Out of Scale 1951

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Walt Disney Productions
RKO Radio Pictures

It’s Chip and Dale versus Donald Duck in this cartoon short from the 1950’s. In the grand tradition of Walt Disney and Ward Kimball, Monsieur Duck has constructed a magnificent miniature railway empire in his backyard.

D. Duck is what is known in the model railroad community as a “rivet-counter”. Everything must be to scale (in proportion) to his layout: buildings, trees, even the tiny shovel he uses to scoop coal into the firebox.

There’s trouble when Señor Duck bumps into an enormous, chipmunk-bearing tree he has managed to overlook. Let’s see Donald working on the railroad!


Sir Duck has quite the set up in his fenced-in back forty. Note the snow-capped mountains, bridges, roads and a minutely-detailed town.

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Roaring out of a tunnel and through the yards comes 4-4-0 #2 with its short train.

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Striking a classic engineer pose, Donald brings his train to a stop at Canyonville to take on water.

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Donald checks his railroad pocket watch, then heads off down the track.

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Super-detailing his layout includes a roll of “field” for his farm and scale trees to install. Whilst planting his orchard, he encounters a huge tree, much to his displeasure, then digs it up and places it on a flat car to relocate. Not much of a root system on that tree!

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Chugging down the track, Chip and Dale pursue their now-mobile home. They jump onto the caboose, apply the brake and send Donald flying.

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The chipmunks chew Engineer Donald out for moving their acorn stash, but the loco duck zaps them with his oiling can and chases them all over the layout.

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Donald loses them at Canyonville, but notices smoke lazily curling up the chimney of one house — which he approaches monster-style. To his surprise, Donald discovers the chipmunks are actually to scale (note his ruler) and starts messing with them (delivering milk in full milkman gear, creating storms with a water hose, etc.)

MUCH plot left off here.

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Finally the chipmunks make a break for it and steal the train with their tree.

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Approaching a tunnel, the tree is knocked off the flatcar and winds up on the tracks — which the train then cuts through like a buzzsaw.

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Donald is ticked off that the big tree straddles his tracks, but Chip and Dale point out as a famous tourist attraction, it is indeed to scale. A placated Donald blows the whistle and trundles through hisgiant redwood“.

I found a good copy of this short on Daily Motion HERE, but no guarantee how long it will stay there.

Not a bad little train “movie” which I had never heard of until I did a little searching online. With many books and videos out there about the real backyard empires of Disney and Kimball, it’s fascinating to see how that translated into animation.

Here’s what IMDb has to say about Out of Scale:

If you have ANY information about this movie, please contact me at:



About Lindsay Korst

Webmaster, Blogmaster, Ferroequinologist - Lindsay Korst works for a nationwide home improvement center after a 20+ year career supporting computer users. A resident of the Seattle area since 1976, he has had a life-long interest in railroads, particularly those in the Pacific Northwest. He is an enthusiastic participant in the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. He and his wife reside in Redmond, Washington.
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