1:72 scale

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1:72 scale is a scale used for scale models, most commonly model aircraft, corresponding to one sixth of an inch representing one foot (or 1 inch to 6 feet). In other words, 72 of a given model placed end to end would represent the length of the real thing. In this scale, a man who is six feet tall would be exactly one inch in height. The scale was popular for aircraft because small fighters and large bombers were represented, and was practically the only choice of scale if a modeler wanted to have all aircraft types represented in the same scale.

This scale originated with the Skybirds and Frog Penguin aircraft model ranges produced in the United Kingdom during the 1930s and was subsequently used for aircraft recognition models by the Allies of World War II.[1] [2] More subjects and genres are covered in this scale than any other.[3] Widespread in Western and Eastern Europe, Japan and Latin America, the scale is extremely popular in the UK but less so in Australia, Canada, and the USA, where 1:48 is more prevalent.

Manufacturers of aircraft kits, past and present, in 1:72 scale include; Airfix, Frog, Novo, Revell, Italeri, Tamiya, Hasegawa, Heller, Monogram and Matchbox.

In recent years this scale has also gained popularity for model military vehicles, and is also used for Japanese anime science fiction models, die-cast model cars, figures, and radio-control model ships, as well as soldiers.

Die-cast models

1:72 scale is becoming increasingly popular for die-cast toys. The beginning of die-cast production in this scale can be connected to the noted Hong Kong model car producer Hongwell Company, which opened its factory dedicated to these model cars in 1997.[citation needed]

The success of this scale in the die-cast market has multiple reasons. One of them is that these models may be precisely designed using Zamak as a basic alloy, which is a real advantage in contrast to 1:87. The other reason is that these models are sold in perspex boxes that can easily be organized into columns, thus helping collectors to keep their collection in good condition.

Unlike 1:64, 1:72 die-cast models are strictly produced in true scale even if they do not fit the original box size. The number of complementary plastic parts (lamps, mirrors) and a higher amount of screen printed decorations make these models much more lifelike, yet still allow them to be produced in large numbers so they may also be used as toys.

Models in this scale are admired by collectors because their finish may be compared to most 1:43 models, but their size allows the modeller to build up a large collection in a smaller space.

Emergency vehicle models started a new way of collecting in this scale. As most of the manufacturers offered emergency models in the local markets in local liveries, swapping these cars soon became an everyday procedure in the lives of collectors. As a result international online communities for 1:72 die-cast models are more popular than for older scales.[citation needed]

The best-known manufacturers in this scale are Hongwell (Cararama brand), Real-X, Yat Ming and Realtoy. Other brands such as Schuco, Abrex, Bumi Cars or Motorart also have these models in their portfolio but the manufacturers behind these brands are Hongwell or Yat Ming. Italian Bburago also announced its 1:72 scale range at the 2005 International Nuremberg Toy Fair. This product line would have been a spin-off of Schuco's Junior Line extending the portfolio with the models of Real-X. As Bburago was sold by Dickie-Schuco Group shortly afterwards, these models never reached the European market under the Italian brand name.

1:72 and HO/OO scale

There has been some confusion amongst manufacturers in the past in terms of railway and scale model scales. Railway scales are identified by alpha/numeric codes whereas all other modeling scales are simply identified by the scale concerned. HO in Australia, Europe, Japan, and the United States is 1:87. The UK had its own scale of OO, which is 1:76, but uses the same track gauge as HO scale. Hence the term HO/OO. None of these scales are 1:72, and neither are they compatible with it, as a comparison between an Airfix and Revell GMBH Leopard I tank kits will demonstrate.[4] Even figures in these scales show distinct size differences. Many manufacturers in the past, particularly in the UK, produced items to 1:76 and labeled the packaging as being 1:72, because the scales were historically considered to be close. An example is Airfix's and Matchbox's series of vehicle kits to 1:76, which were eventually re-issued with labeling indicating a scale of 1:72. 1:76 still exists, but it is now considered to be a wargaming scale.

Many scale model manufacturers now recognize the difference and there has been a marked change over the last 10 years, with vehicle and figure producers consolidating to 1:72. Currently a large number of manufacturers produce figures in this scale such as Caesar Miniatures, HaT, Italeri and Zvezda[5]

See also


  1. ^ "A Short History of Recognition Models". frogpenguin.com. Archived from the original on 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  2. ^ "Civilians for Defense". Collect Air. Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  3. ^ Francis, Tim (December 2002). "The Definitive 1/72 Scale Model Census". 72scale.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  4. ^ Francis, Tim (December 2002). "The Definitive 1/72 Scale Model Census". 72scale.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  5. ^ "Plastic Soldier Review". Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2008-12-29.


  • Lune, Peter van. "FROG Penguin plastic scale model kits 1936 - 1950". Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2017, published by author ISBN 978-90-9030180-8

External links

  • 1-72-scale.com Miniatures and Figures in 1/72 Scale
  • 72scale The Definitive 1/72 Scale Modeling Census.
  • Task Force 72 1/72 scale R/C ship modeling club, Australia.
  • Queen's Own 1/72 scale R/C ship modeling club, USA.
  • On The Way!, 1/72nd scale armor modeling resources
  • MiniatureZone, Pictures and articles on smallscale 1/72 (20mm scale) historical miniature wargaming and modelling
  • Plastic Soldier Review 1/72 scale plastic figures on parade
  • The Miniatures Page "All About Scales"
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