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"Voluntary Standards Body for Scale?" Topic

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14 Jun 2019 4:59 a.m. PST
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian08 Jan 2018 9:15 p.m. PST

Do you wish there was an organization which certified the size of manufacturer's figures?

attilathepun4708 Jan 2018 9:38 p.m. PST

Yes, very much.

Cyrus the Great08 Jan 2018 10:01 p.m. PST

A very pie in the sky question. Each manufacturer wants you to use its miniatures over anyone else.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2018 1:41 a.m. PST

No, the size problem is overrated.

There are very few say 28mm figures that can't be used in the same army with little problem, yes they can have different styles and sizes. But on a table of hundreds of figures, it won't be noticed.

Like I had a spare unpainted unit of musketeer miniatures GNW Swedes, they are very different from my other GNW Swedes which are all Warfare, Warfare is a lot slimmer and have many different poses, while the chunky musketeer miniatures have only 2 poses for their musketeers.

Yet once it was painted standing next to my warfare battalion it was not noticeable.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jan 2018 2:27 a.m. PST

Try asking the guys who herd cats, they might be able to help.

Winston Smith09 Jan 2018 3:20 a.m. PST

A thousand times NO.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2018 5:27 a.m. PST


deephorse09 Jan 2018 5:58 a.m. PST

No. And it would only be voluntary anyway? So what would be the point? And who would pay for it? Probably we who buy the figures via a small price increase.

Winston Smith09 Jan 2018 6:07 a.m. PST

Measure from the middle of the kneecap to the tip of the nose.
This will account for kneeling figures.

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2018 6:13 a.m. PST

I'm not sure about certification. However, I would love to see the Barrett Scale applied to current figures.

Recently, I purchased (or maybe I should say rented) some 1898 figures to use with my other Spanish American War figures (Old Glory and Tiger). The 1898 figures were great, however, there was no way I could put them on the same table with the balance of my collection.

zoneofcontrol09 Jan 2018 6:43 a.m. PST

Should we also have one for gamer's figures?

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2018 7:07 a.m. PST

Pretty much have to agree with others here … No … frown Now since I generally only do sci-fi these days, it's not really too much of a problem.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jan 2018 8:47 a.m. PST


And it would only be voluntary anyway? So what would be the point?

The Internet is voluntary. Tons of standardized car rating systems are voluntary. Same for food standards.

Voluntary systems can have less, as much, or more of a positive impact on an industry as mandatory ones.

And who would pay for it? Probably we who buy the figures via a small price increase.


And, FTR, I am one of the people who doesn't have problems mixing the various "different" scales, styles, and other things that affect morphology as represented in minis.

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2018 10:26 a.m. PST

What would this organization accomplish?

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2018 10:32 a.m. PST


I don't mind mixing and matching figures, but I want to know if they come even close to working with each other.

NMRA standards are voluntary for model railroad manufacturers. The model railroad buying public did a great service when they instituted this.

We're not even talking about manufacturing standards for miniatures, just accurately labelling the products. I want truth in advertising and don't want to spend so much time researching any possible new purchase to find out that a 15/18mm (which really means 18) is actually more like 20mm), or a 25mm/28mm (ditto) is really 32mm.

All the voices against having standard labelling practices were brought up when The Courier proposed the Barrett Measurement way back when. I just don't understand the complaints against asking for simple truth in advertising.

I sure appreciated that Courier Reviews used the Barrett Measurements in their reviews. There's always a little room for subjective judgement, but I found that they were always super helpful for assessing new products.

Old Contemptibles09 Jan 2018 11:00 a.m. PST

This thread is funny.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jan 2018 11:45 a.m. PST

I would support the idea of simply asking manufacturers to TELL us, when reasonably asked, what the distance is from bottom of boot/shoe/foot to top of eyes.

This can't be considered proprietary information, and while whoever we speak to on the phone might not at that moment be able to grab a sample figure and make the measurement while we wait, it's not too much to ask for.

As a manufacturer myself, I actually OWE that information to my potential customers, and certainly when asked. Having said that, I now feel obligated to provide that information on the page with the other data about each range we offer.

As consumers, why can't we simply ask the manufacturer for this information before we invest in their product?

Indeed, why would it be a problem to provide a page here at TMP where the consumers--if not manufacturers--send in their own measurements of figures of a notional scale in a given subject? Not for every figure in the, say, Foundry Napoleonic ranges, just an infantryman and perhaps the height of the horse from top of head to bottom of hoof. For most manufacturers, these measurements tend to be constant within like ranges, and frequently across multiple ranges.

Such a page could be part of the FAQ here, and updated by maker/subject/scale as individuals provide their own measurements. In the event of discrepancies between two entries, subsequent measurements by others would certainly establish the norm.

I, too, have been burnt buying figures ostensibly of one scale to find they have little in common with what I had hoped to add them to. I have also chickened out of other purchases for fear of repeating the mistake.

And if any company fears that by providing their own measurements they might lose sales, surely they will also pick up sales from those reassured that any differences are within their own standards.

I don't see why this sort of thing hasn't already happened sometime in at least the last thirty or forty years ago.


Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2018 1:26 p.m. PST

A page here would be difficult to sort and search.
A linked wiki would work superbly.

MajorB09 Jan 2018 3:06 p.m. PST

Do you wish there was an organization which certified the size of manufacturer's figures?

What a completely daft idea.

Timbo W09 Jan 2018 4:23 p.m. PST

Plastic Soldier Review do show heights for 1/72 plastics. Madaxemans comparison page is very useful for 15mm figures.

But I agree it's usually niot a huge problem, I know the issue is really weapon sizes, but Prince Rupert was 6 foot 4 while Charles I was 5 foot 3 until he became considerably shorter in 1649 of course.

XRaysVision09 Jan 2018 6:37 p.m. PST

First off, xxmm is not a scale, it's a size.

20mm is a size.
1:72nd is a scale.

Size tells you how big something is.
Scale tells you the ratio between measurements.

The Barrett method has been used for decades. It is the SIZE of the figure from the soles of the feet to the eyes. This method of measurement precludes head gear throwing off the result. Since human body proportions are pretty much easily averaged (any artist's anatomy book will provide all the information you need) kneeling figures are easily extrapolated. Although the usual practice is simply to use a standing figure from the same line.

In the absence of manufacturers providing a Barrett measurement, one can simply ask them for it. When writing reviews, provide that measurement. If reviews don't provide it, than ask in the comments for online reviews of as the print magazine via email.

In other words, instead of asking manufacturers to do it, just start doing it yourself. Publishers and manufacturers will soon figure out that the buying public wants this information.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jan 2018 6:43 a.m. PST

I don't see why this sort of thing hasn't already happened sometime in at least the last thirty or forty years ago.

This is a common problem with voluntary standards bodies. While the use of standards in an industry almost always provides benefits across the board, the initial investment is always a cost, there are always small minuses and no guarantee of the plusses (how many, how much, and how will they be distributed across the industry). These concerns are compounded by lack of insight into the effect of the standard on partners and competitors.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2018 9:59 a.m. PST

In other words, instead of asking manufacturers to do it, just start doing it yourself. Publishers and manufacturers will soon figure out that the buying public wants this information.

Alas, they never started doing it after The Courier begun citing the measurements in all of their figure reviews. Don't think they'll figure it out the next time either.

XRaysVision10 Jan 2018 10:23 a.m. PST

miniMo, you're probably right. But I still maintain that if the manufacturer's don't do it, then reviewers and gamers should. And there's no reason to re-invent the wheel. The Barrett method is perfectly serviceable and is well known to veteran gamers. It just needs to be socialized amongst the current community.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2018 11:10 a.m. PST

I'm with VCarter: let's get a little truth in advertising and see where that gets us. Of course, I'm the sort of person who wants the basing system of a new rules set to be visible through the shrink wrap.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jan 2018 12:25 p.m. PST

And there's no reason to re-invent the wheel.
Oldest Wooden Wheel

No doubt you have a set of these on your car.

Not that I have a problem with the Barrett approach. The point of the OP is should there be a standards body that both advocates for the standard and validates that people are doing it correctly. That is, consistently.

There is a difference between I say this model is 28mm and the known, accepted XYZ organization says I know what I am saying when I say this model is 28mm.

Speaking of inventing wheels and perfectly good standards, where is the sole and eye on a Whippet?

Measure me!

Dynaman878910 Jan 2018 6:02 p.m. PST


XRaysVision11 Jan 2018 5:58 a.m. PST

etotheipi, there's a difference between refining a design and starting over. The term "reinventing the wheel" generally refers to the latter.

As to a governing body; nope, won't happen. However, my point is that, in spite of that, there are already de facto standards that can, and should, be applied by gamers and reviewers to facilitate communication.

Old Contemptibles11 Jan 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

Nice in theory but I doubt it would work in practice.

XRaysVision11 Jan 2018 9:42 a.m. PST

It worked for decades. It's only been in the last 5-10 years that the Barrett method has fallen out of common use. So, empirically, it has been shown that it can work.

Common model scales are the same. There is no governing body" Model scales are just common use, de facto standards. Go back far enough and you will find that models were manufactured to a size that fit the box.

Same is true of 15mm, 25mm, etc. They denoted the size of figure that was roughly comparable to a model train scale.

The sizes of figures today are a result of evolution. There are demonstrable application of "standards" entering common use driven by the users themselves.

UshCha30 Apr 2018 11:50 a.m. PST

I WANT SCALE FIGURES, height is not enough. I want figures with plausible weapons and plausible limbs. One of my so-called 12mm figures (approxinatly 1/144 scale) has a Milan Barrel 2mm in diameter. That is larger than the demolition gun on a Churchill pretty much. Detail at the expence of scale is worthless, just makes them look stupid against the equivalent scale vehicle.

Last Hussar28 May 2018 1:21 p.m. PST

They should quote scale, not size. Then length of, say, a Bren is known, but different manufacturers make them different sizes on the same size figure.

I never knew the ridiculousness of measuring to the eye had a name.

Metryx07 Nov 2018 7:15 p.m. PST

Here I can sign for real scales?

UshCha17 Nov 2018 3:00 a.m. PST

Interestingly in a post on Tmp I showed scale figures vs circus freaks l.e with massively oversized limbs so the sculptor could reproduce massively oversize details. Thing was folk prefer the circus freaks over a more simple(because of being actual scale) figures. So its not just getting the height in scale it would need some sort of scale for circus freakiness. A freak scale probably 1 (real scale) to about 3 limbs oversized by a factor of 3. Some plastic figures, like Revell run to a freak scale of around 1. Many metal figures look to be in the region of freak scale 2 possibly a bit more at the smaller sizes.

Master Caster09 Dec 2018 8:15 a.m. PST

Not sure exactly what Mr. Editor defines as ‘certified' but if it's asking about an organization or Board type of entity to create standards then I'd say it is about fifty years too late and just as unworkable now if one did exist back then.
I recall very vividly the conversation I had with Dick Bryant so many years ago in his basement while collating one of the Courier issues in lieu of gaming that night. Back then I was a married college student with little pocket money and expressed my frustration when I received some samples of a figure line that would not blend in well with the armies I was building. Dick said he had been receiving a slew of samples from different makers for review in the Courier and he asked me for some ideas since the scales, design and oddities were all over the place, so-to-speak.
I wrote a short article suggesting how wargaming figures could be described consistently in reviews. Dick liked the method – called it the BMS – and I thought he was joking until it showed up in print.
It was not a system setting any standard or certifying any sort of compliance to a standard within the hobby industry. It was simply a way to describe the size and heft of a figure so readers and reviewers thinking of purchasing figures from a certain manufacturers product line might know beforehand if the figures would fit in with their own figures or armies abuilding.
The eye level to the bottom of the feet solved the problem of the different types of headgear where the top of the head wasn't discernible for a good measurement. It also solved the problem of different thicknesses of figure bases. A code to describe the heft of the figure was suggested by Dick and was the same code or way to describe the build on a human body; L was light build, M was medium build and H was heavy. Thus a 27H was a 27mm figure from the eyes to the bottom of the foot for a figure standing straight and was thickly designed or cast. The heft code was the only interpretive aspect of the thing – a light build to some could be medium to another viewer. Oddities or freakness – if you will – would be added as a post note and consisted of things like overly thick or thin bases, anatomically incorrect features such large hands, out of scale accoutrements or weapons, and inconsistencies of design within a product line from a particular figure maker. (This last category usually meant different sculptors worked with a figure line or period for a manufacturer and the result was varied product features.)
We were not trying to establish a system whereby all 15mm figures ‘should' be 15mm between the eyeballs and the bottom of the feet or the same for any other differently sized figures such as 25 or 30mm figures. Not at all.
It was all just a way to describe and review figures before Mr Gamer spent hard earned bucks on something that might be very incompatible with war game figures already in hand and being painted and gamed with.
Toby Barrett
Thoroughbred Figures

Old Contemptibles09 Dec 2018 9:09 p.m. PST

Yes I do.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2018 9:25 p.m. PST

Humans don't come in standard body sizes.


Last Hussar01 Jan 2019 7:37 a.m. PST

Weapons do. Someones 28mm is different to someone elses, and the length of the weapon changes. We should stop saying 'Scale' when we mean 'notional size'.

Figures should use scale – e.g. 1/56, 1/72.
BTW 15mm is NOT 1/100, nor is 10mm 1/150.

UshCha01 Jan 2019 11:10 a.m. PST

Last Hussain, I agree I use 1/144 which means roughly a 5 ft 8 man sole to top of skull is 12mm. However I have the odd 5 ft 4 man for fun. Different sizes same scale.

Last Hussar01 Jan 2019 11:23 a.m. PST

Measure the gun…!

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