Sunday, 17 June 2012

Lumme, I shrunk the figs!

Does anybody say "lumme" these days? I think it was a word used in the 1960s and 1970s British sitcoms, and was a staple of kids' comics when I was a youngster. It was the best I could come up with for a play on "Honey I Shrunk the Kids". Enough waffling, the subject of this post is teeny tiny soldiers.

Here's a handy chart to deftly explain the different scales most miniatures conform to. The left hand of the scale is the one most of us are familiar with, Warhammer figures (and most of the well known miniatures games) are nominally 28mm but probably nearer to 30mm. The Lord of the Rings figures are 25mm. Flames of War figures are 15mm scale. At the far right of the scale is 6mm scale, as far as I know this is exclusively the domain of some historical figures, think mass regiments to recreate the battle of Waterloo, that type of thing.

So what about 10mm? Which games can you play at this scale? Why would you want to? It's probably easier to answer the question with another picture. This is a John Blanche diagram from a Tolkien book, showing the Battle of Five Armies from The Hobbit (coming this winter to a cinema near you). There are thousands of figures involved. Imagine trying to recreate this in 25mm scale, you could spend a lifetime painting the figures and need a 20ft board to fit it on!

At 10mm scale battles like this are much more achievable. A standard 6x4 table will be ample space, and armies of thousands can be represented by groups of stands that each occupy a footprint of about 40x20mm. GW's warmaster is a fantasy 10mm game, while historical players have a few rulesets to choose from. Sci-fi players have less choice, there's Epic 40,000 and the newcomer to the block, Dropzone Commander. 

In terms of minis available, there are quite a few manufacturers selling 10mm historical figures, though frustratingly their websites can be a bit coy about providing images. Presumably this suggests that the quality is not that good, why else would you not advertise your wares on your own website? GW still sell some Warmaster figures, though they tend to be much cheaper on ebay. 

It's surprising to me that 10mm is not more prominent in gaming. There are plenty of rulesets that specifically support the scale, while any ruleset can theoretically be adpated with a little work from the gamer.There are many manufacturers, even if you do have to hunt around for some of their images. Despite these obstacles, this is a scale I intend to explore in the near future, with a starter set winging it's way through the postal system in the next few days. 


Minitrol said...

In my "just for fun" panting box I have some Warmaster goblins. They are lovely but I cannot face painting anything that small. Yes you can do a quick job and they look great from the table but I would KNOW they were shoddy.

Painting that many troops at 10mm is as terrifying for me!

So I shall be watching and eager to see if you discover any nifty tricks for painting them!

Hobby Horse said...

Sometimes you have to say "good enough" and move on. I used to painstakingly paint every model to the highest degree, even for just gaming. But I eventually came to realise that all those layers, all that effort, was pretty much wasted on the belt buckle of the fourth guy in line, fifth rank back. Painting armies to a decent level is where it's at for me now.

Hopefully I can do a decent job on 10mm, it will be a learning curve for me. I am impatiently waiting at the bottom of the slope.

TWD said...

I've painted lots of GW Warmaster figs and a few Saxons in 10mm. The historical manufacturers aren't as good as the GW ones in terms of detail, but are not poor by any standards.
Painting 10mm in my view is all about the distance effect. Don't try and paint it like a 28mm model, you'll go mad. Paint it so it looks good from 3-4ft away, as that's how it'll mostly be viewed. Colourful shields are the way to go :)
Ther'es a couple of examples of Pendraken saxons on my blog:


Bishop Lord said...

Warmaster also has a great historical version but will now be hard to find as WHH is no more, Hail Caesar is a good bet for the future of 10mm gaming. As for photos and such like Ive got a Blog devoted to 10mm and 6mm gaming which has all the links for gaming in these scales on and if you have a look through the archive posts I'm sure there will be a photos there that may give you an idea of various manufacturers quality. Here's the link if you fancy a toot :-)

And heres the link to one of the battle reports that shows what can be done with 10mm:-


Christopher B said...

How amusing - that scale comparison diagram's certainly developed a life its own on the web since I made it several yeas ago. Imagine my surprise when I came to this blog post while Googling for John Blanche art, only to see that diagram. :D Glad to see people are still finding it useful!

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