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Let’s focus on scale figures for a moment. Considering the percent differences as shown in the chart on the prior page, you can see why I would not use a ½ scale (1:24) person in conjunction with a 1:18 scale car. The scale difference is 27%. As in 27% smaller. A 1:20.3 person adjacent to or in a 1:18 vehicle is okay as the scale difference is only 9%. The difference in height between a 5’6” person and a 6’ person is ~8%. The difference between a 1:22.5 scale person and a 1:18 scale vehicle is 21%. Big difference. Therefore, I avoid using 1:22.5 figures immediately adjacent to 1:18 scale vehicles. The exception is 1930 era vehicles as they were not large by today's standards and for most of us, we do not have a good mental/visual feel for vintage vehicles as they compare in size to a human figure. The photo below shows a 1:22.5 figure standing adjacent to a 1:18 scale 1932 Ford pickup truck. Inside the truck is a 1:22.5 scale figure. Even though he is 1:22.5 I had to cut off his legs to get him to fit. Behind the truck are two 1:20.3 scale figures. They are standing in front of a relatively small 1:21 scale structure. The scene includes four different scales, yet, it seems to work just fine. I have a good friend that is also a model railroader. Actually he is a great model railroader and he has a truly amazing HO scale railroad. There are a couple of things that we tend to not fully agree on. I'll refer to him as Sniffing Wolf. Sniffing Wolf and I do not see eye-to-eye on the use of scale figures nor the use of forced perspective. In the first two photos below each has a figure in motion. One is swinging an axe and the other is bending over. The're in motion. Wolf believes that it doesn't look right to have figures in motion on a layout. Really, you have to be kidding me. You would end up with few figures on the layout if you had that belief. Locomotives without a crew!!! Did I mention that he is a great friend and a great model railroader?


Detail Parts:

What about detail parts? Almost anything goes with detail parts. For detailing the interior of buildings, I often use ½ scale dollhouse items such as shelving, groceries, household items, tools and more. See photo below on right. Inside the Martin’s general store there are items that scale out from 1:24 to 1:20.3. In the photo below of the two logging work cars I use a mixture of ½ scale, 1:22.5 and 1:20.3 detail parts. The figures are 1:22.5. I believe that it all works well because our minds eye cannot scale the size of the two cars. Besides, how many of us can say what size the scale log pulleys are relative to actual pulleys used in logging operations. As we know, they came in all sizes and shapes. 


See page on interior detail and page on the CONOCO gas station for additional details.

The truck below is 1:18 scale, the figure is 1:20, the outhouse is 1:20.


It took me longer to do the interior detail in Martin's then to build the structure

Upper Chamita 2a.jpg
Lower Chamita w_rock wall.jpg

In the foreground building on the right in the photo above, the interior has been partially detailed. Just enough detail to give the required feel. Frankly, no one ever notices the interior detail as the windows are too small. Though you can't tell it from the photo on the right, the engine house is full of detail. The 55 gallon drums were made from old 35mm film canisters with styrene strips added. The smaller drums are turned fir. The front and back walls of the engine house was made with coffee stir sticks.

Chamita engine house.jpg

All railroad facilities have piles of rusting junk.You can never have enough junk. At some point I will add more junk. Rusty and mangled switch stands are must items for the junk pile. Unfortunately they do not stand out as much as I would like. Maybe more rust is needed.


Guess what the siding on the trading post (right) and union hall (bottom) are made out off? Yup, coffee stir sticks. The carriage shop (lower right) was also made with coffee stir sticks.

RR Union hall.jpg

The carriage shop in the photos below and to the right has a full interior. As the building isn't lighted and because it is so far back on that section of the layout it will never be seen in its full glory. In the photo below you can see a wee bit of the interior. Did I mention that I painted a moveable backdrop? Kinda cool don't you think? Or, maybe not.

Carriage shop4.JPG
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