Wargaming Musings?

I'm a bit of a butterfly in terms of my attention and sticking to gaming projects long term isn't my strongest point. On the bright side, atleast I flit between the same things. Expect an ecclectic medley of Moderns, Dark Ages, Quar and Early Wild West, almost all in 28mm... (with some 1/48 moderns thrown in... )

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A question of scale - 20mm vs 28mm for Cold War Gone Hot

I've hit a bit of a conundrum.... I've got the FoF Cold War Gone Hot rules coming for my birthday, and as I was a slow day at work I had a flick through them to kill some time. And I liked what I saw. I liked it very much indeed.

I had originally only picked up the book to give me a bit more guidance for ideas to 're-use' my BritApoc figures in some FoF games (either Cold war gone hot or as a basis for Winter of '79 style civil war games), but it may well become something more than that. Which leaves me in a bit of a quandary when it comes to forces.

I've got 3 sections of British Infantry with GPMG but no Charlie-G, a platoon command and some assorted odds n sods which could be beefed up to make a few more sections. I've a couple of (Dinky) Saracen's, a Corgi Saladin and a Daimler Armoured Car. Facing off against them are about a platoon of Hungarian Motor Rifles  without any form of vehicle support, but they do have a HMG and a pair of ATGMs. Oh, and masses of guys with SLRs, shotguns, SMGs, etc which can be used for militia if need be. Whilst this will be enough for 'making things up' scenarios - especially re-skinning Iraq war/other 'regulars vs insurgents' scenarios to involve Provisional government regulars cracking down on rebel militia or possibly British partisans striking back against the invading soviets.  What is apparent is that I need more vehicles - FV432's, BMPs, BTRs & T-80's. If I replace the Americans (and there are a lot of scenarios with them in)/other Nato forces with Brits, I'll also need some British MBTs, and even more Warsaw Pact stuff. Thats ok - atleast, it was until I looked at the price of 1/56-1/60th scale vehicles! With APCs being around £20 a pop, and MBTs around £25 It's looking a bit harsh to even get my existing forces into vehicles, let alone buying new ones! There are a few usable 1/48th scale vehicles on the market, but I don't like how 1/48ths scale with 28mm infantry (it's ok if they are on Ssotta bases, but as I use 'thin' bases the vehicles are just too big IMO) and even less so regarding how they mix with 1/56th scale vehicles...

Now, although my gaming buddies play FoF Africa in 28mm, they also do Iraq/etc in 20mm, and I must say, their figures did look good - a lot better than I was expecting if I'm honest. Between price (approximately 1/2 that of 1/56th ones for resin, less if plastic kits are used) and the better-than-expected quality I am considering changing scale for this project. I've got more than enough stuff for BritApoc as things are, and given that I'll never really use army regulars (Nato or Soviet) in  much more than section strength, I don't 'need' forces of platoon+ capacity.

Another factor in 20mm's favour is the range of vehicles available. Even with an open cheque book, I'd struggle to meet the less-core requirements of FoF in 28mm, and they aren't even particularly esoteric (the Shilka being a good example!). In comparison, 20mm seems to have every vehicle varient one could ever want and more. The Character and feel of civillian/non-uniform figures was a major concern - at least 28mm has the Killer bee Geezers range, which is pretty fairly priced and has lots of 70's/80's character, and the Kiss Kiss bang bang ranges which whilst a bit early would 'do' at a pinch. Further inspection turned up the Stan Johansen, Platoon 20 & Hotspur/Stonewall figures 20mm ranges - all of which were 'ultra-modern' when they were made in the 80's, but which are now suitably vintage. None of the ranges have huge numbers of figures in mufti, and certainly combined they still don't have anywhere near the scope of say the geezers range, but it's a good start... and one has to question how many characters will actually be needed in this case...

All that said, everything I have is 28mm... apart from the HLBS 36mm stuff & my old Inquisitor 54mms, but they are both minor digressions. Infact, in the case of the HLBS stuff, as I've already shown some '28mm' (actually 32mm) figures are of a compatible size so there isn't much of a change in terms of scenery and painting styles. I don't even know if I will be able to do a decent job on 20mms - a daft thing to say, but also true. I also don't know how compatible figures are in terms of size, bulk and sculpting style..!

After a couple of enquiries, the nice people at Elhiem, ERM/Platoon20, Liberation & Under fire have all agreed to send me a couple of scale comparison/taster figures just to see how well the different ranges I've had under consideration match up, and also to see how I generally 'get on' with them.

So, no strong and fast ideas either way yet - I may pick up a 20mm/1:72/1:76 vehicle or two to see how I find those as well. If I was to go the 20mm route, I'd buy specifically for each FoF scenario, which overall would give a fairly comprehensive amalgamation of bits, although knowing me a few 'extras' for winter of 79 games would invariably sneak in... If I stick to 28mm... I'm not sure. I guess I might be able to go the diecast route for some bits (T-55s from Chinese toy car manufacturers, scorpions and the like from Dinky) and get a couple of carefully chosen pieces in resin...

As an aside, most of the blogs I read seem to have a range of pictures used to break up the text and act as eye-candy... Let me know if you like it, in which case I'll try to carry on with the style in the future!


  1. Personally I would select 20mm (1/72). Storage would be my concern (as well as price and availibility). Although pretty much everything is also in 15mm should you wish. The range and avilibility of 20mm manufacturers in metal, plastic and Resin would sway me more than the pleasure I would get from a larger scale.

    Just my 7.62mm

    1. Thanks for the thoughts Clint. I've got some Platoon 20 figures sat on my desk at the moment, and I am leaning that way. I'll have a go at playing around with painting tomorrow after I get them primed tonight - but they do seem like a good possibility. It does also mean that for the price of outfitting my existing forces with transports, I should be able to get a lot of kit on the table...

  2. I'd have to go price over scale to be honest. 20mm for me