S Scale Model Railroads & Trains

Go full steam ahead with one of the oldest model railroading scale trains, the 1:64, or S scale. You may also come across S scale model trains referred to as the American Flyer trains, in reference to the creator A.C. Gilbert’s 1:64 line of trains marketed in 1937 as the American Flyer trains.

Advantages of the S

Sitting nicely between the larger O scale and the smaller HO, the S scale trains offer all the advantages of O with less space needed. One major plus to building in the 1:64 scale is it is a common architectural scale for building materials and wire sizes found in hobby shops. This makes modeling easier, which provides greater detail, and quality you can see. The S scale model railroads and trains also provide plenty of room for motors, decoders, and speakers and are an easy-to-handle size.

Getting Started

Maybe you already have some original A.C. Gilbert American Flyer equipment that you wish to expand on, or maybe you are a fresh beginner at building a model railway. Either way, you might be interested in combining both original American Flyer model trains and newer S scale model products. In this case, look for locomotives and cars that are American Flyer compatible. It is good to know that all Lionel and MTH train sets are compatible with the older A.C. Gilbert products.

Moving Forward

Although the benefits of S scale model railroads and trains are appealing to modelers who enjoy the level of detail in larger equipment, one downside is the scope of products are somewhat limited. This leaves hobbyists with frequently building needed items from scratch. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. Narrow down your search by brand and you will see an overwhelmingly majority fall under the American Flyer brand, however Lionel, American Models, and MTH offer products as well. Filter your search for freight cars, locomotives, passenger cars, and tracks by year to match your theme; in doing so you will find many available in the 1940s-1960s. Lastly, choose the material of your set carefully. Brass for example conducts electricity well, but the metal needs frequent cleaning. Nickel silver requires little maintenance, however it doesn’t conduct electricity well. Steel might be an option but you should be aware it rusts quickly when used often.