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Why a modeler originally choose 1:144 scale to create a plastic model such as GunPla? Why not choose 1:100 or some other number that can easily determine the size of the model from the original size?

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    Is there any reason why not to choose 1:144? I think 1:144 is chosen because it is 1:12 squared, and there are 12 inches in a foot. (i.e. If you imagine a person, then make a 1:12 model of him, then a 1:12 model of that, you get a 1:144 model.)
    – Cattua
    Jun 21 '15 at 2:22
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    @キルア Well dividing/multiplying by 144 is pretty cumbersome compared to 100. If something is 13 cm in scale, you would instantly know the original size, while with 144cm, that might require a calculator for some. It is also squared, so I don't even see a logical reason to use the 1:12 model to begin with. I guess historically speaking it probably came from the British imperial system, but it would be nice if this was confirmed somewhere. Neither the 1:144 wiki nor the 1:12 wiki seem to mention a reason. Jun 21 '15 at 9:01
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    I'd strongly suspect the in-ft conversion influenced the 1:12 scale, in the same way 1:100 is basically cm to m (moving from large unit to the next one down in your unit system).
    – tanantish
    Jun 21 '15 at 11:18
  • @PeterRaeves You are only saying that because you happen to be used to do calculations in base 10. Somebody used to do calculations in base 12 would say exactly the opposite. Lots of different bases have been used historically, and though 10 is almost globally standardized now, it isn't even the most practical base for calculations since it doesn't divide by 3.
    – kasperd
    Jun 21 '15 at 12:56
  • @kasperd Actually my comment would have been the same regardless of what base OP was using. Whether OP was using decimal, duodecimal or any other numeral system, multiplying or dividing by 100 would always be easier than multiplying or dividing by 144. Jun 21 '15 at 13:52
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(Didn't you ask this exact question of SF&F yesterday?)

Traditionally, toy makers have used a 1:12 scale when building scaled down model of real objects, such as dollhouses. This practice pre-dates the metric system, and made it easy to scale down measurements because, at 1:12, one foot becomes one inch.

Now, suppose you wanted to build a dollhouse, and inside it, you want to have a dollhouse. To do that, you'd have to scale down your 1:12 model house by another 1:12, to give you 1:144. This is why 1:144 is sometime's called the "dollhouse's dollhouse scale".

Since 1:12 and 1:144 were already well known and popular by the time anime miniatures came around, the first people to make such models were already familiar with it, and they used it. After that, it's mostly inertia.

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It is likely an unofficial common standard based on tradition that is used for small models and figures. As キルア said, 1:144 is a natural way to scale down a 1:12 scale model, which is another historically popular scale.

Theoretically, you could use whatever scale you wanted. It could cause compatibility problems if you use an uncommon scale as other figures would not be the right proportion due to being based on a different scale, but it would work just as well in every other way.

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1:144 is often used for models of large aircraft like airliners. 1:144 is half 1:72 which is a very popular scale for scale model aircraft/tanks etc.

And thinking about it, as scale aircraft came first, I think it likely that Bandai etc adopted existing conventions.

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Some of the more common modeling scales are based on the Imperial System, rather than the (base-10) Metric System. 1/12 for dollhouses is one foot per inch. The popular aircraft scales of 1/48 and 1/72 are four feet and six feet per inch, respectively. When it came time to produce models of larger subjects, in particular airliners, 1/144 made perfect sense. It is 1/2 the size of 1/72, and still an even division of units in IS (twelve feet to the inch). As a previous answer pointed out, Bandai most likely chose it because it was suitable to the size of their subjects and was already in popular use.

There have been efforts to popularize scales that are base-10, but they've had very limited acceptance; 1/50, 1/100 and 1/200 have all been used by various kit-makers, but none have gotten the customer buy-in that the other scales have. Other Imperial-based scales that have strong followings include 1/96, 1/192 and 1/720, which are popular in boat/ship modeling.

Then things get interesting in the world of scale. (Well, "interesting" if you're a model geek, I suppose.) Some scales don't really make that much sense, unless you know some of the history. While 1/720 is/was frequently used by U.S. model manufacturer Revell for ships (and later Italian manufacturer Italeri), the 1/700 scale used by Japanese manufacturers has become much more popular. And once 1/700 had a lot of appeal, 1/350 (2x the size of 1/700) came along a few years later for people who wanted larger-scale models. The 1/32 scale (3/8" equals one foot) that is popular in aircraft and has some acceptance in automotive and older armor kits, was mostly introduced by railroad modeling. It is also popular with slot car models. It's popularity with armor lost out over the years to 1/35 scale. 1/35 was made popular by the Japanese manufacturer Tamiya, largely so they could fit motorization gear into their models. Their models proved more popular than the 1/32 offerings from places like Monogram, and eventually 1/32 largely disappeared from the military miniatures landscape. Except for the realm of figurines, many of which are still sculpted to 1/32 (54mm) scale.

(I'm sorry... what was the original question...?)

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  • Thank you. Your post is interesting. I think 1:36 (three feet per inch) should be more popular than 1:32. And 1:35 is close to 1:36.
    – wannik
    Jun 23 '15 at 1:30
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    Yes, I always wondered why 1/35 and not 1/36 as well. According to the Wikipedia page on 1/35, the scale came about because the first kit in that scale (a Panther tank) was designed to fit two batteries for the motorization. After it became popular, they decided to create more models to the same scale, and when they measured out the Panther it turned out to be 1/35 scale. The origins of 1/32 in railroading gives more sense as to how it became popular in other genres. Also-- though I suspect coincidence rather than design-- 1/32 is 50% larger than 1/48, which is itself 50% larger than 1/72.
    – rjray
    Jun 24 '15 at 5:30

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