You'll find a little of everything here. Genres covered in this blog include (so far) prehistorics, fantasy, old west, swashbucklers, pulp, Blood Bowl, Ghostbusters, gladiators, nautical, science fiction and samurai in 6mm, 15mm, 28mm, 40mm, 42mm and 54mm sizes. You'll also find terrain, scenery, basing, gaming, modeling, tutorials, repaints, conversions, art and thoughts in general about the hobby.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Why I prefer 42mm

40-42mm seems to be a traditional toy soldier scale, but has been overwhelmingly overtaken by 28mm, which takes up less of a footprint in large battle games. Lately, skirmish games have made somewhat of a resurgence. Even still, 28mm (and the more "heroic" 33-35mm) figures are here to stay and will probably remain popular for years to come. So why do I prefer 42mm?

Mostly because they're just damn pretty. When I started this hobby, I did it to paint. The game was Warhammer (of course,) and my friends and I played many games. But we spent more hours painting than we did playing. And, in any case, I'm an artist first (I have a bachelor's degree in medical/scientific illustration,) so I'm going to always prefer the art side of the game. So the painter took over, and the gamer took a break.

Miniatures companies produce some beautiful 28mm figures, many of which I still paint, but I prefer a larger canvas, and 42mm figures provide that. Being easier to paint adds to a more relaxing experience. The larger size also allows me to try out some sculpting conversions, and scenic base ideas that would have otherwise been too fiddly or difficult at a smaller scale. I've improved, and I've ported over some of those conversion skills to my 28mm stuff, but it might never have happened if I hadn't tried it out on my 42mm (and 54mm) figures first.

In the end, being more relaxed, I'm producing better figures than if I had stayed at a smaller scale. My samurai (by Steve Barber Models) are officially my favorite figures in my entire collection now. Part of it is because they are pretty figures, made prettier with paint. Another part is because I'm a big samurai film fan. And yet another part is because I'm getting back into gaming.

My friends aren't the biggest fans of minis game (they prefer the board variety,) but after discovering Two Hour Wargames (and an excellent solo game in the "Red Sands" series,) the samurai are great to play skirmish games with. And when they are on the table with large trees and rocks and other terrain, they are -- just like I said -- just damn pretty!

How about some Pros and Cons for 40-42mm figures

-- Easy to paint
-- Easy to convert
-- Look gorgeous on the table (especially at conventions if you're trying to woo new players)
-- Larger scale does not come with a larger price; some 42s cost just as much per figure as 28s.
-- A good selection of figures across time periods (Ancients, Samurai, Medieval, Vikings, European wars, Pirates, AWI, Civil War, Old West, Moderns come to mind right away)
-- Great for skirmish games

-- Need extra space for large battles
-- Few players use 40mm for mainstream games/Difficult to find opponents
-- Many periods are represented, but ranges are limited (due to limited popularity)
-- Limited available terrain on the market (especially buildings)

Final word: If you like skirmish games and don't have an extensive collection of 28s yet to play, I recommend you check out what's out there for 40-42mm figures. Or if you have some shelf space, try out a few 42mm figures just to paint for fun. You can use the more relaxing experience as sort of a mental cleanser from painting smaller figures, and a few 42s will look nice (and will be noticeable from a distance) in a living room or library.

(I didn't include 54mm figures, because most are much too expensive to buy enough for a game, though, there are plenty of 54mm plastic figures out there. Bronze Age Miniatures does put out a few that are not too costly. And yes, I do love my 54mm post-apocalypse figures, too.)


  1. They are really very nicefigures I must admit. For me its storage space with it being all slightly bigger I need so much more room that I don't have it.

  2. I play French Indian War skirmishes with my collection of 60mm models and certainly wouldn't change the scale for it. Simon's correct.Storage can be an issue, especially when you start adding terrain. And don;t get me started on the cost of trees once you increase the scale. But the 'ooohh shiny' effect is hard to beat :)

  3. Actually, I don't have any issues with storage. My 42s (and even my 54mm figures) will fit in Chessex large figures cases. Granted, fewer will fit in a case than 28mm figures, but I also have fewer 42mm figures than 28s.

    For some large trees (they look great, but they get in the way sometimes) I direct you here:

  4. Stunning collection you have painted. I was going to add 54mm, but you mentioned it in he end. As you say there are some fairly inexpensive plastic 54mm - not sure how extensive ranges though. Best, Dean

    P.S. I have too many 28mm already, so if I were to go upscale - it'd be likely 54mm.