Welcome to the Strelets Forum.
Please feel free to discuss any aspect of 1/72 scale plastic figures, not simply Strelets.
If you have any questions about our products then we will answer them here.
"This is the sort of subject that deserves a 5,000 word essay ..."
5, 10, even 30,000 words would be just scratching the surface.
In the format of the forum then, I can only offer my own thoughts on this from a limited view point.
I wargame within quite a small community - which has gotten smaller over the years. I am in touch with other wargamers, and attend shows when I can. Correction! I USED to attend shows, so I can only offer observations not hard, supported facts. I don't really do dioramas, so I cannot speak about that.
The bulk of British wargaming - based on advertising, the products offered by the industry, and wargaming media - is 28/32mm - the scale has crept up from the 25mm I began with in the 70s, to the 'Heroic' figures offered by Games Workshop and those companies that sprang off them and cater for people who have graduated from there.
A lot of suppliers have moved down a bit, back to 28mm from the Heroic figures and there is a lot of compatibility between ranges with Perry Miniatures, North Star, Gripping Beast and Old Glory being the main producers and a lot of other manufacturers fitting in around them.
1/72nd is very much a niche market. "Oh! You use those figures do you?" is a common (sometimes unspoken) reaction. WW2 players like them because the tanks are cheaper than 1/56th scale, and the weapons ranges look better and you can get more stuff on the board. Plus a lot of MDF building makers do NW Europe ranges. I think there is a strong 'nostalgic', or historical element in this - people had Airfix figures and tanks when they were younger, and the connection has stayed.
On the opposite side of this I think that where people have moved on to WW2 - and other periods - from Warhammer they like 1/56th scale/28mm, because the figures are more in line with what they are used to. 1/72nd gets that 'those figures' reaction because a) they are so small and b) there appears to be a feeling that they are somehow less 'sophisticated' than the larger scale offerings.
"Big game" players like 15mm, though I believe the scale is less popular than it was. There are less ranges than there were, but they are still liked for the sheer number of figures you can get per square foot, especially where there is limited space. The same goes for 10mm/12mm figures. Cost is another factor in the favour of these scales, but inevitably costs are rising.
1/72nd scale has always been a mixed scale - the costs, durability and (historical) availability - Airfix figures used to be able to be puchased in every village post office. (that availability is less so now), have all been great plusses in its favor (40-50 figures in a box, what is not to like?). However the problem has always been that the figures available, the ranges have been limited to pairs, or fours. Romans versus Celts, Crusaders versus Arabs, Normans versus Saxons. The only people who didn't have to spend hours converting figures to get what they were needed for the periods that they wanted to play were collectors of WW2 Germans.
Fortunately the advent of themed ranges from Hat, Caesar, Alliance and Strelets has changed that greatly (I think this is why the WSS range has had such a dramatic impact, now we get what we wargamers need to 'do' a period and all within a reasonable time period). Added to that makers moving away from figures that end up the spares box because they aren't really useable to the marching, fighting and command sets has to be a good thing for us.
These days, as a wargamer, I find myself moving away from bigger games. The players in our no longer fill 6ft x 8ft tables from side to side with Napoleonics, or Ancients armies with upwards of 150 figures or more. Instead as a group we play smaller games like the Rampant series - Lion and Dragon Rampant by Osprey Publishing. Some of it is cost, some of it is transportability, but the games are fun and playable and are an evolution of more prescribed games like DBA and DBM, yet they still have the unpredictable nature of games like Warhammer and Warhammer Ancients.
Surprisingly this means that the armies, though smaller, tend to be just as diverse as the bigger armies. There are the same units, just less figures in them (in the Rampant series, units are either 6 or 12 figures). As someone who lives with Type 2 Diabetes, (I have to make sure that my sugars are balanced before I start work or I lose the ability to concentrate) smaller armies are more likely to get painted than a massive Napoleonic formation.
I do believe that about 15 years ago we entered the new Golden Age of 1/72nd and despite everything that the world has thrown at it - we are still living it. Maybe not as diverse or as prolific as when it began, but I for one, still look eagerly at the news for what is coming down the road, and the manufacturers still manage to make things that make me go "Ooooooh! Shiny!!!"
I think that the wise observations respectively of Mr Buckingham ("There is only one scale...") and Mr Pickstock ("Oooohh! Shiny!!!") are the two most important take-aways from this thread.
AMEN TO THAT.
For what it's worth I am a wargamer. I use 20/25mm/HO/00/!:72/1:76 figures primarily because of cost and availability and I always liked them. I feel the scale gives me realistic looking armies that can fight convincing looking battles on a not overlarge table.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts! The viewpoints presented all make sense to me. Have to say that I relate to Graham's point that I feel like the companies are a little split on which audience to cater to more than the other sometimes. As a pre-1789 only wargammer it can be extremely frustrating trying to piece together full armies, but as Minuteman said that is part of the fun as well. I too also feel like it is a "tweener" scale much of the time. Have to say I have never had a huge desire to collect anything else other than 1/72 plastic (somewhat illogically one may argue), so Alan is completely correct in that regard. :grin:
Sometimes I ask these questions because it hopefully gives Strelets up to date insights on their markets. Certainly enjoying the WoSS line, the masters look beautiful and soon the big boom boom guns will be here! :sunglasses:
In olden times the only figures in small scale we had were Airfix and we played with those and our Roco Minitanks outside in the dirt. 25mm were always in metal, much thicker and taller, and more expensive and hard to find in the USA. 15mm came about because they were cheaper than 25mm and the wargame snobs would not look down on 15mm because they were metal, plastic was not considered right for wargamers. 28mm came along thanks to Heroclix wanting to make role playing games and needing the figures large enough to not be compatible with anyone else's and large enough to take the click window bases.
Also 60 years later and I am still buying HO scale plastic vehicles and 1/72nd scale plastic figures and having a great time. Since I moved three years ago I am still unpacking and not played any games in about four years, but it's still the purpose of my army, to wargame.
I do still, at 65 take them outside in the dirt and set them up once in a while.
Here are a few painted Airfix and metal figures outside at my new home.
Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog
Thank you Minute Man!
Night Fighters From Mars
Today I posted photos of a new set from Mars.
Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog
From an historical point of view, the 1/72 scale was born by the allied during world war two, model of planes were made in 1/72 scale to train pilots with tactics as well as to recognize more easily enemy or friendly planes. DCA crew were trained as well with such models.
Also commandos or infantry were prepared in their mission with dioramas representing their target with scale models, it was mostly for officers.
Wargames during WWII used such 1/72 models (and others scale for warships)
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz explained to a Naval War College class in 1960 that, "the war with Japan had been reenacted in the game rooms here by so many people and in so many different ways that nothing happened during the war that was a surprise - absolutely nothing except the kamikazes towards the end of the war."
The 1/72 scale is perfect for wargames, that's for sure, but can be used in plenty of other ways, it's my favorite scale. It's still the best way today to learn tactic and strategy, better and more realistic than computer simulation.:sunglasses: