My Scale Philosophy

A Response to September's Sprue Cutters Union Topic


I like to consider myself a well rounded modeler. I have never been one to limit myself to a single subject, and will try my hand at just about anything whether it be an aircraft, armor, or dioramas. This goes for scale as well. Though I do normally have to consider where I am going to be able to store the finished model, or even the kit box, I am not one of those modelers who works only in a specific scale. Reducing my options to only one scale would inevitably be constantly disappointing. How many times have you heard a fellow modeler lament that the latest Tamiya release won't be boxed in his scale?
I would rather keep my options open. Never the less, for the most part each scale has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. For what its worth, here are my opinions on various scales...

1/144

This scale is not particularly popular, either in the community as a whole or with my own preferences. However, I have built one kit in this scale and found it quite enjoyable. The good thing is that they are affordable which is obvious considering their size, and they are easy to assemble given their low parts count. The issue is that they are far too small for my tastes. If you're looking for detail, it'll be hard to see in these little kits, especially armor. While finding a place to display them is not difficult at all, they are not impressive and strike me more as a toy than a proper model. This is why I have zero in the stash at the moment.

1/72

A few years ago, I figured this scale would become my scale. I have limited space available in my house to display my models or even stash my kits so there was a time when I would only consider 1/72 scale for my future purchases. Most jet aircraft are manageable in this scale and do not take up a lot of room which is a plus for me. The scale is fairly popular among modelers and therefore is not neglected by the industry, making plenty of different subjects easy to find. I am no aftermarket connoisseur but if resin and photo etch are your thing, this scale has a decent selection, albeit not as good as 1/48. I like the scale because it allows me to build larger aircraft, like the F-105 and F-15 while remaining economical in display space. Being smaller, they are also more affordable and do not break my bank like some other scales. 
However, it has not become my exclusive scale as I thought it would have. Even though its a space saver, there are still some subjects that I need in a larger scale to show more detail or to simply be more impressive on my shelf. This is why about half of my stash consists of aircraft in 1/72 scale.

1/48

This scale generally has everything you could ever ask for. The industry is saturated with kits in this scale, most of which can be complimented by aftermarket accessories and decals to please almost every one. I am particularly picky about purchasing any thing in this scale because I can quickly lose a lot of space if I am not careful. Each 1/48 buy has to be well thought out. A-10? Not gonna fit. MiG-29? Not gonna happen. I just don't have the room for them. But I will make exceptions. For instance, my obsession with F-16's usually persuades me to overlook my space limitations. That is why I have at least four quarter scale Vipers in the stash, but only three other aircraft in the same scale.

1/35

Generally considered the go-to scale for armor. I love this scale as well but admittedly have not built a tank this size in years. While tanks do not take up a whole lot of room, armor is not one of my biggest interests. Secondly, they are fairly expensive kits, especially newer offerings. Third, I really like to build bases or dioramas for my armor so once I start considering a vignette or a dio, I must consider space and 1/35 is too large at the moment. This is why I only have 1/72 armor in my stash. Unfortunately, this is a compromise I must make not necessarily because I like braille scale for armor better but because I don't have room for a large scale diorama. Maybe some day I will be able to squeeze more armor into the ranks of my stash but for now its just not possible.

1/32

A grand scale. I really love it, despite my space issues. The larger scale is impressive, has great potential for detail and are fun to build. Of course, the aftermarket has not caught up with the growing popularity of the scale, so that makes supplementing detail a bit difficult. For me, the only subjects I will consider in this scale are WWII single engine fighters and, of course, F-16's. World War II aircraft are far more impressive in 1/32 scale than anything smaller. The larger scale is a great platform for weathering so prevalent on WWII subjects. As for the F-16, its a relatively small modern fighter so the larger scale is not as much of a burden as it could be. But what better way to display your favorite aircraft than in a huge scale?
Another downside is cost. The larger you get, the more expensive they become. Couple that with their immensity and that explains why I only have two 1/32 scale subjects in my stash.

1/24

This scale will probably never find its way into my stash. Far too large, and far too expensive for my tastes.


That is a brief look at my scale philosophy and what governs my purchases. What do you think? Do you have a preferred scale to work with? Sound off below!

Comments

  1. Funny how you military builders seem to choose a scale and stick with it. I have noticed many go with the 1/72nd scale for aircrafdt or the 1/35th for the land vehicles. I am sure it helps with the spare parts, figures etc. Me i am all over the place.....

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