Model Scales

In a recent discussion on a diecast forum a point was raised about the scale of some models and its popularity amongst the collectors of diecast around the world.  This got me to wondering, just what would be the most popular scale of diecast cars.  As we all know there are plenty to chose from and an abundance of reasons to select a particular scale so lets have a look at the major scales in use today.

Starting at the larger end is the 1/18 scale vehicles, these are of course bigger and therefore able to have a lot more detail included in the car. The 1/18 scale allows many more intricate parts of a diecast vehicle to be modeled and included in the design, this also means that with the extra detail and better accuracy comes a higher price.  Of course this is not always the case, you can get some really great diecast cars in 1/18 scale from the likes of Welly or Maisto that are very reasonably priced for the size of the car you are getting but there are still the higher priced models with unbelievable accuracy and detail like the offerings from AUTOart or Minichamps that although more expensive are well worth the money you spend on them.  Because of the better detailing this is a very popular scale to collect and certainly in Australia is one of the more popular ones.

Next major scale down from that is the 1/24 scale model cars, like the 1/18 it is big enough to include some really good detail but being slightly smaller is generally cheaper than its larger 1/18 scale cousin. 1/24 scale cars can often be found on G scale model train layouts as the size is quite similar.  G scale is a European scale for train layouts and is approximately 1/22 making the 1/24 scale model cars almost perfect when creating a diorama in that scale, there are many other reasons this is a popular scale as well, model makers love the 1/24 scale as it is generally the scale used by those that make doll houses or furniture so like the G scale train layouts a 1/24 scale model car fits perfectly in any creation made, it is also a popular scale amongst Americans who race slot cars as it is generally the chosen scale for them as well.

Smaller still than the 1/24 scale is the 1/32 scale models, this scale is more popular in the slot car world than it is in diecast although they do cross over.  You can get some very nice diecast models in 1/32 but mostly you will find this is the scale used by those who collect or race slot cars.  1/32 was also a popular scale used by model railway enthusiast as well, in the model railway world it is commonly known as Gauge 1 and was also used on many early plastic model kits as well.  In the diecast world companies like Britains use the 1/32 scale extensively for their agricultural line of diecast models.

Matchbox Collectors Forum : Model Scales

The next major scale down from that would be my favourite, the 1/43 scale models in my mind are the sweet spot.  For me 1/43 scale models represent the best value for your collecting dollar, they are small enough to be very reasonably priced yet still large enough to include most of the additional detail that you want to see on a nice model.  With its beginnings in the model railway world as O gauge, 1/43 scale is a very popular scale to collect worldwide, in fact like the 1/18 scale models this one ranks up there as one of the most popular scale to collect in Australia.  This scale has been in use for a long time; in fact the very first truly accurate 1/43 scale car ever made appears to be the Dinky Toys Peugeot 203 that they released in 1951.  From that time right through to the 1980s and even up till now (2012) 1/43 scale is used by most European manufacturers, companies like Corgi Toys, Dinky Toys, Schuco and others were renowned for their use of the 1/43 scale, making it one of the more popular collectible scales right across Europe.

1/55 scale is becoming more and more popular now as a scale in diecast manufacturing, Siku use this scale quite prolifically when creating their diecast models of cars, trucks, farming equipment and more.  Although not widely used by others, it is becoming more and more popular amongst the smaller scale collectors.

On to the smaller scales now and this is where the line starts to blur just a little, 1/64 scale is the scale chosen by the likes of Matchbox and Hot Wheels to create their diecast miniatures. Although everything that Matchbox, Hot Wheels and others that operate in this sphere refer to their diecast models as 1/64 scale, they do in fact range in size from 1/120 for the larger trucks or ships up to approximately 1/55 scale for the smaller vehicles.   1/64 became popular as it was directly half of the 1/32 scale models and the vehicles made in this scale were much easier for the smaller hands of a child to hold and it corresponds to the model railway S scale.  The smaller size of course comes at a price, not a monetary price as they are often quite cheap, in fact just a dollar or two will get you a nice 1/64 scale model, the price paid though is the lack of detail, at such a  small scale it is near on impossible for a diecast manufacturer to include the finer details on the model but when buying a toy for your child to race around the garden or lunge room, this is not a criteria that is applied to these vehicles.  The much lower cost also helps this be a very popular size for collectors to amass large collections of diecast vehicles, some collectors literally have 10s of thousands of cars in their collections.

Lastly to one of the smallest scale to collect, 1/87.  The 1/87 scale is exactly the same as the worlds most popular model railway scale and that is HO scale. HO scale derives its name from being approximately half of the older 0 scale, which of course was the smallest of the model railway scale introduced by Markiln over 100 years ago.  Initially the scales Marklin had were 0, 1, 2 and 3 and thus this scale became known as H0 although it is pronounced aitch – oh and written as HO instead of the original aitch – zero meaning half zero scale.  There are not to many producers that make diecast at this scale but you can still find them, companies like Oxford Diecast or Cararama produce some very nice diecast replicas in 1/87 scale which are perfect for HO model railway layouts.

So in a nutshell they are the most common and most popular scales used worldwide, of course there are all sorts of scales in between these but even those models are generally described as belonging to one of these major scales.  So what do you think is the most popular scale in your country ?  For me, here in Australia I think we historically follow the United Kingdom and Europe and mostly collect the larger scales like 1/18 and 1/43 although there are still plenty of collectors, myself included that like the smaller 1/55 or 1/64 scales.

Why no let us all know what you think is most favoured in your part of the world and why?


Collector of Matchbox cars for many years

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