N gauge Versus 1/144 Scale

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All AFVs and aircraft models shown in my shop photographs are 1/144 scale and all figures are 12 mm. I also state that the 12 mm figures on sale are suitable for N gauge and this can result in some confusion. I hope this mini-guide clarifies.

N 'scale' trains run on 9mm 'gauge' track, but the terms 'SCALE' and 'GAUGE are commonly mixed up.

SCALE:  the size ratio of a model compared to the full size item.

GAUGE:  the measurement between rails on track - full size or model.

Accurately speaking, N gauge when applied to a model is a misnomer:  it is N scale.

While N varies from 1/148 to 1:160 across the world, the track gauge is 9 mm. [N stands for 'N'ine mm gauge.]

In the USA and Europe, models of standard gauge trains [4’-8.5"] are built to 1:160 scale but designed to run on N gauge track.  In the UK, 1:148 is used.  In Japan, 1:150 is used for models of 3’-6" gauge trains, while 1:160 is used for standard gauge Shinkansen [Bullet Train] models.

In the U.S. and Europe, a scale of 1:160 is used for train models, irrespective of the gauge of the actual trains they are scaled from.  All of these scales run on the same 9mm track [N] gauge.  This means the track is a little too narrow for 1:148 / 1:150 but the difference is considered too small to matter. 

For deciding an appropriate height of scaled figure, consider how a man’s height affects scale.  See table below:

              Man's height                                       Figure's Height                                  Scale

  ft             Inches             m                              mm            inches                                

6'-'0"            72               1.83            -               10.0             0.39               -                  1:183

5'-6"            68                1.7              -               10.0             0.39              -                   1:173

6'-'0"           72                1.83             -              12.0             0.47               -                  1: 152

5'-6"            68                 1.7               -             12.0            0.47               -                  1:144

6'-'0"           72                1.83              -             12.2             0.5                 -                 1: 144

5'-6"            68                 1.7               -             12.2             0.5                  -                1:136

6'-'0"           72                 1.83              -            15.0             0.59                -                 1:122

5'-6"           68                  1.7                -            15.0            0.59                 -                1:115

In summary, assuming an average W.W.II. warrior stood between 5’-6" and 6’-0" tall, then both traditional imperial height model figures of ½" [12.7 mm], and modern metric 12.0 mm can be considered ideal for representing 1/144 scale figures.  At the same time it can be seen that 15 mm figures are too tall, and 10 mm figures too small.

A lot of the above information has been collected from other enthusiasts over time.  My thanks and apologies to all contributers who are not acknowledged here.

Hope this helps.

Mehusla of 1-144 Direct E-Bay Store

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