Home Forums General General What do you call "GW size" minis?

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    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    Figures at the size of Games Workshop figures regardless of manufacturer.

    Once upon a time they were 25mm, then they were 28mm, then they were “heroic 28mm”, lately I’ve seen 32mm being thrown around.

    What do YOU call that scale of figures?

    Nordic Weasel Games

    Avatar photoMike

    28mm, but then I have not bought any in about 30 years.
    Back then I would have called them 25mm, but 25mm seems to have crept to 28mm these days.
    No idea, all too big for my liking!


    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Dunno – don’t do GW, so no real idea what their figures are like. That may sound snotty – it’s not meant to be, it’s just the GW has never had anything to do with my wargaming – I started before they existed.

    I think I call what you are talking about 28mm – reluctantly – there were 30mm figures when I started out – Stadden for one, and very expensive – I bought 25mm Hinchliffe and Minifigs and that is how I really still think of them – I guess we have crept back up to 30mm+.

    Avatar photoLes Hammond

    No idea but I suspect they keep increasing the figure size so that gamers have to buy their armies all over again, that or add layers of plasticard to the underneath of the base 😀

    6mm France 1940


    Avatar photokyoteblue

    Much too large and expensive.

    Avatar photoDarkest Star Games

    I wish they’d call them an actual scale!  But ya, I hear “32mm” quite a bit, and also that the idea is so that other fig makers models won’t fit in with them.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Avatar photoUsagitsuki

    “The Games Workshop Scale™.”
    As used in “The Games Workshop Hobby™,” where they are “Games Workshop Painted™” with “The Games Workshop Paints™.”

    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    Do note that this isn’t GW specifically. My old Warzone and Void figures are the same scale 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    Sometimes I bunch everything from 25mm to 32mm into “28mm” because I’m speaking in a greater context (for instance when I speak of the “foremost three” scales, i.e. 28s, 15s and 6s) and it would sound pedantic to say “25mm, 28mm, 30mm and 32mm”. This is much the same as when I (occasionally, but not consistently) bunch together 10mm and 12mm, or 15mm and 18mm, or 36mm, 40mm and 42mm. I just have to trust other people to understand that I’m modulating my degree of preciseness after the context, and not think I’m some sort of imbecile who genuinely believes true 25s and 32s are practically the same.

    But anyway, to answer the question: if the context allows me to be more precise without making me sound pedantic, I use “heroic 28mm” and “30-32mm” interchangeably. Come to think of it, “heroic scale” would also suit well and I may just start using that term. People should probably be able to surmise that “heroic scale” with no actual measurement attached to it refers to heroic 28s as opposed to, for instance, heroic 15s.

    Avatar photoGeneral Slade

    Epic 1/72

    Avatar photoTony Hughes

    Dunno, never had any.

    I too started wargaming long before GW came around, maybe even before Guy. I couldn’t afford metal figures for a while though – had to manage with Airfix plastics until Peter Laing started doing medieval and Lecester Microtanks 1/300th WW2.

    Have done some VBCW in 20mm much more recently but only actually got any 28mm about 3 years ago – probably make up less than 1% of my figures between them.

    Tony of TTT


    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    maybe even before Guy

    It’s possible!

    AlthoughI thought NCS and I were mud wrestling for ‘Miserable Old Git’ rights here. (I’m sure he’s older than me, by minutes at least).

    1972 was my transition from Airfix, marble rolling, Callan enthusiast, to ‘Wargamer’, thanks to a chance purchase of Charge!

    The following year we set up a school wargames club and the rest is… well, obsession.

    Leicester micromodels! I found some in the loft this afternoon, while arranging space for the Christmas decorations to hibernate.

    Avatar photoMartinR

    There are actual 25mm figures (not to be confused with their 20mm brethren) and then there are the bloated monstrosities which I lump together as ’28mm’ although their actual size is anyone’s guess. These boaters include the likes of Foundry etc.

    True 25mm figures tend to be long oop, and merely the preserve of old farts like me.

    I did have some 28s for a while but sold the last of them a few years ago.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoTony Hughes

    Hi Guy

    1965 was my first attempt at a ‘proper’ wargame using scratch built Napoleonic ships from Balsa, card and cocktail sticks. Didn’t move onto figures until 1966/7 and my first club in Hornchurch and I got painting my own WW2 force – very badly.

    Transition to grumpy old git followed not long after. I was one of the lucky few who discovered girls and beer before Wargaming so they have happily co-existed ever since.

    Tony of TTT


    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    My entry into miniature wargaming was through GW, in the late eighties. I always thought of GW miniatures as 25mm. I *know* they are closer to 32mm or even 40mm in some cases these days, but in my kind, they still register as 25mm.

    But does it matter? I have “25mm” from many different historical ranges as well, and there are significant differences. The visual look of a figure and compatibility is much more dependent on sculpting style than nominal height.

    But in practice, I don’t care that much. I mix all my different ranges in the same game.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    Avatar photoirishserb

    From the late 1980’s, I’ve  referred to the “larger than true 25mm” figs as 28mm.  My GW human figs range from about 1989 to whenever the plastic Cadians came out.  I got curious, so just went downstairs and measured a bunch of the most upright figs.  The old IG, circa 1989-91 measured 27mm to 31.5mm in height, generally with helmets (without helmets, they were 28mm and 29.5mm).  The Cadians  measured 29-32mm, all with helmets, except the 29mm guy.  The couple old rogue trader figs that I saw were 29mm.

    Foundry Street violence, without big hair were 30-31mm, Copplestone 31-32mm, Rafm 30-31mm, Bobby Jackson all at 30mm, and generally, the mix otherwise ranged around 27-30mm, these generally dating from 1989-1994.  My older Wargames Foundry historicals tend to be closer to 28mm, many a touch under.

    In general, I tend to think of most of my “larger” scale figs as 28mm, but I would guess that the average height of my 28mm figs is 30mm.

    I have a few figs that were advertised as 32mm, they tend to stand 34-36mm tall, and will probably never be used, as none of them are brutes, justifying the height relative to the shorter figs.  At this point, I avoid anything that advertises as 32mm or taller.

    I guess in response to the original question as posed, I call 32mm figs “too big”.

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    Ahh, and now we get to the “measure to top of head” or “measure to eyes” question.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Hi Tony,

    Congrats! Beat me by years – you’ve made an obviously not so old man after all, very happy!

    (I was going to ask how does one know the scale of a GW figure – but I see there are human figures involved after all.)

    Forget measuring to eye or top of head or top of headgear, why did anyone think bringing out 28mm WWII figures was a good idea when there was so much 1/72nd and 1/76 stuff out there and so much invested in it (and it is a more sensible balance between detail and tabletop play)?

    Avatar photoJohn D Salt

    Come to think of it, “heroic scale” would also suit well and I may just start using that term. People should probably be able to surmise that “heroic scale” with no actual measurement attached to it refers to heroic 28s as opposed to, for instance, heroic 15s.

    Whenever I hear the word “heroic” in this context, I interpret it as meaning “suffering badly from scale creep”. While I’ve only heard “heroic 25mm” as an early term for 28mm, I tend to think of 6mm as “heroic” 5mm, 12mm as “heroic” 10mm, 18mm as “heroic” 15mm, and I suppose 32mm, which I had never heard of before, must be “heroic” 30mm.

    Since I started wargaming at about the same time as some of the other old fogeys in this group, in 1970, I regard wargaming with figures as an outgrowth of the scale modelling hobby. I therefore have a hard time understanding why so many figures are not proper scale models; although this is perhaps the difference between a figure and a toy soldier.

    All the best,


    Avatar photoOtto Schmidt

    I started the hobby with 30mm. — Scruby’s to be exact. Then went on to Stadden and Surens which were 30 to 32mm. ?Went to 25mm  and so on and the scale has crept all over the place. Now today I still have my Stadden and Surens and use them  with impunity with half a dozen other manufacturers , no wait… a dozen or more, some of which are all over the place with regard to scale. These include the old SAE’s and Greenwood and Ball minis,  and so forth. The one thing I f0und is that if you don’t mix the minis on the stand, then no one notices.  Thus the SAE’s in their unit when on the table top don’t look dinky at all compared to the majestic Surens’etc. I don’t have many GW sized figures because they don’t make much in the periods of interest I have, but I have used some of them as bases for conversions and even then look dinky sometimes.

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