Friends, it's no secret that we live in a time of innovative technologies. In my childhood, I was fascinated by assembling model planes and tanks. I couldn't have imagined that I would one day have my own mobile phone. It seemed like science fiction. But now? Look around - anyone can buy a 3D printer and create almost anything. From children's toys to prosthetics for humans and animals, everyday devices that make our lives easier. 3D printing has also made its way into our favorite hobby of miniatures. It's scary to think about how much is available on the internet. You can easily download and print various units, models, terrain pieces for almost all gaming universes, whether it's Warhammer, Saga, Cyberpunk, AD&D, Napoleonics, or BattleTech.
However, in tabletop wargames, it's often challenging to match the correct scale. Today, we'll try to help you with this daunting task.
So, let's start with the most basic concept: What is scale?
Models are created in a scale defined as the ratio of any linear size of the model to the equivalent size of the real-world object (called the "prototype"), expressed either as a ratio with a colon (e.g., 1:8 scale) or as a fraction with a slash (e.g., 1/8 scale).
The main scales for us, tabletop wargame fans and modelers, are:
- Military/Historical/Fantasy Miniatures (figures): 1:32, 1:35 (28mm), 1:43, 1:72
- Aviation: 1:24, 1:32, 1:35 (mainly helicopters), 1:48, 1:72, 1:100, 1:144, 1:200
- Automobiles: 1:43, 1:24, 1:18, 1:12, 1:10
- Armor: 1:35, 1:72, 1:48
- Railroads: 1:5.5 (X or 10), 1:8 (VII or 7), 1:11 (V or 5), 1:16 (III or 3), 1:22.5 (II or 2), 1:24, 1:29, 1:32 (I or 1), 1:45 (0), 1:48, 1:64 (S), 1:76 (00), 1:87 (H0), 1:120 (TT), 1:160 (N), 1:220 (Z), 1:450 (T)
- Fleet: 1:72, 1:125, 1:200, 1:144, 1:350, 1:700
In tabletop wargames, it's often challenging to measure a model's height due to poses, headgear, and other factors. The height of a model is usually measured by the "eye level."
It's worth noting that there's a concept in tabletop wargames called "Heroic Scale." Heroic Scale is a term commonly used in wargames to describe the style of miniature sculpture that emphasizes exaggerated proportions and stylized features. Unlike "realistic" scale miniatures that strive for anatomical accuracy and proportions, heroic scale miniatures often have enlarged heads, hands, and feet, as well as exaggerated muscles and facial features. The key feature of heroic scale is that it doesn't aim for absolute realism but rather focuses on aesthetic appeal and gameplay convenience.
28mm is the classic scale that has been used from the beginning of tabletop gaming history. It means that the height of a human figure is approximately
28 millimeters from feet to eyes. This scale is suitable for those who appreciate the detail and realism of their miniatures and for those who want to combine their collection with other games, such as Warhammer or Lord of the Rings.
32mm is a more modern scale that has become popular in recent years. It means that the height of a human figure is approximately 32 millimeters from feet to eyes. This scale is suitable for those who love large and expressive miniatures and those who want to create an epic and fantastical world for their adventures.
Now, let's briefly go through systems and their scales measured by "eye level," as some headgear can significantly increase a model's height:
120mm (1/16 scale)
75mm (1/24 scale)
57mm (1/32 scale)
- Stainless Renaissance
54mm (1/35 scale)
- World at Fire
42mm (1/43, O) or 40 by the eyes
- Marvel Crisis Protocol - If you look at common people like Black Widow, Spider-Man, and so on, they will be very close to the 40mm mark.
35mm (1/52) or 32 by the eyes
- Realistic Malifaux
- Heroic Warmachine
- Infinity - a mix of realistic scale and heroic scale
32mm (1/56) or 28 by the eyes
- Warhammer (Current) - Heroic 32mm. Warhammer models used to be much smaller and gradually grew in size. Space Marines are a prime example of this because if you find classic Space Marines (from the 3rd edition or so), they will be very close to 25mm. What is now considered a Firstborn Marine ranges from 28 to 32mm, and Primaris Marines are no less than 35mm.
- Star Wars Legion - Miniatures are 35mm in height.
30mm (1/60) or 28 by the eyes
- Warhammer Fantasy Battles - By the eyes, Heroic
- Star Wars Legion - 35mm
28mm (1/64, S) or 25 by the eyes
- Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game - It's at 28mm in height and isn't heroic, making it noticeably smaller than other Warhammer miniatures.
- Blood and Plunder - Heroic 28mm
- Black Powder, Pike and Shotte - 28mm Realistic
- Deadzone (Mantic) - Realistic
- Bolt Action - Heroic 28mm
- The scale of Warlord Games' vehicles is 1/56. For realistic models in 28mm scale, the scale of vehicles can vary from 1/50 to 1/64. For heroic scale figures, it's more often a scale of 1/48 to 1/56. In practice, you will almost always use vehicles in either 1/48 scale or 1/56 scale because it's rare to find vehicles in other sizes. They do exist, but the selection is often very limited, and prices are typically high.
25mm (1/72) or up to the eyes
21mm (1/80, HOj) by the eyes
20mm (1/87, HO) or up to the eyes
18mm (1/100) or 15 by the eyes
15mm (1/120, TT) up to the eyes
- Flames of War
12mm (1/152, British N) up to the eyes
11mm (1/160, N) or 10 by the eyes
1/220 (Z gauge)
1/270 or 6mm up to the eyes
- Star Wars X-Wing