Given the large amount of “28mm” historic figure manufactures in the market, the different styles, sculpting abilities and the different commercialization strategies, it is very difficult to define and standardize the size of “28mm” historical figures.
If we measure from foot to eye several historical “28mm” figures from different manufacturers, there will most probably be a small difference between them; some will measure 28mm others 30,32 or some even less, albeit all similar to 28mm from foot to eye.
THE HEAD takes the lead
In modern figure drawing and sculpting, the basic unit of measurement is the ‘head’, which is the distance from the top of the head to the chin. This unit of measurement is reasonably standard, and has long been used by artists to establish the proportions of the human figure. It’s very important to keep this in mind, because the head is going to be a constant that will determine the size and proportions of the human figure.
The most used proportion for the human body when aiming for an impression of nobility or grace is 8 heads tall (idealistic figure) The 7 ½ head tall proportion is also used but for our current purposes it’s more complex in terms of calculating.
How would the 8 head tall canon affect a “28mm” figure?
Figure = 8 heads tall Size of the figure from foot to eye line= 28mm
Total size of the figure= 29,86mm
7,5 heads = 28mm (The eye line is halfway the head’s length)
8 heads = xmm
We apply a simple rule of thirds:
Total size of the figure:
- 8 heads x 28mm= 224mm
- 7,5 heads = 29,86mm
That means that:
Size (length) of the head should be:
- 8 heads = 3,734mm
If we follow the 8 head tall canon, a figure with a 5mm head should be 40mm tall (that’s 38,5mm foot to eye). This leads us to the following conclusion:
* If we want a figure about 28mm from foot to eye, and we want it’s head to be 5mm long, the only way we can do this is by distorting the figure’s proportions. That would be cropping the legs and torso’s size. Legs smaller than 4 heads from foot to crotch, and bodies (from shoulders to crotch) less than 4 heads long.
Having said that, it’s up to one’s taste the human proportions he prefers for his figures. If we stick within the boundaries of realism (or scaled down physical possibility) these may vary from Conan to Tyrion Lannister.
In Oniria Miniatures, we decided to model our figure’s head between 4,7 and 5mm long (the average size of the “28mm” historical figures’ head), but we kept the according proportions with the rest of the body, regardless the final size of the figure.
Normally our miniatures will be approximately 34mm foot to eye; this makes them approximately one head taller than the “other 28s”.
We have also tested our figures’ heads with other manufacturers and even made some commission works with other commercial figures with Oniria Miniatures head swap. As you may see in practically all the cases they work perfectly well.
To come up with a conclusion of why about three decades ago, the manufactures decided to distort the figures’ proportions instead of shrinking the head size to meet the 28mm foot to eye criteria is rather tricky, controversial and there are many factors to consider; commercial, artistic, technical, production, artistic skills, etc.
Nevertheless, once these are sorted and reviewed we will not be able to come up with a gospel truth and we will definitely not give a judgement of whether this or that type or style of figure is wrong or better than another. Without a doubt beauty is in the eye of the beholder and is wholly subjective.
In furthers articles we will keep looking into this matter.