Scale models (also known as diecast or miniatures) come in myriad sizes and any amateur collector can get completely bewildered once he sees several sizes available in shops or online web stores. He will not know which scale size is perfect for his display. Now, here is why this makes it confusing,
1:8 – These are monstrous in size. Extremely high priced and limited choices available.
1:10 – Mostly 2 wheeler bikes and scooters come in this scale.
1:12 - They are large highly detailed model cars and 14-15 inches long. But because of its scale size and cost, they are collected by few. However, 2 wheeler's that come in this size are popular.
1:18 - These are large models that are 8 - 11 inches long. One of the most popular sizes in India.
1:24 - Beginners prefer this scale as it is price friendly.
1:32 - Most model tractors, farming vehicles, few car models & 3 wheeler's come in this scale.
1:34 – Another scale most exclusively used by one of the leading brands for their truck models.
1:36 - A common scale for several toy models.
1:43 - Professional Collectors favourite choice. Variety of models available is extensive and covers cars, buses, trucks, 2 wheelers, etc. Also known as "O Gauge" in the UK.
1:48 - This scale is used for making model aircraft's, military vehicles and plastic construction kits.
1:50 - Most widely known scale for making construction vehicles, buses, and trucks.
1:55 - The Disney-Pixar cars from Mattel and Siku use the scale for its toy range of cars and trucks.
1:60 - Some pre-war and post-war military vehicles were made by Dinky Toys in the past.
1:64 - Most popular scale size for farm models and American model trucks.
1:72 - This scale is used for military vehicles due to its compatibility with 1:72 plastic construction kits. Also, most popular scale size for aircraft.
1:76 - These are tiny and are most popular in Australia and the UK. Buses and trucks also come in this size. In the UK, this scale size is also known as "OO Gauge".
1:87 – Some of the smallest size scale models one can possess
So, let us understand the basics - what does a scale size imply? Well, if it is a 1:18 scale (also written as 1/18), the scale model is 18 times smaller than the original vehicle. If its a 1:43, it is 43 times smaller and so on.
Bigger is better. Now, this is a mistaken belief, that a larger sized scale model such as a 1:18 or a 1:24 offers extra. Its doors, bonnet, boot open and one can ‘view’ the inside. True, the initial impression can have a strong visual impact when it is an 8”-10” long model, but observe the item little longer and everything will give away. One can then notice defects in finishing, thick door hinges, cheap plastic seats, terrible chrome finish, poor paint quality, etc. as you brought this 1:18 toy for Rs. 2500 and the 1:24 for Rs. 1400.
Now, that’s not the only problem. Where do I fit these 20 ‘large’ cars that I purchased in the last 2-3 years? I have just one display shelf in my 200 sq.ft living room? Ahhh!! A book shelf too in my bedroom where I can squeeze another 3-4 models. Rest, I can keep them in the attic or storage room or store them in original boxes on top of the cupboard. When we live in pigeon hole apartments in the metropolis isn't there dearth of space?
Dust. Don’t we have this problem in India, whether we live in a large metropolis like Mumbai or Delhi, or small cities like Gauhati or Coimbatore? Well, if one has a large size scale model with open windows then take a guess what must be happening daily with layers of fine dust settling in.
No way. I have a choice. I will pay for the perfect detailed car, that is a 1:18, that will have fabric-like seats, detailed dash board, etc. I will ask my carpenter to make a dust free shelf for Rs. 40,000. Hmmmm ............ Now what? I just realised that besides that dust free display shelf, this 1:18 collectible will cost me Rs. 8000-12000. Now, I am scratching my head.
Hmmm..... so what about 1:64? Hot Wheels makes them. I used to collect them as a kid. How about collecting 1:76? Oxford makes few really good ones. The 1:64 is about 2 inches long and a 1:76 ... well, I will make this guess. I can display more numbers of these sizes in my glass cabinet and since its doors don’t open, there is no dust. Hey, wait a minute, is it not too much small?
Ufffff. It’s hard to take a decision. Which size is ideal then? I want detailing as well the object to be seen when displayed in that shelf. It also has to be lighter on my pocket.
Gentlemen, the answer clearly is 1:43, the international favourite scale size since the 40’s. Hands down, this scale wins in all aspects. At 4-5 inches length (cars) and 10-12 inches (buses and trucks) this is the most ideal size. It is neither too big, nor too small. Its perfect for seeing detailing and perfect for storage.
1. When we display collectibles in our glass cabinets, we don’t display them with their doors and bonnets opened. They are closed. So why collect models when we can’t ‘view the inside’ instantly?
2. No dust as most 1:43 models are closed, barring those that are cabriolets and trucks. Several models come in dust proof acrylic cases.
3. Being an international preferred scale, one can buy a 1:43 in any part of the world. It's a big advantage as manufacturers make local models for a particular country and available locally e.g. Inter-state Mercedes bus - Argentina (below left) or TATA Aria - India (below right).
4. Compared to any other scale 1:43 offers the widest selection of cars, buses and trucks. One can get campers, wagons and literally any model or brand one desires. Different types of vintage, sports & rally cars, limousines, concept vehicles .... the possibilities are endless. So one will not end up buying motley of different size scale models. Your display remains uniform and offers pleasant viewing.
5. Space, s p a c e and more S P A C E. The below image on the left shows how 15 cars in 1:43 scale can be displayed in a 32 cm x 42 cm x 8 cm. (12" x 16.5" x 4") wooden cabinet. Now, imagine displaying just 2 cars of 1:18 size in that space. Or perhaps few 1:18 that can take your entire wall (see image on the right). And since a 1:43 weighs only 100-200 gms.(car) or 400-600 gms.(truck/bus), one can even hang such a shelf on the wall. Can you do this for a 1:18 that weighs 1 kg. each?
6. Price is the biggest advantage when one wants to possess a detailed scale collectibles. Imagine spending just Rs. 2500 for a 1:43 scale model against a 1:18 that will cost Rs. 10,000. Have 4 different scale models instead of possessing just one.
Do you now believe why 1:43 is the most favourite international scale size? So, Go 1:43 - make S P A C E, not mess.