Sunday, 5 March 2017

A Question Of Scale

I am today having one of those soul searching days that wargamers sometimes have to face up to.

The question of scale.

Now, I am able to buy my armies in any scale I wish, and if it was simply a case of taking he 'Chequebook Wargamer' approach, I would just say 'Yeah, everything in 28mm', but I find myself looking at the assorted scales, their utility and the the joy a given scale gave me at a particular stage of my life.

I remember the weekend that Irregular released their 6mm stuff, and a load of us (Darren, were you part of that locust-like frenzy?) where the junior members of SWS cleared the stand of all 6mm armies at Triples. I was unconvinced until the last hour of the show, whereupon I found that there was nothing left, but a a friend'  in the shape of Roger took pity on my plight and sold me his 'spare' Frankish army - Bloody Frankish - where's the excitement in that?

For several years I used 6mm to play test an army under WRG conditions before buying it in the larger planned scale.

15mm was the first historical scale I played in, and I liked it because it could be painted well, comparatively quickly and when you fielded the entire New Model army at 1:20 it looked bally awesome.

Some of the best and biggest games I have played have been in 15mm , and some of the most memorable games in terms of friendships and 'simpler times' involved 15mm. Ambitiously large, day-long siege games with Darren, Roger, Keith and Simon were the norm in the school holidays.

28mm was always my chosen scale for fantasy gaming, and eventually became my 'go to scale as I became more and more drawn into the 'Because I can' school of gamers, who thought the money spent to be more important than the fun had or friendships formed. A collective hubcap pissing competition with little lead dollies ensued, but no more fun came from the figures themselves. Quite a pathetic state of affairs really.

54mm is a fun scale, as is 42mm but nobody really does much above skirmish in those scales apart from the 'Little Wars' brigade (and, much strength to their elbow pads because they have FUN).

So, here I am after a day spent at Hammerhead in Newark yesterday (nothing I haven't seen before to be honest - I was there for two hours and then came home) with a pile of Perry plastic figures in front of me, none too impressed, having spent two hours building 8 riders and 3 horses, and reflecting on how the same army would have cost me £40 in metal without the pain of having to build them.

Added to this, I am now thinking that unless I build two armies myself, I am stuck with waiting and trusting in friends ( a rare commodity these days) to get their own armies sorted.

Back to money - If it was simply that, there would be no problem because I'd just buy two armies and paint them. But, I don't really want to spend the rest of my valuable life, doing that. I want to be gaming. And why 28mm anyway?

I played 28mm mostly because that was what was played amongst my former compadres at the club I belonged to for many years. 

I could go with 15mm  and have some large games, with the models painted faster, but the temptation to buy more and thereby lead to the same end result vis time.

6mm looks great, but I know that I'd go at a 1:5 figure ratio and so the same end result, yet again.

I am not slavishly adherent to a given company and to be perfectly honest I love certain figure ranges that the 'In Crowd' would sneer at (they wouldn't be able to say why they were sneering of course, but their mates sneer, and so they must be seen to) so I cannot even make my plans and choices on that basis.

So, now, having typed for the last half hour, I am still back at square one, wondering how I should proceed.

It used to be so easy. By comparison, I was able to walk into my tailor on Friday, look at a few swatches, choose the tweed for a bespoke 3-piece, buy a fedora, ties and '8 panel' to compliment my choice, hand them £2000.00 and wait 12 weeks for delivery, with a couple of fittings. You will note that I am traditionally a jeans and T-shirt man, long of hair, but even the trips to the barbers are easy these days compared to wargaming choices.

Even my model railways are easy... I call the builder, tell him what I envisage, and he gets on with it. There is a question of scale there, of course but that is easily surmounted by the chosen theme and the space to be filled.

So, why is it that the hobby with which I am most intimate, and via which I pay the bills, so damned frustrating?

So, you are invited to give me your feedback on the pro's and cons of scales, and how your own tastes and memories down the years have drawn you to one scale over another.



  1. Yea been there and done that!
    I suspect the problem is too much choice now.
    My most recent revelation has been to concentrate on the base, having drifted towards single unit bases. This determines how many figures you will need to paint depending on which scale. The aesthetic choice is then which looks best.
    My problem is limiting the number of planned bases! It's so easy for the megalomania to manifest itself elsewhere!

  2. Well strange but true, as a 28mm man, if i was ever to do ECW it would be in 15mm, based on the memories of those games we used to play, but it would have to be Mikes Models and Gallia.

  3. Amen, my friend, amen. I am actually looking at Mike's Models as we speak and of course Gallia are made by Warrior now... They still convey that period and indeed that period in our lives like nothing else.


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