Thursday, 5 March 2009

The scales that divide us all

When I started 'proper' (as opposed to Airfix see pic) wargaming back in the early 70s there was only one scale and one period to do in our local club; 25mm (as made by Minifigs) and Napoleonic was the period. If you were poor as I was (at about 12 years old) you had a minor state - I had the argument, no complaints, that was it. Over the years different periods and scales appeared, which obviously was good news for everyone...or was it?
Take this period for example - way down the list of popular periods its great to see such a variety of different scales 6.10,15, 20, 25, 28, 40 and 54mm but does it completely bugger up your chances of finding opponents? I'm not suggesting some kind of dictatorship where someone tells you that in this period you use this scale but the diversity dilutes an already thinly spread period to the point of translucence. Is there any way of avoiding such diversity? No. It's your money to spend how you why mention it? I don't really know. Occasionally I think of having a poll to see what the popular scales are so that newcomers might stand a chance of finding like-minded opponents but would there be any point?
What are the trends for the future? Certainly the production of hard plastic 28mms by the likes of the Perry's and Warlord Games' ECW are strengthening that scale (although it's unlikely that anyone will do late 17thc in that medium) but the steady rise of quality 1/72s like the GNW figs by Zvezda will perhaps take us back to year zero and the winner will be 20mms. Who knows?
Any thoughts on the subject folks?


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Nice jumper would be my first comment... :o))

You're right of course, and the way I get round it is to have very few opponents (well one actually), and also I've always painted both sides...

Bluebear Jeff said...

Another factor to consider is . . . table size.

As I read various blogs I see everything from those "big battalion" boys with their massive tables to fellows in small flats with only access to tables less than a meter square.

It also depends a lot upon the type of game you want to play. For example, while Napoleonics have never attracted me, most gamers have at least dabbled in the period.

But what is the right scale in which to game it? The huge battles? or small tactical actions? . . . You would probably be looking at different numbers of figures and different scales of miniatures.

I certainly don't forsee any scales disappearing in anything like the near future.

-- Jeff

Snickering Corpses said...

Jeff beat me to it, so I shall echo him with the conclusion that I doubt we'll see any scales vanish anytime soon.

There are so many possible combinations of interest level, cashflow, table size, opponents, and painting preferences that it feeds the variety of scales. I think it more likely we'll see all the scales continuing to branch into new periods.

I know people who collect the same period in several scales because they love the period, and others who are going increasingly larger as their eyesight dims with age, so as to be able to see the figure well enough to paint it.

Fraxinus said...

Most will think I'm completely mad but wargaming in HG Wells's scale of 54mm has been the most fun & didn't hurt my eyes painting them! & given great looking games (using boarded loft space for ACW/medieval/WW2), but admitedly for 20 years I've had one main opponent (until his new wife came on the scene & no battles with toy soldiers since!) most people at work who are wargames players are warhammer army collectors but are willing to try historical once I've painted enough so I choose the scale & see merits in 15mm, 20mm, 25/28mm 40mm & 54mm just enjoy the hobby see some nice 'toys' whatever the scale & paint 'em & hopefully others will join in. wistfully tho' I can still picture my based Airfix La Haye Sante, triang rubber road scenery, lichen & conifer cones representing woodland with my Airfix 'Gloucesters holding the dreaded cuirassier at bay'using Grant or Wise rules.

Anonymous said...

Zvezda's GNW figs were poor, unfortunately - if not in sculpting then definitely in accuracy and poses.
I was lucky to see sketches of two future sets: Russian dragoons and artillery - those should be much better!

Corporal_Trim said...

"Zvezda's GNW figs were poor, unfortunately"

You really think so ? Can't agree, I find them quite good. I suppose we could quibble about the poses, but put several boxes together to gain some uniformity and it's still cheaper than lead. Now Strelets ? They do suck. ;-)

My beef with 1/72 plastics, why must the cavalry always be in mad hell-for-leather charging poses ? And when the heck is BUM going to finish those WSS troops ?


Anonymous said...


"Strelets" is the worst, of course.
But "Zvezda" has set such high standards of quality and accuracy that now we demand high, too. GNW Rusian and Swedish infantry by Zvezda had both incorrect uniforms and poses - this was great disappointment to me.

I love uniform formations and simple poses - ideally from period drill manuals. Infantrymen with shouldered or ordered arms are much more smart than cumbersome poses with runnig legs and lowered bayonets.. And yes, cavalrymen waving their swords irritate me as well :)

Best regards,

Corporal_Trim said...

It's all good, Boris. I'm with you on the drill book poses actually. I understand your critique of the Zvezdas, but I'm afraid they're the best in our era when it comes to plastic.

Do you like flats ? How about Alexander Mitelev's Russians ? Very nice !

And some good painted examples:


Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

Of course, good old flats! I started with flats - those were first miniatures we used to wargame back in 80-s.
I know both Alexander Mitelev and Oleg Sokruto - they were gurus to us, young collectioners :)
These are the latest Mitelev's flats I painted several years ago..

Anonymous said...

Re your comment on plastic 28mm figures for late 17th century, check out what has just been put together at Wargames Fatory. The liberty and Union League have unveiled the first pictures for a generic WSS sprue which includes late 17th Century floppy hat option.