, or gauges, in the model railroading community, there is some history to "S" scale. Although 1:64, or "S", model railroading was made popular by the A.C. Gilbert company's American Flyer toy trains, a lot of new modeling is being done to-scale, much like Z-, N-, HO-, and O-scale is being modeled today. This page highlights some of the latest activities in the S-scale community.

In addition to this web site, you might also be interested in the NMRA S Scale SIG, whose purpose is to promote S "scale" modeling to the NMRA community.

Disclaimer: the NASG cannot be held responsible for the content of external web sites. However, all links are routinely checked for suitability.

Photo Gallery

Model Railroader magazine published Brooks Stover's A Model Railroader's Guide to Digital Photography. Both Model Railroader and Brooks have provided permission for us to re-post his guide. Learn how Brooks takes stunning photos like the one above, and follow his guidance for doing the same for your layout.

Narrow Gauge

These are a few photos of Roy Hoffman's Penn Western layout, which also features the E.B.T. narrow gauge.

Featured Modelers

In this section we wish to feature some of the recent projects completed by S-scale modelers. If you have a recommendation or have recently completed a project yourself, send your suggestion to the webmaster.

The Pacific Lumber Company Log Flats

Bob Hogan spent 25 years wondering how he was going to build a small fleet of these flat cars. One possibility was to build a master, and then have the cars reproduced using resin casting. However, today we have a somewhat viable alternative; 3D printing. Bob found a local HOn3 modeler who enjoyed creating 3D CAD designs of unique cars that he needed for his layout. He was able to scale the design such that it was viable for S-scale. The limiting factor is that Shapeways (the commercial entity in the Netherlands who produces this product) is limited in the amount of material that can be printed. This 44-foot S-scale car fits diagonally in the available cubic space. Here's a photo of the car that Bob wanted in S-scale.

copyright Robert Hogan; used by permission

The next photo shows a good top-side view of the cars.

copyright Robert Hogan; used by permission

This is the 3D CAD drawing that produced the model ("jaggies" are due to the severe resizing to get the very large image to fit on this page).

copyright Robert Hogan; used by permission

With the design work completed, the CAD file was sent to Shapeways, who do a quality-control check. Actually the check is: Can we print this design without any problems? The initial design came back with a request the make the queen posts bigger. The revised design was accepted. Bob placed the order with Shapeways and this is the product that they sent him. You can order one for yourself. What you see in the photo is what you get. To order yours, see the Shapeways page. This page belongs to the gentleman who produced the design, but since he doesn't do this professionally, he doesn't require a designer's fee. This car is now available in N-, HO-, and S-scale! Note that the 3D printer lays down a one-millimeter thick layer of material with each pass. This both limits the resolution of what can be printed, and also gives you an idea of how long such a print will take.

copyright Robert Hogan; used by permission

In addition to the car's body, here is Bob's parts list to complete this car:

With the parts in hand, Bob did his magic, and the result is shown in the photo below. You can see a second car off to the right. The main one has been weathered. Bob reports that he "only" has eight more cars to go!

copyright Robert Hogan; used by permission

Here's a great photo Bob took of the underside details of his car.

copyright Robert Hogan; used by permission

After waiting 25 years, Bob wasted no time putting these cars to work. Time to go get some logs! Bob's next project is a 41-foot mill car that is being designed and 3D-printed in the same manner.

copyright Robert Hogan; used by permission

Studebaker Dealership

Jim Sleeth shares with us his model of a Studebaker dealership. The diorama he is developing is one that starts off as a 1955 Studebaker dealership, but as the Delorean whizzes by at 88mph and energizes the flux capacitor, the owner is immediately transported to the future when the facility is now a 1985 Toyota dealership (of course, referencing the Back to the Future movies with Michael J. Fox; prototype photos show the actual building).

Improving the American Models S-12 Switcher

American Models produces the Baldwin Locomotive Works switcher, the S-12. It was a 1,200hp yard switching diesel locomotive manufactured between 1951 and 1956. One is preserved at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum at Strasburg.

Matt Hogan has been working diligently trying to get this engine run smooth and slow, like a yard switcher should. If you are interested in doing the same with your model, he provided some instructive photos on what he did. Matt kindly gave permission to share these photos on the NASG web site (for those who are not members of the Yahoo S-scale mailing list and/or the S-SIG web site). First, he ordered the "low" gear from American Models to replace the "normal" gear that is installed in the trucks. He found, however, that the washers needed to be replaced.

This is what the American Models chassis looks like when opened.

Matt ordered and installed the NWSL replacement motor and appropriate flywheels. He posted a video on YouTube showing the difference in performance between the chassis with the NWSL replacement parts installed when, first, using the "normal" gear, and then the "low" gear, all running on straight DC.

Matt says, "Just use an NWSL cup on the AM 2.4mm worm shaft and the 2.4mm motor shaft, and cut the NWSL 2.0mm shaft material to the proper length. Then fit each end with a NWSL horned ball."

Matt discovered that axle gears were cracked or chipped. American Models will provide replacement parts.

Michael Greene has an article on his web site showing how he converted his engine to DCC. Here is a YouTube video of two S-12 engines with sound decoders installed. Classic Toy Trains February 2004 issue has a product review of this engine.

Visiting Bob Jackson's Layout August 2012

Bill Winans and Gerry Evans visited Bob Jackson's layout before going to the 2012 NASG Convention, and Bill shares these photos he took of Bob's layout. Used by permission of both photographer and layout owner. You can also view a a YouTube video recorded by a visitor to Bob's layout in March 2012.

Bill Winans' Modified Wabash Valley Shells

This A unit has a Wabash Valley shell mounted on a modified American Models chassis. The chassis has a large coreless motor installed. The shell has both Overland and B.T.S. detailing parts applied. It also has American Models FP-7 skirting and ends. The truck sideframes were manufactured by Bill himself and are no longer available. Wabash Valley acquired the Enhorning shell molds.

Similarly, the B unit is a Wabash Valley shell on a modified AM chassis. This is a late model version with the Farr grill and 48" dynamic brake fan.

S-scale Magazines

The following magazines or regular publications feature all or some S "scale" modeling:

Additional S-scale Resources

Hungry for more? There is lots of S-scale content in magazines, on the Web, and lots of ways to discuss and learn more about what's going on in "S"!

Magazine Articles (updated 10/27/2013)

Discussion Groups and Forums (updated 07/31/2013)

S-scale Outside North America

Individual or Club Layouts on the Web (updated 12/21/2013)

S-scale Videos Online (updated 12/21/2013)

S-scale Articles on the Web (updated 12/21/2013)