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"Scale Creep - A Blog Essay" Topic


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BigLee02 Mar 2009 7:40 a.m. PST

I spent a fair amount of time over the weekend literally watching paint dry (and glue harden) so I had time on my hands. Consequently I finished a Blog project that I have been planning for a while. A three part essay on the evils of Scale Creep.

Part one was posted earlier today [ link ] and the next two parts will be posted tomorrow and wednesday.

I'm not pretending to be an expert on the subject but I have read a lot about it over the years (much of it in the TMP forums) and wanted to record some real life examples on my blog. Please feel free to leave comments, especialy if you think I am wrong or have missed something important!

BigLee
link

T Meier02 Mar 2009 8:16 a.m. PST

I commend your project. Here are a few points:

Scale is a ratio of size between one object and another which model or represent each other. It can be smaller (1/56) or larger (3 up, i.e. 3/1)

28mm is a SIZE, a scale may be implied but is not defined as the relation between the objects is not precisely known.

28mm at 1/50 is 1.4m or 55" that is four feet seven inches, even if this is assumed to be measured to the eyes of a pumpkin-head the resulting figure would still only be 31mm tall which is five foot one. Rather short for any time or place. A closer approximation for 28mm is 1/56, though it obviously depend on where you measure to and what you are considering the measurement to represent (the average height of a person or whatever)

"15mm (1/107th)"

Again this would make 15mm measured to the eyes 5'3" for an overall height of 5'7" or with a pumpkin head 5'8". Close enough for pre-20th century I suppose, if you accept the measurement to the eyes and the distorted head..

You see the problem with regarding a size as a scale.

richarDISNEY02 Mar 2009 8:35 a.m. PST

And I thought this tread was gunna be about Extra Crispy's jokes! wink

Yea… But on the other hand about scale creep is that real people are not the same height. So having some 'variability' in height does not bother me too much..

RavenscraftCybernetics02 Mar 2009 9:00 a.m. PST

Can we please let the "measuring foot to eye" die the death it deserves. when you go for a physical exam do they measure you from your foot to your eye?

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP02 Mar 2009 9:04 a.m. PST

when you go for a physical exam do they measure you from your foot to your eye?

No. But they also ask me to take off my hat.

RavenscraftCybernetics02 Mar 2009 9:04 a.m. PST

better yet if you were given a car and a tape measure and told to measure its length, would you start at the rear bumper and measure to only the end of the hood?

BigLee02 Mar 2009 9:13 a.m. PST

This is interesting, because a lot of the articles I have read seemed to suggest that this 'foot to eye' measure was settled on as the 'default' way to measure models. It all seems a little wishy-washy to me but I've heared it repeated enough times to belive it had become accepted as the norm.

BigLee02 Mar 2009 9:17 a.m. PST

BTW – do people mind if I pluck the best bits of this thread into an 'addendum' on my blog? Clearly I have some contentious 'facts' in my essay and I'd like to post some of the corrections.

Grizwald02 Mar 2009 9:21 a.m. PST

"Tabletop wargames use a proliferation of scales but the most common type is 6mm, 15mm and 20mm."

Really? So much for 28mm then …

"The smaller 6mm miniature is roughly equivalent to 1/285 scale"

Er … no. 6mm is roughly equivalent to 1/300 scale.

"Also popular for historical games are 20mm (1/176 to 1/172 scale). "

Some stray 1s in there I think!!!

Grizwald02 Mar 2009 9:22 a.m. PST

"BTW – do people mind if I pluck the best bits of this thread into an 'addendum' on my blog? Clearly I have some contentious 'facts' in my essay and I'd like to post some of the corrections."

Not at all, but wouldn't it be better just to make the corrections in the main text?

BigLee02 Mar 2009 9:39 a.m. PST

"Some stray 1s in there I think!!!"

Oops.

"Not at all, but wouldn't it be better just to make the corrections in the main text?"

I'll correct mistakes in the main article but new 'facts and opinions' will go in a seperate post…I've no desire to take the credit for other peoples better knowledge!

Clearly I'm getting my scales and ratios all muddled… which is what you get when an old Roleplayer starts writing about wargames. LoL.

wehrmacht02 Mar 2009 9:43 a.m. PST

>>Can we please let the "measuring foot to eye" die the death it deserves. when you go for a physical exam do they measure you from your foot to your eye?

>No. But they also ask me to take off my hat.


Parzival got it in one ;-)

Foot-to-eye is relevant especially for Ancients and Horse-and-Musket because of the proclivity for out-raaa-geous headgear…

w.

dampfpanzerwagon Fezian02 Mar 2009 10:10 a.m. PST

I've already commented on your Blog, but for TMP'ers;

The scale figure height issue is not just a wargame issue. Try having this conversation with a Railway modeller, where the Scale vs, Figure vs, Guage looms it very ugly head! Not to mention O, HO, OO, Z etc.

Tony
dampfpanzerwagon.blogspot.com

Greg B02 Mar 2009 10:10 a.m. PST

"Er … no. 6mm is roughly equivalent to 1/300 scale"

Truly it is important never to lose sight of this. I was once at a game where the organizer tried to pawn 6mm and 1/285 as the appropriate match. Needless to say we set him straight, trashed the table and threw away all of his figures to spare our eyes from an abomination of misalignment. NOT.

Sheesh…

Sundance02 Mar 2009 10:32 a.m. PST

Haha, I thought you were taking shots at Mark and his company!

T Meier02 Mar 2009 10:56 a.m. PST

"Foot-to-eye is relevant especially for Ancients and Horse-and-Musket because of the proclivity for out-raaa-geous headgear…"

I knew I'd need this again…


There is no appreciable value to measuring a figure to the eyes, none, nada, zip, zero. It only adds a point of confusion.

Here are the most cogent reasons:

The distance from the eyes to the top of the head does not vary significantly. The spread from highest to lowest set eyes for 98% of the population is an inch, that's .24mm for a 30mm figure.

The posture of a figure causes the overall height to vary significantly. You can demonstrate this to yourself in a mirror, stand ‘straight up' at attention, then shift weight to one leg, now take a step forward, now adopt a running stance, note how your overall height varies. It is obvious any measuring of a posed figure involves an estimation and the accuracy of this estimation is dependent on the estimator's understanding of anatomy.

The variations caused by differences in ‘style' of proportions are far more significant than the .24mm variation of forehead height. A 1/7.5 (realistic proportions) head is about 9" high, a 1/5.5 head (common gaming figure proportions) is over 12" so the distance from the eyes to the feet is 1.5" less for two figures of the same height.

Then there is the fact that the difference in the position of the eyes relative to overall height can vary more from the angle the head is held than from the possible variation in the height of the forehead.

I repeat; There is no value in measuring a figure to the eyes, none. It adds a point of confusion for an insignificant ‘advantage'.

Here are some pictures:
picture

picture

T Meier02 Mar 2009 10:59 a.m. PST

Sorry here are the links

picture

picture

Scale Creep Miniatures02 Mar 2009 12:56 p.m. PST

Why are you picking on me? What did I ever do to you?

Tango India Mike02 Mar 2009 1:53 p.m. PST

Nah – 15mm is definately a scale. I hear it all the time…

T Meire – I think you're confusing scales and ratios….

I Jim I02 Mar 2009 2:34 p.m. PST

"15mm (1/107th)" were did the "1/107" come from?

I believe the early Quality Cast WWII tanks were 1/108 (that is 1" = 3yd).

I believe many 15mm manufactures today make 1/100 vehicles.

T Meier02 Mar 2009 2:39 p.m. PST

"T Meire – I think you're confusing scales and ratios…."

I'm not confusing them because in the sense of the word we are using they are synonyms or rather scale is a way of stating a ratio. If you say X – millimeter scale you imply a ratio of some kind to some real thing you just avoid being precise about it.

Of course the ironic thing is denoting figures by size was originally a way to correct the problem of figure manufacturers not keeping to scale.

Grizwald02 Mar 2009 3:46 p.m. PST

" Needless to say we set him straight, trashed the table and threw away all of his figures to spare our eyes from an abomination of misalignment. NOT.

Sheesh…"

And your point is?

Greg B02 Mar 2009 3:49 p.m. PST

I can't wait for my next 1/285 ratio game….

All sniping aside, I wish you the best with your project BigLee.

I certainly do not have the brains to figure it all out. Having observed 1/56 scale (or ratio?) vehicles on the table with my 28mm size/scale/ratio figures and making no sense despite any number of sensible academic explanations as to how they are "to scale", I can only conclude that it will remain one of those little intractable details that will keep us warm arguing in the winter.

Grizwald02 Mar 2009 3:50 p.m. PST

"The posture of a figure causes the overall height to vary significantly. You can demonstrate this to yourself in a mirror, stand ‘straight up' at attention, then shift weight to one leg, now take a step forward, now adopt a running stance, note how your overall height varies. It is obvious any measuring of a posed figure involves an estimation and the accuracy of this estimation is dependent on the estimator's understanding of anatomy."

Which is why if you are going to measure "foot to eye" then you should only do so on a figure that is standing up straight, rather than kneeling, lying prone or in any other posture (as you quite rightly point out!). One has to assume that a figure sculptor tries to keep all the figures in a particular range to the same size.

T Meier02 Mar 2009 4:00 p.m. PST

"One has to assume that a figure sculptor tries to keep all the figures in a particular range to the same size."

It's safe enough to assume he tries, just not that he does. It's a lot easier to make a figure an exact size than to make a figure the right size for his posture yet we see how often sculptors fail at the former.

StarfuryXL502 Mar 2009 7:17 p.m. PST

This is interesting, because a lot of the articles I have read seemed to suggest that this 'foot to eye' measure was settled on as the 'default' way to measure models. It all seems a little wishy-washy to me but I've heared it repeated enough times to belive it had become accepted as the norm.

Every time the scale debate is brought up here, there are those who decry the "foot to eye" measure, too, so it's nowhere near the "default" measure, and certainly not the norm. Besides, everyone knows that the only real way to measure is from the knees to the nose.

The Outlander02 Mar 2009 10:18 p.m. PST

You know… I bet that my ''25mm" bowman can still shoot your '28mm"knight and perhaps, with a good die roll, kill him.
(Satire off) Really, look at people. They all vary in height, bulk, posture. Some variance makes a larger army look great on the battlefield.

BigLee03 Mar 2009 12:34 a.m. PST

As a roleplayer and a painter I don't care too much about scale [sharp intake of breath – Shock! Horror!]. I wan't my miniature to look good and I want the proportions to be 'helpful' when painting. Having said that I can totally appreciate why a wargamer, with maybe hundreds of minis on the table at any given time, would want some consitency.

My motivation for writing my [poorly researched] article was to try and sort out my own muddled thinking on the subject. I don't mind neccessarily if my 28mm minis are actualy 34mm, or anywhere in between, so long as they look good when painted. As a roleplayer I like to use good mini's on the games table but I'm not going to have a heart attack if there is 6mm difference between the Fighter and the Cleric.

However I am interested in finding if there is any industry standard and so far I can't see one. And maybe that's the biggest downfall of refering to 28mm as a scale. Its not exact enough to maintain scale dicipline within manufacturers.

BigLee

Grizwald03 Mar 2009 4:48 a.m. PST

BigLee,

You should not have quoted discussion here on TMP on your blog. You are in breach of copyright:

"I really like such-and-such discussion. Can I copy it to my own website?
No, that would be a violation of copyright. Note that there's a copyright notice on each forum page."
TMP link

I suggest you remove the quotes.

BigLee03 Mar 2009 5:20 a.m. PST

Duly noted…and removed.

dampfpanzerwagon Fezian03 Mar 2009 1:24 p.m. PST

What about a TMP poll

How do you want your miniatures measured?

My vote would be top of head to bottom of feet.

Tony
dampfpanzerwagon.blogspot.com

Tango India Mike03 Mar 2009 1:37 p.m. PST

"What about a TMP poll

How do you want your miniatures measured?"

Good idea – please make sure there is an option "don't really mind/care"

Yah – Loving it, let's get popcorn in!!!!

Grizwald04 Mar 2009 4:06 a.m. PST

"My vote would be top of head to bottom of feet."

But how do you work out where the top of the head is if the figure is wearing a hat?

T Meier04 Mar 2009 5:36 a.m. PST

"But how do you work out where the top of the head is if the figure is wearing a hat?"

Read my second post in this thread and be enlightened.

If you want a short practical answer add 1/17 to the measurement to the eyes and you will be correct to within +/- .5% for 90% of people.

Grizwald04 Mar 2009 6:12 a.m. PST

"If you want a short practical answer add 1/17 to the measurement to the eyes and you will be correct to within +/- .5% for 90% of people."

But in your post you said there is no value in measuring from the foot to the eye. Here you appear to be saying measure foot to eye and add 1/17.

"The distance from the eyes to the top of the head does not vary significantly."

OK, but if you don't know how tall the figure is and what actaul height that represents (i.e scale) then knowing the distance from eyes to top of head won't help.

"The posture of a figure causes the overall height to vary significantly."

And of course this will affect measureing from foot to top of head as much as measuring foot to eye.

So how do YOU suggest we measure the little fellas?

T Meier04 Mar 2009 6:44 a.m. PST

"But in your post you said there is no value in measuring from the foot to the eye."

By ‘no value' I meant no value in using that measurement as the definition of height or scale. You don't need it for anything but perhaps a step in calculation. In practice all you need do is look at whatever instrument you are measuring with and add the distance from the chin to the eyes to the total. This will be accurate to about 1% or 1/2mm for 28mm figures.

"don't know how tall the figure is and what actaul height that represents"

As I said above the distance from the eyes to the top of the head is about the same as the distance from the eyes to the chin, (the actual midpoint of the face for adult European men is the lower lip of the eye +/- .5" for 90% of people) it doesn't matter whether the figure is 2mm or 100' tall.

"So how do YOU suggest we measure the little fellas?"

I suggest not measuring them at all but simply comparing them to a standard to see what they most closely fit.

link

With this system it doesn't matter what size you call the figures. Photograph them next to the size of silhouette they most closely fit and that is their scale no matter what the manufacturer says.

Grizwald04 Mar 2009 7:02 a.m. PST

"I suggest not measuring them at all but simply comparing them to a standard to see what they most closely fit. With this system it doesn't matter what size you call the figures. Photograph them next to the size of silhouette they most closely fit and that is their scale no matter what the manufacturer says."

Well, apart from the fact that "comparing them to a standard" is actually still a form of measurement, that sounds like a good idea. Of course it doesn't prevent some unscrupulous person fudging the pics (e.g. by leaving a gap between the slihouette and the figure) …

T Meier04 Mar 2009 7:16 a.m. PST

"is actually still a form of measurement"

Yes it is. The problem is with language, if you try and be precise you end up sounding like a lawyer. I meant not measuring by directly using a conventional standard like millimeters or inches.

"Of course it doesn't prevent some unscrupulous person"

I someone were to manipulate the size of the pictures they would be exposed by reviewing websites which would be far more embarrassing to them than any gain they would get.

In fact, if this system became popular I doubt many manufacturers would use it since it. This system would have great benefit to consumers but would consequently hold manufacturers make more consistent products. If it was widely adopted by review sites however, this would be irrelevant.

Black Autumn Productions03 Apr 2009 3:22 p.m. PST

…I like to sculpt 15mm figures, and paint castings of them, and then…I have FUN playing games with them.

Tis good nuff, say I…
Lol!
grin

Master Caster07 Apr 2009 6:42 a.m. PST

I'm not sure exactly where and why this thread morfed into a discussion about how and where to measure figures when the original blog treatment was about scale creep. I'm still interested in that main topic and will look into BigLee's next two blog entries.
However, and since this discussion here has instead gone into the measurement debate then I guess I'm more of a guilty party for the problem. I'm the Barrett who originally wrote the old Courier articles about measuring figures from the eye to the bottom of the feet. We added a heft grade Light, Medium or Heavy which was the only objective part of the rating in a reviewers eye. The sole reason for writing them was to express my disappointment in ordering so-called 25mm figures from different makers and finding they didn't match anything in my painted armies…some were so far off they couldn't be used on the same game table (IMO). These were the days of few or no shows and cons and mail order was the only way to see the figures in hand. I had accumulated boxes of mis-matches that represented a lot of wasted angst and money. The only reasons why I chose the eye-to-bottom of the foot measurement was simply because of the different thicknesses of bases and the shear number and types of head gear. My only goal in all of that study and writing was to offer a way gamers like me could read these measurements of different makers in order to see if they matched the figures I had in my armies and perhaps avoid some frustration and save some money by not ordering those that were too big or too small. That was all there was to it originally. (The original articles listed different makers with sampling measurements of some of their figures. I used a lot of sample figures that Dick Bryant, Courier editor, had collected from manufacturers for reviews and articles for the magazine. I also used figures from other gamers in our wargame group etc…) Dick joked, or so I thought he was anyway, when he suggested the BMS or Barrett Measuring System. He wasn't and he published it so. It caught on and other reviewers used the method to describe the size and heft of figures they were writing about. It was NOT intended to offer any sort of standard or official decree. Perhaps some took it so to mean just that, and may explain why some noses are out of joint over it.
I'd like to think I've done a lot of more important things in my life,,,teaching, army service, my designs for Thoroughbred et al, but BMS will probably be etched on my tombstone. That's just life sometimes.
All I wanted to do was to maybe save someone money and heartache by having them avoid figures that would not match their wargame collections due to the extremes, either too large or too small.
Im my original study I asked a lot of folks where and how they measured their figures. The answers where all over the barn and the results spoke for themselves with the different sizes of so-called 25mm figures from several producers. (I even asked the then president of the MFCA, Miniature Figure Collectors of America, what was the usual measuring points for 54mm figures. He stated there wasn't one.) The problem spread into other sized miniatures as well, 15s, 10s, and even into common vehicle scales such as 1/72 and 1/35. And as many of you know, the problem continues today.
There is no difinitive answer still. It all started this way and one would pay hell trying to get manufaturers, clubs and associations to adopt any type of standard. If you measure your figures from the belly button to the eyebrows all the well and good for you. It is not that important in the scheme of things….really. If those figures you just painted up look OK to YOU next to that Pzr IV, or that Mars space land crab, then nothing else has to be said.
Toby Barrett Thoroughbred Figures

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