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"Painting time - 10mm vs. 15mm vs. 28mm" Topic

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Wargamer Dave30 Oct 2015 6:30 a.m. PST

One of the draws for 10mm and 15mm over 28mm (besides cost) is the less time it takes to paint the models to a high standard at the relative scale.

However, I've heard some painters say they don't really see a big difference in the time it takes to paint 15s vs. 28s.

What are your experiences with this?


Wargamer Dave30 Oct 2015 6:31 a.m. PST

Attempted to crosspost to Painting, but there was an error. Sorry.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Oct 2015 6:51 a.m. PST

Then they're doing it wrong.

I can paint three 15mm figures in the same time it takes to do one 25mm.

Who asked this joker30 Oct 2015 6:54 a.m. PST

With 28mm figures, there is more detail that demands painting to make the model look finished. 10s and 15s only require an impressionistic style. Detailed painting can be vague and the figure will look done. I could definitely see how smaller scales would go faster.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2015 7:05 a.m. PST

The larger surface area requires more strokes and more paint.

Big difference? I spose it depends on what you're painting.

Consider: a 28mm Ansar vs. 15mm Hussar

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian30 Oct 2015 7:11 a.m. PST

When I'm on a roll it averages out to @ 5 minutes a figure in 15mm (batches of 50-100 figures at a time). That is for ACW or Napoleonics to Wargame (3 foot rule) quality.

28mm take longer as I don't usually assembly line them.

Personal logo ACWBill Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2015 7:15 a.m. PST

I have a link for painting both US and CS troops on my site. It is definitely not as detailed as 28mm as you are not painting faces and hands in a detailed manner. When I paint 28mm, I spend proportionally far more time on the faces than on any other part of the figure.


Martin Rapier30 Oct 2015 7:16 a.m. PST

As above, it depends how you are painting them, but all else being equal, it will take longer to paint say, a WW2 British tommy in 28mm than it will in 10mm.

There is more to paint, more detail, and you may be tempted into the horror of three colour highlighting on bigger figures rather just doing a wash and drybrush.

Mister Tibbles30 Oct 2015 8:54 a.m. PST

The number of figures you need to paint also factors into time. Are we looking at a single figure or units? I put 4 15mm figures on a DBA base, but 10 10mm on that same base. No savings in time there.

25mm for me is RPG-like skirmish, so I take a great deal of time wet blending and glazing a 28mm figure to almost a work of art. Not fair for me to compare there!

John Treadaway30 Oct 2015 8:56 a.m. PST

Since I swapped to mostly 15mm, I adopted different painting techniques which certainly speeded up my turn-around.

John T

ironicon30 Oct 2015 9:25 a.m. PST

This is an interesting question. I've painted 10,15,28mm and recently 40mm. The only notable scale to take longer (as in an eternity) is the 40mm.

normsmith30 Oct 2015 9:26 a.m. PST

It depends on too many factors to be able to make a strict comparison so for 28mm, I would do a fast block paint with a wash, it is fine for my wargame table, but maybe not for yours and does not stand up to the figures of beauty often shown on these pages. I am just glad that I can see exactly what I am painting.

In 12mm (Kallistra similar size to the original 15mm), there is quite a lot of detail and so my block paint is still carefully done and a wash is applied, but even for my small table, I need to do a lot more figures than if I were painting 28mm for the same table, so painting speed is a bit of a moot point.

IF you paint 28mm very nicely and also learn how to do impressionist painting on the smaller scale, then there is likely a discernible difference in painting times, even if you need more smaller figures, but outside of that it may be too tight to call.

Given that total painting times may be similar, probably of greater importance are the questions of whether doing one scale over another particularly appeals and feels nicer to paint (to your style) and you prefer to own and look at and is functional for your table etc.

Terrain storage might be the biggest thing that drives scale decision all I am saying is that the thing of painting could possibly the least significant part of the 'what scale should I choose' puzzle.

Hopefully I don't sound remotely like I know what I am talking about, as I am currently having a crisis of scale and am the last person to offer advice …… but I do find these threads interesting.

ironicon30 Oct 2015 9:46 a.m. PST

This raises the question of whether different scales require different styles? I do adjust to each scale a bit differently.

jwebster30 Oct 2015 10:25 a.m. PST

It depends on the standard of painting you like to do.

If you base coat and dip, 15 and 28 is going to be the same, maybe a bit quicker for 10 if you don't do so much detailing after. I have seen outstanding results from this technique so don't discount it

For me, I like to see shading and highlighting blended on 28mm but 15 and below not really (although I wash to get some blending). So 28mm is going to be much slower and is for skirmish, or low figure count games such as DBA. I also do more elaborate work with stripes, patterns etc. I only do this because I like it (or am just plain sick in the head). I absolutely paint to a standard that is ridiculous for wargaming but still no where near competitive/display painting.

Typically the point of 10mm (and to some extent 15) is to get more figures on the table so the overall time difference between 10 and 15 may not be that great

The other thing I am discovering is that not all figures call out for the same painting style. 18mm AB Napoleonics are SO nice compared to most other 15. I just can't seem to live without working too hard on them …

You do need a different painting style for each scale. As you get smaller, colours need to get brighter and there needs to be more contrast.

Good luck


Tacitus30 Oct 2015 11:11 a.m. PST

John makes an excellent point. The smaller the scale, the brighter the colors should be. Otherwise what looked like great detail when you were painting it can become muddled and drab.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2015 11:34 a.m. PST

The bigger the figure, the more paint it needs. More brush strokes = more time. End of equation.

And yes, I definitely prefer brighter colours that pop so you can see the distinctions on the tabletop.

normsmith30 Oct 2015 12:21 p.m. PST

>>>End of equation.

Only if you are painting the same number of figures to the same standard regardless of scale.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2015 3:31 p.m. PST

Back to the OP:

One of the draws for 10mm and 15mm over 28mm (besides cost) is the less time it takes to paint the models to a high standard at the relative scale.

Wargamer Dave30 Oct 2015 6:11 p.m. PST

Sorry – should have said "one of the <assumed> draws"

Some great points all around. I do wonder if – when you consider the additional # of models required – that 10mm is faster than 15mm.

I'm thinking about doing some painting time trials with 28s and 15s (or I guess 18s these days) to see how they compare.

rvandusen30 Oct 2015 7:39 p.m. PST

I enjoy painting 15mm, 20mm, and 28mm and agree that the smaller scales can be faster. I also concur that an impressionistic style is most suitable for the little guys. I've seen some painters put out splendidly detailed 15mm, but it will not be noticeable at normal table distances.

Twilight Samurai30 Oct 2015 9:23 p.m. PST

Well sculpted 15's for low figure count games, in this case Hott, seem to encourage more effort that I find little different to doing a 28mm figure.

Copplestone 15mm Barbarians.


Various 15's, mostly Grenadier, now Mirliton

Green Tiger31 Oct 2015 6:31 a.m. PST

I tend to go for mass effect. Whilst I can paint extremely well I prefer not to. On a practical level wargames figures aren't supposed to be be put in a cabinet and admired for their fine paint jobs. They are supposed to be used for wargaming and once you stand up you won't be able to see all that fine detail so whilst this level of craftsmanship is admirable it is, I feel, misdirected. A good, clean, accurate paint job is all that is needed to get large armies on to the table quickly and the smaller the figures the quicker they are to paint.

Personal logo ACWBill Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2015 5:14 a.m. PST

I collect both 10mm and 28mm. In the time it takes to paint an 18 figure 28mm unit I can paint 150-200 10mm figures.

VicCina Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2015 12:45 p.m. PST

I typically paint 10mm, some 15mm as well. I can do 25 or 30 figures of 10mm in a few hours. The few 28mm it takes me far longer as I pick out all of the details and so on.

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