Why 1:1200 Scale

While there have long been scale models of ships the adoption of a standard scale appears to date from the early 1900’s when Mr Fred T Jane, publisher of the well known reference book Jane’s Fighting Ships, developed a set of waterline models for use in a war game he had created. While crude by today’s standards and smaller than 1:1200 scale these models did represent actual ships in a uniform scale.

The 1:1200 scale,  where one inch equals one hundred feet, was adopted as a standard by Bassett & Lowke when they started producing waterline ship models in 1908. Naturally this scale was widely used in the United Kingdom and USA, where the imperial system of measurement was the standard, and even today the line drawings in Jane’s Fighting Ships are 1:1200 scale.

The 1:1250 scale, which is used by all major European manufacturers today, was initially adopted as a standard by Wiking in 1920. It appears to have been chosen, as a compromise between the then more common 1:1000 and 1:1500 metric scales, for compatibility with the 1:1200 scale.

Waterline ship models in 1:1200 scale and 1:1250 scale were widely used as training aids and identification models by Allied and Axis forces during both the First World War and Second World War and today they are the standard for Naval war gaming. In modern navies we know of Triang models being used for crew training at sea and underwater.

Viewing the models at a distance of eight metres is considered equal to viewing the real full size ship at a distance of ten kilometers.