Help support TMP

"Torn between scales " Topic

39 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 Ancients Discussion Message Board

1,103 hits since 21 Feb 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

AlexMacP Inactive Member21 Feb 2017 12:58 a.m. PST

I'm new to Ancients and I'm looking to put two armies together for Magnesia.
I initially thought I would do it in 15mm from Xyston. I today came across the 28mm plastics from Victrix at the game shop. I crunched the numbers and it seems like it would cost me more or less the same amount of money to do the project in 28mm (using plastics for infantry)

Any thoughts for someone in my shoes? Did you start with one scale only to switch to another?

AlexMacP Inactive Member21 Feb 2017 12:59 a.m. PST

I'm new to Ancients and I'm looking to put two armies together for Magnesia.
I initially thought I would do it in 15mm from Xyston. I today came across the 28mm plastics from Victrix at the game shop. I crunched the numbers and it seems like it would cost me more or less the same amount of money to do the project in 28mm (using plastics for infantry)

Any thoughts for someone in my shoes? Did you start with one scale only to switch to another?

kodiakblair21 Feb 2017 2:18 a.m. PST


I started with 25mm about 35 years back,it was the norm for Ancients back them. WRG 6th days.Nice as they were I wanted more figures so tried 15mm,then 10mm then 6mm.

Now I do Ancients in 2mm at 1:2 figure ratio :-)

Go with the scale you'll enjoy painting and basing.That should be the key consideration,if every time you see your figures you get a wee lift then you've made the right choice.

GurKhan21 Feb 2017 2:19 a.m. PST

I started in 25mm about 45 years ago and switched to 15mm around 30 years ago, does that count?

Historically Magnesia was a pretty big battle; your decision may be influenced by how many figures you are aiming to use. Would it be the same number if 15mm as 28mm, or would you be using the smaller scale to get more of a mass effect? I think if I were starting from scratch, and aiming at a large action like Magnesia, I'd go for 10mm these days.

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 2:25 a.m. PST

Back in the 70's I started with 25mm, but changed to 15's when the 15mm figures became better (easier to paint, store and transport, more of a spectacle etc).
However, if I was starting again, I would go for 10mm, for the same reasons. There are some excellent 10mm figures available now. Unfortunately I have too many 15mm armies to change now.
Some people are also changing to 6mm, which I find a bit small for ancients, although I do game moderns in that size.
It also depends who you are going to game with, and their preferences, unless you are collecting both sides, or gaming solo.
Magnesia is a cracking battle, I've played it several times, on both sides, in 15mm

Marshal Mark21 Feb 2017 2:36 a.m. PST

There is more than just cost to consider. Assuming you are talking about getting the same number of figures, the 28mm will take longer to paint and will need a bigger table. Also in future you might want to build other armies, and you will find that there aren't as many 28mm plastics available as 15mm metal ranges, so some other armies may cost a lot more in 28mm (especially if you want to do any cavalry heavy armies).

Sobieski21 Feb 2017 2:44 a.m. PST

Magnesia is a big battle and needs a lot of different types. I'd never dream of doing it in larger than 10mm, which has become my preferred scale. And, yes, I did begin in 6mm, but I am glad I changed over – much more detail on slightly larger shields.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 2:49 a.m. PST

If you want to do the whole battle 6 or 10mm.

With 15mm the only thing you gain over 28mm is; less painting time (for most of us) and you can use smaller gaming space.

Most people seem to use the same size unit in 15mm and 28mm so you won't gain much in size of units.

A 48 figure 28mm phalangite unit is quite big, easily twice that of 15mm in footprint. But neither 15 or 28mm let's you do the full battle with all units (unless you got a football field to play on) so in both scales you'll have to abstract more then in 6 or 10 mm

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 2:55 a.m. PST

I started in 15mm but shifted to 28mm around 12 years ago because I like the spectacle.

15mm is probably a more sensible scale; 28mm requires a lot of painting, a large playing area and a great deal of storage space. I'd consider 10mm, too, for a battle such as Magnesia, perhaps using 15mm bases.

That said I do intend to tackle Magnesia in 28mm next year or the year after…

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 3:09 a.m. PST

PS 28mm Magnesia on 1:70 scale should only be around 3.2 metres wide. Very doable as a club project.

warwell21 Feb 2017 3:13 a.m. PST

I'm a fan of small scales (2mm – 6mm).

Magister Militum has a nice range of 3mm. They painted up an entire legion at 1:1 scale
TMP link

setsuko21 Feb 2017 3:34 a.m. PST

I like 28mm, but I have also over the years realized just how much space a couple of 28mm armies take for storage. If you have plenty of storage, it's less of a problem.

My solution to the scale dilemma is to get almost all of them, with armies in 6mm, 15mm, 1/72 and 28mm. They all have their pros and cons. My ancient minis are all 15mm, but I'm tempted to adding some 28mm from Victrix if I ever got back into Ancients.

Tiberius21 Feb 2017 4:14 a.m. PST

It really depends on how many figures you want on a table. I use 25/28mm for skirmish games, 15mm for big battles

batesmotel3421 Feb 2017 4:28 a.m. PST

AS wtih many, I started 40 or so years ago with 25mm but switched to 15mm when that became the more popular scale for tournament play and for ease of storage and especially transport. While I'm a fan of 6mm for WW II and modern, I thnk much of the appeal of the ancient period and the different uniforms and shiled patterns of the different troops types. You're likely to lose those in 2mm or 6mm, while they might still be visible enough in 10mm which I really haven't seen used very often for ancients. Inyour position I'd probably go with 15mm for the best combination of mass effect while still retaining the ability to see the details of the individual troops. IT's also still the most popular figure scale for tournament play in the US so you're more likely to find opponents you can use your troops against when you get past reenqacting Magnesia.


Martin Rapier21 Feb 2017 5:18 a.m. PST

28mm stuff takes a lot of painting and storage space, for little extra gain over the smaller scales.

In the end I plumped for 20mm for Ancients, as I liked the ranges of plastic figures available – HAT, Italieri, Zvezda etc (and who doesn't love Airfix Ancient Britons:)

A bit bigger than 15s and a lot less hassle than 28s, all based as in 25mm DBx basing. They mainly get used for Command and Colours Ancients and Lost Battles, both of which make Magnesia eminently doable with limited numbers of figures (done it twice in fact).

Lucius21 Feb 2017 5:57 a.m. PST

If you enjoy painting, then buy the scale you enjoy painting. And always buy the best figures available, even if it means fewer of them.

As others have mentioned, you can do big battles with smaller numbers of figures. Command and Colors is great for that.

I've finally learned to buy the figures that I want, and make the game work for them, instead of the other way around.

TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 7:12 a.m. PST

If I could start all over again in ancients it would all be in 28mm or 6mm. 28mm because it looks great, 6mm because it gives you an idea of the hoardes of troops on the field. I have a fair amount of 15mm now because my club prefers that scale but I have toyed with larger scales for a while

Storage is a real issue for Ancients due to pikes, cavalry and especially elephants. But it looks superb.

I started my last pre gunpowder project in 28mm (Dark Ages) a few years back and I have no regrets. When that is done I may decide to take the plunge and do something super colourful like the Mughal invasion of India or such.

mwindsorfw Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 8:49 a.m. PST

Depends on how you like your table to look. 28mm gives you some really nice looking figures, but you have to suspend your belief if you want those 8 figures to represent an 800 man unit. Dropping to 20mm – 10mm lets you put more figures on the table, or the same number of figures for a lot less money. Of course, the smaller you go, the more detail you lose. I like 6mm because I like the look of having stands with lots of figures on each stand.

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 9:08 a.m. PST

Do the 28's. I'm well over 60 and cannot even find my 15mm stuff any more. I know it is around here somewhere but, danged if I can even find the little things.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 9:39 a.m. PST

You mention money, but there are a *bunch* of costs: painting time, storage space, required play area, terrain cost. Take all of it into account.

I like smaller scales because the whole table looks more harmoniously scaled.

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 9:55 a.m. PST

28mm. All the time. Every period. Always in style. Always the class scale of wargaming.

Plus, as you get older, still easy enough to paint than any of the smaller scales.

For a quality finish and ease of painting, look at the Army Painter system too. Let's you get mobs of fellows painted up and ready to go in an amazingly short period of time, plus they look pretty doggone good as well.

Don't shortchange yourself or those playing with you. Go with the 28mm.

mwindsorfw Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 10:11 a.m. PST

True, TK, but when I pick up my 28mm figures, I notice every painting flaw I made. Not so much with the 6mm guys.

AlexMacP Inactive Member21 Feb 2017 12:16 p.m. PST

My regular gaming buddy is a die-hard 28mm guy. Unless I go with 28mm, I will be building both sides myself. I will be likely building both anyways because his interests are mainly with the Gallic Wars.

For those that have suggested 10mm, what do you do when confronted by the limited ranges in available figures? I also have a real dislike of cast spears/pikes. I think there is nothing worse than seeing a nicely painted unit on the board with bent spears. I imagine it would be quite a chore to convert them to wire spears.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 12:33 p.m. PST

Like almost everyone else I started in 25 mm because that was what was available. Then when DBA came out I like the idea of the smaller battlefield and shorter games so I switch to 15 mm. I've even done 6 mm.

Now with big battle DBA I'm back to 25 mm. I have done a number of Magnesia battles with the local club, convention games, and even a couple demonstrations at a high school class. It's a great battle, do it in a great scale:)

By the way there's no reason you can't do other battles or eras in other scales.

idontbelieveit Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 12:52 p.m. PST

why not try something truly innovative that your older gamers with failing eyesight will truly appreciate: 60mm

well served in plastic: link

idontbelieveit Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 12:52 p.m. PST


Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 5:49 p.m. PST

It sounds to me like you went for 15mm initially on price – but would have preferred larger figures.

In which case – the 28mm plastics are almost certainly the way to go.

I don't have a dog in this fight BTW : I'd do the project in 1/72nd / 20mm plastic figures. But I do know that if you buy with your heart rather than your head you'll like the figures more.

Marcus Brutus21 Feb 2017 7:13 p.m. PST

Love the look of 6mm in mass. Quite amazing. I hate painting such small figures. Frankly I don't think anything can really look as good as 28mm in large numbers. Take a look at the following pics. The 1st is a unit of Aventine Italian Allies. The 2nd is Teutonic Knights. 3rd and 4th are my Sung Chinese just as I am about to flock them. Tell how me 15mm or smaller can compare in the spectacle (as Big Red Bat suggests). Be a man and join the true manly scale!!

IMG_20170219_2132505 by Eusebeia2002, on Flickr

IMG_20170219_2132381 by Eusebeia2002, on Flickr

IMG_20170218_0924314 by Eusebeia2002, on Flickr

IMG_20170218_0924428 by Eusebeia2002, on Flickr

John Leahy21 Feb 2017 7:34 p.m. PST

I sold off my Hinchcliffe Byzantines then traded them for 15mm Heritage. Now I use 6mm, 1/72, Heritage still and soon 28mm because the plastics are cheap.

Go figure.

kodiakblair21 Feb 2017 9:50 p.m. PST


Lovely figures but my problem is large figures and terrain.
Pikes longer than the river they are crossing,6 model trees pretending to be a forest or worse cavalry that are taller than the hills they're placed on.

It just doesn't say "battle" to me.

I'll get back to painting the 3mm skirmish project now

Jack Burton23 Feb 2017 10:21 a.m. PST

28mm The One True Scale

Lieutenant Lockwood23 Feb 2017 5:37 p.m. PST

Gotta agree with Mr. Kodiak; those figures are BEAUTIFUL, but for me they belong on a shelf to be admired. A game meant to be a simulation should look like a real battle; give me 2mm at 1:1.
A 400 man regiment in line is a terribly thin line, and in 2mm looks that way, rather unlike four guys taking a flag for a walk.
But I am all applause for the talent displayed above.

Lorenzo Inactive Member27 Feb 2017 2:29 p.m. PST

If you plan to play rulesets as DBX,DBMM, FOG, ADLG at tournaments you need 15mm since that is the only scale used at competitions. Only very rarely you will see a 28mm Tournament.

If you do not plan on playing any of those rulesets competitively then pick the one most people in yor area play.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Feb 2017 3:05 p.m. PST

I played in a thirty player, 28mm scale ancients tournament on Saturday. :-) But I do agree they are rare events.

One snag for me with the smaller scales is that I can't make out what the troops on the far side of the table are, these days. I suppose I shall end up collecting 54mm. :-)

Marcus Brutus28 Feb 2017 11:17 a.m. PST

The one advantage of Lt. Lockwood's 2mm collection is that he only needs to build two armies. He can play any period with them because at that scale you can't really make out what they are.

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian02 Mar 2017 12:40 p.m. PST

Very hard to beat Aventine 28mm. Those with additions from Crusader, Relic, Polemarch and Foundry will get you what you need. I know there are other brands, but I don't have any of those so cannot opine on it.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Mar 2017 1:36 p.m. PST

I received samples of the new (not yet released) resin elephants from Aventine, today. Breathtaking; even better than their previous elephants!

2mm- I have an army and it's pretty easy to make out the different troops even down to shield shape. Also a lot of mine (Alexandrians) are in formations like wedges or rhomboids, not to mention the pike blocks and elephants. Of course it's a heck of a lot easier in 28mm…

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian04 Mar 2017 2:59 p.m. PST

Sample new elephants!?

They're holding back on me!

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 4:00 p.m. PST

In the gallery, Duke! :-)

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.