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Comparisons of Size and Scale

Questions frequently arise regarding the scale of vehicles and men for World War II and Modern miniatures wargaming. For example: “What size miniatures should I use with my 1/72 scale vehicles?”

 Let’s take a look at 1/72 scale. This scale is very easy to calculate. The following table shows various heights, converts these to inches and millimeters, and then provides a result in scale millimeters. 

Actual height

Inches

mm

1/72

Scale mm

 

Seven feet, 4 inches

88

2235.2

0.0139

31.044

 

Seven feet, 2 inches

86

2184.4

0.0139

30.339

 

Seven feet

84

2133.6

0.0139

29.633

 

Six feet, 10 inches

82

2082.8

0.0139

28.928

 

Six feet, 8 inches

80

2032

0.0139

28.222

[28mm]

Six feet, 6 inches

78

1981.2

0.0139

27.517

 

Six feet, 4 inches

76

1930.4

0.0139

26.811

 

Six feet, 2 inches

74

1879.6

0.0139

26.106

 

Six feet

72

1828.8

0.0139

25.400

[25mm]

Five feet, 10 inches

70

1778

0.0139

24.694

 

Five feet, 8 inches

68

1727.2

0.0139

23.989

 

Five feet, 6 inches

66

1676.4

0.0139

23.283

 

Five feet, 4 inches

64

1625.6

0.0139

22.578

 

Five feet, 2 inches

62

1574.8

0.0139

21.872

 

Five feet

60

1524

0.0139

21.167

 

Four feet, 10 inches

58

1473.2

0.0139

20.461

[20mm]

Four feet, 8 inches

56

1422.4

0.0139

19.756

 

Four feet, 6 inches

54

1371.6

0.0139

19.050

 

Four feet, 4 inches

52

1320.8

0.0139

18.344

 

Four feet, 2 inches

50

1270

0.0139

17.639

 

Four feet

48

1219.2

0.0139

16.933

 

Three feet, 10 inches

46

1168.4

0.0139

16.228

 

Three feet, 8 inches

44

1117.6

0.0139

15.522

 

Three feet, 7 inches

43

1092.2

0.0139

15.169

[15mm]

Three feet, 6 inches

42

1066.8

0.0139

14.817

 

 Based on the calculations above, a six foot tall soldier should convert to a 25mm miniature. A 28mm miniature represents a soldier that is roughly six feet, eight inches tall.

 One of the best sources for basic information on scales comes from model railroading. The National Model Railroaders Association publishes strict guidelines for that hobby, where accuracy and correct scale are taken much more seriously than in wargaming. Another source is FineScale Modeler magazine, which provided the following information:

Scale

One inch equals:

Usage

1/22.5

22.5 inches

G scale trains

1/35

2 feet, 11 inches

Armor models

1/48

4 feet

O scale trains, aircraft models

1/64

5 feet, 4 inches

S scale trains

1/72

6 feet

Aircraft and armor models

1/76

6 feet, 4 inches

Armor models

1/87

7 feet, 3 inches

HO scale trains, vehicles, buildings

1/160

13 feet, 4 inches

N scale trains, vehicles, buildings

1/285

23 feet, 9 inches

Micro-armor miniatures

                Source: FineScale Modeler, February 1991

 Let’s look at a table for 1/76 scale. If you are using 1/76 scale armored vehicles a 25mm figure represents a man that is six feet, four inches tall. A 20mm figure represents a man that is five feet tall. A 23mm to 24mm miniature would be a better match for this scale.

Actual height

Inches

mm

1/76

Scale mm

 

Seven feet, 4 inches

88

2235.2

0.0132

29.411

 

Seven feet, 2 inches

86

2184.4

0.0132

28.742

 

Seven feet

84

2133.6

0.0132

28.074

[28mm]

Six feet, 10 inches

82

2082.8

0.0132

27.405

 

Six feet, 8 inches

80

2032

0.0132

26.737

 

Six feet, 6 inches

78

1981.2

0.0132

26.068

 

Six feet, 4 inches

76

1930.4

0.0132

25.400

[25mm]

Six feet, 2 inches

74

1879.6

0.0132

24.732

 

Six feet

72

1828.8

0.0132

24.063

 

Five feet, 10 inches

70

1778

0.0132

23.395

 

Five feet, 8 inches

68

1727.2

0.0132

22.726

 

Five feet, 6 inches

66

1676.4

0.0132

22.058

 

Five feet, 4 inches

64

1625.6

0.0132

21.389

 

Five feet, 2 inches

62

1574.8

0.0132

20.721

 

Five feet

60

1524

0.0132

20.053

[20mm]

Four feet, 10 inches

58

1473.2

0.0132

19.384

 

Four feet, 8 inches

56

1422.4

0.0132

18.716

 

Four feet, 6 inches

54

1371.6

0.0132

18.047

 

Four feet, 4 inches

52

1320.8

0.0132

17.379

 

Four feet, 2 inches

50

1270

0.0132

16.711

 

Four feet

48

1219.2

0.0132

16.042

 

Three feet, 10 inches

46

1168.4

0.0132

15.374

[15mm]

Three feet, 8 inches

44

1117.6

0.0132

14.705

 

 1/87 scale is commonly referred to as HO scale in model railroading. A large range of very detailed, plastic World War II and modern armored and soft-skinned vehicles is available in this scale from Roco Minitanks and Trident Miniatures, but the periodic difficulty in getting them has made them rarer than model kits and cast metal vehicles in other scales.

If you are using 1/87 scale vehicles, a 20mm figure represents a man that is five feet, ten inches tall. This is a very good match, but unfortunately few 20mm figures look like they would actually fit into a 1/87 scale vehicle compartment or hatch. A 15mm figure represents a man that is four feet, four inches tall. That seems pretty small, but at least the sitting figures will fit in the seats of an HO jeep. 

Actual height

Inches

mm

1/87

Scale mm

 

Seven feet, 4 inches

88

2235.2

0.0115

25.692

 

Seven feet, 2 inches

86

2184.4

0.0115

25.108

[25mm]

Seven feet

84

2133.6

0.0115

24.524

 

Six feet, 10 inches

82

2082.8

0.0115

23.940

 

Six feet, 8 inches

80

2032

0.0115

23.356

 

Six feet, 6 inches

78

1981.2

0.0115

22.772

 

Six feet, 4 inches

76

1930.4

0.0115

22.189

 

Six feet, 2 inches

74

1879.6

0.0115

21.605

 

Six feet

72

1828.8

0.0115

21.021

 

Five feet, 10 inches

70

1778

0.0115

20.437

[20mm]

Five feet, 8 inches

68

1727.2

0.0115

19.853

 

Five feet, 6 inches

66

1676.4

0.0115

19.269

 

Five feet, 4 inches

64

1625.6

0.0115

18.685

 

Five feet, 2 inches

62

1574.8

0.0115

18.101

 

Five feet

60

1524

0.0115

17.517

 

Four feet, 10 inches

58

1473.2

0.0115

16.933

 

Four feet, 8 inches

56

1422.4

0.0115

16.349

 

Four feet, 6 inches

54

1371.6

0.0115

15.766

 

Four feet, 4 inches

52

1320.8

0.0115

15.182

[15mm]

Four feet, 2 inches

50

1270

0.0115

14.598

 

 What scale are 15mm vehicles and men? They come very close to 1/120 scale as the following table shows. 

Actual height

Inches

mm

1/120

Scale mm

Rounded

Six feet

72

1828.8

0.0083

15.240

15

Five feet, 10 inches

70

1778

0.0083

14.817

15

Five feet, 8 inches

68

1727.2

0.0083

14.393

14

 What scale are 10mm figures? They come very close to 1/176 scale. 

Actual height

Inches

mm

1/176

Scale mm

Rounded

Six feet

72

1828.8

0.0057

10.391

10

Five feet, 10 inches

70

1778

0.0057

10.102

10

Five feet, 8 inches

68

1727.2

0.0057

9.814

10

 How tall should 1/285 scale miniatures be? Roughly 6mm. 

Actual height

Inches

mm

1/285

Scale mm

Rounded

Six feet

72

1828.8

0.0035

6.417

6

Five feet, 10 inches

70

1778

0.0035

6.239

6

Five feet, 8 inches

68

1727.2

0.0035

6.060

6

 What scale are 28mm miniatures? Roughly 1/65. 

Actual height

Inches

mm

1/65

Scale mm

Rounded

Six feet

72

1828.8

0.0154

28.135

28

Five feet, 10 inches

70

1778

0.0154

27.354

27

Five feet, 8 inches

68

1727.2

0.0154

26.572

27

 In the smaller tables above the comparisons are made based on a height around six feet. Keep in mind that a height of six feet is not typical for most historical periods. In ancient and medieval times the average height was lower and this is still true in some cultures today. (FineScale Modeler magazine uses 5 feet, 8 inches as the average height.) Once the basic format of the larger tables is developed, additional scale comparisons can be developed quite easily.

 Remember, the traditional way to measure miniatures is from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head. With figures in helmets or hats this measurement can be difficult. Some systems measure from the bottom of the feet to the eyes. A figure in any pose except standing fully upright makes any measuring system difficult.

 

 

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