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Calculating an accurate "scale" of LEGO figures (Miniland, Minidoll, Minifig, Nanofig, etc...)

I'm working on an article that explores how to better understand and apply the concepts of "scale" to create better LEGO models.  This raises a pretty fundamental question which I do not feel has been adequately answered within the LEGO community - what is the "scale" for the common LEGO figures we use in our models.

Minifig / Minidoll

Naturally, we want to start with the classic "minifigure", as well as the newer "minidoll" which has similar width and height.  

I calculated a value of 1:42 for the classic minifigure, and a value of 1:38 for the Minidoll.  The minidoll has fairly realistic proportions, so I feel pretty good about that value.  

What do you think - do you agree with a value of 1:42 for the classic Minifigure?  I have heard a scale of 1:48 cited in several places for the classic minifig, but I believe based on my calculations that this is mostly caused by folks rounding to 1:48, since this is a common scaling factor for model trains and architectural modeling.  (I showed all my calculations at so feel free to correct any mistakes in my measurements or calculations.)


Moving on to the "Miniland" scale, which describes those brick built figures popularized at LEGO theme parks...

Here, I determined a scale of 1:17 is most accurate, although I have also seen 1:20 cited in a few places.  

Does 1:17 seem accurate?  What do those of you who work in this scale think?

Nanofig / Statue fig

Lastly, we have the newer "Nanofig" and "Statue fig" sizes.  We all know that they are very tiny, but how tiny?

By my calculations, they come in at about 1:80 for Nanofig, and 1:125 for Statue Fig.  

I'm very curious to hear what your thoughts are - It's pretty tricky to decide which measurements to use to calculate the height, especially on the smallest "statue fig" size.  Are these values right?

Thank you!

Again, my detailed calculations and assumptions are clearly called out at and I would really appreciate the help of the community to confirm that these values are as accurate as possible!

---Tom Alphin


  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,226
    Nice idea, but everytime someone mentions minifig scale i feel the need to point out that there can never be an accurate scale for minifigures becuase their width and height are massively out of proportions to human dimensions. Therefore to my mind minifigure scale never works as a 1:xx type figure, it is instead it's own surreal world where cars are too narrow, doors are too wide etc.
    I hadn't ever thought about it for nano/micro figs but i guess they have the same issue.
    You have hit the nail on the head with the minidolls though, they are designed with more realistic proportions, so are far easier to put an actual scale on. 
    With miniland I'd guess that the legoland builders work to a rough scale, I haven't been to LEGOland for a while but I'm pretty sure that there were some slight variations on sizes, so the quoted 1:20 is probably an approximate guideline scale, with the medium generally forcing the finished product to be slightly below that, around the 1:17 you suggest.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Shib said:
    Nice idea, but everytime someone mentions minifig scale i feel the need to point out that there can never be an accurate scale for minifigures becuase their width and height are massively out of proportions to human dimensions.
    It's worse than that. You could probably live with different scales in different directions, but they all have heads which would come up to their knees, or even their waists. The minidolls have heads larger than their torsos.
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,028
    edited May 2016

    When I build minifig scale I just go with LEGO's established scale for doors and windows, which are scaled for minifigs. I found this to be the most reliable method to keep things in proportion.

    LEGO designers themselves use more than one scale though. I'm just working on an article about LEGO RVs, and while all the ones we got so far are standard LEGO City scale and nicely match each other and other LEGO City vehicles in proportions, the #31052 LEGO Creator Vacation Gateways camper scheduled for this summer is going to be far larger and out of scale compared to the other ones - but it is still considered minifig scale. It is just a more realistic human scale than the LEGO City vehicles.

    So in standard LEGO sets the scale for everything designed for minifigs seems to be on the small, cute-ish side, while in other lines like LEGO Creator Expert Builder and other large sets they are more realistic. I like both scales, but they usually don't look good next to each other. So for example if someone wants to "upgrade" a standard LEGO City set to a modular building, they usually have to make it bigger, wider, and taller. The same is true for vehicles.

    Then there are also fan created models with their own scale that is as close to realism as possible. But these models tend to be huge. So minifig scale appears to be a pretty fluid term. I would go more with LEGO City scale or LEGO Expert Builder scale, instead of trying to establish a truly realistic scale starting with the human form. Trying to go realistic will hit a major road-block right out the door, because minifigs are not realistic representation of human proportions, nor is anything designed for them (i.e. standard door and windows). That is why I think it's better to stay with LEGO's own scales. They worked out ratios and proportions that do look pleasing overall, even if they are not technically true realistic scale.   

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,100
    From 1955-72 LEGO Town Plan system, and early Legoland sets were on the 1:87 (HO Train) Scale.....

    From 1952-57 LEGO also made larger Chevrolet trucks and wagons that were on the 1:43 scale.

  • KingAlanIKingAlanI Rochester, NYMember Posts: 1,891
    Minifigures are 1.5 inches tall, 5 feet 6 inches is fairly average human height. That gives 1:42. 6 feet for real height gives 1:48. I round that to 1:50.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,058
    edited May 2016
    TigerMoth said:
    The minidolls have heads larger than their torsos.
    Some folks think my head is larger than my torso.  But that may be figuratively.

    Any scale is only a rough approximation - all sorts of proportions are way off.  Frankly, I think the blobby humans in Wall-E are a better proportional approximation of the classic minifig.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,945
    You cannot think just of the scale of the minifigures either. You have to think about placement if you have more than one. If you are going to stand side by side on a regular Lego grid with their hands by their sides, they end up being four studs wide. That is similar to a real person being excluded from a region almost as tall as a person.
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