You know what you haven’t come across but is probably to be the next big fad in hobbying? What’s about to break that has every model trainer sleepless with anticipation? What gauge of toy train do hobbyists go crazy for? Alright, here it is: s gauge model railroads. Yeah, that’s right, s gauge? You don’t even know what scale that is, do you? You couldn’t tell me if that is as large as g gauge locomotive or as small as an n gauge, huh? Alright so here’s what you need to know for your next model railroader’s meeting:
Here’s a blast from the past, these s gauge locomotives are “American Flyers”:
In a sense it begins and ends with American Flyer. Nostalgia explains a lot. American Flyer’s s scale locomotives had their strongest days right after the Big One when the baby boomers were starting to sprout up. American Flyer played Spartacus to Lionel’s Roman Empire and although their challenge was unsuccessful it is not surprising that model trainers now stand up and yell “I am American Flyer” in defiance. S scale is an “inbetween” scale, way huger than HO but smaller than Lionel’s O. S scale is one 64th the size of a real train whereas Lionel’s O scale is one 48th the size. These are still pretty substantial trains but not so much so that you would have to have them only outside. You can still really get into detailing with these huge toy trains.
S scale is not common:
A further reason that s gauge has gained such a wide following is that s scale is rare. A.C. Gilbert, who owned American Flyer at the time, created this gauge as an attempt to make a line of locomotives that would compete with Lionel by making high quality locomotives that weren’t interchangeable with Lionel trains. That means there are not that many vintage s scale American Flyer trains. This also signifies that those fans of the s scale trains in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s had to make most of their accessories from scratch and to meticulously maintain their trains since replacement parts in the pre-web era were virtually impossible to track down. The nature of this devotion has just made the locomotives that much more sought after.
Lionel LLC has promised to bring out new “vintage” s scale locomotives:
American Flyer’s nemesis Lionel bought them out in the 60’s and is now looking to resurrect both brands by re-introducing the vintage 1950’s models that are so loved by hobbyists. The s scale models they are due to re-manufacture should take the model train community by storm. So any day now you may be seeing new models in this scale and collectors will have yet another size to choose from.
Now’s the time to put your chips down if you want to cash in early on this tip. This is when the early adopters hop in and check things out. Get one of these flap jacks while they’re still hot. Remember when I told you about this little coffee house called Starbuck’s. And you said no one would ever pay more just for some coffee.