Guide to Scale

Most miniatures on our website include reference to the scale of the miniature. This guidance is intended to help understand these scales.


  • Scale can be a thorny issue, and is not as simple as it sounds.
  • In the world of wargames and fantasy models it is much less consistent than in traditional scale model making.
  • The size of models can vary between designers, and sometimes even within a designers range, even when the stated scale is the same.
  • Many other factors such as the relative proportions of models (true scale vs heroic etc) can also affect the overall appearance
  • When describing the scale of models we always use the designers stated scales as our reference point rather than making our own judgement on the scale of a model. This should ensure that models purchased from us should match the same models sourced elsewhere.

Many of the listings include more than one option for scale (usually 28 or 32mm), in these cases the options available usually represent the most popular scales that the miniatures can relatively easily be scaled up or down to.

In addition to the quoted scales we are also able to print models at smaller or larger scales, or scales in between those listed (eg 30mm), if required. Please see our section on requests and custom orders for more details.

Below is a brief summary to help you understand how we scale our miniatures, and how we describe this. If in doubt after reading this please contact us, we con often provide further examples or photographs of our prints next to other common miniatures for comparison.

Understanding scales

There are many systems for describing scale for miniatures and models.

The three most common are:

  • Relative scale (eg 1:48, 1:56, 1:72, 1:144, 1:200 etc). Most commonly used for model kits representing real world vehicles such as aeroplanes, tanks, cars and ships.
  • Absolute or absolute relative, (Eg 6mm, 10mm, 28mm 32mm etc). Most commonly used for wargaming figures.
  • Gauge system (N Gauge, TT Gauge, HO Gauge etc). Used for model railways and their scenery.

For a good more in depth explanation of these scales and others, see here Guide to miniature size and miniature scale – Scale 3D

The "Absolute Relative" scale

We tend to use the absolute relative system when describing our miniatures as this is the most common system used by our designers and the most common scale system used by wargamers who make up the majority of our customers. The most common wargames scales are often referred to as "28mm Heroic" or "32mm Heroic" scale.

But what does that mean?

In a true relative scale, the scale is expressed as a ratio or fraction of the true size of the original object. Ie a 1:72 scale spitfire model is 1/72 the length, width and height of a real spitfire. This system is most common for scale model kits (such as Airfix) where the emphasis is on making an accurate reproduction of the original.

In a true absolute scale, the scale is simply an expression of the size of the final model. Eg at an absolute scale of 28mm all figures will be 28mm tall, regardless of whether they are a mouse, a goblin, a man, or a dragon. This scale system is sometimes used when making playing pieces for games where the convenience of having them all the same size is more important than having an accurate relative scale. Some absolute scales measure to the top of the head, others to the eyeline or another point of reference.

Most wargames use the absolute relative system. In this system you start by specifying how tall your "average" figure is (as for a true absolute scale, eg 28 or 32mm), however where it differs from true absolute is that rather than strictly making all figures this size, in a relative absolute system other figures may be larger or smaller relative to the "average figure". And where it differs from a true relative scale is that the size of larger or smaller models may still be partly dictated by considerations of what will look good/be practical for gaming purposes rather than by strict adherence to relative scale.   For example, in a relative absolute system, a human may be a nominal 28mm in height to the eyeline and a goblin may be 20 or 25mm to the eyeline. A giant, dragon or tank may be much larger then 28mm in height, but may also be proportionally smaller than they would be if a true relative scale was used.

The 'Heroic' part. In the same way as most wargames sculptors use artistic license when it comes to the difference in size between a giant and a human rather than strictly adhering to the relative scale; so too the proportions of  the models themselves are often altered for the purposes of making them look cooler, or for practical reasons such as ease of production or painting, or producing a sword that is robust enough not to snap off the first time the model is put in a carry case. This usually manifests itself in models where features such as the face and hands may be exaggerated, weapons may be larger, longer or chunkier than they strictly should be if a true relative scale were being adhered to etc. This is often referred to a 'heroic' scale. 

Variability of scales

As you can probably imagine, when you are dealing with fantasy miniatures depicting subjects that are entirely made up, in a scale that is pretty arbitrary, there can be a great deal of variability in the size of figures between designers (and even within one brand's range over time, take a look at some of the differences in the size of GW orcs or goblins over the years). Even if two designers both state that their models are 32mm scale, one my be measuring to the top of the head, another to the eyeline. One may feel that a dwarf comes up to the waist of this nominal 32mm man, another may feel that the dwarf should be just a head shorter than a man. One designer may feel that a troll is just a head or so taller than a human, another may envision them being the size of a small house.

Proportions also make a big difference to the perceived scale when comparing between designers. For example if one designer's models are more "heroically proportioned" ie larger head and hands etc, and another's are more "true scale", then the true scale model may be a good match for the height of the more "heroic" model when printed at one scale, but the head and hands may appear small, on the other hand when scaled up to match the head/hand size they may be too tall compared to the "heroic scale" mini. It gets even more complicated when you add in cavalry as some designers tend to design smaller mounts, while others design horses that are truly monstrous.

When stating the scale of our miniatures, our primary source of this information is the designer. Eg. if the designer states that their models are 32mm scale then, we usually sell prints at 100% scale as "32mm" and resize these to 88% scale to produce the "28mm" prints. This way we maintain consistency with any other prints you may have obtained from the same designer from other sources.

If you require a different scale, or if you want to know what scale would best match other figures you have from another designer, then please contact us directly to discuss this.

Parts with no 'Scale' option

Some of our parts are listed with a general scale in their description but with no drop down list to specify the scale required. In most cases this is because the scale in these cases would be fairly arbitrary anyway, and they are suitable for use with a range of scales.

To take the example of our shields. These are sized to be useable on a range of figures in the 28/32mm scale range. Generally they do not need to be scaled up or down to look right on most wargames figures in these scale ranges.

In some cases customers have specifically wanted a precise size of shield, in these cases it is usually best to describe the actual size of the shield itself rather than the scale, and we are happy to print such items as a custom request.

Printing at custom scales

If you require a model or part printed at a custom scale we are happy to discuss this, and can usually accommodate most requests. This may be that you want to match the height of a model to some others you already have, or you may want to scale up or down to a particular size. Please contact us already to discuss this.

Effect of scale on print quality.

As mentioned in our terms and conditions, miniatures are designed to be printed at a particular scale.

When models are scaled down, smaller details may be lost, and parts my become too delicate to be practical, or may not print at all, depending on just how far the model is scaled down, some areas of the model may appear 'crowded' with too many small details, none of which quite look as sharp as they would at full scale.  On the other hand when models are scaled up, details that have been optimised so that they print nicely at the intended scale may look overly simple or chunky when printed at larger scales.

Within the scale ranges offered as options on our products (for example when comparing the same model printed at 28 and 32mm scales), this effect may be noticeable, but should be within acceptable limits. When printing at custom sizes much larger or smaller than this the effect will obviously be larger.