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Mattel Disney Pixar Diecast CARS: The Scale Of It

Mattel’s version of Lightning McQueen is @3.25″ inches in length and in the announced scale of 1:55.

1:55 indicates the ratio – he is 1/55th the size he would be in “real life.”

Of course, technically, you want to measure scale in overall girth (aka: volume) so you really want to measure and account for width & height & length and comes up with a cubic number or a displacement number because going by one measurement is not accurate mathematical wise and aesthetic wise but since I’m not actually re-constructing anything – I’ll take the lazy way out.

Scaled up from 3.25″ at the 1/55th ratio to the real world means that a real Lightning McQueen would be @179″ inches in length … next time you’re at the Disney parks (or at Pixar), whip out a tape measure and see if you get 179″ at the life size model of Lightning McQueen.

So, how accurate is this?

There are some “real” cars in CARS so if we take the Plymouth Superbird which is in real life @218 inches in length, he would be @3.96″ at 1:55 scale – the Mattel diecast version as the KING is just a skoosh over but the KING is actually slightly different than the real Superbird. The real Superbird, as kooky as that ginormous spoiler is – the spoiler does not extend past the bumper while the CARS KING does … so that .4 makes him pretty much on target …

AND the different in length (218 inches versus 179 inches) is virtually accurate in 1:55 scale. The difference of @.7″ of the two diecasts is about the difference when you minus 179″ from 218″ inches and scale it to 1/55.

But for scalologists – they might have some scatalogy hissy fits with this next few bits of info …

If we presume the 179″ inches in length is accurate in the real world, then many of the other Lightning McQueen’s from others with scales “announced” are off base …

The Disney Store 1:43 Series? Well, Lightning is more 1:40 in scale.

It should be noted that nowhere on the packaging does it claim to be 1:43 in scale but most people referred to it as such since 1:43 is a common scale but there’s nothing saying you can’t make up your own scale … the only other problem is that the Disney Store diecasts tend to vary greatly in scale … The Disney Store diecasts have gotten much better but scale is not exactly real high on the priority list on the checklist … AND in many cases, companies have a tendency to use the scale numbers as more of a “classification.”

For instance, Mattel used the classification 1:50 on their recent Star Trek starship releases as they were about 4-5 inches in length … um, 1:50 scale would mean the Enterprise is about the size of a Plymouth Superbird … but I’m presuming they figure something like 1:15,000 on the box would confuse the tribbles out of people?

The Tomica 1:64 series? Well, McQueen is closer to 1:60 … now, keep in mind, that does not sound like much of a difference but in reality, that means on a diecast scale of increments of inches, that’s about .3 inches – a HUGE difference when the whole thing is only about 3″ in length.


And even the Mattel 1:24 Lightning McQueen? Well, technically you are getting more than you were told as Lightning is about 1:21 in scale and not necessarily 1:24 in scale (going by the 1:55 version as accurate).

So, the good thing is no one seems to be selling you anything SMALLER than what they have announced on the packaging. In all cases, you are getting a slightly larger scale than they “promised.”

Here are some other versions – a couple vending machines ones, 1:110 version from Tomy:

And 1:160

Also, a couple other real world comparisons don’t hold up either, Sally, Sheriff & Fillmore are all a little shorter than they could be in 1:55 scale but it’s understandable … though it would be interesting to see what the life size replica’s actual length is at the theme park … so now you know next time you’re in Disneyland … the 4th thing on your list – measure Lightning …

Get one of these measuring wheels – disguise it as a stroller wheel – once you’re inside the park – reassemble and viola …

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8 February 2010 Mattel Disney Pixar CARS 20 Comments
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