Friday, October 9, 2009

Wargaming Miniatures: The Case for 1/72 Scale

My favourite scale for wargaming and figure painting is 1/72 scale (20mm). This puts me in a minority in the wargaming fraternity, with most 'serious' wargamers playing in 15mm or increasingly in 28mm. At least this seems to be the case in Australia. So why 1/72 scale? Here are my top 10 reasons why 1/72 is the One True Scale.
  1. They are very cheap!
  2. Because the figures are cheap and easy to get hold of, 1/72 scale is good for the hobby. Buying a box of plastic figures to make an army makes historical wargaming accessible to young people who can't afford expensive metal figures. There are many teenagers who love history and would join the hobby with great enthusiasm if it was more open to them.
  3. In contrast to 15mm and smaller, 1/72 scale figures are large enough for me to enjoy painting them as individual figures.
  4. In contrast to 25mm and larger, 1/72 scale still allows the spectacle of a mass of figures on the table. Some of the new 28mm figures are great little works of art, but to my mind they don't simulate huge units of men as well as smaller scales.
  5. Plastic figures are easy and fun to convert. Need some Prussian mounted Jaegers in your army? No problem - just take the head of a Prussian infantryman and add it to the body of an Austrian dragoon. Or build your own Lord of the Rings armies by altering historical figures.
  6. By and large, 1/72 plastic figures are more realistic and anatomically correct than 15mm or 25mm metal figures. Certainly this is a generalisation - there are some awful plastic figures, and some fantastic metal ones. In my experience however many 'serious' wargamers field armies of figures that bear only a passing resemblance to human beings. The weapons of metal figures are also usually terribly over scale, with men carrying spears that seem to be the diameter of telegraph poles. Conversely, there are some fantastic manufacturers of metal miniatures in 1/72 scale that you can use to add to your armies (eg Art Miniaturen and AB Figures).
  7. The range of 1/72 figures available is vast and growing all the time. It is truly a Golden Age.
  8. With so many manufacturers of 1/72 figures, we are able to shop around for the best and best value figures. This is in stark contrast to games systems that are designed to limit the wargamer to a particular range of figures by demanding a less widely available scale. Flames of War is an example. By writing the rules for 15mm they make the customer dependent on their own quite expensive figures. Why not play FOW with 1/72 figures and models and enjoy a larger range of better models at a fraction of the price? And don't even get me started on Games Workshop.
  9. Metal figures bend and break and their paint flakes off. The newer plastic figures keep their paint better, and spears etc don't get bent.
  10. They really are VERY cheap.
Come on - join the revolution.


  1. Totally agree too. Long live 1/72 scale !

    Nice blog by the way, keep the pictures coming.


  2. All good points mate, especially the one on cheap!

  3. I totaly agree I love 1 72 scale figs and I have just started my own blog on my collection. Your painting skills are awesome much better than mine!