If you've ever searched for templates or template kits, you've probably heard the term template scale in relation to template size a few times. You might be wondering what exactly scale sizes mean and how they work.
If you're new to the concept of model scaling or just confused, read on! We'll cover what model scale sizes are, why they matter, how to calculate them, and which are the most common. We've also answered some of the most common questions users have when working with model scales to help you determine the right scale size for your project.
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How do model scales work?
Model scales are a simplified representation of how much smaller a model is compared to the real object. Scale is usually written as two numbers separated by a colon (or sometimes a slash), for example B 1:8. The number on the left represents the size of the model, while the number on the right is how much larger the original object is.
On a 1:8 scale model, the real object is eight times larger than the model. For a 1:100 scale model, the original is 100 times larger than the original, and so on.
Why are kit sizes important?
Models can vary dramatically in scale size. Some models are very small, while others are quite large. It's important to understand model sizes so you can choose the model that best fits your needs.
A small scale model is ideal if you don't have a lot of space to display or store your finished models as they take up less space. However, the smaller the model, the more difficult it is to assemble. Painting, gluing and assembling models can be difficult when the parts are small.
Full-scale models are relatively easy to assemble. The pieces are large, giving you more room to paint, glue and assemble. The downside is that the larger scale models are larger and therefore take up more space than the smaller scale models.
The benefits of consistent scaling
Scaling is a good way to keep project sizes consistent, even when using parts from other model kits. Even if two real objects are not the same size, they are still proportional to each other as long as their models are at the same scale.
Manufacturers often make accessories for certain types of models as well, and it's important to buy them in the same scale as your model so that the proportions and sizes are correct.
How are scale model sizes calculated?
You can calculate two types of model scales: original object scale and model scale. Both scale calculations require you to know the size of the object in question.
If you want to know the size of a scale model of an object, you first need to know the size of the object. For example, a 2022 Chevrolet Trax measures 168 inches from the top of the car to the rear bumper.
If you want to calculate the height of a 1:24 scale model of this vehicle, simply divide the actual length of the Trax by the correct number on your scale. In this case the calculation would be168/24 = 7, so a 1/24 scale model of a 2022 Chevrolet Trax would be 7 inches long.
If you wanted to know the size of a 1:8 scale model, you would do the same, but divide the length of the vehicle by 8 instead of 24, i.e.168/8 = 21, so an 1/8 scale model of a 2022 Chevrolet Trax is 21 inches long.
You can use a similar method to get the actual object size from the scale model sizes, as long as you know the model length. Let's continue with our previous example.
We know that a 1:24 scale model of a Trax is 7 inches long. Therefore, if we wanted to calculate the size of the actual vehicle, we would have to multiply the model scale size by the number on the right on the scale.7 x 24 = 168. As you can see, reversing the process yields the same number we started with.
If you don't want to calculate the model scale yourself, you can also determine the model scale with a pocket calculator,like this.
What is the best size for a scale model?
The best scale for models depends on a few things. Do you want big or small models? Do you want highly detailed models? If you live in a room with limited space, you'll probably want to stick with small-scale models. If you have trouble dealing with small parts, a large model would be much easier to assemble. A smaller model will have less fine detail than a larger one.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your preferences and what you want out of your project.
Common model sizes
To help you choose the correct model scales for your products, you can use this scale model size chart.
|1:4||R/C, car, engine kits, 18" collectible figures, trains||Common reference point for engine kits.|
|1:8||Automobile, Japanese vinyl figures, trains||Common reference point for autonomous and dirigible trains.|
|1:12||Cast models of cars, trucks and motorcycles||Popular scale for model cars.|
|1:18||Die-cast cars and trucks, resin figures, action figures,||It is most commonly used for die-cast models of motorcycles, cars and trucks.|
|1:24||Cars and trucks, planes, dollhouses||Very common scale for car models, truck models, and dealership promotional models.|
|1:32||Tractors, cars and trucks, figures, planes||Known as the 54mm scale.|
|1:35||military equipment||The most widely used military model scale in the world.|
|1:43||Diecast-Autos||The most widely used scale for die-cast car models.|
|1:48||Plane||The most widely used scale for die-cast model aircraft, but is also sometimes used for military models, model train accessories, and dollhouses.|
|1:64||small cut||The scale for Matchbox, Hot Wheels, model farmhouses and other small die-cast vehicles.|
|1:72||Diecast aircraft, military vehicles.||Another common scale model airplane and now some military armored vehicles.|
|1:87||trains||One of the most popular scale sizes for model railways.|
|1:144||planes, ships||Common scale for smaller model aircraft.|
|1:160||trains||Known as N Gauge for model trains.|
|1:200||planes, trains||Known as Z gauge for model trains.|
|1:350||tomorrow||Reference for highly detailed ship models.|
|1:700||tomorrow||Common scale for small ship models.|
What is the most common model scale?
There is no more general scale. It depends on the type of model in question. Also, different countries tend to prefer different scales for some models. The table above lists the most common scale sizes and what types of models they are used on.
What is the most popular casting scale?
1:43 is the most popular scale for cast models. Its compatibility with O-gauge model railways made it popular in the 1930s. Most model cars around the world can be found in this scale. Models in this scale are popular because they are small enough to display on shelves, but large enough that details are easy to see.
1:64 is also very popular and is the scale size used by Hot Wheels, Matchbox and other small die-cast brands.
While these are two common scales for cast models, there are a wide range of popular scale sizes to choose from, often depending on the niche. For example, 1:32 scale is often used for classic car models.
What is the normal size of a scale model?
It's easy to calculate normal sizes for scale models when you know the model sizes. A 1:24 scale model, 5" long, is 120" long full-size. You can find the entire scaling calculation process earlier in this article, or you can just use a scaling calculator to do the math for you.
What is the size of a 1/24 scale cast model?
There is no set size for 1/24 scale cast models. Scale does not refer to a specific size, it is a fractional representation of the size of a model in relation to the actual size of the object. At a scale of 1:24, the models are 24 times smaller than the original object.
What sizes are die-cast cars available in?
Die-cast car models are available in different scales. The most popular scale sizes for cast models are: 1/12, 1/18, 1/24, 1/43, 1/64 and 1/72. 1:43 scale is most common, while 1:64 scale is popular with small die-cast vehicles like Hot Wheels, Matchbox, etc.
What is a good scale for a model?
As mentioned above, a good scale is one that works for you and fits the intended use of your models. Small scales have a low level of detail and high assembly difficulty, while large scales are the opposite.
If you want to customize your models by adding wear and tear (or some other custom paint job), larger scales give you more flexibility. If you are doing a simple painting with little detail, small sizes are fine.
How is scale calculated for fictional objects like robots, spaceships, and sci-fi planes?
Model ships and fictional vehicles are some of the most popular kits and figures you can buy. While it may be tempting to question the accuracy of scaling a model for a vehicle that doesn't actually exist, it is actually calculated using the same process as scaling other models.
Most of these objects already have a real scale established by the production teams. Take Gundams, for example: if artists don't know the normal scale of Gundams, they won't be able to consistently scale them proportionally to surrounding objects in their artwork. Manufacturers use these measurements to scale their models.
Why are some models and scale figures always the same size?
When a manufacturer bases the scale of an object on an estimated or average size, all models are scaled down to the same dimensions. American Girl and other 18" collectible dolls use the average height of children to determine 1/4 scale, so all models in this scale are 18" tall.
While scale model sizes can be a little confusing, understanding how they work and how they are calculated makes it much easier to understand actual model sizes when purchasing a kit or trying to make modifications to one of your models.
Knowing the common scales used for different types of models is also invaluable in not only finding the right models, but also ensuring you find upgrades and accessories for your models in the correct scale.
Whether you're looking for full-scale die-cast trucks, Nascar model cars, or construction vehicles, choosing the right model scales is crucial. So make sure you do your research and find the perfect model scale for your projects.