A scale model is most generally a physical representation of an object, which maintains accurate relationships between all important aspects of the model, although absolute values of the original properties need not be preserved.

This enables it to demonstrate some behavior or property of the original object without examining the original object itself. The most familiar scale models represent the physical appearance of an object in miniature, but there are many other kinds.

Like model cars, model commercial vehicles are sold both as kits for the enthusiast to construct and paint and as pre-built, pre-painted collectible models. Model kits may be made in plastic, resin, metal (including white metal), and wood.

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Winross (Rochester, New York) pioneered 1/64 scale promotional model trucks in the early 1960s. Other American brands followed suit, including Ertl, SpecCast, Liberty Classics, Hartoy (AHL – American Highway Legends and PEM – Precision Engineered Models), Road Champs, Penjoy, Die Cast Promotions, GearBox, and Tonkin (which took over the AHL and PEM lines following the demise of Hartoy. In Britain, Lledo made some 1/64 scale lorries in its Vanguards range. The classic Corgi Routemaster bus is approximately 1/64 scale, too. Few other companies outside the US have used 1/64 scale for commercial vehicles.

1/76 scale is very popular in Britain and Hong Kong for models of transit buses and coaches (intercity buses). The EFE (Exclusive First Editions) line, which appeared in 1989, included both buses and trucks. The models were designed in the UK but manufactured in China. Most EFE models have been replicas of British vehicles and by 2006 over 1500 different models had been released.

Corgi Classics Limited followed EFE in 1995 with their own Original Omnibus Company (OOC) line of 1/76th scale UK, US, and Hong Kong vehicles, well over 800 models have been produced to date. Other manufacturers such as Britbus and Creative Master Northcord have also entered the UK market with their own lines of bus models since 2002. Trax Models and Creative Master Northcord provide localised 1/76 models to the Australian market.

Scale models are used in many fields including engineering, architecture, film making, military command, salesmanship, and hobby model building. While each field may use a scale model for a different purpose, all scale models are based on the same principles and must meet the same general requirements to be functional. The detail requirements vary depending on the needs of the modeler.

To be a true scale model, all relevant aspects must be accurately modeled, such as material properties, so the model’s interaction with the outside world is reliably related to the original object’s interaction with the real world.

Scale models are used by many fields for many different purposes.