The topic this month for The Sprue Cutters Union is all about scale. Which scale do you prefer and which do you avoid like the plague? For me as a mostly armor modeler, it would have to be 1/35th scale. I know that 1/35th while popular in AFVs and with some lines of helicopters is an odd scale given that there are other scales out that make more sense given their railroading origin, like 1/48th and 1/72nd . And I have heard the stories that the scale was started by Tamiya to fit their motorization parts they used to include in their kits, and the remnants of this are still found in some of their newer kits such as the M1A2 Tusk II kit (Really you couldn’t retool this for a $80 kit!). But the more I build, the more I like the 1/35th scale. Most kits scale out to a nice size that make them manageable to build, detail and fit in the spray booth without the need to break them into a lot of subsections. Also, most of the finished kits will fit nicely on the display table or shelf and for the most part the kits in this scale are reasonably priced for what you get now from the modern kit makers. Also with the increase of larger military subjects such as ICBM launchers or Patriot Missile System coming out to the market place 1/35th scale is really coming into its own as the scale for AFVs. These larger kits used to be only in 1/72nd due to price, size or manufacturer ability. Advances in molding and equipment now make these larger scale kits a reality. A reality with a higher price point but with the details to match that make them a must buy for me.
Now that doesn’t mean 1/35th is the only scale I build. I have tried 1/48th armor and I thought it would be the way to go but the limited modern subjects and the lack of the larger manufacturers getting on board with this scale has caused me to not like as much as I thought I would. However, I have a new scale I like for armor, 1/72nd. Yes, I tried 1/72nd a while back and the kits looked a lot like toys to me as well; but recent improvements and an increase of subjects lead me to give it another try. I have not been disappointed. I am currently building a Model Collect T-90, and while as not as detailed as the 1/35 from Meng or Trumpeter, it is a really nice kit with an enough details to make it look like a replica of a military vehicle and not a toy. The newer kits out are really good. Model Collect has some great kits out on some crazy subjects that will never be in 1/35th scale or not in 1/35th any time soon. So while 1/48th was a letdown, I have learned to love 1/72nd. Yes the newer kits are a bit more expensive than the $10 Revell or Airfix 1/72nd kits but they are still cheaper than a full 1/35th kit. A lot of the newer 1/72 kits also include PE or metal parts which you didn’t see in the older kits. While not as cheap as the older 1/72nd kits, the price is still good for those that want to try out a new subject or genre. Also, 1/72nd gives people the right scale to try those larger subjects such as the ICBM launchers without breaking the bank or the shelves.
There is one area where I don’t care what scale something comes in as long as it is a standard scale – Sci Fi Kits. Sci Fi has to be my second favorite to AFV/Military Vehicles (I am a closet Rotor Head, even though I have yet to finish one). The thing about Sci Fi is that you are trying to make the kits manageable and affordable. Yes we would all like a 5 foot Star Destroyer but really where would you put it and could you afford it? So I don’t mind the smaller scale in Sci Fi like the 1/1200 or 1/500 but what I really dislike are the kits that don’t give their scale and are so called “Box Scale”. I’m looking at you Revell! I mean is it so hard now a day with computers and all the technology we have to try to make things standard scale. Box scale doesn’t make any sense to me. You are developing a product; you should be able to spec a box out after you decide on the scale not after. Not knowing what scale a kit is because it is box scale is a huge pain and there is no reason for it. It detracts from the overall collection of a kit. It would be nice to keep all the same scale so that you have a sense of scale when looking at the finished product. I mean you look at a Fine Molds Falcon kit in 1/72 and you know when you compare it to another 1/72 product that the Falcon is a large spaceship. Yes in the other kits you know it is big but knowing the scale gives you a better comparison.
In conclusion, my preferred scale is 1/35 with 1/72 a close second. I also have to “Just Say No to Box Scale”