Skip to content
Free Delivery over £150 (UK Mainland Only excl. Highlands)
October 29th 2019
6 min read

Model Aircraft Scales Explained: The Ultimate Guide

Model Aircraft Scales Explained: The Ultimate Guide

If you're interested in kick-starting your model aircraft hobby but need help figuring out where to begin regarding the vast range of different scales and sizes, we want to make things as easy as possible.

Model aeroplanes are a fantastic pastime, allowing you to reap the benefits of the original aircraft's beauty in the comfort of your own space. Model scales are considerably smaller than the real-life object they are modelled on but still feature impressive graphics and attention to detail to replicate the original accurately.

The intricate details displayed on the aircraft are of an elite standard and are perfect for putting on display, whether in your home office or living room. 

Follow our guide as we explain model aircraft scales and the benefits of the available sizes. 

Table of Contents

  1. What are the different model aircraft scales?
  2. What do model scale ratios mean?
  3. Is a larger or smaller scale model better?
  4. What are the most common scales for model aircraft?

What are the different model aircraft scales?

Flightstore offers model aircraft in 1:48, 1:72, 1:100, 1:130, 1:144, 1:150, 1:200, 1:250, 1:300 and 1:400 scales.

What do model scale ratios mean?

Model scales are sized in ratios. The numbers on the left side of the colon or slash represent the size of the original object, usually 1. In other words, 1= full size. 

After the colon or slash, the number will reflect the model’s size. For example, if the model were 1:1 scale, the model would be an exact replica of the original model. However, if the model scale were 1:24, the model would be 24 times smaller than the original object.

The biggest planes we offer are the 1:48 scales, whilst the 1:400 scale models are the smallest in our collection.

It's important to note that models of the same scale may vary in size as the scale refers to the ratio of the original aircraft to the model. Therefore, the Boeing 777 and Airbus A320 will differ in size even if they're both in the same model scale. 

Is a larger or smaller scale model better?

Knowing the size and scale of your model aircraft allows you to understand how the model needs handling and displaying. 

Larger aircraft models

The bigger the parts of your model aircraft are, the easier they are to handle physically, which is especially useful if you’re building and painting the model yourself. Bigger aircraft allow for more artistic interpretation and make it easier to refine the smaller details. However, be aware that it does make them more tricky to display.

Smaller aircraft models

The great thing about smaller aircraft models is that finding places to display them is much less challenging. However, they are more fiddly to handle and are sometimes unable to showcase the exquisite designs of the original aircraft.

What are the most common scales for model aircraft?

Model Aircraft Scale 1:48

1:48 scale models are 48 times smaller than the original aircraft. With a diverse range of model aircraft here at Flightstore, these 1:48 scale aircraft are the perfect size for displaying, especially as models of this scale usually come with a display stand so that you can really showcase their excellence. 

Model Aircraft Scale 1:48

Hobby Master Vought F4U Corsair USN VF-17 Bird Cage Diecast Model - Scale 1:48

Model Aircraft Scale 1:72

Our 1:72 model aircraft are 72 times smaller than the size of the actual aeroplane. 

Most of our 1:72 models come mounted on a stand displaying flying configurations. These aircraft models don’t take up too much room, which is ideal if you have a display cupboard or are limited in space. 

1:72 is one of the most popular model aircraft scales, allowing large planes to be recreated in a smaller space with realistic details.

Model Aircraft Scale 1:72

Skymarks American Airlines DC-3 with Gear Plastic Model - Scale 1:80

Model Aircraft Scale in 1:100

Our range of 1:100 model aircraft means that the real aircraft is 100 times bigger than the model. 

Most of these model aircraft come with a display stand, so you can appreciate a 360-degree view of your newly purchased model in all its glory. This size is perfect if you have many aircraft models on display already or want to showcase them in a smaller space.

Model Aircraft Scale in 1:100

Skymarks Delta A220-300 Plastic Model - Scale 1:100

Model Aircraft Scale 1:144

Our stunning range of 1:144 scale model aircraft is another popular scale and is perfect for all model collectors, whether you're just starting or have a vast collection. 

The 1:144 scale is commonly used for larger aircraft, making them the perfect size to display on a shelf or desk.  

Model Aircraft Scale 1:144

C-47 Skytrain Stoy Hora Diecast Model - Scale 1:144

Model Aircraft Scale 1:400

The 1:400 scale represents the model being 400 times smaller than the actual aircraft. It is ideal for replicating the largest aircraft types so you can enjoy the intricate details of larger planes like Boeings on a model scale and display them without worrying about them taking up excessive space. 

Model Aircraft Scale 1:400

Gemini Jets British Airways Boeing 787-8 G-ZBJG Diecast Model - Scale 1:400

Shop our selection of model planes from Flightstore

We hope this blog has helped you unpack the complexities of aircraft model scales. Check out more of our aircraft scale models here at Flightstore, with diecast, wooden model and hobby kits. 

These model aircraft are collector's items and, when taken care of, can become a huge asset to the world of model aircraft making, so why not embark on this exciting journey by starting right here at Flightstore?


What type of aviation headsets do pilots use and why?

What types of airband radios are there?

Our Guide to Model Planes