Sizing up

March 2, 2012

To my regular readers, apologies in advance. The post mentions a fair few points that I’ve made earlier, so there’ll probably be a feeling of repetition here.

Miniature size/scale is one of those things that tends to come up whenever different ranges are discussed. Some people will stalwartly refuse to combine different ranges in their games, if they’re not stylistically compatible. I used to be one of these people. However, as years have gone by I’ve started to alter my stance. See, the Colonial Marine review I did left me with a slew of miniatures from various manufacturers, in different sizes and styles. As I tend to favour a “waste not, want not” approach when it comes to miniatures (and stuff in general), I figured that the differences weren’t such a problem.

I think that one of the main reasons for the aversion to mixing sizes and styles comes from the way we view miniatures. Most comparisons are done at eye level, setting the miniatures next to each other and noting all the differences. However, when gaming we view the minis from what – half a metre, metre (that’s two to three feet for all you silly ancient measurement system types) up? In most games they aren’t next to each other either, and our eye will probably focus on the uniting factors, such as paint schemes and basing, instead of the differences.

Allow me to demonstrate. In the pictures below there’s a variety of scifi miniatures from six different manufacturers painted with a similar colour scheme. There are major differences in size and proportions, and viewed next to one another, the ranges certainly don’t look too compatible in terms of size and style, although the paint scheme and basing does help.

L to R: Woodbine, Denizen, Copplestone, 1st Corps, Hasslefree, em4, em4 plastic. Click for a larger version

Let’s have a look at the picture below. For some obscure reason my Marines have wandered onto a Blood Bowl pitch, where they are about to take on the Drakwald Ravens who are incidentally another group of miniatures of various styles and manufacturers. The photo is taken from a gamer’s eye view, e.g. me sitting down and viewing the game board from a usual gaming height. See my point? The same size and style differences are still present, but in my humble opinion they are far less prominent, even to the point of being negligible. The eye is drawn to the different bases (green vs. grey) and colour schemes (the Marines’ green and camo vs. the Ravens’ black and purple). What we have here is not a motley collection of miniatures of various sizes and styles, but rather two coherent factions.

Click for a larger version

Your mileage may vary, of course, but I believe that sticking too adamantly to a single manufacturer’s ranges will sometimes unnecessarily limit your options. Naturally if you’re painting miniatures only for display, it’s another story. If not, do something wild (well, ‘geek-wild’) and try mixing two or more ranges if you haven’t already.

Crazy, I know!


  1. You make an excellent point, Mikko, but I’m afraid as far as I’m concerned, you’re preaching to the converted. I have never had a problem with mixing figures from different companies. To me, differing sizes simply reflects real life. We are not all a standard size or shape. I just don’t see the logic in wanting every single figure in your collection exactly the same height.


    • Thanks, I was waiting for something like this from you, Bryan! I’ve always liked the way you combine various ranges in your games.

      I believe for many it’s not really the height that matters, but rather the chunkiness and proportions. If another model’s hand is as big as another’s torso, I can see this bothering people. Comparing the Denizen and Woodbine miniatures nicely illustrates what I’m talking about.


  2. Scale Purity! Good points. I have many of these and have observed the same thing. I have about 40 of the Denizen mid-techs painted as my Colonial Marines to fight the Alien clicks with their Galoob APCs in support. All seems to work out. I play Hammers Slammers pretty regularly. My forces are a mix of 25mm Denizen, GZG, Grenadier, and Ral Partha (mostly), but all looks good against my opponents 28mm and 30mm lads (including the Mongoose SST). The terrain and and 3 to 5 foot view distance (sorry, but us colonials are sticking to our beloved Imperial units despite the revolution).

    OBTW, really enjoy your blog.

    Lost Pict


    • Thanks for the comment and kind words Jimmy! Really like the look of your site, and always glad to hear some people share my views on scale/size.


  3. Agreed I reckon my yet to be unveiled project for aliens has at least 5 different manufacturers minis in some small some huge…. and then theres vehicles!


    • Really looking forward to seeing that, hurry up!


  4. […] size and style wise. I’m not too fussy with what lines I use together (as you can see from my Colonial Marines), but I know a lot of people are very particular about it. As I’ve amassed a lot of […]


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