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Allypally and thoughts of scale and gauge

David Holman


The Festival of Railway modelling at Alexandra Palace was its usual enjoyable event, made better by seeing Paul Green's fine S scale Irish layout. Some superb stock there Paul, especially the Achill bogie...

A feature of Allypally is the sheer range of scale, gauge and prototype on show. One that stood out for me was Orange County and 'FS3' model. For that read 1:15 scale, so 3' gauge on 45mm track. BIG, in other words - am sure whole layouts have been built in one of their stockboxes!.

Lovely modelling & it set me thinking that this combination could be used to model the Irish scene. Maybe Clogher Valley, where the steam loco chassis could be hidden behind the tramway skirts. Producing the Railcar or its tractor sibling would be an interesting exercise!

Actually, have pondered 32mm track and 10mm/ft scale for a Clogher model & even gone as far as producing a few drawings. Wheels and track not a problem & would imagine a lot of work could be done in plasticard. In my 7mm NG days, did a lot of this. Locos were initially freelance on Lima chassis, using 12mm plastic water pipe for boilers and plastic sheet for footplate, tanks, can etc. A loco can be built very quickly in this way & if freelance, one can get on without worrying about prototype fidelity. Actually based one engine on a CVR 0-4-2T. Chimneys and domes were either 7mm castings or 'expanded' 4mm ones. Eg cut a GWR 'King' chimney in half & made it longer with some brass tube.

Another scale gauge combination is 'American' 0: 1:48 or 6mm/foot. Gordon Gravett uses this on his Pempoul odyssey. For Ireland, 32mm [0 gauge] track is near perfect for 5'3 and EM [18mm] track spot on for 3' gauge. However, 7mm scale wheels do not scale down well in 6mm. A 5'6" driver in 7mm scale would be 38.5mm in diameter and therefore 6'3 in 6mm scale, and probably have many more spokes. Shame...

Incidentally, just to show I dabble in other things, check the 'American' section of this website for my 'dual scale' shunting layout. Has anyone else tried this wheeze?


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Modelling Irish railways is either a matter of ignoring the gauge issue like many modellers in order to get something running, or deciding whether to run with an established scale and vary the gauge, or use an established gauge and vary the scale. Unless you are absolutely determined to scratchbuild everything including rolling your own rails and casting and machining wheels its probably easiest to stick with an established scale.


Having a 45mm gauge garden railway and seeing Ian Ramseys U Tube videos 15mm scale Irish narrow gauge with some of John Amstrongs live steam Irish locos and stock would be tempting or even an 8.6mm scale B141 or C Class, but I would probably need to take out a second mortgage and what do I do with all my small scale stuff.


While the OO/EM/S4 thing in the UK is complicated enough Large Scale American G Scale is a real can of worms with 3' gauge narrow gauge stock modelled in three different scales 1:20.5, 1:22.5 & 1:24 all running on 45mm Gauge 1 track, not helped with Aristo Craft doing a Henry Greenly and producing a large scale OO with American standard gauge models produced over size to "make them look more impressive" and other manufacturers following suit.


Somewhere or other I have a presentable Schull & Skibereen Erin bought second hand from the UK modelled in plasticard on a Toymobile chassis, built like a battleship boiler fittings formed from bits of tube, bolts, washers etc



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It is a tangled web we weave John! Gauge 1 seems just as varied as G - almost as mad as OO/HO and Trix Twin, which I think was 3.8mm/ft...

A case of if it works, don't fix it, I guess.

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Ally Pally used to be my local show (literally, could walk to it from Muswell Hill), good to hear it's still going strong and is enjoyable as ever. Must go back one year for old times sake. A much better venue than Warley in my opinion!

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Well worth it, Warbonnet. As you say, a grand venue and a really eclectic mix of models. Always something for everyone. Best of all, lots of space, both for big layouts and to help avoid the rucksack luggers. A good day out.

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