Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A miniature figure -- also known as a miniature or just a mini -- is a small figurine commonly used in role playing games (RPGs) such as Dungeons & Dragons. Minis help visualize where characters are during combat, such as which way each character is facing, who's fighting who, line of sight, etc. They are also used in tabletop wargames such as Heroclix, Mage Knight, and Warhammer. Some minis are superbly sculpted, and are collectable in their own right.
The hobby of painting, collecting, and gaming with miniatures is descended from the toy soldier hobby. Traditionally, "toy soldiers" are sold pre-painted, and miniatures are sold "bare" and require painting. This distinction is blurring with the recent introduction of pre-painted plastic figures, such as those used in Clix games.
These minis were most commonly cast in white metal (an alloy of lead and tin, with a small amount of antimony, which improves the alloy's ability to take fine detail). Because of the high lead content, minis were sometimes called lead figures.
Mini scales are commonly expressed as the height of a six-foot figure. So 28 mm minis of human men are around 28 mm high. Women, children, dwarves, hobbits, etc. will be typically shorter than this; ogres, trolls, etc. taller.
Minis are available in various scales. 25 mm, 28 mm, 30 mm, and 35 mm are the most common for RPGs and other popular table-top games. Smaller minis – 10 mm, 15 mm, and sometimes 20 mm – are also made for table-top wargaming, rather than RPGs. Mithril Miniatures uses an idiosyncratic 32 mm scale for its main range. And larger minis – 54 mm and more – are made specifically for painters and collectors.
‘25 mm’ figures can range up to 33 mm or more (a 33% deviation). When some manufacturers began using a ‘28 mm’ designation, many of their own figures were already well over 30 mm tall.
Some manufacturers take the proper measurement of figure height to be to the level of its eyes rather than the top of its head. Using this interpretation, a 6 ft (1.83 m) figure in 28 mm-scale would be 30 mm tall (if the eyes are about half-way up the head, and if the head is about two fifteenths of the height, then the height to the eyes is fourteen fifteenths of the full height).
|2 mm||Useful for gaming in tight spaces|
|6 mm||Growing in popularity|
|10 mm||1.667 mm||1:182.88||Growing in popularity|
|15 mm||2.5 mm||1:121.92||The most popular scale in use by historical wargamers. Seldom used for RPGs.|
|20 mm||3.333 mm||1:91.44||Highly popular for WWII wargaming, as the figures are of the same scale (more or less) of 1:76 or 1:72 models. Seldom used for RPGs.|
|25 mm||4.167 mm||1:73.152||Effectively a match for 1:76 (4 mm scale/OO gauge) and 1:72 models, but there is a wide upwards variation in figure height, even when not described as 'Heroic 25 mm' or 28 mm.|
|30 mm||5 mm||1:60.96||Common for pre-1970s wargaming figures; modern minis may really be up to 35 mm.|
|32 mm||5.333 mm||1:57.15||Idiosyncratic to Mithril: genuine 32 mm|
|35 mm||5.833 mm||1:52.251||Where the manufacturer is being honest about how big its '30 mm' minis really are!|
|54 mm||9 mm||1:33.867||Collectable figures, a good match for 1:35 models, but oversize 54 mm figures would fit better with 1:32 models.|
Main article: Figure painting (hobby)
Although many gamers are indifferent to the quality of the paint job, for some the skilful painting of minis is a hobby in itself, on a par with the "more serious" modelling of historical and military figures. Skillful mini painting is a difficult, exacting, time-consuming process, but the results can be quite amazing.
Manufacturers with their own Wikipedia entries:
See External links for other manufacturers.
- Many sculptors, marked (*) below, now have their own "boutique" mini companies.
- Evan Allen - Battlefront
- Anthony Barton - AB Figures
- Nick Bibby - Citadel (his owlbear is a classic). Bibby also sculpts beautiful 'ornamental' animal figurines and bronzes.
- Mike Broadbent - Eureka Miniatures
- Steve Buddle - Dark Age, Spyglass (*)
- Mark Copplestone - Wargames Foundry, Copplestone Castings (*)
- Andy Foster - Heresy (*)
- Sandra Garrity - Reaper
- Martin Goddard - Peter Pig
- Jes Goodwin - Citadel (skaven, wood elf "war dancers")
- Julie Guthrie - Reaper
- Werner Klocke - Reaper, Dark Age, Freebooter (*)
- Tom Meier - Ral Partha, Thunderbolt Mountain (*)
- Ali Morrison - Citadel (samurai)
- Bob Murch - RAFM Call of Cthulhu, Pulp Figures (*)
- Mike Owen - Wargames Foundry, Artizan Designs
- Alan & Michael Perry - Wargames Foundry, Games Workshop, Perry Miniatures (*). Arguably the best sculptors the wargames industry has ever known.
- Bob Ridolfi - Reaper
- Chris Tubb - Mithril
- Kev White - i-Kore, Hasslefree (*)
- The Miniatures Page, a source of daily news about the tabletop wargaming hobby. Includes directory of miniatures manufacturers.
- The Stuff of Legends, probably the largest reference for lists and pictures of fantasy and sf miniatures.
- Miniatures Atlas, a reference of miniatures currently available for sale.
- Tom's Spaceship Miniature/Game List, an attempt to list all games and miniatures used in games with spaceships.
- Frothers-Unite!Fan-site with forum where the latest released miniatures of the world are reviewed.
- See Wikipedia articles on other manufacturers, listed above, for external links to their sites.
- 19th Century Miniatures US
- AB Figures (Anthony Barton) UK
- Artizan Designs (Mike Owen) UK
- Assassin Miniatures DE
- Baccus UK
- Battlefront (Evan Allen) NZ
- Britannia Miniatures UK
- Corvus Belli Spain
- CP Models (Stuart Patterson) UK
- Crocodile Games' War Gods of Ægyptus US
- Copplestone Castings (Mark Copplestone) UK
- Dark Age Games US
- Dark Sword Miniatures US
- Devil Dog Designs US
- Donnington Miniatures UK
- Eastern Front Studios US
- Eureka Miniatures AU
- Fenryll FR
- Freebooter Miniatures (Werner Klocke) DE
- Hasslefree Miniatures (Kev White) UK
- Heresy Miniatures (Andy Foster) UK
- Hundred Kingdoms (Black Orc Games) US
- Griffin Miniatures UK
- Gripping Beast UK
- Iron Kingdoms and Warmachine (Privateer Press) US
- IronWind Metals US
- Mithril Miniatures (Prince August) IE
- Moonlight Miniatures
- Museum Miniatures UK
- Old Glory US
- Outpost Wargames Service UK
- Perry Miniatures (Alan & Michael Perry) UK
- Peter Pig(Martin Goddard) UK
- Pulp Figures (Bob Murch) US
- Rackham FR
- RAFM Miniatures and Games CA
- Ral Partha (Europe) UK
- Reaper Miniatures US
- Shadowforge AU
- SHQ UK
- Spyglass Miniatures (Steve Buddle) UK
- Thunderbolt Mountain (Tom Meier) US
- True North MiniaturesCA
- Urban Mammoth (formerly i-Kore) UK
- Vendel Miniatures UK
- Wargames Foundry UK
- West Wind Productions UK
- Xyston Miniatures UK
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