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"Viewing models at realistic sizes" Topic

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UshCha13 Mar 2023 9:19 a.m. PST

There is the argument about using the 3 ft rules (which of course it is a guideline) to give a general idea at what range you should paint your miniatures to look their best, purely as war games figures, but it does to some extent dictate the level of contrast needed to show its best. I have for some time thought this quite an arbitrary value so wanted to look at this guideline more closely. In addition it's no help when looking at the screen at photos that are often massively oversized so are pointless in reviewing what you would expect to see when the model was on the battlefield. So I decided ,due to having a bad day in some ways, to actually look more closely at the guideline.
The minimum distance you are likely to see a model on the battlefield. Well I put my tank on the table as close to me as was comfortable and put the ruler down as if to move it. Froze my head and measured the distance 450mm (17.71 inch) well under 914.4mm (3ft ), The tank was 49mm (1.92inch) from the front track guard to the back of the spare fuel tanks. Now to viewing distance to the screen, feel free to take your own measurements but my eye to screen was 550mm away which did surprise me, further than I thought. So I went to check and ideal distance, roughly 510mm (20") to 1020) 40". So my 550mm looked credible but for this assessment I started with 600m (23.6 inch),
So after all that what does it mean? Well assuming the eye is a point soured (it's not far off 2 point sources) and going back to school atthe battle filed viewing distance is 25/450 (right angled triangle) gives a ratio of 0.0556.
Or put more simply if you leaned in a bit (to 450mm) you would make sure the model was real sized. Or at your 600mm distance you would measure the model at 30% longer at 65mm. I will be honest this was a big surprise.
Now I decided to see what's what, at the middle of the table that is 3ft away, standing up eye to model distance 1194 mm (47"), I'm 5ft 10". This gives a ratio of 25/1194 = 0.0209 so at our 600mm distance the tank should measure 25mm (half its real size) on screen to represent your model on the battlefield.
At 6ft away about 2000mm (eye height does not add much at this range) the model on screen would be 25/2000=0.0125: 30% of its real length on screen (about 15mm).
There is a bit for everybody, the actual minimum range is surprisingly less than I had considered so more detail than I thought could be discerned. At mid to long range to be honest there is less detail can be observed than I expected. This is based on me taking a picture off the net of a 1/32 model of a T72 and scaling it as above.
So what does this tell you? Well to be honest not a lot, however it does fuel the fires of debate about what really you can see regarding detail and contrast at wargames table ranges. Time to sit back and let the debate rage.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2023 9:42 a.m. PST

Not a problem for me. I have other things to obsess about.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2023 10:43 a.m. PST

About 20 years ago, when I was much younger, I painted an army of 18mm Napoleonic Saxons. If you drill down, there are smaller and smaller details, and I had to decide when I was done because painting anything else would be pointless. I think I stopped at the button level--Saxon infantry regiments were paired, with both regiments having the same color facings, but one had white metal buttons and the other had yellow metal buttons. If I had gone by the three-foot rule, I wouldn't have bothered with buttons, and maybe not with facings.


nickinsomerset13 Mar 2023 10:52 a.m. PST

A few years ago, mid 90s, a mate in Germany decided to cross over to historical as he watched us playing Napoleons Battles on a weekend, having a good game, laugh and generally enjoying ourselves, whilst the other side of the club the Warhammer gang were fighting, swearing and generally not having a good time, probably because someone's "army" did not feature in the latest codex!

He bought some 15mm Napoleonics to have a go with, his pain ting was GW standard! I saw him on the Monday and he had thrown them in the bin, could not get them right to his standard. They were superbly painted! I showed him the 50 odd 15mm French Infantry I had churned out, whilst not to his standard, he understood than on mass and at a few feet they were just as good. When he left the army he opened a successful wargames shop and carried on the good work of historicals,

Tally Ho!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2023 10:58 a.m. PST

I am experimenting with some Epic ACW figures and I am not painting canteens, cross belts, etc. To my mind, you are not going to see them, so why take the time to paint them? Unless you hold them up in front of your face, you are not missing anything.

The old and not particularly detailed figures from the 70's were easy to paint and, in my opinion, gave the player general a more realistic view of what his toy soldier counterpart would actually see on the field of battle.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Mar 2023 11:04 a.m. PST

WOW !! I am so glad that through the years I simply enjoyed toy army men -- never making any big deals about any of it.

Russ Dunaway

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2023 11:30 a.m. PST

My rule is that nationality and troop type should be visible while you are seated at the table, and nothing should be obviously not painted. (That is, you shouldn't leave trousers with a primer coat because you only need coat color for ID, or fail to paint a canteen you can see a tabletop distance.)

Beyond that, it's a matter of taste--or demonstrating your virtuosity.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Mar 2023 11:56 a.m. PST

I use rules to play wargames, I don't see the point in trying to invent them for how anyone should choose (and it is a choice) to paint their own figures.

If you want simply painted figures with minimal detail or want three layer shading on a 10mm figure it is your choice and nobody else's business.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2023 12:18 p.m. PST

Like Russ (Old Glory), I chose my painting standard, and I have stood by it for 30+ years. The issue has never mattered much, to me: I have never worked to improve my painting techniques, nor my acceptable painting standard.

If my GEtGW (Good Enough to Game With, at arm's length) bothers people to the point they refuse to play with my toys, it is not a problem, for me. I can find willing players, without issue.

I do not build diorama-like gaming table set-up's that look vastly superior to any museum display I've ever seen. I will gladly play with blue felt/paper rivers, and brown felt/paper roads. They're just markers, for me. I am more into the game, than I am the models.

Never bought into the GW style of painting. Not worthy of my limited hobby time to achieve it. I've painted 1,000+ mini's to my GEtGW standard, (literally) comprising more than a dozen different armies. I love my games, with my non-GW standard painting. My players have enjoyed them, as well. Last game I played had 10 players (I refereed), six of which had never played before. All 10 had a wonderful time with it, asking to be invited to the next game… Cheers!

JAFD2613 Mar 2023 1:46 p.m. PST

I admit it. I _like_ painting figures. Detailed figures that look OK close-up.
(see TMP link for examples)
(am retired, makes me feel like I've accomplished something)

It is what I do. I don't want to spend time arguing. If you invite me over and your troops are GETGW, I shall not quibble.

Good gaming and have fun!

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2023 3:12 p.m. PST

Posted a response to your TMP Link, JAFD26. Cheers!

UshCha14 Mar 2023 1:40 a.m. PST

GEtGW great TLA. Have to agree personally, over detailed figures are not an improvement, being a none artist its hard to decide what not to paint. My own figures are very crude (1/144 scale) modern, the prone ones are just a very basic outline. Later I put a backpack on them. I realised after a bit I never noticed it. It does depend whether you consider the models as gaming pieces or works of art, and the size I guess. Smaller figures need more contrast to pick anything up beyond the minimum viewing distance I outlined.
Plus to some extent my folk are supposed to be camoflarged making it unclear at a distance is ideal. Mind you I had to trade that off a bit and shape some bases as I was struugling at longer ranges to work out who'e who. So front corners of the base chamfered, some sort of machine gun. Slightly cuved base command. Keep it subtle and you sort of get a bit of Fog of war but stop confusion when the "Chips are Down".
The command radio man has an aeirial of sorts but you cant reall see it till you are way too close to be useful.

Dagwood14 Mar 2023 2:08 p.m. PST

UshCha, GEtGW is an FLA. TLA is a TLA.

I aim for a "real life" effect. A 1/72nd figure intended to be viewed at 3 foot should have the detail that would be visible in an equivalent real life figure at 216ft. A 1/300th figure, the detail visible at 900ft.

If you want to look at the figure at closer distances, say 1 foot, then you will need the extra detail that could be seen in a real life figure at 72ft or 300ft.

For magnified screen images, reduce the real life distances proportionately.

You make your own choice.

Martin Rapier15 Mar 2023 1:43 a.m. PST

You'd be amazed how tiny someone standing 300 yards away is, even tinier if prone. Hands and faces really stand out though, so my guys always get hands and faces, even in 2mm.

Modern soldiers unfairly put camo cream on, but that just looks wierd on figures.

nickinsomerset16 Mar 2023 2:39 a.m. PST

Modern soldiers unfairly put camo cream on, but that just looks wierd on figures.

All my cold war British have cam cream correctly applied, otherwise I would have to JAIL them!!

Tally Ho!

UshCha16 Mar 2023 9:47 a.m. PST

Nicksommeset, yup I've generally gone off natural skin tones it looks daft on a battlefield and makes for less painting!

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