August 28, 2013

Tips & Tricks: Reference Chart for Scales?

Confused about scales of figures and miniatures? The size of a miniature, relative to what it is a replica of, is known as the scale of the figure. For no particularly good reason, two different systems are used to rate scale.
  • Some scales are given as a ratio, variously written as either a ratio (i.e., 1:300 or 1.300) or a fraction (i.e., 1/300). The number on the right of the pair indicates how many units (inches or centimeters) on the original are equivalent to one unit on the replica. For example, with a 1:300 scale miniature, if the miniature is 1" long, then the original was 300" in length. In spoken English, you would say 1/300 as "one [pause] three hundred scale."
  • Other scales are simply listed as a certain height, such as 15mm or 54mm. Most people usually think of this as being the height of an average man (i.e., in 15mm scale, men are 15mm high), but there is a lot of confusion on this issue. According to some experts (but not all), "traditional" figure heights are measured to eye level, since measuring to the top of the head is impractical for figures wearing headgear (as many military figures do). Therefore, when a manufacturer says his figures are (for instance) 25mm scale, he might mean "25mm to top of the head" or "25mm to eye level."
As a final note, even figures which ostensibly are in the same scale may differ considerably in body build, head size, and general sculpting style - even when made by the same manufacturer! Plastic figures may be sculpted in a thinner style than metal figures. Therefore, if you are concerned whether you can mix figures from different product lines or companies and have them look appropriate, you may first want to order samples from the manufacturer.

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