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"Wither 40mm?" Topic

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MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 11:22 a.m. PST

Recently, after looking at the umpteenth offering in 28mm for Napoleonics or FIW, I wonder what it is that keeps gamers captive in that scale? Surely there must come a time when one has drunk enough from the 28mm (and 15mm) trough? Why dont more gamers want to try new scales? Especially one like 40mm that is big enough to show off Horse and Musket details, small enough not to take up much more room than 28mm in terms of basing and are not so big that they've entered the toys dimension of 54mm?

40mm seems to be dying on the vine. Supply and demand are responsible for that but is that market a rational one or rather a badge of wargaming tunnel vision? Should gamers break their 28mm OCD chains and embrace the variety that 40mm offers?

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 11:41 a.m. PST

I started in 25mm with the old Minifigs.

When I shifted down to 15mm back in 1975/6 I was told "Don't do it, wasting your money, it'll never catch on, etc."

I went down because I reduced unit foot prints and therefore increased the playing area which was a plus. My basic operational group went from en enhanced brigade to possible a small corp (if I went down to 1:50 ratio and 12 figure units).

When I went down to 10mm I got less hassle from the 15mm gamers, some 28mm gamers wanted me to move to the "One true scale" but I found I could get better looking games with lots of space to maneuver.

If I had a 28mm (probably nearer to 32mm if truth be told), collection I would be hard pressed to see the advantage on the slightly larger figures that 40mm has to offer.

Yes, there are some well sculpted figures out there in 40mm, but I don't see as much gain as moving down in size.

Now, you have to understand I for one have zero desire to go back to even 28mm so I'm not your target demographic, even if I have been a gamer for 47 years now.

mjkerner Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 11:43 a.m. PST

Why should I try a new scale if I'm happy with the one I have used for 45 years? What would I do with all my 25/28mm minis? Plus, why would I want to start my favorite periods over from scratch? I don't have the time!

And actually, if I was going to go to another scale, it would probably be 20mm. 40mm is simply too big, and it seems to not have been such a great idea for those manufactures that went route, but it's their business.

Jozis Tin Man Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 11:43 a.m. PST

No, they should break the OCD bounds and go with 6mm!!!!

My hypothesis is they probably do not want to try new scales because new scales = new terrain in many cases.

I personally have limited myself to 3mm, 6mm, and 28mm Victorian and Pulp Skirmish, and at least 3 times a ear I think about ditching the 28mm for 15mm to save storage space on terrain.

Vigilant03 Jul 2018 11:51 a.m. PST

New scales mean new terrain, new figures, basing changes for rules etc, etc. When you have invested in as much as Napoleonic players do why would you change scale? It makes no sense. For skirmish gamers it might make some sense if the figures matched other easily available bits and pieces, but I can't see the point in change for the sake of change.

Artilleryman03 Jul 2018 11:56 a.m. PST

If I was starting gain, I might consider 40mm (love the Perry and Sash & Sabre figures). However to change now and run them in 'parallel' to my 28mm collection seems a bit pointless. As Vigilant says, I am already established in a scale and all my terrain, buildings and even storage fit with it. No need to change from 28mm which is small enough for sizeable battles but big enough to show detail and t be used for skirmishes.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 12:03 p.m. PST

@mjkerner, I think you might be making my case for me.

Let's see.

Why should i use one of them new fangled auto-mo-beels when horses have been used for 5,000 years?


Manufacturers of 40mm havent done very well which proves it's not a good scale. Or is it because people dont want to retire their 28mm buggy whip?

How many 28mm Napoleonics can a man use at one time? Spread your wings and try something new to relive what it was like when you first got into the hobby.

Otherwise, one is doomed to continue saying things like: When I started wargaming we didnt have a variety of scales for the soft, snowflake-like gamers of today. There was only one figure sculpted for the French and it had to represent, line, legere and old guard. And that was the way we liked it!

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 12:11 p.m. PST

@Vigilant. I can understand some of that logic. But, why do new manufacturers continue to hit us with new ranges of the same old thing? How many french 25/28mm ranges would you say there are?

It's like there is a wargaming black hole sucking new entrants into the 28mm vortex. A place from whence even the light of gleaming bayonets cant escape.

22ndFoot03 Jul 2018 12:14 p.m. PST

I have terrain collections in 6mm, 15mm and 28mm. Not that some of the 40mm offerings are not lovely but why on earth would I need another set of – rare and more expensive – buildings?

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 12:25 p.m. PST

When I started wargaming we didnt have a variety of scales for the soft, snowflake-like gamers of today. There was only one figure sculpted for the French and it had to represent, line, legere and old guard. And that was the way we liked it!

If this was 1970 you might have a point. We had a limited number of manufacturers and it was hard to mix different miniatures in the same unit, Minfigs certainly didn't mix with Hinchcliff for example.

If you game in 28mm, and probably 15mm, there is probably no uniform in the period 1805-1815 that isn't represented by some manufacturer.

Smaller scale, yes, we've series gaps in ranges, but at that size you can substitute and let the paint job cover up a multitude of sins. Mind you I still want 10mm Spanish grenadiers that aren't just warmed over Austrians. I've zero desire to use Milliput (the modern plasticine and banana oil) to modify those manufactured.

I've just dropped a couple of hundred dollars on new buildings. If you're dealing in larger scales terrain is a lot more expensive.

So far MiniPigs you're not selling me on 40mm. BTW I did get rid of my 25s back in 1976 and my 15s back in 2008 and start an existing period in a new scale from scratch.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 12:39 p.m. PST

Well, don't worry about me, I have the means to get what I want sculpted in 40mm, which is what I'm doing. Thus, if i want to have Hessian Chevaux Legers in 40mm, by gum, I'm going to have them!

Also, I don't think I can change the face of the hobby. I'm just getting opinions about why the 40mm scale is plummeting like a frozen turkey when it's such a beautiful scale.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 12:59 p.m. PST

40mm is a niche scale. The manufacturer base is small.

That said, what / where is the actual evidence that it is failing – ?

Because the manufacturer base is limited does not mean that the scale is not popular with a small demographic.

I'm fairly positive that if sales were not worth the cost of production then people like Chris (Sash & Saber) and Doug (MSC), just to name two, would not be in business.

I'm currently purchasing 40mm figures for a F&I War project; I enjoy the larger size and ease of painting. However, I would not purchase 40mm figures in addition to a smaller scale collection I already own.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 1:10 p.m. PST

There haven't been any significant new entrants in 40mm for a while. it is true that MSC continues to do good works in 40mm but most makers have left their ranges incomplete or retired them.

For instance, Sash and Saber don't make Prussian Hussars for 1815. Perry have a sort of half finished line.

And, i don't dispute it is a niche scale. I wonder aloud why it isn't expanding in a larger than niche scale. My assumption lies on the theory that a given universe is either expanding or contracting.

You would think, for instance that colonial period skirmish gamers would be all over 40mm.

I Drink Your Milkshake03 Jul 2018 1:56 p.m. PST

I have some 40mm for Peninsula skirmish. The 40mm AWI we have used for full battles

Lion in the Stars03 Jul 2018 4:00 p.m. PST

To me, 40mm would be a skirmish scale, almost roleplaying. That's where you'd have not more than 10 models per player, probably more like 3-5 models per player. If you've played Battletech, I'm thinking that level of detail per model.

I've seen some gorgeous 40mm Samurai, for example, and I think I've seen Sharpe's Rifles in 40mm as well.

But the problem is definitely terrain.

When I first got into 15mm gaming, branching out from 28mm, I made a conscious decision that I would keep as much as possible to those two scales. 28mm for Infinity, roleplaying, and maybe 40k/Fantasy, 15mm for everything else. Sadly, that fell apart when someone ran a Robotech/Macross kickstarter in 6mm scale, so now I have some 6mm terrain as well.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 5:16 p.m. PST

"But the problem is definitely terrain."

Excellent point. For my F&I War project I will be scratchbuilding a fort, cabins, etc.

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 5:33 p.m. PST

Terrain and the fact that many others have already invested in 28mm makes it tough for 40mm. However I think MSC and S&S are doing well and are producing new figures.

I have the Little Britons range from Spencer Smith, great figures. Historifigs are bringing out the old Scruby range.

Nowdays whenever I get the urge to do a new period I look first to see what's available in 40mm

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 5:50 p.m. PST


Wow, their 45mm Napoleonic range has dismounted french Dragoons!


I couldnt find the 40mm Spanish American war figs though.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 6:07 p.m. PST

Sash and saber have in 40 mm

2. AWI
3. FIW
4.WAR OF 1812
6. ACW
9. ECW
12. Caesars Gallic wars
13.7 years war
14. WAR of 1812
In no particular order.

Now I know it will be argued that these ranges are not "complete" -- but the available figures make it possible to put on a good reasonable game in all these periods even if it is not possible to have every single troop type available?

Russ Dunaway

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 7:26 p.m. PST

I just love when I see everybody sticking up for their favorite scale. I know over the years that my tastes have changed and so has the scale of the figures I game with. As long as you enjoy the scale and period you are gaming with I see no problem. I don't have a problem with terrain either. I use 28mm roads, fences, trees, bridges,hills and three complete forts, a log settlement and an Indian village all made for the FIW in 28mm. My figures work fine with them. I do have a scratch build American Colonial Village had made for me by my father in 40mm. But all works well together. I mount my 40mm figures individually on washers and we have loads of fun. Nobody has to defend their scale they enjoy to me. I understand and will continue to plug ahead with my scale as you do yours.
Enjoy gaming!!! By the way, I have 687 painted 40mm figures in my FIW range and 1,984 painted 40mm figures in my AWI range.
Oh and my 40mm medieval figures are 569 painted up.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 7:33 p.m. PST

Minipigs, if you just wait a few years, you'll be able to buy "super-heroic 28mm" castings which will be quite compatible with your 40mm ones. I think the Star Wars people are quite close already.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 7:54 p.m. PST

@Old Glory,

Wow, you must really like the War of 1812; so good you mentioned it twice!

I dont think incompleteness needs to be argued here in any sense. And it isnt even a case where gamers who have no intention of buying anything are suggesting making up winners such as Danish Napoleonic or Rush's Lancers. Rather, there are oodles of valuable additions in all those ranges tantalizingly dangled, seemingly in perpetuity, in front of 40mm fans.

Just some frustrations concerning Sash and Saber include the fact that the Zulu range which could be very cool, has no British troops other than the foot and cant even be bothered to finish one "coming attraction" pack for the Zulu Command!
Something which keeps me from buying any at all. Without the Zulu command I couldn't even feel comfortable doing Rorkes Drift over and over which seems to be the only theme of that range.

Now, your own favorite, the War of 1812 also teases people with phantasmagorical delights like British Marines Rockets and West Indian troops. Now without the rockets red glare just what sort of War of 1812 does one have? Hmm, hmm?

It's true that some of the other ranges are very, very good such as the Napoleonics and the FIW (The Indians are amazing) but even the Napoleonics are missing Mounted and Dismounted French Dragoons and various staff officers.

What else is getting released I wonder that's distracting from a dozen or two 40mm packs from getting made up? It would seem a good guess that the demand just isnt there otherwise the ranges would get completed pronto.

I have to believe that, otherwise someone is just being cruel. :)

gisbygeo Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2018 10:28 p.m. PST

@minipigs, you argue as if people need to defend not being interested in a new scale: 'Why should i use one of them new fangled auto-mo-beels when horses have been used for 5,000 years?'

You aren't offering cars instead of horses, you are just offering bigger horses, when I already have horses that work just fine. 40mm figures are not a technological advance. They are just bigger.

The reason I don't game with 40mm figures is that they offer me nothing that the figures I already have don't provide, and that they come with requirements for new terrain, etc. There is no benefit (that is of value to me) in using them.

wmyers03 Jul 2018 11:07 p.m. PST

Lack of opponents with the same scale (40mm).

Size is probably intimidating (heck, I am thinking 28 is too large – 1/72 would be better and I'm thinking 15mm would be awesome – any semblance of realism needs FAR greater distances than we have been using for firearms).

Dexter Ward04 Jul 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

What advantages do 40mm offer over 28mm?
They are more expensive and take up more room.
If you want more detail, 54mm has a bigger range of figures available and lots of scenery.
40mm is neither one thing nor the other
(Mind you, I think that about 15mm; if I want to go smaller, 6mm is the place to be)

Whirlwind04 Jul 2018 10:57 a.m. PST

I think the Perrys' 42mm Napoleonic Range is a thing of beauty:


But I find skirmishes in 28mm are horrible enough for ground scale and buildings, never mind big battles, so not for me for wargaming.

Lion in the Stars04 Jul 2018 3:00 p.m. PST

(heck, I am thinking 28 is too large 1/72 would be better and I'm thinking 15mm would be awesome any semblance of realism needs FAR greater distances than we have been using for firearms).

Well, if you get down to 3mm you can do actual ground scale. At 3mm (1/600 nominal scale), 6"=100yards.

You could technically do actual ground scale in 6mm, too, 12"=100yards, but that needs a very large table.

I've been debating 15mm minis on 1/600 ground scale, but you end up with about 80 minis per battalion, plus skirmishers.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP05 Jul 2018 9:12 a.m. PST

Perrys range may be a thing of beauty but it is incomplete and they show no signs of adding to it.

Garth in the Park Inactive Member05 Jul 2018 11:00 a.m. PST

Have you talled up what a smallish "army" in 40mm would cost? And since you probably don't have an opponent in that scale, make that TWO armies.

How much does one artillery battery and limber cost in 40mm?

People can make their own terrain relatively cheaply, but what about storage? Most people don't have the space to store 40mm armies and terrain.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP05 Jul 2018 4:43 p.m. PST

Sure I have. I dont find it massively more expensive than 28mm and I am happy to make up both sides. Are limbers easy to find in 40mm?

I would think with the "graying" of the hobby, that cost would be irrelevant compared to the "toys" men treat themselves to in other areas. I know that compared to some of my other hobbies, 40mm sized battalions are a drop in the proverbial bucket.

I think I have storage issues for terrain myself but frankly I feel most 28mm terrain works fine.

Lion in the Stars05 Jul 2018 7:45 p.m. PST

People can make their own terrain relatively cheaply, but what about storage? Most people don't have the space to store 40mm armies and terrain.

If 40mm is all you do, storage is not that bad.

It's when you have 6mm and 15mm historical for multiple theaters and 15mm scifi and 28mm historical and 28mm Gothic Scifi and 28mm clean scifi and 40mm and terrain ad nauseam that you don't have any storage space!

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2018 5:34 p.m. PST

Another challengew facing 40mm is that there are so many ranges in 28/15 for most periods that many would not invest in another scale for the same period plus new ones keep coming out. Also I believe the new paradigm is multiple poses even for periods like AWI and Napoleonics and some of the 40mm ranges don't offer that.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2018 9:46 p.m. PST

Yeah I can partly see that. I am a new entrant and I dont have a figure collection so there's nothing stopping me from using 40mm. However, the question is, why dont other new entrants select 40mm? If everyone they're fighting against already has significant 28/15mm collections then why would they get swept up into those scales? Some clubs have tens of thousands of figures at their disposal. Additionally, how can it be that someone with 3 complete French Napoleonic Corps wants to buy a new range of French Napoleonics that gets released?

Why not, instead, do a 40mm army to offer a new scale to one's club?

No, There is something else at play here besides the size of the ranges which suggests to me a go-along-to-get-along mentality.

It's not true that AWI in 40mm doesn't have variety. In fact, it may be the most represented period in 40mm and anyone who selects from Sash and Saber, Trident and Front Rank has an embarrassment of riches.

It is true, as you say, though that many 40mm ranges are incomplete but they are often incomplete because there is not enough interest which makes it all a chicken vs egg issue.

Lion in the Stars07 Jul 2018 11:35 p.m. PST

Like we said, @MiniPigs, it's terrain. When you have thousands of 15mm minis and appropriate terrain, plus 28mm minis and terrain, well, adding yet another even bigger set of terrain may be contra-indicated.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2018 10:36 a.m. PST

28mm terrain usually works well with 40mm but if people want to believe that terrain is an obstacle, then I have to accept it in an age where voters have a right to believe their own facts :)

Nine pound round08 Jul 2018 10:50 a.m. PST

40mm terrain would be really hard to repurpose- but with 15mm, you can get away with using 10mm terrain with either Napoleonics or 1:285 micro-armor. I think that kind of flexibility is a consideration for some players.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2018 11:02 a.m. PST

Does anyone even make 40mm terrain?

I have put 28mm houses next to 40mm units of miniatures and they look just fine to me.

My observation is still that the inertia of group think is what is blocking 40mm, nothing more.

Nine pound round08 Jul 2018 12:14 p.m. PST

I don't know: I decided to use 10mm for my 15mm Napoleonics because I figured I could easily repurpose it for Microarmor and Command Decision, if my son ever developed an interest in that. So I never really considered 28mm, let alone 40.

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2018 11:08 a.m. PST

40mm is useful for a Bofors gun. That is all.


MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2018 2:07 p.m. PST

And, from the pov of this Giants fan, that's one more use than the Buffalo Bills ever had. :)

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