15mm wargames figures, Peter Laing 15mm vintage 15mm

50 Years since the first 15mm figures were advertised by Peter Laing in Military Modelling November 1972

In my tatty old copy of Military Modelling for November 1972 can be found this Peter Laing advert for his new range of (possibly) the first 15mm Wargames figures ever to be made.

The “Atten-Shun” Review had a Pythonesque introduction as befits the early 70s.

“And now for something completely different … a new range of British figures, unique in their diminutive 15mm scale.”

“Produced and marketed by Peter Laing …Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the initial range of 27 items is especially designed for the diorama-maker and the wargamer.”

“Due to their small size, the figures are ideal for ‘massing’ and the painted samples that we have seen do look extremely well. The range at present deals solely with figures of the British Army of Marlborough’s time, but they can be easily painted to represent troops of other European armies.”

The figures were well received and well reviewed on the “Atten-Shun” pages of Military Modelling November 1972.

“We particularly like the little kits for the limber (3 parts kit A108) 12p and the 16 pounder cannon (4 part kit, 16p).”

“As to the figures themselves, both standing and mounted subjects are covered and all the standing figures are a mere 4p each, with those mounted at 8p each.”

“All in all, it’s an attractive range drawn from subjects of 1700-1730 period, and quite apart from their obvious wargames value, just think what fabulous mini dioramas one could make.”

“Included in the range are marching officers, a drummer, a set of gunners and mounted figures including a charging cavalryman and a draught horse.”

The Atten-Shun review captions mentions the “most attractive kit for the six pounder cannon; obviously in this scale facial detail, etc. tends to be simply ‘hinted at’ but with careful painting remarkable results can be achieved.”

15mm as a scale was launched with this advert in November 1972, although the first figures were (according to the 1982 interview) displayed in a Tunbridge Wells bookshop in 1970 two years before.

Tunbridge Wells – the birth place of 15mm figures!

Surely a tiny 15mm scale blue plaque is required or a new town slogan – “Tunbridge Wells Birth Place of 15mm figures” (oh, we also have a spa and other stuff)?


It would be another ten years before I started collecting my first Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, my first ‘proper’ metal figures, after reading about them in adverts and reviews in Military Modelling c.1981 / 1982. I scraped together any spare pocket money I had and sent off for some of his English Civil War range, which were then complimented or extended by Jacobite / Highland troops.

Not long after, in order for the Highlanders to become dual use figures, I finally bought samples of some of this first range of Marlburian Infantry. By 1982, foot figures had increased from 4p to 7p each.

These samples are pictured here:

Some useful artillery park accessories amongst my sample figures – A127 “Piled arms” (muskets / rifles),  A121 mortar, A129 powder barrel and A125 pile of large cannon balls, all very useful in many periods.

More about this original Marlburian Range:


In 1982 I read an interview with Peter Laing in Military Modelling, an article which I still have in my Press cuttings scrapbook. It mentioned the start of 15mm in Military Modelling in ‘October’ or Autumn 1972. There is no mention in the October 1972 edition. The article finally put a face to these figures, and to the polite and patient correspondence with Peter as I bought small packets of figures every couple of months with my schoolboy funds. I still have and use all those figures!


Peter Laing advertised in Military Modelling where Stuart Asquith was a supporter or enthusiast for his figures and this new scale but he also advertised in (and was also supported by favourable reviews) in Donald Featherstone’s Wargamer’s Newsletter from at least December 1972 and throughout the Seventies.

A selection of Peter Laing adverts and reviews including Marlburians December 1972 :

More Peter Laing Marlburian eye candy from Stuart Asquith and Military Modelling:


To recap, November 2022 is the start of the 50th anniversary year of Peter Laing figures and of 15mm figures themselves.

How should we celebrate this half century / mini-milestone throughout 2022 and 2023?

Sadly you can’t buy these figures new anymore. Peter Laing had retired by the early 1990s, when he sold the moulds and remaining stock to John Mitchell (who died in 2016). These moulds were sold on again and have now seemingly vanished, despite hopeful TMP threads over the years.

Laing figures now are only available secondhand, usually online, where from time to time figures turn up on eBay, including this interesting trade sample that I flagged up on the Peter Laing Figure Collectors Page (established by Ian M Dury):

Pictures by Philip Catton.

These ‘trade samples’ surely must be the original figures for that first advert in November 1972?


That distinctive typed Peter Laing catalogue

My 50th Anniversary Peter Laing blog project

Preparing ahead for this 50th anniversary, I have started a rough and ready visual catalogue of Peter Laing figures, as there were no illustrated catalogues. It’s an ongoing project:

Enthusiasm for the project slightly stalled in March this year onwards with the events in Ukraine putting off any enjoyment for things Military, but reaching the November anniversary, I find my enthusiasm is returning for Peter Laing’s tiny and charming figures.

Blog posted by Mark Man Of TIN, 31 October / 1 November 2022

Blog Post Script (B.P.S.)

Articles aside, you gain a small glimpse through adverts and reviews of what sort of gaming world that was around in late 1972, into which these first 15mm figures were launched, reviewed and advertised.

  • Hinton Hunt figures
  • Historex, Helmet and Rose 54mm figures
  • Airfix kits
  • Tamiya WW2 1/35 figures and vehicles
  • Greenwood and Ball 25mm Garrison Ancients reviewed by Charles Grant, who also wrote the Napoleonic Wargames article in this issue.
  • Battle! Practical Wargaming by Charles Grant and Terence Wise’s Introduction to Battle Gaming were advertised on the MAP books page.
  • Miniature Figurines 25mm Waterloo Infantry range
  • Hinchliffe 25mm Ancients and Napoleonics along with 20mm Garrison Ancients listed on The Harrow Model Shop full page advert.
  • Wargames Research Group Armour / Infantry Rules for 1925-1950 advertised alongside their platoon infantry level 1925-75, 1750-1850, Napoleonic and Ancients rules along with Armies Of Imperial Rome and other such books.

By 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures.
I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures.
Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules.
To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

8 replies on “50 Years since the first 15mm figures were advertised by Peter Laing in Military Modelling November 1972”

Well this brings back memories, both of the magazine which I had from the first edition until I stopped buying in the mid 80’s. I then sold the lot back around 1990. And of course my small collection of Peter Laing figures that I sold to Ian Drury a few years ago. These figures are a milestone in the hobby and deserve to be remembered, well done you for doing just that. Regards.


I’m glad it brings back happy gaming memories – I have issue no. 1 somewhere. My late dad kindly bought me this monthly (and later also Miniature Wargames) from about 1981 until 1987, as he enjoyed the history articles etc. and probably the WW2 / postwar vehicle conversion blueprints as a former REME National Service ‘craftsman’ (Private) conscript. Otherwise I would have spent my pocket money, paper round earnings and all other available funds on magazines and never been able to afford any figures or terrain. I filleted almost all of these Mil Mods for useful articles to keep back in the 90s (still have these) and recycled the rest.
I’m glad that you sold rather than scrapped or melted down your small Peter Laing forces to Ian Drury / Dury. What era armies did you have?

I think the first version 60s Airfix that you had (and passed on to me) were very stylish and a little Laing like?
Hopefully if you look through the PL catalogue period by period and others’ PL blog listed there you will see some old figure favourites.
It is good news that there is a MeWe Collectors Circle (thanks to Ian M Dury and others) and PL articles by Bob Cordery etc, recognising that these figures established the small milestone of another scale.
I know that 15mm has waned a little recently in popularity with 1/56 or 28mm becoming the new standard default size. Time was …


My Peter Laing figures were all WW1 British. As you might expect I had several wagons and indeed had converted a couple. Ian Dury seemed impressed. I bought them at a time when I was still playing with my screws and had yet to make the final commitment to a screw army. I think the cost of the Laings and of course the time to paint finally made me move to screws which gave me the ability to have thousands of troops rather than a couple of hundred. Great figures nevertheless. They certainly deserve the attention they get nowadays from yourself and others. Regards.


A wise choice of figure range, although in my Laing figure choice approach I tried not to buy what I could in theory roughly get in Airfix plastic (not that the Airfix WW1 odd uniform mix of early / late figures was always available), the eventual Laing WW1 Range covered so much.

I can easily see the appeal that the Laing logistics of mule trains, artillery limbers, pontoons, scratch build wheels etc, lorries etc and drivers would appeal greatly to you.

However at least you can keep adding to your forces, which with the absence of Peter Laing figures from the late 1980s early 1990s would never be completable.


I had a whole Roman Legion plus legionary cavalry at 1 to twenty scale. They fought well but I can’t recall what happened to them. Great figures.


A Lost Legion, Eagle Of the Ninth style ?

Great figures indeed. My Peter Laing Roman Legion (Defenders / invaders) and (heroic) Pictish / Briton (opposition) etc. came from and painted by the late great Stuart Asquith, acquired when he was downsizing – an honour to command them as their new commander! I’ll bring them along one day when we meet again.
I didn’t acquire Romans in the 80s (when like everyone I should have bought more Laings) because I had Airfix Romans and Britons. If I had that period / Army already in Airfix / Plastic, I tended not to buy them in 15mm / Laing. Hence starting with ECW / Scots / Marlburian …


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