Copyright 2001 T. Sheil & A. Sheil All Rights Reserved
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Make the Different Sized Pieces in Your Village Work
Please refer to images in the Village Examples galleries for illustrated
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
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:
||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:
||1 scale foot
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
So how do you make it work?
Isolation: Specific zones are created, usually around a specific land feature,
building, scene or hamlet. In each zone, a scale is designated. All items
placed in that zone should be about the same scale.
Stepping off: Larger scaled pieces are placed forward of the smaller ones.
This is a use of depth perception, as distant items always appear smaller.
The stepping off need only be a few inches, but it works with the general
tendency of human vision.
Cutting: Zones are separated by some feature, such as railroad tracks, roads,
fences, etc. This is not the same as separating by solid objects like hills,
which is a very good technique in itself. Cutting uses flat, linear scenery
to draw a line between zones. It works with the psychological tendency to
separate things differentiated by lines and barriers
Solid walls: Zones are separated by solid barriers such as hills, cliffs,
forests, etc. This essentially cuts off the view of one zone from another.
Some Examples (see out Village Examples for illustrations):
Isolation: here we have two sizes of buildings. The Victorian buildings are
scaled close to that of O trains. Our Diner is about 1/32. We would naturally
make all scenery around the Victorian houses within the 1/64 to 1/48 range
if possible. Our larger Diner would have figures from 1/35 to 1/30 size on
the platform. It would be natural to keep the forward part of the Diner scenicked
in the same range. In our Yule Village, isolated neighborhoods were the Diner,
the New Village, Victorian Village, Blue Lighthouse and the Wilds. Each used
a different approach to creating Tinscale balance.
Stepping Off: Our Victorian Village had two ranges of figures available.
Those included with it were about 1/40 in size, and the additional Lemax
figures were about 1/32. The trick was to have the smaller-scaled buildings
in the background. 1/40 figures were stepped off anywhere from « to
3 inches to the fore. 1/32 figures were stepped off 4 and more inches forward.
In the case of the cut-off part of the Victorian Village, placing
the 1/32 policeman at the outer edge of the scene allowed balance to be retained,
even though he was but an inch from a building. Fences served to cut off
the playground and other areas.
Cutting: a railroad train served to cut off the Diner, a 1/32 building /
scene,. From the 1/48 New Village. In the New Village itself, the stone bridge
cut off 1/32 figures from the houses. Likewise, the tracks cut off the non-scaled
Blue Lighthouse scene from the stepped-off Victorian Village. The fences
in the cut-off right section of the Victorian Village cut off the 1/40 scale
playground from the 1/32 policeman.
Solid Walls - the effect of the Yule Tree stand was enough to place the Wilds
of our layout away from the other villages, thus allowing for distance and
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