Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I play my tabletop games on a 1-inch grid, where each square represents a 5-foot square. I am looking for some stock scenery I can purchase to make my games a little more interesting and varied.

Some of the best sources for pre-made scenery are model railroad sites, but they use different scales than the mats and the miniatures made for gaming. What scale scenery will fit best in my campaigns?

share|improve this question
I've done enough research to answer my own question, but would love answers (and pictures!) from people who have used model railroad scenery for battle maps before. – dlras2 Oct 4 '13 at 20:25
up vote 16 down vote accepted

S scale models will fit best on a standard 1-inch grid, and with your heroic scale 25mm miniatures.

With a 1-inch grid, where each 1-inch square represents a 5-foot square, you are playing at a 1:60 ratio (where 1 real-life inch represents 60 in-game inches.) Your closest model railroad scales are: (source)

  • S scale (aka 3/16" scale) at 1:64, or ≈7% smaller
  • O scale (aka 1/4" scale) at 1:48, or ≈25% larger
  • OO scale (aka 4mm scale) at 1:76.2, or ≈27% smaller
  • HO scale (aka 3.5mm scale) at 1:87.1, or ≈45% smaller

If you're looking for items that vary largely in size (trees, rocks, etc.) then any of these scales should look natural. (In fact some sellers lump S&O scales together for such items.) If you're looking for something with a much more defined size, such as a bed or a table, you'll probably want to stick with S scale.

A note on miniature sizes: the 28mm scale (aka heroic scale 25mm) refers to "the approximate height of a humanoid figure from base of foot to eyeline." (source, source) Figures tend to vary, however, and historically have leaned on the larger side of the scale, but should remain close to the 1:60 ratio of the 1-inch grid. (source)

share|improve this answer
"Don't you mean H0?" – Istvan Chung Oct 5 '13 at 4:39
@IstvanChung Disclaimer: I am not a model railroad aficionado and have no preference as to H0 or HO, so just went with how Wikipedia did it. =P – dlras2 Oct 6 '13 at 4:16
Sorry, I was joking---just poking fun at the giant and ongoing debate (to which I linked) on the Wikipedia Talk pages. – Istvan Chung Oct 6 '13 at 4:37

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.