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Figure Scale Study

MoroMoro3 years agoMisc
I believe this has been brought up at least in part before, but I’d like to perform a more in-depth examination of figure scale.
*THIS IS A LONG POST. PLEASE JUST MOVE ON IF YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE READING SOMETHING REALLY LONG.*

There are lots of figures out there that don’t quite seem to fit with their given scale. They either appear too large for it (usually a good thing) or too small (usually a bad thing) but what may be causes of this, and can we see any trends if we examine a sample of figures and compare them against each other?

Scale is defined as “the number which must be multiplied by the figure’s height to get the canonical height of the character.” For example, a perfect 1/8 figure of a character with a canon height of 160 cm would need to be exactly 20 cm standing straight upright, without including the base. A perfect 1/7 of the same character would need to be 22.86 cm. If the result of dividing the character height by the figure height is higher than the given scale, then the figure is a smaller example of that scale. If the result is lower, then the figure is a larger example of that scale.
For the purposes of what follows I considered a figure to be standard example of their scale if they diverge from the stated scale by .25 or less.

I measured a sample of figures (standard scaled PVC and some non-scale prizes) and calculated their true scale, and compared this with their stated scale (if they have one) and also with the scale that they appear to be at a glance.

Manufacturers’ given heights for figures usually include the base, or are an overall height of the figure and not of just the character themselves. For all figures I took measurements myself using flexible plastic measuring tape. All calculated measurements have been rounded to the nearest 2 decimal places.

This study should not be considered definitive or completely exhaustive.

Kotobukiya ARTFX-J Eren Jaeger ITEM #166977
Character Height: 170 cm
Measured Height: 23.5 cm
Given Scale: 1/8
Apparent Scale: 1/7
Precise Scale: 1/7.23

I wanted to begin with this figure because he’s the most dramatic example I can think of where it’s immediately obvious that a figure doesn’t match its given scale. Measuring the figure from his head to the sole of his foot, his calculated scale is a close 1/7, nowhere near close to the 1/8 his box indicates. Why Kotobukiya would list him as 1/8 when he’s nowhere close is a bit of a mystery.
Even without the math to back it up, it’s immediately evident when placing him next to a 1/7 figure that he fits with it. Put him next to pretty much any 1/8 and he’s massive by comparison.

Kotobukiya Shikinami Asuka Langley Q ver. ITEM #141607
Character Height: 157 cm
Measured Height: 26 cm
Given Scale: 1/6
Apparent Scale: 1/6
Precise Scale: 1/6.03

Her arched back and flexed leg made her a little tricky to measure, but once measured from the top of her head to the sole of her foot her calculated scale is pretty close to perfect 1/6. I only have one other 1/6, a Kaworu figure from the same company with which she fits, so I don’t have sufficient data to draw any conclusions about how she might compare with other 1/6 figures.

Alter Shikinami Asuka Langley Jersey ver. ITEM #186848
Character Height: 157 cm
Measured Height: 22 cm
Given Scale: 1/7
Apparent Scale: 1/7
Precise Scale: 1/7.14

The given height includes the base, so I measured her by herself. Her calculated scale is a close 1/7. Next to my other 1/7 figures she fits as she should, though better with other Evangelion characters owing to the matchup of their characteristic proportions.

SEGA PM Ayanami Rei ITEM #199818
Character Height: 145 cm
Measured Height: 21 cm
Given Scale: None
Apparent Scale: 1/7
Precise Scale: 1/6.9

Sega prizes never have a given scale but often fit closely into one anyway. Easily measuring the figure in her simple standing pose, her calculated scale is an astonishingly perfect 1/6.9! She’s right at home next to Alter’s Asuka from the previous example. Possibly she matches this scale by design as a way of making her a more appealing buy to customers who might have a lot of scales in the same size, but that’s purely speculation.

Evangelion Exhibition Ayanami Rei ITEM #166114
Character Height: 145 cm
Measured Height: 12.9 cm
Given Scale: None
Apparent Scale: ~1/13 or even smaller
Precise Scale: 1/11.24

Visually speaking, I think the smaller the figure gets, the more noticeable small differences in size become. There isn’t as much difference apparent between 1/6.80 and 1/7.10, but there is a lot of difference between 1/10.80 and 1/11.10. To put it another way, the further down a figure is scaled, the greater impact each progressive shrinking has on its overall appearance. In actual fact, this tiny Rei isn’t too far off from figma size in terms of scale, but she appears much smaller to the eye and next to my figmas is decidedly too small to fit in.

MegaHouse G.E.M. Nagisa Kaworu ITEM #42090
Character Height: 157 cm
Measured Height: 18.4 cm
Given Scale: 1/8
Apparent Scale: 1/8
Precise Scale: 1/8.53

*Kaworu’s height is slightly disputed. Unlike most other Evangelion characters, Kaworu has no official height given, so it has been calculated in relation to the known heights of other characters.*

Having a calculated scale exactly in the midrange of 1/8, this Kaworu nevertheless always look small to me. What makes him look so small? Apart from the previously mentioned factor of Evangelion characters’ proportions, he’s very thin, with a skintight suit that slims his silhouette. Next to an average 1/8 he will look small, but next to a smaller 1/8 he will look larger. He only looks truly correct with other midrange 1/8 figures.

Banpresto Ichiban Kuji Nagisa Kaworu ITEM #108468
Character Height: 157 cm
Measured Height: 22.4 cm
Given Scale: None
Apparent Scale: 1/7
Precise Scale: 1/7.00

This figure also has no given scale, like most Kujis. However, hilariously, this figure’s calculated scale is a perfect 1/7! Despite lacking a given scale he is one of the only ones in the sample to actually fit one perfectly. In practice, he looks most correct next to any figure within .20 or less of 1/7.

Alter ALTAiR Waver Velvet ITEM #109859
Character Height: 157 cm
Measured Height: 19 cm
Given Scale: 1/8
Apparent Scale: In between 1/8 and 1/7
Precise Scale: 1/8.26

The figure is seated, so I can’t use his given height to measure because it leaves out his legs, and his legs are slightly bent so I can’t measure them straight. Taking several measurements, his calculated scale puts him just slightly outside the normal range for a 1/8. Oddly, however, he seems to fit ok with some of my 1/7 figures. The most likely reason for this is his head size—it’s larger than some of other 1/8 figures and it increases his apparent size.

Vice Iwakura Lain ITEM #146
Character Height: 155 cm
Measured Height: 15.6 cm
Given Scale: 1/8
Apparent Scale: 1/8
Precise Scale: 1/9.93; 1/8.97

*Lain's height is disputed. I'm currently rechecking. I'll add some recalculated scales to this based on some estimates of shorter canon height. I have added the possible other precise scales as well.*

If I assume something shorter than 155, but not LUDICROUSLY short--let's say, below Rei's height, how about 140 cm--then the figure comes out to 1/8.97, which places her at a near perfect 1/9. So she's still a scale smaller than stated.
To actually be anything reasonably close to 1/8 she'd need to have a canon height of no more than 130 cm, which isn't unreasonable, actually. I'll get back to you when I've retrieved the artbook to double-check or haven't found conclusive information either way. (In which case I'll simply conclude that I was wrong and give Vice the benefit of the doubt and assume her canon height is about 130 cm.)

Another easily measured standing pose, Lain’s calculated scale is much smaller than I expected it to be, very close to 1/10. On her own, she doesn’t look nearly so tiny, and indeed doesn’t look strangely small next to most other 1/8 figures, but comparing her with the actual character’s height in mind it becomes clear she’s far smaller. Her larger head and softer, rounder proportions probably contribute to giving her a sense of larger size. Lain is the only figure by Vice I own—any of you with other figures by them, can you find a similar discrepancy, or is this a unique case?

Gift Saber Alter ITEM #712
Character Height: 154 cm
Measured Height: 18.4 cm
Given Scale: 1/8
Apparent Scale: 1/8
Precise Scale: 1/8.37

Gift Saber Extra ITEM #75212
Character Height: 150 cm
Measured Height: 18 cm
Given Scale: 1/8
Apparent Scale: 1/8
Precise Scale: 1/8.34

Saber Alter is the same height as regular Saber, but Saber Extra is really short. I had no idea she only had 5 cm on Rei. In any case, there’s only a difference of .04 in their actual scale so for practical purposes they fit exactly. I don’t yet have the other Gift Sabers but I expect they would fit just as well.

Good Smile Company Major Motoko Kusanagi ITEM #296
Character Height: 168 cm
Measured Height: 19.5 cm
Given Scale: 1/8
Apparent Scale: 1/8
Precise Scale: 1/8.61

She doesn’t really look it at a glance, but it turns out this figure of the Major is quite small for a 1/8, over the halfway mark towards 1/9. Put her next to a slightly larger 1/8 and you’ll immediately see the difference. The clearest indicator is that she is almost the same height as the Gift Saber Alter, but Saber is canonically shorter than the Major by a whole 14 cm. It isn’t a level of difference sufficient to be a really big deal, but she is definitely small.
The Major is the only figure by GSC I have, so those of you with lots of them, can you find any sort of pattern, or is it fairly variable? I’ve seen occasional reports of other GSC figures being smaller than expected, but can’t test it properly since I don’t have any others of my own.

Max Factory Bridget ITEM #571
Character Height: 158 cm
Measured Height: 21 cm
Given Scale: 1/7
Apparent Scale: 1/7
Precise Scale: 1/7.34

Bridget’s actual height is taller than I always pictured him. He’s close to true 1/7, but he’s far enough off that you can tell the difference when he’s placed next to another 1/7 with a known height. Any 1/7 that’s closer by .10 or more will look noticeably bigger next to him—for instance, this figure is shorter than Alter’s Asuka, but the character himself is 1 cm taller than her. Unless you’re the sort of person who keeps all this information in your head and can easily translate it to reality, however, it probably won’t make much of a difference.

Max Factory. Kagamine Rin Nuclear Fusion Hard RK ver ITEM #26558
Character Height: 152 cm
Measured Height: 15.4 cm
Given Scale: 1/8
Apparent Scale: 1/8
Precise Scale: 1/9.87

It isn’t an optical illusion—this Rin is tiny. Her calculated scale is nearly 1/10, putting her at basically the same size as Lain. She doesn’t immediately appear to be quite this small because of her elaborate base and fancy hair. Despite the fact that she’s about the same size as Lain, they don’t go together, because of their differing proportions.

Max Factory Hatsune Miku VN02 ver. ITEM #13763
Character Height: 158 cm
Measured Height: 17.6 cm
Given Scale: 1/8
Apparent Scale: 1/8
Precise Scale: 1/8.98

Despite being made to go with Nuclear Fusion Rin, VN02 Miku is nearly a full scale larger. So it seems her appearance of increased size isn’t simply a factor of her huge twintails. Despite the difference in practical scale, her head isn’t any larger than Rin’s (when you remove the huge twintails) so they match each other just fine.

Max Factory Megurine Luka Tony ver. ITEM #72522
Character Height: 162 cm
Measured Height: 22 cm
Given Scale: 1/7
Apparent Scale: 1/7
Precise Scale: 1/7.37

Easy to measure, Luka ends up in the middle range for 1/7 figures. Her larger head (a mark of Tony Taka’s art style) makes her look a bit bigger, however. Her twirling dress probably also gives her a larger silhouette. Regardless, she generally looks "right" for a 1/7 and will match fine with most 1/7 figures in my experience.

Now then, what does this data indicate?
Even with this small sample size, it’s very clear that scales are inexact and essentially never fit perfectly. From my sample, the ones that did match the best didn’t even have a given scale, though I have no real idea about why this might be.

I do not have a sufficient cross-section of different companies to make generalizations about them. I would need significantly more data to attempt to draw those kinds of conclusions. Instead, I’ll just discuss what the implications of these results are.

The perception of scale probably ultimately matters more than the actual scale. It makes a larger difference if a figure “looks right” to the viewer—it’s not as if you generally keep in mind the official height of every character you own a figure of. In most cases you don’t necessarily know it at all. I had to look up all of the heights to confirm and some were surprising.
I think it matters more if characters from the same series in the same scale look right next to each other regardless of which company made the figures. I was only really able to do this for Eva but I did find that overall, Eva figures of the same scale or who end up on the same scale fit and look correct together fine even if from different companies. Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite hold up between series.

Those of you who collect, let’s say, Bakemonogatari figures or something (anything that has lots of figures by different companies), do you find that figures of the same given scale usually fit together pretty well, or are they inconsistent? Even without taking measurements you can get an idea of it visually based on whether the figures “fit.”

In conclusion I hope this has been interesting to you; I know it’s a very long post.
12,758 hits • 29 comments

Comments29 comments

0pt
Lehst (5 months ago) #22960257This is positively fascinating. I've seen some comparisons about scale before, and it always seems like a tricky an inconsistent thing. I can accept that when something from two different IP's or companies doesn't match up, but it really naws at me when two figures from the same show and company doesn't fit. This even applies to plush toys now that I think about it. Sanei Boeki plush of Detective Conan was a slowly released series and the latest ones don't quite match the oldest anymore.
Anyways, what I really wanted to say was thank you for making this detailed post!

Thank you for reading! Sometime I'd like to do a follow up, larger sample size study, as I have many more figures now from a somewhat larger assortment of manufacturers.
5 months ago
1pt
This is positively fascinating. I've seen some comparisons about scale before, and it always seems like a tricky an inconsistent thing. I can accept that when something from two different IP's or companies doesn't match up, but it really naws at me when two figures from the same show and company doesn't fit. This even applies to plush toys now that I think about it. Sanei Boeki plush of Detective Conan was a slowly released series and the latest ones don't quite match the oldest anymore.

Anyways, what I really wanted to say was thank you for making this detailed post!
5 months ago
0pt
eekster (2 years ago) #3418860Oh, how I wish sculptors would base their scales on the character's height. Seeing that they are licensed toy/figure makers, you would think Japanese companies would ask the creators and the owners of an anime franchise about the specs of the character they are making a figure of. Never mind the 3 sizes - because we all know breast, waist and hip sizes are different on different anime shows - they should focus on the actual height because I wouldn't want Kobato from Boku wa Tomodachi be as tall as Mikasa from Attack on Titan when they are supposed to be of the same scale but not of the same height, obviously.
The westerners mostly base it on a standard 6'0" and although that's probably ideal for efficiency and consistency, it doesn't give much authenticity to the character. Honestly, I hate scales other than 1/6 and 1/4. It's just too hard to find diorama decorations for the rest of the scales and it seems 1/8 is too small for me.

Yes, it'd be nice if there was real attention paid to this stuff. The biggest revelation I had in the course of this study is that "scale" is one of the great lies of figure collecting! As it is, though, I think companies just go with what seems to look good most of the time. I have a lot of figures that fall into the 1/7 size so I can put them all together, can't speak for 1/4 as I don't have any. It is easier to find decorations for 1/6 since a lot of dolls are about that size, come to think of it.
2 years ago
2pt
Oh, how I wish sculptors would base their scales on the character's height. Seeing that they are licensed toy/figure makers, you would think Japanese companies would ask the creators and the owners of an anime franchise about the specs of the character they are making a figure of. Never mind the 3 sizes - because we all know breast, waist and hip sizes are different on different anime shows - they should focus on the actual height because I wouldn't want Kobato from Boku wa Tomodachi be as tall as Mikasa from Attack on Titan when they are supposed to be of the same scale but not of the same height, obviously.

The westerners mostly base it on a standard 6'0" and although that's probably ideal for efficiency and consistency, it doesn't give much authenticity to the character. Honestly, I hate scales other than 1/6 and 1/4. It's just too hard to find diorama decorations for the rest of the scales and it seems 1/8 is too small for me.
2 years ago
0pt
yunomi (2 years ago) #2617959Never thought I'd read it all till the end (surprised myself). At the beginning, when you said,
"I believe this has been brought up at least in part before, but I’d like to perform a more in-depth examination of figure scale."
I thought, "So where's the shorter article for this topic?".
But your writing is really exciting! It's a very good study for me. Thank you.

Ah, I meant that other people had occasionally brought up the matter of scale. But I'd never seen anyone really go into it in detail. I'm very glad you enjoyed it! :>
2 years ago
1pt
Never thought I'd read it all till the end (surprised myself). At the beginning, when you said,
"I believe this has been brought up at least in part before, but I’d like to perform a more in-depth examination of figure scale."
I thought, "So where's the shorter article for this topic?".

But your writing is really exciting! It's a very good study for me. Thank you.
2 years ago
0pt
catsack (3 years ago) #2468484I had flipped through my copy of Omnipresence and didn't see anything, but it's possible it was buried somewhere. 130cm seems low, but I can't imagine she's taller than Rei, so 130-140cm is probably a reasonable range.
Your point still stands, 155cm just stood out to me as odd for someone who's supposed to be on the shorter side.

Ok, so. I pored over Omnipresence, nothing. So I went back to searching the web and found 2 separate instances of her height, both giving it as 155 cm, but neither were reliable sources. Searching the Japanese web, I also found nothing. Therefore I don't have any reason to believe that any canon height was ever given in the first place, since we lack a lot of other information about Lain already (we don't even know exactly how old she is.)

The only way I can think of to really know her height would be to measure her against an object of known size. Since no other characters have listed heights either, my best guess at a good method would be to find a shot in the anime where she is holding a piece of RAM (as the size of RAM that's not for laptops is always the same, and I couldn't think of anything else that would always be the same size) and measure her against that.

I did recently buy the other Lain book, Visual Experiments Lain, so if I do somehow happen to find anything in there I'll let you know.
3 years ago
0pt
Moro (3 years ago) #2465411I need to dig out "An Omnipresence in Wired" again to be sure but I think it was listed there in some of the random details.
Since you brought it up, I'll do some additional calculations based on estimations of different heights to see about this. If I assume something shorter but not LUDICROUSLY short--let's say, below Rei's height, how about 140 cm--then the figure comes out to 1/8.97, which places her at a near perfect 1/9. So she's still a scale smaller than stated.
To actually be anything reasonably close to 1/8 she'd need to have a canon height of no more than 130 cm, which isn't unreasonable, actually. I'll get back to you when I've retrieved the artbook to double-check or haven't found conclusive information either way. (In which case I'll simply conclude that I was wrong and give Vice the benefit of the doubt and assume her canon height is about 130 cm.)


I had flipped through my copy of Omnipresence and didn't see anything, but it's possible it was buried somewhere. 130cm seems low, but I can't imagine she's taller than Rei, so 130-140cm is probably a reasonable range.
Your point still stands, 155cm just stood out to me as odd for someone who's supposed to be on the shorter side.
3 years ago
1pt
Moro (3 years ago) #2467036The figure's given height is pretty generous since she's on tiptoe and I'm sure it also includes the base. So I'll give her a height of 16 cm. The character's canon height is 166 cm.
That places the figure at 1/10.37, a slightly midrange 1/10. Even if I did use the figure's given height of 17 cm she would still be 1/9.76, getting close to 1/10 anyway.
So yeah, there's absolutely no way that she's 1/8.


ah ok, thanks for the info!
3 years ago
0pt
autumnlucks (3 years ago) #2467006I was curious if you can evaluate the Yuzuriha Inori 1/8 figure for me please :)
ITEM #78618
From what I've seen in videos, a lot of people expected her to be bigger, but she is pretty small. Does 1/8 fit that "small" category? Just wondering...
Thank you and thanks for the informative article :)

The figure's given height is pretty generous since she's on tiptoe and I'm sure it also includes the base. So I'll give her a height of 16 cm. The character's canon height is 166 cm.
That places the figure at 1/10.37, a slightly midrange 1/10. Even if I did use the figure's given height of 17 cm she would still be 1/9.76, getting close to 1/10 anyway.
So yeah, there's absolutely no way that she's 1/8.
3 years ago
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