Scale Reference (Model Rail Road and Tabletop Miniature Games)

Scale Reference (Model Rail Road and Tabletop Miniature Games)

For those who play miniature games and are looking for a scale reference, I’ve compiled this list of scales for you. You can use this reference guide as a way to convert miniature gaming scales into other hobby scales, such as those commonly used in model trains, railroads, or other collectible kits.

I know from experience in miniature gaming that Warhammer 40k, Bolt Action, Warmachine/Hordes, and Infinity fall into the “28-35mm scale”. In this case, then you might want to look at S-scale or O-scale model railroad kits for additional terrain and accessories. Or, if you’re into Dropzone Commander, a 10mm scaled game, then N-scale model railroad kits might be the right way to go.

Scale Reference (Model Rail Road and Tabletop Miniature Games)
Model buildings for railroad layouts (or gaming)

Are you a miniature hobbyist? See here for another article about the magnifying visors I use and recommend for seeing the finer details.

Model buildings for railroad layouts (or gaming)
“Titanicus” (40k Universe)
Scale Reference (Model Rail Road and Tabletop Miniature Games)
Different train scales
Scale Reference (Model Rail Road and Tabletop Miniature Games)
Scale matters – this Imperial Knight is a fun model

Mix and match, search on eBay. With the scaled reference below, I hope this helps provide you with new opportunities for your hobby!

List of Scales for Miniature Gaming and Modeling

Micro-Scale (e.g., naval/spaceship warfare)

1:9150 – The ultra small, micro scale. This is the scale used by Dropfleet Commander.

1:3000 – This is a very small micro-scale. This is mostly-used by naval or spaceship war gamers. Most capital ships will be short between 1-2 inches long.

1:2000 – A general naval war game scale

1:1200 – This is the scale used for Age of Sail and other similar historical naval warfare miniature games.

1:600 (2mm) – This is a micro scale found in land-sea miniature wargames

1:300 (6mm) – For miniature land battles of an “epic” scale, this is the most popular.

1:285 (6.5mm) – This is a less popular micro scale that originated with earlier plastic model kits.

1:220 (9mm) Z-scale – This is an emerging popular model railroad scale for really small trains and scenery. Some kits in this scale can be used in 10mm scale war games (and vice versa).

Small Miniatures (e.g., epic scale wargaming – tiny trains)

1:200 (10mm) – This is 1:185 scale, but for hobbyists this is similar to the 1:200 scale, or 10mm. Interestingly, this is the scale for Dropzone Commander, for example.

1:185 (10mm) – Essentially, this is the same as 1:200.

1:160 (12mm) N-scale – This the 2nd most popular scale for model railroads. It allows train collectors and hobbyist a lot of room for larger, affordable layouts with tracks and scenery. If I were to start a model railroad in an apartment or small bedroom, this would be the scale I would prefer to use.

1:144 (13mm) – This is a collector’s scale for die-cast models in Asia. Less popular in wargaming and model railroad communities. Could be compatible with N-scale and 15mm scale (below).

1:120 (15mm) – The most popular scale for wargaming in Europe. 15mm allows large scale battles with great model detail and battlefield layouts. Historical wargaming uses this scale a lot. For example, see Carnage and Glory. Railway model collectors and hobbyists can use 15mm wargame buildings, as they are similar to N-scale.

1:100 (18mm) TT-scale – A lot of 15mm scale miniatures may be over-scaled to 18mm (despite the smaller branding).

1:96 (19mm) – A less popular scale in more modern times. This used to be scale found in many Japanese plastic kits (science fiction and fictional characters from books, graphic novels/manga).

1:93 (20mm) – This scale is hard-to-find scale today. 20mm used to be the scale found in many of war games in the 80’s and 90’s. Many 20th century themed war games, e.g., World War 2, used this scale. The details and quality of some of these miniatures rivaled larger scales that are more prevalent today.

Standard Miniatures (e.g., tabletop designer games, popular model train scales)

1:87 (21mm) HO-scale – This is the most popular model railroad scale, comprising close to 50% of the train hobbyist market. All major model railroad companies produce and support the HO scale. This scale is similar to OO in some European countries (see below).

1:77 (24mm) OO-scale – Similar to HO, this is another very popular scale for model railroads. Both HO and OO scale products can match the 25mm scale used in miniatures war games (and the other way, too).

1:72 (25mm) – This is the starting scale of all modern model scales. When scale miniature wargaming grew, it started here. However, as “heroic” scale and over-scaling occurred from the likes of Games Workshop and Ral Partha during the 70’s and 80’s, the 25mm scale gave way to the larger 28mm scale. The wargaming industry has never been the same as this over-scaling trend (aka scale creep) happened through the late 20th century.

1:66 (28mm) – This is the “standard” scale for some of the largest designers and manufacturer’s for miniature tabletop games today. This scale was originally the domain of Games Workshop/Citadel, which precluded earlier manufacturer’s from substituting the GW product line. The 3mm scale difference from the 25mm standard of yesteryear has all but vanished as modern miniature wargaming companies from across the industry “scaled up” to meet the growing demand for “heroic/over-scaled 25mm”.

1:64 (29mm) S-scale – This is a somewhat rare railroad modeling scale (as compared with O, HO or N-scale. This is the closest scale to the 28mm miniature war game standard 28mm, e.g., Games Workshop and others. Terrain and structure kits in this S-scale model railroad market can be used to substitute for 28mm scale war games very well.

Large Miniatures (e.g., Toy-like, highly-detailed modeling, hobbyist dream, collectibles)

1:48 (39mm) O-scale – When you think of toy trains (e.g., Lionel), this is the scale you might see most. This is a classic model rail road scale, but has no real equivalent in modern wargaming. There are a lot of products in the model railroad hobby for the O-scale.

1:34 (54mm) – This is a classic scale for larger metal miniatures from a by-gone era. British “toy soldiers” might be seen in this scale.

1:32 (58mm) – This might the scale you might see plastic toy green armies and soldiers.

1:22.5 (80mm) G-scale – If I had a million dollars and a large backyard, this is the modeling scale I would choose. Have you seen a model train in a garden? G-scale is the garden railroad scale.

Scale Reference (Model Rail Road and Tabletop Miniature Games)
HO-scale models are
Scale Reference (Model Rail Road and Tabletop Miniature Games)
Dropzone Commander (10mm or N-scale)
Scale Reference (Model Rail Road and Tabletop Miniature Games)
My HO-scale model train…. going in circles

Do you have a favorite modeling or wargaming scale? Let me know in the comments!

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