Sign in to follow this  

Seeking opinion: JNR loading gauge

Recommended Posts

Okay, so North American standard gauge steam locomotives tend to be right around 10-11 feet wide (some variation, of course). JNR steam is apparently between 9 feet and 9 feet 6 inches. 

I have previously been representing NA standard gauge with 8 width builds (with 10 width cylinders by necessity), and I am pretty happy with that.

With 3 footers (and 3 foot 6 inches 'cape') narrow gauge, I had been doing 7 studs, with 9 stud cylinders. This works very well for New Zealand, Canadian and American locomotives in these gauges, because our smaller sized railroads tend to have pretty small loading gauge (NZR's maximum is 8 feet, 6 inches - so on the same track that JNR runs, the New Zealanders are working with a full FOOT less width!). 

So, the question is: if I want to maintain some level of scaling consistency, should I model JNR steam in 8w, or 7w? 

I see arguments for both: 7w has a smaller overall part count for everything (locos, cars, etc.) by almost a quarter. It also keeps the narrow gauge "narrow" - at least more slender than my 8w models.

However, 9 feet 6 inches is really closer to American standard gauge width than it is most of NZR/North American narrow gauge. Japanese "narrow gauge" is undeniably bigger than that being run in NA and other places by a wide margin; heck, the tractive effort of their 2-8-2s is almost 1/4th greater than a K-36 locomotive - widely acknowledged as the beefiest of all NA narrow gauge locos. 

I'm honestly flummoxed. And I don't want to go with one or the other just regret it later.


And, just in case you were bored to tears by all that, have a super sweet train video:


Edited by ProvenceTristram

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to do scale model, you have to find the exact scale ratio, that is: the real gauge divided by the Lego one. For instance if you consider a 1000m real gauge and you have the standard Lego gauge (38mm) you get a scale 1:26.

Obviously this change if you have a narrower Lego gauge.

When you have the scale you can find the true stud measure by dividing the width of the real locomotive by 26x8=208 (8mm is the space between two studs). So for a 2.7metre width you get 13 (!) studs =103mm. This for scale modeling, If you look for minifig scale modeling this is vastly debated because the lego minifig are not scaled on the human body (no knees!) so everybody has is own opinion.

Finally the answer is when the result is good to your eye, that is the most important thing :-)


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that @monai has a point. Pick a scale and then build to that scale. LEGO is a very Digital (in the pixelated sense) medium so you will have to make some concessions. 

It was a little hard to follow your post because of all the abbreviations but I think this was the gist. You model North American rail in 8 studs = 10 feet scale and want other things to be proportional to this? In that case every 6" is one plate. I model in this scale and it produces 7 wide tractor trailers, 5-6 wide cars, some larger rail cars and old steam locos are 12 feet wide which puts you at almost 10 studs wide (8 studs + 4 plates)!!! 

If you based the scale of the builds solely on track gauge, then you would be looking at 1 stud = 1 foot making 10 stud wide creations. That is a TON of parts! LEGO has compromises so I feel that 1:48 (8 studs = 10 feet) is the perfect scale for minifigs. It puts a minifig at 6 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide lol! 

I really liked your idea of using rail spacing that is 5 instead of 6 studs to represent narrow gauge. It makes for a much nicer build than the 4 stud LEGO narrow tracks. 

I hope this somewhat answers your questions!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.