Popular Miniature Scale Cars
by Herschel D. -
Popular Miniature Scales
“Z,” 1/220th train scale (1.5 MM = 1 ft.) This scale is named after the last letter of the alphabet because it is so tiny! There are VW’s in this scale as well as in most all the other scales mentioned here! Model train track gauge is 6.5 MM.
“N,” 1/160th train scale “N” for “narrow (2 MM = 1 ft.). It grew out of “OOO” (1/52nd scale) in the 1960’s. It was first used for narrow gauge (approx. 2 1/2 prototype ft) trains made in “HO” scale. Track Gauge is 9 MM.
“HO,” 1/87th Half “O” scale (3.5 MM = 1 ft.). A popular train scale since W.W.II. Track gauge is 16.5 MM. This is the smallest scale in which model automobiles are big enough to have enough detail to be displayed as stand alone models other than just being trackside decoration. The widest variety of VW types are in this scale!
“00,” also called 1/72nd, (4.25 MM = 1 ft.) Used by ‘50’s Matchbox cars, and short-lived trains into the 1960’s. Track gauge was 19 MM. Its main modern use is for military model kits and model airplanes. W.W.II VW military vehicle model assembly kits are available in all the military scales. Many European “00” scale trains were made to run on the more widely available “HO” gauge track
“S,” also called 1/64th Scale (3/16th inch = 1 ft.):“S” for “small,” was used for post-W.W.II trains and modern small-scale cars. A good variety of VW’s have been made this scale, too. Nowadays, Matchbox and other similar size diecast brand model cars generally vary between 1/55th and 1/64th scales, while being lumped under the “1/64th” title. Track gauge is 7/8.”
“O,” 1/48th: Called “O” (1/4th inch =1 ft.) by being smaller than the Pre W.W.II “No. 1” train scale (1/32nd). Track gauge is 1/14.” Model cars were made into the mid ‘60’s in this scale. This is also a popular military model scale and a popular model airplane scale, as well.
“1/43rd” Scale (7 MM =1 ft.). A popular European metric system based model car “O” Scale that has widely replaced 1/48th scale for model cars since the mid-1960’s. Thus, I have, both, a 1956 Dinky Toy (Mecanno LTD of England) VW in 1/48th scale and a 1965 Dinky VW in 1/43rd scale. Actually the official promo models made by Viking for VW starting in 1948 were made in 1/40th scale, though! I don’t know why! European trains made to 1/43rd metric measurement run on the same 1 1/4th gauge as 1/48th scale ones do because that size is more widely available!
“No.1,” also called 1/32nd Scale (a pre W.W.II scale): No.1 train scale (3/8 inch =1 ft.) was smaller than “No. 2”(1/27th scale, also a pre-W.W.II toy train scale with a track gauge of 1 3/4”). This scale has been popular as a model car scale since W.W.II. The First popularly priced model car plastic assembly kits, which were the Revel Highway Pioneers made in the early ‘50’s, were made to this scale and is also popular with military modelers, nowadays.
Today the same 1 ¾” gauge that was used for No.1 scale is known as “G” Gauge, (G=Giant) as used for 1/22.5 scale (13.5 MM =1 ft.) narrow gauge trains on it. but now, a revival of pre W.W.II “No. 2” gauge (1/27th, 7/16 inch = 1 ft.) scale trains are run on it too, as well as new No, 1 scale 1/32nd scale trains are being made again for it, too! Anson happens to have made some model cars in 1/27th, but 1/25th, scale cars are usually used with the 1/22.5 and 1/27th scale trains.
“Standard Scale,” 1/25th: Lionel’s name for their prewar 2 1/8“ gauge trains. It is also a popular promo model car scale (12 MM = 1 ft.). Since the 1950’s lots of diecast and plastic model assembly kits have been made in both 1/25th and 1/24th scales.
“No.3” Scale, also called 1/24th scale: A pre-W.W.II toy train scale that became a popular postwar model car scale (1/2 inch =1 ft.). In pre-W.W.II years, the miniature cars made for all the various scales (mostly 1/32nd and up) of pre-war toy train layouts were toyish and usually made of cast iron. The track gauge was 2 1/2.”
1/18th scale. A now popular (since around 1990) model car scale in which a scale foot would be 2/3rd’s inch. Most model cars scales originated as model train scales but apparently not 1/18th.
1/16th scale (3/4th inch is a scale foot), which is another model car scale that goes back to the 1960’s. 1/18th has out grown it, though. I think this scale is also one of several used by outdoor model railroaders (“live steam” model railroading). I also think a Kubelwagen plastic assembly kit is made in this scale.
There are other scales such as 1/10th that is a popular motorcycle model scale, or 1/12th for a few large ultra-detail (and ultra-priced) models. There is also 1/35th scale which is a military scale only.
“Real life” (which is called the prototype) standard gauge train and car track is 4’ 8 ½” or 56 ½ inches. It originated in Europe in Medieval times as a standardized measurement called a “rod” as arbitrarily decided by the outstretched arms of a king of that time. It has stayed in place for hundreds of years, because traveling down deeply rutted muddy roads was much easier to do by everyone having the same distance between the wheels.
As an example of scale, a 1/18th-scale model would mean that it would take 18 miniatures to equal the length, height or width of the prototype. A way to compare one scale to another is if the numeric number of the scale is, say, larger like 1/24th vs. 1/18th, the one with the larger number, (1/24th), is a smaller scale. In other words, the larger the number, the smaller the scale and vise versa.