Portrait miniature, a miniature portrait painting
Miniature art, miniature painting, engraving and sculpture
Miniature (illuminated manuscript), a small painting in an illuminated text
Persian miniature, a small painting in an illuminated text or album
Ottoman miniature, a small painting in an illuminated text or album
Mughal miniature, a small painting in an illuminated text or album
Miniature figure (gaming), a small figurine used in role playing games and tabletop wargames
Miniature (alcohol), a very small bottle of an alcoholic drink
Miniature (The Twilight Zone), a 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone
Miniature candy, smaller variations of candy bars and candy
Miniature effect, a physical model of a larger object used to represent it in film-making
Miniature horse, a very small breed of horse
Miniature poodle, a smaller breed of poodle (dog)
Miniature (band), a cooperative jazz trio
Miniatures (Alog album), 2005
Miniatures (Nekropolis album), 1989
Traditionally, miniatures were cast in white metal, an alloy of lead and tin. A small amount of antimony was sometimes added to improve the alloy's ability to take fine detail. In 1993, the New York legislature introduced a bill outlawing lead in miniatures, citing public health concerns. Many miniature manufacturers, anticipating that other states would also impose bans, began making figures with lead-free alloys, often at increased price. After months of debate and protests by miniature manufacturers and enthusiasts, New York Governor Mario Cuomo signed a bill which exempted miniatures from the state's Public Health Law. Despite this, most American manufacturers continued to use non-lead alloys.
In addition to metal miniatures, manufacturers offer figures in plastic (polyethylene or hard polystyrene) and resin . Some wargames use box miniatures, consisting of card stock folded into simple cuboids with representative art printed on the outside.
With metrication in the United Kingdom, United States manufacturers began to use the metric system to describe miniatures, as opposed to the previously popular imperial units, so that their table-top wargaming models would be compatible. In 28 mm scale, children and short characters such as dwarves, hobbits, and goblins are smaller than 28 mm, while taller characters like ogres, trolls and dragons are larger.
Scales of 20 mm, 25 mm, 28 mm, 30 mm, 32 mm, and 35 mm are the most common for role-playing and table-top games. Smaller scales of 2 mm, 6 mm, 10 mm, 15 mm, and 20 mm are used for mass-combat wargames. Painters and collectors commonly use larger figures of 54 mm or more but 40mm and 54mm have never been completely abandoned by wargamers and have become popular again since the late 20thC although not as popular as the smaller sizes.
The use of scale is not uniform and can deviate by as much as 30%. A manufacturer might advertise its figures as 28 mm, but their products may be over 30 mm tall. A contributing factor is the difference in methods used to calculate scale. Some manufacturers measure figure height from the feet to the eyes rather than the top of the head; therefore, a 6-foot (1.83 m) figure in 28 mm scale would be 30 mm tall. As a result, 15 mm figures can be variously interpreted as 1:100 scale or 1:120.
A further complication is differing interpretations of body proportions. Many metal gaming figures are unrealistically bulky for their height, with an oversized head, hands, and weapons. Some of these exaggerations began as concessions to the limitations of primitive mold-making and sculpting techniques, but they have evolved into stylistic conventions. In the table below, figure height alone (excluding base thickness) is the feature from which approximate scale is calculated.
In many games designed for use with 28mm scale figurines, there is a definite scale specified for the square grid that the game is played upon. Conventionally, 1 inch represents 5 feet. This specifies an exact scale of 1:60. That implies that a 28 mm tall figurine represents a 1.68 meter person - which is a reasonable number for a modern 50th percentile male (See: Human height). Figurines made taller than 28 mm but intended for use in these games are often referred to as "heroic scale" - justifying the larger size on the dubious presumption that heroes are taller than ordinary people.
Another popular scale is 1/72 sometimes also called 20mm, but closer to 23mm. Mostly used for historical gaming in part due to a wide selection of 1/72 scale models.