BAM: 1/48 and 1/56 Vehicle Comparison

Interest in BAM picked up in my local area and I was asked a few times how is the 1/48 and 1/56 vehicles comparison. I’ve always thought I had a comparison pic somewhere but as it turns out… No I didn’t. So I might as well get that out of the way…

On the top/ left is the Tamiya 1/48 Sherman Firefly. On the bottom/ right is the Warlord Games/ Italeri 1/56 Sherman. A Tamiya 1/48 infantry and a Warlord Games 28mm infantry is also in each pic. Most pics have both tanks toeing the same line at the front of the track, so you can see there is a significant size difference between the two.

A frontal shot to establish the differences. I have also swapped the two infantry around so that we can get a feel of the look:



And from the side:



In the case of the side shots, the 1/56 Sherman is shifted about 1cm ahead of the 1/48, to give the infantry room to stand next to the tank.

And for the heck of it, a 3/4 rear shot:


A few contemporary pics of men next to Sherman tanks:




From what I can see, 1/48 is actually more accurate for 28mm work.

Overall you can see that for infantry, 1/48 and 28mm isn’t too different in height, but 28mm heavily exaggerates the width; the end result is that the 1/48 infantry looks a bit out, but not terribly so.

For vehicles though, I feel 1/48 fits the 28mm better, being relatively bigger and in a sense more imposing. 1/56 just feels a bit dinky aside a 28mm infantry. I have to say though, having 1/48 tanks on the table makes me want to use each carefully; 1/56 tanks just makes me want to flood the table with as many of them as possible.

Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to BAM: 1/48 and 1/56 Vehicle Comparison

  1. Pingback: 1/56 Rubicon vs. WG Sherman -

  2. forry says:

    Thanks for the review..Scale wise I think the 1/56 looks better personally. Your figures are based, the tanks are not Im looking at buying a few 28mm tanks and Iam doing the rounds on reviews..Have you looked at any others e.g PZIV?

    • Lynx says:

      I tend to base my infantry out of sheer necessity (can’t keep them upright) but prefer to not base my vehicles for the looks — I do base the field guns though. I have a few others in the pipeline, the Panzer IV in both 1/48 and 1/56. For 1/48 I’m going with Tamiya as they just released a new Ausf. H (and I’m in the process of getting upgrade parts for my earlier Ausf Js), and for 1/56 I have a Rubicon Panzer IV for comparative purpose — just out of box I think the Rubicon Panzer IV has very nice details, but have yet to build it. Also getting 1/56 Rubicon StuGs soon simply because there isn’t an easy-to-find 1/48 StuG any more.

      I’m avoiding the 1/56 Italeri offered through Warlord Games though. Don’t think that’s a good kit personally. Their 1/56 Cromwell wasn’t very enjoyable to build.

  3. Karremans says:

    Thanks a lot for these comparison shots.

    For a lack of civilian vehicles in 28mm I recently purchased the CV11 by Tamiya and BMW 327 by Hasegawa in 48th scale. (Diecast 1:43 could also be an option) This made me reconsider if it wouldn’t be better to also buy tanks and other military vehicles in 48th.
    Looking at these pictures, one could conclude that 48th is better than 1/56 to go with 28mm figures scalewise. Why is 28mm advertised as being 1/56 when the figures are as tall as real 1/48 anyway?

    As a military modeller first and now wargamer I’m afraid I’ll just have to accept that 28mm is more of a concept than a scale really. So I’ll just buy the 1/56 military vehicles for gaming, even though scalewise they probably suck. And for the odd civilian vehicle I’ll see what I can get in a suitable scale.

    • Lynx says:

      Well, there are a few 28mm civilian vehicle, the one I found recently was Mantic’s truck, you can read the review here. That’s not too bad. Also, a recent ended Kickstarter also provided some modern Technicals, so I’m fairly set.

      The 1/56 vs 1/48 scale issue, my suspicion is that the various parties are just trying to protect their businesses. Since military vehicles from the WWII era is really public domain, any company can use the design as the basis for kits, and modeling companies do very good 1/48 scale kits, often at much cheaper prices. Calling it 1/56 encourages players to go with wargaming company products, rather than use the alternatives. Warlord really was the one to popularize 1/56 with their BAM line but they inherited that. Their tie-up with Italeri just “legitimizes” the scale, and subsequent players (like Rubicon) went along (partly also to avoid competing with existing model makers).

      To me, I can take advantage of the situation. As long as I stick in the same scale for a vehicle, I’m good with either 1/48 or 1/56. For example, I love 1/48 Tamiya stuff, but I think only Hobby Boss makes a 1/48 Sd. Kfz. 251 Ausf. C, and that kit is horrendously complex (and expensive). I swapped down to Warlord 1/56 Ausf. Cs (which is cheaper) and now with Rubicon coming out with kits and option parts, I do get some benefits.

  4. Yer Da says:

    No one at my local club will play anyone that uses 1/48, even if it would give them an advantage :/ Some people are addicted to brand loyalty I guess 🙁

    • W. Myers says:

      That is ridiculous. I am sure they would never know a vehicle is 1/48 unless it was placed beside the same in 1/56. (Or more likely, “Who makes that one?! Did Warlord release a new kit?!” and when the response is Tamiya or Hobby Boss or Bronco, only then might they know it is 1/48 and start to whine.)

      Sounds like you need to have a talk with them or get a new club.

  5. W. Myers says:

    Thanks for the review/comparison, by the way!

    The sculptors, the Perry Twins, explained why they made their Afrika Korps and 8th Army figures so much smaller than most 28mm figures is because the larger (regular sized 28mm) figures used in gaming looked way too large for the 1/56 vehicles being used and produced by companies like Warlord so they just scaled their figures down to what would look more realistic.

    Logically, then, larger vehicles look better with the regular 28mm. As Karremans stated, it seems 28mm is more of merely some type of a concept and not a real scale.

    • Lynx says:

      28mm has always been more of a concept, dating back to, well, way back. Ideally, it’s supposed to be “28mm to eye level from feet”, but since that’s a foregone conclusion when it applies to so many different body types and even species…

      Then came the great GW width creep, as they went and made 28mm minis look beefy; warranted because their Space Marines are supposed to be super-human. It worked ok for a time but as time went by, more and more companies took it as the de facto standard.. and skewed everything else out. End of day, it works because the minis look good.

      It’s only about a decade ago that the sculptors started pushing for 30+mm to be more in vogue and now it’s starting to become more prevalent. There’s really no scale involved, just proportions.

      Warlord’s somewhat arbitrary 1/56 “standard” is, IMO, them protecting their IP/ rice bowl, which is acceptable to them. Some companies like Rubicorn is introducing 1/56 quasi-model kits acceptable for wargaming, which gives us more options, but to be honest I’d prefer to stick with 1/48 if pricing wasn’t a concern.. it’s just not practical to purchase enough 1/48 AFV Sd. Kfz. 251 halftracks to mount a platoon of Bolt Action Germans up.

  6. Don says:

    Thanks for this helpful side-by-side comparison! I have been painting up 28mm WW2 infantry, and was very displeased with the Italiari/Warlord M5A1 Stuart tank platoon set that I purchased. Your photos have helped me switch over to 1/48th scale, which is far closer to actual size.

  7. Classic_DM says:

    Great comparison!

Let me know your views!