Scale refers to the proportional representations of people and objects in relation to the real-world or, more frequently, to the size of a person.
In the LEGO community scale is most often referred to using some variant of the term x-wide where x is equal to whole number representing the number of studs. This shorthand is commonly understood and provides a guide for builders.
Scales in the LEGO world
Consistency of scale has never been a hallmark of the company nor of the greater community.
- Minifig scale is proportioned to the size of the standard minifig. This is sometimes referred to as system-scale as it is often considered the default scale for LEGO sets. In this scale cars are usually 4-6 studs wide.
- L-Gauge is similar but refers specifically to the width of track and rolling stock of LEGO trains. Trains in this scale are generally 6-wide.
- Micro-scale is actually a range of scale models where the size of a person is smaller than a minifig. LEGO has sold sets at this scale but refers to them as mini-scale. The standard 1x1 round brick is often used to represent a person at this scale. Microfigures is a term used to describe a specific line of figures that fall into this range.
- Nanoscale is a scale so small that a person cannot be represented. Nanofigures should properly be included in the range of micro-scale (above) but fans have taken to using the term to quickly distinguish these figures from the microfigures.
- Classic scale was the standard scale in the 1960's. It fits somewhere between minifig and micro scale. Cars and trucks are 4-wide and cannot contain a minifig.
- 3x scale or Triplo is the same as the above but at 3 times normal size.
Other Train Scales
Trains are built in many scales which is a source of great debate in the world of trainheads. As noted above L-Gauge sets are primarily 6-wide but many in the train community believe that true minifig scale trains should be 7 or 8-wide.
- The Definitive Deffinitions of Scale by Daniel Zayac.
- Minifig Scale? comparison by Tim Gould on Flickr.
- MicroBricks is a blog devoted to micro-scale creations.
- Scaled-up LEGO Bricks is a blog devoted to 6x scale and other large-scale creations.
- SCALING TUTORIAL FOR BUILDINGS by Eurobricks user:jedi1984