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"Choosing a miniature scale based on your eyesight" Topic

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26 Jun 2017 4:18 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board
  • Crossposted to Scale board

812 hits since 21 Dec 2016
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo DWilliams Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member21 Dec 2016 7:29 a.m. PST

Some wargamers state that they have chosen larger-sized scales due to the declining ability of their eyes to distinguish small details. For those who have experienced degeneration of your eyesight, has this been your experience? Have you given up on smaller miniature scales (6mm, 10mm, 15mm, etc.) in preference for the larger scales (28mm, 40mm, 54mm, etc.)?

(a) Yes, I have moved to larger scales due to my declining eyesight.
(b) No, I have stuck with the smaller scales despite my declining eyesight.
(c) ___________________________________

Cosmic Reset Inactive Member21 Dec 2016 7:46 a.m. PST

(b) I haven't given up smaller scales, yet.

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 7:51 a.m. PST

My eyesight is declining, but I compensate by using an Optivisor and plenty of lighting.

I paint 28mm because I enjoy painting them, unlike the smaller sizes.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 8:06 a.m. PST

Yes, one has. When I see Adlers and Bacchus I want to have the masses with additional space. But the eyes, yes won't allow enjoying it like 25 years ago.

GatorDave Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 8:26 a.m. PST

I gave up on trying 10mm. I'll still paint 6mm WW II but nothing else in that size. Otherwise pretty much 28's now. So A and B….

Hafen von Schlockenberg Inactive Member21 Dec 2016 8:36 a.m. PST

I went from 15mm to 10mm. And 40mm. Weird, I know.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 8:45 a.m. PST

(c) Yes, my eyesight is declining (cataracts, apart from just age) and accordingly I've got a bunch of painted 54mm plastics in the garage for emergencies--but I was painting 5mm SYW this morning, and I did some 2mm this year.

You have to make accommodation--but you also want to consider that you may not have a lot of table space in a granny flat. So the 5mm SYW are Austrians and Prussians--nice clear white vs dark even as the color vision is declining--on very visible 2" stands with flags. The 2mm WWII have different base colors, tank types are distinguished by the number of them on a stand, and crew-served weapons have the NATO symbol for the weapon type painted on the base. Lots of things you can do without giving up the little fellows.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 8:54 a.m. PST

C. Never went for 15mm or smaller. Always 20mm for mass battles (ACW/WWII) and 25/28mm for individual figures.

I was to a con a few years ago where everything was 15mm. I couldn't tell what weapon type any of the figures were using.

John Armatys21 Dec 2016 9:24 a.m. PST

c. I was put off trying to paint 5/6mm about 15 years ago when I went into varifocals. I had a go at some Napoleonics (just to complete a couple of armies) last year and they came out really nicely!

steamingdave4721 Dec 2016 9:33 a.m. PST

Gradually moving my armies to 10mm, in spite of eyesight issues (presbyopia, astigmatism and a developing cataract,I love getting old!) Less fiddly detail to worry about than with 28mm or even 18mm. I have some 28 mm Napoleonic " personalities" that have been in a three quarters completed state for 6 years, but cannot be bothered to finish them. I mainly play "horse and musket" periods and go for the massed look. Washes have been a life saver for me.

Personal logo Baccus 6mm Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 9:37 a.m. PST

Argh! This is one the Great Myths of wargaming. Smaller scales are actually easier to paint than big ones. They don't demand all that insane amount of detailed brushwork, nor is there that constant subliminal pressure to create perfect paint jobs that leads to silly amounts of time spent painting each single figure. How many of you out there doing 28mm have scaled back or unfinished projects because progress has been so slow?

With 6mm, there is no line thinner or dot smaller than you paint on the big'uns. There is no demand for perfection and they are much more forgiving of mistakes.

I have lots of customers who are quite happily painting my stuff who are well into their 70s and 80s, and a whole lot more who have scaled DOWN to 6mm from 28mm precisely because they are easier to paint.

Doug MSC Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 9:46 a.m. PST

I love painting the 40mm figures. Easy to paint and a joy to look at when completed. I had cataracts removed in both eyes last year and WOW! it sure makes a difference in seeing. I wouldn't go back to the smaller scales simply because I am enjoying the 40's so much. Although I can see why some people like the smaller figures and also the larger ones. Everybody has their own taste and as long as they are enjoying the hobby, that's what counts.

Toronto48 Inactive Member21 Dec 2016 10:11 a.m. PST

Peter is right and 6mm are much easier to paint. The charm of 6mm is to produce a mass effect where an individual figure is part of a much larger force. The painting tutorials on the Baccus site show this Look at this example and you can see


People complaining about 6mm sizes have probably never given them a proper look. There are three secrets to painting 6mm that are exactly the same when painting larger figures and they are good lighting, proper brushes and patience

So i vote C Eyesight is a factor that can be enhanced by magnification and lighting so the answer is not applicable

McKinstry Fezian21 Dec 2016 10:26 a.m. PST

I moved to smaller scales as I get older. I prefer the looks and color of massed units and the broad scope to maneuver on the tabletop afforded by going smaller. As to painting, that is why God made the Optivisor.

redbanner414521 Dec 2016 11:00 a.m. PST


peterx Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 11:18 a.m. PST

I have 20mm as my smallest scale. That said, most of my collection are 28mm miniatures. It would be difficult to go to a bigger scale due to space restrictions in my house. I am out of room now.

bsrlee21 Dec 2016 11:24 a.m. PST

I found that 15mm demanded at least as much detail as 25/28mm figures and were a pain to paint 20+ years ago, well before I needed glasses. So I stuck to 25/28mm figures when I can be bothered painting any these days, its not as if I don't have enough figures already.

Oberlindes Sol LIC21 Dec 2016 11:53 a.m. PST

I had to look up Optivisor on google. It turns out to the name of the thing I wear on my head when I'm painting. Now I know. Thank you.

Presbyopia has not led me to change scales. I have always worked mostly with 25mm figures.

Personal logo DWilliams Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member21 Dec 2016 11:57 a.m. PST

A magnifier lamp has allowed me to continue to enjoy smaller scales when painting. However, I must admit these details are mostly lost when these figures are on the table w/o magnification.

Dynaman878921 Dec 2016 12:50 p.m. PST

B. I need reading glasses to read the dice and rules, seeing 6mm figs is no problem with the glasses on. It is also nice to have games fit in a smaller space since I play 15mm and above games with the 6mm figs using CM instead of inches.

Legbiter21 Dec 2016 1:00 p.m. PST

I've taken to dipping my minis in varnish lots, but declining eyesight isn't really the problem. Shaky hands, is.

lloydthegamer Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 2:15 p.m. PST

I like painting all kinds of figures in all kinds of scales. Eyesight is not an issue since an optivisor is ample compensation for declining vision. 6mm are actually easier to paint than other scales for the reasons Peter has already mentioned.

Porthos21 Dec 2016 2:20 p.m. PST

Ah, Legbiter, thank you ! This is EXACTLY my problem too. I try to repair this by looking for as much support as possible on table or other steady object. Eyesight is not so much a problem because I simply use some throwaway reading glass bought for three euros or so. Oh, and I will become 71 in May next year…

warwell21 Dec 2016 3:07 p.m. PST

I' with Baccus on this one (although I went further down to 3mm) – it's a myth that smaller scales require better eyesight. I think we need a different option:

(d) No, I have chosen the smaller scales because of my declining eyesight. They're easier to paint.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 3:30 p.m. PST

B. Nearing 50, my eyesight has declined to near 20/15, but I'm sticking it out.

zoneofcontrol21 Dec 2016 5:48 p.m. PST


Personal logo Narratio Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 7:59 p.m. PST

b) Hitting 60, bad eyes, but dense packing small figures makes up for everything.

Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2016 9:32 p.m. PST

Started at one size and staying there, though I will play with any scale toys. I am 55 and am starting to need cheaters to see fine print.

That being said I play with 1:72 armies. You know the "One true scale". wink

Martin Rapier22 Dec 2016 12:45 a.m. PST

As my eyesight has deteriorated I've actually gone with an increasing proportion from smaller scales! So no, there isn't a correlation.

Storage space is a far more important consideration.

skinkmasterreturns22 Dec 2016 6:40 a.m. PST

I just started wearing glasses to paint when the detail got blurry.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2016 7:06 a.m. PST

I'm going to have to disagree with Bacchus just a bit. I love his work and buy his castings, and I agree as far as ease of painting goes--but not necessarily ease of seeing on a tabletop. A few suggestions:
1. You do need mass effect. There is a reason he pushes 60mm bases.
2. Flags are your friend. The smaller the scale, the harder I try to ensure every unit, and if possible every stand, has an unfurled flag.
3. Little bits of paint are not the same color as big patches of paint. It's not just my eyes. Brighten the paints a bit, especially on dark facing colors, and shift the metals up a grade--silver in lieu of iron, and gold where you'd use brass on a 28mm.

But if you do this, the results can be very satisfying.

Old Wolfman22 Dec 2016 7:51 a.m. PST

When I paint my 15's,I usually take my glasses off,so I can make the details out a bit better,better for close up work,in my case.

farnox22 Dec 2016 1:27 p.m. PST

Same as Wolfman, no glasses and a magnifier. As far as scales go, I have begun moving from 6mm armor to 10mm. Much easier to see on the battlefield.

skinkmasterreturns23 Dec 2016 6:35 a.m. PST

I seem to be far sighted because the close up stuff is whats troubling. I didnt do badly,rhough,I'm the only one in my famly that made it to 52 without glasses,and that includes 30 years of painting figures.

Texas Jack26 Dec 2016 4:16 a.m. PST


I use magnification for all my painting, even 1/72 scale. While it is true the smaller figures are easier to paint, I canīt see them well enough on the table to enjoy the massed effect, or any other effect for that matter.

I am in the process of going from 10mm WWII to 1/72. I think the 10s look more realistic on the table, but now they are just too small and I must rebuild all my armies. frown

Getting old really sucks, but it is better than the alternative!

Personal logo herkybird Supporting Member of TMP29 Dec 2016 2:43 p.m. PST

I like larger scales as my eyesight is getting less good despite glasses.

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