Thursday 5 November 2020

Why I hate scales - Compare the Pair

Used to drive me mad learning them on the Recorder, back in prehistory. No, sorry. Anyway. I recently bought the Rubicon Comet kit. The Comet is a very late war (1945) British cruiser tank, the ultimate development of the concept before the 'Main Battle Tank' Centurion. I have always liked how they looked since building the 1/76 Matchbox Comet kit back in ohhh..  sometime in the mid 70's I guess. 

Up until now, the only Comet models available have been in resin, and I have resisted purchasing them for two main reasons. 

Firstly; I find resin hard to work with, the dust from drilling and filing is hazardous, and there are often mould imperfection. Secondly, having a Comet, I would then be inevitably drawn to purchasing Empress Miniatures very nice Later War British Infantry in smocks and tabards... which would inevitably lead to Empress Miniatures Later War German Volksgrenadiers, and then I would need late war terrain with snow and ice, and well, a slippery slope. 

But - my birthday coming up, Rubicon releasing their Comet kit, and I thought I might really go to town on it. Comet duly purchased. Gorgeous kit, goes together very nicely. Rubicon even provide a crew figure. But there's the problem.

Now all my vehicles are in 1/56. it is what plastic kits are made in, by Italeri/Warlord, and Rubicon. It's supposed to be '28mm' scale. Which is the new 25mm, and it's actually now more like 31 or 32mm for many figures.  And the maths works out nicely. For a 'tallish' (for 1945) man, of 172 cm (roughly 5'9" for UK oldies), 1/56 is about 30mm. So our tank commander should work nicely alongside current 28mm figures. Except not.

28mm British Infantry Officer and 1/56 British Tank Commander

Ok, so admittedly, one of them has no knees.. but just look at the difference in the head sizes, and the hands. Impossible. Either I have to source another figure or make sure the Comet and its commander are kept well away from other figures. 

And I have to stay away from the Empress Miniatures site. Because I already have 1st Corps figures painted up for 1944 British. And if \I was to buy any more WW2 infantry, it should really be the new 1st Corps BEF figures, except...  all their accompanying vehicles are in 1/48...

It must be so easy for all those wargamers who didn't move between continents and bought up all those 1/50 diecast Corgi tanks when they were still available and not at the stupid money prices you see on eBay. £90 for a Comet? Ridiculous. Anyway.. here's mine so far:

Work in Progress Comet Tank 1/56 Rubicon, right side.

Work in Progress Comet Tank 1/56 Rubicon, left side.

Still not sure what to do about more stowage, grab handles on the turret have been replaced, and everything is dry-fitted to make painting easier, so the front and rear track side pieces have to be added, tow cable, more stowage, netting/branches etc. The white stuff is modelling putty to add texture to cast armour and do the weld seams.  The rear telephone cables, latches on the storage bins and so on are also to be added. Not sure about aerials. The images I have seen don't seem to show obvious aerials in wartime pictures. 

The one thing I wish I had was a brass aftermarket 'birdcage' to make up for the commanders sights. I thought about making one, but it might be well beyond my model making skills. The alternative is to put a 'cover' over the solid plastic one, but I have never seen one in photographs.


  1. Scalecreep is the brain of most gamers lives. I quite like to mix companies in the same units. Just to give you a little differance. I'd happily ( ok grudgingly) use both your figures together. Thing is, it's only really you who'll notice and be bothered with it on the tabletop? Your pals won't give it a second glance.

  2. All true, and I will use the commander figure, it's just mildly annoying. I know Rubicon also do an infantry range, and I wonder if they are similar? Although in period I would be hard pressed to go past Empress.

  3. It is the problem with wargame figures and models. Models are to scale, figures are to size. This was not really a problem with the early 1/72 (or was that 1/76) figures which somehow were made to a scale which later baceame a size, 20mm. Still, the Infantry officer is a lovely looking figure and he is likely to at best stand beside the tank, not become a tank rider :)

    1. Well, our infantry officer is mainly concerned with moving his drinks cabinet 3 inches closer to Berlin... But It's all ok. I'm looking forward to getting the airbrush out, and having a go at the Comet.


  4. Great article, and really helpful. I’m going to place your techniques to use, as you can see…Thank you for sharing!