Fn3Inc scale rule

A rule with four different scales
Scale rule
PO Box 281
Boardman OR 97818
Price: $29.95 + $3.07 s&h
Website: http://fn3inc.com

Heavy, stainless-steel scale rule; four different scales; 18" long x 1 1⁄8" wide

Pros: Well-made scale; lines and numbers etched into the metal; four different scales supplied; heavy enough to be used as a cutting guide
Cons: Incorrect scale/gauge designations on one side (see text)
If you are a scratchbuilder and you work to one of the common garden scales, an accurate scale rule is an invaluable tool. There have been many of these on the market over the years, some made of plastic, some of aluminum. The scale rule being reviewed here is a solid, heavy product made of .060"-thick (nearly 1/16") stainless steel.

Four different scales are featured, one along each edge. These include 1:32, 1:29, 1:22.5, and 1:20.3. On one side, the 1:20.3 scale is designated “F Scale,” while the 1:22.5 scale is called “G Scale.” These designations are both correct. However, on the other side, 1:32 scale is called “1 Gauge” (it is actually “1 scale”), while 1:29 scale is called “2 Gauge,” which is just incorrect. (This is a scale, not a gauge, and it has no designation beyond 1:29. Nº 2 gauge actually refers to a track gauge that is 2" wide, which was popular in the 1920s and ’30s.) These are my only complaints about this product.

A little work with a pair of calipers and a calculator showed that the divisions on each scale are spot on. The numbers are large enough to be easily read. The first scale foot is divided into inches (which is all you need). With a good eye, you could easily work to half a scale inch in any of the offered scales. On each of the scales is a line designating 45mm (gauge dimension for Nº 1-gauge track). I didn’t find these to be particularly useful but they didn’t do any harm either.

When doing model work, it’s convenient to have a single tool that can be used for both measuring and as a cutting guide. Plastic rules don’t work well for this, as they are soft and, once the knife nicks them, they become less than useful as cutting guides. Not so this rule. Being heavy stainless steel, the edge forms a perfect cutting guide. It is smooth and straight and there’s no chance you’ll nick it with a knife blade. I’d like to have seen a hole in one end so that the rule could be hung on a nail when not in use but this could be easily remedied by the user, if desired. This is a well made, useful tool that would be at home in any modeler’s tool box.


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