Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Scale of my Naval

At the time of writing the only warships I own are are my scratch built ACW models - these are not scale specific - which are roughly a third complete from the painting perspective; together with a number of unmade plastic 1/1200th WW2 models centred around the Airfix: Sink the Bismarck set. All of my 1/3000th  collection has gone (as have the WW2 Axis and Allies: War at Sea collection in 1/1800th) and as yet I have made no inroads into anything concerning the use of the 1/1800th Minifigs models.

I must confess that being bereft in this fashion is somewhat unusual for me given my fondness for naval gaming and so I determined to address this in some fashion and hopefully sooner rather than later. To be honest I prefer using larger models but in the interest of getting models on the table may well have to stick to the smaller scales for gaming in the 20th century.

I am not a huge fan of 1/3000th models as to me they seem to be neither fish nor fowl in terms of scale - I cannot explain this viewpoint but they just look 'awkwardly sized' to me. As 1/1200th are too large for the normal table top (except for coastal type actions 'twixt smaller ship types - MTBs and such like) the next scale that would be logical would be 1/2400th. Oddly enough this seems to me to be a good compromise but for the 20th century you are stuck for model availability. I know GHQ produce a lovely range for this scale but they are not cheap and, I believe, would be made more so due to having to ship them over from the US. Panzerschiffe  - Panzerschiffe - produce an enormous range in this scale in resin but the problem would shipping once again from the US.

1/2400th is rather well covered in the UK by those very nice people at Tumbling Dice - Tumbling Dice UK -  but their ranges are limited to pre 20th century. This is not a bad thing by any means and I must confess to having had a number of naval ideas that are leaning towards these models - especially anything involving masts or oars. the ranges available are ancient (not on the website yet but an email to them will furnish the details), 16th century including galleys and the Armada (that covers Lepanto and 1588 very nicely), the Dutch Wars, Napoleonics and the Victorian era including the ACW and the Pacific (featuring the famous Huascar). Again, there are some models available that are not on the website as yet - including some new Victorian vessels and some ACW fortifications etc. For all the ranges there are also a selection of the all important merchant vessels (aka targets) and even 1/2400th flags.

I shall certainly be giving these some careful consideration especially as this scale is probably the only way I would tackle anything with rigging or oars!

Coming back to the 20th century I am now seriously looking at an even smaller scale. Figurehead ships - Nobleminis - have a huge range of models available but for me they are not only too small, they are also expensive and when combined with shipping from the US for me prohibitively so. Which brings me back very nicely to yet another scale - 1/4800th. This scale seems to offer a lot of potential for what I want to do and there is a fairly large range available from Mick Yarrow Miniatures - Mick Yarrow Miniatures - at quite reasonable prices. I am leaning towards using this scale for my 20th century kit and take solace from the fact that the two scales I am looking at - 1/2400th for anything pre 1900 and 1/4800th are both divisible multiples of the only true scale for naval war games - 1/1200th!

As ever, much to ponder methinks!


Paul O'G said...

I have flip flopped on this question for over 30 years mate - I had a large collection of WW2 in 1/6000 (now sold) and moderns in 1/2400 (now also sold). I still have a collection of 1/1200 ww2 coastal craft and airplanes (all of which are unpainted)

I have also decided that this is the scale for me for my Pre-Dread and VSF stuff, so that it is in scale with my Aeronefs and Land Ironclads should I wish to do some combined arms actions. Sadly my 1/200 VSF fleet is exactly zero, though I may squirrel some operational funds away to build this slowly over the next year or so.

Bluebear Jeff said...

Another 20th century 1/2400 supplier is:,shop.browse/category,My+Little+Ship+Company++-+formerly+Micro+Matrix/category_id,62e24c1e3772a3d0f192650aa371f2f1

Now I've never seen these (or even know if they are still available) . . . but they might be worth checking out if they have what you want.

-- Jeff

PS, my pre-dreads are all Panzerschiffe

Tim Gow said...

I think you have struck a chord with this post! I cleared out my considerable 1/3000 fleets a decade ago and invested heavily in the Hallmark 1/6000 ships (mostly 1930s/WW2 but also some 1960s-80s). The 1/1200 stuff you have seen on my blog. The Hallmark and GHQ ships are expensive (especially the latter) but are readily available in the UK. And then there are the 1/32 gunboats for Funny Little Wars.... Stop me now.

Peter Douglas said...


My WWI fleets are 1:3000, where you need plenty of models (at least to do the North Sea) and thus I was prepared to trade detail for price.

When I started WWII I went with 1:2400 since the GHQ ships are lovely, and since I was looking at smaller fleets and squadrons (at least in European waters).

Have fun with your deliberation - eye catching title btw.



David Crook said...

Hi Paul,

I hear you loud and clear on the scale front! I think that deciding what I wanted to tackle gaming first first of all and then choosing the scale to suit that requirement makes sense - it is a shame it has taken me so long to realise it!

Sometimes starting from scratch can give one a new perspective on things;-)

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Jeff,

Many thanks for the link - it looks like they are still going strong so this will be a useful addition to the list of suppliers. The ranges are a little sketchy but certainly good enough to work with.

How are the Panzerschiffe pre dreads?

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Tim,

Very true re the all the scales although even I would quail at 1/32nd!

On a price basis alone 1/6000th is a non starter for me due to the sheer numbers I would ultimately want!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

I have owned and gamed a lot in 1/3000th but aside from availability the scale never really did it for me and I cannot really understand why.

GHQ are lovely but I would be terrified of a/ buying them, b/ painting them and c /damaging them in use!

Many thanks re the title!

All the best,


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

My scale dilemma using rages over WWII 20mm figures

MegaBlitz works with them Spearhead and CD doesn't for me (I must shrink to 1/200 and 1/300)

I need to see the detail so 1/3000 is OK for me ships wise

1/1200 and 1/600-1/720 modelling but lovely if you can get them on a lawn or school hall

David Crook said...

Hi Geordie,

It is a dilemma to be sure - and I suspect that it will be one that runs and runs!

All the best,