Tag Archives: 4mm scale

What size is it?

In all the time I’ve been posting about the various model-making activities I do I have blithely assumed you will understand what I mean when I spout a scale at you. I’ve realised, of course, that many of you won’t have a clue how big something might be, even with the benefit of a scale ratio.

I’ve decided to adopt the idea, quite frequently used to identify scale in photographs, of using a coin as a reference. It won’t appear in every shot I take of my models, but when I think it needs clarification I’ll pop in specially trained British penny.

It won’t hurt to explain the scales and ratios a little better anyway. I’ll begin with the largest scale I work in, 1/43rd.

Collett Interior 1These figures appeared in an earlier post. They are to 1/43rd scale, in other words 43 times smaller than the real thing. I also refer to this as 7mm scale, which means 7mm on the model equals 1ft or 305mm in the real world. In the UK, this scale is also referred to as O Gauge.

Collett Interior 2

This Dennis Ace fire appliance is to a scale of 1/76th, 4mm to the foot, or OO Gauge.

Collett Interior 3


This Gloster Gladiator I is 1/72nd scale, or 4.233mm to the foot, which is an international standard scale for model aircraft. The scale is slightly larger than the British model railway scale of the fire appliance above. Interestingly, a larger “standard” scale for model aircraft, 1/48th, is slightly smaller than the British 7mm scale.

Don’t ask me why these variations exist. It gets worse when you compare railway modelling scales around the world. Let’s just leave it that I work to the British scales—at the moment. It’s a funny old world when you get down to scale modelling.


With time on my hands

Life has a habit of not being fair. I find myself, in the depths of an economic recession, without a full-time job, not being able to find a full-time job, and trying to figure out if freelancing as a Mac artwork/designer is worth the aggravation any more.

So, while I ponder the mysteries of life, I find relaxation in making models. I am particularly partial to model road vehicles. Over the past few days I have been repairing, rebuilding and retouching part of the growing fleet of vehicles that find a home displayed on our model railway club exhibition layout Wouldham Town.

I found myself tweeting about a particular vehicle, while waiting for paint to dry. Anyway, here are some admittedly not technically very good photos, but they will do to illustrate what I was up to.


First up is a 1950s Vauxhall Wyvern, the subject of my tweets. The original model, as most of those that follow, hails from the growing Oxford Diecast range — and superb that range is, I may add. Most of the models cost less than a fiver, so I generally find a few more have been added to my fleet after an exhibition. The Wyvern, however, suffered from some overzealous painting in the factory. It was horrid, which was a shame as it was topped off with some very fine screen printed badges and and so on. Thankfully, Oxford Diecast see fit to construct their models with screws, so it’s a matter of moments to break things down to constituent parts. In this case, the paint was stripped back to bare metal, revealing the patternmaker’s artistry once more. 

Wouldham Town is set in the early 1960s. Vauxhalls developed a notoriety for bodywork corrosion — which explains why there are so few preserved examples from the 1950s and 1960s — so my aim was to reproduce a somewhat careworn ten-year-old example. 


Another careworn vehicle is this Morris 8. I’ve selectively repainted some wings, doors and boot lid to show a car that’s had replacement parts from a scrapper. A respray hasn’t been done, and rust is beginning to reassert itself.


The 1950 Morris Six, looking like a stretched Morris Minor. The original model was a somewhat unusual aquamarine colour, so I decided on a respray (well, brush repaint) to a more typical early 1950s colour.


Ah, the Austin A40 Mk II. My mother learned to drive in one of these. This model finds itself parked outside a house on the layout, where the occupants have obviously been doing rather well for themselves. There’s a new television being installed, and Father has obviously just taken delivery of a brand new Austin. In this case, I limited myself to picking out some interior details, and a coat of satin varnish to tone down the very glossy original paintwork. Gloss paint simply doesn’t scale very well.


Finally in this batch, something I originally kit-bashed and scratchbuilt some 15 years ago. I have a thing for fleet vehicles, GPO and British Road Services in particular. This AEC and trailer is based on a photograph I found in a book on Post Office Telephones vehicles. The tractor unit was bashed from an Airfix kit, with wheels and fifth wheel coupling from Langley Miniature Models castings. The trailer was mostly scratchbuilt in plastic sheet and strip. Unfortunately, at some point in the past couple of exhibitions, the trailer got rather squashed, so I spent some time stripping down and rebuilding the side raves. With a bit more sensible packing, it might last another 15 years!

So, that’s some of the creative stuff I get up to when I’m not pushing pixels about on a screen.