alertTo reduce delays and eliminate customs fees, we now ship from the UK, US (for US customers) and the Netherlands (for EU customers). Please visit our shipping page for the latest, detailed information. (Last updated June 24nd, 2021)

GWS 2020: more toys for smaller scales?

One of the comments brought up in the previous analysis on collection size (see: who's got the most toys) more than once was a question about the relationship between collection size and figure size. Do wargamers preferring the smaller sized figures tend to collect more figures than those gaming in the larger scales? That question was not addressed in the earlier analysis, because the answer cannot be derived precisely given the current questionnaire.

Since the question has been raised, however, let us see if we can reach a conclusion or at least move in the direction of answering the question. Laying out a few assumptions upfront and attacking the question using an indirect approach may be useful in providing some insight.

First, collection size cannot be directly mapped to the composition of a collection's figure size. While some respondents may focus on one figure size only, many (myself included) maintain collections with various figures sizes. Survey respondents were asked to rank their figure size preference. In this exercise, one collection size maps to one top figure size preference.

Second, does the top choice of figure size equate to the largest number of figures in the collection? For some, that may be true. For others, perhaps, not so much.

Third, how many wargamers actually maintain the records on hand to assess which figure size dominates the collection? For very large collections and those wargamers with diverse interests, this assessment may be at best an educated guess.

For this exercise, we assume that a respondent's first choice of figure size denotes the dominant figure size in the collection whether this represents the sole figure size present or shared. The first two graphics (Figures 1, 1b, 2,2b) illustrate these results.

The second pair of graphics (Figures 3 and 4) look at the aggregation of respondents' top three choices of figure sizes. Will differences surface between top choice and top three choices?

Collection Size by Top Choice of Figure Size (Scale)

Figure 1 illustrates that 25-28mm and Heroics dominate representation in the smaller collection sizes. As collection size increases, the tendency to include Heroics decreases more rapidly while 25-28mm sees slight gains. The smaller figure sizes see an increase in numbers as collection size grows. In all collections except for the 0-100 group, 25-28mm figures are the preferred figure size. Figure 1b shows these data as a percentage of total rather than by counts.

Transposing the data in Figure 1 to show Figure Size by Collection Size (Figure 2), shows still nearly 25% of the respondents preferring 25-28mm have collections exceeding 2,500 figures. As in Figure 1, we can see that 25-28mm and Heroics dominate the 101-500 figure collection size. Wargamers favouring the smaller figure sizes tend to hold larger collections than their 25-28mm and Heroic compatriots. For the 06mm, 10-12mm, and 15-18mm wargamers (or collector) their largest bin with respect to collection size is in the 2,500+ category.  Figure 2b shows these data as a percentage of total rather than by counts.

Collection Size by Top Three Choices of Figure Size (Scale)

What if all survey respondents' top three preferred figure sizes are aggregated by collection size? As in Figure 1, tendencies remain similar. The noticeable exception is that in the aggregation of top three figure sizes, 15-18mm figures moves into a more prominent role as collection size increases.

The prominence of 15-18mm figures within large collections is better illustrated in Figure 4. Here, collections with 15-18mm figures within the top three preferences tend to be very large, indeed. Notice that 06mm and 10-12mm figure sizes fit into this pattern too.

Given the limitations on the data, can any inferences be made? I suggest that, generally, as figure size increases, collection size decreases. As collection size increases, the presence of 28mm Heroics decays at a faster rate while 25-28mm figure show slight gains with collection size increases. 25-28mm figures remain a popular choice regardless of collection size. Do these results hold for me, personally? Having diverse interests across the spectrum of figure size and wargaming periods, my collection size seems to increase regardless of figure size. For me, figure size does not matter.  Now, storage space, that is becoming a constraint.

Is your collection size dependent upon figure size?

2 thoughts on “GWS 2020: more toys for smaller scales?”

  • Percy

    I think the question is slightly flawed here 'do wargammers preferring smaller sized figures tend to collect more figures'. I believe it is much more complex than simply smaller figure, equals more figures.

    Firstly I couldn't see a definition of what a figure was. What constitutes a figure? And this is a big deciding factor. Is it whatever is on a base? This can get into grey areas with scales that support units on bases and individual infantry on bases. Individual infantry also runs into difficulties with games systems. A player may prefer skirmish games in 28mm but collect 50 models for each of the 10 games they play and their flames of war army is one army but of 500 infantry etc. Or worse have a 6mm army of thousands and therefore tip the scales and results.

    Also does age factor in here, both physical age and time as a wargammer. A younger wargammer may just want to play the game that made them a wargammer and not yet have spread their wings out into the wider universe or wargaming yet. Warhammer being the biggest here where their stores help bring in more wargammers. Other scales are left predominantly to shows and Internet sales moving people to actively seek them out rather than walk passed them in the shops, tipping the scales in favor of 15mm and 28mm.

    Cost is also another deciding factor here. Personally I have an epic 40k collection that includes an entire space marine chapter's worth of infantry plus some support vehicles and tanks. Add to this several companies of imperial guard with imperial navy support we are talking thousands of individual troops and vehicles on hundreds of bases (again see point 1). But I have spent more on my 40k, bolt action and flames of war armies individually and they contain hundreds not thousands of troops and vehicles.

    Storage space available also plays a part here. A wargammer may 'prefer' smaller scales because their storage space is limited therefore restricting the size of any collection. Noting this issue the wargammer may lean towards smaller figures where they could get two or three decent sized armies for their games rather than just one army in a larger scale.

    Lastly does time played contribute here? Someone could buy a 6mm army of thousands of troops paint it play 3 games then stick in in a box and never open it again but it is in their collection. They also have a skirmish game like the Harry Potter, walking dead or marvel games where less than 10 models are needed per team and they play this on a weekly basis.

    So yes I believe this is a much more complex question than just do smaller figure equal more figures, and needs a deeper look into it.

  • Jonathan Freitag
    Jonathan Freitag March 25, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Percy,
    Thank you for your detailed contribution to the discussion.

    The question is likely more complex than simply a figure size vs collection size assessment but the question, itself, and generalization of the results are not flawed. Given only the two variables of figure size and collection size, the survey results illustrate that for any collection size, the percentage of wargamers preferring figure sizes smaller than 25/28mm increases as collection size increases. Conversely, the percentage of wargamers preferring figure sizes larger than 25/28mm decreases as collection size increases. For those preferring 25/28mm figures, the percentage remains roughly constant. Of course, these are meant only as generalizations based upon survey data but an interesting observation. As you state, these results do not account for other factors.

    You bring up a number of other factors that likely contribute to the relationship between figure size and collection size. Many of these factors have been discussed by similarly like-minded gamers. If you are interested in seeing more discussion on this topic and even wading into the conversation, please visit,

Leave a Reply
Post your comment

Karwansaray Publishers