Scale Guide

This chart of scales/sizes has been compiled from various sources and is my attempt to bring some clarity to the subject of scale and more importantly what alternatives are compatible with your chosen scale. There are two measures of scale that seem to be used interchangeably between different manufacturers, groups of gamers and collectors. However, where applicable I have also referred to the equivalent Railroad Scale as it is often possible to use buildings and models for tabletop gaming purposes.
  • Ratio or Fraction (i.e. 1:72 or 1/72) – The number on the right shows how many units (Inches, centimetres it doesn’t matter) on the life-sized object are equivalent to one on the model. So a 1/100th model that stands 1cm tall represents a real object 100cm tall.
  • Size (i.e. 15mm or 28mm) – This is usually taken as the height of the average male figure and is measured from the sole of the foot to eye level. But this isn’t standard across the industry and a lot of variation has crept in resulting in “scale creep”.
The following table refers to the Ratio/Fraction in the first column and gives the equivalent Size next to it in the second column. This is the size to eye level (a common definition of scale in the wargaming model industry). The third column gives the alternative height as measured to the top of the head. Both sizes are based on the assumption that the average height for a man is 5ft 8in (or 5ft 3in to eye level). This of course does not account for differences between ethnic groups, between the genders and over different time periods when average height might be different from modern humans.

Size to Eye      
              Size to Scalp        Common Applications (with Example Manufacturers)
          1/268                          6mm                                 6.5mm         Equivalent to 1/285 scale and 1/300 scale. Popular for ‘Micro armour’ games. Timecast calls their 6mm buildings 1/260th scale.
1/220 7mm 7.9mm Z scale model railroad scale where 1.385 mm = 1 foot - Building in this scale can be used with 6mm figures
1/200 8mm 8.7mm 20th Century armoured vehicles and aircraft   
1/161 10mm 10.7mm    Fantasy, historical and science fiction. (Pendraken Miniatures)
1/160 10.06mm   10.8mm                      N scale model railroad scale. Trees in this scale work well with 10-15mm models.
1/144 11.2mm 12mm Official FOW Aircraft scale and a popular scale for Die-Cast Model Airplanes (Battlefront / Revell / Corgi)
1/107 15mm 16.2mm Popular Wargaming scale. Official FOW infantry scale. Figures from Battlefront, Peter Pig and Skytrex are comparable in height but the latter are occasionally described as 'better proportioned' because they are slimmer. (Battlefront / Old Glory / Peter Pig)
1/100 16.1mm 17.3mm TT Gauge. Alternative for 15mm
1/87 18.5mm 19.9mm HO scale. HO Buildings are suitable for 15mm models (Hornby / Airfix / Revell)
1/80.5 20mm 21.5mm Skirmish-level 20th Century Wargaming.
1/76 21.2mm 22.8mm OO scale. Plastic miniatures and kits are available in this scale for aircraft, ground vehicles, and soldiers. Suitable for use with 20mm figures (Hornby)
1/72 22.4mm 24mm Popular for die-cast toys and plastic kits. Buildings & vehicles are compatible with 20mm Figures (Revell)
1/64 25mm 27mm S Gauge. Traditional Wargaming scale. Fantasy Wargaming, historical skirmish-level games, science fiction, and for use with role-playing games.
1/58 28mm 29.8mm Sometimes referred to as "large" 25mm figures. Popular size for roleplaying models. (Games Workshop / Perry Miniatures / Hasslefree)
1/54 30mm 32mm Another scale used for pre-20th Century miniatures.(Enigma Miniatures)
1/50 32mm 34.6mm LoTR’s models (Mithril Miniatures)
1/48 33.5mm      36mm US O Gauge which is 0.25 inches to the foot and referred to as the "quarter inch scale". Popular for plastic aircraft kits. (Tamiya)
1/43.5 37mm 39.8mm British O Gauge based on 7mm to the foot
1/40 40mm 43.3mm ACW & Napoleonic figures (Old Glory / Eureka Miniatures / North Star Figures)
1/38 42mm 45.5mm Roughly corresponds to old B Range (Irregular Miniatures)
1/35 46mm         49.4mm Plastic kits of armour. (Tamiya)
1/32 50.3mm     54.1mm   I scale.
1/30 54mm         57.7mm Sometimes called "Toy Soldier" scale

Model gamers should always beware of different companies selling models of the same scale. As already stated there are a lot of assumptions involved in determining the right height for a human figure and some variation in model height may be acceptable, even desirable. However, items of a fixed size (Weapons for instance) may vary in size depending on how a particular manufacturer has calculated scale. The best advice I can give is to directly compare models to determine compatibility before you purchase.