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Make the Different Sized Pieces in Your Village Work Together

Please refer to images in the Village Examples galleries for illustrated reference

Working in Tinscale

Whereas Scale Modeling require that all elements be sized to one precise scale, Tinscale uses many scales at once. Scale Modeling is replication of the real world in miniature, and is more science than art. Tinscale is an artful representation of the world in miniature, and is mostly art and very little science.

The name "Tinscale" comes from the tin-plate trains old. When those trains were made, strict adherence to scale was rare. Accessories and trains were a mix of scales and non-scale. Many of the common O Gauge accessories sold today hie from the days of tinplate, and are sized too large for the trains which they accompany. Accessories in scales ranging from 1/64 to 1/24 can be seen packed with train that themselves are in scales from 1/64 to 1/32, all made to run on a single gauge of track: O.

Tinscale is not limited to trains. The proliferation of ceramic and porcelain villages, such as Lemax and Department 56, perpetuates the mix of scales. Many of these buildings are scales between 1/64 and 1/40, with an occasional larger piece. Most of the human figures for them range from 1/40 to 1/30, while vehicles and small accessories are even more varied. Collectors of the painted, lighted villages seem not to care that these scales are mixed.

More recently, O Gauge train operators have been adopting the porcelain villages as scenery. Though some village-making companies produced very small trains as accessories, O Gauge is the trend these days. One occasionally sees Standard Gauge, the mammoth toy trains of the 1920s and 1930s that, if they could be scaled, would run 1/32 to a whopping 1/24. Another less common train is the massive #1 Gauge and G Scale. They are not quite as large as Standard Gauge, since the #1 / G trains preferred for Yule Villages tend to be Narrow Gauge types. Nonetheless, they run between 1/32 and 1/20 in scale.

The appropriate size for a man in these scales is set here:

Scale Height of man in inches Height of man in millimeters
O 1/48  & O27 1/64 1 1/2" to 1 1/8" 27mm to 40mm
Standard, G, #1 1/32  to 1/24 2 1/4" to 3 " 54mm to 75mm

To give you an idea of the scales:

Say we wanted to render one foot into the proper length for each scale? In other words, what would one foot in real life equal what if we scaled it down?  Here's a chart showing how small it would be for each scale:

Scale 1 scale foot
1/64 3/16"
1/48 1/4"
1/32 3/8"
1/24 1/2"
1/20 6/10"

Do the math, and you find that 1/24 is twice as large as 1/48, while 1/32 is twice as large as 1/64

You can see how the large trains would overwhelm buildings set between 1/64 and 1/48.

So how do you make it work?

Some Examples (see out Village Examples for illustrations):

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