Monday, April 9, 2012

The Size of a Marine

I found these when digging around on the interwebz.  I thought they gave a decent look at the scale of a Space Marine pretty decently.  There is a really interesting thought that popped up in my head though.  We all know the scale of the tabletop miniatures is a little off.  For example, looking at the first picture, we can see that a marine should stand almost 2 feet taller than that of an average human.  So lets take a comparative look at marines and Imperial Guardsmen from the tabletop.

When you put the two models together, you can see a pretty decent lack of size difference.  The average human skull is about 9 inches tall.  So, in theory, a Space Marine should stand just shy of 2 and a half heads over the guardsman.  As they stand now, the marine is barely a half head over.

My original thought was "well the Marines are generally taking a pretty wide stance, but after looking over the models, the I.G. men are in a  pretty wide stance as well.  So what is there to do?  Why is there a lack of size difference for the models?

Well to me, one of he biggest contributors is the age factor.  40k has been around for so long, and the models have just generally gotten bigger over time.  A while back, they finally got Marines to a plastic version, but in order to keep the older models from feeling dwarfed, or perhaps because the fluff didn't say how tall they were, the size didn't change.  Obviously through the decades, they have finally landed on the old marines we've been seeing for a while now.  But as the IG got new models which increased their height, the marines began to feel a little short when comparing to the fluff.

Some people out there have seen this and tried to
rectify it.  Taking a look around, it's not hard to find those who did some creative cutting, green-stuffing, and modifications to make the marines stand at the appropriate height over the average guardsmen.   If you look here, you can see the impressive bulk that the modified Marine has over the guardsman.  After checking it out, the marine is the exact size of a marine according to the fluff.

So with so many of the marine models now floating around, it's be pretty hard to really make the shift over now, and with the recent release of grey Knights, all of whom match up in size with the current size, it's pretty much set in stone that GW won't make that shift any time soon.  I was just interested in the actual difference.

Games Workshop has put out a huge game, and even even bigger amount of fluff, but it just strikes me as interesting that something like this isn't addressed.  What would you think if GW were to put new marine models which are scaled more like the Crimson Templar (Heavy Bolter Marine) above?  Admittedly there would be a lot of short marines running around out there, but does it seem like GW should fix this, or just leave it as is?

Could the difference in size be similar to something like Tyranid Warriors are as compared to the gaunts?  Admittedly the Marines and the Guard are different armies, but I guess the question comes down to "Does Size Matter?"  If you're interested, here's a link to the Crimson Templar "TruScale" Marine project on Daka Daka.



  1. As I have heard it, the marines are to scale, the guard have just grown "up." Cut the Cadians down and all will be right once more.

  2. I think GW has expanded so much as a company that their work is no longer consistant. Nothing against their quality, but as they've grown over the years, new sculptors and model lines have caused the work to evolve in shape and scale.Also, from an artistic side, scale often gets sacrificed for the artist's vision. Look at the unmasked faces of the models. They're not human scale at all, but it does its job of showing the model's expressions. If it were in scale, you'd barely be able to see their battle hardened faces, let alone paint them.

    So overall, I don't think size matters as long as detail is still available. I mean, did you buy your models because you loved their scale or because you loved their details?

    1. Absolutely fair. I'd wager the increase in size for the IG as mentioned above by CS is probably a factor in that. To me, it's not a question at all; quality of the detail trumps scale any day.

      My only concern is that when placed next to a guardsman, the Space Marine looses some of that might that he garners from the fluff. I was just interested in it mostly because the fluff and game rules for the marines don't quite add up when looking at that comparison. An unfortunate evil I suppose.

      Maybe one day in the future they can take the same molds and just rescale them slightly? That'd be pretty nice, no quality loss and correct scale figures :D

  3. Out of interest, are your Space Marines in better scale to your FW Kriegs? I thought they looked smaller than GW IG models. I noticed my Grey Knights dwarf my Raging Heroes model. Yes, she's a dainty, over-sexified female without armor, but I'd say her scale is spot on. So I'm observing smaller companies outside of the GW circuit seem to have better scale ratios. And does that add to their appeal? They still maintain beautiful detail while having consistency with their design. There is always the chance GW will view this as competition and begin to scale back models, but that's a long time coming.

    Something that I never see coming is changing the scale of vehicles. Customers will buy plenty of new troops to offset the cost of redesigning them, but they're only going to need a few vehicles. Even with their price tag, I don't think it'll offset the cost of completely revamping the molds for vehicles. So alas, my GKs will just continue on believing that shoving a Dreadknight into the haul of their Stormraven is kosher...

    1. Wait. Dreadknight in a Stormraven? Zounds. I see that as one hell of a scary cavalry model. Of course, then it'd be *on*.

  4. I think it's interesting to think of scale in terms of relative scale, in that models in the same army are to scale with each other, and you get few clues about the scale of different armies, like the Imperial Guard Heavy Bolter evoking an idea just how big a Heavy Bolter-toting Space Marine might be in comparison.

    I can see how people making dioramas might want their models to scale, but given the cartoonish proportions (of both models and fluff), some elasticity of scale seems appropriate.

  5. It all seems fair. I am not pushing for a call to redo the marines, especially since I own a vast number of them already. I just wondered how people thought about it. It could also be that I own both Space Marines and Death Korps IG, and so putting them next to each other is commonplace for me.

    I understand completely that redoing the marines is pretty far out of the question... but it is interesting to think about how much a difference it might make on the table (fluff aside) in terms of things like cover and what have you.

  6. Found this little article on BoLS. Thought it was a nice addition to the article here.

  7. I use old 1/72 Soldiers for my Imperial Guards (modified; just add the armour with green stuff and some smaler modifications). The 28mm scale should be something like 1/70. Thats close enough for me.
    In 1/72 the Space Marine is 230cm (7'6,5''). The soldier(1/72) itself is mounted on a smale base making it a bit bigger on a 28mm base with stuff like gras on it. With this, the Soldier is 170 to 175cm (5'9''). You see that this is very close to the Picture above.

    Here you can see pictures of Soldiers on bottlecaps (the bottlecaps are close to the 28mm base for comparison)
    A Space Marine between some 1/72 soldiers is ... impressive :).
    And modifing the soldiers are much less work than modifing the Marine. Oh .. and those soldiers cost nearly nothing.

    1 package with 50 Soldiers cost about 7euros or 10 dollars or 6 pounds.

    Please take my apology if my english is to bad for this Blog, english isn't my native language. I accidently come to this site and i hope this post is useful to you.

    best regards