Scale model From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A scale model is a physical model, a representation or copy of an object that is larger or smaller than the actual size of the object, which seeks to maintain the relative proportions (the scale factor) of the physical size of the original object. Very often the scale model is used as a guide to making the object in full size. Scale models are built or collected for many reasons.Professional model-makers often create models for many professions:

  • Engineers who require scale models to test the likely performance of a particular design at an early stage of development without incurring the full expense of a full-sized prototype.
  • Architects who require architectural models to evaluate and sell the look of a new construction before it is built.
  • Filmmakers who require scale models of objects or sets that cannot be built in full size.
  • Salesmen who require scale models to promote new products such as heavy equipment and automobiles and other vehicles.
Hobbyists or amateur model-makers make die-cast models, injection molded, model railroads, remote control vehicles, war-gaming and fantasy collectibles, model ships and ships in bottles for their own enjoyment.
Scale models can also be objects of art, either being created by artists or being rediscovered and transformed into art by artists.

Types of scale models

Some modelers build and collect models made from a certain medium ( Metal, wood, plastic, card, paper, etc.). Others build and collect models based on the types of object being modeled.

Model aircraft

Static model aircraft

Static model aircraft are commonly built using plastic, but wood, metal, card and paper can also be used. Models are sold painted and assembled, painted but not assembled (snap-fit) or unpainted and not assembled. The most popular types of aircraft to model are commercial airliners and military aircraft. Fewer manufacturers exist today than in the 1970s, but many of the older kits are occasionally available to purchase. Aircraft can be modeled in many “scales”. The scale notation is the size of the model compared to the real, full-size aircraft called the “prototype”. We’ll use 1:8 scale as an example, it is read like this: “1 inch (or whatever measurement) on my model is equal (: means equal) to 8 inches on the real (prototype) airplane”. Sometimes the scale notation isn’t used…it’s simply stated; “my model is one eighth (1/8) scale” meaning; “my model is one eighth the size of the real airplane” or “my model is eight times smaller than the real airplane”. Popular scales are, in order of size, 1:144, 1:72 (the most numerous), 1:48, 1:32, 1:24, 1:16, 1:8 and 1:4. Some European models are available at more metric scales such as 1:50. The highest quality models are made from injection-molded plastic or cast resin. Models made from Vacuum formed plastic are generally for the more skilled builder. More inexpensive models are made from heavy paper or card stock. Ready-made die-cast metal models are also very popular. As well as the traditional scales, die-cast models are available in 1:200, 1:250, 1:350, 1:400, and 1:600. These scales are usually reserved for civil airliners. Static aircraft scale modeling falls broadly into 3 categories: kit assembly, scratch-building, and collection of ready-made models. Scratch-builders tend to be the top echelon in terms of skill and craftsmanship; they tend to be the most discerning when it comes to accuracy and detail and they spend far more time on far fewer models than a kit assembler. Kit assemblers fall roughly into 2 categories: OOB (Out of Box) and Modified. Out of Box refers to the act of assembling a kit only from what is contained in the box supplied, whereas a Modifier will employ after-market products such as alternative decals, photo-etched metal detail parts, and cast resin detail or conversion parts to enhance or change the model in some way. Collectors are concerned purely with the issue of theme, and are not really interested in personal construction as such. Obviously aircraft modelers will often fall into more than one category as fancy takes them. The overwhelming majority of aircraft modelers concern themselves with depiction of real-life aircraft, but there is a smaller cadre of modelers who derive additional fun by ‘bending’ history a little by making models of aircraft that either never actually flew or existed, or by painting them in a color scheme that did not actually exist. This is commonly referred to as ‘What-if’ or ‘Alternative’ modeling, and the most common theme is ‘Luftwaffe 1946’ or ‘Luftwaffe ’46’. This theme stems from idea of modeling German secret projects that never saw the light of day due to the close of World War II. This concept has been extended to include British, Russian, and US experimental projects that never made it into production.

Origins of the plastic model kit

For aircraft recognition in the Second World War, the RAF selected models to the scale of “one-sixth inch to the foot” (which was two British lines, a legal division of length which didn’t make it to America, besides being a standard shipyard scale). Although some consumer models were sold pre-war in Britain to this scale, the airmens’ models were pressed out of ground-up old rubber tires. This is of course the still-popular 1:72 scale. It wasn’t predestined to succeed; there were competitors.
The US Navy, in contrast, had metal models made to the proportion 1:432, which is “nine-feet-to-the-quarter-inch”. At this scale, a model six feet is about half a statute mile; and seven feet about half a nautical mile.
After the war, firms that moulded models from polystyrene entered the consumer marketplace, the American firm Revell notably offering a model of the Royal Coach around the time of the 1953 coronation. In the early years, firms offered models of aircraft and ships in “fit-the-box” size. A box that would make an impressive gift was specified, and a mould was crafted to make a model that wouldn’t ludicrously slide around inside. Modellers could not compare models, nor switch parts from one kit to another. It was the British firm Airfix, whose first self assembly model was a Ferguson tractor around 1950, that brought the idea of the constant scale to the marketplace, and they picked the RAF’s scale.
In the 1960s, the company Monogram offered an aircraft actually labeled as ¼” scale, which may have been a common contraction in factories. They meant “one-quarter-inch to the foot”, or “one-forty-eighth size”. Shortly thereafter, hobbyists lost the ability to distinguish the two, and now the proportion is referred to as scale.

List of scale model sizes

This is a list of scale model sizes, listing a variety of size ratios for scale models.
Scale foot
0.015 mm
Arii produced injection-molded kits in this scale of the very large Zentradi spacecraft
from the science fiction anime series Macross.
0.064 mm
This scale has been used for fictional spacecraft for the board game Star Cruiser,
originally from Citadel Miniatures.
0.078 mm
Star Trek toys and miniatures are available in this scale.
0.102 mm
A line of science fiction miniatures is produced in this scale by Brigade Models
for the board game Starmada.
0.122 mm
A European size for naval wargaming ship models. Also a popular scale for large
fictional spacecraft used in gaming, (esp. Star Trek).
0.127 mm
A British and American size for naval wargaming ship models. Some science
fiction miniatures in this scale.
0.152 mm
Valiant Enterprises produces its “Fighting Sail” line of “sailing men o’war” and related
subjects in this scale.
0.244 mm
A European size for ship models.
0.254 mm
A British and American size for ship and harbor models. Airfix used to produce
in this scale.
0.305 mm
This is a scale used by Germans for pre-finished airliner models. Herpa produces
several models in this scale.
0.423 mm
This was a standard size for ship models produced by Revell and Italeri.
0.435 mm
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.
0.508 mm
Popular for ships, especially liners and capital ships. This is the traditional scale
for comparative drawings of ships, used by the Royal Navy as it is about one-tenth
of a nautical mile to the foot. Warship models produced by Airfix
0.535 mm
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.
0.610 mm
This is a scale used by the military in WW2 for ship models used for wargaming
and naval recognition. Several Japanese companies such as Nichimo Co Ltd. and
Fujimi Model produce plastic ship models in this scale. It is also used by European
companies for pre-finished die-cast airliner models.
0.706 mm
The scale used during the Second World War by the US Navy for aircraft recognition.
0.762 mm
A European size for ship and submarine models and die cast aircraft
. eg Heller products
0.871 mm
A Japanese size for ship models. These are typically full-hull models that are
substantially more detailed than 1:700 waterline models.
1.016 mm
A scale closely associated with 1:285 scale. The smallest scale commonly
used for micro armor. “6 mm figure scale” for miniature wargaming.
1.058 mm
A scale for aircraft and rockets.
1.069 mm
Also known as “6 mm figure scale”, the US Army scale for sand-table wargames.
The standard used in hobbyist miniature wargaming, where it is considered
interchangeable with 1:300 scale. Commonly used for micro armor.
1.219 mm
Used by Heller for model ships.
1.385 mm
Same as Z gauge.
1.524 mm
A scale used for high-end model aircraft and very detailed paper model ships.
9 mm figure scale.
1.667 mm
A newer scale utilized in ancient, fantasy and sci-fi hobbyist miniature wargaming.
Known as “10 mm figure scale” in wargaming circles.
1.905 mm
American and European model trains in N scale. Commonly used for mini armor.
10 mm to 12 mm figure scale for miniature wargaming.
2.005 mm
2mm scale / British N scale railway modeling.
2.032 mm
Used by Heller for model ships, and proposed by the Japanese to supersede
1:144 scale trains.
2.117 mm
British N Model Railroad Scale.
2.117 mm
Popular for aircraft, spacecraft. Occasionally used with NASCAR cars.
Also some Japanese N scale trains, as well as Japanese giant robot models
and toys. Dollhouse for a dollhouse scale for 1:12 dollhouses. Commonly used
for mini armor. Used for 12 mm, and 12.5 mm figure scale miniature wargaming.
2.381 mm
A few rockets and some fit-in-the-box aircraft are made to this size.
2.500 mm
Very popular scale utilized in modern hobbyist miniature wargaming.
Also known as “15 mm figure scale” in wargaming circles.
2.49 mm
TT Model Railroad Scale.
2.822 mm
An historic size for ships, also used for rockets and spacecraft. 15 mm
figure scale for wargaming is considered interchangeable with this scale.[1]
3.048 mm
Kits of historic and modern spacecraft. Japanese aircraft, spacecraft,
and giant robots. Also referred to as “15 mm figure scale” for use with
the mini armor & miniature figurine-based tabletop strategy/skirmish
warfare games, Flames of War, Axis & Allies Miniatures, as well as
The Face of Battle, and I Ain’t Been Shot Mum!.
3.175 mm
An historic scale for ships, also used for spacecraft.
3.333 mm
A popular scale for WWII hobbyist miniature wargaming. Also known
as “20 mm figure scale” in wargaming circles.
3.387 mm
A scale proposed by some European manufacturers to supersede H0 scale.
3.5 mm
Exact HO (half O of 7 mm = 1 foot)
3.503 mm
Civilian and military vehicles. Same as HO scale. Original nominal 25 mm
figure scale; though a 6 foot human in 1:87 is closer to 20mm.
3.717 mm
An intermediate scale (HO/OO) intended to apply to both HO and OO scale
train sets. Also used for some military models
3.810 mm
Tomytec made cars, buses and trucks in this scale.
4 mm
UK model rail scale 4 mm scale (OO Scale, etc.).
4.011 mm
Military vehicles. Used with 4 mm to 1 foot models as well.
4.064 mm
Used by Heller for model ships.
4.167 mm
Common hobbyist miniature wargaming scale for sci-fi games such as
Warhammer 40,000 and AT-43. Also known as 25 mm and 28 mm figure
scale in wargaming circles. There are also a large number of miniatures in
this scale for fantasy & sci-fi wargaming and role playing games (RPGs)
such as Striker, Gamma World and Classic Battletech RPG. This scale is
popularized by Games Workshop products and Dungeons & Dragons,
but there has been a scale creep over the years. The current miniatures
are “Heroic 28 mm scale”, which is closer to 1/48 or 1/50 scale. Due to this
historical influence, many other hobbyist companies are following this practice.
4.233 mm
Aircraft, science fiction, space non fiction, figures, vehicles, and watercraft.
Now the most prolific[citation needed] small scale (i.e. less than 1:35)
for plastic injection armored fighting vehicle (AFV) models and also
plastic model figurines & scale model vehicles and aircraft by companies
such as Airfix. There is a growing popularity for scratch-built radio control
model ships in this scale.[citation needed] More genres are covered in this
scale than any other.[2] Known as 20 mm figure scale in wargaming circles.
4.763 mm
Ships, die-cast cars. Matchbox and Hot Wheels use this scale to describe
their vehicles, although the actual scale of the individual models varies
from 1:55 to beyond 1:100. Same as S Scale. Also called 3/16in. scale.
5.000 mm
Common scale for pre-1970s hobbyist miniature wargaming figures. Some
companies such as Privateer Press are producing new figures in this scale.
Because 28 mm figure scale wargaming miniatures have crept in scale
over the years, these new “30 mm figure scale” wargaming miniatures are similar
in proportion to the current 28 mm figure scale wargaming miniatures.
Force of Arms, Westwind and s&s models also use this scale for
their range of resin and metal ww2 and modern 28 mm figure scale vehicles.
5.080 mm
Used by Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures. A handful of high-detail,
Japanese giant robot model kits primarily produced by Bandai are of this scale.
Some Japanese toy manufacturers also produce aircraft toys in this scale.
Rare model rail scale from Germany.
5.442 mm
Another common scale for 28 mm figure scale wargaming vehicles –
manufacturers in this scale include Wargames Factory, Die
Waffenkammer/JTFM Enterprises, NZWM/Army Group North, Force
of Arms and Bolt Action.
5.644 mm
Used by Siku for cars and trucks.
6.096 mm
Many European diecast construction vehicles and trucks. A small quantity
of early Japanese aircraft kits are also of this scale. 25 mm figure scale
wargaming vehicles are often of this scale—Brigade Games being one manufacturer.
6.350 mm
For dollhouse applications, 1:48 is commonly known as quarter scale
(as it is one-quarter of the 1:12 “standard” dollhouse scale).
Mainly military aircraft, but in 2005 Tamiya launched a new series
of armored fighting vehicle (AFV) models in this scale. It is the
American O scale. Architectural model scale corresponding to widely
used architectural drawing scale in the U.S. Also the main Lego scale,
known as minifig scale. The rather uncommon 40 mm figure scale wargames
figures fit approximately into this scale.
6.773 mm
This is the scale which MOROP has defined for 0 scale,
because it is half the size of the 1:22.5 Scale G-gauge model railways
made by German manufacturers[citation needed].
7 mm
Exact O scale of 7 mm = 1 foot.
7.088 mm
Still the most popular scale for die-cast cars worldwide, metric or otherwise.
It originates from British 0 scale.
7.620 mm
The very early models of the British Coronation Coach and a few other
horse-drawn wagons were made in this scale. Cheap soft plastic
soldier figures are also made to this scale; there are a few kits to
make vehicles for them.
8.467 mm
Popular scale for period ship plans – 1 inch = 3 feet.
8.709 mm
The most popular scale for military vehicles and figures. Used heavily
by Verlinden Productions. It was originally conceived by Tamiya for
convenience of fitting motorised parts and batteries. Corresponds
well with 28mm figures.
8.965 mm
A popular scale for collecting vintage and modern American truck models.
Established by First Gear, Inc. in the early 90’s with growing popularity
in Europe and Australia.
9.236 mm
The most common scale for paper model kits of aircraft.
9.525 mm
Military vehicles; 54 mm figure scale toy soldiers are supposed to use
this scale as well. Same as Gauge 1, cars, common for slot cars.
Some aircraft (eg Matchbox/Revell)
10 mm
Often quoted as the alternative to 1/32 scale.
10.16 mm
Toy soldiers and military vehicles including King and Country and Figarti.
10.51 mm
American model trains running on 45 mm Gauge 1 track.
10.89 mm
Biplane fighters.
12.19 mm
Cars, figures. AMT (now combined with Ertl), Revell, and Jo-Han
made cars in this scale. In Europe, this is preferred over 1:24.
Holland has whole toy villages in this scale. This scale is also
standard in most theatre design models used to represent set designs
before being built.
12.70 mm
Cars, figures. Monogram made cars in this scale; Common scale
for non-US companies including Tamiya. Some American dollhouse brands.
Diecast vehicles by Danbury and Franklin Mint. American trains by Delton MFG.,
and Aristocraft Classics.
13.55 mm
G Scale trains made by German manufacturers.
15.24 mm
Cars, common for Formula One models.
16.04 mm
16mm scale Live steam model railways.
This is also the scale for those[which?] “four-inch” adventure movie figurines.
16.93 mm
Cars made from kits, 1:18 scale diecast models, children’s dollhouses.
The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line of figures and vehicles is in this scale,
although the figures are compatible with 1:16 vehicles rather than 1:18 cars.
19.05 mm
Live steam trains (non-ridable), Figures. Ertl’s popular line of farm and
construction machinery is produced in this size.
23.44 mm
Aurora “Monster Scenes” and “Prehistoric Scenes” Kits.
25.40 mm
Action figures, Model cars (static and RC driven), Live steam trains (non-ridable),
dollhouses for adult collectors, motorcycles
30.48 mm
Motorcycles, Radio-controlled cars
38.10 mm
Cars, motorcycles, Live steam trains (ridable), Miniature park,
IC radio-controlled cars, Japanese garage kit figures, Aurora Classic Monster Kits
43.54 mm
Common scale utilized by Japanese companies for figures of anime
characters, especially[citation needed] when the portrayed character
is supposed to be young in age. The scale of a standard 4-stud × 2-stud Lego brick
compared to the unit size of a standard house brick (9 × 4 1⁄2 × 3 inches).
50.80 mm
Articulated figures, such as G.I. Joe, and Dragon, children’s fashion
dolls like Barbie, Dollfie, static display figures (commonly of anime characters),
motorcycles, Rail Cannons, Armored Vehicles, Military Dioramas.
60.96 mm
Glow plug (model engine) & electric Radio-controlled cars
76.20 mm
Glow plug (model engine) & electric Radio-controlled cars,
plastic model engines, larger collectible fashion dolls,
Pocketbike racing, Minibike, Mini chopper
101.60 mm
Ball-jointed dolls, Super Dollfie
152.40 mm
“My Size” (3′) fashion dolls

Apparently a number of very interesting Apps for Smartphone’s have been created (expected
more in near future) for modellers, where these tools can be very helpful during the assembling
and kits upgrading. Part of them are listed below:

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