6mm Wargame Cheaper Than 28mm? Beat It!

One of the sales arguments of 6mm wargaming is that it’s ‘much cheaper than 28mm‘. Is it? I made a simple comparison. I can tell you: it’s a myth.

Peter Berry once published a funny rant against the 28mm-fanboys who hate 6mm and who are convinced that 6mm is not only smaller, but also inferior to 28mm. Here’s his picture.

Sure, the 6mm looks more ‘phalanxy’ than 28mm. But the question is money. Always. In particular in times of recession, coronacrisis and unemployment. What’s the price of the hobby? What’s the price of a 6mm phalanx, Baccus-style, 2020 price tag? Well,

  • 92 figures cost £6.
  • thus, one of his bases with 48 figures cost £3.
  • 6 bases (left picture) cost £18.
  • 18 bases (right picture) cost £56.

At the time of writing, Berry calculated that a 28mm figure would cost “a conservative £0.80 per figure”. I think he wrote his piece 8-10 years ago (see also his FAQ). At 2012 price levels, seventy-two 28mm figures cost £57.60. Adjusted for 2020 Baccus still wins vs pewter models, easily: the current 2020 low price for a 28mm metal figure is an estimated £1, so total cost for a metal DBA phalanx would be £72.

But this is 2020 – the hard plastic era. I checked the price of Victrix Macedonian Phalangites. 27 miniatures per box and 10% discount if you buy 3 boxes. That is £54 for 81 miniatures, 20 bases. The same 20 bases cost £62 if you buy/ build the dense Baccus units.

My goodness! 6mm is ten percent more expensive than 28mm!

Napoleonics Price Comparison

Now Napoleonics. This is my standard Napoleonic setup.

My standard Blücher battalion. 6 bases. 4 strips with 4 line infantry each (16 figures) on a standard sabot base. 2 bases with 4 skirmishers per base. Total 64+8=72 per base.

So 1 battalion on a 80x60mm base cost

  • 64 miniatures = 2/3 of £6=£4: plus
  • 8 skirmishers=1/6 of £3=£0,50

Total £4,50 per battalion.

I must admit that my setup is quite ambitious compared to 6mm wargames standard. The Baccus example bases are 6 strips = 24 miniatures per 60×30 base, 1/4 of a 24-strip-92-figure bag costing £6. So 1 Baccus base will cost £1,50. Double/triple basing as I prefer would be 48 for a line battalion = £3 plus 8 skirmishers = £0,50. Total £3,50 for a line battalion with skirmishers.

Compare this with a 28mm battalion. This is a typical 28mm battalion.

(from the Analogue Hobbies blog). About 32 Victrix figures, 4 figures per base, 8 30x50mm bases

That’s about half of a £25 sixty-figure Victrix box, so about £13. But this is 8 bases.

Just like Peter above, I should compare 8 Baccus bases (24 miniatures per 60x30mm base) with 8 Victrix bases (4 miniatures per 30x50mm base).

The 8 Baccus bases would cost 8x£1,50=£12, not including P&P. Similar price level as Victrix. If I would add 4 skirmishers to every base, recommendable to improve the visual impact, total cost would be £16.

On that precondition, Victrix bases would be cheaper than Baccus bases. Victrix prices are P&P included, btw. Baccus P&P is 10% of the total order value.

I briefly checked the prices of other manufacturers. Baccus is slightly cheaper than Adler (6 vs 7 pence on a per figure ratio) and Victrix is slightly cheaper than Perry (41 vs 50 pence on a per figure ratio).

Staunch and stingy 6mm-fanboys will bring forward the cheap argument that for £12 to £16, I have EIGHT 6mm battalions, while only ONE 28mm ‘battalion’ that doesn’t even look like a true 700-or-more-men battalion.

That’s true. Sort of.

But it’s also false. With 28mm I would play a large skirmish game. For £50, I can buy 2 Victrix boxes with 120 figures, enough for Sharp Practice. Or an infantry and a cavalry box. I recently played a SP game with the even cheaper-than-Victrix but excellent HäT-Bavarian Infantry, 92 figures for 30 euro/25 pound.

For £43 plus 10% UK shipping = £47,30 (£49,55 for Europe) I can buy a Baccus army for but for a corps game, like Polemos or Blücher. Comparing 28mm battalions to 6mm battalions is like comparing apples and oranges. I should add that the 28mm battalion consists of 16-32 miniatures and a standard 6mm battalion of 24 miniatures, so what is the so called ‘mass’ in 6mm Napoleonics?

In conclusion: the ‘lower price’ argument is outdated. A myth. Maybe less so for WW2 – 4 Adler WW2-soldiers on a base are cheaper than a 28mm WW2-figure on a base. However I play WW2 with larger armies so it might even out.

I’m deeply in love with my tiny 6mm heroes. Waterloo in any scale bigger than 6mm is a mistake, the bigger the scale, the bigger the mistake. But 6mm good for a small purse? That would be the biggest mistake of all!

(picture from the Wargaming in Sverige blog)

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