Miniature Scales

Ah Scales…

One of the most confusing things when it comes to purchasing miniatures. I wanted to say “one of the most confusing things, when starting your collection,” but if you ever try to buy out of scale pieces or switch up between scales, this is something that can remain confusing forever and always. I’m hopefully going to help clear some of that up below.

Click here for a full scale list on Wikipedia.

{The following table is formed from selections from the above Wikipedia link.}

N 1:160 1.905 mm American and European model trains in N scale. Commonly used for mini armor. 10 mm to 12 mm figure scale for miniature wargaming.
1:152 2.005 mm 2mm scale / British N scale railway modeling.
1:148 2.117 mm British N model railroad scale.
1:144 1⁄12″ (0.083″) 2.117 mm Popular for aircraft, rockets, spacecraft. Occasionally used with NASCAR cars. Also some Japanese N scale trains, as well as Japanese giant robot models and toys. Dollhouse for a dollhouse scale for 1:12 dollhouses. Commonly used for mini armor. Used for 12 mm, and 12.5 mm figure scale miniature wargaming.
HO 1:87.1 3.5 mm Exact HO scale (half O of 7 mm = 1 foot)
1:87 3.503 mm Civilian and military vehicles. Often used to describe HO scale. Original nominal 25 mm figure scale; though a 6 foot human in 1:87 is closer to 20mm.
1:82 3.717 mm An intermediate scale (HO/OO) intended to apply to both HO and OO scale train sets. Also used for some military models
1:76.2 4 mm UK model rail scale 4 mm scale (OO Scale, etc.).
O 1:48 1⁄4″ (0.25″) 6.350 mm For dollhouse applications, 1:48 is commonly known as quarter scale (as it is one-quarter of the 1:12 “standard” dollhouse scale). Mainly military aircraft, but in 2005 Tamiya launched a new series of armored fighting vehicle (AFV) models in this scale. It is the American O scale. Architectural model scale corresponding to widely used architectural drawing scale in the U.S. Also the main Lego scale, known as minifig scale. The rather uncommon 40 mmfigure scale wargames figures fit approximately into this scale.
1:45 6.773 mm This is the scale which MOROP has defined for 0 scale, because it is half the size of the 1:22.5 Scale G-gauge model railways made by German manufacturers.[citation needed]
1:43.5 7.02 mm Exact O scale of 7 mm = 1 foot.
1:24 12″ (0.5″) 12.70 mm Cars, figures. Monogram made cars in this scale; Common scale for non-US companies including Tamiya. Some American dollhouse brands. Die cast vehicles by Danbury and Franklin Mint. American trains by Delton Mfg. and Aristocraft Classics. Model horses (“Little Bit” size).
1:18 0.67″ 16.93 mm Cars made from kits, 1:18 scale diecast models, children’s dollhouses. The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line of figures and vehicles is in this scale, although the figures are compatible with 1:16 vehicles rather than 1:18 cars.
1:12 1″ 25.40 mm Action figures, Model cars (static and R/C driven), Live steam trains (non-ridable), dollhouses for adult collectors, motorcycles, model horses (“Classic scale”).
1:6 2″ 50.80 mm EFRA regulation off-road radio-controlled buggies. Articulated figures, such as G.I. Joe, and Dragon, children’s fashion dolls like Barbie, Dollfie, static display figures (commonly of anime characters), motorcycles, rail cannons, armored vehicles, military dioramas.


Dollhouse miniatures come in quite a few scales, however, most commonly “dollhouse scale” refers to 1:12 scale. Meaning each inch (2.5cm) represents 1 foot*.


At this scale, as you can guess, dolls range from 3 to 6 inches (7.5 – 15 cm) in height, with most adult dolls ranging from 5 to 6 inches (12.5 – 15 cm).

This is the 2nd to largest scale that I’ll discuss here in this post. Think of each of these scales as fractions, as they are sometimes even written as such. 1/12 then would be larger than 1/48 and so on.

Copper Pots
Copper Pots


[Update 2/9/17: this may be an ‘odd’ scale as far as dollhouses are concerned, but it’s quite a common action figure scale with military toys, star wars figures, etc. I will have a post all about this scale up soon.]

1:18 is an odd scale, hence me discussing it in length in my last ‘My Mini Monday’ post. It’s most notably known for its use in Ludby dollhouses.

In this scale 1 life size foot* is equivalent to 2/3 of an inch (1.667 cm). An adult figure in this scale will often be about 4 inches (10 cm).

1:16 accessories are often used inside 1:18 scale houses, and thus the two scales are often used interchangeably.



1:24 is often referred to as half scale, being that it is half the size of the common 1:12 scale.

As you could then guess, an adult figure in this scale will be about 3 inches tall (7.5 cm). Each ½ inch is equivalent to 1 real life foot*.

{HO scale child v. O scale v. 1:24 scale v. 1:12 scale}


1:48, otherwise known as O scale in model railroading (though O scale can refer to 1:45 and 1:43.5 scales as well), or ¼ dollhouse scale (as its ¼ the size of the common 1:12 scale).

An adult figure in this scale is roughly 1.5 inches tall (3.75 cm).

What’s great about this being both a dollhouse scale and a model railroading scale is that you can buy accessories from both avenues, meaning all the accessories you could want for the interior and exterior of your scene are at your fingertips.

Routine: Pee
Routine: Pee

zombie wp

Where to Buy

Just do an amazon search for what scale you’re looking for and you’re sure to find tons of options. Be sure to read the dimensions of items before you buy them in case the scale is marked wrong.

A great online source, where you can shop by scale is Dollhouse Heaven. All their main category links are for 1:12 scale accessories, click on ¼ or ½ in the menu options to see what’s available in 1:48 and 1:24 scales.

Check out my last MMM post under 1:18 scale above for a ton of sources of 1:18 scale accessories.

For less expensive 1:12 scale room sets, I highly recommend Melissa and Doug. Some hobby and craft stores also have limited selections of dollhouse accessories.

Larger scales are a great place for you to try your hand at making your own furniture and accessories as well. Find items around the house, at craft stores, yard sales, etc. and repurpose them for dollhouse items – a thimble for a planter, folded, glued and painted cardboard for various appliances, a scrap of fabric for a blanket, you name it.

Model Railroading

{For more charts, Q&As, conversion info. etc. view the above chart’s source page here.}

O Scale

See 1:48 scale above.

HO Scale

HO scale gets its name from half-O scale, and that’s exactly what it is. While an adult figure in O scale is about 1.5 inches, in HO scale, the figure will be about .75 – 1 inch (1.875 – 2.5 cm).

This is the most popular model railroading scale, and whether as a result of that, or possibly the cause of its popularity, the most varied model railroading accessories can be purchased in this scale. Its size, while larger than N and Z scales and thus a bit easier to handle and create details in, is also small enough for an expansive indoor display. O scale and larger displays often have to be kept small or moved outside. (G scale (1:22.5), often referred to as garden scale, is the most popular scale for inclusion in outdoor gardens, this makes it a good pairing for 1:24 (half scale) fairy gardens.)

HO scale can refer to anything 1:76.1 to 1:87.1. Most commonly HO scale is 1:87, with “perfect” HO scale being 1:81.1. OO and HO scale can be used largely interchangeably, though they are technically different scales with OO being slightly smaller than HO.

ice cream, 2015

dusk construction

N Scale

While Z scale is available, and smaller than N scale, N scale is about the smallest model railroading scale that still has accessory and figure options. Z scale offers trains, tracks, buildings, etc. but lacks the variety of accessories of N and HO.

N scale ranges from 1:144 to 1:160. In this scale 1/12 of an inch (2.117 mm) represents 1 real life foot*.

1:144 is often used as the scale for dollhouses within dollhouses – as in dollhouse toys for your 1:12 dollhouse dolls. So, if you get a doll’s dollhouse that opens, you can outfit it with N scale accessories.

N scale adult figures are about ½ an inch tall (1.25 cm).


little house

Where to Buy

My favorite online source of model train accessories is Hobby Linc. However, see if you can find a local hobby shop or check out the school project modeling accessories in your local craft shop (such as Hobby Lobby or Michael’s) for O scale figures and scenery. Check out the miniature resources page in the ‘more info.’ section below for more store options.

Play Scale


You’ll be fairly familiar with this scale, in that it is the scale used for Barbie dolls. Other dolls in this scale are Monster High, Bratz, etc. etc. The popular Japanese miniature brand, Rement, sells the majority of their accessories in this scale.

Here 2 inches (5 cm) is equivalent to a full scale foot*.


{1:6 scale off brand barbie on 1:15 scale ikea oversized couch}

More Info.

For a great article, for more information on scale comparisons, click here.

To learn more about where to purchase miniatures in these scales, view my past blog post, Miniature Resources.

For a scale mini guide with lots of diagrams, click here.

Click here for a very comprehensive mini wiki.

*1 foot = 12 inches = 30 cm

Question, comment, something to add? Feel free to let me know below :)

26 thoughts on “Miniature Scales

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  1. Excellent post! Thank you for laying everything out like that. Clears up a bunch of stuff I’ve wondered about.

    My favorite place for HO and other model RR figures is Walthers ( The best seem to be from a German company called Preiser.

    Very definitely interested in more posts about (as opposed to of) miniatures!

    1. Thank you so much! Sorry for this late response, I was sure I had already commented here. In any case I should have another post up this coming Monday. If you have any suggestions for post topics let me know.

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