Guide to 1:24 or Half-Scale

Girl playing with dollhouse with doll in a highchair.

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One twenty-fourth scale (1:24) is a popular scale for collectors who want to integrate all types of models, miniatures, and toys into their collections. This scale is close to G or Garden Railway scale (which ranges from 1:20 to 1:22.5) and is popular with dollhouse collectors. These collectors often build things for children's dollhouse toys and collections in 1:24 to match with toys such as Playmobil and Calico Critters (Sylvanian Families) as well as collector dollhouses using this scale.

This is one of the larger scales for detailed die-cast cars and plastic car models as well as the largest traditional slot car size. It is also a popular smaller size for model horse collectors, as Breyer "stablemates" are on this scale.

It is still a good size for detail and is easy for children to handle, while it takes up much less room than the larger 1:12 scale common for dollhouses. Toy trains can use the "G" scale track and have passenger cars that will seat small dolls, making this scale easy to integrate with the entire Playmobil and Calico Critters range of toys, as well as many railroad figures, farm animals, and some die-cast vehicles. It is a common scale for model villages due to the wide range of subjects available.

Origins

The 1:24 scale was developed as a common way to "shrink" real objects when imperial (British) measurements were commonly in use with 12 inches to the foot. Like all scales, 1:24 is a ratio of the measurement of one object to the measurement of another. One centimeter in 1:24 scale is equivalent to 24 centimeters of a full-sized object (or one inch is equivalent to 24 inches).

The term "half-scale" is not a true indicator of the scale; half-scale is actually 1:2, rather than 1:24. In the case of 1:24 scale, dolls house builders refer to it as "half-scale" due to it being one-half of the "regular" dolls house scale of 1:12.

Determining If the Miniature or Dollhouse Is 1:24 Scale

For a 1:24 scale dollhouse, the 3 1/4 inch doors in scale would compare to full-size doors which are 3 1/4 x 24 inches large—if you are reporting the dollhouse size in inches the ratio is worked out in the same units: 90 inches or 90/12 = 7 1/2 feet. An adult male figure or doll in this scale is usually between 2 1/2 and 3 inches tall, or the equivalent of five feet six inches to six feet tall. Measure the height of your figure to see if it fits with 1:24 scale or measures the height of doors on a dollhouse to see if they are within the size range on this scale.

The 1:24 scale, which is a reduction of the popular 1:12 scale in dollhouses, was a very easy scale to use when inches were commonly divided into 12ths on most rulers. With modern imperial rulers being divided into 1/16ths instead of 12ths it is not quite as convenient to use, although rulers in 12ths are still available. It is not as useful a scale if you are working in metric measurements, as the ratios are not as easy to switch mentally. One centimeter is equivalent to 24 centimeters, but as 24 centimeters doesn't translate easily to any common segment of metric measure, the scale is slightly more difficult to mentally compute.