Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

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Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

Postby Cralis on Tue 18 Apr 2017 16:03

If you have seen my post on FB, then you will know that I have been updating the miniatures entries on our site from the changes Shapeways made to product categories, etc.

One of those changes is an actual "tabletop war gaming" category! Yay! But it wants me to pick a scale for the miniatures. As Otterman pointed out to me, we've only been concerned with maintaining the volume at 1 cc = 30 HS of size. But length has never been calculated...

Keeping in mind that a ship is actually larger than the HS the player chooses to fill, what should we consider the size?

Offhand, I would think 1:1000 -1:2000. And I know this has come up before, but I don't think we came to any conclusions. But there may be some scales that are more acceptable to wargamers in general and I'm willing to entertain any scale for the right argument.

So what do ya'll think?
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Re: Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

Postby nukesnipe on Tue 18 Apr 2017 20:17

I'd have to do some comparisons with other minis I have, but I'm thinking something much smaller than 1/1000. My Star Trek minis are 1/3125 and are much larger than any of my Starfire minis. In 1/1000 scale, a 1 inch mini would be 1000 inches long in reality, which would make it a shade over 83 feet. The Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 was 947 feet long. If my math comes out right, that should be about 3.6" at 1/3125. The KON SD is a hair over 4 inches, whereas the KON CT is a shade under 1 inch. Are we cool with a ~300 foot SD? Or 75 foot CT?

At 1/3000, a 4 inch SD would in "reality" be about 1000 feet long - a little shorter than a NIMITZ class aircraft carrier. The CT would be about 250 feet long, which is a little longer than an Avenger class mine sweeper.

At 1/6000, the SD becomes 2000 feet long and the CT about 500 feet long, which is a little shorter than an AEGIS cruiser.

At 1/10000, the numbers become about 3300 feet and 800 feet. That scale seems a bit small as I can't see a CT being as big as an LHD.

Perhaps something around 1/5000? That comes out to about 1600 feet and 416 feet for the SD and CT.
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Re: Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

Postby dazrand on Wed 19 Apr 2017 05:48

I think the 1:5000 would work just fine. The SD should certainly be larger than a cruise ship plying the water ways of today. A quick search shows the Harmony of the Seas is 1188 ft long and has a volume somewhere around that of a Starfire BC.
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Re: Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

Postby Otterman on Wed 19 Apr 2017 06:33

I think I can get behind 1:5000. Concur.
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Re: Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

Postby Cralis on Wed 19 Apr 2017 10:37

Based on Marvin's assumptions, a shuttle is something like 50m in length so an SD would be thousands of meters. I was thinking 1:2000 (and actually I think I meant 1:2500) because that seems to be a popular scale for SFB.

But I can easily see 1:5000 or more...

Ok, if everyone likes it, I will go with 1:5000

Edit: Aha! I found an article with some scale explanations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scale_model_sizes
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Re: Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

Postby Cralis on Thu 20 Apr 2017 02:22

I have a few minutes tonight to look over the scales available on Shapeways before heading to bed tonight. It looks like they only allow you to set a standard scale.

So we have 1/2500, 1/4800, and 1/20000 available. BUT I did figure out how to get it to let me not set a scale.

I'm not a big miniatures guy... so I'm learning as I go. I know many of you have more experience with it. Should we go with the standard 1/4800 scale?
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Re: Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

Postby nukesnipe on Thu 20 Apr 2017 06:13

It's sort of funny that we are having this conversation as I've spent a good portion of the past week asking Shapeways sculptors the scales of the ships. Some of it was to see if their not-Star Trek miniatures were of a compatible size to those I already own while others were to see if their miniatures would mix well with other miniatures. To a man, every sculptor who did not specify a scale said words to the effect that they did not have an actual scale and that their miniatures were designed to be 2-3 inches long.

Honestly, I think you could go either way. Providing a scale of 1/4800 would convey that the miniatures are more "fleet" scale than "rpg" scale. Of course, since the miniatures (so far) lack details such as gun turrets, they could be considered scale neutral in some instances. The KON ES and CT miniatures have a nice Traveller RPG vibe going for them.

Is there a way on the store front to explain how the miniatures are built to a consistent scale based on volume as opposed to linear dimension and that the best approximation of a traditional scale would be 1/4800?
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Re: Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

Postby southwestforests on Thu 20 Apr 2017 09:29

Cralis wrote:I'm not a big miniatures guy.
That's okay, these are small miniatures.
(If you would like more samples of Einsteinian insight I am available at ...)

nukesnipe wrote:Is there a way on the store front to explain how the miniatures are built to a consistent scale based on volume as opposed to linear dimension ...?
Will be interesting to see where asking a tech company to think out of their box goes.
Screw the rivets, I build models for atmosphere, not detail
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Re: Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

Postby Cralis on Thu 20 Apr 2017 10:27

nukesnipe wrote:It's sort of funny that we are having this conversation as I've spent a good portion of the past week asking Shapeways sculptors the scales of the ships. Some of it was to see if their not-Star Trek miniatures were of a compatible size to those I already own while others were to see if their miniatures would mix well with other miniatures. To a man, every sculptor who did not specify a scale said words to the effect that they did not have an actual scale and that their miniatures were designed to be 2-3 inches long.


After reading through the Star Ranger forums, for space games it seems there is scale and there is "size":

Fleet Size are ship miniatures designed for fleet battles and the largest mini is 2-3 inches in size;

Squadron Size are ship miniatures designed to be played in squadrons, such as SFB. Cruisers are 2-3 inches in size and only the largest ships or bases reach 4+ inches. This is where we are btw.

Large Size are ship miniatures that are typically 5 or more inches in size. Fighters are usually 1/2-1 inch in size. As I understand it, the new Star Wars miniatures sold like hot wheels are this size.

But for space games the scale seems to just be a nod towards the ship's actual size. As a result there seems to be three basic scales used: 1/2400 or 1/2500 by SFB, 1/4800 by everyone else, and 1/20000 for some Robotech game that used those massive miles-long Zentraedi ships.

Honestly, I think you could go either way. Providing a scale of 1/4800 would convey that the miniatures are more "fleet" scale than "rpg" scale. Of course, since the miniatures (so far) lack details such as gun turrets, they could be considered scale neutral in some instances. The KON ES and CT miniatures have a nice Traveller RPG vibe going for them.


We could go scale neutral. On the other hand, if we do say 1/4800 for example, players for other games might buy them for the new designs. It is interesting to note that in the Star Ranger forums a lot of players are concerned with having models of the same scale regardless of what game they belong to.

Is there a way on the store front to explain how the miniatures are built to a consistent scale based on volume as opposed to linear dimension and that the best approximation of a traditional scale would be 1/4800?


That's in interesting idea. I can certainly put it in the about section, but perhaps I should put that note in the model descriptions too. Hmmm....
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Re: Starfire Miniatures: what scale should we use?

Postby southwestforests on Thu 20 Apr 2017 13:04

Cralis wrote:... a lot of players are concerned with having models of the same scale regardless of what game they belong to.
I understand that mindset; sometimes I have it. Can't define the whys and wherefores to anyone, but I understand it. And I understand the one of, "You know, that ______ in that one game's scale would make a cool ________ in this game's scale." Sometimes have done that one too.
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