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Fresh-Faced New User




Greetings;

Since I am not a heavily duty wargamer (more like a lurker, buying some miniatures once in a while) my overall experience had been so far with 28mm scale, mostly GW stuff, as I suspect has been the experience of most of the wargaming community.

However, although 28mm was the standard in my personal collection, I always felt like there were some things no OK with this size. The miniatures always seemed kind of too small and fragile and in the case of the most intricated and complex models, sometimes they looked overwhelming and a real pain to paint Furthermore the 28mm "heroic" always looked a bit weird... However, since GW and other big suppliers work mostly with 28mm, I never thought too much on the issue, assuming that things were like that because it was the best available option in practical terms.

But recently I purchased a 35mm wargame and I was blown away…

I mean, the design and the quality of those miniatures are fine, nothing exceptional … but the size; it just feels right! The miniatures seem stronger, more balanced in their body proportions and way easier to paint.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that 35mm is superior to 28mm. I don’t intend to persuade anybody on what is in many cases a personal preference. But I have seen cases in KS of wargames failing because the miniatures were not 35mm, or fellow gamers refusing to consider a new game because the miniatures were not compatible with 28mm.

Thus, I have been thinking on how comes 28mm is the “standard”, what are the reasons for that, and why it seems there are not other options seriously challenging 28mm as the dominant scale.

- It is “just like it” because wargaming required a standard and 28mm just happened to be around?
- It is because 28mm is the best possible combination for gaming and painting purposes?
- It is because in economic terms is the best option size-cost available?
- It is because GW with its market dominance force-feeding us 28mm "heroic" until it became the standard?
- It is because most of the wargaming community is already used to it and has invested way too much in 28mm to ever consider jumping ships?

Kindly let me know your opinions on this issue.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2020/11/26 03:03:15


 
   
Made in gb
Auspicious Aspiring Champion of Chaos





Nottingham

To me it's probably the best compromise between detailed miniatures that are enjoyable to paint, and being able to have a decent game with them. Gaming is better at a smaller scale, but the models are no where near as nice. Models are more detailed the bigger they are, but gaming with them becomes trickier as they get bigger. 28-32mm hits the sweet spot for both, imo.

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Seattle, WA USA

I think a lot of it comes from the market dominance of GW, frankly. Prior to Warhammer, 20mm (1:72) was a dominant scale for historical wargaming, as was 15mm. Some of the original "fantasy" line (Grenadier, etc.) for D&D was 25mm, theoretically done because it was easier to paint than 20mm or smaller. GW eventually did that scale, but with "heroic" proportions (some might say cartoonish), and slowly kinda crept to what's now generally called 28mm.

A few other lines went larger to 30mm or 32mm (Warmachine and Confrontation for example, respectively), but mostly didn't make as large an impact as GW. For "compatibility" a lot more manufacturers went with the 28mm, since it also gave a reasonable middle between cost and details.

Some newer games are definitely trying the 32mm or 35mm size, but get some resistance, as you noted, because terrain already made in collections, or widely available on the market, doesn't quite look right with them. I think a lot of gamers are hesitant to have to create different sets of terrain to go along with each different line of models. Some don't mind either way, though, and if you're generic enough with terrain (trees and hills and rocks; buildings are the ones that look off) it isn't a big deal.

I personally kind of like the 32mm size as well, but have a large, large collection from over the years of several games that range anywhere from 28mm-35mm and mix them without too much problem. (I have 10mm and other scales too, but that's for things like micro armor or ships and don't care about trying to mix that with a D&D bard, lol).
   
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Smokin' Skorcha Driver






Herefordshire

Bigger is only better from a hobby point of view. Smaller is better from gaming point of view. 28 mm isn't special; it is too big for gaming but quite nice for hobbying. It's a compromise that favours the hobby more than the game.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/11/25 22:08:58


 
   
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MN

Nothing special.

I prefer 6mm as they are easier to paint and look like an army when they are all painted up.

Do you like Free Wargames?
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Regular Dakkanaut




Im curious what systems use 35mm? What good minis are available in that size?
   
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Dakka Veteran




Seattle, WA USA

petrov27 wrote:
Im curious what systems use 35mm? What good minis are available in that size?
Off hand, I think the Batman/DC miniatures game is 35mm (from Knight Models), and I think the Marvel one from AMG is also 35mm but I don't have any to check. Wild West Exodus and Mythos, from Warcradle, are somewhere between 32mm and 35mm, depending on sculpt.
   
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Rogue Grot Kannon Gunna





Atlanta, GA

petrov27 wrote:
Im curious what systems use 35mm? What good minis are available in that size?


I've heard that Crisis Protocol and the new Warcaster from Privateer Press are both 35mm.
   
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Grumpy Longbeard





Canada

28mm is popular for Sci-Fi and fantasy games because part of the appeal are the cool models and characters, which are easier to do a a big scale. Yes 28mm is the big common scale.

15mm very common for historical gaming, where it is considered to be a good compromise between detail and an army looking like an army.

I really wish that 6mm was more popular though.

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Longtime Dakkanaut





arent GW miniatures considerably larger than 28mm nowadays? I feel like GW has been 35mm for a long time now.

   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




NE Ohio, USA

Mancada100 wrote:
Greetings;

Since I am not a heavily duty wargamer (more like a lurker, buying some miniatures once in a while) my overall experience had been so far with 28mm scale, mostly GW stuff, as I suspect has been the experience of most of the wargaming community.

However, although 28mm was the standard in my personal collection, I always felt like there were some things no OK with this size. The miniatures always seemed kind of too small and fragile and in the case of the most intricated and complex models, sometimes they looked overwhelming and a real pain to paint Furthermore the 28mm "heroic" always looked a bit weird... However, since GW and other big suppliers work mostly with 28mm, I never thought too much on the issue, assuming that things were like that because it was the best available option in practical terms.

But recently I purchased a 35mm wargame and I was blown away…

I mean, the design and the quality of those miniatures are fine, nothing exceptional … but the size; it just feels right! The miniatures seem stronger, more balanced in their body proportions and way easier to paint.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that 35mm is superior to 28mm. I don’t intend to persuade anybody on what is in many cases a personal preference. But I have seen cases in KS of wargames failing because the miniatures were not 35mm, or fellow gamers refusing to consider a new game because the miniatures were not compatible with 28mm.

Thus, I have been thinking on how comes 28mm is the “standard”, what are the reasons for that, and why it seems there are not other options seriously challenging 28mm as the dominant scale.

- It is “just like it” because wargaming required a standard and 28mm just happened to be around?
- It is because 28mm is the best possible combination for gaming and painting purposes?
- It is because in economic terms is the best option size-cost available?
- It is because GW with its market dominance force-feeding us 28mm "heroic" until it became the standard?
- It is because most of the wargaming community is already used to it and has invested way too much in 28mm to ever consider jumping ships?

Kindly let me know your opinions on this issue.


Ah, you're one of those anti-GW trolls got it.

The reason there's no serious challenge to the 28mm-32mm category is $. A helluva lot a companies are fine making this scale because that means their stuff sells to a wider audience as models can be mix & matched in games. Or parts swapped between.

   
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Battlefield Tourist





On an Express Elevator to Hell!!

I think you're right that 28mm has gained a dominance in the SF/Fantasy market because of GW, who grew the industry and are now the predominant force in it.

As a few guys have said above I think it hits the sweet-spot between detail and utility, or it did used to at least. If you think early editions of 40k and WHFB had a much smaller model count, and then you had Epic and Mighty Armies for larger, company-level combat scale. That has changed over the years to the point where it is now a common complaint that 28mm miniature armies are too big and 6x4 tables too crowded at that scale. And I know for instance a lot of fans of Age of Sigmar like the game over WHFB precisely because it allows you to play with smaller model counts.

Interestingly it's a lot less prevalent in historical gaming, but some of the more modern historicals companies that do use it (if you think of Warlord Games) have run with that scale perhaps because it was popular for GW games - you think of Rick Priestly, who was grand-daddy of 40k and then since did Bolt Action for Warlord. It's not rare at all for gamers to migrate from 40k to Bolt Action when they want to move outside the SF/Fantasy setting.

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Herefordshire

ccs wrote:

It is because GW with its market dominance force-feeding us 28mm "heroic" until it became the standard?[/color]

I am pretty sure they went with a "heroic" version of 28mm in order to be NON-standard and make their lines as incompatible as possible with other companies. 28mm True scale is the industry standard for 28mm (although even that is not very much a standard because 28mm gets interpreted differently because some interpret 28mm as to the eyes of a six footer and other to the top of the head of a six footer). GW business model is that of a "walled garden", like that of Apple in contrast to the open IBM ecosystem. Unfortunately for GW they have been so successful with their deliberately non-standard scale that it is becoming a standard as smaller companies eye their captive customers with greedy eyes.

Their LOTR stuff is true scale though but I think they had to do that to please the IP holders (Tolkein estate) as they would have wanted their characters to look how they do in the films. Heroically fat heads and hands and massively oversized weapons would work against that.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/11/26 11:18:58


 
   
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'Jack Scrapper





Austria

28mm by GW is not a scale (as 1/100 or 1/72 is), but means that all Miniatures are 28mm from Base to Eyes

Heroic is added because true scaled Miniatures don't look that good an arm length away from above on the table
and an excuse because sculpters and casting was not that good in the beginning (compared to the big scale model companies at the time that made 1/72 or 1/100 plastic models) and just comparing the old metal Cadians who looked much more true scale than the newer plastic models

Lord of the Rings is 25mm (1/72) as the IP holders wanted it to be different from the Warhammer range (better sculpted as it was done by the Perry Twins)

28mm is popular because of GW and other companies and the idea was to make miniatures to be not compatible with other games or what other companies already produce
same reason why Warlord went with 28mm for Bolt Action as doing 1/72 or 1/48 would allow people to use models from other companies as well

and because a lot of other companies moved to 28mm as well, newer stuff is now 32mm

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/11/26 12:01:57


Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

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Herefordshire

 kodos wrote:
28mm by GW is not a scale (as 1/100 or 1/72 is), but means that all Miniatures are 28mm from Base to Eyes

It is a scale it is not just not a precise one. The ratio scales like 1/100 were developed by map makers and adopted by model makers like Airfix. The mm scales were developed separately by the original tabletop wargamers.

It should be noted that GW does not actually go to any great pains to tell people what scale they are using because that is part of their walled garden strategy. Pick up any GW kit and see if you can find anywhere on the box that says 28mm or heroic or whatever... It's not there because they don't really want do anything to help customers climb out of the walled garden. If you knew what the scale was you would know what other model ranges would work with it.

The community had to figure out for themselves what the scale was.
   
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Fresh-Faced New User




petrov27 wrote:
Im curious what systems use 35mm? What good minis are available in that size?


Mostly I was making reference to "Fallen Frontiers" miniatures:

http://www.fallenfrontiers.com/galeria/example1/gallery.html

As I mentioned, the miniatures are OK in design and materials, but the 35mm size is what appeals to me.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 DarkBlack wrote:
28mm is popular for Sci-Fi and fantasy games because part of the appeal are the cool models and characters, which are easier to do a a big scale. Yes 28mm is the big common scale.

15mm very common for historical gaming, where it is considered to be a good compromise between detail and an army looking like an army.

I really wish that 6mm was more popular though.



I agree.

Actually I would consider 15mm or less more like a totally different category, more suited to represent regiments and divisions in historical wargaming and almost no related to fantasy/scifi skirmishes.




Automatically Appended Next Post:
 SolarCross wrote:
ccs wrote:

It is because GW with its market dominance force-feeding us 28mm "heroic" until it became the standard?[/color]

I am pretty sure they went with a "heroic" version of 28mm in order to be NON-standard and make their lines as incompatible as possible with other companies. 28mm True scale is the industry standard for 28mm (although even that is not very much a standard because 28mm gets interpreted differently because some interpret 28mm as to the eyes of a six footer and other to the top of the head of a six footer). GW business model is that of a "walled garden", like that of Apple in contrast to the open IBM ecosystem. Unfortunately for GW they have been so successful with their deliberately non-standard scale that it is becoming a standard as smaller companies eye their captive customers with greedy eyes.

Their LOTR stuff is true scale though but I think they had to do that to please the IP holders (Tolkein estate) as they would have wanted their characters to look how they do in the films. Heroically fat heads and hands and massively oversized weapons would work against that.


Good point. GW "heroic" probably wouldn't mix well with LOTR miniatures.

I wonder if that is one of the reasons LOTR is no more popular nowadays...

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2020/11/26 13:54:13


 
   
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[DCM]
Battlefield Tourist





On an Express Elevator to Hell!!

LoTR I think is still really popular with a certain group of fanbase. GW wouldn't still be selling them, putting articles in White Dwarf etc. if it wasn't.

It's no longer main selling to the ridiculous levels it once was as it's many years since the films (and even the Hobbit now) which shared the license were released. That was a thing to behold when it happened, and then went bloody awful when the sales started to dip after the films and 'marketing/sales' it seemed hadn't realised that this might eventually be a possibility....

kodos wrote:28mm is popular because of GW and other companies and the idea was to make miniatures to be not compatible with other games or what other companies already produce
same reason why Warlord went with 28mm for Bolt Action as doing 1/72 or 1/48 would allow people to use models from other companies as well


That's a good point. It's interesting that a few other companies (Rubicon etc.) have now started releasing tanks and vehicles that scale with 28mm infantry, I guess off the back of the popularity of Bolt Action.

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Carlovonsexron wrote:
arent GW miniatures considerably larger than 28mm nowadays? I feel like GW has been 35mm for a long time now.


Not so far as 35, but they're definitely not 28 anymore. Neither is Privateer Press (except by accident, like the 'Black 13th' unit, which is undersized compared to the rest of the range)
I never picked up any of the new Wyrd plastics, but the original models seemed designed at the vague 'heroic' scale rather than 28mm.

The gap between LotR scale and Warhammer scale is pretty noticeable.


So I guess the answer to the question about 'what is so special about 28mm?' is its partially abandoned, at least for sci-fi/fantasy wargames.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/11/26 15:46:35


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'Jack Scrapper





Austria

 SolarCross wrote:
 kodos wrote:
28mm by GW is not a scale (as 1/100 or 1/72 is), but means that all Miniatures are 28mm from Base to Eyes

It is a scale it is not just not a precise one. The ratio scales like 1/100 were developed by map makers and adopted by model makers like Airfix. The mm scales were developed separately by the original tabletop wargamers.


every scale has a mm äquivalent, that is not the point, but GWs 28mm is not a scale but that every model is 28mm tall, hence why Guardsman and older Marines were the same size for a long time (and GW moved to 32mm base to eye), hence why newer Marines are now taller than Guardsman while newer human models are taller as well

28mm, base to eye is a scale (1/56, 32mm total) same 28mm total (1/64) and 25mm total is one (1/72), just GW does not use a scale but makes everything the same size no matter if the model is based on a 1,8 meter tall human or 2,5 meter tall super-human and stuff that needs to be larger is just larger but without scaling (main reason proper 28mm scaled vehicles do not work for 40k as the tanks there are larger than they should be and are more in line with 1/48)

Mancada100 wrote:
I wonder if that is one of the reasons LOTR is no more popular nowadays...

Pacific wrote:
It's no longer main selling to the ridiculous levels it once was as it's many years since the films (and even the Hobbit now) which shared the license were released. That was a thing to behold when it happened, and then went bloody awful when the sales started to dip after the films and 'marketing/sales' it seemed hadn't realised that this might eventually be a possibility....

main reason was the famous "double the price and half the box content" for plastic models, and yes LotR was the game were GW really did that over night for everything
and the community (which was not the typical GW one) reacted a little different than expected and did not just stopped buying stuff but stopped playing the game for the most part (there was a very large community here and it was gone after that and most people went for historical games instead which saw a rise in new plastic models by that time)

Pacific wrote:
That's a good point. It's interesting that a few other companies (Rubicon etc.) have now started releasing tanks and vehicles that scale with 28mm infantry, I guess off the back of the popularity of Bolt Action.

1/56 became popular with Bolt Action but was also not as flooded with models as other sizes were and was also well received in the scale model scene because it saves shelf space compared to 1/48 but it is not as fiddly as 1/72
so Rubicon ends up in the middle with kits being detailed enough for scale models but not as fiddly to still attract wargamers

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

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Smokin' Skorcha Driver






Herefordshire

 kodos wrote:


every scale has a mm äquivalent, that is not the point, but GWs 28mm is not a scale but that every model is 28mm tall, hence why Guardsman and older Marines were the same size for a long time (and GW moved to 32mm base to eye), hence why newer Marines are now taller than Guardsman while newer human models are taller as well

28mm, base to eye is a scale (1/56, 32mm total) same 28mm total (1/64) and 25mm total is one (1/72), just GW does not use a scale but makes everything the same size no matter if the model is based on a 1,8 meter tall human or 2,5 meter tall super-human and stuff that needs to be larger is just larger but without scaling (main reason proper 28mm scaled vehicles do not work for 40k as the tanks there are larger than they should be and are more in line with 1/48)


You will be amazed to discover that GW is not the only creator of wargames or wargame models. 28mm is a scale. You are right that GW is sloppy as feth when it comes to scale but that does not mean 28mm is not a scale.
   
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'Jack Scrapper





Austria

again, GW's 28mm is a size not a scale
it is not that they are bad at scaling but that they don't use a scale at all but produce minis in a dedicated size, which moved from 28 to 32mm a while ago

this does not mean that other companies producing 1:56/28mm are not using a scale
Warlord Games uses a 28mm heroic scale for example, a reason why Warlord Games Tanks don't fit the 40k size because they have the wrong size although they are in the right scale

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
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Smokin' Skorcha Driver






Herefordshire

 kodos wrote:
again, GW's 28mm is a size not a scale
it is not that they are bad at scaling but that they don't use a scale at all but produce minis in a dedicated size, which moved from 28 to 32mm a while ago

this does not mean that other companies producing 1:56/28mm are not using a scale
Warlord Games uses a 28mm heroic scale for example, a reason why Warlord Games Tanks don't fit the 40k size because they have the wrong size although they are in the right scale


28mm in this context means 28mm represents a 2m (ish) tall man, so that is a scale. GW does not declare the scale of their models (not usually anyway) but nonetheless they are to a scale because they are not lifesize.

Models for wargame are generally scaled pretty loosely compared with model kits for dislpay (Airfix etc) because to some extent the models job to function as a game piece and not so much as an accurate representation. So it is not necessarily a terrible faux pas to be a bit sloppy in that respect.
   
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'Jack Scrapper





Austria

 SolarCross wrote:

28mm in this context means 28mm represents a 2m (ish) tall man, so that is a scale. GW does not declare the scale of their models (not usually anyway) but nonetheless they are to a scale because they are not lifesize.

right
now for GW, a 2m lifesize, 3m lifesize and 1,5m lifesize model are all 28mm in models
so either GW use a different scale for different minis (varying from 25mm to 37mm), or they use a standard size for their models (which was 28mm) as they are not in scale to each other

if we are talking about a scale in models be it 28mm, 1/72, 1/100, 6mm etc. it means that the models are in the right relation to each other and not that they are all the same size

and no, models in general are not scaled loosely, not if they are using a specific scale and not just going for a specific size for their models
those that are poorly scaled never claim to use one in the first place, mainly Privateer Press and Games Workshop while those that claim to use a scale are spot on (even if it is heroic instead of true scale)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/11/26 18:17:49


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SoCal

We’re seeing a weird thing going on with scale right now, where companies have chosen camps at slightly different scales (and sizes) that break down into comparability bands.

For example, most historical plastics were too small and true scaled (Perry, Warlord Romans) to work well with fantasy or Sci fi minis...but later manufacturers started to make their minis slightly more heroic (Fireforge, Gripping Beast) just as generic Fantasy began moving towards historical scale in size and proportions (Mantic, Frostgrave, Oathmark). Then you have the true-ish scaled that try to be compatible with both sets (WGF, WGA, later Gates of Antares). On the other side, there are Wyrd, Conquest LAoK, KDM, etc., selling much larger miniatures.

By setting into different size ecosystems, some games reinforce each other’s sales, like WGA and Medge, Frostgrave and Gripping Beast et al. In this manner, manufacturers seem to be creating their own walled garden while allowing GW’s size garden to fill with weeds of STL files and Polish/Spanish resins.


Slightly off topic, but are the Fallen Frontiers minis made of resin or metal?

   
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Smokin' Skorcha Driver






Herefordshire

Heroic is not taller than True Scale. Heroic scale has warped proportions so that heads, feet and hands are fatter than they ought to be. Weapons are enormous.

I did an in depth comparison between a 28mm True Scale Perry kit and a comparable 28mm Heroic Scale GW kit in this blog post:

https://solarcrossgames.co.uk/wfb/perry-mercenaries-vs-gw-handgunners-empire-troops/

The meat of the comparison is towards the end.

I covered the same material in some youtube vids too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4wCmyaW3Mo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSDo6AqF3Uw

   
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 BobtheInquisitor wrote:



Slightly off topic, but are the Fallen Frontiers minis made of resin or metal?



They are made of resin; and quite good if you ask me, although I am not an expert on that matter.

I think during the KS there was some kind of controversy regarding what type of material the miniatures would be...


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 SolarCross wrote:
Heroic is not taller than True Scale. Heroic scale has warped proportions so that heads, feet and hands are fatter than they ought to be. Weapons are enormous.

I did an in depth comparison between a 28mm True Scale Perry kit and a comparable 28mm Heroic Scale GW kit in this blog post:

https://solarcrossgames.co.uk/wfb/perry-mercenaries-vs-gw-handgunners-empire-troops/

The meat of the comparison is towards the end.

I covered the same material in some youtube vids too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4wCmyaW3Mo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSDo6AqF3Uw




Most interesting...

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/11/26 19:10:55


 
   
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Fixture of Dakka







It's worth saying that Crisis Protocol is more like 40mm than 35mm.

Here's a comparison of very similar miniatures, the left from Marvel Crisis Protocol, the right from Knight Models, who are like people say 35mm 'realistic'.



There's definitely a thing of the larger the scale the model, the smaller the scale of the game.

Knight Models tends to have 5-10 models a side, at 35mm.

At 40mm, Crisis Protocol has 3-5.

With both games being played on a 3' by 3' area.
   
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MN

Scale Creep in the industry is real. Those AMG models are HUGE!


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down south

28mm is the sweet spot for skirmish level games individually based. bigger than 28mm better be a true skirmish game with a squad or less. I do think games involving lots of vehicles probably need to go to a smaller scale unless you just have massive amounts of table space.

bigger battles from ancient to black powder era id prefer 1/72 scale due to multi basing and the large number of figures needed. Smaller WW2 battles can easily be done in 1/72 just that individually based 1/72 models can be harder for me to grab! I have loads of cheap plastic 1/72, stockpiling for my retirement.
   
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kodos wrote:Lord of the Rings is 25mm (1/72) as the IP holders wanted it to be different from the Warhammer range (better sculpted as it was done by the Perry Twins)


LOTR is not 1/72 and only a handful of the shortest human miniatures are 25mm. It's been totally inconsistent but generally speaking LOTR is pretty comparable with 28mm historicals. Some gripping beast 28mm plastics would work quite well on any LOTR table.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/11/27 22:16:56


 
   
 
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