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Thursday, 25 February 2016

Model Railroading Scales - What Do the Letters Mean?


     Model railroading is fascinating and has been dubbed by many as the “World’s Greatest Hobby”.   It is very versatile and incorporates many learning opportunities and is so much fun for all ages. It includes creativity with sculpturing, painting, airbrushing, decorating and landscaping, and encourages scientific exploration of electronics, physics, mechanics, engineering and architecture, all combined with humour, friendship, family activities, social interaction, and the great sense of accomplishment.

Many people who visit us ask if there is significance to the letter referral to different size trains; N, HO, O, G, etc.  The answer is YES!!  We've compiled a list of all the scales and why they were named with that letter designation.

Please leave a comment after you've read this post and let us know what your thoughts on gauge and scale are and if this was helpful to you or not.




T - Ø 1:450 (referred to as 'Tiny' or 'Tokyo' as it was introduced at the Tokyo Toy Show in 2006)

ZZ - Ø 1:300 (Until the 2006 announcement of T scale, ZZ scale was the smallest commercially available scale for model railroads)

Z - Ø  1:220 (with all the letters identifying gauges Z became the smallest so they used the last letter in the alphabet)


N - Ø 1:160 (track gauge is 9mm, the N stands for Nine mm)

2mm - Ø 1:152 (similar in size to the slightly larger British N scale at 1:148 and the slightly smaller European/American N scale at 1:160; it predates both versions of N scale)

TT - Ø 1:120 (referred to as Table Top as it fit so easily on coffee tables)

3mm - Ø 1:101 (also known as 3 mm finescale, is a model railway scale of 3 mm: 1ft used for British prototypes. Introduced as British TT gauge)

OOØ 1:76 (Runs on HO track and is the British counterpart)

HOn3 - Ø 1:87 (The "n" in HOn3 stands for 'narrow gauge', HOn3 is still HO scale)

HO - Ø 1:87 (Half O or ‘aitch oh’)

S - Ø 1:64 (First named Standard Gauge then to represent that Scale that was half of 1 gauge which was built to 1:32 scale)

On3 - Ø 1:48 (is narrow gauge O scale)

O - Ø 1:48 (was referred as zero (or 0h) gauge)

G - Ø  1:22.5 ( G stands for Garden)

Live Steam - Ø  1:2, 1:4 or 1:3 scale  (Ridable, large-scale, powered by steam)


Gauge refers to the width of the track, measured between the railheads.  Different from scale, which is proportion to life-size.


At present, Chinook & Hobby West carries three Scales of Model Trains for Sale:  O scale, HO Scale, and N scale.  This article was researched through Atlas, Kato, NMRA and Bachmann.



Thursday, 11 February 2016

Tips for Restringing or Retightening Action Figures


Over the years, we have purchased many collections with action figures in pieces because the elastics broke. We have also had parents come in asking if we repair action figures or if we can show/tell someone how to fix one.

Rob can show you. It is fairly easy if you are patient and have a steady hand.  But because Rob is pretty busy and hard to nail down, he found an article that should help you out with some great tips, references and steps.

The following is taken from that article and there is a link at the bottom of this post so you can go see what else you can do to fix up those figures.

Before you read the article, here's a few things you may want to have on hand for when you're ready to fix your action figures.

  1. a various selection of small 'O' rings or elastics
  2. a sectioned container to sort the 'O' rings
  3. a couple sizes of crotchet hooks (they come in metal, plastic & wood and can be found at craft stores)
  4. fine tip craft scissors or sprue cutters
  5. set of hobby screwdrivers










Are you sitting comfortably?  Then let's learn something neat!

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Idea 1
The best way to tighten your Action Figure involves a partial re-string. You need to shorten the single elastic (or you can use a new 'O' ring to reconnect the pieces) that connects the two legs and the neck. You need a long tool with a little hook on it like a crochet needle and a thin phillips screwdriver.
  1. Holding Joe securely, pull his head away from the neck hole until you see the elastic that loops around the neck hook.
  2. Push the screwdriver or crotchet hook through the loop to hold it securely above the neck hole.
  3. This will allow you to easily unhook the neck from the elastic.
  4. Set the head/neck aside.
  5. Pull and separate the lower section away from the upper.
    Now you will have Joes two legs and abdomen section free to work on. 
  6. You can shorten (tighten) the elastic by folding it an inch or so and then stitching it at that fold point. Make sure you stitch it securely.
    Now you can "re-string" Joe by putting the hook down through the neck hole past the arm elastics and out through the bottom of the chest hole. 
  7. Hook your tool onto your tightened elastic and pull it up through the neck hole again. This will take alot of elbow grease. It will be very tight now..
  8. Once you get it pulled just past the neck hole, stick in your screwdriver again to hold it above the neck hole.
  9. Now, you can easily rehook the neck hook to the elastic.
  10. Pull out the screwdriver, and you're done.
Joe is back to tight fighting shape! This process will also work for restringing or tightening the arm elastic as well. It sounds a little tough, but once you do it, it becomes really easy. -- John Medeiros


As for the floppy joints, I suggest the following (but only if you are brave): Grab some slide lock pliers, (you know, the big ones you use on the sink) and squeeze each pin and rivet gently until it begins to compress. Use the very edge of the plier face, and avoid contact with the plastic. I found this works better that tapping the joint with the hammer because you can watch the joint for stress cracks and stop at any time. You may experience a little paint flaking, but that is easily repainted. You also may want to wrap the pliers in a thin cloth. -- John

Idea 2:
I repaired a Cotswold Elite figure that had its arms come off. Anybody that has seen the cord inside these things should understand why. Here is how I fixed him:
  1. Get a rubber band, the size that is used on newspapers and triple it up.
  2. Take two bread twists and twist them together to form a piece about 4 or 5 inches long.
  3. Tie one end of the bread tie to the rubber band, after attaching the rubber band to one of of the arms, and thread the bread ties along with the other end of the rubber band through the body.
  4. Hook the other end of the rubber band on the other arm hook and then untie the bread ties. Your arms should snap right into place.
I don't know how long the rubber band will hold before it becomes brittle. It can't be any worse than that stupid cord that is in the figure though. This actually is a pretty easy fix as far as the arms are concerned. Give it a try if you ever have a figure do this to you. -- Jem


Other Ideas
Restringing arms and legs is easy except for the hip pins. They can be tricky to remove with out breaking them. Try a small awl or leather needle to pop them out. Then use some rubber cement to put them back in. To pull the rubber strings I use a coat hanger. The end makes a good hook and it is easy to pull the leg string out of the neck hole to attach the head. Do the same with the arm string . Hook one shoulder then pull the string through with the hanger and connect the other side. -- LordVader

When restringing arms and legs, I don't bother with the thigh pins myself. I leave them in if still serviceable. I bought a little bag of teeny tie wraps (the zip strip type) and just tie wrap the elastic loop to the still in there thigh pin. It works great with no noticable looseness for the extra .05 extra distance. -- Aaron


To read more of this article CLICK HERE

Please leave a comment about this post.



This blog post is opinion only and any damage/injury or loss to product or person is the responsibility of that person and Chinook & Hobby West and it's employees are not responsible.