Sunday, 7 September 2014

Figuring Things Out

Ship games need figures of some sort. To represent the deck troops and any actions on land associated with a battle.

With 1/1200 and 1/600 ships troops get very small indeed. '2mm' scale may be useable with them but any visible details are completely lost and the space to manipulate them is miniscule.

My solution for troops has been card/paper printed elements which are cheap and easy to use.

I just purchased some Heroics and Ros figures for the first time in many years to see how they sat with the card models. The other main suppliers are Bacchus, Irregular and Rapier at this scale.
There is a lot of discussion about scales and as far as I can see the problem of 'scale creep' is a function of frustrated sculptors who increase figure size to enable them to add detail. 20mm in plastic became 25mm in lead and 25 mm has increased to 28mm. The production process in plastic often involves a size reduction from the original to the production items and so the human proportions and fine detail of Preiser and Zvezda are jealously sought after by leadsmiths - resulting in scale creep.

If we take 5'8" as a warrior's height - as per Vegetius - this gives us c.1727mm.
Some scales for figures are quoted as 'eye-height' or foot-to-eye. 1727 is to the top of the head. On my measurement the Iranian spearmen from HR are 6,5mm sole-to-crown. This is very hard to photograph due to parallax.

6,5mm into 1727 gives 266. i.e. a 5'8" man 6,5mm high is thereby modelled at 1/266 scale. Close to 1/300 but no cigar.
Playing a little we can see that 1727 / 300 gives 5.76 as the sole-crown scale height for an ideal 1/300 miniature.
If our ancient man is 5cm shorter - at 5'6" /1677mm- this gives a model scale of 1/258 ..getting bigger.
What this means is that larger figures such as Bacchus are getting further away from 1/300.

Now, for ships. Eric Hotz's ships are, nominally, 1/300 scale. Examining some models we can see that they are a little over-sized. A trireme is about 170mm long - to represent Olympias' length of 37m. This gives them a scale of 1/217. Nowhere near 1/300.

Putting Heroics and Ros figures on their decks shows this disparity. The HR figures are lost.

This goes some way to explain why Bacchus figures look better than HR on RomanSeas ships.

At present I want to produce my ships at a scale where a trireme is c.10cm long. The aim is to have a scale where what happens on deck can be shown whilst giving a playing area as large as possible.
10cm representing 37m gives a scale of 1/370. There is obviously an overshoot here aswell but I was not actually aiming for 1/300.

If I put HR figures on one of my triremes they do not look like dwarves but they do not look like giants either...
RRW ships have a scale discrepancy of -23%. RomanSeas have a discrepancy of +28% relative to 1/300. RRW are actually a little closer to HR figures scale. Bacchus' larger figures sit better with RomanSeas than with RRW.

Looking at some fotos of Olympias I can be happy that HR will actually not look out of place on RRW ships.

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