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Understanding Scale

What is diecast scale? This is the first question most beginning diecast collectors encounter when they start to buy diecast cars.

Diecast scale is really just a measure of diecast car size. It may seem confusing at first, but it's really not so complicated.

diecast car scale comparison chart

The scale of a diecast vehicle is an indication of its size relative to the actual car that it is modeled after. This means that a 1/24 scale diecast toy car is one 24th the size of the actual car.  A 1/18 scale car is one 18th the size of the actual car, and so on.

Note that diecast scale is expressed either as a fraction or as a ratio -- both have the same meaning. So 1/24 and 1:24 are exactly the same as far as vehicle scale is concerned.

Here's an example: if a real-life Corvette Stingray is about 15 feet (180 inches) long, then a 1/24 scale Corvette Stingray will be about 7 1/2 inches long (180 divided by twenty-four).   A 1/18 scale replica of the same car would be 10 inches long (180 divided by 18). A 1/64 scale replica would be about 2.8 inches long.

In general, this means that for the same model car, a 1/18 scale version will be larger than a 1/24 scale version, which is larger than a 1/32, which is larger than a 1/43, which is larger than a 1/64, and so on. For those of you who still remember middle-school math, the number on the bottom of a fraction is called the "denominator" -- and the larger the denominator in the vehicle's scale, the smaller the car will be.

For reference, here is a chart of approximate sizes based on scale -- note that the actual size will vary based on the size of the original car that the diecast replica is modeled from:

Diecast Scale Approximate Size
1/18 Scale 9-12 inches / 24-30 cm
1/24 Scale 6.5-8 inches / 16-20 cm
1/32 Scale 4-6 inches / 10-15 cm
1/43 Scale 3.5-5 inches / 8-12 cm
1/64 Scale 2.5-3 inches / 6-7.5 cm

Thus, a 1/18 scale diecast car is usually about 9-12 inches (depending on the size of the actual car).  A 1/24 scale diecast car is generally about 6.5-8 inches.  Many of the cars made in the smaller scales (1/32-1/38) are actually made so that the car will be exactly 5 inches long, regardless of the scale. The 1/64 scale cars are a similar size to "matchbox" cars, usually 2/5-3 inches.

Finally, it's important to note that larger vehicles, such as trucks or construction vehicles, are often made on a smaller scale (1/50 or 1/64), but are in fact about the size of 1/24 scale cars, since the actual vehicle is much larger.

To get a better idea, please consult the picture above, which shows several different scale cars lined up next to each other.

Here is a complete list of scale sizes with more info from Wikipedia

If you'd like to browse cars of a specific size, here are links to MTC's car offerings by scale:

1/18 Scale Diecast Cars
1/24 Scale Diecast Cars
1/28 to 1/40 Scale Diecast Cars
1/43 Scale Diecast Cars
1/64 Scale Diecast Cars

If you have any questions whatsoever regarding vehicle scale or other details, please Contact Us.