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## Putting Scale in Perspective.
Not all miniatures are scaled by measuring their total height. It is quite common for the Barrett scale to be used which measures to eye height. The measurement given may either be the total height of the figure (if standing straight and not wearing a hat), or it may be the Barrett scale and refer to the eye height. Which was used for your figures, and what was the average eye height they used? Sometimes you’ll see the two systems mixed. A couple of companies I know have a “28mm range” and they helpfully list the total height of individual figures (30-32mm for typical males). However, the same companies have “54mm ranges” and this is the actual height of the figures they offer. The Barrett scale does have some advantages. You don’t have to figure headgear into your calculations and it doesn’t matter what height the sculptor thinks is average. If the size of the figure is expressed in Barrett Scale then you do need to know the eye height of the average human male. By the wonders of the internet I found this scientific paper, which includes the useful information that your real eye height is 0.93 of your total height. Or in other words only 7% of your height is above your eyes! So if your figure in real life is between 5’8” and 5’9” then their eye height will be between 5’3” and 5’4”. The figure I’d suggest you use is 1618mm which gives the eye height as a shade below 5’4”, representing figures a shade taller than a 5’8” average.Average height for males tends to be between 5’8” and 5’9”, so a good ballpark figure is 1739mm (5’ 8.46”). If you think the sculptor is erring on the large side try 1827mm for a shade under 6ft. If you think the measure given is the total height of the figure then divide the above number by the measure, for example, I have a figure 32mm tall that I suspect is meant to represent a tall hero:- -so taking the reciprocal and rounding, the scale of that figure is 1/57 – in other words a 28mm Barrett scale figure of above average height.1827 / 32 = 57.09 If you think the measure given is in Barrett scale then divide the model height given into 1618mm. If you think the sculptor is erring on the large side then divide into 1699mm. How did I get these figures? I multiplied the suspected height of the figure in real life by a constant of 0.93 to give the eye height. Using these figures I did some interesting calculations. I measured an Artizan German Military Policeman figure I have since he is standing up straight and not running or crouching. He is exactly 28mm to the eyes, giving me a scale of 1618/28 or a shade under 1/58. I was quite interested to find out that the best estimate of a 28mm figure’s scale was just under 1/58th. Vehicles for use with 28mm figures are often described as 1/56 ^{th} or 1/60^{th.}. If my figure really was 1/56 he’d only be only 5’6" tall and not a very imposing military policeman! If 1/60^{th} he and the rest of my force would all be 5’11" –well above average. I’m about 5’11" myself and it is very rare to meet anyone taller. As an aside, the SS required a minimum height of 1.8m for recruits, although as the war progressed this had to be relaxed.I did some more calculations. - If your figure is 20mm Barrett scale then it is about 1/76th scale and near enough to OO gauge (1/76.2 or 4mm per foot)
- If your figure is 20mm in total height this will be around 1/87
^{th}scale and compatible with HO gauge (3.5mm per foot).
- If your figure is 25mm in total height, or a shade under this is probably close enough to 1/72
^{nd}.
- A figure that is 25mm Barrett scale will be 1/67
^{th}-1/64^{ th}, depending on what eye height you used . Figures 28mm total height will be 1/65^{ th}– 1/62^{nd}. The two are effectively interchangeable and you can see where confusion arises. This is why the Wikipedia article on scale is a mess! The author states that the eye height is usually used then works out the scale ratios using the measurements as total height.
- A figure of 28mm Barrett scale works out as 1/57
^{ th}-1/58^{ th}. Most vehicles offered as “28mm compatible” claim to be 1/60^{ th}or 1/56^{th}, although the actual scale may be somewhere between this.
Note that here I’m mainly going on the nominal measurements. Nearly all of the figures I actually own are around 28mm so I don’t have any actual 1/72 Diet in Roman times was actually very good, with even the poorest citizen receiving free bread. The idea that Roman Legionaries were 5’3” and had to fight 7’ Celts and Germans is quite hysterical, but seems to be widely held, even though if you look at Roman armour in a museum it is obviously not for someone that small. Between 5’ 8” and 5’ 9” seems to be a good general value for the height of an average male throughout history. If you have enjoyed this article or it has been helpful to you please feel free to show your appreciation. Thank you. |