Is this LionChief plus model scale?

was it originally a K-line locomotive?

Original Post

It's scale alright-- approximately Q scale, or 1:43.5.  A little bigger than true O scale.  Put it next to a brass Weaver A5 and you'll see the difference.  In all fairness, Lionel's 0-4-0's going way back to the prewar 1662, 1656, etc. were all slightly oversize. 

If you want a true scale model your only choices are Weaver and MTH.  Be prepared though, because this was a small loco in real life.

Here’s Lionel’s A5 next to the properly scaled MTH Premier version.  As everyone above has noted, the K-Line/Lionel version (rear in top photo) is slightly too large.

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Jim R. 

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Thanks to all for the great info, excellent photos, and the video.

I decided to order one, my first LionChief, and my 4 year old grandson will enjoy the remote, smoke, and whistle. And, when he is not visiting, so will I. I may eventually pick up a scale MTH, but this is perfect for my current needs.  

Q was a gauge - 1 3/16" between rails, for 1/4" scale models.

One larger scale is 17/64, which very closely fits the 1 1/4" track gauge we use.

We 2- railed a Williams A5, and found it to be a well constructed model.  I personally have three Williams B6sb models here, and believe it to be one of the best offered in O scale.  It may in fact be oversize, but that's ok because most of my work is in 17/64 scale.

Prototype trains of the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe operate on standard gauge track which is 4 feet 8 1/2 inches. 

O gauge track is 1 1/4 inches between the two outside rails (ignoring the center rail).

At 1:48 scale (1/4 inch scale), O gauge track works out to be 5 foot gauge. 

At 1:45 scale (17/64 inch scale), O gauge track works out to be 4 feet 8 7/16 inches; very close to that of standard gauge. 

At 1:43.5 scale, O gauge track works out to be roughly 4 feet 3 inches. 

17/64 inch scale is the most accurate scale for O gauge track. In fact, Lionel's first scale models back in the mid 1930's were 17/64 inch scale. Calculate every dimension by 17 and then divide by 64 by hand and you will soon find out why Lionel soon went to 1/4 inch scale. Dividing by 4 is a whole lot easier. 17/64 inch scale is still considered O scale and many publications describe 17/64 as the more accurate version of O scale. 

A way one could look at it is that MTH's model is too small for O gauge track while Lionel/K-Line model is too large for O gauge track by just about the same proportion. 

Last edited by WBC
WBC posted:
 17/64 inch scale is the most accurate scale for O gauge track. In fact, Lionel's first scale models back in the mid 1930's were 17/64 inch scale. Calculate every dimension by 17 and then divide by 64 by hand and you will soon find out why Lionel soon went to 1/4 inch scale. Dividing by 4 is a whole lot easier. 17/64 inch scale is still considered O scale and many publications describe 17/64 as the more accurate version of O scale.

I'm trying very hard to determine what your point is.  Since virtually all the US "O-scale" is 1:48 size, that's pretty much a moot point unless you're going to scratch build all your equipment, track, locomotives, etc.

While the debate rages about the exact scale size, somehow we ignore the huge center rail, the white smoke, etc.  The fact remains, we ain't gonna' see true "O-scale" track in wide use in our lifetime, we're stuck with the track dimensions that are currently manufactured by ever major and minor manufacturer.

Sure you are.  Proto-48.  And the debate doesn't rage.  Once in a while the term Q scale sneaks in, so I try to correct it.  Sorry to get you off the track.  Nobody but me models in 17/64.

The little 0-4-0s can be charming.  I probably won't get an A5, but am considering a B&O Dockside - 17/64, of course.

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