I took a little vacation last week, flying down to Denver to watch the Mariners play the Rockies with my brother. As I usually do, I bought my wife a little present.
My wife enjoys miniatures, especially if I can make her an interesting diorama. I found an N scale pharmacy at a Denver hobby store (my wife is a pharmacist) and built it for her when I got back. The building cost $15 and took me about three hours to assemble and paint. It was an easy job to finish while some enamel paints dried on my latest commission.
Naturally enough, my thoughts turned to the building's wargaming potential. I had bought a pack of N scale figures to add some life to the building, and as we'll see, N scale doesn't match any of my wargaming scales, so these figures will always look out of place next to my wargaming miniatures. But $15 is pretty cheap for such a nice building. Is the building scale close enough to use with any of my armies?
The building itself could be from any time in the 20th century. 15mm World War II miniatures do look a little large next to it, but I think it's close enough to work. Unless we're playing 1:1 skirmish, the ground scale in our games is shrunken anyway, so N scale buildings might represent a city block. N scale is 1:160 and 15mm is 1:100 or thereabouts (TMP says 1:107).
How about for 10mm ACW? Some of the N scale buildings might be right for 1860s USA. 10mm is 1:161, just about an exact match for N scale, and these ACW Union infantrymen look perfectly in scale with the building.
Napoleonics are a stretch, since the rail lines were still several decades away while Napoleon struggled to dominate Europe. Still, some of the European buildings might do in a pinch. These 6mm figures are 1:268, too small really to fit with the building.
One reason 20mm WWII gaming is so popular is the ready availability of HO scale buildings that are close enough to work with 20mm figures and vehicles. I think N scale buildings work just as well for 15mm figures, and I may just add some to my WWII games.