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"Best Scale For Gaming Nam" Topic

25 Posts

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26 Nov 2018 6:24 a.m. PST
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Lee49424 Nov 2018 11:20 p.m. PST

I'm sure this has been asked before but what is the best scale for gaming Skirmish Level Nam? I'm defining "best" as having the widest selection of readily available minis, vehicles and scenics. Thanks!

repaint25 Nov 2018 2:36 a.m. PST

I was planning to do it in 10mm. I bought everything I could think of but thinking of making the terrain eventually killed the project.

To me, 10mm was a good compromise after a lot of thinking (space, scope, cost).

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2018 2:51 a.m. PST

For skirmish, presumably with smaller forces, I'd say 15mm+ scale would be a good choice. Lots of stuff in 15mm, 20mm, and 25mm/28mm.

10mm will work, but with such small figs, I see them as best suited to larger games with more forces for each side, and/or where you want lots of maneuvering room without any contact between the sides.

Andoreth25 Nov 2018 2:53 a.m. PST

The widest selection these days is available in 15mm, just off the top of my head you have Battlefront (figures, equipment and buildings), Peter Pig (figures, equipment, buildings and spare heads to allow you to produce unique figures), Flashpoint (figures and equipment), Gomi Designs (boats), Timecast (buildings), Old Glory and QRF (both figures and equipment). I'm sure others can add to this list.

Green Tiger25 Nov 2018 4:10 a.m. PST

Surely one of the attractions of this conflict is the lack of vehicles and the plethora of small unit actions that can be reproduced? Do it in 1/6 in the garden…

Dynaman878925 Nov 2018 4:28 a.m. PST

6mm, GHQ miniatures has everything you need. You can also play out helicopter assaults and Riverine battles in a small space footprint. Use them with the Charlie Don't Surf rules from TFL and the ground and figure scales would match.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2018 5:37 a.m. PST

The Eureka Minis in 28mm scale look really great to me, and prices are reasonable:


There are others, with some less expensive, at least for the minis – not sure, once you add in shipping.

The larger scale is good for search and destroy missions and skirmishes, but you can add in armor and helos if you want too.

I'd go with 15mm, or 20mm, if you want big battles of a couple of platoons, or a company or more per side.

Here's a previous discussion, and/or discussions on the subject, as well as links to some manufacturers:

TMP link


VCarter25 Nov 2018 7:10 a.m. PST

The Eureka Vietnam range is actually true 25mm and is very small compared to the other 25/28mm figures on the market.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2018 7:27 a.m. PST

20mm has beautiful figures from Elheim. Also very nice figures from Platoon 20, Liberation, Britannia and one in Australia whose name escapes me. You can even get 1/72 plastic.

But the real advantage in availability is the aircraft. Reasonable priced 1/72 scale plastic kits with clear canopies. All sorts of different models of Huey, both slicks and gunships are available. Also Cobra gunships, OH-6 Loaches for air cavalry scouts and even the old OH-13 scout that was used even as late as 1969. H-43 are available in a die cast model for USMC and Kingbees.

I don't use jets in my games, but I do use the Cessna 0-2 for forward air controllers and also the Skyraider, often referred to as a Spad in Vietnam.

Civilians are available from Platoon 20.

Tanks, APCs, trucks, jeeps, etc are available from Britannia, Liberation and another whose name escapes me. These are in resin.

Britannia, Ironclad and others make bunkers, trenches, sandbag walls, etc.

What's more in 20mm you can see the figures and the detail. They are a wonderful compromise between 15mm and 28mm.


Londonplod25 Nov 2018 7:31 a.m. PST

SHQ have a range of 20mm figures that are nicely detailed but more like 1/76 in stature. Britannia have a good range in 20mm but are chunky in size but have character.

Tgunner25 Nov 2018 8:54 a.m. PST

It really depends on what you have in mind. Skirmish really covers a lot of ground so your level of focus determines everything. Also your pocket book has a say in this matter too!

If you're doing small scale bush fights to the level where you really care that Private Roberts is carrying an M60 then 25mm+, or even 15mm, is the scale you want.

If you're bringing in armor and planning on fighting larger fights with a company or more on the table then 10mm to 15mm is your scale. You can still see the grunts pretty well but the focus has moved from the individual soldier to the team and vehicle level.

If you're wanting lots of vehicles like swarms of choppers, whole companies of armored units, and so on (you really want to play the Black Horse in full scale or you want to fully refight the Ia Drang with the 7th Cavalry) then you're looking at 3mm-6mm. So people might think this is a battle game but honestly… is a fight with a couple of companies really a battle?

So define what you consider to be a *skirmish* and decide how much *focus* you want and where you want it. Finally, look at the price point that fits what you want and go for it. Smaller scales give up detail but substitute lower per unit costs. So a *skirmish* that involves the better part of a mech company would be better in 6mm to 15mm than in 28mm (Hello $30 USD+ per vehicle at that scale where 6mm is more like $2 USD or so dollars per vehicle).

Legion 425 Nov 2018 9:21 a.m. PST

Yes IMO too 6mm GHQ has all you need. One of the great things about 6mm overall is the ranges are closer to reality, etc.

Of course with most of the engagements in Vietnam/SE Asia, the many firefights were generally at very close range. Or even MOUT in Hue.

Personal logo Buckeye AKA Darryl Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2018 9:58 a.m. PST

Skirmish level and if I had space for storage and a large table, I would go with 20mm for the reasons Garryowen has put forth. The amount of die cast and plastic kitds, along with the many companies who make figures in that scale, really provides one with just about everything.

That being said, I have 15mm for skirmish. Works well, although the choices of minis are a bit more limited. Peter Pig, Battlefront (or whatever they are called), Khurasan, Flashpoint, and maybe a couple of others I am forgetting about, all make good figures. If you want to use the same terrain you could could back to the 1950s and game Indochina with Eureka's nice range.

D A THB25 Nov 2018 4:43 p.m. PST

I use 28mm figures and vehicles, but then I have an 10x 6 table at home. I also bought some 6mm which I have not done much with.

I think if I were to start again I'd go with 20mm for the reasons Tom states above. Also
I would have finished painting everything by now.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2018 5:14 p.m. PST

6mm–15mm to have riverine boats and helicopters with room to maneuver them. I prefer 10mm–15mm to be better able to identify infantry weapons out on the table.

VCarter25 Nov 2018 6:17 p.m. PST

WWII was known as the Company Commanders war and Vietnam was know as the Platoon Leaders war.

I went with 28mm for my collection.

Lion in the Stars26 Nov 2018 12:21 a.m. PST

I'd probably say 15mm or 20mm. Lots of 1/72 scale models available to go with 20mm minis, and almost as many in 15mm or 1/100.

I'm not sure I'd push below 12mm (1/144 scale), personally.

I game Vietnam in 15mm, I got in with FoW.

Bismarck26 Nov 2018 8:26 a.m. PST

I have to agree with Gary Owen on 20mm. I have a mix of RAFM and Platoon 20. Both are great lines of figs and compatible.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2018 9:03 a.m. PST

I agree with Garyowen. I don't think you can beat the model and die cast selection that is available in 1/72.

Legion 426 Nov 2018 9:13 a.m. PST

6mm–15mm to have riverine boats and helicopters with room to maneuver them.
thumbs up

Of course if just doing a skirmish, say Plt or below, 15-25mm would work too …

Joe Legan30 Nov 2018 3:16 p.m. PST

Agree with Tgunner; what do you mean by skirmish? 1 squad per side= 28mm
1-3 squads per side plus a couple of vehicles 15 or 20mm. 15 probably has more figures, 20 more model kits as has been noted.
1-3 platoons= 6 or 10 mm depending on space and money.
I personally do 1-2 squads plus a vehicle and I like a true ground scale so went with 15mm.

Good luck! It is a fun period whatever scale you chose!


uglyfatbloke04 Dec 2018 7:40 a.m. PST

Table size is a factor. We use 28mm but we have a 6 x 12 table with masses of scenery and generally play company (ish) engagements.

ScoutJock05 Dec 2018 9:40 a.m. PST

6mm 1/285 all the way!

Firebase Lulu


Blues platoon waiting for choppers to refuel


ARVN Armored Cavalry sweeping the palm grove


US Armored Cavalry blocking force


VC mortars in jungle clearing ready to pound Lulu


VC defending the village


VC reinforcements entering the village


VC ready to ambush the blocking force






capt jimmi09 Jan 2019 5:39 a.m. PST

I game in 15mm and love this scale for Vietnam gaming because it's small enough to have a battle with three or four things happening simultaneously (like 6mm) but large enough that smaller 'recon' games (think a six-man patrol) are practical.
There has been a amazing increase in the available vehicle models , figures, boats and terrain available in the last six years-ish , and 1/100 aircraft or 1/144 aircraft are cheap and easy to find. AFAIK the only items you can't get in '15mm' is an A37 Dragonfly and an OV10 Bronco (altho' one of these in in the pipeline) .

All of that said ; my mates also game in 6mm which would be my next preference for Vietnam gaming and looks as effective as in the above photos .

Part of why I enjoy Vietnam games is the intrinsic "3D" aspect with potentially many aircraft (eg. observers, scouts, fire support, transports) orbiting over the table at some times. I've not seen this represented so well in the larger scales.
More 'space' on the table also means the guerillas/recon teams (etc) have more chance to use their mobility and concealment rather than have to directly 'face off' with their opponents as is typical with the WW2-ish 'model' of battle-game .

Favourite scale is likely best determined by the size of action you enjoy playing the most, and what works best with the rules you're using.

Legion 409 Jan 2019 8:54 a.m. PST

@ScoutJock … Love it !!!! 6mm is the best !!!! For anything bigger than a Sqd or Plt sized skirmish game. thumbs up

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