Welcome to the club
for Australian fine-scale railway modellers!

The South Australian Protofour Group Inc. is where people with an interest in fine-scale railway modelling share ideas, techniques and resources, and get together to enjoy our great hobby.

We share a lot in common with other South Australian model railway clubs. Our involvement with them includes helping to organise the Adelaide Model Railway Show. Some of our members are in these clubs as well.

What makes us different?
We enjoy fine scale railway modelling. The term “fine scale” doesn’t carry any implications of “We’re better than other railway modellers”. It simply means we work towards making models as accurately as we reasonably can. As part of this approach, we work to the more realistic-looking standards for wheels and track known as Protofour (often termed P4) and Proto 87 (also known as P87). That’s the main point of difference with our club.

We’re a bit unusual in that among our members there is interest in prototypes of both Australia and Britain, in scales respectively of 3.5 mm and 4 mm to the foot (1:87 and 1:76). We’re open to fostering interest in other fine scales too. At present we are essentially:

SA P4 and P87 words cropped 004

These and similar standards in other scales, collectively termed “Proto standards”, are high-fidelity standards that get away from the over-sized appearance of wheels and track manufactured to traditional HO and OO standards, which originated in the commercial necessity to suit children in less than ideal surroundings.

Track and wheels are models too, and Proto standards help to achieve the same sort of realism that many modellers strive for throughout all aspects of our hobby.

Fairview layout_i_p

A Murray mallee scene with a South Australian Railways 350 class diesel shunting a typically short consist. The track is laid to broad gauge, with the light rail characteristic of South Australian “developmental” lines that were never upgraded beyond that status.

Like most model railway clubs in South Australia, we’re part of the hugely popular Adelaide Model Railway Show, held over the June long weekend at Greyhound Park, Angle Park.
201127 Burford layout end view_p

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Burford, an English prototype layout built by SA P4 Group members for the Adelaide Model Railway Show.

The ‘Modelling the Railways of South Australia’ Convention, which has greatly invigorated the modelling of local railways, is always on our calendar.

Does better realism appeal to you?
Whether you are a railway modeller already or are just thinking about starting, take a look at these ideas, resources and contacts:

• the pros and cons of adopting fine-scale track and wheel standards

• comparative photos of track built to Proto and “mainstream” standards

• other FAQs

• the background to P87 and P4

downloadable drawings of track

ideas for simulating broad gauge while staying with HO 16.5 mm gauge

• useful links

get in touch!

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