Searching for Scale Information - Newbie

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by kellyrj, Nov 6, 2003.

  1. kellyrj

    kellyrj New Member


    Last Christmas a family member gave me a model ceramic village that had been used in a Christmas display.

    I've been unable to find figures and other accessories to accent the pieces so I'm turning to the world of model railroads for help in selecting figures, vehicles and scenery to add to the display.

    Most of the houses are small. They're roughly 5 inches wide by 4 inches tall.

    Which model railroad scale would be appropriate for matching with houses of that size?

    I don't like holiday displays where the figure skaters look like they could crush the surrounding houses!

    Thanks for any help.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If the houses are well proportioned, and not cartoonish, try measuring the height of the door. Most doors are between 7 and 8 feet high. You should be able then to work out your scale.

    To give you an example, in HO scale (1:87) most people measure under 1 inch tall.

    Other scales include:

    Z 1:220
    N 1:160
    HO 1:87
    OO 1:76
    S 1:64
    O 1:48
    G (Garden scale) anything around 1:24

    See for more info.

    Lots of people have a mix of scales, especially when it comes to the "Christmas Village" display. If components of the display are different scales, try to keep them separated - it will make the differences less obvious. Also put the smaller scale items to the back. Model railroaders do this often - it's called forced perspective. It makes a scene look "deeper" than it is because the items at the back appear further away.

    Hope that was helpful. Good luck!

  3. jwmurrayjr

    jwmurrayjr Member

    Some folks use Bachmann On30 with Dept. 56 Christmas villages.

    Most of the Dept. 56 figures are a bit over sized anyway.

    Merry Christmas!
  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Sounds like your ceramics are about HO scale. Your average HO little person is between 3/4 and 7/8" tall. If you have a Hobby Lobby nearby, they usually carry them in the Bachmann or Life-Like brand. I can't think of any other large retailers that would carry them so your local hobby shop would be your next best bet. Most Matchbox and Hot Wheels brand trucks are near HO scale, the cars are way too big. Walmart carries bottlebrush pine trees for a nice price that fall into a reasonable size. Autos are a bit more difficult and pricey, your local hobby shop may carry or be able to order the EKO brand of vehicles. At $2-4 apeice, that's about as cheap as they come and are fairly good looking. On my Christmas layout, I use the cheap but effective Tootsie Toy brand of cars. I don't even know if they are made any more. While a hard core scale modeler, I have a soft spot for Christmas gardens and set one up every year.
  5. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Santa Says..."Enjoy Your Village"

    Since your buildings are roughly 5" wide by 4" tall that translates to 20ft X 16 ft in O Scale 1:48 or 1/4"=1ft.

    A lot of the Christmas village things are roughly O Scale. The other scale that they use is 1/8" = 1 ft. which using your measurments comes out to 40ft X32 ft which seems to be way out of porportion.

    Bear in mind that the Christmas villages are whimsical things anyway and not intended to be scale models. So....just enjoy them :)

    One thing that will help put things into perspective is to but the larger pieces to the back of your display and the smaller pieces to the front:)
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Ok guys, lets get the story straight...

    Masonjar - put the small items to the back
    Vic - put the smaller items to the front
    Shaygetz - seems to be HO scale
    Vic - seems to be O scale...

    No wonder we all are confused... :confused:

    Kellyrj, someone should have warned you that when you ask a question in model railroading, you are likely to get 5 answers from three people, and the answers may contradict. The final answer is that you should do what you think looks right and what works for you, bearing in mind the suggestions that others make.

    I have found there is rarely a single "right" answer. :rolleyes: Hope we helped at least!

  7. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Re: Santa Says..."Enjoy Your Village"

    As Old Santa said...."Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night":D :D :D :p
  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    "Ho, ho,'ll shoot yer eye out, kid." 'Tis Model railroaders that are whimsical, too.
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    It is really hard to guess at the sizes of your "Christmas village."
    My wife has aquired a number of ceramic Christmas buildings, some with lights and some without. We got them after Christmas over the years at "Pic & Save" now called "Big Lots." The price was cheap, but they are inexpensive "knock offs" not the real thing. Some of her buildings seem to have ho scale doors, some are closer to n scale. I don't think any of them are big enough to be o scale. The best idea is to measure the doors. If they measure out to @ 1/8" to the foot- doors 7/8" tall, you are close to ho scale. If they measure out to 1/4" to the foot-1 3/4" tall, you are close to O-scale. If the doors measure out to 7/16"- 3/8"
    tall you are close to n-scale. I haven't got a Christmas layout set up yet, but I have a Rivarossi 4-4-0 painted for Virginia & Truckee, and a set of MDC Overton shorty passenger cars also lettered for V&T. These are ho of course, and I want to try them out on as small a radius as I can get them to run reliably on to make a small Christmas layout.

Share This Page