Sunday, 18 September 2011

The 'new' terrain boards

I decided to use a spare half hour today to put both the 'new' terrain boards I had 'found' onto my wargames table and then to 'dress' it with various items from my collection of trees, roads, and buildings to see what it looked like.

I then decided to add some figures and vehicles. In the first instance I used a mixture of 20mm-scale figures and 15mm-scale vehicles. (This is what Zvezda use in their ART OF TACTIC game, and I wanted to see if it 'worked' on a visual level.)

In the first three images, the German figures were all made by Raventhorpe (and are therefore large 20mm-scale figures), the Infantry Gun was made by Skytrex, and the Pzkpfw IV was made by Peter Pig. The Russian figures are a mixture of Britannia and Dixon Miniatures, and the T34s were made by Hasbro and are part of the AXIS & ALLIES range of miniatures. The trees were bought from various model railways shops, had additional flock added to them, and were then based by me. The building is from Hornby's Lyddle End range of N gauge buildings, the barricades were supplied by Hovels, and the barbed wire was bought in a Games Workshop store.

I then replaced the figures and artillery with items from my MEGABLITZ collection.

Finally I replaced the 20mm-scale figures with 15mm-scale figures from my Colonial wargames collection and the Hornby building with small-scale buildings I have bought during my visits to Croatia.

Having undertaken this exercise I think that:
  • The boards look a lot better than my sheets of green felt with a grid drawn on them.
  • I can easily use my existing collection of trees, roads, and buildings with these boards, especially as the felt roads and the based trees (which have felt sheet underneath them) grip the flocked surface of the boards and are thus less likely to move during a wargame.
  • Small 20mm-scale figures do not look too out of place with 15mm-scale vehicles. (Perhaps Zvevda are on to something here? I tried a similar experiment myself some time ago, and this has reinforced my thoughts on the matter.)
  • The fact that I can get two bases of 15mm-scale figures into a grid square might have implications for any future developments of my PORTABLE WARGAME rules.
This was an interesting exercise, and it has left me with several things to think about.


  1. Surprisingly, they actually look Ok to me but then I always use underscale houses and trees and Marx used to include underscale vehicles in their "playsets", both 54mm and 25mm.

  2. Ross Mac,

    The interesting thing is that if you measure most 'modern' 20mm-scale figures they are in fact much larger. The average 'foot to top of the head' height of the 20mm-scale figures in my collection is 22.5mm whereas the height of early Airfix wargames figures was 20mm. Assuming that the average height of a man is 5' 8" (or 1727mm), then the 'modern' figures are 1:76th-scale and the Airfix figures are 1:87th-scale. If you assume that the figure is supposed to represent someone who is 6' tall (or 1828mm), the 'modern' figure is 1:80th-scale and the Airfix figures are 1:91st-scale.

    As most 15mm-scale vehicles are actually 100th-scale, the ‘modern’ figures are 1.3 or 1.25 times larger and the Airfix figures are 1.12 or 1.1 times larger than they should be. This does not sound too great a difference, especially when you consider that 28mm-scale figures are 1.1 times larger than 25mm-scale figures.

    I suppose that in the end it all comes down to way one perceives things. I am coming round to the idea that mixing 1;100th-scale vehicles with small 20mm-scale figures will work … and if other people are not happy with the idea … then that is their problem not mine.

    All the best,


    PS. I hope that what I have written has not upset the scale police and rivet counters!

  3. Hi Bob,

    Scale Police and Rivit Counters? They are obviously the same breed as the Purist and so so should be offended at every opportunity in my opinion!

    All the best,


  4. David Crook,

    Scale police, rivet counters, and purists are all the same to me ... they are - to my mind - the saddest of the sad!

    What I find so sad is that the ones that I have met have seemingly had no life other than wargaming, and seem to build their self-esteem on deriding the work of others and claiming superior knowledge. For example: ‘I simply could not use any of the new 15mm peltast figures from Rubbish Miniatures Ancient range in my DBA army; the spears were all 1.5mm too short! It would not have been right to use them in the next DBA Tournament.’ (Based on a genuine comment overheard at a wargames show. What I like about this comment is the fact that:
    a. They KNOW how long the spears should be in 15mm-scale;
    b. They THINK that DBA is an accurate representation of Ancient warfare … and that the Anglo-Saxons fought Aztecs.)

    All the best,