Thursday, 12 November 2009

Small Scale Figure Comparison: 2/3/4mm

I thought I'd take a look at some of the less well known ranges available down at the teeny-tiny end of things, and do a comparison of the various types. Most of you will be aware of 1/300th and 1/285th, i.e. 5 or 6mm figures made by various manufacturers, and of course the 2mm range from Irregular, but how about 3 or even 4mm figures?

To be exact, I'm talking about what are ostensibly 1/600th miniatures available here in the UK, but I think, in visual terms at least, fall somewhere around those sizes. As you will see in the photo above, the 2mm infantry from Irregular are at the front, those in the middle are by Peter Pig, and at the rear from Tumbling Dice.
(Remember, the squares on the backing surface in the photos are 10mm in size.)

First up, from Peter Pig's Range 7, "Hammerin' Iron", we have the Number 39 pack, 'Infantry Blocks', which are made to accompany and complement their 1/600th ACW naval; these are cast in a block form similar to the 2mm ones available from Irregular Miniatures, and similarly have cast-on flags:

(Scroll down to bottom of the page)

Crucially, however, these flags are depicted in pairs, which of course is perhaps more historically accurate for most 18th and 19th century troops at the Battalion scale and above.
This block measures some 26mm long by 6mm wide, and has nicely delineated individual figures, with a level of detail that allows a suggestion of muskets, belts and shoulder belts/sashes to be visible:

The troops are depicted in a close formation of four ranks, with the standard bearers quite properly placed in the middle to the rear of the front rank. There are 20 figures in each rank, for a total of 80 men. I'm not particularly familiar with formations used during the American Civil War, but to my mind at least, these deep blocks might stand well for Napoleonic French in attack columns, or perhaps early Seven Year's War European troops.

The pack contains eight of these blocks, at a cost of Uk £2.30 for a total of 640 men - not bad!
I would characterise these as 3mm, when compared visually to the 2mm miniatures made by Irregular, whose BG33 52 man two rank block seen in the first photo above, retails at UK 0.25 pence each.

Next up, we have an example of another 1/600th range, this time from Tumbling Dice, which is available to complement their excellent Aircraft.
It can be found in the 'Land, Tanks, Trucks and Guns' section of the post-1950 page of their PDF catalogue, although the minis are meant for use as WWI or II troops:

(scroll down to bottom of the page)

Here we see ISL902 Close Order Infantry from the front, which has eight figures on a 20 x 3mm base:

The detail on these, perhaps is somewhat obscure, there are certainly no weapons discernible to my eye, and the headgear is similarly, rather generic, the kepi of early WWI French infantry perhaps?

The reverse depicts a clearly defined pack where even the straps are visible, although being somewhat exaggerated, put me in mind more of Sci-Fi troopers with 'techno' packs rather than their historical counterparts.

Although advertised as 1/600th, they seem to perhaps be closer to 1/450th, or at least nearer to a visual height of 4mm from feet to top of head.

Next, let's move on to the 'Skirmish' Infantry types available from the three manufacturers, seen below in a comparison shot:

First up, the ever-hard to photograph BG23 Loose Order Infantry Block from Irregular, depicting 10 troops; I've given the blocks from this manufacturer a light Ink Wash in order to make the detail a bit more visible in the pics:

This is matched by the Range 7, Pack 41 from Peter Pig, which has 10 men spaced across a 26 x 5mm base:

The reverse shows that these are perhaps as 'blobby' as their Irregular Miniatures counterparts, with clutches of men together making it hard to differentiate what is going on; perhaps a base with all of the figures prone like the one on the far right would have been better?

This is matched by the ISL901 from Tumbling Dice: 'Infantry in Open Order', a pack which contains 8 bases of eight troops, spaced out over 30 x 3mm:

These are twins of the close order troops seen above, again with the backpacks and kepi-like headgear:

Perhaps they would better depict the open line/extended order of WWI-era soldiers, but I think would struggle to be seen as those of WWII or later:

If anything, these minis would find it hard to compete with their larger 6mm cousins, although at 64 figures for Uk £1.80 are pretty cheap.
Not to denigrate this range, however, as we shall see in my next post, which will be looking at the Cavalry and Mounted figures available from all three manufacturers, you'll see that those of Tumbling Dice more than come into their own.

It is perhaps unfair to directly compare the more familiar 2mm minis with the 3 or 4mm ones, in that the ranges from Peter P and Tumbling D are really only designed as 'add ons' to the ships or planes that are the heart of the range; but if you find 2mm just too small to cope with, they do at least provide an alternative to consider.....

Next Post: Tiny Cavalry!


  1. Those 3mm blocks with the flags look rather good. I don't think I'll venture below 6mm though - I've just painted a few Brit colonial infantry (Bacchus 6mm) - they are lovely figures but as small as I want to go really!

  2. Hi Mad, yes the 3mm from Peter Pig are quite tempting - more 'heft' than the traditional favourites from Irregular - if only they had the same sort of varied and exhaustive range available!

  3. Excellent reviews as normal, does tempt me this 2mm lark.

  4. How does Oddzial Osmy compare to Tumbling Dice in 3mm? Are they so dissimilar that you can't mix and match the two?