What scale are 28mm war game miniatures?
Many role-playing and tabletop games use miniatures and figures that are 28mm tall. It’s a common height for miniatures from Games Workshop amongst others.
Assuming you have figures of this height, you’ll undoubtedly want tabletop scenics to on your game board.
But if you browse the online model-making shops looking for burnt-out buildings and the like you’ll find they are measured not in mm but in scales – 1:76, 1:72, 1:36 and 1:24 are common. How do these relate to the 28mm of your miniatures?
The scale measurement you see, 1:76 for example, is a way of expressing the size of the model to its real-life counterpart. A 1:24 model is 24 times smaller than its real-life equivalent. If you had a 1:24 model aircraft, for example, the real version would be 24 times larger than the model.
Using this we can work out the scale of models to go with 28mm figures by comparing them to a normal-height person.
The average height of a modern person is 5ft 11.9 inches, or 1826.26mm.
28 goes into 1826.26 roughly 65 times (1826.26/28) so a typical IRL person is approximately 65 times larger than a 28mm figure which gives a model scale of 1:65.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many military models made to a scale of 1:65.
Instead, the closest alternative common military modelling scales are 1:60 and 1:76 scales.
So the answer to the question: what scale are 28mm figures, the answer is 1:60 and 1:76. If you get models in these scales they won’t look too bad alongside the miniatures on your tabletop.
But…. Orks, Space Marines, Necrons…
There’s always a but isn’t there.
The above calculations are based on the typical height of a person today and standard military wargaming figures of 28mm.
For fantasy and SciFi based tabletop gaming however, the imaginary figures are often larger than typical human beings. Think Orks and Trolls, and Space Marines in 40k are approximately 7ft high while the codex for Necrons says they’re 8ft.
As such, you’ll often find minis are larger than 28mm, and figures of 30mm and even 40mm figures are common.
So if your games feature these figures, I’d recommend using accompanying models of a larger scale, 1:50 or 1:56 scale.
Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.