Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Question of Scale

Well the Brit HMG teams are painted and gunked as is 1 of the 3" mortar bases. I won't base them, however, until the weekend when I can get them varnished (and hopefully by that time I will have finished the other 2 mortar bases) so no pictures of them yet. So instead I present these:-

As the observant amongst you will have noticed these are not 10mm Pendraken figs but rather 1/72nd scale Valiant Miniatures.

At least they say they on the box they are 1/72nd but when I compare them against the 1/72nd German Infantry figures that I bought just before Xmas from Plastic Soldier Company they are a good couple of mm taller and they are positively huge compared with 20mm figures from other manufacturers.

So what's a few millimetres between friends? (no sniggering please) Well actually quite a lot and for a wargamer it can be extremely frustrating when you buy figures from 1 manufacturer only to find they tower over another manufacturer's figures and thus look completely out of place:-

Here is a Valiant figure next to the Plastic soldier guys:-

The Valiant figure in the middle is significantly larger in proportion to the Plastic Soldier guys yet both are sold as 1/72nd scale.

And so the problem occurs in other scales as well - some 28mm figs are nearer 30mm or even in some cases 32mm. Some are nearer 25mm - the Valiant guys are pretty close to 25mm which makes pretty well useless with the 20mm figs that I had been thinking of buying to use with the Valiant stuff (gun crews and the like) and as the guys at Valiant have not released any new models for ages (must be coming up for 2 years now) it leaves me with the quandary - do I keep the Valiant stuff and game with it even though the range is pretty limited, or do I shift it on and get figures from manufacturers that have a broader range of figures available? Of course there will be those of you (Gordon) who will be saying why am I bothering with this scale at all and I should stick to the 10mm stuff.

I guess it comes down to the type of games you like to play. In 10mm and smaller scales (and maybe at a push 15mm scale for those that like to play Flames of War) the "big battles" can be fought on not a particularly large table and give a good feel for that type of game. You can of course fight "big battles" in larger scales as well - I was once fortunate enough to play in a League of Gentleman Wargamers WW2 game which was fought with 28mm figures. It sure looked impressive but the table took up the floor of a small hall:-

The LoGW WW2 game in 28mm held at Kirriemuir Wargames Club a few years back.

But for those of us with limited space and funds that can only dream about fighting on such tables above (and in fairness the above game was a combination of many, many peoples figures and terrain), the 20mm and upwards scales are more suited for the skirmish type wargame where you can fight a battle on the same size of table you would use for your 10mm stuff but with fewer figures and it would still look right. As it happens I like to play both so that's why I have the 2 scales of figures (that and the fact that I was literally blackballed into getting the 10mm stuff as the boys were buying all their WW2 stuff in that scale too).

Maybe I should look at getting stuff in 54mm (I'm sure those old Airfix figs re in the loft..............)


  1. Given that you'll be doing all your big battle stuff in 10mm (you know it makes sense) and using these 1/72 Valiants for skirmish then the guns and crews are fairly immaterial. Unless the rules your using have the stupidly squashed ranges seen in 40K for example, these guns should never be on the table. Given that in WW2 the British .303 was capable of firing a round out to a mile, thats approx 1000 times the height of a man, ok the chances of hitting at that range would be very slim, but the gun can do it. Now thats just a rifle, HMGs, Mortars and upwards have even longer range, so in my mind they would have no place in a WW2 skirmish game, except perhaps as an objective.

    BTW somewhere on the Kirrie site theres a piccy I posted a while back of the Valiants, they match the height and heft of GZG's 25mm ranges almost perfectly, shame he doesnt do WW2 stuff.

  2. It's one of the anomalies of our hobby that ground scale is fudged to make it fit on a table. Yes modern weapons have ranges that if they were to be scaled properly would mean that a figure on the far side of our hall in Kirriemuir would b capable of being hit. But that wouldn't work in a game although there are some games ( am I right in thinking Stargrunt is one of them- but Two Hour Wargames definitely is) dispense with ranges and take the view that every figure on the table is in range but they calculate hit probabilities on the basis of the quality of the troops firing and the cover available to them.
    Anyway I was thinking more along the lines of AT guns and crews which ignoring issues about ranges etc do have a roll in skirmish games as you need them to destroy the tanks!!!

  3. I'm sure that there are enough crew figures in the Valiants packs to crew up a Brittania gun or 3. But if its a skirmish, are you talking platoon sized or even company sized, because at those sort of levels AT capability normally was of the man packed variety, Bazooka/Piat/Schrek & Faust. Or if Tom Hanks is to be believed an old sock filled with C4 and covered in axle grease.

    And NO Stargrunt does have a finite range in it, usually 5 x the quality of the troops, Raw troops thats about 20", Elites about 60", which ok is still fudged but it seems right. Read on TMP yesterday about the current 40k situation, some of the pistol weapons cant actually shoot the length of a Land Raider, which to be honest is just fudging gone mad.

  4. Well given that we are playing games with little plastic and metal figures is it not the case that you have to suspend disbelief just a wee bit???

    Couldn't remember if Stargrunt did dispense with ranges but I am pretty sure the various rule sets produced by Two Hour Wargames don't use them. Actually now that I think about do the Ambush Alley Rules not use something similar? Dave T can you help out?