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Re: "Why are we passionate about 1:72 scale miniatures?" Continued from April 13, 2020

As a wargamer, you'd think I'd say, "the game is the thing" & the figures are only a means to an end. Not so.

To prove a point, I have tried video games, didn't like them (including historical wargaming ones) and now never play them. Sure, I like a miniatures wargame but the secret is in the first word: miniatures.

I like the display, the pageantry, the artistry of a painted figure, unit, army. Indeed, in the middle of a game, I have to remind myself to play & not just to admire the figures & the terrain.

This is probably fortunate because as everyone knows, for each hour gaming is many, many, many hours of painting. I see myself as a (distinctly) minor artist, painting away & trying to re-create the appearance & uniform of warriors & soldiers through out history.

So to succinctly answer GC's question: miniatures fill an aesthetic need for me.


Re: "Why are we passionate about 1:72 scale miniatures?" Continued from April 13, 2020

It is an interesting topic! My story of being introduced to the 1/72 is pretty funny, because it was all because of a shipping misunderstanding. :joy:

As is common for many North Americans I started in the 1/32 scale with my father (he loves the Marx stuff), with some recasts of Airfix's British Inf and German Afrika Korps being the first sets we purchased. In an attempt to build on this collection I ordered something from a catalogue (no pictures, this was well before the glorious PSR days) that was called "Revell British Infantry." In my ignorance I thought it was some 1/32 scale WWII Brits, but turn out it was actually set #02571 the Waterloo British Infantry. Surprised though I was, I really enjoyed forming up the Revell guys into firing lines and squares while exploring Napoleonic history (a topic that is not taught in many USA schools at the moment). Eventually I bought a couple of HaT Austrian, Dutch/Belgian, and of course French sets to go with the Brits and had a little Napoleonic army. After a brief hiatus from collecting I restarted my collection with Strelets Mini's Vikings, who just look so amazing when arrayed in their nice little shield wall, and now I focus mainly on ancient and medieval topics.

I am mostly a computer gamer at heart (started with the original Age of Empires in the late 1990s and have thousands of hours in the Total War series as well as multiple Mount & Blade mods), but have almost always had miniatures in some form alongside the games. The two are very much interrelated with each other for me, as many times the characters I create for the miniatures end up in a PC game and vice versa. I think there was a thought in the PC game community especially in the mid 2000s that the virtual software was going to make miniatures obsolete, but that has since been proven false. On the fantasy side the collaboration between the miniatures based Warhammer series and Total War have been fantastically successful for all parties involved, and I think in the future it is possible historical PC games and the relevant miniatures may be able to form similar collaborations as well.

As one would expect from a historical writer my story went on a bit :joy: , but hope it was interesting! Hope everyone is well and have a nice day.


Re: "Why are we passionate about 1:72 scale miniatures?" Continued from April 13, 2020

For me as a modeller/diorama buider, its a way of tapping in to my creative side, while getting involved in learning military history which is something ive always had an interest in. Its also therapy for me.

1/72 is the scale i chose simply as it was a scale i was used to.
As a little kid, i often built model ww2 aircraft, tanks, trucks etc. The garden became my battleground and so along came 1/72 or HO/00 scale figures to go with the models.
Once my mid teens arrived, the modelling stopped. I was no longer interested in stuff I considered "toys". Instead it was girls, socialising, football (soccer for our US friends!) & outdoor sports like fishing and horse riding (being a country boy!)
Then at 30, i went through a very very low period in my life. Truth be told, i had had enough. Everything that could go wrong, was.

While convalesing on doctors orders, I started getting back into reading history. Then just by chance I came across a website which had some pictures of a diorama of La Haye Sainte. That peaked my old interest in modelling again. After looking on the Hat website, I started seeing Mr Dodsons fantastic refights of Waterloo which seemed like photos of the real thing!!!
So that was that, I was inspired, i was back buying & painting figures. 1/72 gave me the right balance between showing detail and not taking up tons of room.
Due to time restraints & money, i had to pick one battle and Waterloo was what i chose.

Now at 37, im well and truely back into the topic, I find it helps me to de-stress and take my mind off things. Tapping into that creative side, helps focus my mind & take me back to a time when i was happy. My painting is getting better and better, to the point ive actually gone back and repainted some of the 1st sets i did.
I still fish, I still have a horse (a grey who is my muse for painting the scots greys!!) & in the evenings, out comes the paintbrush!! Together, they have all helped rebuild who i am after my lowpoint. Horses helped with my depression big time, but painting figures has also helped, cant paint those tiny details if your head isnt in the right place!!!

So for me, what started off as a "toy" as a kid, became much more... a way of dealing with a crippling condition in later life. Today, they are just a brilliant hobby that is sadly underrated.

Re: "Why are we passionate about 1:72 scale miniatures?" Continued from April 13, 2020

If you enjoy something you never grow tired of talking about it. :blush: So here are a few more thoughts.

Having started with 1/72 (actually 1/76 in those days) plastic figures in the 1970s I have continued to collect them ever since - with a few significant breaks for young family, work, other pursuits. I regard it therefore as my life-long hobby, and one I am very grateful for.

I have 'diverged' from 1/72 plastic from time to time. I have collected 15mm figures, and still have these for the 17th century (TYW/ECW). I have some metal 20mm figures; most of these are for the early medieval period (Norman/Saxon/Viking) and I combine these with the Strelets figures for that period. I tried 25mm metals in the 1980s, but found that these became very I sold them.

Now, more than 90% of my collection is 1/72 plastic.

I sometimes ask myself 'WHY?'. I could have been tempted by the large and growing range of 28mm figures out there. Or I could have gone into 15/18mm metals in a much bigger way. Or, because I like large armies (numbers of units, not scale) I could have gone for 10mm or smaller.

Here are some answers I give myself to the question 'Why 1/72 plastic':

Because there are so many different sets, and because they come in such a variety of styles, qualities etc - I actually consider this an advantage, as I enjoy the 'challenge' of combining different figures, within armies and sometimes within units. While many 28mm sets are great, I tend to find that they are a bit 'ready made'; you buy the set, have a certain number of poses, have the painting guide and flags all there ready made for you...I can see why this appeals, but it is less of an appeal to me. And, per figure they are quite a lot more expensive.

Then: Because 1/72 figures are large enough to allow you to see a lot of detail; but smaller than 28mm, so take up a bit less storage space.

And: Because they are easy to convert, at least much easier to convert than than metals. And (usually) quite easy to paint to an acceptable standard.

And one last advantage - they weigh a lot less than metals: during a recent re-organisation of boxes in my figure/modelling store I realised how much more weight there is in a 15mm army than there is in a 1/72 plastic one! A consideration if you keep a large collection on shelves...or even in your loft.

Strelets (and sometimes others) continue to delight us with new figures. Long may this continue. My collection is never quite complete, and even when I think it is a new set or range of figures comes along. So the collection keeps getting just a little bit bigger....

Re: "Why are we passionate about 1:72 scale miniatures?" Continued from April 13, 2020

Can`t explain it, I struggle to understand myself, but a throw back to less complicated times, when as a child I could lose myself in a battle on my bedroom floor, when my imagination had no boundaries or restrictions from knowledge,history,peers, etc . I can go for weeks without touching a figure, but then the urge returns and I am off, mainly my pleasure comes from painting and building small diorama`s these days. My collection is still huge despite years of thinning out, I get pleasure from just looking at the box and contents, particularly Airfix and Roy Crosses art work,it takes me back to the time when an age would be spent just looking in the shop and trying to make my mind up what to buy...

Re: "Why are we passionate about 1:72 scale miniatures?" Continued from April 13, 2020

"I get pleasure from just looking at the box and contents"--that rings true for me too Alan. I suspect a mix of nostalgia and the pure joy of admiring figures and box art-work is a big part of what drives me to compulsive and obsessive collecting, likely beyond all ability to ever paint them. That and the 'dream' of having huge armies in selected periods!
I also enjoy the planning, sorting, organising—not to mention researching uniforms, battles and the history of a period more broadly—so that I have over half of mine washed, about a quarter arranged in units (most undercoated) and some 1/10 painted or in progress.

Re: "Why are we passionate about 1:72 scale miniatures?" Continued from April 13, 2020

Like many of us of a certain age it was the figure sets and models of Airfix that started me off. Lost contact with the hobby in my early teens and when I picked it up again in my late teens it was through 1/300th micro armour and 15mm Renaissance. At that time 20mm plastic just didn't offer the troops I was interested in. What changed things was Hat's Punic Wars range a real revelation after years of Airfix's and Atlantic's appalling Romans. Thereafter the amazingly expanded range of plastic figures has kept me hooked. i find a lot of 28mm too bulky, 15mm a bit stubby but 1/72nd just right and wonderfully affordable.

Re: "Why are we passionate about 1:72 scale miniatures?" Continued from April 13, 2020

I had missed this thread yesterday. It is a good one. I started collecting 1/72 figures in the 1960's. One day, I went to my friend David's house. We were already both avid students of history at the young age of 7. He trotted out some Airfix WWII Russian and German soldiers. Mind you, we were both surrounded by relatives who had returned from the wars in Europe and Asia, and had been told quite a bit about that. He proceeded to take one Russian soldier and for a good 40 minutes, he showed me a scene better than any movie, with his single soldier holding off an entire German platoon. This had nothing to do with real war......we were just 7.... but everything to do with the imagination and a young child's need to tell a story that has heroes in it fighting for good. A short while later, I lucked into the Robin Hood and Sheriff on Nottingham sets and became the hero in my own stories, imagining various adventures every day for weeks on end. I am a retired teacher and yes, decades later I filled my classroom with many toys and tools for imagining, but the 1/72 figures were always favorites with both boys and girls. Hey, 1/72 horses? I haven't seen a girl student who didn't go crazy over them. I really wish that there had been sets of Amazon warriors at the time. Those girls would have been crazy over them. Lastly, those small figure sets......Romans, ancient Greeks and Egyptians, American War of Independence,etc. gave me a fantastic vehicle to illustrate the story that history really is.

Re: "Why are we passionate about 1:72 scale miniatures?" Continued from April 13, 2020

It's truly amazing that people from around the world have such similar experiences. 1/72 soldiers started for me when my Dad brought some Airfix Civil War Yankees and Confederates back from a business trip. A family trip to Gettysburg cemented the passion and the film Waterloo expanded my horizons (what's a Prussian?). Drifted into fly-tying and aircraft models for a while. Esci's Polish Lancers and Russian infantry brought me back, and then Revell's classic 30YW sets. I still buy sets from time to time, but never have time to paint. But I still enjoy the hobby vicariously over the internet, especially all the wonderful paint jobs you see on the various forums. I doubt my finances will allow for much free time in my old age (58 now), but if they do, maybe I will do that Ligny diorama...