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"Printed 28mm vehicles are too small." Topic

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Old Contemptible03 Feb 2023 9:21 p.m. PST

I buy 28mm WWII vehicles and often times they are printed copies. About half time I get them and they are too small. I recently order some tanks from a store on Etsy and when I got them they looked like toys next to my Bolt Action and Crusader infantry. I am not sure what I am asking here but I would like to know why this keeps happening.

Greylegion03 Feb 2023 9:45 p.m. PST

Are you sure that they shipped 28mm miniatures? Those that are small, are they coming from the same vendor?

Thresher0103 Feb 2023 10:13 p.m. PST

I always ask for actual dimensions, and then do the scale calculations myself, just to be sure.

Arjuna04 Feb 2023 12:38 a.m. PST

What scale are your 28mm (high I suppose) miniatures?
And what scale was specified in the offer of those prints?

Steamingdave204 Feb 2023 2:54 a.m. PST

A lot of so called "28mm" miniatures are actually about "32mm". Time we ditched all of this "Xmm"" nonsense and manufacturers actually quoted scale of their models accurately.

Arjuna04 Feb 2023 4:23 a.m. PST

and manufacturers actually quoted scale of their models accurately

Yes, but often there are multiple scales on one miniature.
A different one for each part of the body, hands, head, legs, and torso.
Not to speak of Equipment and weapons.
And since I already had these discussions thirty years ago, I assume that little will change in the next thirty.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2023 5:24 a.m. PST

When I 3d print my WWII vehicles, I do so at 1/56 as that is the right scale for me. I have seen 28mm vehicles printed everywhere from 1/60 to 1/48, so there is some variance out there for 28mm' miniatures.

Mr Elmo04 Feb 2023 5:50 a.m. PST

I was matching 15mm but the process for 28mm is the same. I printed a hull and compared it to Battlefront. Did some measuring and math then made my platoon at 93%.

I tried measuring before printing in the slicer but that didn't work as well.

rustymusket04 Feb 2023 7:11 a.m. PST

Never assume things are the scale they say they are, especially the newly popped up 3D printing places. They can be all over the board. You need to tread carefully.That is what I have found. If you find a good shop, stick with that one as much as possible.

Steamingdave204 Feb 2023 7:40 a.m. PST

You may be right, but it is surely not beyond the skill of a decent sculptor to keep everything close to the same scale. I appreciate that there may be practical reasons to make some parts slightly larger than scale, but I think most gamers of WW2 are concerned about the height of figures matching vehicles. The introduction of concepts such as " heroic scale 28mm" make tings even trickier.

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Feb 2023 8:21 a.m. PST

A lot of sculptors don't watch the scale. I have one brand I was printing that had a few different Sherman tanks and they didn't always match each other. Their 28mm MKIII came out about 20mm. I had to adjust the file and print it again. I canceled my account with this one.

Bashytubits04 Feb 2023 10:02 a.m. PST

When I digitally sculpt vehicles I always use real world dimensions and calculate the scales myself. There are lots of substantial size differences between different figure manufacturers. True 28mm is 1/56, the larger 32mm "Heroic" figures are better suited to 1/48 for a proper "look". This is one of the reason I self taught myself to digitally sculpt so that I could make everything myself and have it all match. The real problem is that it takes hundreds of hours to make something like a complete line of figures and vehicles for any more modern period. I am getting older and I only have so much time you know.

JMcCarroll04 Feb 2023 11:21 a.m. PST

"I am getting older and I only have so much time you know."

Unfortunately true dat!

blank frank05 Feb 2023 8:18 a.m. PST

Didn't someone post a photo which compared a war time Sherman tank with infantry hugging the side with a photo of Bolt Actions Sherman and figures similarly posed to show it was too small?

Anyhow we didn't have this problem back in 70's mixing Airfix with Rocco minitanks was never a problem :)

Arjuna05 Feb 2023 9:24 a.m. PST

Didn't someone post a photo which compared a war time Sherman tank with infantry hugging the side with a photo of Bolt Actions Sherman and figures similarly posed to show it was too small?

The Bolt Action Sherman may be 1/56.
Assuming it is, he can't be too small, simply because he is the scale they specified.
The Bolt Action Infantry is something else.
Probably about 1/50.
And not just because they're standing on their bases.
Note, they run ducked, the guys from the 9th at Sprimont on the historical photo not.
The Bolt Action ones are much bigger and fatter than the real ones.

So, see you in thirty years for the next round of this game.
But on a side note, what exactly are those trees and who tends the grass bushes under them?

Thresher0105 Feb 2023 12:16 p.m. PST

This is why I go with 1/48th – 1/50th scale vehicles instead.

Baranovich06 Feb 2023 1:13 p.m. PST

Yeah, like Thresher says, exactly.

When I got into Bolt Action a couple years ago, I was working out scale between different mini. manufacturers and then the classic military model scales out there.

I got my WWII infantry from Artizan, a few squads each of American and Germans.

Before buying any vehicles to go with them, I did Google research to see what was what in the historical wargaming hobby with regards to scale.

I was suspecting already what I eventually found out.

28mm soldiers from many manufacturers are as big as military 1/35 scale. My Artizan infantry is HUGE next to the 1/35 scale diorma tank crew I have.

Yet 28mm is supposed to be 1/56 I believe. And yet they are bigger than 1/35 military guys.

The point is that there is a very distinct problem when trying to match up infantry to vehicles or even infantry to infantry when you "cross over" from the classic mini. scales to the class military scales.

Vehicles especially are WAY OFF.

After a bit more research, I learned that for most chunky 28mm WWII infantry mini. ranges, 1/48 scale tanks and vehicles is what matches up most closely to them. That goes for plastic models as well as 3D prints.

And indeed it ended up working out exactly like that. I ordered a Tiger tank and a Sherman tank from a 3D printer on Ebay, and they are scaled perfectly with the Artizan infantry.

Arcane Steve07 Feb 2023 5:40 a.m. PST

It's an ongoing issue that no doubt has been covered many times on TMP For what it's worth, I would go for 1/48th scale tanks to go with my 28mm figures without doubt. The idea that you can apply a scale to a natural item like a tree, human or animal is probably a non starter unless you are modelling a specific subject. In this picture, your scale model of Peter Crouch is not going to look the same size as Aaron Lennon – They are both going to be the same size on a subuteo pitch though….


If you are interested you can read my thoughts on model tanks in my blog here:

and on figures here:


I think ultimately it's down to persnal choice and what you are happy with on the wargames table. As a final thought, does anyone really worry about ground scale in wargaming if so they must have a big table, particularly for WW2 games!

Baranovich07 Feb 2023 9:50 a.m. PST

So here we go…these are Artizan 28mm German infantry with my 1/48 scale Tiger Tank. It's just about right. A 28mm scale tank with these guys would look like a shrunken toy.

Remember too that the infantry is elevated a bit because of the height of the round bases.

Without the bases their height is perfect for the Tiger tank, with the bases it's still very close.

Arjuna07 Feb 2023 10:06 a.m. PST

So here we go…

That's the spirit!

Baranovich07 Feb 2023 10:13 a.m. PST

…here's some original photos, and you can see the relative size of the men right up next to the tank.




chironex08 Feb 2023 9:56 a.m. PST

Like I always say – it's them figures that's too big.

dapeters08 Feb 2023 2:43 p.m. PST

maybe a little down the way I by product of buying stl files will be some sort of standard measure or a "true" scale.

snurl108 Feb 2023 11:20 p.m. PST

Now here's a different idea….
What would happen if the 3d sculptors just started making their 3d model files in full 1/1 size? The full size models could then be printed out at whatever scale is desired or required by the customer.

Zinkala09 Feb 2023 7:43 a.m. PST

snurl1, the problem with that idea is that you need a different level of detail for different scales. There's a limit on how much you can shrink something and still get a successful print.

I've been printing a lot of 1/285 scale WW2 things the last couple of years. There's quite a few 1/200 scale files out there that mostly rescale fine. For some things I've tried using 1/100 scale files. Depending on the level of detail sometimes they work as is and sometimes I need to remove or redo parts so they'll print.

When resizing vehicles I tend to stick pretty close to proper scale for the overall size. I'll look up the real world dimensions and make my calculations off of that often fattening up things like gun barrels and other details so my printer can print them. But then for infantry and artillery I've often made them larger than they should be to get successful prints. Same reasons why very small scale minis have always been pretty chunky compared to larger scales.

Upscaling those small models isn't bad for printing but then they'll be less detailed and some parts might be ridiculously large.

snurl110 Feb 2023 10:21 p.m. PST

Thanks for the info.

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