Gaming Scales

One of the problems of collecting an army of metal miniatures is that there really is no consistent scaling out there. The terms '28mm scale' and 'heroic scale' have become meaningless, as different manufacturers have metal miniatures of different sizes, and it is impossible to work out which miniatures would scale properly with which others.

The best solution I could work out was to go with a consistent scale. The two choices out there were either 1:60 or 1:56. I chose 1:56 for two reasons: -

  1. It fits the Perry Miniatures range perfectly. These are probably the most beautifully sculpted miniatures out there. They average at a height of about 29-30mm. This would translate into 1:56 terms to a height of about 5' 4" - 5' 6". Below average for today but probably about average for Ancient or Medieval settings.
  2.  It still lets me use larger figures that I particularly like as unique individuals. For example, Avatars of War has a 'Conanish' barbarian that is reportedly 34-35mm tall. At 1:56, that would translate to a height of about 6' 3'' - 6' 5", which would be just about right for Conan the Barbarian. At 1:60, he would stand at over 6' 8" tall, which seems somewhat implausible.

Here is a table for the heights (and lengths) that millimetre measurements would represent at 1:56 scale: -

Model height (mm)Real height (cm)Approximate height (feet)
24134.44' 5''
251404' 7''
26145.64' 9'' 
27151.24' 11½''
28156.85' 1¾''Yasser Arafat
29162.45' 4''Dmitry Medvedev 
301685' 6''Nicolas Sarkozy
31173.65' 8''Lewis Hamilton
32179.25' 10½''Michel Platini
33184.86' ¾''Barack Obama
34190.46' 3''Prince William
351966' 5''Charles de Gaulle
36 201.66' 7''

The famous people named to the right of the table are those who are about the given height. This helps as an aid to visualisation, so that one could correlate a 33mm high model to being "approximately the same height as Barack Obama" at 1:56 scale.

A 33mm miniature stood next to a 30mm miniature may look bigger, but its not unrealistic

A miniature of David Cameron too would be nearly 33mm in size, as his real height is 6' ½'' (about 184 cm).

Another large-ish (32-33mm) miniature next to a smaller one

A heroic scale miniature of Angela Merkel, on the other hand, would be a bit smaller, slightly less than 31mm, as she is only 5' 8" tall (about 173 cm). So if you wanted to represent a summit meeting of the three heads of state of Germany, France and the UK at heroic scale, you would have to use miniatures of three different heights, one 30mm, one 31mm and one 33mm model.

We're all in this together?

Charles de Gaulle

So, if you are reluctant to add on that 34mm miniature from Avatars of War to your 'true 28mm scale' army, just remember that he would simply represent a guy who is about the same height as Prince William. A bit bigger than the rest, but not implausible.

And if you think that your 35mm figure looks funny stood next to a 28mm one, bear in mind that if Charles de Gaulle had ever met with Yasser Arafat, and the two had decided to take a photograph together, they would have looked just as funny as well. 

Charles de Gaulle and David Ben-Gurion

Charles de Gaulle has, in fact, had a photograph taken with David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, who was only 5' tall (which would have made him slightly more than 27mm high at 1:56 scale).

Here it is for comparison.

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