Jump to content

What scale are Reaper Minis? They are not 28mm are they?


Recommended Posts

There is a common argument about whether 28mm is a measurement of the height to the top of the head or to the eye. This leads some miniatures to be called "28mm" when they're taller than others.

But the real issue is that scale creep is a very real thing. This is why so many lines claim to be 30mm, or 35mm but end up the same size as supposed 28mm minis.

Privateer Press' Warmachine game started out claiming 28mm, but later claimed 30mm (I don't think they've shifted from there).

Games Workshop claims 28mm, which is pretty bonkers. Also, they've taken to writing the scale creep into the fluff (Orks are bigger than they used to be, and so are Space Marines).


As for the size in heads, you'll find that they vary quite a lot more these days. A lot of lines are heading for less heroic proportions, but keeping some of the exagerations like the weapons sizes (like Infinity or most CMON games).  Some are exaggerating in completely different ways (like Malifaux or Kingdom Death). And Dark Sword remains a bastion for close to true scale minis (though some exaggerations are still present).

  • Like 9
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 24
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

On 8/27/2020 at 2:02 PM, TGP said:



The bodies and legs are shorter than they should be. All the figure brands, going all the way back to Grenadier and Partha, are like that. Proportions of limbs/hands/torsos/heads being very different than the human norm.  That is what makes differences in height among figures so noticeable....but among real humans similar height differences are just normal. 



I thought that's what "heroic" scale meant. Or rather, the other way around: heads and hands being too big.


Anyway, as someone else noted, if you go back to Reaper's earliest minis, they are noticeably smaller than the ones being sculpted today.

Edited by Doc Eon
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/27/2020 at 7:02 AM, TGP said:

And Reaper is correct:


Four celebrities in poster form to the left; a real woman (the world’s tallest model) on the right. (She is 6ft 8”)

THIS not helping.

I loathe that every time someone raises this point you lot always produce examples pulled from modern population images. Yes in our world we have people from pigmies to NBA players and there is the ever popular image of arnold and wilt that gets thrown around. This sort of dismissive hand waving response results in ample consternation for people like me. It is rirrelevant and doesn't address the question at all. you think you are the first to google image search for height variation in the human population? what about small genetically similar groups? ever go to distant human populations? I have, they are MOSTLY the same Height wii slight variations. so in that poster remove the 6+ foot person and you would get a more normal human height distribution.

What he is describing is the OLD dark haven sized models. scale, like many descriptors these days often is a point of pedantic posts such as this. Rather that deride Jim or try and win a point try and find out what he is asking for.

Here is the best I can do from my own personal frustration over this same issue. before someone says "let it go dood" I am OCD, I cannot let things go. I literally lose sleep over stuff like this.

here is what would have been helpful:
When you look at the old reaper "dark haven legends classics" models there was a general scale that was fairly consistent which is what he was speaking to.

I Personally wish they would return to the "DHL classics" scale

Edited by The Steve
  • Like 1
  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@The Steve, as you note in your linked blog post, head sizes are more consistent than people’s heights.  It would be nice if Reaper would put a more detailed measurement with the figures (that seems achievable), but players/painters are still ultimately going to be on their own for the final decision about what fits together.  Most of my collection is early ”true 25s”, but even when I started back in the ‘70s we had oversize ranges like Archive and Hinchliffe, and the mostly consistent 1/72 plastics have enough variation that I have issues with mixing some of them...


It’s a problem, but it’s never really been not a problem.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

yeah, that is frustrating my only concern is that they kick the scale back down a bit. I have massive anxiety that much of bones V will be in the newer large size that seems closer to 32mm. If so I might try and sell my bones V pledge stuff on ebay and buy DHL classics/kits from other companies. I am hoping I am wrong but about 1/2 of bones IV that I pledged for I can use, the rest I gave to my kiddo to play with. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's probably best not to think of 28mm Heroic as a 'scale' in the same sense that you might think of 1/72 or 1/48 scale models as being "scales'!


It's my understanding that what we think of as 28mm Heroic today began its life as a variation on 1/72 and/or HO scale models - some of the original fantasy RPG miniatures from the '70s and '80s were wargaming minis at pretty close to that scale (25mm actually, if I'm remembering rightly), which are kind of small and realistically proportioned compared to modern miniatures.


Since then, fantasy RPG miniatures have gone through a gradual evolution of 'scale creep' where they've gotten bigger and bigger:  the old 28mm was actually pretty close to being 28mm in height (whatever that meant, whether from foot-to-eyes, or foot-to-top-of-head, depending on manufacturer/sculptor/whatever), but the modern "28mm" is much taller - 32mm or more.


The "Heroic" part of 28mm is a reference to the proportions:  for scale model figures, like 1/72 wargaming soldiers or HO scale model railroad figures, you'll mostly find some fairly realistic proportions compared to real human beings.  For "heroic" proportions, you're going to get something that would look rather bizarre and monstrous if you were to see it in real life:  large heads with very large eyes, gigantic ham-fists, broad shoulders with outlandishly bulging muscles on the male figures, and absurdly large... er... "assets" on the female figures, gigantic weapons, etc.  These cartoonish proportions are especially obvious on Games Workshop's Warhammer and other miniatures from the 1980s and so on - see the figures from the "HeroQuest" board game, for example!  The exaggerated features make it easier to see "essential" features of the miniatures on the tabletop, as well as being a bit easier for sculptors and manufacturers to work with (realistically-proportioned swords and other weapons, for example, would be kind of tiny and fragile in a 'true 28mm' scale!  The faces of the characters would be tiny and difficult to see as well....)




A reference photo of an actual human being, compared with a "28mm Heroic" scale figure - note the exaggerated proportions in the miniature!



So, the "28mm Heroic scale" is sort of an exaggerated, "mostly in the ballpark" range of "close enough" scales that are less an industry standard representing an actual scale, the way that modern military and wargame scale model figures and vehicles are, and more of something open to individual interpretation for sculptors and manufacturers.


Older fantasy miniatures are going to (generally) be a bit small, and some are going to be more realistically proportioned than others.


That's going to be mostly OK for fantasy role-playing figures and for fantasy wargaming, but it would definitely give scale modelers fits!


(That said, even scale model manufacturers for wargaming figures have some variations in the scale - some of those 1/72 scale figures might be measured from the bottom of the base rather than the sole of the foot, up to the eye, or the top of the head, or whatever, so that 1/72 figures manufactured by some companies are visibly smaller or larger than others!  It's sort of something that gamers mostly have learned to hand-wave and live with... as others have mentioned:  "just as there are variations in height in 'Real Life', there are variations in height for minis...."  Some variations might stretch credibility a bit, but it's probably best not to think about it too much, for the sake of sanity :D  )

Edited by YronimosW
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ha, I got a chance to read through the thread today, which I didn't do before posting - I see a lot of folks posted much the same things I did, before I did.  Honestly, I wasn't trying to copy-cat :)  I'm actually relieved that the things that I thought I remembered from my own experience over the years, match up really closely to what people more informed than me say - I was worried I might have remembered a lot of things really wrong!


Absolutely, what WhiteWulfe said, too:  painting realistically-scaled 25mm or 28mm faces would really be a drag, because they would be pretty tiny, and hard to get any interesting detail from!  (Try painting some 1/72 scale plastic historical or other "army men" some time, to see what we mean....)


Regarding the question of whether the torsos and legs are short, or the heads are large - I think one is as accurate as the other:  it might as well be six of one, and a half-dozen of the other.


I think the best way to think of most fantasy RPG miniatures - including Reaper and all but a handful of exceptions - would be to remember that they are stylized "Heroic" character figures, and meant to be only a little more "realistic" in terms of height and proportion than, say, these guys:




And, here's a HeroQuest figure from the '80s, for anyone unfamiliar with them - I mentioned them above as a particularly exaggerated version of "28mm Heroic", as these were the first time I remember really noticing the "scale" and its odd style conventions... I wouldn't be surprised if HeroQuest, Warhammer, and other '80s vintage boardgames or fantasy wargames were where the Heroic scale was popularized until "Heroic" proportions basically became a sort of "standard" for fantasy miniatures:





For whatever it's worth, back when I used to collect, model, and wargame with 1/72 scale military aircraft and so on, we pretty freely mixed 1/72, 1/78, and HO (1/81) model railroad stuff - the figures would range between about 20mm to 30mm, and were technically wildly out of scale with each other, but at that scale and for our purposes, it really didn't matter a whole lot.  (Model railroading stuff was another thing altogether:  I couldn't rally afford to branch into that hobby, but I do recall that it was, if anything, even more wildly open to interpretation than "Heroic" fantasy gaming minis are, and model railroaders seemed pretty easy-going about it all, where some historical military modelers I knew of could get kind of picky about scale and precise measurements!  Of course, that might just be my experience... other people might have the opposite experience.)


The great little chart that MoebiusStrip posted on page one reminded me of all that - I wonder if it would have improved, or spoiled any of my '80s wargaming or modeling fun, if I'd had one of those charts back then?  Either way, it's cool to see the chart now....


I think that really, most fantasy gamers over the years have come to accept that there's going to be some variation in the scale of their miniatures, and it's not really a big thing, as long as they're close enough, and as long as they're all "Heroic" (or, alternatively, all "realistic"/"non-Heroic"):  I think it really tends to stand out more when you mix Heroic figures with realistic ones, even when they're the same height, because the Heroic figures are noticeably stockier, the heads much bigger-looking, and so on!


There's another discussion somewhere in the forums, from maybe a couple years ago, where someone mentioned that some older metal Reaper Novacorp figures were a little shorter than newer Bones Novacorp guys, where the discussion turned toward little tricks used to hide the difference - for example, where the figures are a couple mm shorter, you can put them on a thicker base, and it "fools the eye" into thinking the figures are the same height!  As long as the heads and bodies are close to the same size/dimensions, I think you can "fudge" the "scale" a lot with little tricks like those!  (I've resized some taller goblins before, by shortening legs a little, for example....)





Edited by YronimosW
At war with clarity.
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/27/2020 at 1:09 AM, MoebiusStrip said:

Because the ratio is the scale, a height in mm is just a random number really. Then only way to convert the mm to scale would be to have an idea what they are measuring, it's usually feet to eye.

Assuming an average height of 1.75m and a head-height to total height ratio of 1/7.5 (and eyes being halfway up the head) we would have a eye-height of 1.633m (1.75/7.5*7), for a scale of 1/58.33 .

Which if you measure from toes to head would be roughly 30mm.



Ailene being 34mm to the top includes hair and a cowl, and she might be taler (we are talking averages here with a body height of 1.75m and h2b of 1/7.5). So that is not totally out of the 28mm 'heroic' scale.


So much for scale. In my experience the recent bones figures have grown a lot. Older, especially the metal figures seem to be more in line of 25mm (feet to eye). The newer releases contain the M and B cubes which are 1/4" in height (which is not superusable but it gives an impression). The older figures for the most part are photographed with Bryangles (the things poking into the picture, usually on the right) with the triangles being at 1/2" and 1" height.

And I seem to recall that @Reaper_Jon mentioned something about properly measuring the figures, ongoing effort and such, not sure what became of that.


In any case, may be useful:

Scale     H2E    H2H    Comment
1/48 34.0mm    36.5mm    O Scale
1/51 32.0mm    34.3mm    32mm
1/58 28.0mm    30.0mm    28mm
1/65 25.0mm    26.8mm    25mm
1/72 22.7mm    24.3mm    Plastic Historicals are often this size
1/81 20.0mm    21.4mm    20mm
1/87 18.8mm    20.1mm    HO Scale
1/90 18.0mm    19.3mm    18mm
1/108 15.0mm    16.1mm    15mm
1/144 11.3mm    12.2mm    Often Aircraft plastic kits
1/160 10.2mm    10.9mm    N Scale
1/163 10.0mm    10.7mm    10mm
1/272 6.0mm    6.4mm    6mm
  H2E      Height from toe to eyes

   Height from toe to top of head



Don't forget 2mm.  A quick look at my US Civil War stuff from Irregular Miniatures is 2mm to roughly where eyes would be, and 3mm to the top of the hat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...