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"Starting again with WW2 wargames - What scale" Topic

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Secretface209724 Mar 2021 4:08 a.m. PST

Hi everyone,
I want to restart WW2 wargaming, but I cannot decide on the scale.
Just a few words about my background. I grew up in the 80ies and became interested in tabletop wargames in my teenage years. Back then, I was totally into Science Fiction. My first love was Battletech, followed soon by Warhammer 40k 2nd Edition.
During my University years, I also became interested in historical tabletops, mainly World War 2 (my Grandfather had the luck to be drafted in both World Wars due to being born in 1900 in Germany). I had a short affair with Flames of War, but did not like the rules and the miniatures, especially the resin/metal vehicles, as I have always preferred plastic miniatures. So I have sold everything.
Due to preferring plastic miniatures, I played a lot of Axis & Allies Miniatures. This system also had a lot of issues, the infantry and guns were really ugly but at least I liked the tanks, which I have kept until today.
I also got struck by the Bolt Action craze tangentially, since I was part of a boardgame club, where some guys were also playing Bolt Action. Therefore, I have a lot of unbuild Warlord Games miniatures in my attic, since I shifted my priorities shortly after purchase (wife, child, other stuff).
A few weeks ago, I got the idea to get back into WW2 wargaming. I already have the Chain of Command rules and a pint-sized campaign (Kursk). I am mostly interested in the Eastern Front (due to family history and some kind of Russian affection) and the Western Front after D-Day (due to Band of Brothers). Therefore, I am thinking about building at least three forces (German, Russian and US paratroopers). My current miniature situation looks like the following:

15mm scale: I have a lot of German and Russian tanks from A&AM which could be used for Chain of Command. I also have bought German Grenadiers in Normandy from PSC. A friend of mine also still has his old A&AM tanks (Russian and USA). Therefore, I was thinking about getting him onboarding after doing some demo games.

28mm scale: I have one platoon German Grenadiers, some support weapons (MG, Mortar) and three tanks (Panzer IV, Puma and StuG), one squad Russians and one squad US paratroopers, everything still in sprues.
I will list my pros and cons now for these two scales and why I am thinking also about 20mm (everything under 15mm is way too small in my opinion).

Battlefield size looks a lot more reasonable on a 6x4 table in this scale.
Miniatures and terrain are really cheap
I could play with the Flames of War guys (even though I am not eager to play the FoW rules again)
The miniatures are very small, so they could be hard to paint (although I have to admit, that I am not a very good painter at all, so this could also be an advantage)
The proportions of some miniatures do not look very realistic

Figures are looking really nice and can be individually build with the available plastic kits.
I can play with the Bolt Action people (even though I am not that eager to play the BA rules)
Soldiers, tanks and terrain (buildings) take up a lot of space on a conventional 6x4 table, so there is not a lot of room to maneuver
Miniatures and terrain are significantly more expensive than smaller scales.

I have already read a lot of threads and blogs about the scale topic on the internet, but I cannot decide. Reading these threads had the opposite effect. Now I am also thinking about starting the whole project in 1/72. I already have a few Revell kits in this scale, that are waiting to get build. I also like these Battle Sets from Italeri. I just have some concerns about the wargame usability of most of these 1/72 miniature kits. I have looked at PSR a lot, most kits seem to have so kind of random weapons. The cost benefit would then be lost, if I had to buy multiple kits to field a platoon.
So, I am pretty much stuck at this point. Do you have any recommendations based on my situation?

BillyNM24 Mar 2021 4:28 a.m. PST

You won't like it the answer, but it depends. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to table-top gaming. However, some thoughts (which obviously align with my likes) for what they are worth.

If your table is 6x4 and you want to field some armour and care about realism (ranges), then 28mm IMO is too big. Even 20mm only allows a troop (or equivalent) to be fielded and that's pushing it.
Equally if smaller than 15mm is not attractive and you don't like the Flames of War style tank fleets you're pretty much stick with a Bolt Action / Chain of Command style game (perhaps I should declare I'm a big fan of the latter).

Not so sure about BA but in CoC it helps to be able to ID your figures (at least their role/rank) so while 15mm works fine 20mm (or 1/72 or 1/76) is better. especially so if you like to 'identify with' your figures.

Availability of vehicle kits in '20mm' is pretty good but I'm less sure about figures given your aversion to metal (I use metal).
If you want to see what I think represents the pinnacle of 20mm CoC gaming then you should try out the site at the link below. If that's the sort of game you're looking for you could do worse than follow in his footsteps.


FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 4:38 a.m. PST

I have both 15mm and 28mm.
For 15mm I've used FiveCore Company Command
as well as Crossfire and The Portable Wargame.
I've liked them all.

Since you have some of both scales maybe focus on one scale to get the forces needed to play a game and see how you like it.

CoC can be played in both scales although I've only played it in 28mm.

parrskool24 Mar 2021 4:56 a.m. PST

You need to plan by asking yourself:
-How much table space do I have?
-Do I want skirmish level (20mm/15mm/24mm) or big battle (6mm/10mm/12mm)
-Do I want premade scenery
-fairly fast play or detailed

Personally, for WW2 it's either 20mm company/platoon skirmish with lots of scenery OR big battle regimental in 6mm

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 5:03 a.m. PST

I am using 20mm for my early war CoC project. I think it gives a better feel for scale on a 6x4 table than 28mm, but is, imo, just as easy to paint. I have never really been sold on 15mm for this period, don't know why, it should be suitable and there is plenty of availability with Battlefront and PSC. Larger battles I am thinking 10mm, I just like the scale.

Lucius24 Mar 2021 5:12 a.m. PST

I'm fairly new to the period as well. I love 12mm(1/144), because you get a lot of table space, but keep the detail. The new Victrix plastics are cheap, and amazing.

GunDogMiniature24 Mar 2021 5:21 a.m. PST

10/12mm is the way forward. But I don't think the Victrix plastics are good value for money.

Personal logo DColtman Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 6:03 a.m. PST

A tough question. I've done all the scales – and some more than once. I gave up on 6mm because it is quite small to see on the table, so I prefer 10/12 for large engagements. But you may still find that too small particularly for infantry. I would stick with this scale for larger engagements – BUT – I am the only one here who collects it.

SO – I have accumulated a lot of 15mm partly because I play FOW locally (so you need to have something that matches what the other kids play) and also because the model ranges are wide, easy to find and buy (even locally), lots of terrain, and you can get tank platoons on the table without looking to crowded and affordably.

I parted with my large 1-72/20mm collection and went with 28mm for infantry skirmish gaming for two reasons. The 28mm infantry options are excellent, fun to paint and look great on the table – plus I play Bolt Action locally.

For me – the compromise between aesthetics and local "playability" put me in both 15mm and 28mm for different purposes. Either of these could work for CoC although 28mm might be better, but then 15mm works for just about everything with some adapting for multiple basing (or base some dudes singly). If I had to go with one scale – probably 15mm. I think cost is a wash because smaller scales are cheaper but you need more items (terrain pieces, vehicles etc…).

Martin Rapier24 Mar 2021 7:05 a.m. PST

My WW2 stuff is a mix of 6mm, 15mm, 20mm and 54mm.

If starting from scratch I'd probably go with 15mm as a good compromise of cost, looks, storage space, ease of transportation and utility.

Second choice would be 6mm, they both work for tactical, grand tactical and operational which is where my interests lie. Any skirmish gaming we do in 54mm.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 7:15 a.m. PST

there is not one answer to your question. For large actions, I'd go for 10/12mm. For skirmish, 1/72 or larger.

thosmoss24 Mar 2021 7:37 a.m. PST

One thing to carefully consider is what gaming opportunities are around you? You don't have to be roped into a particular rule set, necessarily, but you can find yourself roped into whatever scale is popular in your area.

Skirmish action in 28mm is my go-to. But more than three tanks on the table gets really crowded.

Decebalus24 Mar 2021 8:14 a.m. PST

I am absolutely not into 20mm/1:72. For me it is to small for detail and to big for anything else. But i use both other scales, you are talking about.

15mm, based for FoW. But i use it for Spearhead and Crossfire. Biggest plus IMO is, that with man people leaving FoW, you get it cheap. Painting is simple, because of washes.

28mm. I use for CoC. It works perfect on a 6*4 table. And i have the terrain from my other projects.

But i plan to build two CoC forces in 15mm too (winter). And i like the idea of a "realistic" size.

I think, if you only want to go for one size, i would use 15mm. Cheap, but good looking. (But to play with the FoW crowd, you have also to have multibased troops.)

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 9:13 a.m. PST

Depends on scale – for skirmish/small unit I use 20mm, but since I like Grand Tactical I mostly use 6mm

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian24 Mar 2021 9:37 a.m. PST

You could easily use your A&A vehicles in 15mm, just get some infantry and guns.

15mm has lots of options, plastic, metal, resin. Lots of manufacturers too. 15mm infantry is cheap enough and easy to paint that I have both single and multi-based for the major players (Germany, UK, USSY and USA).

Lots of rules support 15mm as well (Fast Rules and Tractics as well as Command Decision, Battlefront:WW-II and Spearhead to name a few)

Grelber24 Mar 2021 10:31 a.m. PST

Looking at your collection, it seems like you are better equipped for fighting tank heavy, open area battles on the Eastern Front in 15 mm, and close country, infantry battles in Northwestern Europe in 28 mm.

So, consider developing your armies with that in mind. You already have enough Germans for a Chain of Command game, and would just need to add to your Americans and you can do CoC games in France, Belgium, and Germany. Yes, you'd still want to buy support equipment, mortars, MMGs, AT guns, even tanks, but you could be playing games fairly soon. As several people have pointed out, this allows you to identify more with the individual figures (my Italians all wear the collar patch of the Lupi di Toscana division, and I'm looking for 35th Infantry Division decals for shoulder patches for my Americans--my grandfather's division in the previous war, for example).

In the same way, you could do the vast plains of Russia in 15 mm, giving you room to maneuver. Yes, you'll need to add infantry and guns. You'd probably want to find a set of rules that is tank-centric, instead of using CoC. While philosophically this can play into the whole "faceless Commie hordes" thing, there is also the opportunity to identify with the crew of tank number 3, if that appeals to you.

As for the other things, move the 28 mm Russians to the back of your painting line, because some day you may just want to do a fight in Stalingrad, or Berlin, where things are up close and CoC is the better option.

Who also has 20 mm figures and likes them very much

Mister Tibbles24 Mar 2021 10:56 a.m. PST

I use Axis & Allies Miniatures armor in 15mm gaming. Beware that some are really 10mm. I have a Sherman I'm looking at. Back in the day when I didn't know better, I thought 15mm was actually that small, so I avoided the size/scale and went with 28mm. Later, when I got smarter and switched to 15mm, I bought A&A 15mm armor and guns cheap at cons.


I feel for you, Secretface2097! Everything looks so cool!

My personality type loves loves loves options/possibilities, seeing them in everything I do, weighing out pros/cons, learning about the systems/history. I love exploring options.

Unfortunately, no one noticed that I have a problem picking one of those options! I love them all! And I always think what would have happened if I had picked X instead of Y?

So I often wind up not picking one because I can't decide or am afraid to decide, and nothing gets done. Then regret sets in. Sigh. I envy people, like my wife and kids, who don't have this 'personality problem'. They tolerate me and learned to ignore me.

BTW a few years ago I had to take personality tests, and only learned this of this very late in my life!

TacticalPainter0124 Mar 2021 1:52 p.m. PST

There is no right or wrong answer, it really is a matter of personal taste. I play most of my WWII large skirmish (Chain of Command) in 20mm. Last night at the club we tried out the Iron Cross rules from Great Escape Games (company level) using a friends 15mm. I'm currently building a 10/12mm force for O Group (battalion level). These scales all look good and work well for each level of gaming. Could I play Iron Cross in 20mm? Yes. Could I play CoC in 15mm? Yes.

Personally I find 28mm too big for WWII, the table looks too crowded, yet it is probably the most popular scale, so I'm in a minority here. I find 6mm way too small, yet others will swear by it.

Frankly whenever anyone posts a question like this all you will get is a list of people's opinions. I'm not sure that tells you anything other than what we like.

Dexter Ward25 Mar 2021 2:10 a.m. PST

I find 20mm works for everything from skirmish to big battle. Same figures are fine for Chain of Command, IABSM, Crossfire, Battlefront:WW2 and Rommel.
But if I were starting again from scratch I'd go for 6mm; then you can have ground scale matching figure scale.

mildbill Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2021 9:42 a.m. PST

For anything but skirmish I would go with 10mm. when I started there was not enough 10mm coverage but now there is. That is why I have divisions of 15mm. Note that I do big battles with the platoon/battalion is the smallest units on the table.

TheNorthernFront25 Mar 2021 4:42 p.m. PST

I started out with 28mm, playing bolt action years back. I have to say… Bolt action is a horrible game plus 28mm is literally far too large to play on a tabletop. It's like nails on a chalkboard. It took me 2 years to finally come to this conclusion, even after moving over to Chain of Command and playing on nothing smaller than a 6x8 table. I finally moved over to 15mm and haven't looked back. I'd also say, metal figures are the only way to go. I reserve plastic for vehicles only, as long as they are weighted down appropriately. I have some 20mm AB stuff and at some point I will get it on the table, for platoon level skirmish. I think 20mm is the largest I'd ever go for WWII and I'd play 20mm on a table no smaller than 6x8. Just my 2 cents. :)

Additionally, If you're a bad painter then there is absolutely no reason to go with 28mm or even 20mm. The figure sculpts can be great but you'll be unhappy with the results.

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