Sunday 25 December 2011

The mysteries of scale.

Excellent and wholly unexpected Christmas present today: a pack of 4 HO scale French cars to park outside my station. And, they were from the correct era. Perfect.

Despite the fact that they had "HO" embossed on the chassis of each, my first reaction was that they were far too small.

They looked as if they were made to the much smaller N scale. Then I remembered that I actually had an N scale Jaguar and it would be worthwhile comparing them. For completeness, I also dug out an old diecast Austin A40 from my childhood which I knew was to 1/42nd scale and which, in my mind's eye, seemed more in line with my model trains.

N scale is 1:160; HO scale is 1:87 and the diecast is 1:42. That would mean that the HO car should be approx half the size of the A40. As you can see, the former is indeed  half the length, half the height and half the width of the latter. But, of course, these three factors of length, height and width multiply together to give a 1/8th difference in volume. To the eye, the diecast certainly seems 8 times the size of the HO model but the scales only differ by a factor of 2.

What do these three cars look like next to an HO scale train?

Here is a picture of cars next to a train in real life.

Cars really are much smaller  than  trains.

So, everything is OK - the new cars really are of the same scale as my trains. Phewww.

Before going to Helensburgh to spend Christmas Day with my niece and her family, I was listening, yet again to Daniel Barenboim playing various Beethoven piano sonatas. Never get fed up of these pieces - in fact, I enjoy them more each time I hear them. This phenomenon of enjoying something more on each playing is, in my opinion, characteristic of classical music as opposed to all forms of popular music. There the opposite effect is in play to varying degrees ie one eventually gets sick of a popular song/tune.

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