Tuesday 1 November 2011

The Problem of Scale or the Scale of the Problem

How hard can it possibly be? I keep asking myself this question and am no nearer to an answer. The question of course is what figure scale to use for my brace of Charge! organised late 19th century 'imagi-nations'. The easy part has been done - the two forces will be based on Turkey and Russia and organised as per Charge! I have settled on the troop types to be used for the opposing regiments and even the respective uniforms have been considered. But the scale, oh the scale!

Perry plastics 28mm ACW figures would be eminently suitable for this project - even to the extent of having a reasonable selection of Egyptian types (particularly artillery) available in metal that could be drafted in thereby removing the need for conversions. Using 28mm would be an easy option simply because everything is available more or less straight off the shelf.
Spencer Smith 30mm figures are another possibility for that 'old toy soldier' look although some work on the conversion front would be needed. Very simple to paint though - even for me - and they are certainly cheap enough.

42mm - for example using the range produced by Irregular Miniatures - is again viable but here cost implications will begin to figure because at £1.50 a go for a foot figure we are talking serious money for even a modest set up. I also have some issues with the range available as they vary considerably in terms of detail - some are detailed some are less so. I should point out that I would not consider any of the detailed ranges available in this scale - too expensive and requiring too much from my modest painting ability!

Finally we have 54mm. Now this is a great thrusting barnstormer of a scale to use for a game and is sufficiently bonkers for me to seriously consider it. It is not as mad as it appears for a number of reasons. To begin with the cost of using 54mm soft plastic figures is not hugely expensive - in fact it is on par with the cost of both Perry plastics and Spencer Smith. Many of the old dramas of painting soft plastic figures are no longer as significant as in days gone by with the improvements in paints and glues etc so the effects of that particular obstacle are now greatly reduced. I would certainly not subject then to being on the wrong end of firing model artillery though! Soft plastic figures are also fairly easy to convert should the need arise. There are some issues around availability and completeness of ranges etc but then to be fair this is not an unusual problem in any scale.

What to do then. This is the old head versus heart dilemma and no mistake. For sheer 'in your face' bombast and with all of the historical significance 54mm wins it hands down. No contest. I defy any gamer worth his salt not to be inspired by seeing a 54mm game in full swing - or even pictures of one! Painting would not be a major problem depending on the figures used and despite my own misadventures in this regard I would not deem it to be a non starter.

I need to spend some serious time considering the implications of all this but at least I have some worthwhile diversions on hand to ease the strain on the brain cell!


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

David Crook,

I see that you are going through the same dilemma as I am!

I have decided to paint samples from each of the possible alternatives and them make my decision as to which scale to go with.

All the bet,


Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

I have done all of these scales to some extent (except 28mm technically but 25mm is close enough).

I was drawn to 54mm by memories and pictures of old Britain's but ended up sucked into the new plastics. They are great in their own way and I had some great games and some favorite figures, but they are NOT the same thing. Even putting aside the subjective question of style, they take up 4x the table space thanks to the typical poses and larger size, Call to Arms Zulu Wars being a rare exception.

The 30mm Spencer Smiths if backed with Willies, Tradition and Scuby 30mm colonials would actually give
a closer feel and be more practical for Charge! (Still the best rules ever written imo )

I went the 40mm route and happy that I did so. If I didn't homecast though, I'd go 30mm.
Its all good if its the right road for you though.


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

I seem to be bouncing around scales and am no nearer making a decision. Your idea is a good one and at least whilst awaiting samples in the post I can think about it further!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Ross,

The 54mm 'footprint' is an issue for careful consideration and for this reason alone may well be the scale least favoured.

I had not considered home casting and sadly this would not be a viable option for me. Cost wise 42mm - even using Irregular Miniatures - will not make the cut and as mentioned, I have issues with the varied level of detail across their ranges.

That leaves 28mm Perry or Spencer Smith. Funnily enough if the Spencers were still available in plastic it would not even be a question - I would have piled in without missing a heartbeat!

Much to ponder as ever but many thanks for the comments - at this point in the proceedings I need all the independent viewpoint I can get!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Ross,

I forgot to add that even after all these years I still get a buzz flicking through my copy of Charge!

All the best,