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"heroic scale" proportions

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As someone who is very inspired by "oldhammer", meaning -  the hand sculpted miniatures that games workshop sold in the 80s and 90s, are there any guides I could follow to get the "heroic scale" proportions correct? I know a realistic human figure is about 8 head-heights tall and most heroic scale sculpts are about 5-6 head heights tall but I struggle making the hands and feet correctly proportioned to the body and head.


Would re-sculpting a figure I like the look of teach me anything about getting the proportions right? I was considering doing it with the old heroquest chaos wizard model which I feel exemplifies the look I am trying to capture. (http://www.miniatures-workshop.com/lostminiswiki/index.php?title=Image:MB-HQ-13.jpg)

Edited by Gasbraai
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I'm not a sculptor, but you can try these articles for a starting place - no mention of the hands, but the rest of the information is certainly interesting and helpful for a beginner, at least, and a lot of attention was given particularly to difference in facial proportions between "heroic" and a more realistic "true scale":


Much like seeing Barbie, anime characters, computer game characters, or cartoon characters in real life, meeting a Heroic Scale being face-to-face in the flesh would be a nightmare from the uncanny valley! But, that's how it goes with these artistic conventions, and in context, they look normal enough :)


I don't think there are any solid conventions or standards for "heroic" scale, and depending on the mini company and sculptors and time period, it looks like the proportions can vary pretty wildly - those old HeroQuest/Warhammer guys sometimes had fists nearly the size of their heads, but I've seen other models in the same scale where either the heads or the fists could range slightly larger or smaller.


As an aside for anyone who is completely new to the hobby:  "Heroic Scale" means something very different in miniatures than in, say, comic book art (where a "heroic" figure would, for example, have a much smaller head and longer legs compared to a real person, vs. the large head and relatively stubby legs of a miniature....)  For miniatures, the whole thing started out as a compromise with the relatively primitive molding and casting process in the early days of the hobby where finer details would be too delicate and fragile for tabletop gaming use, and evolved to a broad artistic style supported by how much more practical the "heroic" scale is for painting (it's easier to paint large details than smaller ones) and for visibility on the game table (those heroic-scale heads and faces, oversized and flashy weapons, and exaggerated muscles or breasts are much easier to see on a game table than realistic proportions would be!)  In general (it's definitely not a universal rule!), fantasy wargaming miniatures tend to lean toward "Heroic Scale", while historical wargaming miniatures tend to lean toward a more natural "True Scale", so while hard plastic 28mm miniature kits exist for both fantasy and historical wargaming purposes, the two genres don't always mix together very well, with historical heads and arms and weapons often looking anemic and delicate on heroic bodies, while heroic  heads and arms and weapons often look cartoonishly bulky and freakishly big on historic bodies....




Edited by YronimosW
additional artical link added
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  • 2 months later...
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Heroic Scale = a phrase created so that Reaper Miniatures could get 28-32 mm scale Dark Heaven Legends fantasy model line into shops that carried 25mm scale Ral Partha and Grenadier models. Ed Pugh (Reaper's President and co-founder) coined the term 25mm Heroic Scale so they would consider stocking Reaper product side by side with the true 25mm standard scale most fantasy models were being design in at the time. Reaper's first Casket Works product catalog published in 1999 describes Dark Heaven Legend miniatures as Heroic Scale, although the term was being used before that publication. Reaper Miniatures went with the slightly larger models for ease of painting and better detail but found it difficult to get stores interested if they weren't true 25mm scale--like the competition was selling (in the USA anyway.) Most of the other proportions, like eyes and hands, where changed for ease of casting purposes and painting for display on the table top as well. Gamers quickly shifted this description to other companies that used larger scales near to 25mm.

Edited by ReaperClark
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