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Relative scale sizes
Relative scale sizes
Guided model car racing is done at many scales. Scale, or size, is how large the cars are relative to their real life counterpart.

The Basics

  • 1:24 scale is the largest size, and as such allows the greatest potential for realistic models.
  • 1:32 scale is the most popular scale and with at least four major manufacturers involved, is also the scale with the widest range of products available.
  • 1:43 scale allows more compact track layouts, with reasonable model accuracy.
  • 1:64 scale is the smallest scale allowing much more track in a space, but makes realistic modelling difficult.

Track Scale

Comparison of Track sizes - HO, 1:43, 1:32 & 1:24 scale 8 lane hairpins
Comparison of Track sizes - HO, 1:43, 1:32 & 1:24 scale 8 lane hairpins

Although we refer to each track system as being of a particular scale, this is something of a misnomer, as unlike the car models, the track is not modelled on a particular full sized object. Instead, the scale of a track is a reference to the scale of cars which are suitable for use with that track.

Choosing a Scale

There are several factors which should be considered when choosing a scale.

1. Available Space

The larger the scale you choose, the more space the track will take up. Carrera's 1:24 scale track is the largest commercially available plastic track, and requires a large space to set up a layout of any complexity. So if your space is limited, think about the smaller scales.

2. Accuracy

The smaller the scale, the more difficult it becomes to make a realistic model. So HO scale models are not usually as accurate as the larger scales. If model realism is important to you, avoid HO scale.

3. Range

The more popular the scale, the more manufacturers are involved in production, and the wider the range of cars, track and accessories that are available. 1:32 scale currently has the widest range of products with Scalextric, Carrera, Ninco, SCX and many more companies involved.

4. Availability

The availabilty of a particular scale in your local hobby stores, or the use of a particular scale by other racers in your area might also be a factor worth considering.

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