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"What scale is best for aerial battles" Topic

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659 hits since 13 Aug 2017
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Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2017 7:26 p.m. PST

Just as the question says, what is the best scale for enjoying air combat games. Please discuss.

TGerritsen Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2017 7:51 p.m. PST

Depend on the period. I play WWI as 1/144, WWII as 1/300, and moderns as 1/600. It really depends on your preference and amount of room.

Micman Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2017 7:59 p.m. PST

TGerritsen is correct. The size of the aircraft keep getting larger and move further so people drop the scale of their aircraft as technology improves. The air games that I have played in scale pretty much as he states. I have 1/200 for WWI but WWII and modern are the same.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian13 Aug 2017 8:16 p.m. PST

1:300 for WW-II and later

Allen5714 Aug 2017 1:49 a.m. PST

Agree with TGerritsen also. Compared to ground games everything is a fast mover which for me translates to smaller models. I use 1/300 for WWI because there are more aircraft types available in that scale than in 1/600. For WWII and Modern I use 1/600 or 1/700. Speed and weapons range with moderns makes the smaller scales more appealing to me. I don't play the eras after the Vietnam war much because the missiles make for games with less maneuvering. Am thinking of converting these to 1/1200 although the aircraft are so small that they become a bit hard to handle. The 1/600 models have some sculpting issues and thicker wings which turns some folks off. Aircraft types are limited in 1/700.

Vigilant14 Aug 2017 3:25 a.m. PST

Much the same as above. Korean War I have done in 1:100 on a big table, but generally I use 1:300 now. 1960s onwards I use 1:600.

alan lockhart Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2017 4:21 a.m. PST

I use 1/72 plastic kits on long dowels for games out in the garden on a nice summer day. We have Battle of Britain models and I am planning on Korea and Vietnam next when I get time to make up the models.

For indoor, 1/300 for WWI and 1/600 for WWII. Still looking for a good set of easy rules for mass USAF bomber raids over the Reich.

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2017 5:17 a.m. PST

1 to 1

Dennis Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2017 5:20 a.m. PST

As is so often the case with wargaming, what type of game do you want to play?

If you want to play purely fighter games with only a few aircraft in the game, then almost any scale will do-but the larger the scale the prettier the game.

On the other hand, if you want to include bombers and observation planes as an excuse for the fighter combat, then the size and cost of the bombers and observation planes make smaller scales more practical. If you want to try WW 1 with some of the super bombers, then 1/144 or 1/300 might be the best scale for you. I like 1/144 because most of the aircraft are not too big for a reasonable sized table and with all the stuff available of Shapeways you can get almost anything for a reasonable price. This can be particularly important if you want to have aircraft from different phases of the war, for example- Fokker E-3s, Alb D-2s, Fokker DR-1s, etc. And in 1/144 scale you can even have some 0-400s and Gothas without breaking the bank or using up too much of the table. And well-painted 1/144 scale WW 1 aircraft can be beautiful-see some of Ray Garbee's (G-dog) for example.

As for WW 2, I like 1/350 because I was able to buy a bunch of plastic aircraft in that scale some time back. 1/300 is a good sale for WW 2 as the fighters are large enough to look good if well-painted and the bombers aren't so big to overwhelm a table. For metal aircraft, weight can also be a bit of an issue; large metal bombers on a flight stand can be unstable. That's why I like my plastic 1/350 scale planes.

Furthermore, 1/300 is so popular for WW 2 that almost everything is available in both aircraft and decals. You can also get quite a few 1/300 WW 2 aircraft from Shapeways, so weight should not be a negative factor.

warwell Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2017 5:57 a.m. PST

I prefer 1/600

boy wundyr x Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2017 6:53 a.m. PST

Interwar and onwards is 1/600, WWI is 1/285-300. I suppose someday for some sub-sub-sub-period of WWII I'm really into I might get 1/300. E.g. Battle of Britain or Winter War.

KSmyth14 Aug 2017 7:54 a.m. PST

I play 1:300/1:285 for WWII and later. But increasingly there is nice supply of 1:600. Whatever works for your and your needs is fine by me.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2017 8:26 a.m. PST

I did WWI in 1:72 because of the huge variety of plastic kits available.

Yellow Admiral14 Aug 2017 8:46 a.m. PST

My CY6 dogfight group includes 3 guys who collect extensively in 1/144 scale. This scale has a lot of nice aspects. The F-Toys pre-painted planes look very nice, better than most of us can do. The planes are large enough to be recognizable from a distance, and attract walk-by gawkers all the time. We play with telescoping rods to indicate altitude, and the 1/144 planes are big enough to distract the eye from the silver antennae holding them up; by contrast, the 1/300 fighters I used to use were so small that the impression of the table from even a few feet away was a forest of silver sticks with a few bombers floating around the middle.

Unfortunately, this scale also has several problems. It's difficult and expensive to build a collection 1/144 models tend to be produced in brief runs, so while they're new they are somewhat affordable (typically around $10 USD/plane), but when the inventory gets scarce they start to command higher prices and get harder to find. Most of the available planes are plastic models, which tend to be a bit fragile, though some of the pre-painted models are diecast metal, which is really heavy. The minimum practical hex size is 3" hexes, which means assembling a CY6 table surface is a challenge the commercial hex mats all have the hexes oriented the wrong way, and a 6'x12' table is only 24x45 hexes, requiring some scrolling to get to the long edges. For other rules, this isn't as big a deal, and one of my friends even uses 4" hexes for his own dogfight rules, because the spacing between planes works out better and a 4" hex grid on a 6'x8' table is big enough for a good WWII furball.


I'm currently settling into collecting 1/200 scale because of the Armaments in Miniature planes. I think they have just enough detail, great proportions, excellent and growing selection, and are just big enough to look good atop a forest of silver sticks. They also have the advantage of being single-piece resin castings, which makes them tougher than the plastic models and lighter than the lead ones, well-suited to wargaming purposes. As an unexpected bonus, it turns out I also like painting them.

In a perfect world, the AIM planes would be cast in 1/144 instead of 1/200, so I could participate in collaborative projects with the other committed dogfight gamers around here.


I have a bunch of 1/300 and 1/285 scale lead planes from when I first started dogfight gaming, but I've started letting go of them. I did prefer the practical advantages of 1.5" hexes (I could fit the entire 30x45 CY6 field on a 8'x5' table), but as I mentioned above, the fighters in this scale just look too small atop silver telescoping rods, and I'm pretty committed to that system of marking elevation. I'm still collecting 1/300 heavy and medium bombers, because those are large planes and I prefer to drop a scale so they fit in the hexes and on the table in large formations of 9-12 (or more). I'm also keeping fighters that were used in ground attack roles over Europe, in the hopes of someday using them with my microarmor collection. I really like the selection and price point of most 1/300 planes between I-94 (Raiden, Scotia), MSD Games, C-in-C, and GHQ, I can get nearly any WWII plane ever made, and several rare or experimental ones. I'm pretty sure the selection of jet-age aircraft is good too I was able to find everything I wanted for the Korean War, including post-war Russian prop planes.

- Ix

pvernon Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2017 8:49 a.m. PST

Just to be different, Ground scale for WW1 we use 1" = 5m, 30s we use 1" = 10m, WW2 through Vietnam we use 1" = 20m. The models are 1/72 for all periods, they look good. You could use 1/144 you wanted though.

Lion in the Stars15 Aug 2017 9:33 p.m. PST

Agree with TGerritson, 1/600 for any planes post-Korea, 1/300 for WW2 and Korea, 1/144 or 1/72 for biplanes.

Though bigger planes are always tempting, the groundspace and dollars required is a killer.

Part time gamer22 Aug 2017 8:46 p.m. PST

Several yrs ago, I built and painted a number of 1/72 WWI models for a friend, IIRC we used "Red Baron" rule sys. He had a used copy of Battle masters game, the plastic hex map was perfect for the scale. He had also invested in telescoping rods for mounting the planes.

With the arrival of Wings of Glory/War, I'd prefer the 1/144 scale myself. Certainly for WW I, maybe even WW II.
As pointed out, w/the advances in tech, the planes have gotten larger, faster and the weapons combat range longer.

Personally IMHO, it would ROCK to see Korean air combat, Sabers & Migs mixing it up in 144, but think you'd have to make some 'serious' allowances for firing ranges.

A local group plays CY6 and for Korean, Vietnam and the Mideast wars games, they tend to go w/ 300's. They look good. Large enough for good detail, small enough you can put a fair number on a 4x8 table, standard out our FLGS.
In fact this past Friday, it was "Korea" and 10 – 1/300 scale fighters were in the 'battle'.

Ghecko29 Aug 2017 3:51 p.m. PST

I use 1/144 for jet dogfights – see

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