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"Which is the best ratio: 1:1 vs 1:5 vs 1:10?" Topic

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2,102 hits since 16 Dec 2016
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Comments or corrections?

paperbattles16 Dec 2016 5:50 p.m. PST

I was wondering which is the best ratio for wargaming and dioramas at the same time.
I put together some ideas with pics here:








Personal logo Dale Hurtt Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2016 6:34 p.m. PST

If you can afford the space, 1:1.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2016 6:42 p.m. PST

I'm sorry. I can only speak in cliche. Anything much bigger than Guildford Court House is going to be hard to see at 1:1. Even corps commanders needed telescopes. To make the soldiers more visible and keep them in the same footprint--more or less--you have to use a different ratio, and ALL the ratios screw up number of ranks, formation depth or, most often, both.
As a gamer, you have to be able to reach the table--a maximum of 6' depth, which puts restraints on your ground scale. But within that, whether a 3" regimental frontage is better represented by 72 5mm figures, 3 54mm or anything in between is a matter of personal taste. I lean to the smaller scales these days--but I make a point of keeping the big fellows around just in case. There are a lot of right answers. Choose one which doesn't nag at you afterward.

Who asked this joker16 Dec 2016 7:21 p.m. PST

I think 1:10 is probably ideal since you seem to want a big battalion game. It is large enough to show the formation but small enough (less figures) to be manageable on the tabletop. It is also the scale that guys like Grant and Young seemed to enjoy.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2016 3:24 a.m. PST

Depends on what you are trying to "model" – if it's a smaller action, or a small part of a (much) bigger action, then going as low as you can, ideally down to 1:1, will give you the correct "flavour" of battle and create the same temporal and spatial problems that real unit commanders faced. Obviously the fact that your "toy soldiers" are all paper helps with cost, which I suspect is the primary factor (along with painting time/motivation) inhibiting more of us from doing this.

However, the point made earlier – about generals needing to use telescopes (albeit to see the enemy perhaps, more than their own chaps) is a good one. Equally, for a 1:1 ratio to function properly, you need to replicate the ground and other items (eg buildings) accurately, as well. This is not so easy on a flat tabletop. Again, your choice of paper is possibly a big plus for you here.

14Bore17 Dec 2016 6:16 a.m. PST

Can't beat 1 = 1 for looks.

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2016 6:54 a.m. PST

1:20 is used by general de brigade and several other big battalion games. If you get 3 or 4 battalions in line (which is a typical wargaming event), then you get something that sorta looks like a 1:1 company in line. Its a good compromise for looking napoleonic and being playable battle.

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP17 Dec 2016 10:23 a.m. PST

Ditto 1:20.

huron72517 Dec 2016 11:15 a.m. PST

1:1 skirmish level. If you have the resources then nothing beats an actual British Grenadier Battalion on the the game board. ~400 troops all lined up.

paperbattles17 Dec 2016 12:01 p.m. PST

thank you all for your comments and help.
Actually I saw that no one supported the 1:5 ratio that is weird because it's inthe very middle with tons of papersoldiers but still easy to play.

Huron 725: I agree that nothing can beat a battalion arrayed at 1:1. and therefore I was for it as you can see in this picture. but what I am trying to do is not just a skirmish level but a battle or part of it involving at least 10.000 soldiers each side i.e. 20.000 papersoldiers


I've got also the idea to use maps from normal wargaming and then donwscale in details


14 bore: I agree but ii's really hard to cut 60.000 papersoldiers!

paperbattles17 Dec 2016 12:09 p.m. PST

Supercilius. I also agree. For that reason I had to create also complete villages at 1:1


surely when there will be hills, like for example Austerlitz it will be a real problem.

The costs are: I also have persons to help me (200 papersoldiers x 40 euro) so actually battallion costs around 60 euros… so not very cheap….

piepenbrink: the idea was actually to recreate little battle like halmstad in 1676

forwardmarchstudios17 Dec 2016 3:49 p.m. PST

Sir, I take my hat off to you. That is the best paper-soldier army I have ever seen.

paperbattles17 Dec 2016 4:37 p.m. PST

thanks a lot forwardmarchstudios…very glad you liked them… hard work indeed


I attach then some ictures from my blog


Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2016 7:42 a.m. PST

Another important factor I forgot to mention, is having armies in which the bulk of the troops have "common" uniforms – eg Napoleonic French and Russian line infantry (all red facings). This would allow you to divide your paper battalions into small units – either 1:20, or 1:10, say – or group them all together into a 1:1 regiment (simply remove the excess command stands).

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Dec 2016 12:02 p.m. PST

Well, at 1:1 you can solve the age-old problem of figure scale-vs-ground scale :)

Murvihill21 Dec 2016 10:27 a.m. PST

Not with paper, it is not the same scale in all three dimensions.

Tango0121 Dec 2016 10:43 a.m. PST

1:1 for ever!…

Involving thousands of little soldiers is the greatest pleasure for me!…

With an scale 1/72 my battles amount not less than 50.000 figures ….

Battle time: 1 month minimun…


paperbattles21 Dec 2016 11:17 a.m. PST

Tango 01 is it true?

Pauls Bods21 Dec 2016 2:24 p.m. PST

With an scale 1/72 my battles amount not less than 50.000 figures

Pictures please

@ Miki.The 1:1ratio certainly Looks impressive. On the link it Shows a pic with Normans but I couldnīt find any on the Website or your blog.

Lion in the Stars21 Dec 2016 2:27 p.m. PST

@Paper: Yeah, Tango's shy about posting his own game pics, but someone else found some. Freaking awe-inspiring.

I'm still tempted by the 3mm stuff Forward March Studios has done. I think it works out to 3:4 figure ratio, not exactly 1:1, but you're still talking about 450+ troops in a battalion. Really gets the "Thin Red Line" effect going.

The downside for me is that I have a lot of 15mm scenery and minis already, I'm not sure I want to start another scale.

Tango0122 Dec 2016 10:44 a.m. PST

There were A LOT of pics about some of my battles not far away by mon ami (don't remember the nickname)… he picked up from the page of my good friend Rafa Pando from Spain…

I'm too lazy and shy to published them… (smile)

Actually… I have wargamed 22 of them (one per year)… and I still enjoyed them like the first day!…

of course the first ones were not about that amount….I have been adding thousands of figures every year to the total of more than 50,000 of them….


Ramming Inactive Member22 Dec 2016 11:13 a.m. PST

Lovely paper models, nice to see this niche part of the hobby.

paperbattles22 Dec 2016 11:20 a.m. PST

@tango 01 we are all really very curious about the pictures. It seems to be something unique!

@paul bods: here can find the unique pictures
I did from the Normans on the Crusades…. actually they were meant to fight for the Riconquista of Sicily from Arabs… but I switched the idea just out of love for the ambience
here the pictures


paperbattles22 Dec 2016 11:22 a.m. PST

and please what about 1:5 ratio?
@lion: a ratio 3:4 seems to me quite weird… you have to prepare a lot of models,,, but still you don't get the exact historical glance… so .. imagine then 9:10…..
waiting for your answers, Gentlemen….

paperbattles22 Dec 2016 11:23 a.m. PST


Karl von Hessen Inactive Member18 Mar 2017 6:27 p.m. PST

50,000 minis over 22 years is some serious painting. It comes out to painting 2,272 figures a year or about 43 each week OR 6 figures a day…every day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. That's some heavy duty painting. I guessing that they appear to be used in a month long battle, they must all be of the same historical period.

forwardmarchstudios18 Mar 2017 6:44 p.m. PST

The question of figure ratio is directly tied to groundscale. If you have big figures at 1:1 the table will be too small to show much more than a brigade-on-brigade combat. The issue is somewhat self-limiting.

Check out my blog for (too) many thoughts on the topic.

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 2:23 p.m. PST

Obviously 1:1 is the only scale we should play. Now, we just need to get the Miss'es to get on board and the rest is easy.

spontoon28 Mar 2017 9:27 a.m. PST

Really depends on how rich you are.

Osage201729 Mar 2017 12:32 p.m. PST

with the 1:1 there is no problem with the troops scale vs ground scale

kodiakblair30 Mar 2017 4:08 p.m. PST

1:1 or 1:2 are the only way for me. A 6ft wide table in 2mm is roughly a wide.
I set out to campaign Agricola's Harrying of the North,next thing I knew I'd 4 legions at 1:1 with all the attendant cavalry and auxilia. The 30,000 Caledonian foot can easily be used for any irregular infantry.

Even in 2mm you need lots of tabletop,those 4 legions are 5M wide when placed side by side.

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