What Scale is Right for Me?

Many people who want to get into diecast car collecting are puzzled by the different scales. Some think that scale does not matter at all, while others randomly collect an assortment of vehicles of different scales without giving it a second thought. By having a firm grasp on the ins and outs of the four scales, you will more thoroughly enjoy your collection from the start.

The four main scales are 1/18, 1/24, 1/43 and 1/64. They indicate how much smaller the diecasts are from the vehicle they are based on. In other words, a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept diecast that is 1/24 scale is literally 24 times smaller than the real-world supercar. The actual length and other dimensions for each scale actually varies from car to car, since they're based on the real-world measurements of vehicles that aren't all the same size.

JADA TOYS 1/24 2009 CORVETTE STINGRAY CONCEPT SILVER

One of the biggest differences between the four scales is the number of opening features. Usually the larger the diecast, the more opening features such as doors, hood, trunk, etc. Of course this does not always hold true, but if you are looking for vehicles that can be opened up in multiple ways, you should in general stick to 1/24 or 1/18 scale.

Larger diecast cars also have more points of articulation. The steering wheel might not only spin, but actually move the front wheels, which is admittedly pretty fun. Some larger vehicles have spring suspension for the individual tires, giving them a different feel. Of course, these types of features also vary among manufacturers.

Another important point is price. In general, the larger the diecast, the more expensive. Younger collectors or those who have a smaller budget might want to stick with smaller options. Of course, there are some expensive 1/43 scale vehicles, so this does not always hold true.

The level of detail in general is greater on the larger scales. While there are exceptions to this rule, this is a factor to consider when starting your collection. For purely practical reasons, it's far easier to include details such as rearview mirrors, engine air filters, fuel doors, etc. when the vehicle is bigger. If you find yourself obsessing over the little things on diecasts, then going with more 1/18 and 1/24 scale diecast cars is a wise move. With greater detail also comes greater accuracy, so if you want your diecasts to be more true to the actual vehicle, larger options are best.

Many beginning collectors simply do not think about space constraints. Diecasts actually can consume a considerable amount of space, especially as you build up your collection. If your living arrangement is smaller, you should give some serious thought to going with smaller cars. Also, your significant other might not share your passion, making it necessary to keep the diecasts in a small room or a small shelf.

Now that you have a better understanding of scale, have a good look around our site. We stock everything from fun 1/64 scale Hot Wheels to meticulously crafted 1/18 AUTOart models.

If you still have more questions, our size chart is a great resource to have open while you shop.

19 thoughts on “What Scale is Right for Me?”

  • Rick Eason

    Interesting points. I collect all sizes, mostly 1:64. It's like the note says, it depends on what exactly you want that can determine the size you get. And space constraints! Better rent a storage shed when the bug bites you lol!

    Reply
  • Ben Naz

    I like 1:18 scales, but shipping and handling was more than the price of model itself.

    Reply
  • Andrew Minney

    This is great til someone like Maisto produces a 1955 Buick Century Highway Patrol car in .......1/26th scale!!

    Reply
  • Jim Amado

    1) Larger scale =greater accuracy is a fallacy. Quality - in any scale - varies with each manufacturer. 2) Scales are not even consistent. Welly is notorious for calling their models 1/24 scale when often they are smaller. Jada is equally notorious for labeling models as 1/24 when in fact they often are larger. 3)Technically, the word "scale" is inaccurately used. A model may be 1/24 actual size; but the "scale" of that particular model is 1/2" (1/2" on the model = 1' on the real vehicle) 4) 1/43 used to be known as "The International collectors scale". One could travel throughout Europe or North and South America, purchase a model in each country he or she visited, and they would all be compatible in size. 5) some people mistakenly associate size (1/18, 1/12) or weight (Brooklin models) with "quality"; this too is a fallacy. Large scale models have visual impact, but little else, and often are less accurately scaled and/or detailed than smaller scale models. 6) 1/43 is enjoying a resurgence with all of the new resin models of vehicles with chrome parts, flawless paint, detailed interiors, and subject matter from the mundane (4 door sedans, family station wagons, trucks) to the exotic (200mph sports cars, limousines, concept vehicles) for those who can afford the purchase price. 7) there is literally "something for everyone" in die cast models, no matter what one's preference is in vehicles, size, or price range. 8) one should collect models of vehicles he or she - for whatever reason (style/performance/color) -admires, and NOT collect for "investment". For 35 years I operated a model car shop, and countless times I was asked "what should I buy which will be worth something". When we die, nothing will be worth anything. Buy what you like, then take it out of the box and enjoy it!

    Reply
  • Trevor Bridges

    Useful article and comments. I collect UK sportscars in British Racing Green (or similar). The reason for this is a) to compare the styles of the vehicles more easily and b) to limit the potential size of my collection. I prefer to collect the 1:18 scale but will collect 1:43 (displayed separately) if a desired model is only available in green in that scale. What is frustrating is when manufacturers make models in a scale different from that labelled on the model (e.g. Burago selling their 1:15 Jaguar S-100 as 1:18)

    Reply
  • Collectable Diecast
    Collectable Diecast February 2, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Rick, that's right. We know that collecting diecast is an addictive hobby that doesn't always go in line with our space requirements! Ben, I suggest you take a look at some of our higher-end 1/18 models. We offer very competitive shipping on these diecast. Andrew, we feel your frustration! Those cars are even harder to highlight on site. Jim, great points. Yes, unfortunately some brands don't follow uniform scale rules but we feel like this guide is a good general starting point. You seem to know a lot about diecast, we'd love for you write for us! Shoot us an email. Trevor, 1/18 are our favorites and we do our best to try to have a stock with uniform sizes. Unfortunately, the manufacturers don't always comply!

    Reply
  • Dan maciejewski
    Dan maciejewski February 3, 2016 at 5:42 am

    1959ford galaxies 500 red /white.

    Reply
  • archie Butts

    1/18

    Reply
  • Stan Lubowicki

    1/24 Scale - I dont understand how so few models are produced in this scale, compared to 1/18.

    Reply
  • Henry Ubbing

    I prefer to look at the quality of the car and what others have that is the same or better in 1/24 scale. As it was said earlier is that they do differ by various degree in this scale.

    Reply
  • joe

    burago stinks, CMC rules

    Reply
  • joe

    SPARK is HOT ( pun intended)

    Reply
  • joe

    autoart and artbest are wikkid as well.

    Reply
  • Will

    Size doesn't always affect quality. For hose who collect 1/64, Siku is a GREAT high quality product. Too bad collectiblediecast doesn't carry it.

    Reply
  • Philip

    1:64 It's not to small and not to large. The problem is finding a wider variety of constructions, delivery and work trucks as compared to 1:87 or even 1:43. The other issue with the scale is the limited inventory of S scale railroading and structures. Of course the demand is probably limited as well. I have a question about 1:64 a lot cars. Why do these sets say 1:64 and HO on the packaging? Setting up a race track layout is an option but I want to make sure the set is indeed 1:64. Greenlight and Autoworld are imho the best manufacturers.

    Reply
  • Ernest P. Santangelo
    Ernest P. Santangelo February 26, 2016 at 5:51 am

    the scale size that suits my collection is 1:30 - 1:40 scale

    Reply
  • Nancy Dean

    We have recently inherited a collection of die cast cars. They are 8" long. Can anyone tell me which size they would be? And if there is a market for a whole collection of these cars that have been hanging in plexiglass shelving made for these cars? Thanks for your help!
    Nancy

    Reply
    • Collectable Diecast
      Collectable Diecast June 23, 2016 at 8:17 am

      Hi Nancy,

      It looks like the cars you've inherited are 1/24 scale. You can see more information at our size chart page - http://www.collectablediecast.com/Size-Chart_ep_49-1.html.

      Reply
  • Ken Burns

    I like collecting muscle cars of the 50's and 60's. When I started I bought cars that I had owned, my daddy had owned or cars I dreamed of owning. I hope to pass my collection own to my two grandsons.

    Reply
Leave a Reply