Scale Model Sizes

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The differences of how scale model sizes are used to compare the way model kits are produced.

 

This is a basic list of the different scales used by model companies, or any company that makes model accessories. Some scales are very close to each other, and parts can be interchanged in some cases.

Some scales are very large, some are very small. Knowing the scale of a model can sometimes give you an idea of how big it might be once completed, depending on the model subject.

The list starts with the largest scale at the top:

 

  • 1/1 - This scale means the model kit (when assembled) is the exact same size as the real subject. For instance, a flintlock gun kit would be the same size as the real flintlock. There are not many models in this scale, since the subject would have to be limited in size.
  • 1/4 - This scale is very large. In modern times you might see an automotive engine kit in this scale, and some R/C vehicles. In the 1950's and 1960's sometimes model kit companies used the "1/4" scale, but I believe it meant a different size, much smaller than the term we use today. The boxes were certainly smaller.
  • 1/6 - This scale is very popular with military models. Especially in Europe.
  • 1/7 - This is a scale often used for Japanese anime culture vinyl figures.
  • 1/8 - This is a popular scale among many different model subjects. Primarily it's used as an automotive scale, but it's also popular for scale figure kits such as Japanese anime vinyl models. Some plastic and resin figure models are also in this scale.
  • 1/9 - This scale is often used for a few large scale plastic model vehicle kits, such as motorcycles, and also with vinyl figure models.
  • 1/10 - This scale is primarily used for R/C cars and trucks.
  • 1/12 - This scale is used with automotive models, but is even more popular as a dollhouse scale. A 1/12 scale car model is twice is big as a 1/24 scale car kit. There are a few figure models in this scale too. This is the most popular scale for motorcycle kits.
  • 1/14 - This scale is popular with R/C trucks. Especially in Europe.
  • 1/16 - This scale is sometimes used for car models. As far as a large scale goes, this is probably the most popular when it comes to big car kits. This also a scale used for plastic and resin figure models. Especially military.
  • 1/18 - This scale is almost exclusive to diecast cars and trucks, and any accessories designed to work with those vehicles. There are a few plastic model kits and resin kits in 1/18 scale. but not many.
  • 1/20 - This scale is used for car and truck models. The most popular being Formula One F1 kits. It's also popular with Mak and figure kits.
  • 1/22 - This scale is also known as "G" Scale to those who build train models and layouts. Some of the accessories are often used with 1/24 and 1/25 models.
  • 1/24 - This is an extremely popular scale for model cars and trucks. It's used worldwide, from plastic model kits to diecast. It's used in dollhouse kits and some aircraft models as well.
  • 1/25 - This is another popular scale for car and truck models. It's primarily used in the United States, and it just a tiny bit less (smaller) than the 1/24 scale. Parts are often used between these two scales with no issues.
  • 1/32 - This is a scale used for model cars and trucks. It's also used for figure kits sometimes, and is becoming a favorite scale for model aicraft. This is also known as 54mm when it comes to figures.
  • 1/35 - This is a scale used worldwide for military kits, such as armor, trucks, and weapons. Out of all the scale model sizes, this is probably the most common as military kits themselves out sell all other model kit genres.
  • 1/48 - This is one of the most popular scales used for aircraft models worldwide. There are other models in this scale, such as a few plastic vehicle kits. This is also know as the train scale "O".
  • 1/64 - This is the scale used for small diecast cars, like Hot Wheels and Matchbox, among many others. In past times these were sometimes referred to as "HO" scale, but that is a much smaller scale used by the train model industry (1/87). 1/64 scale is the commonly used term today.
  • 1/72 - This is also one of the most popular scales for model aircraft and some military products.
  • 1/87 - This is also know as the train scale "HO". It's an extremely popular scale since there are many accessories that have been developed for that scale.
  • 1/144 - This is a very popular scale for small plastic aircraft kits.
  • 1/160 - This is also know as the train scale "N".
  • 1/200 - This is a common scale used for aircraft models, especially commercial aircraft.
  • 1/250 - This has become a recent scale used for very large ship models.
  • 1/350 - This is a popular sized used on large plastic ship models.
  • 1/700 - This is a very popular scale for the smaller ship model kits.

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  • 28mm - This is probably the most popular scale used for gaming and miniature models, especially figures. It's very small and comes in at around 1/58 scale.
  • 54mm - Another popular scale for figures. This works out to about 1/32 scale.
  • 120mm - This scale is used for figure models. Depending on the manufacturer, and how the measurement is made, the figure can be around 1/16/,1/18, to 1/22 scale. On average, most will be around 1/16.

 

scale models monogram

 

NOTE: I have skipped over some of the Scifi related scales since they are very wide and numerous. Most scifi kits don't even mention a scale on the product box.

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The easiest way to judge a size scale model is like this: for instance, a 1/24 scale car means the real car is 24 times larger than the model (when assembled). So if you had a Ford Mustang car model, you would have to lay 24 of them in a line beside a real Mustang to match the cars length.

Note: On figure models, such as for gaming and popular metal and resin kits, the height mesurement can be from the base of the feet to the top of the head, or to eye level. So despite being the same scale, the figures can vary a little in height, even if they are the same 120 or 28mm "scale".

Plastic models have been around since the 1950s. Almost every scale possible as been used and the ones I list here are only the popular ones.

It wasn't till the late 1960s till model companies began to share and make models the same standard scales. Before that a model could be in almost any scale with no apparent care as to what the actual scale might be. They might make 5 airplane kits , all with a different scale.

Train models (and all the model accessories for layouts and such) have been around for 100 years. The scale sizes used over that time have been changed, modified, filtered, and today have been settled to at least some kind of standards. Even though other countries around the world may not agree on the various scales used andmay have their own.

Such is the hobby.

Using this scale list may help you to figure out what scale you like, or if there's a possiblity of mixing scales to make your next model project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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