Monday, November 29, 2010

How Big is my Dumpster? A Question of Scale for 28mm Gaming.

One of the many side projects related to my post apocalypse terrain is the construction of some masters for dumpsters or commercial trash containers.  I figure that I'll probably make three different sizes and cast several of each for the various iterations of my PA terrain, making a few intact, and several smashed up a bit.

The first is a smallish 4 cubic yard dumpster, actual dimensions being approximately 72"x48"x65".

Before starting construction, I questioned what scale they should be constructed in.  I've generally accepted that 28mm is about 1/56th, but I decided to use 1/43 scale vehicles for these games.  Most of the cars are actually smaller than 1/43, and most of the trucks are actually 1/50th or smaller, so the distortion isn't as bad as it might seem initially.  I also figured that I might well use some 1/48th scale accessories from model railroading, model ship-building, etc.

So back to the dumpsters, my concern was that a 1/56th scale dumpster would look too small next to 1/43 to 1/50 scale cars and trucks.  I also wanted figures to fit in at least some of the dumpsters, which would be harder to do in 1/56 scale.  On the flip side, at 1/48 scale, the compromise scale I decided that I would use if the vehicles looked to big for 1/56,  I was afraid that they would tower over the figs and even smaller buildings.

I ended up sketching out three views of each of five different sized dumpsters in both 1/56 and 1/48.  I still had the same concerns.  Big dumpsters looked too big in 1/48, and small ones looked too small in 1/56.  I still couldn't get a good feeling for how they would look with other accessories such as fire hydrants, garbage cans, mail boxes, etc.

In the end I decided to just start building and see what looked okay.  The smallest of the dumpsters that I had scaled was the 4 yard one mentioned above.  I decided to build it in 1/56 and see how it looked.  If it appeared too small next to the figs and cars, I'd junk it, and go with 1/48. If it looked okay, I'd just do them all in 1/48 scale.

So here is the result.

The lid is actually two hinged plastic panels to be cast as a single unit.  The masters measures about 1.28" wide, about .85" deep, and 1.16" tall.  Here it is with a 1/43 police cruiser, and a 28mm fig.

At 1/56 scale, I think it looks okay with both the car and the fig. 

I'll probably cheat and go with larger scale 1/48 accessories where I can get them to save time for things that are smaller than a man.  And, stick with 1/56 for accessories for items that are generally larger than a man.  Next I'll add six and eight cubic yard dumpsters will round out examples of different shapes and sizes and give just a touch more flavor to the tabletop.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice. I have a couple of Armorcast ones overflowing with garbage and a pair of plastic hero click ones.
    Whenever I look at them I think of the D20 Modern Monster the Living Dumpster. To spot one it says all you have to do is look for the ones with half finished graffiti on them. When their hunting grounds get thin they wait for a foggy night to roll into another alley for prey. Next foggy night keep your ears open for the sound of squeaky wheels.