Help support TMP

"Do you really prefer miniatures with realistic proportions?" Topic

25 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 Sculpting Message Board

1,619 hits since 17 Aug 2015
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2015 5:39 p.m. PST

I notice that a lot of people on this site note how the miniatures of this or that company are very realistic; and by that I think that they mean that their proportions are realistic. I for one, however, tend to favor miniatures that are a little out of proportion such as those produced by Old Glory, Trent, Essex Miniatures and Tiger Miniatures. I have found that not only do these miniatures paint up easier, but their details show up better as well. To me they are simply more appealing visually. I think that the ultimate effect is much like that of the Parthenon, which appears perfectly proportioned to the observer, but in fact uses skewed proportions to trick the eye. Whatever the case, the often repeated saying that one reads frequently on this site that "Old Glory miniatures look odd, but paint up nicely" is true. So how many of you also prefer the "odd proportions" of miniatures like those produced by Old Glory, Trent Miniatures, Tiger Miniatures and Essex Miniatures?

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2015 5:50 p.m. PST

We'll have to disagree on this one, Kevin.

One of my chief reasons for preferring 1/72 plastics is that they are realistically proportioned.

Hard to beat figures like this:


Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2015 5:59 p.m. PST

I like Old Glory. Are they "unrealistic"?
I don't care.

Random Die Roll Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2015 5:59 p.m. PST

Realistic proportions…No

Proportioned well to the eye…Yes

Best summed up with….I expect that there will never be a perfect "scale" uniform as buttons, pockets and seams would just not show up correctly.
I also expect that any equipment to be proportioned well to the mini although not correctly to scale.
Reference many other members comments as "crazy big giant sword problems"

Personal logo The Beast Rampant Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2015 6:19 p.m. PST


Giant swords aside, the bits and bobs that define the soldier and his uniform aren't distinct enough on the tabletop.

Oh, and IMO, truly realistic proportions are no fun to paint. Wait, NEGATIVE fun.

I like Old Glory. Are they "unrealistic"?

Yes! Gawd bless 'em!

dragon617 Aug 2015 6:56 p.m. PST

I really dislike the giant hands. The rest I can put up with

45thdiv17 Aug 2015 6:58 p.m. PST

I like the old glory 2nd edition ACW range. The figures i have from the first edition range look like their heads and bodies were being squished in a vice. No matter how well you paint, they still look that way. I went with sash and saber for my set up. And Chris is the sculptor for second edition so they match perfectly.

Mako11 Inactive Member17 Aug 2015 7:20 p.m. PST

Yes, I really do.

Personal logo Ditto Tango 2 3 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member17 Aug 2015 8:47 p.m. PST


A sea that raged no more17 Aug 2015 9:53 p.m. PST

No, because I recognise them for what they are – toy soldiers to be played with.

If I wanted to create a 'realistic' diorama, then yes, and I would seek out 54mm size and above.

If I wanted a small (or large) sculpture then the proportions definately must be very realistic and lifelike.

Glengarry517 Aug 2015 11:43 p.m. PST

I'm torn… I prefer realistic proportions but I want ease of painting too! Ack!
With anything there has to be a balance…

That tank is hilarious!

MHoxie Inactive Member18 Aug 2015 1:58 a.m. PST

Does anybody make minis proportioned like the sensory homunculus?

Arteis0218 Aug 2015 2:16 a.m. PST

I'm in two minds. I love the caricature look of the common type of figures. It was this slightly exaggerated look that charmed me and drew me into this hobby. Though I do agree with an earlier comment that huge hands are off-putting.

But I also like the look of realistically proportioned figures. Whilst the eye can trick you into thinking they're too willowy, en masse they look great, as you can see with my 28mm Mindens:


Martin Rapier18 Aug 2015 7:32 a.m. PST

I generally prefer sensibly proportioned figures, but as long as they aren't the bloated dwarfs armed with double scale weapons which pass for figures in some lines, I'm fine.

Are Old Glory mis-shaped? They look pretty much the same as my PP and QRF figures to me?? Essex also seem to be quite willowy? My OG Mahdists are stumpy dwarfs of course, but sooo cheap….

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2015 8:09 a.m. PST

Overall I prefer proportioned, but those are hard to get these days. I'ld still be playing 25s instead of 15s for DBA if Ral Partha style sculpting hadn't died off under the crush of cartoon 28s.

I still greatly prefer actual proportioned 1/871/76 plastic figures for WW2.

But below 1/87, I'm actually fond of some of the mis-proportioned ones.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2015 8:37 a.m. PST

For Bolt Action, it really helps to visualise that I'm not playing a game of WW2 with figures of WW2 soldiers, I'm playing a game of WW2 Re-enactment with figures of WW2 re-enactors ~,~

Umpapa18 Aug 2015 11:03 a.m. PST

I prefer real proportions, thus 1:72.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Aug 2015 2:27 p.m. PST


The Royal Kanadian Mutant Police

wrgmr118 Aug 2015 2:31 p.m. PST

Being a painter and gamer I prefer buttons, seams, lacing, belts etc to be easy to paint. They also stand out this way on the table.
What I wonder about is height of men vs height of figures. Sculptors usually have them all the same size. Wheras we know we are all different heights.
That being said, then proportioned figures really are not, in height anyway.
I like the chunky Front Rank and well sculpted Calpe figures.

Yesthatphil Inactive Member18 Aug 2015 6:50 p.m. PST

Realistically proportioned for me thumbs up!


Green Tiger20 Aug 2015 1:23 p.m. PST

Another vote for realistic proportions.

Wargamer Dave31 Oct 2015 5:31 a.m. PST

I personally draw the line at Perry proportions. Some would say they're realistic when in reality they are anything but. Anything more proportional than Perry looks thin and odd to me.

There are stylistic choices they make in their sculpting that help the model look good from a distance and have details show up. Things like larger hands, narrower shoulders, exaggerated features.

In comparison, the style of Agema or Minden that goes for ultra-realistic proportions end up not working as well in miniature. They look great when blown up in a picture, less so on the tabletop where they actually reside.

Not saying Agema or Minden aren't beautiful figures, just using them as an example of ultra-realistic proportions.

thehawk02 Nov 2015 5:01 a.m. PST

I only buy realistic figures and I don't think Minden look that realistic. The anatomy might be close to realistic but the poses look very rigid. I have about 50 of them and they just look weird. Some plastics look very good.

Lorenzo Inactive Member19 Feb 2017 12:20 p.m. PST

The problem with 1/72 is that the majority of them are of horrible quality, lack detail and just do not paint as well a metal miniatures so definitely Old glory wins

sclptrjoel Inactive Member01 Mar 2017 2:04 p.m. PST

The underlying problem about figure proportions is a technical one. If ankles and necks and hands were correctly scaled, many figures would soon break at the ankles, necks, etc. The reason is white metal alloys (any metals, in fact) change molecular structure when one area cools faster than or adjacent to larger areas that remain hot or molten. The thin areas are very brittle. This fact was used to advantage first by Chinese casting white iron, then the hardest metal known. The only way to detach a casting from the sprue was to make sure the sprue narrowed down to a thin opening at the edge of the desired form. It could be broken off with a sharp blow then. Even today, modern bronze sculpture are cast hollow. Raw bronze castings of a life size horse look like a plastic model kit that has to be welded together. If a horse were cast solid, the legs and tail would cool and harden long before the body, the thin pieces would shrink and pull away as they cool or crack off completely. Plastic is better for casting true proportions, but we have come to expect a 6 head high or 6.5 head high figure in wargaming as opposed to a 7.25 head high ideal proportions figure because of technical limitations.

TMMeier Inactive Member03 Mar 2017 8:29 a.m. PST

sclptrjoel: You are correct but you give the impression the problem is greater than it is, particularly with regard to spin casting in rubber molds with low temperature, low shrink alloys. When properly warmed up the mold acts as a heat sink slowing the freeze and the problem of even horses legs can be greatly reduced by simple means like casting them upside down with a gate in the top or rear so the legs feed and freeze first while there is still a large molten reservoir to feed and apply pressure. It's true for durability ankles and weapons must be thickened but with harder modern non-lead alloys you can get very close to realistic proportions in most respects, far closer than most metal figures are anyway.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.