S Scale

This is a general page for discussion of S Scale Railway Modelling. As things develop, sub-pages will be added to reflect various topics. One day, I may even add a forum!

Cyril Freezer once wrote that the best reason for modelling in S is the other people doing it, and he was right: with about 100 members, not all in the UK, the active contingent know each other and rub along nicely without much rubbing up the wrong way, and we soon sort out those issues before they get to be a problem because that is what friends do.  In fact, we have only ever had two contested nominations at elections, both at the same AGM (something went wrong there, then!) Usually it is all sorted out beforehand – the difficulty being, as anyone who has been a member of a model railway association/club/group/society will know, getting people to stand. The upside, of course, is that since one of the defining qualities of a good elected person is that they do not seek office, then a little bit of arm-twisting in advance is to be preferred. In my own case a stint on the committee followed a slightly hazy night on the whisky in Blairgowrie, where I voiced some opinions about the sorts of parts that should be stocked and sold, forgetting that the Hon Parts Officer seat was empty at the time. Well, that’s my side of the story. I’ll give them their due: they waited 8 months before proposing me. The moral of the story is, beware of committee members buying you drinks!

Anyway, it is a nice place to be, fairly small so you get to know people quickly, but some of the people you get to know are top-notch railway modellers and all of them top-notch people. Plus me, of course – there has to be a downside to everything, I suppose. (Every silver lining has a cloud!)

I have a theory why S is perceived as “the right size”, and it also applies to Gauge 1 in its (proper) 1:32 format. The human eye with the help of the brain measures things via angular displacement, binocular stereoscopy and perspective and as with standard geometry is pretty good at halving angles. If you take a half, and halve it, and halve it, and halve it, you have 1/32nd of your starting point: do it once more, and it is 1/64th of the original. It therefore “fits” just right into the mind’s eye. It’s only a hunch, but there is probably a PhD thesis that could come out of it! Incidentally, this also makes the scale ideally suited to the modern computational era: two to the power 6 is 64, or 100000 in binary….

There is a little bit about my first awareness of S, and first encounters with it on my page recounting my personal relationship with the scale.

A side benefit of modelling in an off-beat scale is that one is freed from the constraints of what is available from the trade: apart from a few (but surprisingly large list of) key items, you will have to make things for yourself, so conversely, if you want to model an unusual prototype, then working in S makes the modelling a bit easier than 4mm scale, and more accommodating of a layout than 7mm scale. You end up with something like the picture below, taken on Trevor Nunn’s superlative “East Lynn”. Notice the GWR iron mink, in pre-1896 red, behind the train – that was originally produced by the SGMRS (as it then was) as castings made of dental resin, back in the 70s.

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