Many of our customers have asked, “What’s the best model airplane scale to start collecting?” Let’s review the options and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each.
The world’s most popular scale is 1/72. This was the original scale used back in the late 1930’s for some of the first plastic assembly kits produced in England. This scale became popular with modelers in the 1950s with the mass production of Airfix and Frog kits. 1/72 kits are small, the average WWII fighters having a wingspan of only 4 to 5 inches. This makes this scale a great choice if you have limited space to display your models. The major drawback is the size of the bits and pieces. Those of us older modelers may find it a daunting task assembling these diminutive kits.
The next most popular scale is 1/48. This scale became popular in the 1960s and 70s mainly due to the large series of 1/48 scale kits produced by Monogram and later Tamiya. The main advantage to this scale is the huge selection of available kits. Almost every major manufacturer produces kits in this scale. The amount of detail found in these kits is excellent. The major drawback is their size that requires a larger area for display. One solution is to hang these kits from the ceiling.
Now we come to the big one, 1/32 scale. This is a relative new scale for the hobby. It is by far the largest of the four most popular scales with wingspans reaching up to 30” or more for bomber models. The details found on these huge kits are awesome and truly offer the modeler a great building experience. The only drawback is their larger size making them difficult to display.
The last scale we’ll talk about is 1/144. These are the smallest airplane models designed with the collector in mind. Each kit has a limited number of parts making them easy to assemble. You can display a huge collection on top of a dresser where you might get one 1/32 scale model to fit. The major drawback is limited availability of aircraft subjects. Even though more and more kits of this scale are being produced, you may be hard pressed in finding exactly what you are looking for.
There are other scales available for model aircraft such as 1/24 and a myriad of older “Fit The Box” scales but the above are the four most popular.