Help support TMP

"3mm scale: neither rice nor counters!" Topic

55 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.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the ACW Gallery Message Board

Back to the Napoleonic Gallery Message Board

Back to the 19th Century Gallery Message Board

Back to the WWII Land Gallery Message Board

Back to the Scale Message Board

9,510 hits since 26 Dec 2012
©1994-2016 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Pages: 1 2 

Macunaima Inactive Member26 Dec 2012 5:00 a.m. PST

3mm is something of a maligned scale. If you say you collect, paint and play it, sooner or later some "funny" guy will make a crack about how you can't tell the figures from a grain of rice or a wargames counter.

Haha! Funny and original! These guys….!

Well, here's a couple of comparison shots to show what 3mm really look like. Are they small? Yes. Are they indistinguishable from rice or wargames counters? Only if you're blind and an idiot to boot.

This is rice, a wargames counter, and O8 3mm figures.


Another angle, showing height.


Are 3mm figures as visually impressive as 28mm figures?

Individually, no. Your entire setup, taken as a whole, however, can look just awesome.

Should you care if the figs aren't as individually impressive as larger figures, however?

Right now, I'm getting set to buy two complete Napoleonic armies for Black Powder / LaSalle. They will each contain something on the order of 30 battalions and the whole set up will cost me around 200 USD. The armies can be played on my coffee table – a 2 ft x 3 ft expanse – with plenty of room for manuever. They can be stored in cigar boxes. And the game looks just fine.

I'm not a middle-aged American man living in a suburb. I live in an apartment in Rio de Janeiro. Space is tight. Money is tighter. 3mm allows me to play beautiful-looking, epic battles on a budget and store everything (including paints, terrain modules, and flocking) in a single bookshelf unit.

So are they harder to paint?


I'm 45 and my eyes are going. Still, by using basic wash and drybrush techniques, I can paint an army to a table standard in the space of an hour or two. By spending half the ammount of time I would use on 15mm figs, I can do much better than that, as these figs are incredibly detailed for their size. And sure, while getting some of the small details can be a pain, so can painting the belt buckles on your 15mm knights.

One final advantage to 3mm: it allows you to collect armies and periods you'd otherwise ignore. As I mentioned above, I'm now diving into Napoleonics, a period I'd avoided so far in my miniatures collecting life due to costs and complexity. 3mm, however, lets me play large games at low cost and with a very small storage footprint.

Finally, it should be mentioned that O8's 3mm stuff is an order of magnitude beyond Irregular's 2mm stuff. Not only does the extra millimeter allow for much more detail, O8's sculptors are simply much better than Irregular's.

I urge you to give O8's 3mm figures a try! Use them to do a periopd or army you've always wanted to dabble in, but couldn't afford. You'll be surprised at how beautiful and functional this scale is!

Macunaima Inactive Member26 Dec 2012 5:02 a.m. PST

Note for one thing that rice grains are actually LARGER than 3mm infantry.

Cadian 7th Inactive Member26 Dec 2012 5:25 a.m. PST

Very nice work, sir! wink
I'm not one to complain of scale. I own a 4x4 n-scale rr, besides my two 8x4 wargame tables after all. wink
I do own some smaller scales than 28 too, as grand battles are just as much as skirmish!
The rice looks soft in detail compared to the footsloggers though, I wouldn't buy those again! evil grin

Angel Barracks Inactive Member26 Dec 2012 5:34 a.m. PST

Well said that man, I have only 2mm and 6mm in my collection.
Neither are too small or lacking in detail.

Some of those that belittle the 6mm and smaller make a point of saying they lack detail, most that do not care for the smaller scales accept there is detail, just that it is simply that they can not paint that well so small.
To those that say there is no detail, perhaps the issue is with ones painting ability and the not the figures…

Size Matters!

BrotherSevej26 Dec 2012 6:18 a.m. PST

This is plain hilarious. 3mm vs rice… gotta see the batrep!

Picoarmor is very tempting!

normsmith Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member26 Dec 2012 6:25 a.m. PST

Please show some more, especially any battlefield set-ups. Someone did a post around 10 days ago on 3mm terrain added to something like 70mm tiles and they looked really good.

I think for squads and weapon teams etc, I would be tempted to use different sized or shaped bases so that I could tell troop types apart in an instance, that is what I did when using 2mm armies.

Personal logo Waco Joe Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2012 7:25 a.m. PST

The rice is the wrong shade of white, just sayin.. wink

Allen5726 Dec 2012 8:50 a.m. PST


I am stealing Macunaima's thunder but, here is another post of his. TMP link Shows a larger group of his figures.

Steve W Inactive Member26 Dec 2012 8:58 a.m. PST

What make is the rice ;)

Anyone who wants to see some other lovely 3mm please come visit the 3mm yahoo group


Allen5726 Dec 2012 9:11 a.m. PST


Hope you are not taking too much teasing about your tiny little figures. I know lots of people make jokes about the small stuff. I remember back in the 70's when I was discussing 6mm with a clerk at the local games store his comment was that if you gamed with anything smaller than 25mm you might as well play a boardgame with counters. 40 years latter nothing has changed except that we now have even smaller scales. No matter what we do in whatever scale there is always someone who will make derisive comments, either maliciously or in jest. BTW, I am one of those American men living in a suburb though I am 66 and I do have a fairly large house. But, I am all for the smaller figures. Angel Barracks got me started on 6mm FUBAR skirmish. I started dabbling in 3mm SF for larger battles and after seeing some of your stuff a few months back I really got into this scale. Im using vehicles from several Risk variants with O8 infantry. I also play Land Ironclads and DBA-RRR in 2mm. Too bad we live so far apart. I could use an opponent.


Macunaima Inactive Member26 Dec 2012 9:20 a.m. PST

Dear Norm,

Here's a Cold War Commander battle between 3mm "red" and "blue" armies:


…and here's a sci-fi battle:


Those are two different terrain systems. The first one uses terrain modules constructed out of styrofoam-backed painter's canvases. The second is the old "bedsheet and pastels" method.

A third method I've used for 2mm is terrain modules based on MDF squares. I've given this up for the artists' canvas methodbecause, although it lookjs spectacular, it warps too easily:


You can see more 3mm content on my blog:

Also, for modern, sci-fi and WWII armor, I do base according to type. Armored vehicles are based on 12x20mm rectangles. Infantry is based on 20x12 rectangles. Indirect fire units are based on 16x20 rectangles (oriented according to whether or not they are armored vehicles). Mecha are based at 16x16. Command units are on round bases and recon units on triangular bases. Engineering units have a curved front.

Also, an important tip for 3mm: flock in contrast to your units. You'll note that above the figures are dark green while the base is brick red and the flock light yellow. This makes the figures really pop out. Also, try to add a tiny point of bright, contrasting color somewhere on the figs. You can see that above with the red roundels, but also here with these WWII British figures, where a touch of red really makes the mini stand forth:


John Leahy26 Dec 2012 9:53 a.m. PST

I'm a fan of 3mm and 6mm. Detail can be impressive even in smaller scales. I also game up to 54mm. Frankly, I love them all.



mex10mm26 Dec 2012 10:09 a.m. PST

I love small scale miniatures I have Ancient Greeks, War of the Roses, Napoleonic, American Civil War, WWII, and Sci-fi armies in 6mm.
I Also own WWII german and russian forces in 3mm.
I am very, very tempted to star Napoleonics in 3mm since the release of the O8 range of miniatures; only thing stopping me is the large amount of 6mm minis I currently own.

Personal logo vtsaogames Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2012 10:54 a.m. PST

08 means Oddzial Osmy? Or are two manufacturers doing the same stuff? If so, do they work in the same units?

Yeah, facing color on the rice is wrong…

Steve W Inactive Member26 Dec 2012 11:28 a.m. PST

Oddzial Osmy is the maker of the figures, Picoarmor and fighting 15's and another couple of companies ( apologies for not remembering your names off the top of my head) sell the product on as well as other 1/600 terrain etc

Dave Crowell26 Dec 2012 1:29 p.m. PST

I love 3mm. I use them for Cold War gaming. I can fit a decent sized section of battlefield on table top, and have a realistic figure to ground scale ratio.

The chief problem I have with the detail on them is that I can't see it at normal gaming distance. It's there, I paint it, but I can't see it when I play.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2012 3:13 p.m. PST

Nicely done – thanks for posting

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Dec 2012 3:26 p.m. PST

Some more ACW, sadly not in action as these were done for a customer.

More in this Photobucket albumn


There are examples in the Galleries section of my website of WW2 stuff as well.

Tony of TTT

Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member26 Dec 2012 7:44 p.m. PST

Nice work! If I wasn't already so heavily invested in 6mm I would go with the 3mm stuff. The detail is pretty darned good, and the price is excellent.

Macunaima Inactive Member27 Dec 2012 4:59 a.m. PST

Beautiful Zouaves, Tony! I wish mine were half as good!

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Dec 2012 6:26 a.m. PST

Mac – they were the last units painted of a very large order so I had really got 'into' the figures by the time these were done. The jacket lace really picks out easily and the bright colours make the figures really 'pop'.

My main problem was finding two sources that would agree on the colours specific regiments used.

Working on a 1:2 Napoleonic Bn at the moment, should have some pics to show soon after New Year.

Your near future stuff is a really effective paint style – not too complex but well chosen colours and appropriate contrasts really show the models at their best.

Macunaima Inactive Member27 Dec 2012 7:05 a.m. PST

Here are some of my ACW Confederates:


GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Dec 2012 8:32 a.m. PST

Nothing shabby about those figure Mac.

A suggestion – try using the fine ground cover/scatter made from foam instead of static grass, it seems to work better at this scale. Somehow even the very short static grass doesn't look quite right, I can never get it to stand up properly.

Fighting 15s27 Dec 2012 9:52 a.m. PST

08 means Oddzial Osmy?

Oddzial Osmy means, roughly, the "Eighth Detachment": its logo looks like an 8 in an O, and so some people refer to it as O8.

Although I have been dealing with Oddzial Osmy for over six years I have yet to master the pronunciation, despite coaching from two native Polish speakers. I and many other Englishmen for whom foreign languages are too complex simply refer to Oddzial Osmy as "the Polish company" rather than O8 or OO. :-)


Macunaima Inactive Member27 Dec 2012 10:24 a.m. PST

I'm thinking of clipping that light green grass way back, Tony. Unfortunately, I live on a continent that has nary a single well-stocked game store, so buying new flocking is out of the question any time soon. I have to use what I've got. I wanted a light, spring, color on those bases and all I have is the static grass… :/

O8 / OO / Oddizial Osmy. Also known as "Marcin's Odd Boys". :)

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Dec 2012 12:36 p.m. PST

Mac – get in touch via my website ( ) and we'll see what we can arrange to extend your basing options.

Sgt Slag28 Dec 2012 5:22 a.m. PST

It all looks great: 3mm figures, terrain tiles, painted sheet terrain!… I'm with John Leahy -- I will game any scale, and have a wonderful time doing it! Changing scales is part of the fun, as they all have something different to offer the gamer (I play: 1/1200-1/2000 WW II ships; 6mm micro-armor, WW II; 15mm Napoleonics and ACW; I also play fantasy in 15mm, and 25-30mm; and I love to play with 54mm Army Men figures and tanks -- they're all a hoot!!!). Wonderful stuff -- thank you for sharing! Some real eye candy, here. Cheers!

Dr Mike Salwey Inactive Member31 Dec 2012 8:56 a.m. PST

Being a great fan of 6mm and happy to game in the smaller scales these are very tempting…. and I must admit I quite fancy having a go at painting a few. Thank you for sharing some beautiful paintwork.

I can imagine how they may look as brigade formations for things like Square Bashing.

Macunaima Inactive Member03 Jan 2013 10:47 a.m. PST

Sorry, Tony. I can't seem to get my system to configure itself to talk to you via your site. You can mail me at

The problem isn't so much buying flocking from overseas, however: the problem is shipping and customs make it 3 times the cost.

CAG 1903 Jan 2013 11:32 a.m. PST

@Macunaima I am very impressed with the work you have done on 3mm. Your terrain and models looks fantastic.

I have bored our Modern air combat Brethern with 3mm aircraft for ages. I can get as much detail on a 3mm aircraft as I can on larger models and they are so much more forgiving.

I have some land equipment for Arab Israeli conflicts but do like the idea of FWC and some serious Sci Fi action. The amount of figures you get for your cash means there is some serious room for trying out new ideas.

You are definitely an inspiration


Yesthatphil Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2013 3:26 p.m. PST

Fascinating topic, this one … thanks to everyone for some interesting thoughts and pics


Macunaima Inactive Member05 Jan 2013 2:13 p.m. PST

Beautiful stuff, Si! Where do you get your decals? They would rock on some sci-fi figs I own.

CAG 1906 Jan 2013 7:14 a.m. PST

Hi, the decals are a mix of Doms Decals and homemade ones. The ones above use Dom for the Stars n' Bars and the rest are homemade on either white or clear decal paper depending on whether they need colour or are on a white background.

This link is a quick guide to making your own decals up


And the search string gives you some other ideas scattered around the articles. Any of the 1/600th labels will give you some other ideas.


Basically you can make anything yourself with a bit of planning. It is a lot easier with decals from Dom and i-94 enterprises which probably have something that you can use anywhere. The smallest decal I ever tried to make up was the Maverick and Goose names for a F-14


Macunaima Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 7:50 a.m. PST

Thanks a bundle! Now I need to get some decal paper.. :/

CAG 1906 Jan 2013 12:12 p.m. PST

Bit hard suggesting UK stockists to you ;)


They might ship to Brazil

Macunaima Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 6:35 p.m. PST

At least with this stuff, I won't get soaked for import fees because it's basically just paper. They can send it to me in an envelope.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 6:23 a.m. PST

Oh my goodness! Mr. CAG19, I must say I despise you. This past weekend I just painted 4 A-7 Corsairs; after seeing what you just posted I want to throw them in the trash. Those are beautiful and incredible all rolled into one. I'm so embarrassed… I can't even fathom how you did that.

Macunaima Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 1:37 p.m. PST

Here's my new 1944 German infantry Kampfgruppe:


Macunaima Inactive Member09 Jan 2013 7:51 a.m. PST


Macunaima Inactive Member12 Jan 2013 8:26 a.m. PST

3mm sci-fi…


Rhysius Cambrensis Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2013 10:54 a.m. PST

Thanks to you guys showcasing I have just placed my first order for some 3mm WW2 stuff! Awesome looking minis. Any advice on painting?

John Leahy15 Jan 2013 11:07 a.m. PST

Use a smaller brush. No, seriously. I painted my late war German armor in 3 color camo. I just used a smaller brush to do so. I then used Magic wash (Future/Pledge-ink wash) over all of the figure. The detail is immediately highlighted.



Rhysius Cambrensis Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2013 1:36 p.m. PST

Hi John,

Thanks for that. I look forward to giving it a bash at the weekend. Will post pics here if they turn out ok. Gonna do Eastern Front circa '43 surprise surprise! So got some panthers, PIV's, T70's and T34's coming to have a play with initially. If all goes well I can see me doing all theatres and some cold war stuff which I have wanted to do for a while!

Macunaima Inactive Member16 Jan 2013 7:58 a.m. PST

Rhysius, for painting, you can look at my blog, here:


That's the first of a three part series.

There are two tricks to remember here:

1) EXAGERATE the colors. There is little space on a 3mm mini, so the colors need to be correspondingly brighter to catch the eye. Many of my British tanks are almost pink, in fact. It looks a bit silly at a distance of 5 cm but it works great on the table!

2) Throw down a few points of sharp, contrasting color. British tanks in the Western desert often had red and white identifying marks on them. These would realistically not show up at this scale, but I toss them down anyhow (10 times bigger than usual) because that tiny bit of red really makes the figure jump out on the table. Likewise, my Russian tanks often have white graffiti on the turrets and my American infantry have little red/white/blue splashes on some of their shoulders. Again, not at all realistic, but visually very impressive.

But the real trick is more with regards to basing than painting. You don't want your figures to blend in to the bases, nor the bases to blend in to the table. So, if you're doing, say, late war Germans, make them bright sandy yellow instead of ambush pattern camo. Make their bases dull green and brown.

Alternatively, if you want to do ambuch pattern cammo, make the bases dull yellow and bright green.

Hope this helps.

Rhysius Cambrensis Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2013 11:45 a.m. PST

Hi Macunaima,

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply. Much appreciated. I have already got your blog favourited. The first order has just turned up so gonna have a play around with them over the next few evenings. I'll let you know how I get on.

But the most important thing is they are amazing minis – the detail and crispness of the casting is fantastic! I am very impressed and will be buying bucket loads now!

Deadone Inactive Member23 Jan 2013 4:03 p.m. PST

Those models and terrain look good.

To be honest it's all about paint job and terrain.

I'd rather a nicely painted 3-6mm game played on a nice terrain board than an unpainted 25-28mm game on a mismatched poorly conceived table.

Altefritz27 Jan 2013 2:14 p.m. PST

Hi Mac,

as a devoted 6mm painter I really appreciate your minis. I'll put your blog in my favorites. BTW as an Italian city resident I share with you a common feeling about space…


Macunaima Inactive Member27 Jan 2013 6:49 p.m. PST

Those are some beautiful 6mm figs, Fabrizio! I'm looking ofrward to doing a 18th century project myself. Waiting for 3mm figs to come out, but may go 6mm if they take much longer!

Big Ian Inactive Member21 Apr 2013 12:49 p.m. PST

Got to love the smaller scales these days, if i were to jump in to Naps i think i would go 3mm. Not sure for WWII and beyond i think 6mm is good.

Bills Occasional Sock Puppet24 Mar 2014 1:41 p.m. PST

I have totally switched from 6mm to 3mm now. for my Air,Ground and coastal gaming. Robert

My 3mm-1/600 Miniature Wargaming Yahoo Group

3mm_miniatures 1/600_miniatures Yahoo Group

Pages: 1 2