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Understanding Scale

This is probably the most confusing part when understanding models. Simply put, scale is the ratio of the real object to the model, annotated as 1:64 or 1/64. A model in scale 1:64 means that for every 64 inches on the model equals 1 inch on the real object.As the ratio goes down the size of the model goes up: a 1:64 model is larger than a 1:87 model.

Simple math can convert the sizes back and forth:

  • To obtain a model dimension: Real object dimension and divide by scale
  • To obtain the real object dimension: Model dimension multiplied by scale
  • Example: A truck that is 300 inches (25 ft.) long would be 6 inches long in 1:50 scale. That is 300 / 50 = 6


Scale Comparison

The graphic below depicts the same model in different scales. There is an exception however, the 2nd model from the right is a different truck and is used to show the comparison of two different size trucks in the same scale.


Popular Scales

This table outlines some common scales and their uses.

1:1000 Aircraft 1:160 N Scale Trains 1:43 Vehicles
1:600 Ships 1:87 Trucks, HO Scale Trains 1:35 Military Vehicles
1:500 Aircraft 1:72 Military Aircraft 1:24 Cars & Dollhouses
1:400 Ships, Aircraft 1:64 Trucks & Ships 1:20 Formula 1 Cars
1:220 Z Scale Trains 1:50 Construction Vehicles 1:18 Cars
1:200 Aircraft 1:48 O Scale Trains 1:10 Motorcycles



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