HO Scale

h0 scale or HO for younger generation, what does it all mean?

Well, h0 ( original abbreviation ) stands for half zero.....hence the lower case 'h' and the number zero, duh!

That being out of the way, next thing up is scale and gauge, another beautiful topic of confusement ( can make my own words as well like HO ).

The scale of h0 (HO) is 1:87 which is half of 0 scale.......0 scale is 1:43,5 to be exact. These days 1:45 is still regarded as 0 scale. To add to the confusion, the guys from that island who do not know how to use a calculator, call 0 scale O gauge, which is wrong....... Will come back to them just now.

The same guys from that island, who cannot make up their mind whether they are Europeans, got a scale close to h0 (HO) which is called double O but spelled 00......need I say more? The scale is 1:76 which is slightly bigger than h0 (HO). But, and now we are getting technical (hence me preferring the German way of scale and gauge), because the British loading gauge is quite a bit smaller than the continental European one, the scaled down versions of the island prototypes can mix with their continental counterparts. Size wise they are roughly similar.

Confused yet?

Now let's talk gauge, this is the distance between the 2 rails. It's got nothing to do with scale! A scale like h0 (HO) can have various gauges and vice versa one gauge can serve various scales.

Standard h0 (HO) gauge is 16.5mm, this is worked out from the prototype standard track system which 1435mm between the rails. Anything bigger is broad gauge like prototypes of Russia, Ireland and the Iberian peninsula. Anything smaller is narrow gauge, like prototypes of Southern Africa, field track and industrial track. Funny enough double O (spelled 00) uses a gauge of 16.5mm.....As I mentioned earlier they got a calculator problem as it should be 18mm. Don't ask... But it's great for us modellers as we can now mix British outline with any h0 (HO).

But wait, there is more: there are narrow gauges which are being modeled, like h0m and h0e. These two being the most common ones.

First of all h0m, 12mm between the rails which is the h0 (HO) version of prototypical metre gauge but we use it as well for Cape Gauge. Cape Gauge being the common gauge thru the larger part of Africa of course. It's not a 100% correct but very close. Overseas examples are various railways in Switserland and some tramway systems. h0e is an industrial gauge, 9mm between the rails and usually 750mm in real life. But here in South Africa we got non-industrial examples like the Apple- or Banana- Express.

And now just to please everyone we got different ways of describing the various h0 (HO) gauges. Friends of the guys on the island named h0m
HOn3.5 and h0e HOn2. Obviously these are just the most common h0 (HO) gauges.

Hope above clears a few things up and one can understand why one tries to steer away from the English language people's idea and description of scale and gauge...

Please select the correct scale at the time of purchase. 

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