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Why is 1:32 scale a thing?

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  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Why is 1:32 scale a thing?
Posted by Brhino on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 2:13 PM

1:144, 1:72, 1:48, and 1:24 are all multiples of 12.  It makes sense if you're using English units.  1:48 means one scale inch equals 4 feet, and something similar applies for all the other ones.

But then we have 1:32.  Not 1:36, which would seemingly make a lot more sense.  Not 1:30, which would at least land halfway between one foot and the next.

There must be a story here... anyone know it?

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 2:32 PM

Brhino

...There must be a story here... anyone know it? 

Using scales evolved over time, across different subjects and companies that made models or kits.

1/32 goes back to a popular size for toy soldiers, established in the 1890s by a couple of the largest manufacturers in Great Britain.  That size is 54mm, and those makers chose to use it, because figures in that size fit well with some popular brands of toy trains.  54mm, as a size, is roughly equivalent to 1/32 as a scale. 

But even then, there were variations.  One maker measured the size from the soles of a figure's feet to the top of its head, without any hat or headgear.  Another chose to measure from the figure's eyes to the soles of its feet.  And once we get to plastic models, we can see variations from one maker's model of a subject to the next maker's.  We can see variations in a scale within one model company's catalog, too.

The other scales in use have their own somewhat similar origin stories.  This one comes from toy cars, or slot cars, or car companies' demo models.  That one comes from a common size or scale used by ship model builders, and so on.

So, there's not a rhyme or reason, as there might have been had someone decided, "I'm going to produce models, and the size will be a constantly accurately reduced proportion of the real thing."  It evolved via a more or less natural process.

Hope that helps clarify a little!

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 2:32 PM

Becaus of the natural breakdown of inches on scales and rulers most likely: 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32. If the kit designers measure their subject in inches, it is easily converted to 32nds of an inch in scale.

 

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N is for NO SURVIVORS...

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  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 2:48 PM

Ya I was thinking the huge 54mm figure market.  But who knows why the chose the scales they did.  What irks me most is the 1/24 vs 1/25 deal???

But bikes and autos are all over the place.  1/43, 1/24, 1/25, 1/20, 1/16, 1/12 and 1/8

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 3:02 PM

1/35???

Well, I suppose it is a factor of 1/350...

So my armor models are ten times the scale of my ships.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 4:07 PM

1/32 is 3/8"=1'-0" on the architectural scale.  1/24 is 1/2"=1'-0".

1/35, according to urban legend, is something Tamiya pulled out from under the tatami mat.  And the model world has ever since been divided between armor scale and airplane scale, like night and day.

And then ICM, Border Models and others overturned the apple cart by making 1/35 airplanes and 1/32 helos.

“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    January 2021
Posted by PFJN2 on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 4:12 PM

Hi,

My understanding is that since inches are typically divided into 1/8ths, 1/16ths or 1/32nds, the scaling of old time models were ofgten done using one of these units as equal to the scale unit.  As such, many old ship models were either 1/8th inch to the foot (1/96 scale) or 1/16th inch to the foot (or 1/192 scale).  Similarly for larger models 1/8, 1/16, or 1/32 scales were similarly easy to use.

Pat

PS OOps, I see that RealG beat me with his post

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 4:35 PM

I recall reading an interview years ago with one of the engineers who worked for Revell in its earliest years...apologies that I cannot remember the name of said gentleman...who suggested the likelihood that the three common American scales were multiples of 1.5 (32 x 1.5 = 48, 48 x 1.5 = 72) because drawings could be easily pantographed up or down from one scale to the other.

For anyone under the age of 60 or so who doesn't know what a pantograph is...look it up. In the days before the easy manipulation of computer imagery, they were handy gadgets often used by draftsmen and designers.

"Just what I hear'd," as the old saying goes.... Big Smile

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Building models on my kitchen counter top~somewhere in North Carolina
Posted by disastermaster on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 5:14 PM

Works for all scales.

A simple way to look at it..... literally.

Viewing the model one foot from your eye is like seeing the real thing from 32 feet away.

On the kitchen counter somewhere in North Carolina

fox
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 8:59 PM

I still have a pantograph up in the loft. Use it every once in a while for odd jobs. Also  had a slide rule that I gave to my grandson last year. He's having a ball with it. He'll be graduating from college next year.

Jim Captain

Stay Safe.

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  1/48 Tamiya - Vought F4U-1A Corsair for Group Build 'Absent Friends' 50%                                                                   1/48 Encore Models - A-37B/OA-37B Dragonfly 50%

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: North East of England
Posted by Hutch6390 on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 11:20 AM

fox
Also  had a slide rule that I gave to my grandson last year. He's having a ball with it. He'll be graduating from college next year.

My age group were taught to use a slide rule at school, just when some bright spark invented a plastic box with buttons on the front that made the slide rule obsolete overnight!  I still have a slide rule, but have long since forgotten how to use it - I hope your grandson finds it useful!

Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?

   

TakkaTakkaTakkaTakkaTakkaTakka

 

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by MJY65 on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 1:27 PM

disastermaster
Viewing the model one foot from your eye is like seeing the real thing from 32 feet away.

I know it's a little off the OP's question as to 32, but I always keep the rule you quoted in mind when detailing.  Would you REALLY see that 1:72 rivet on a plane 72-144 feet away (assuming 1-2' viewing)?

 

My only exposure to slide rules was when flying 1:1 aircraft.   The E6B "Whiz Wheel" is basically a rotating slide rule.   I didn't shed a tear when they were made obsolete by electronics.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 1:38 PM

Hutch6390
My age group were taught to use a slide rule at school, just when some bright spark invented a plastic box with buttons on the front that made the slide rule obsolete overnight! I still have a slide rule, but have long since forgotten how to use it - I hope your grandson finds it useful!

My high school math class was literally the last year in which -- in that district, at least -- the slide rule was taught. In that long-ago age (1974), calculators were not allowed to be used for tests or exams...though slide rules were.

The laugh is, my dad...who was a lighting engineer...had taught my siblings and I to use slide rules while we were still in elementary school. I had a neat circular pocket-sized one I used all through jr. and sr. high.

No pocket-protector though. I was a nerd...but not a geek. Big Smile

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 2:12 PM

Heh heh, my dad was a civil engineer, and bequeathed me his slide rule.  I never learned how to use it though.  My mom used to use an abacus, but again I never learned.  I got my first calculator in sixth grade, circa 1976.  It had a red LED display and four functions.  I am a Failed Asian for sure!  Fail-ure.  Disappointment.  Stick out tongue

“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 4:51 PM

Real G

I am a Failed Asian for sure!  Fail-ure.  Disappointment.  Stick out tongue

 

Blame it on all that model glue usage as a kid... Wink

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Thursday, February 3, 2022 8:18 AM

I still have my college sliderule.  Didn't get a calculator until I was working on my first professional job.  What a great invention!  It would add and subtract as well as multiply and divide.  Yeah, you could do a form of add/subtract with a slide rule using logs, but it was more trouble than it was worth and not very accurate.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by MJY65 on Thursday, February 3, 2022 8:26 AM

rocketman2000
Didn't get a calculator until I was working on my first professional job.  What a great invention!  It would add and subtract as well as multiply and divide. 

 

You did have to be a little careful with those early calculators as many of them didn't have an algebraic operatic system.  You could get some odd results if not paying attention.Surprise

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Thursday, February 3, 2022 9:13 AM

I remember when those things came out.  They cost a small fortune back then and I wasn't allowed to use it for school work or at school.  It really killed my chance of getting a decent score at my last math class in 8th grade. I was never that good at math.

I do have a slide ruler from the Air Force.  It was used by loadmasters to compute cargo and lace it in the correct position on the cargo floor.  This one is configured for the C-130E.

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Thursday, February 3, 2022 11:46 AM

stikpusher

 

 
Real G

I am a Failed Asian for sure!  Fail-ure.  Disappointment.  Stick out tongue

 

 

 

Blame it on all that model glue usage as a kid... Wink

 

Naw Stik, we never huffed paint or glue - that stuff was too precious and too expensive!  See, that Asian thing again. Stick out tongue

Maybe it was TBI from all those firecracker and gasoline explosions...

“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Thursday, February 3, 2022 11:52 AM

Well, giving a space pirate a slide rule in 1959 made sense...

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, February 3, 2022 12:14 PM

Real G
 

Naw Stik, we never huffed paint or glue - that stuff was too precious and too expensive!  See, that Asian thing again. Stick out tongue

Maybe it was TBI from all those firecracker and gasoline explosions...

 

Sounds like we had similar childhoods.... Wink Although I have no Asian DNA. But I do remember build sessions in enclosed rooms and getting a bit light headed as a kid... definitely no huffing involved. That was for the dope heads you'd see on TV. Silly bad guys didn't know that model glue was for building models!

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

fox
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Thursday, February 3, 2022 1:45 PM

Love that pic Gamera! OK if I copy it to put up on the wall? Think I'll send a copy to my grandson too.

Jim Captain

Stay Safe.

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  1/48 Tamiya - Vought F4U-1A Corsair for Group Build 'Absent Friends' 50%                                                                   1/48 Encore Models - A-37B/OA-37B Dragonfly 50%

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, February 3, 2022 1:49 PM

I was in high-school 72-76 we definitely learned slide rule,it was cool,even had one.Totally forgot it though.

I remember a kid have a Texas-Instrument calculator,it cost $100.00 now they give them away as trinkets.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Thursday, February 3, 2022 2:19 PM

Hey Jim, it's not my photo so I don't have any say one way or the other! I just remembered it from an old article on how people didn't think about how computers would change the world. Hence starships and slide rules! Just did a web search on Space Pirate Slide Rule and it came up!

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

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