Bread Crumb Link
 GreatHistoryGifts

GreatHistoryGifts

 Maintained by:
 Love history? The History Store is the place for you! Collectibles, historical replicas, military history books, models, puzzles, toys and much more are all available in one place. Premium brands carried include Corgi, Dragon, Hasegawa, Herpa, Hobby Master, Tamiya, William Britain and many others.

Store search

Store categories

Store home
Show all subcategories

Store pages

  • All About Scale
Store Newsletters!
Want to keep up with what's new at The History Store? Subscribe to one of our newsletters and you will receive a regular update on our new listings!
All That's New at The History Store
Herpa Wings Collector's Newsletter
William Britain Collector's Newsletter
Hobby Master Collector's Newsletter
Vintage Plastic Model Kits
  

All About Scale

Shipyards were the first to use proportional scales to make models of things larger than a house

Shipyards were the first to use proportional scales to make models of things larger than a house. The scales they used were expressed in a different manner: "one-foot-to-the-inch" through "six-feet-to-the-inch" were common. During the Second World War, battleship models were made "eight-foot-to-the-inch", in the later phrasing, "one-eighth-inch to the foot"; you will find these models, used for training workers, in maritime museums. The model ship would be referred to as "one-ninety-sixth size", or "1/96th..”

 

Phrases used are those of "larger" and "smaller" scales. The scale of 1/8"-to-the-foot is a larger scale than 1/16"-to-the-foot, even though the denominator is smaller. So a larger model is made to a larger scale. You can remember this in that a full-size, or full-scale, model is larger than a half-size model.

 

The chart below lists popular scales for models (expressed as a ratio) as well as the factor for converting one scale foot to either inches or millimeters.   Also included are some comments regarding the historical use of the scale and/or what types of models currently use the scale.

 

To determine the approximate size of a scale model, use the actual dimensions of the real-life object and multiply the relevant dimension (wingspan, length, etc) by the appropriate conversion factor.

 

For example, a Boeing 747-400 airliner has an approximate length of 232 feet.  Scale models of this aircraft would have the following lengths:

 

1:500 scale – 232 X 0.02402 (conversion factor from table) = 5.57”

1:400 scale – 232 X 0.03000 (conversion factor from table) = 6.96”

1:100 scale – 232 X 0.12000 (conversion factor from table) = 27.84”

 

 

Ratio

Scale foot (mm)

Scale foot (in)

Comments

1:720

0.42300

0.01665

This was a standard size for ship models produced by Revell and Italeri.

1:700

0.43500

0.01713

This is the scale that Tamiya, Aoshima, Hasegawa, and Fujimi chose to produce the largest series of waterline plastic model ships and submarines. Later Skywave, Dragon and Trumpeter joined in.

1:600

0.50800

0.02000

Popular for ships, especially liners and capital ships. This is the traditional scale for comparative drawings of ships, used by the Royal Navy because it's about one-tenth of a nautical mile to the foot.

1:570

0.53500

0.02106

This scale was used by Revell for some ship models because it was one-half the size of the standard scale for wargaming models used by the US Army.

1:500

0.61000

0.02402

This is a scale used by Europeans for pre-finished airliner models. Trumpeter and several Japanese companies produce ships in this scale.

1:432

0.70600

0.02780

The scale used during the Second World War by the US Navy for aircraft recognition.

1:400

0.76200

0.03000

A European size for ship and submarine models and die cast aircraft.

1:350

0.87100

0.03429

A Japanese size for ship models. These are typically full-hull models that are substantially more detailed than 1:700 waterline models.

1:285

1.06900

0.04209

The US Army scale for sand-table wargames. It is also the standard used for large-scale historical armor battles in hobbyist miniature wargaming.

1:250

1.21900

0.04799

Used by Heller for model ships.

1:150

2.03200

0.08000

Used by Heller for model ships, and proposed by the Japanese to supersede 1:144 scale trains.

1:144

2.11700

0.08335

Popular for aircraft, spacecraft. Also some Japanese N scale trains, as well as Japanese giant robot models and toys.

1:100

3.04800

0.12000

A Japanese scale for aircraft, spacecraft, and giant robots.

1:96

3.17500

0.12500

An historic scale for ships, also used for spacecraft.

1:87

3.50300

0.13791

Civilian and military vehicles. Same as HO scale.

1:76

4.01100

0.15791

Military vehicles. Same as 4 mm scale (00 gauge, etc.).

1:75

4.06400

0.16000

Used by Heller for model ships.

1:72

4.23300

0.16665

Aircraft, science fiction, space non fiction, figures, vehicles, and watercraft. Now the most prolific small scale (i.e. less than 1:35) for plastic injection armored fighting vehicle (AFV) models. There is a growing popularity for scratch-built radio control model ships in this scale. More genres are covered in this scale than any other. 1/72 Scale Model Census

1:64

4.76300

0.18752

Ships, die-cast cars. Same as S gauge. Also called 3/16in. scale.

1:50

6.09600

0.24000

Many European diecast construction vehicles and trucks. A small quantity of early Japanese aircraft kits are also of this scale.

1:48

6.35000

0.25000

Known as quarter scale. Mainly military aircraft but in 2005 Tamiya launched a new series of armored fighting vehicle (AFV) models in this scale. It is used by Americans with the 0 scale. Also the most popular Lego scale, know as minifig scale.

1:43

7.08800

0.27906

Still the most popular scale for die-cast cars worldwide, metric or otherwise. It originates from the scale that the British use with the 0 scale.

1:35

8.70900

0.34287

The most popular scale for military vehicles and figures. It was originally conceived by Tamiya for convenience of fitting motorised parts and batteries.

1:32

9.52500

0.37500

Military vehicles; 54 mm toy soldiers are supposed to use this scale as well. Same as Gauge 1, cars, common for slot cars.

1:25

12.19000

0.47992

Cars, figures. AMT (now combined with Ertl), Revell, and Jo-Han made cars in this scale. This is preferred in Europe to 1:24. Holland has whole toy villages in this scale.

1:24

12.70000

0.50000

Cars, figures. Monogram made cars in this scale; Common scale for non-US companies including Tamiya.popular doll house scale

1:20

15.24000

0.60000

Cars, common for Formula One models.

1:18

16.93000

0.66654

Cars made from kits; there are also pre-assembled toy military vehicles, fighter planes, and helicopters.

1:16

19.05000

0.75000

Live steam trains (ridable), Figures

1:12

25.40000

1.00000

Figures, Cars (also RC driven), Live steam trains (ridable) popular doll house scale