Thursday, 1 January 2015

Guess What? .............28mm is Not a Scale!!

Seriously, its not, and I am being perfectly honest here.
28mm, this is 28 millimetres, or 2.8 centimetres, odd as it may seem, this is a measurement depicted in the decimal, where 10millimetres make up one centimetre, and 100 centimetres equal one metre. Scale you see, is normally depicted as a percentage, or a fraction, where you reduce the original, down by the percentage, or fraction, to give you a scale, so where you see 1/72nd as a scale, what this tells you is 1  scale inch = 72 real inches, if its depicted as 50%, then its the original size divided by two.
Now, lets get picky, because picky is the theme for 2015 ( Happy New Year BTW)
gaming figures, 28mm to the eye!!!! to the what? Oh yes, to the eye, because thats the way we measure the height of a person, Hmmmmmmm not when I was measured at the hospital last year, they seemed to think that height meant measuring me from the soles of my feet, to the top of my head, they even had this natty gadget to do that!! ( I'm 5ft11in)
So in reality 28mm figures, to the eye, or more like 30mm tall to the tops of their shiny little heads.

Unless of course, you have A sculpt by Mr Hicks ( on the right) then you do have 28mm, top of the head. The other chap is from Fenris, and he shows the 28mm to the eye quite well.

Now, lets confuse the issue, because you can also get "Heroic Scale" figures, WTF does this mean?, well it seems that heroic means taller than 28mm, perhaps up to 32mm, (TOTH) and muscular, in a body building, big fucker kinda way.

So, lets now go completely fucking mental,and look at scales, because my biggest bugbear, and its the scale modeller in me that makes me this way, is the fact that, no one has a clue what they are talking about when it comes to what scale works with 28mm, 30mm, 32mm Heroic, normal, whatever figures!!!!
Its 1/56th, no its 1/48th, no your are all wrong its O Gauge, no its 28mm scale. arrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, FFS

Lets go here
Its a thingamabob, that calculates scales, ohhhhh how handy.

so we chuck in 72inches, thats 6ft in real life, and the scale comes out at 1/65th, for a 28mm height,

So. lets try 1/56th scale

Hmmmmm, 32.6mm

Now, I have a very handy bit of desk top kit, a cutting mat, that has scale measurement rulers printed on it, and one of these just happens to be 1/48th, the scale that a lot of gamers tell me is the right one for 28mm figures.

oh look, my 28mm (TOTH) measures out at a tad under 5ft scale height, using the 1/48th ruler, bit of a shrimp then.

Now, lets use an Airfix 1/48th scale figure as comparison, he's a nice 6ft scale height, and a fair bit taller than his little mate.

Ahhhhhhhh, now we can cure this problem, because we can use...........A FUCKING SLOTTABASE
No NO NO NO NO NO, I don't care how often people tell me this is the right approach, bunging figures on a slottabase, then standing them next to a comparable vehicle, with no base at all, proves fuck all, apart from the fact that you are stupid

Look at this picture, the slottabase adds a scale 6 inches to the figure's height, and he creeps to just over 5ft, now how often do you go standing on a 6 inch block of wood, to compare your height to a vehicle? Strange as it sounds, you tend to be standing on the ground, unless of course you are into wearing stilleto heels.

So lets recap, 28mm is not a scale, its also not an accurate indicator of figure height, if used in conjunction with the phrase 'to the eye"
1/56th is not the right scale, neither is 1/48th, if you apply an element of scale modelling common sense, then the correct scale is


Of course, all of this is academic, as the gaming figures we use, are not in scale, in  fact the only thing we can use to calculate the scale, is the quoted figure height, converted to the relevant scale. Figures are varying in scale, from heads, to hands, to heft, to height, there is nothing consistent about them at all

So after all of this ranting, what is the conclusion?


Dear god, no wonder us plasticard scale model butchers despair

Until next time folks.


  1. It's all semantics really. Scale, scale size, size height etc. are all used with gay abandon by wargamers and few of them really care. AB promote large 15mm (18mm) and Peter Pig claim their figures are 'true 15mm' and nobody really cares cos if youlike AB you're going to use AB and vice versa. WWII gamers use 1/72 and 1/76 vehicles without a care.

    Would a scale modeller manage to be a wargamer without going insane? Will Frank's original 1/56 figures stand the test of time? Should we go for inside leg measurements instead?

  2. This one really made me laugh. Thanks for that!

  3. Spot on and funny, (well it would be if it wasn't so true), It is madness and always has been and we have just got used to it.

    You are right about the modern fashion for using different scales for hands, heads, weapons, legs etc, all within the same figure. Looking at you example above the little fellow is actually quite close to 1/48 scale and is similar to the Airfix figure the airfix but only from the waist up. The nether regions are from a totally different scale. Ah well, what the hell.

  4. I'm a 1/56th fan and while I can't fault the maths, you have to remember that the figures sculpted by the perfectly-proportioned Mr Hicks... I mean... well anyway... come with a chunk of metal cast onto their feet. We then add a piece of beer mat or something, which then raises the figure to the region of 32mm at least.

    Unless you base your vehicles in similar fashion (do people do that?), a 1/65th model looks a bit small. Not so bad if you're playing with King Tigers, but a CV33/35 will look even more like a kid's pedal car than it did to begin with.

    Given the abnormal dimensions of the other bits of most figures, 1/56th looks right to me.

    Check this out, you'll like it.

  5. I work to 1/55th scale, as you are completely right Jim, the smaller scales look a bit bonkers!!!
    I base vehicles as well !!!! I'm weird like that :-)