How big is 1:64 scale?

Last Updated on August 1, 2017 by Dave Farquhar

1:64 scale is a popular size for diecast cars. At one time it was popular for slot cars and electric trains too. But how big is 1:64 scale, really?

I’ll explain it mathematically and by giving sizes of some common objects.

Scale is a ratio

Mathematically, scale is just a ratio. A 1:64 model is 64 times smaller than the real thing. That works out to a foot being 3/16 of an inch on the model.

An easy way to convert sizes is to measure the real thing in feet, then multiply it by 3, and divide by 16.

If you’re not certain if something is 1:64 scale, here’s how to determine the scale based on size.

Sizes of common objects in 1:64 scale

How big is 1:64 scale
This old Tootsietoy car is close to 3 inches long, making it close to 1:64 scale. The building it’s parked next to is also close to 1:64 scale. The bricks are way over scale.

The average adult male is about 6 feet tall. In 1:64 scale, an adult male figure should therefore be 1 1/8 inches tall.

A Toyota Camry is almost 16 feet long. So a 1:64 scale Toyota Camry should be three inches long. Many common passenger cars work out to very close to three inches.

An entry door for a building, such as a business, is usually 7 feet tall. In 1:64 scale, that works out to 1.3125 inches, or 1 5/16 inches.

A 40-foot boxcar is 7 ½ inches long in 1:64 scale. In model railroading terms, 1:64 is S scale. “S” stands for “sixty-four.”

Buildings are a little bit trickier, since we measure buildings using the imprecise measurement of “stories,” which can be anywhere from 10 to in some cases 16 feet. For our purposes, 10 feet is enough. Converting to 1:64 scale, 10 feet works out to 1 7/8 inches. No one will hold it against you if you round up to 2 inches. A one story building would be about 2 inches tall. A two story would be 4 inches, and so on.

You can use the same math for roads, with one lane being around 10 feet wide. So a two-lane road would be about four inches wide and a four-lane road would be about eight inches wide.

Precision — or lack of it

You may do the math and find that a so-called 1:64 model isn’t 1:64 in all dimensions. Designers often need to fudge some measurements to accommodate manufacturing processes, or just to make something look “right” to the casual observer.

Finescale modeling tries to be completely accurate in every way. But most off-the-shelf models aren’t quite finescale fidelity. Someone who aspires to finescale standards will likely have to modify off-the-shelf models in one or more ways to get that kind of fidelity.

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