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Using trains on the model farm or truck layout

If you are a diecast layout beginner then you might be asking… “Which model train scale is best suited for my 1/64 diecast layout?

A common mistake for beginners is to confuse train language with diecast farm and truck language. Typically model trains use letters to signify the scale while diecast uses a fraction or ratio. Both hobbies are speaking the same language using different terms. See the chart below.  

Simply stated, scale is the proportion of the replica to the real thing.

For example, S scale diecast models are 1/64 the size of the real life train, tractor, or truck.

The main model train and diecast scales are:

  • O scale 1:48 – train farm and truck
  • S scale 1:64 – train farm and truck
  • OO scale 1:76 – train
  • HO scale 1:87 – train farm and truck

Notice that 1/16 and 1/32 scale, popular diecast farm and truck models were left out as there is not much in trains to incorporate the scales together for a layout.

All the trees, bridges, roads, buildings and other accessories are all scaled to the relevant size. HO scale has become the most popular scale in trains while 1/64 scale is a primary scale for diecast farm and truck model layouts. 

1/64th Scale – HO Scale Comparison

A quick comment about HO (1/87th) and 1/64th (S) scale. To add trains to a S scale farm, one would choose S scale trains. The only trouble with that idea, S scale trains and accessories are not common which drives up the price to add these features.

On the other hand, to keep a true HO train layout and add farm or truck accessories, the exact same problem occurs. Often the HO (1/87) scale farm and truck models are not as common and often not detailed as they exist in 1/64th scale. One caveat is 1/87 scale semis have come a long way regarding detail but lacks in variety. 

Can a person combine HO and S scale. Of course! However, these are two different sizes of models. For example, a 20’ tall building in S scale is 3 ¾” tall and in HO scale 2 ¾” is tall.

The image below shows the 64/87 comparison.

As mentioned above, HO scale dominates the model train market thus offering the largest affordable selection of accessories, building etc. For our 1/64 layouts we can still use some HO additions such as trees, vegetation, soil for fields, grass, and all those things that have variety in real life. 

Adding HO buildings to a 1/64 layout may look obviously out of scale. 

What are your thoughts about combining different scales into a layout?

New to 1.64 layouts? Start here with Your First 1.64 Scale Layout