Monday 2 August 2010

Tabletop Gaming - Scale Guide

This chart of scales/sizes has been compiled from various sources and is my attempt to bring some clarity to the subject of scale and more importantly what alternatives are compatible with your chosen models. I have deliberately limited this guide to the range of tabletop gaming scales encountered on this blog and have left off anything smaller than 6mm (1/268th) or larger than 54mm (1/30th).

There are two measures of scale that seem to get used interchangeably between different manufacturers, groups of gamers and collectors. However where applicable I have also referred to the equivalent Railroad Scale as it is often possible to use buildings and models for tabletop gaming purposes.

  • Ratio or Fraction (i.e. 1:72 or 1/72) – The number on the right shows how many units (Inches, centimetres it doesn’t matter) on the life sized object are equivalent to one on the model. So a 1/100th model that stands 1cm tall represents a real object 100cm tall.
  • Size (i.e. 15mm or 28mm) – This is usually taken as the height of the average male figure and is measured from the bottom of the foot to eye level. But this isn’t standard across the industry and a lot of variation has resulted in “scale creep”.
The following table refers to the Ratio/Fraction in the first column and gives the equivalent Size next to it in the second column. I have highlighted the “scale” as it is referred to by gamers (i.e. 1/72nd, 15mm) in bold.

FractionSizeCommon Applications(& Example Manufacturers)
1/2686mmEquivalent to 1/285 scale and 1/300 scales. Popular for ‘Micro armour’ games.
1/2207mmZ scale model railroad scale
1/2008mm20th Century armoured vehicles and aircraft
1/16110mmFantasy, historical and science fiction. (Pendraken Miniatures)
1/16010.06mmN scale model railroad scale. Trees in this scale work well with 10-15mm models.
1/14411.2mmOfficial FOW Aircraft scale (Battlefront)
1/10715mmPopular Wargaming scale. Official FOW infantry scale (Battlefront / Old Glory / Peter Pig)
1/10016.1mm0TT Gauge. Alternative for 15mm
1/8718.5mm HO scale. HO Buildings are suitable for 15mm models (Hornby / Airfix / Revell)
1/80.520mmSkirmish-level 20th Century Wargaming.
1/7621.2mmOO scale. Plastic miniatures and kits are available in this scale for aircraft, ground vehicles, and soldiers. (Hornby)
1/7222.4mmPopular for die-cast toys and plastic kits. (Revell)
1/6425mmS Gauge. Traditional Wargaming scale. Fantasy Wargaming, historical skirmish-level games, science fiction, and for use with role-playing games.
1/5828mmSometimes referred to as "large" 25mm figures. Popular size for roleplaying models. (Games Workshop / Perry Miniatures)
1/5430mmAnother scale used for pre-20th Century miniatures.(Enigma Miniatures)
1/5032mmLoTR’s models (Mithril Miniatures)
1/43.537mmBritish O Gauge based on 7mm to the foot
1/4833.5mmUS O Gauge which is 0.25 inches to the foot and referred to as "quarter inch scale". Popular for plastic aircraft kits. (Tamiya)
1/4040mmACW & Napoleonic figures (Old Glory / Eureka Miniatures / North Star Figures)
1/3842mmRoughly corresponds to old B Range (Irregular Miniatures)
1/3546mmPlastic kits of armour. (Tamiya)
1/3250.3mmI scale.
1/3054mmSometimes called "Toy Soldier" scale

Links to Sources and Further Reading:
The Miniatures Page - Wikipedia - Model Makers ResourceAntenocitis Workshop
There is also an excellent series of articles about scale creep and figure proportions on the blog The World According to Tom

I'm treating this as a work in progress (like so many other things) so please let me know if I've made any glaring errors or omissions. Once I'm confident this is accurate and comprehensive I'll post the table as a Page for ease of reference.


  1. The problem with trying to scale wargames sizes is that the measurement in mm is often (but not always) foot to eye as the headgear hides the top of the head. Consequently (I believe) most comparisons use a 5'8" height not 6" - not sure if that helps or hinders! :-)

  2. Mr. H,

    Excellent and useful post. Many thanks!

  3. Just found an error in my own work! 32mm models are theoretically equivelent to 1/50th scale not 1/57th as stated. I'm currently working on putting all this into a html table (at present the above table is a jpg screenshot of a word document). When I have the table working properly I'll incorporate all the updates and corrections.

  4. Ok I've now converted the table into html code so its a lot easier for me to make updates and corrections.

  5. I have always seen 28mm referred to as 1/56th!

    A 6ft man is equal to 1.83mtrs.

    Divide by 28 (28mm tall figure) gives a scale of -

    So even this doesn't work!

    Good luck with this as an on-going project.


  6. One thing I have learned very rapidly from this project is that the whole concept of calling size (such as 28mm) a scale is fallacious. At best it is a guide size. For example I bought a blister of perry 'priests and clerics' a while back. They are large models and measured to the eye* stand 30mm... or at least some of them do. Within the blister of six models from the same manufacturer and from the same range, heights varied from 28mm up to 32mm. So what is going on?

    *Part of the problem is the method of measuring height. Some people take the measurement as "to eye level" while other to the top of the head. Plus humans vary in height so some difference in size is to be expected. For instance I have based these figures on the height of the average man being 5ft 8inches and the height to eye level as 5ft 3inches. But this average height varies from country to country, between races, genders and time periods. Whatever assumption I (or the manufacturer) uses it is, by definition, a compromise and an assumption that not everyone will agree with.

    One change I'm planning on implementing with the table above is to add a second height column showing the theoretical height to the top of the head. The current height shown on the chart is based on height to eye level.

    As one commentator on the Lead Adventure Forum stated, I have opened a can of worms. I knew this would happen but I need to add a few caveats and statements of assumption to my chart to make it clear how I came to these sizes. I will also try to do more direct measurements (such as I did on the cleric models) to further back up - or confuse - the numbers.

    At the end of the day this is meant to be a 'guide' not a hard and fast set of laws. Models will vary in size from range to range and manufacturer to manufacturer. And unless you are a scale modeller requiring absolute accuracy some variation is inevitable and has to be tolerated.

  7. Well said.


    Also - good luck, with this post I think you're going to need it!

  8. Big Lee - this is a very useful and gives a good 'rough guide' because, as you say, the entire concept of matching size to scale is dodgy. There are enormous variations amongst 20, 25 and 28 or 30mm figures. The latter two seem almost interchangeable at times but some 28s are closer to 25s while with others there is little difference with 30mm. Its not an exact science and some might say therein madness lies. But we're grateful for your persistence and look forward to see any further results of your investigation into the evil that is scale creep!


  9. BL, Your scale guide has been very helpful to me ever since you created it. Thank you. I was working with a train set for this next Christmas 2014 and because of my interest in FoW and 15mm I started reading about TT scale. As it turns out TT is actually 1:120 not 1:100. There is a British TT3 scale that is 12mm rail gauge, like TT, but 3mm/ft or 1:101.6 ratio.


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