And the Verdict is…

OK, I’ve finally decided to go with 15mm.

The greatest advantages of 20mm are commonly thought to be the comparatively cheap cost (if you use plastic infantry), and the availability of models.

But once I started considering metal infantry figures (as I didn’t fancy the static poses of the plastic ones), I realized that the cost advantage pretty much disappears.

And regarding availability of models, I realized that with the explosive growth in popularity of FoW, it’s actually easier now to find a model in 15mm than in 1/72 scale.
If you take Battlefront, Peter Pig, and QRF together, models of practically every vehicle/figure you may want for WWII wargaming can be found.

To finally convince myself, I worked out a quick spreadsheet to compare the cost of the different options.

Assuming that you want to make an infantry platoon of 40 men, the costs involved will be:

Item Name                  Packs Price    Reqd Total
------------------------------------------------------
28mm Infantry (Artizan)      4   £  5.00  10  £ 50.00
20mm Infantry (AB Figures)  10   £ 10.00   4  £ 40.00
1/72 Infantry (Revell)      40   £  5.00   1  £  5.00
15mm Infantry (Battlefront) 40   £ 10.80   1  £ 10.80
15mm Infantry (QRF)          8   £  2.00   5  £ 10.00

One important point to note is that while Revell and Battlefront packs all the figures necessary to make up a platoon (i.e. command, mortar, rifles, etc), you’ll actually need to buy and mix separate packs with the other manufacturers.
(e.g. 1 pack Command + 1 pack Mortar + 1 pack SMG + 1 pack LMG + 4 packs Rifle)
So unless you’re fitting out several platoons at once, you’ll need to buy more packs than what I’ve calculated above.

Now we’ll come to tanks, assuming you’re building a 3-tank platoon:

Item Name                   Price    Reqd  Total
---------------------------------------------------
1/56 Tiger 1 (Hobby Master) £ 10.00  3    £ 30.00
1/72 Tiger 1 (Revell)       £  5.00  3    £ 15.00
15mm Tiger 1 (Battlefront)  £  5.85  3    £ 17.55
15mm Tiger 1 (QRF)          £  5.00  3    £ 15.00

So, if you’re planning to build 2 infantry platoons (40 men each) and 1 tank platoon (3 tanks), the total cost will be:

Composition              Price
---------------------------------
2 Inf + 1 Tnk (28mm)     £ 130.00
2 Inf + 1 Tnk (20mm)     £  95.00
2 Inf + 1 Tnk (15mm BF)  £  39.15
2 Inf + 1 Tnk (15mm QRF) £  35.00
2 Inf + 1 Tnk (1/72)     £  25.00

I have to add a disclaimer that this is only intended to be a very rough estimate. As I’ve mentioned above, the actual cost can be a bit higher if you use manufacturers other than Battlefront and Revell, because you’ll need to buy packs of different types of infantry figures.

But then again, most manufacturers offer bulk discounts, so I guess the small differences will kind of cancel each other out.
Oh, and shipping is another very important factor to think about.

Anyway, if I rule out the option of using 1/72 plastic infantry, the cheapest and best option would be 15mm.

Hope all this research I’ve done will prove useful to others!

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