Admittedly, when it comes to Transformers, scale is borked up beyond belief, and has been that way from day 1, but people can still get very passionate about it, and there has always been some minimal understanding of the basic, underlying concept. I mean, even the G1 cartoon typically portrayed Optimus Prime as significantly larger than most of the other Autobots, because he turns into a truck cab while mostly everyone else initially turned into cars. So whenever you'd get a Deluxe-sized Optimus Prime toy, he'd be out of scale with, say, a Deluxe-sized Bumblebee toy.
Hasbro has been traditionally rather iffy about the subject, but usually still acknowledged it to some degree by releasing toys of Optimus Prime at a larger price point than, say, Bumblebee, so they'd be at least vaguely in scale with each other. Admittedly, there have been some weird goofs in the past, such as the messed up scale within combiner teams (remember that infamous fan art of Bruticus being drawn to scale?), or all Action Masters being presented as being the same size in fiction (so even Bumblebee and friggin' Devastator are the same size!). Or how about the ROTF "Fury of Fearswoop" set, where a Deluxe-sized Decepticon fighter jet is released in a set with two Legends (now "Legion") Autobot cars, which would be more or less to scale... except the bio on the back of the packaging explicitly points out the large size of the Decepticon as something out of the ordinary.
So anyway, the term "scale" has always been used to refer to a size ratio, it was usually the alternate modes and their real-life counterparts that were used as a reference point, and it was generally accepted by both Hasbro and the fans that not all Transformers are created equal, i.e. not all of them are the same size in-fiction.
Well. That was oldspeak. Enter newspeak.
For a few years now, Hasbro has been using the term "scale" explicitly to refer to toy size classes (aka "price points").
Each Combiner robot build starts with a Voyager Scale Combiner Wars figure as the torso. Add any 4 Deluxe Scale Combiner Wars figures like this one to form the arms and legs and create your own gigantic Combiner. Gear up for battle with a Legends Scale Combiner Wars figure that becomes either weaponry or armor. Yes -- that is up to 6 Transformers bots combining into 1 unstoppable super robot. You're welcome.
Deluxe, Voyager, and Legends Scale Combiner Wars figures are each sold separately (subject to availability), and not all Legends Scale Combiner Wars figures can become weapons or armor. Look for the label on Legends Scale figure packs or see the online product description for more info.
By using a simple mechanism we make it possible for fans to create any combination they choose using Voyager and Deluxe scale Transformers.
From a product perspective, we wanted to try to create "big" versions of the popular Combiner Gestalts like Superion, Menasor and Defensor, and we worked really hard internally with our marketing partners to create a plan that let fans combine Deluxe, Voyager and Legends scale figures together.
The large, feature-packed LEADER scale action figure is based on a classic TRANSFORMERS character, like SKY WARP, and features a firing projectile, massive weaponry and working vehicle features.
The biggest figure is Titan Scale FORTRESS MAXIMUS, the largest figure in the TRANSFORMERS GENERATIONS TITANS RETURN line and one of the largest converting TRANSFORMERS toys!
Transformers Generations Titans Return Legends Class figures are 3.75-inch scale figures.
Figure scale: 3.75 inches
That's not what "scale" means, you idiots!
Simply put, "scale" refers to a ratio (you always need a reference point to determine a scale), whereas Hasbro is using it as an absolute.
Naturally, fans have started to parrot the Hasbro lingo and are now referring to toys as "Legends scale", "Deluxe scale" etc., thereby forever obscuring the original meaning of the term.
What do you mean "Optimus Prime and Bumblebee are out of scale"? They're the same scale! They're both Legion scale!