Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Size Matters?

Eli over at ISLP brings up a good point as he is considering what scales to use for his Alcovia projects.

Let's face it, we love our toys! We love our toys to come in multiple sizes and have lots of them.  Many of us enjoy various scales for different gaming periods.  As gamers we will fill tables with anything from 2mm tiny models to 32mm behemoths.  Some of us prefer plastics while some others prefer lead (now mostly made of pewter).  Some of us even break out the plastic toys like Forces of Valor for Ambush Alley style games and plastic dinosaurs to play games like When the Navy Walked, Rugged Adventures or Pulp Alley (coming soon!).

For me I enjoy gaming in a scale that best represents the period I am attempting to recreate or portray.  I enjoy 28mm games for skirmish and small rank and file battles such as Sword and the Flame or Battlesystems.  For my pure pulp games, westerns and small Civil War games I also enjoy 28mm.  In addition, when it comes to using miniatures in my roleplaying games I vastly prefer 28mm to the other scales out there.

In WWII, Vietnam and Modern and Future platoon level games I like to use my tried and true 20mm scale.  With the availability of plastic model kids and the massive amounts of 20mm figures available this scale seems ideal.  As an added bonus you get to use Matchbox cars for civilians.  Need a technical?  No problem.  Just get a Stan Johansen crew and pick up a matchbox pickup and you're ready to go!

With larger games such as massive battles of colonial or American Civil War, Napoleonics or even Vietnam conflicts I prefer 15mm.  I also do my WTNW games in 15mm as well using a massed combination of colonial, ACW and pulpish figures with some sci fi and historical ranges to add that level of steampunk.  The benefits of 15mm are that the figures are still relatively big enough to get detail with but still small enough to really be able to do large battles.

For the truly huge games of WWII and Modem tank battles featuring entire companies or larger of troops I enjoy microarmor the 1/285 scale of gamers where you really can set up huge conflicts.  Just take a look at some of my vietnam and modern microarmor games posted in this blog and you'll see entire table layouts of massive microarmor battles!

So as you can see I utilize a variety of scales for my gaming.  What do you use?


  1. I'm obviously a fan of 15mm and 6mm; having taken an oath to attempt to avoid anything larger than 15mm if at all possible.
    My basic approach is 15mm for skirmish gaming and 6mm for anything larger than a platoon or so per side. Having said that, I'm looking at 6mm skirmish as well....
    Three big drivers for this:
    1. Cost - obviously smaller scales are cheaper on a figure by figure basis.
    2. Space - smaller figures = less space to play and less space to store.
    3. Time - painting 15mm and 6mm I can get many more figures done than what it takes me to paint a 28mm to areasonable standard.

    It does mean I have less choice when it comes to skirmish gaming as there are some lovely figures with great detail out there, but my painting would never do them justice so I'm better off without them anyway.
    15mm ranges often don't have a lot of unique poses as they are often designed for massed combat ranks. There are a number of manufacturers producing good individual poses now however. Maybe not always in the eras I need, but things are improving.

    That's my 2c!
    As an aside I now have a load of paper zulus and british to cut out for my WTNW playtest!
    Hope you can share some more info about Pulp Alley as well soon. I've been looking forward to that ruleset for a while now!

  2. Started out in the late 1970s with 25mm stayed with it way too long! I still own a large collection of Ancient,Medieval,and Renaissance
    in 25/28mm.My 15mm stuff runs from Colonials to Sci-fi, principally because the weapon ranges look better to me in the smaller scale.
    Also like many others I occasionally do 6mm
    armor for the grand tactical stuff and Full Thrust star ship games as well.