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"Should there be a scale police?...or authority?" Topic

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30 Dec 2017 10:32 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from " Sould there be a scale police?...or authority?" to "Should there be a scale police?...or authority?"
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Could we all benefit from better scale awareness?
If there are some 25mm being sold as 28mm for example,or at least very very small 28mm so closer to 25mm…
Should there be someone to referee this, get in touch with the manufacturer or the forum/site and "suggest" the correct scale reference?
Who knows this might end the compatible figure/range questions…

John the OFM12 Apr 2012 7:29 a.m. PST

NO to everything.

Who would this "referee" be? What authority would he/she have? Any powers of enforcement?

Years ago, the Courier introduced the Barrett scale, and it was widely accepted. Within the pages of The Courier. grin

It would NEVER end the questions, because this is a totally subjective question.
I, for one, think nothing of mixing Front Rank and RSM figures in the same army. There are those whose heads would exlode at he very thought of this. And I would be the first to tell people that they are perfectly compatible.

John the OFM12 Apr 2012 7:32 a.m. PST

I would love to be a fly on the wall when Bobby Baccala goes into Russ's office at Old Glory to "suggest" that he should not really call Blue Moon "15mm". grin

Wizard Whateley12 Apr 2012 7:43 a.m. PST

No one would need to enforce anything. A voluntary standard where a manufacturer could submit figures to be 'certified' would be extremely useful. They could then advertise, for example, '28mm by the Blah Blah Standard' and you could be reasonably sure that they were not 8mm shorter than your other 28mm figures. But once again, this would be strictly voluntary. I think the Barrett Scale would have worked in the Internet Age.

vojvoda12 Apr 2012 7:58 a.m. PST

John the OFM 12 Apr 2012 8:29 a.m. PST
NO to everything.

Who would this "referee" be? What authority would he/she have? Any powers of enforcement?

Years ago, the Courier introduced the Barrett scale, and it was widely accepted. Within the pages of The Courier.

It would NEVER end the questions, because this is a totally subjective question.
I, for one, think nothing of mixing Front Rank and RSM figures in the same army. There are those whose heads would exlode at he very thought of this. And I would be the first to tell people that they are perfectly compatible.

End of days I tell you, end of days! For once I totally agree with one of the OFM's postings.

Spot on John, spot on.

I have Naismiths ACW and Blue Moon all in my 15mm/18mm or whatever scale you want to call it and they look fine on different areas of the table, which for me is 6x8 or larger.

James Mattes

John the OFM12 Apr 2012 7:59 a.m. PST

… A voluntary standard…

Would not work.
Old Glory insists that their figures are "15mm" and "25mm". Some of them are! Many are not.

I could name any number of manufacturers who advertise their wares as in scales they are not.
Many use the "foot to eye" standard. Many do not. Some use the "ground to top of head". Many do not. A lot use the "It looks like 28mm, it smells like 28mm…" standard.

To have some ISO standard would mean tha many would be "forced" to change all of their advertising.

What about a manufacturer whose stuff came in at 26.5mm scale on the ISO approved "ankle to bottom of earlobe" standard. Where would it be placed? I could argue that a manufacturere could actually lose money if it was suddenly listed as 31mm instead as the advertised 28mm.

*scale means… Let's not go there, shall we?

John the OFM12 Apr 2012 8:00 a.m. PST

Dogs and cats, lying down together…

Grizzlymc12 Apr 2012 8:18 a.m. PST

Given modern 3D scanning it should be possible to anatomical fidelity to very fine tolerances. Anyone who is out by more than 5% should be visited by a thousand skinheads who will torch their buildings, destroy their equipment and keep the casting a sculpting personnel inside as per that well known documentary "The Patriot".

This could be paid for out of the lootr from such invasions.

GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP12 Apr 2012 8:37 a.m. PST

We should get congress involved we need more rules.

Farstar12 Apr 2012 8:40 a.m. PST

We don't need standards so much as we need pictures, measurements, and comparisons.

As others here point out, "28mm" is not a scale, but "1/56" IS a scale. If a manufacturer puts "1/56" in the advertising for a model, I should be able to put the calipers to it, allow for the changes that happen during molding, and find that I have a 1/56 scale model.

I am, on the other hand, willing to cut a bit more slack for those who use "28mm". That is a label that tells me, first and fore most, that the line is internally and *visually* compatible. That is, they look good together. Are they precise? Not necessarily. But they weren't sold as precise, either.

Altius12 Apr 2012 8:44 a.m. PST

Fiat foro decernere. I think it regulates itself. I know, for example, that if someone is doing a very nice range of figures for a period I'm interested in, but they are all 32mm whereas mine are all 28mm, I'm not going to buy them. No matter how good they are, I can't use them. A new scale can only occur through consensus.

Jay Arnold12 Apr 2012 8:52 a.m. PST

A scale vs. size discussion on TMP: Is it a new month already?

Cue Tom Meier any minute now …

Seriously though, a standards organization did good things for the model train hobby. Granted, that is a much bigger fish. But, look at proper HO or N scale figures. They are all different sizes. They're almost always proportionally correct though. And you can use rolling stock from any manufacturer and it will work together (couplers aside, but those can be standardized) with track from any manufacturer which will work with buildings from any manufacturer, etc.

Look also at a room full of people (say 20 or more). They are all different sizes. They're almost always proportionally correct though.

Look then, at a "correctly scaled" unit of wargame figures. They are often the same size. They are almost never proprtioanlly correct. But we're used to seeing pumpkin heads and baseball mitt hands, so we accept them as "normal" and proportional figures as "odd-looking."

My favorite example is the Foundry Street Violence line. Almost every pack had some height and girth variance amongst the figures, but their weapons and kit were the same. I recall being put off by the SWAT team packs. They all seemed to have one really big guy and one really small guy or gal and some in between. This bugged me until I looked at a photo of a real SWAT team stacked on a door. It dawned on me then.

I look forward to Tom's contribution.

Back to the original question: In this hobby it probably won't fly. A standard would be handy, but I don't think one would be adopted as readily as it was for model trains. I guess it really comes down to what we're trying to achieve. Model railroaders are generally going for scale accuracy and prototype authenticity. We're generally looking for "good enough."

Better then, to post pics of comaprisons across lines of a similar "scale" and era. Of course, we only have volunteer enthusiasts doing this at this time. And I thank them for their efforts.

Yesthatphil12 Apr 2012 9:03 a.m. PST

Plastic Soldier Review's size guide is a good start.

The real key is simply for enthusiasts not to buy stuff they don't like or which is out of scale.

Scorpio12 Apr 2012 9:06 a.m. PST

"28mm" is not a scale, but "1/56" IS a scale.

We had a poll here, actually, and determined that 28mm is a scale. So there.

striker812 Apr 2012 9:12 a.m. PST

I here by apply for such a position. I have a scale, mic and calipers and know how to use them, and will do the job for less than $100 USDk a year if I get law enforcement powers as well. :D

A gun, a badge, SCALE POLCE OPEN UP!! lol I could get used to that!

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP12 Apr 2012 9:51 a.m. PST

The Barrett scale works very nicely, I still wish the manufacturers would adopt that.

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP12 Apr 2012 10:22 a.m. PST

I'm confused. You mean the world isn't already coming to us so that we might sit in judgment on such weighty matters?

John the OFM12 Apr 2012 10:25 a.m. PST

I think John the OFM should be in charge of the Scale Police…..

Is it a high-paying no-show job? I'm OK with that.

Something like Tony Soprano's job at the Waste Management company?
I don't like NCAA tournament bracket pools, but I am sure I could find some way to pass my time.

GOTHIC LINE MINIATURES12 Apr 2012 10:51 a.m. PST

Some variations will always occur so it would be reasonable to have a (foot to eye) 27mm,28mm and 29mm figure sold in the 28mm category.
But not consistently 25mm as 28mm (which is what is happening) to make sure that other companies figures wont blend in,as they are true 28mm so will look big with 25mm ones that was my point…

T Meier12 Apr 2012 10:53 a.m. PST

I think the best idea would be to take advantage of changing technology. The ease with which pictures can now be taken and posted makes it feasible for people to take comparison photos next to standard silhouettes of an exact size in a similar pose. Make the silhouettes from photos of real people so there is no argument about what style should be the standard.

As has been pointed out manufacturers have no incentive to do this but with the power of the internet the community could do it easily. You could then compare any two figures in the database by reference to the standard silhouette and decide according to your personal ideas of compatibility.


Dark Knights And Bloody Dawns12 Apr 2012 11:24 a.m. PST

Where's the mission impossible music?

14th Brooklyn12 Apr 2012 12:04 p.m. PST

I suggested a common TMP scale a couple of year ago (in the sense that we should agre on a way to measure like from the soles of the feet to the eyes). People said that it was a studip idea and manufacturers should measure whatever way they liked.

Honestly… As long as people are happywithout anything definitiv and like guesswork better, they should not complain when they find that their latest purchase doesnot fit their collection. I do not care anymore!

GOTHIC LINE MINIATURES12 Apr 2012 12:26 p.m. PST

T Meier and 14th Brooklyn, I agree but somehow the current deceiving confusion is good PROFIT for some brands/companies as they use this "grey area" claim all sales to their own ranges/products making them smaller (for example) thus excluding interaction with all correct 28mm in the market.

This could be(is)a simple cunning/deceiving marketing move.

It's really unfair, I started this pool to see if anyone has any idea to prevent this charade to continue forever,people should get 28mm when they read 28mm on the package.

Grizzlymc12 Apr 2012 1:04 p.m. PST

28mm – how shouldthey get 28mm, should they get 28mm to the eyes, to the top of the head, or from finger tip to fingertip?

I use Heroics and Adlker on the same table and if I pick up on the size difference I figure I got the scenario wrong and start again!

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Apr 2012 1:22 p.m. PST

28mm did not exsist until overnight Brian Ansell turned all the already exsisting 25mm Foundry figures into 28s thus starting all this silliness.
BHs were marketed as 15s for years and then suddenly became 18s. I believe Renegade are 32mm but still called 28mm --- ????
Does anyone really hold their face down on the table with one eye closed while being six inchs from the figures -?? I guess some must?
I thiink the key word -- for me anyway -- is "genre" -- if a figure fits into a certain genre then it is fine -- For me the style and pose is more important then the height?
I would not mix an Elite figure (best 25/28 napoleonic out there) with a Perry or Front rank regarless of the height?
the styles just do not match. All my opinion only.
Russ Dunaway


Grizzlymc currently it's 28mm foot to eyes level.I mix lots of brands my self this pool is about brands selling figures as 28mm and other sizes/scales when they are not.

Old Glory again the fact remains some of us are trying to address it: it is only honest to sculpt according to any given style but to market a size/scale that is erroneous(as is 25mm for 28mm and others) is just wrong…

It is damaging the market to the extent of producers not being able to sell based on this ever lasting argument of being compatible or not, when ultimately we are just talking about different sizes/scales usually 25mm and 28mm…

Finally reaching a common 28mm size (with minor reasonable variations)for once would benefit everyone, preventing 25mm producers to market their figures as 28mm for example.

T Meier12 Apr 2012 2:37 p.m. PST

28mm how should they get 28mm

That's one of the advantages of the silhouettes, just choose the closest scale silhouette to take a picture next to, no measuring no arguing about what things mean.

If the figure is in-between scales take a picture with a silhouette on each side one smaller and the other larger.


For us as sculptors yes I agree T Meier but I meant market wise, for brands/companies to be prevented from marketing 25mm figures as 28mm.

Wolfprophet12 Apr 2012 3:48 p.m. PST

I didn't know that herding cats was becoming a popular sport.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Apr 2012 3:57 p.m. PST

I just think that coming up with a specific exact size in MMs is going to be very difficult with something that is hand made and it take months and/or years before some projects are completed?
Many figures in the same range are often MMs in difference. So are they 25s, 26s, 27s, 28s? Where does it end?
Even in the Blue Moon ACW range which has 1000s of beautiful and wonderful sculpts (shameless plug) there can be 1mm variations on the figures -- I believe that would be true with almost any range of reasonable size.
I have cast battle honors, AB, Crusader, OG, Blue Moon and I do contract casting for a dozen or so other very fine miniature companies and I suggest if we were to measure all of the figures there would be a reasonable, and to most folk,acceptable variation in size? I think to the vast majority --certainly not all -- we accept some varation in size difference? KEY WORD = "GENRE"
A modern "2x4" has not been a "2x4" for years.
Russ Dunaway

stenicplus12 Apr 2012 4:05 p.m. PST

Does the Scale Police job pay well because I'll do it if so?

28mm Fanatik12 Apr 2012 5:24 p.m. PST

I totally sympathize with GOTHIC LINE MINIATURES. I think his question may have been brought about by a question posted a few days ago when someone asked if BAM figures can be mixed with Artizan's and Victory Force's. I said 'yes' to the former but 'no' to the latter because VF figs are too tall when compared to other 28mm WW2 lines.

And like some have already pointed out, what he suggests may be unworkable unless 28mm is dispensed with in favor of 1/56 because the former only addresses vertical height and doesn't account for horizontal dimensions and proportions. Some figures are chunky with puffy ballooned pants and oversized weapons and other gear (like Artzan, Crusader and the newer BAM releases) while others are thinner and more proportionately correct, like BTD, TAG and Offensive Miniatures.

And he has something there when he said that figure companies don't want you to mix and just buy theirs.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Apr 2012 6:18 p.m. PST

I thinks most "5mms" are 6mm amd most "10mms" are 12mm?
Will there eventually be fines and imprisonment for noncompliance?
Russ Dunaway

Grizzlymc12 Apr 2012 6:32 p.m. PST

No fines or imprisonment – public stoning on the spot!

ochoin deach12 Apr 2012 6:43 p.m. PST

public stoning on the spot!

except in Amsterdam, that's illegal.


28mmWW2Fanatik thank you, the goal would be more or less what you wrote on 28mm being marketed as 1/56 which it is already done in some cases, that would no doubt make it much easier for everyone, at least towards equipment and height, sculpture variations towards girth proportions.

T Meier13 Apr 2012 5:06 a.m. PST

Manufacturers never have and never will keep to scale or a consistent style, that is the source of the problem. You aren't going to fix it with some kind of regulation. The best you can hope for is to get people the most exact, useful and easy to digest information before they buy.

Measurement of a figure, particularly in an active pose requires all the skills of a sculptor and more. There is no solution in a system of measurement.

The interesting thing is people can't measure worth a damn but they can compare to a fine degree. Even given something as simple as a 2x4 each person who measures it will come up with a slightly different answer but all will agree of two 2x4's which is longer.

Comparison of every figure to each other is impractical because of all the permutations and the fact that no one has all the figures in one place to take the pictures.

So the answer is comparison to a standard, by comparing each of two figures to a common standard you compare them to each other. The standard need not be an ideal only a common reference and it should be something everyone can get easily and for free so the whole community can share the work of making a database.

This is why I came up with printable silhouettes. Download the silhouettes, cut out the appropriate one, fold the bottom and take a picture next to the figure, then upload the picture to the database. If you want to compare two figures download the shots of each and compare. You can size them until the silhouettes match if you are a real stickler.

The beauty of it is the system doesn't care what size or scale you call your figures, it just presents them as they are. It doesn't require any cooperation from the manufacturers and doesn't endorse any style or conventions.

Grizzlymc13 Apr 2012 5:29 a.m. PST

If people gave a damn, they would only buy from manufacturers who put photos of all their products on line with a scale. As manufacturers don't feel obliged to do that in order to maintain their sales, people don't give a damn.

Which is why we must have direct action. Find the improper abusers of scale, destroy their factories and stone them to death in the town square!

MadDrMark13 Apr 2012 5:56 a.m. PST

I think the problem is more pronounced at smaller scales. A GHQ 10mm is only about 60% the height and mass of a kallistra 10mm.

I don't think there should be a 'scale police' beyond the work currently being done by bloggers to give an accurate assessment of what each company's scale really looks like. However, it would be nice if manufacturers provided this information themselves, offering photos with a ruler for reference.


Exactly! but I also meant, acting on the shops and especially on sites like this one : simply meaning not allowing the perpetrators to sell 25mm as 28mm!

Personally I consider a bit bigger or smaller than exactly 28mm is ok as people vary in size, but 25mm is a different category so it will be hard to mix with 28mm.

A few times each year we talk about this problem when people have to throw away jeeps,or figures(this was a topic a while ago) just because the scale is not true!!!

So manufacturers must understand they can sculpt their figures to a certain style but they cant be less truthful about scale to make them inadequate to interact with other brands as a cunning marketing option.

T Meier13 Apr 2012 7:27 a.m. PST

…offering photos with a ruler for reference.

That isn't much good, first it only tells you how tall the figure is, not how it is proportioned, for many people the proportions are more important than the height. One man in ten is four inches over average height but only one man in a million has a head 1/5 of his height.

Also the angle of a camera and the placement of the ruler can cause the apparent height of a figure to seem to be quite different. This is more apparent with a silhouette because the foreshortening becomes obvious.

It's better than nothing but for the same effort the silhouette is much better.


ChicChocMtdRifles13 Apr 2012 10:02 a.m. PST

Let them make whatever size scratches their itch. But may they all set a couple figures from each range next to some (acceptable to all) ruler.tape measure/other so the potential customer can get an idea of the size.

I have a Peter Pig CS drummer that I will use as a drummer boy in a Blue Moon Regt. If Ida known they were that different, I woulda planned different.

John the OFM13 Apr 2012 10:27 a.m. PST

Exactly! but I also meant, acting on the shops and especially on sites like this one : simply meaning not allowing the perpetrators to sell 25mm as 28mm!

Who dies that? I know of a few 28mm manufacturerswh sell as "25mm", though!

Again, we come up with the word "allow". This means that whoever has the job of "scale police" has the authority to enforce his rulings.
Are you serious about that?
Will this be a UN agency? grin

This has been going on for as long as I have been a miniatures wargamer. That's 1974. It has probably gone on a lot longer than that.
Jack Scruby's "25mm" figures did not match the same putative scale as Minifigs.

I have always said that only a fool would buy tons of figures without first buying a sample. The height could be perfectly compatible, but you might end up with chubbies like Front Rank that you would not want to match with DAF's line of skinnies. BTW, that would not bother me at all, but it might bother others.

As I also keep saying, this is totally subjective. Deal with it, and stop looking for authority figures to take care of things.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Apr 2012 10:40 a.m. PST

Anyone who is out by more than 5% should be visited by a thousand skinheads who will torch their buildings, destroy their equipment and keep the casting a sculpting personnel inside as per that well known documentary "The Patriot".

Completely agree. Let's start with Nicholas Sarkozy (those shoes you wear aren't fooling anyone) and Yao Ming. Both of them are more than 5% out of the norm. Oh, wait, you meant miniature figures, not people … never mind.

Personal logo Miniatureships Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Apr 2012 11:12 a.m. PST

If there was something like this, it would hurt the hobby in many ways.

First, most companies don't have sculptors on staff. Most manufacturer's get their sculpts by contracting with sculptors.

If you form some sort of system that seeks to penalize the manufacturer because something is off by a mm or two – thus cutting into the manufacturer's income and profits. Just because your not happy, does not mean that others are in the same boat. They may be very happy with what they have and the size difference, simply because they like what they see.

You also need to remember that most manufacturers don't have sculptors on staff, but contract for the sculpts with independent sculptors. The manufacturer gets a sculpt and measures it, and finds out that the sculpt is two mm taller than the scale they advertise. The "scale police" have attacked this manufacturer before about this issue, and thus have hurt their sales. The manufacturer then ask the sculptor to redo the figure, making it two mm shorter, because they don't want the bad PR. The sculptor says, you have to pay again. Now a dispute starts, which could result in the end of that line.

T Meier13 Apr 2012 12:49 p.m. PST

Let's start with Nicholas Sarkozy

But Nicholas Sarkozy's 1728 pattern Charleville Musket would be the same as anyone else and you know that doesn't happen with figures. The manufacturer is almost always trying to make people of average height.

They may be very happy with what they have and the size difference, simply because they like what they see.

That's why I say let the customer decide but let him decide with the clearest, most complete information.

Grizzlymc13 Apr 2012 1:26 p.m. PST

etotheipi understands the true meaning of this thread. We will, at last, eliminate the short arses from this world.

And how do you know that Sarkozy wont be using a carbine?

But mini ships makes a good point, when we invade their premises, we will torture them first to get the location of their sculptors, then we stone them to death.

Then we deal with the sculptors.

I really think we are onto something here.


Thanks guys as long as you generally understand I come in peace and aim to benefit the hobby at large and give small producers half a chance.

Meier the public will chose yes but the market is a bitch and if someone at the meeting goes:"here's what can we lie about scale and produce smaller figures than the rest,so no one really fits with our ranges but our own products"!!!!this is what I mean!

Ok as to Grizzlymc and Etotheipi and some of the last valued opinions I also agree with most of you,Sarkosy will have a place amongst the rest of the lads I would make him smaller so at 28mm scale/size perhaps say at 27mm remember I do agree with variations all my ranges have several different heights I make a point on having different to the extent of having some critic wrongly claiming my minis were a bit tall on a magazine but he was way to bias…as I also have shorter soldiers.

David Hasselhof…his figure could measure 29,30mm foot to eye for example, this will still be in the 28mm category.

Coelacanth193814 Apr 2012 8:24 a.m. PST

Yes, there should be a scale police.

My Reaper zombie strippers are scaring my Hasslefree survivors and not in a good way.

T Meier14 Apr 2012 10:42 a.m. PST

…here's what can we lie about scale…

Perhaps some deliberately lie but more often it's confusion, incompetence or sloppiness. The solution is not regulation, even assuming that were possible. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Give people the maximum of useful, easily assimilated information and the market will sort the problem out, at least as well as it can be sorted. People who care about scale and proportion can find figures to satisfy them and so those who prefer style over precision.

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