You may have seen the good looking miniatures on youtube in Dungeons and Dragons games, and said to yourself “I can’t wait to get my hands on some!” But then you’ve seen the price and want to get some non-official ones, but have no idea what size these little miniatures for D&D are to make sure they match.
What size are Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures?
The official D&D miniatures are 28mm in height, which means that the miniature for a standard 6-foot human is 28mm tall, though this can vary by manufacturer. Because D&D miniatures are scaled, large, huge, and gargantuan monsters will be larger, while small and tiny creatures will be smaller.
There are many different brands of miniatures available that come in all sorts of different sizes. If you want the game to have some level of realism, you’ll want the various monsters, people, and creatures to each have different sizes. A miniature of an enormous dragon should be quite a bit larger than a miniature of the human hero standing next to it.
In this article we go through what size Dungeons & Dragons miniatures should be so you can understand them and pick up miniatures that all work well together.
Dungeons and Dragons miniature sizes
The Dungeons & Dragons rules have 6 sizes of creatures, tiny, small, medium, large, huge and gargantuan. Each creature size has different abilities and takes up a different amount of space (for example a small halfling will be able to sneak better while a large monster may be more powerful in melee fighting) so it’s useful to have miniatures that represent these sizes. The table below shows a good summary of the expected miniature base size and height you’ll find for each D&D miniature size.
|Size||Space||Height||Miniature Space||Miniature Height|
|Tiny||2.5 x 2.5 ft||1 – 2 ft||1 inch base||7mm|
|Small||5 x 5 ft||2 – 4 ft||1 inch base||14mm|
|Medium||5 x 5 ft||4 – 8 ft||1 inch base||28mm|
|Large||10 x 10 ft||8 – 16 ft||2 inch base||56mm|
|Huge||15 x 15 ft||16 – 32 ft||3 inch base||84mm|
|Gargantuan||20 x 20 ft||32 – 64 ft||4 inch base||112mm|
Note when it comes to heights different manufacturers will have slightly different sizes, and also the miniature may be slightly different due to its shape (eg. while an elf, human, and dwarf are all medium size creatures, they vary in height and their miniatures reflect this).
What are the heights for each D&D miniature size?
Miniature heights are often measured to the eyes, so a 25mm miniature generally has a slightly taller total height. The height of miniatures varies slightly depending on the manufacturer. Even when manufacturers say 25mm, this isn’t always the case. It’s more of a rough guide for some manufacturers.
The size of miniatures has also changed over time. A standard miniature used to be 25mm tall to their eyes, but they can be 28mm or even taller these days, with some even reaching 30mm or more. If you compare a new miniature to an old one, the old miniature will be noticeably smaller.
But getting slightly different sizes from different manufacturers, in general, doesn’t really matter. As people and creatures are generally slightly different heights in real life, mixing and matching slightly different heights from different manufacturers won’t cause an issue as they should all still look relatively proportional to each other.
The following is a rough estimate of the height for each creature size:
- Tiny – approximately 7mm in height, these are very small so it can be hard to get detailed miniatures for these
- Small – approximately 14mm in height, though they are made slightly bigger sometimes as it allows for more details on the miniatures
- Medium – approximately 28mm in height
- Large – approximately 56mm in height
- Huge – approximately 84mm in height
- Gargantuan – approximately 112mm in height
What Scale Are D&D Miniatures?
An adult human miniature is officially 28 millimetres tall. As previously stated, this varies by manufacturer, but in general, an adult human measures between 25 and 28 millimetres, however, while these are the most common scales, a scale of 30 millimetres is sometimes used.
The scale of all other miniatures is determined using an adult human as a standard so that other creatures look proportionate to the human. So, if an adult person standing 6 feet tall is 28 millimetres tall, then the scale of the miniatures is 28mm even though an adult dragon will be considerably larger than 28 millimetres tall, and a goblin will be a bit smaller.
What Does 28mm Scale mean D&D Miniatures?
In the gaming world, several scales for miniatures are used, from tiny to larger scale miniatures, and these sizes have evolved and altered over time.
It’s difficult to be precise about the exact measurement a miniature of each scale should be, as various manufacturers use different measurement methodologies. A 28mm scale implies 28mm to the eyes for some makers, but 28mm to the top of the head for others. For example, the official D&D miniatures (Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures range) are 28mm, however, they are somewhat smaller than Reaper Bones Miniatures (which is another popular brand to use for D&D miniatures).
A small variation in size doesn’t create a noticeable difference when playing, thus the expected norm for scale measurement is used. For an approximation of size, you can use the scale size in mm equals six feet in real life. So, for a 25mm scale, 25mm would be approximately 6 feet, in 28mm size, 28mm would be approximately 6 feet, and so on.
When it comes to scale, you may hear phrases like heroic scale and realistic scale tossed about, they refer to the proportions used in the miniature and aren’t anything you need to worry about for D&D – you can simply choose some miniatures that you like the look of.
What is the base size for dungeons and dragons miniatures?
While the Dungeons & Dragons rules indicate that tiny and small creatures would take up less room, generally they are put on the same size base as medium creatures. This means that 1-inch bases are generally the smallest commonly found in D&D games. Larger creatures are generally put on larger bases to represent the amount of room that they take up.
The following is the commonly used base size for each creature size:
- Tiny – 1” base
- Small – 1” base
- Medium – 1” base
- Large – 2” base
- Huge – 3” base
- Gargantuan – 4” base
The base sizes can vary by manufacturer (some manufacturers make them slightly less than an inch, while others make them exactly an inch), but they all need to fit on a standard battle mat grid, thus there’s usually a lot less variation in bases than miniature height.
In D&D miniatures are generally put on round bases, so a 1” base means 1” in base diameter. But there’s no actual rule that they need to be on round bases, so if you have a bunch of miniatures on square bases lying around from another game then these are fine to use.
What is the grid size used in dungeons and dragons?
Because miniatures are generally made in multiples of inches, you’ll want your gaming mat squares to be the same size as your standard miniature bases. The base of most 25-28mm scale miniatures will fit in the normal sized grid since the D&D game mats are manufactured with 1 inch squares.
Each grid square in D&D equals 5 feet, and medium creatures usually fit one to a square. If you’re using a miniature for a creature that is larger than medium sized, such as a dragon, you should have a larger figure and the base should also be larger so it takes up more space on the gaming mat.
Miniatures come in different sizes, but if you want some for D&D, you’re best off using some 28mm scale ones. We’ve gone through what that means for each type of creature size, so you should know what base size and height you are looking for when picking up miniatures.
If you just want a shortcut and to have an easy way to pick up the right sized miniatures, the Nolzur’s Marvellous Minis are the official D&D miniature line and you’ll find everything you get is appropriately scaled.
If you decide to use the D&D miniatures from another line, like Pathfinder or Reaper, make sure they are scaled to approximately 28mm to match the D&D minis.