True Scale vs. Heroic Scale ( Potato People )

Recently I was told I needed to scale my miniatures using the heroic scale so that they would print correctly. I’ve never had a problem printing my minis that couldn’t be solved with proper supports and adjusting my settings on the printer. In researching this some more this is one big ol’ can of worms that is just mind boggling, the pros and cons of heroic scale make very little sense the more I read about it, so in short, I’m going to keep designing my people in true scale so I don’t perpetuate the problem of potato people.

Why do I keep calling them potato men/people ???

True Scale on the Left, Heroic Scale on the Right

I use the term “potato people” because once you scale your figure to heroic scale, they are no longer realistic looking and some of them outright look like potato’s with guns and a helmet. If you look at the picture above you can see that on the left if a true scale miniature for 15mm gaming, that same figure is done in heroic scale on the right. The problem becomes that if you take a true scale miniature and were to print it out in real life, it would look like a normal person. However, taking a heroic scale miniature and printing it out life size would result in a very disproportionate looking person that needs to go on a diet or seek clinical help. They just don’t look right.

The reason many people claim you need to print in heroic scale is so that the small details will print properly. To that I say “bullshit”, you’re using heroic scale as a crutch because you can’t get your printer set up to handle the fine details that they can and will handle. From the same set of miniatures as the picture above, I printed this one out just to show that you don’t have to print things out in heroic scale to get them to print:

Not the greatest picture I know, bit you can see that all of the detail is there including the tip of the rifle with the iron sights on it. Unfortunately I didn’t bother to print one of them out in heroic scale which is something else that was brought up on Facebook before I got kicked from the group. Test printing models as you work on them… wtf ???

When I am working on a model, whether it’s 100% scratch built, something created in Daz|Studio or Blender, or something someone else made that I want to print… I do not go through and do test prints of them. I work on them until I’m confident they will print and then go for it. I’m not in the habit of wasting a $30+ bottle of resin on test prints, especially since my mix costs me $50-$65 depending on the market. As I have mentioned before I use a mixture of 70%-75% Siraya Tech Simple – Clear and 25%-30% Siraya Tech Tenacious. The Tenacious gives the model some more flex and durability in the event you drop them, but it’s been my experience that if you take care of your minis you won’t have a problem with them.

I was also sitting here looking at some miniatures from other designers that I like such as Raging Heroes. They don’t seem to be using heroic scale for their 28mm lines of figures that they sell both as STL files through their membership or as printed pieces from their main website. Perhaps that’s one reason I gravitated to them, their miniatures look real.

One thing that a LOT of people try to use as justification for the heroic scale is the Warhammer 40k Space Marine miniature. Not even really sure where to start on this one because it’s all wrong. You’re looking at miniature that is supposed to represent an 8 foot tall person in power armour. That in itself creates a lot of issues when comparing them to other 28mm miniatures and should not be used as a guide when scaling your miniatures.

So how do you scale your miniatures then ???

Another issue in the 3D printing miniatures world… just how do you measure your miniatures to get them to be at 15mm, 28mm, or any other scale ??? As I see it, you should measure from the bottom of the miniature to the eyes or where the eyebrows should be. Now this of course applies to a normal posture where the figure is standing up. I always try to make one model in a batch standing upright so that when I go to scale any others that may be crouching or prone, I have a reference figure to base them off of. But that’s me, and sometimes people tell me my miniatures are too small or too big because they are comparing them to heroic scaled miniatures that are thicker on the X and Z axis while retaining the proper height… potato people.

Here’s a couple of links to articles about true scale vs. heroic scale:

As you can see from reading over both of those articles, there are issues throughout the gaming world as to how minis should be measured and scaled. It’s not just me, there’s a LOT of people arguing both sides of this issue. My take on it is that if you can’t scale your figure up to 100% or life size, and have it look normal, then your scaling is the problem.

Most any resin printer can handle details down to 0.025mm with the standard layer height being 0.05mm. So if the printer can print in such fine detail, then why do I need to rescale my miniatures so that they can print when I know they print just fine on my OG Mars and Photon resin printers? Granted, at 15mm some of the details in the models can’t be painted and I believe there lies the problem some people have. Take a look at the left side of the same minis from above:

As you can see, there’s a LOT of detail in these guys, and I will say it’s honestly hit or miss on whether their boot laces will print out properly… but then again, if you look at heroic scaled minis you’ll notice that when it comes to laces they look like spaghetti noodles. So that could be one justification for using the heroic scale, to make the details easier to print. I could almost get behind that reason, almost. I just don’t see why I should have to though.

And on that note, I have to get my rear in gear, get dressed and go to work for the night. I’ll see all you beautiful people in the morning !!!

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