Help support TMP

"Question about figure scale and terrain scale" Topic

17 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Remember that you can Stifle members so that you don't have to read their posts.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Recent Link

Featured Ruleset

Featured Workbench Article

Napoleonic Dragoons from Perry Miniatures

Warcolours Painting Studio Fezian paints "the best plastic sculpts I have seen so far..."

Featured Profile Article

Dung Gate

For the time being, the last in our series of articles on the gates of Old Jerusalem.

1,681 hits since 24 Jan 2009
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
John de Terre Neuve24 Jan 2009 10:14 a.m. PST


I game in 28mm and now am wanting to acquire some terrain pieces. I am not worried about roads, but am a little puzzled by buildings etc.

I recently bought some ruined building pieces and they seem gigantic next to the figures. I realise the scale would be wrong but do people use 15mm buildings with 28mm figures.


balticbattles24 Jan 2009 10:17 a.m. PST

Hi John,

That's one option.

The other logical step is that you probably use 1 figure = 20 or 50 men. This means that 1 building = 20 or 50 buildings also. So your 1 building is probably the right size for a town?

lebooge24 Jan 2009 10:20 a.m. PST

Tricky question. A lot of it depends on your personal tastes, and often it also depends on the scale of game you're playing. A large cluster of 28mm buildings will look like a small village if you're playing a skirmish or battalion-level game, whereas it may be the size of Leipzig if you're playing Volley & Bayonet, Napoleon's Battles or another brigade-level game.

My local group primarily plays brigade-level games with 15mm figures, and we often use 1/300th scale buildings with them. May look a little odd to some, but to us it looks better to have a cluster of building representing a village instead of one house.

In any miniatures game you're playing around with figure ratios and ground scales and will have to make accommodations to achieve the right aesthetic 'balance' you're looking for that also works with the rules.


Connard Sage24 Jan 2009 10:36 a.m. PST

There was a thread about this last year. If I could use TMP's clunky search feature I would link to it, but I can't, so I won't.

For buildings I/we use at least a size (28/25/20/whatever mm is not a scale, it's a size) smaller than the size of the miniatures

Stick a 'scale' La Haye Sainte, Hougoumont and La Belle Alliance on your Waterloo battlefield and there's not much room for manoeuvre grin

Dave Gamer24 Jan 2009 1:02 p.m. PST

As some people have said, go with 1 scale smaller buildings (like 20mm) when doing "mass" battles. When I was doing 15mm ACW, the 12mm (1/144) buildings looked good.

Another option is to make "deformed" buildings. Brett Oman does this. You make the buildings tall but not long or wide, kind of like towers. You then place then side by side to simulate a village\city.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2009 1:39 p.m. PST

Yes, if you do Grand tactical games, with whole armies, I would go as small as 15mm, if you do tactical, then go with 20mm, and if you do 1:1 skirmish go with 25/28mm.

Tho I find that 15mm figs looks better with 10 or 6mm buildings, then 28mm figs with 20 or 15mm buildings

donlowry24 Jan 2009 1:42 p.m. PST

I agree; go down a size. I use buildings of about 10mm size with my 15mm Napoleonics.

1234567824 Jan 2009 1:47 p.m. PST

The problem with "in scale" buildings is that there is a serious mismatch between vertical scale and horizontal scale in wargames.

I witnessed a quite beautiful game of Waterloo which involved a model of La Haye Sainte, which was scaled according to the vertical scale only. The horizontal scale was 1mm=2m, which resulted in LHS being about 400m from one end to the other!

Somehow, using "under sized" buildings always seems to look better.

malcolmmccallum24 Jan 2009 3:21 p.m. PST

I do it based on game scale and miniature scale. If I am doing 1:1 scale 28mm gaming, I want full size buildings. But when I play something like Napoleon's Battles with a 1:120 scale, using 15mm figs, I downgrade to 6mm scale buildings. That allows me to represent a village with a few small buildings rather than a single large one. If I was using 15mm with 1:30 scale, I MIGHT be tempted to go with 15mm buildings.

Fish25 Jan 2009 5:38 a.m. PST

Down in size is indeed best for most games.

Timmo uk25 Jan 2009 6:33 a.m. PST

Ditto I'd look at 20mm buildings. Like so many things in gaming you need some sort of realistic compromise.

I use JR's small 15mm building with my 18mms and think the trade off is fine. Similarly I use 20mm/1/72/HO/OO with my older small 25mm stuff and again it looks fine.

Mike the Analyst25 Jan 2009 7:46 a.m. PST

I use 1:1200 buildings with 6mm figure and a 1:10000 ground scale. Works for me.

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Jan 2009 10:49 a.m. PST

It all depends on how much "scale clash" your eye can stand. Personally, I can't stand much; I'll use N gauge (12mm) buildings with 15mm figures, but that about my limit.

Here's the previous thread to which Connard Sage referred:

TMP link

John de Terre Neuve25 Jan 2009 11:20 a.m. PST

Many thanks. I think after reading everyone's advice, I will go with the 20 mm buildings or shall we say 1:72 scale.


Mike the Analyst25 Jan 2009 1:15 p.m. PST

Terrain eye candy can be found on this excellent site.


Having visited the Musee de l'Armee I think I recall that some are 1:300

Martin Rapier26 Jan 2009 1:35 a.m. PST

You want the buildings to be more in scale with the ground scale than the figure scale, so you need to drop a scale (or two). Wat actually matters is the footprint, some manufacturers do very useful tall thin buildings which work much better than wide fat ones!

The key thing to avoid is the figures being taller than the buildings, but I've managed to use 6mm buildings with 15mm figs and it still looks fine.

donlowry26 Jan 2009 1:06 p.m. PST

The buildings don't have to exactly match the ground scale; 1 building can represent many. But I agree that you don't want buildings that are shorter than your figures! For instance, don't use 6mm buildings with 28mm figures.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.