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"Is 15mm Scale the same as 1/144?" Topic

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4,401 hits since 21 Mar 2008
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Hevy Phyzx21 Mar 2008 1:58 p.m. PST

Hi folks,

Apologies to all those who may have had this discussion before. I don't feel up to a Search right now. Sorry Allen (aecurtis) and OFM…I realize I am letting the venerable members of the TMP community down…but…grin

So…the question is in the title. Is this scale the same as 1/144th scale? The reason I ask is that I have been waiting for the P-38s and P-47s to be released for FOW/Battlefront so that I can hammer my buddy's Tigers with them. evil grin I especially would like to use the Lightnings as they are one of my favorite U.S. aircraft from this era (after the B-25 of course…that is my all time fav for this Era. Gotta love a plane they mount a Howitzer in for ground support roles…puts me in mind of the current use of a C-130 in a similar manner! Ahem…sorry, I will wipe that drool up in a moment grin)

Now, if this is 1/144th scale, I know I can find models from other manufacturers to use.

Thanks in advance,
Andy Welkley
"Your Phrendlee Hevy Phyzx T-chrr"

Ivan DBA21 Mar 2008 2:01 p.m. PST

No, 15mm is more like 1/100.
1/144 is compatible with 10mm, more or less imho.
But I think 1/144 airplaines might look fine, in fact, 15mm scale planes, in addition to being hard to find and expensive, would be kind of big on a tabletop. Using airpower in a land game is always going to be a bit of an abstraction anyway, so why not just use a convenient scale that won't look totally out of place.

zippyfusenet21 Mar 2008 2:14 p.m. PST

Like many other wargame scales, '15mm scale' is elastic, and has tended to change over time.

30 years ago the figures were actually 15mm tall, and vehicles and guns sculpted to mix with them ran around 1/120. I own a set of '15mm' resin Sturmoviki that are stated to be 1/118 scale.

With the creep to 18mm figures and larger, vehicle scales have also crept, and many gamers now consider '15mm scale' to be 1/100. Plastic models in 1/100 mix well with current '15mm' wargame figs.

However, many wargamers like to go 'down a scale' for their air support, because airplanes are so big relative to ground vehicles and table size. Also the ready availability of prepainted plastic and diecast planes in 1/144 (or close) has led many wargamers to use them with their '15mm' ground forces.

There does seem to be a split between the '15mm' gamers who use 1/100 airplanes and those who use 1/144. I'd advise you to check what your friends are using and do the same.

zippyfusenet21 Mar 2008 2:19 p.m. PST

1/100 WWII airplane models aren't that hardto find. Ask if you want to know where to look.

citizen sade21 Mar 2008 2:20 p.m. PST

Zippy's right, 15mm is ~1:120 and 18mm is ~1:100.

Jovian121 Mar 2008 2:22 p.m. PST

No, 1/144 is not the same scale as 15mm figures. Heavy Gear is 1/144 and they sort of mix in with 15mm vehicles, but the infantry there is no way -they are MUCH smaller!

garethe12121 Mar 2008 2:26 p.m. PST

The Battlefront aircraft are 1/144th scale anyway.

Hevy Phyzx21 Mar 2008 2:37 p.m. PST

Thanks! This has really helped. As I am only playing "fun" games, scale othodoxy is not very strictly adhered to. No I am not planning on using 20mm with my 15s, nor are my buddies. Now the suggestion that 1/144th would look well on the table is the suggestion that I like. Kind of a nice "Perspective" thing.

With regard to air rules for ground support being an abstraction…isn't that the truth! LOL! But since my buddies and I are using the FOW rules anyway…the whole things is an abstraction. grin

The fella who has collected the German forces is a Captain in the Vermont National Guard and did a tour in Iraq. He is an Armor/Cav officer, having commanded a company of M-1s, and also being involved in Convoy duty from Kuwait to Baghdad (sp?). He is constantly kibitzing about how the rules don't fully reflect the "realities" of how the U.S. dealt with German armor…etc. But then I sit there and say, "Hey, you gonna roll to hit or what?" and smile. He smiles back and blows my Shermans to pieces with his 88s!

Thanks again,
Andy Welkley
"Your Phrendlee Hevy Phyzx T-chrr"

Grizwald21 Mar 2008 2:41 p.m. PST

"15mm is ~1:120 and 18mm is ~1:100."

15mm is 1/107 (1/100 is near enough for most people)
18mm is near enough 1/87

See: TMP link

GeoffQRF21 Mar 2008 3:00 p.m. PST

Depends where you measure your 15/18mm to

citizen sade21 Mar 2008 3:31 p.m. PST


Yes. 15mm to the top of the head. Do the math.

Grizwald21 Mar 2008 3:53 p.m. PST


Grizwald21 Mar 2008 4:00 p.m. PST

"15mm to the top of the head."

Depends how tall the figure is meant to be. Most people aren't 6 feet tall. Besides, the height of a figure is usually measured from the bottom of the feet to the eyes, not the top of the head (difficult to figure out where the top of the head is if the figure is wearing any kind of headgear).


GeoffQRF21 Mar 2008 4:15 p.m. PST

Ok, let's do the maths on a 15mm figure

Assuming the average figure to be under 6 ft, let's go with 5'9 or 1752mm

Measuring 15mm sole to top of head = 1:116

If he's a good 6ft (1828) and 15mm tall, then we get 1:121

If we go sole to eye, then we can probably add on approx 1.5mm, so let's make him 16.5mm overall. = 1:106

Hmm, ok, let's make him 5'8 on an 18mm figure, to top of head = 1:96 (struggling to get this up to 1:87)

Like I said, depends where you measure your 15mm to.

aecurtis Fezian21 Mar 2008 4:40 p.m. PST

We've been over the facts of the history of "15mm scale" vehicles enough times that it seems pretty silly to be having micturation contests about measurements. Most current 15mm ranges are nominally sculpted to 1:100 scale: period.

But the playground has gotten soaked enough that nobody has really asnwered HP's implied question. HP: if you're waiting for Battlefront aircraft, you might want to know that BF's own resin aircraft are 1:144, not 1:100. So you can cheerfully use other 1:144 kits or models instead.

If another player complains because his aircraft are 1:100, just laugh hysterically and inform him that they're nor "official FoW scale", then. evil grin


citizen sade21 Mar 2008 5:15 p.m. PST

I'll quote the master here:

Measuring a figure to the eyes is a reeking great load of steaming Bleeped text! I've always wanted to say that on TMP, God bless Frothers!

Tom Meiers.

And, for HP, use 1:144. I do.

Hevy Phyzx21 Mar 2008 5:44 p.m. PST


I knew this would devolve into another "You measure from the feet to…" discussion! laugh

@Allen, and Tom – Thanks…once again, you cut to the chase! evil grin

I knew there would be links and everything…I knew it, Knew it, Knew it! Thanks folks.

Yeah, I have been waiting for a lot of stuff to be released from Battlefront…Namely a Box set of Priest HMC, the Lightning and Thunderbolts (a.k.a. P38 and P47…still waiting on the B25s, but then the versions I want weren't used in the European theatre of operations!)

So…I thank you all for the confirmation that I can use 1/144 scale planes to represent the ground support available. Yippee…it will give my buddy something else to use is 88mm Flak on. He keeps threatening to get a box of Stukas…I will then have to get the M3 GMC with the Quad 50 Cals veryevil grin Can you say Arms Race?

Andy Welkley
"Your Phrendlee Hevy Phyzx T-chrr"

Triple00021 Mar 2008 6:18 p.m. PST

The Corgi nose art P-38 Lightnings are a relatively inexpensive source for 1/144 planes. The 52foot wingspan would be 110mm, the prepainted diecast model measures 107mm. The nose art planes are of varying scale, but the Lightning is very close.


Boone Doggle21 Mar 2008 6:20 p.m. PST

Forget the maths.

The simple fact is, if you buy a 1/120 scale plane thinking it will be to scale with your average 15mm figure … you'll be sorely disappointed.

Theorectically correct but, oh, so wrong in practice.

Triple00021 Mar 2008 6:32 p.m. PST

Hmmm, i didn't rely on the 1/120 scale listed on the web, but measured the model in front of me. IF a 1/144 lightning is needed, then the nose art planes are an alternative.

XRaysVision21 Mar 2008 8:00 p.m. PST

Despite of the of the "math". The fact is that 1:100 is compatible with 15mm.

Remember that 15mm is a SIZE, 1:100 is a SCALE.

While the figures with which we game seldom have weapons, straps, or other elements of the figure that are in scale to their size. In other words a 15mm miniature doesn't hold a 1:100th scale rifle. The figure does not adhere to a scale convention. Rather it can only be said to be 15mm tall. On the other hand a SCALE 1:100th airplane, for instance, would have all of its parts to that scale. That's why the plastic miniatures are 1:72 SCALE.

GeoffQRF22 Mar 2008 1:31 a.m. PST

I thank you all for the confirmation that I can use 1/144 scale planes to represent the ground support available

You can use anything you like. Use 1/32 if it suits you (after all, you'll be above the aircraft so they will be closer to you and should look bigger)… or is that the wrong way round? Lol.

Of course, the whole conversation is really much bigger than all this, as a 1:100 scale model is rarely to scale, as wargamers insist on seeing panel lines and rivets that in scale are just too small to be modelled. Most panel lines, if scaled up, are dirty great big trenches across the surface. The same goes for a 15mm figure, unless you are in the habit of wearing jackets with 2 inch thick (that's thick, not wide) epaulettes and cuffs and very large buttons. I won't mention the 'scale' of some weapons ;-)

Is this scale [size:15mm] the same as 1/144th scale?


Can I use 1/144 scale planes with my FoW game?

You can use anything you like.

puts me in mind of the current use of a C-130

Hope to have that released, in 1:100, this year, so you can use that too :-D


Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2008 4:26 a.m. PST

Indeed 1/100th aircraft are available and some lines, like the postage stamp planes range from model power have a pretty good selection. However, in my 15mm games (primarily Rapid Fire) I prefer to use the 1/144th scale planes. I use bases with telescoping rods and magnets at the end for my aircraft. The 1/100th tend to be much too heavy/bulky to pose. The 1/144th are usually light weight plastic and even the Corgi P-38 mentioned isnt that heavy. I imagine the same is true whatever basing system you want to use.

There is a wide range of 1/144th, either completely done or painted but requiring minimal assembly from various Japanese companies/vendors. The 21st Century aircraft in WalMart are 1/144th, completely assembled and cheap. Just announced is two different P-47s from 21st Century. Dragon, in their CanDo range has 7 different Stukas in 1/144th including a tank buster armed with the two 37mm flak guns. With their light weight, with a washer glued to the bottom, they look great posing in a steep dive on my magnetic stands. The model power 1/100th Stuka is a bit too heavy and tends to slip off.

And besides, though true to scale, the 1/100th many times just look too big. The 1/144th provide a nice perspective and their smaller size not only looks right but gives a bit better representation of altitude to my eye.

XRaysVision22 Mar 2008 7:31 a.m. PST

That is an interesting visual effect/trick that out eyes play on us. Since the planes are closer to us (being supported by stands above the table) the taller the stand, the smaller the plane needs to be to APPEAR properly proportioned.

In the same way that the minerets of the Taj Mahal are actually tilt so that they appear vertical to a viewer, a smaller sized plane will appear more compatible with the figures on the table.

On the other hand, I'm doing the opposite with my Victory at Sea games. I'm using 1:700 planes to represent flights with 1:1200 ships. Since the APPARENT perspective, or viewpoint, is so much furrther away, the effect is that everything is quite normal and compatible since, in the mind, the planes are closer to the viewer.

So…of 15mm games smaller planes are compatible with what the brain expects to perceive while for naval games at a much, much smaller scale the effect is reversed.

Interesting thing, the human brain…

King Cobra22 Mar 2008 4:09 p.m. PST

Here's an example of perspective. 1/100 vs. 1/144th.

Hevy Phyzx22 Mar 2008 5:22 p.m. PST

Oooooo, Pretty King C!

Again, thank you all for the very helpful advice. Now to go find the minis!

Andy Welkley
"Your Phrendlee Hevy Phyzx T-chrr"

Martin Rapier23 Mar 2008 9:28 a.m. PST

I use 1/300th scale planes with 15mm stuff, they are up in the sky after all;-)

1/144th planes are fine with 15s (or 20s) though

kevanG24 Mar 2008 2:32 a.m. PST

i use 15mm in my 15mm games. it seems right and it isnt difficult to get just about anything in those scales.

GeoffQRF25 Mar 2008 1:11 a.m. PST

i use 15mm in my 15mm games.

Lol, it's a novel approach!

NigelM10 Apr 2008 5:09 a.m. PST

I remember reading an interview with Peter Laing in Military Modelling 25 years or so ago. He claimed to have invented 15mm while trying to produce figures to go with 1/144 aircraft but made them too big. If this is true scale creep was there are the birth of 15mm.

Beagle10 Aug 2018 11:15 a.m. PST

Bit of an old thread but the fundamental problem with all 'scales' set in mm is that they are not really scales at all. Scale is set as a ratio i.e. 1/72.
Short answer: 1/144 is about 12mm and about the only folks putting out 12mm figures are Preiser and Wargames South (which you can view here: link
although the older Minifigs were done in 12mm but they are advertising them as 10mm since 12mm seems to be a dying scale.

A factor bearing on the problem is what the mm 'scale' is set to. Most are set to eye height, but some of the older toy soldier scales are set in figure height such as the old Barclay 3" figures. The next problem is that the eye height of the average Roman legionairre might have been just 5' whereas the eye height of a Napoleonic French Old Guardsman might have been 6'. Following this logic a 15mm Roman should be smaller than a 15mm Frenchman.

There are several good websites about scale out there:
TMP link

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