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"10mm vs 15mm: Which is better for epic battles?" Topic

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810 hits since 17 Feb 2017
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IronMike17 Feb 2017 3:43 a.m. PST

As the completion of my current painting project gets closer and closer, it's time to start laying plans for the next one. And amazingly I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted: A mass battle game with a strong Sword & Sorcery vibe. In addition, it had to be fairly cost-effective (I'm saving up to move cross country later in the year) And easy to transport (When I make the aforementioned cross-country move the idea of schlepping multiple armies isn't filling me with glee) and most importantly I wanted a clear yardstick as to when said project was actually finished. Yes, Yes, I know that like a good hotrod a wargaming project is never really 'finished', but I wanted a point to aim for.

It seemed like a fairly tall order, until I realized that the answer to all these needs was sitting right there on my hard drive: The 1980s fantasy minigame DEMONLORD. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, you can get a look at it for free at this site: link

Doing a minis version of this game essentially solves most of my issues: There are clear orders of battle for all the forces involved, it's got a nice minimalist background to prime the creative pump, and so on…

There's only one problem: Armies in DEMONLORD are freakin enormous: According to the rulebook each unit counter represents 500 men! At the start of the game, the demon player commands an army of over 17,000! Needless to say, doing this 1:1 would be thoroughly impractical, so some abstraction is in order, not to mention using a smaller figure scale.

So my big question is this: For those of you out there who are building fantasy armies in smaller scales, which is better: 10mm or 15mm? I imagine 15 would offer more variety, while 10mm would be better for that 'epic' feel. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Warcolours Painting Studio Fezian17 Feb 2017 3:58 a.m. PST

15mm is a scale I do not fancy too mich, as it does not convey the mass feeling and does not have the detail of the larger 28mm. 10mm is much better and 6mm even better for the mass feeling.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian17 Feb 2017 6:44 a.m. PST

Using 10mm or 6mm usually means painting 2-3 figures for each 15mm figure to get the real mass effects. Demonworld figures (you can still get these from Real Partha Europe) are really nice. If you use 1:100 then you only need @ 170 figures for an army, very doable (and the same ratio as Napoleonic or ACW rules)

Mister Tibbles17 Feb 2017 9:20 a.m. PST

Each has its trade offs. I've done both. You will paint more in 10mm. In 10mm you will be painting 10 figures on a 20mm x 40mm stand, more if a 40mm square. 15mm is four or three on a basic stand, double for 40mm square. 6mm is too small me.

I found that I liked the look of 10mm, but it became a grind to keep painting so many tiny figures over and over.
I went to 15mm instead. Splintered Light and so many others. I enjoyed painting again. It didn't feel like work.


jwebster17 Feb 2017 10:50 a.m. PST

Decide what base size you want and paint up a sample base of each size (or a couple of bases if you can't decide that)

I did this for Napoleonics and learnt a LOT about how much I enjoy painting different scales

Take a look at Warmaster. The basing scheme (40mmx20mm) is very flexible. You might want to be able to play both rulesets, depending on opponents


Frostie17 Feb 2017 12:27 p.m. PST

I do 15mm fantasy mass battle. I have thousands and love the feel of 15mm for size of figures and size of armies….you can achieve a truely epic scale on a reasonable size table.

Also the different ranges of 15mm figures are growing all the time…..I even use 10mm and 28mm figures in my armies.

Check my blog


doublesix6617 Feb 2017 1:33 p.m. PST

I quite like 10mm (warmaster scale) for mass fantasy battles and there are a few companies that do 10mm fantasy such as kallistra & Pendraken at reasonable prices

evilgong17 Feb 2017 4:22 p.m. PST

Hi there

15mm will give you a much wider choice of figs, both fantasy and historical ancient / mediaevals to fill in where needed.

17K men is not a big army in the ancient world.

If you play an element-based game like Hordes of the Things (Hott), you can use a nominal troop scale of say, 250-600 men per element and easily field your 17K army.

In Hott / DBx games an element can be 2-4 figs on the base. But if you want more of a massed look some players choose a base size nominally for 25mm figs but load these with 2-8 15mm figs on each for the massed look.

And it does look great.

David F Brown

rulesthief Inactive Member17 Feb 2017 7:15 p.m. PST

I had a similar delimma and decided to go with 10mm for mass battles. After trying both 10mm and 15mm, I realized 15mm took up a lot of room on the table and not too much less than 28mm so decided on 10mm, but for me table size is a premium. The 6mm stuff I have was much too small for my poor eyes. It seems the 10mm stuff paints up real quick even though there's more to paint.

The Epic Gamer17 Feb 2017 7:28 p.m. PST

I'm thoroughly invested in 10mm with some 10+ armies and my own figure line. I do think it looks more mass-battle than 15mm.


It strikes a good compromise between individual figure detail and endless waves of troops.

Personal logo Landorl Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2017 7:59 p.m. PST

I like 10mm, but it is a lot of figures to paint. Also, there are a lot more figs available in 15mm, so I have stuck with that.

Dan 055 Inactive Member17 Feb 2017 8:33 p.m. PST

I've always felt that 15mm is like small 25s and 10mm is like big 6s. If you want the colour and dramatic look of the troops, I'd pick 15mm, but if you want the spectacle of mass armies then I'd go with 10mm.

Splintered Light Miniatures Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Feb 2017 4:51 a.m. PST

Obviously, I prefer 15mm, though I like 10mm as well. Here is a link to a battle I did in 15mm link . I think it ended up as an epic battle.


steam flunky Inactive Member26 Feb 2017 11:44 p.m. PST

The bigger the miniatures, the better they look, but also the more room they take up .
Work out how much room a unit takes up and then cut out paper rectangles to represent every unit in the planned armies. Now lay them on your average sized wargames table and see if there is still enough room for the armies to manouver. If not you need smaller armies or smaller miniatures.

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