Halfling Showcase by Doc

"Their faces were as a rule good-natured rather than beautiful, broad, bright-eyed, red-cheeked, with mouths apt to laughter, and to eating and drinking. And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them). They were hospitable and delighted in parties, and in presents, which they gave away freely and eagerly accepted." - The Fellowship of the Ring, Prologue (JRR Tolkein)

A comfortable tunnel like hall " Little People" have long been a feature of folklore, from the Irish leprechaun and German kobolds to Hawaii's menehune and the Australian Aboriginal ningawi. It is of course Tolkein who created the modern mythology of the half-sized humans, living a peaceful existence in hills and reproduced by TSR and GW as 'halflings' for legal reasons. They are typically portrayed as peacable and reclusive, although threaten their way of life and you might find where the halflings' reserve lies. In one, fleeting description of a hobbit battle (Fellowship of the Ring, Prologue), a band of marauding orcs are shown what for at the Battle of Greenfields. Again at the Battle of Bywater (The Return of the King) the returning heroes of the Fellowship organise their brethren to defeat invading Men, including the wizard Saruman.

Halflings (hobbits, kûd-dukan) needn't be the jolly bucolic race depicted by Tolkers. Though they will never be your first choice to face down a cavalry charge, they do make excellent scouts and sneaks and can be a good choice to fill roles where direct engagement is not neccessary (especially when you are paying points for a combat profile you don't intend to use). Whats more, they are enormously amusing to charge into a no-win situations hoping for a lucky 'double six'- imagine your opponent's rage when 'Fatty Bucklefoot' kills his Greater Demon with a well placed nail file to the shin...

Sadly the list of halfling miniatures suited to wargaming is fairly short ('short'... geddit?), and whats more they are largely split between two very distinct styles- the slim, depicted in early TSR sources, and the portly bumpkins popularised by GW. Even within these broad divisions you will find very few manufacturers whose idea of a halfing match up in the way elves or dwarves do, but hopefully this showcase will give you some ideas about starting (or expanding) your half-pint options.

Essex miniatures

Much as I have knocked Essex in the past (and they do still punt some terrible old figures) they have undoubtedly the widest range of battle-ready halflings ever created (with the possible exception of 'you know who'). Where most of the manufacturers listed here content themselves with at most a unit of archers, this range includes peasantry, sword, spear, dog-handlers (!) and more. True the dogs would probably struggle to worry a hamster, and the ponies are little bigger than most sheep, but it all adds a colour and depth distinctly lacking in the modern halfling market.

I particularly like the way the unusual (or 'ugly') Essex sculpting style actually works rather well with halflings, giving them a great potential for 'grimme' fantasy, as you might expect from early Bob Olley sculpts. These have to be the least benign halfling figs I have ever seen! The one failing is that there are only three variants for each 'unit' (2 for the pony riders), which means you are still going to struggle to build into convincing units- bear in mind that a halfling unit needs to be big if it is going to have any battlefield impact. My tip is to mix up the 'artesans', 'farmers' and some 'spearmen/ axemen' as a great levy militia... provided your game is able to reflect just how poor a unit of half-sized rabble would be!


Definitely in the amusing 'chubby halfling' category, this german company and relative newcomer has managed to produce a very fetching group of little people called 'gobbits'. Nice sculpts- again there are only 3 spear/halberd and 3 command but once more the figs have a great character quite removed from the Tolkein or AD&D ideal. It may be possible to rank them up with Essex but in the world of halfling generals a saying involving 'beggars' and 'choosers' probably means you'll need to make a unit from these 6 figs . They're not cheap at (approx) 2UKP each, even without extortionate German postage, but they are easily of character quality.

Black Tree Design

Black Tree have a nice unit of archers in their 'Fantasy Armies' range, listed in the 'Men of Avaraign' section. Stylistically they are compatible with the chubby halfling side, though they are actually pretty small and among the shortest halfling figs available.

They can just about rank up with GW's halfling archers as smaller 'cousins from Over the Hill'. For some reason there is no halfling regiment pack, but catch one of BTD's regular sales and you could walk away with a decent unit of no less than 10 variants for under a quid a fig.

Theres another 4 variants in the older Harlequin Fantasy range, with names suggesting a Sherwood theme (Robin and the Archers of Greenwood). I can't vouch for the quality of these, if you look at the pics on the left you know as much as I do, which is that they don't look as if they are worth the same money as the Fantasy Armies figs. However they might be worth a punt to try mixing into units for variety.

They also have a small selection of 'personalities' in their 'Legions of the Realm' section (I think you know what I'm talking about)- I personally use 'Balboh' as a general from time to time as he has a rather smart coat. Theres a halfling barkeep as well, if that is helpful (provide your own footstall for seeing over the bar). Apparently BTD are trying to sell on the LotR range.

Alternative Armies

There are some Halflings in AA's High Fantasy range, including a young magician and what they used to term as 'Wanderers' (apparently in the AA universe Halflings are a semi- nomadic race). You can now finally see what you are going to get from the pics on AA's site, which is 3 warrior variants with a slight "Robin Hood" theme or a wizard with two ramblers. Not bad for a quid each, though the warrior types have mixed arms so even these are only useful for supplementing rather than building units. You can also buy these figs individually and "pro" painted for 4 UKP each but those make me so sad that I'm not even going to show you the pictures (the painted figs below are NOT examples of the prepaints).

Warrior Miniatures

Warrior have greatly improved their website so you can see exactly what you are looking for, and we are looking for 28mm scale halflings. A further improvement might be to combine the gallery and product pages into what some manufacturers are now calling a "catalogue", but at least the pics are there.

As you can see the sculpt quality is pretty decent, which is a very pleasant surprise given the still low price (80p each or £6.95 for 10 random) and means you can probably forgive the cricket bat swords and lack of expression. The big problem is, once again, the size of the range- only 5 figures total (2 sword, 2 spear and a bow) which could make for some very dull units if you aren't able to mix them in with another set- they look to be a bit tall after all (about 25mm).

Definitely worth a look though, especially given the price some people will charge you for a half-sized figure.

Copplestone Castings

Doubtless the finest halfling figures available, from the hands of the master Mark Copplestone. Nicely poised on the chubbier side of the slim style (they should fit with either type, though they will look tall next to the BTD), the mounted hero is a particularly useful addition to a halfling army. The only issues with these gorgeous figures are firstly that there are not enough of them, and secondly that the quality sets an unfair standard for your other figures.

These are partly reworkings of Mark's original Grenadier halflings (see below), which may have something to do with them mysteriously vanishing from Mark's website. If you see them, buy them.


These Frenchies have a lot of pygmie miniatures, but only one pack of (4) halfings. Nice characters, but you'll need to find a use for them in a battletop army. The last one would make a nice assassin.

Ral Partha Europe / Iron Wind Metals (US)

With a big emphasis on the sneak, Iron Wind produce a very devious looking assassin and a very cool sniper with blowpipe and forest camoflage, originally from FASA's " Crucible" range (now held in the Fantasy Armies range, Divided Kingdoms section). Super smooth and a must for any serious(ish) halfling force.

Theres also a weird armoured champion (03-093) in the older Adventurer range, along with a few other sneaks and fighters.


Reaper have some well-sculpted halfling characters, now incredibly easy to locate thanks to their new 'figure finder' website feature. Most are sculpted by Sandra Garrity and definitely of the 'AD&D' style, but they have started getting halfling sculpts from Werner Klocke which, while still of the slim variety have (to my mind) a great deal more character. SG can be forgiven anyway since she has created one of my favourite halfling wizards 'Sprig Sorethumb' (below middle).

All are better suited to roleplaying scenarios than battlefields, and most cost a cool $5 (approx £2.70) each but you might still pick out some characters from these figs, especially the wizards... Jenova's fave (below left) Olivia Copperbell is also here.


Now discontinued in favour of plastic rubbish, Wizards of the Coast had some fair metal minis in this range (still available from some indie suppliers and ebay) and this included several halfling individuals. Pictured (left) is the passable 'halfling sneak', as painted by Jenova. There is also a strange monk, and you might be tempted to include some 'gnome infiltrators' (right), which although slightly anacronistic (gatling crossbow?) could exist in a world where dwarves fly helicopters.


A long history of producing LotR figs means Mithril have a few hobbit characters (they do, I believe, retain the right to use the proper names). The 32mm scale makes the humans quite big, but the halflings will sit well with any range. Quite nicely proportioned pieces for characters, and containing a few 'villagers' too, they are rather old moulds (the examples I have seen appear very worn) but should paint up ok.

Metal Magic / Dark Ages Miniatures

NOT Dark-Age miniatures (which are much taller and wear PVC), these old figs are now distributed by Discount Hobby, who helpfully allow you to browse their extensive back- catalogue by class. The Halfling ranges include villager types and some dodgy topless archers from the 'Boobarian' range, all sculpted with great character by Josef Ochmann. Very decent prices too, as the name (Discount Hobby) suggests.

Grenadier / Fantasy Warriors

Also available from Discount Hobby are Julie Guthrie's old halfling sculpts. They haven't all stood the test of time so well, but there are a couple of useful mail-armoured fighters.

Grenadier also had several sets of halflings designed for armies and sculpted by the inimitable Mark Copplestone (below, painted by Steve Dean), definitely worth a punt as very rare halfing units, command etc.

In addition Miriliton (Italy) have many of the Nemo's old Grenadier moulds and have started selling the old Halfling packs, and with a unique Halfling Cannon and crew and a mounted archer that doesn't appear in any of my old Grenadier catalogues this is an excellent source for your halfling army. The small cannon could be a useful addition, and may prove your only hope of doing some serious damage to heavier opponents without an allied army. The halflings are listed as "Half Men" on the site, probably a literal translation of the Italian.

At 10 figs for 7,50 EUR... do I need to add anything to that statement? Well perhaps just that the prices shown don't include the 20% VAT. Also available painted (to a mediocre/poor standard) for just over 4 EUR a fig. Plus VAT.

The catalogue on the new Mirliton Fantasy site has excellent images of the figures and are excellent value- you can order from your local Mirliton outlet [ Vexilia (UK if they are still around?), Miriliton USA, Olympian Games (Aus) and Campaign Game Minis (Sp) ] rather than ordering from Italy- though in some cases their websites may lead you to believe otherwise, just contact them with the figure codes from Mirliton Fantasy and they should be able to get the figs in for you.

Excalibur Miniaturen

As you may know, Excalibur's fantasy range does not contain any halflings, not even in the 'erotic' section... (hmm, thats stuck in my head now). But now take a closer look at the dwarves...

Female dwarves, or hobbits? 5 figures including a couple of villager types and one nice halfling boddicea methinks! Technically its rather poor in fact, but I might still have to get it. The axewoman is very cute.

Everyone knows female dwarves have beards anyway.

The Figure Trader

TFT Industries also has a couple of halflings in its fantasy range, sculpted by a Daniel Kelly.

The 'thief' looks more like a halfling werewolf from here, but that could be fun eh? It'd probably turn into a tasmanian devil, which leaves you the problem of finding a half- sized man-taz for it to shape-shift into... looks like a nice figure anyway.

The wizard sadly looks a rather poor candidate for your cash given the other options available.


The Gripping Beast offshoot has long stopped knocking out "proper" fantasy miniatures after a promising start, and only has 4 halflings as part of a pack of '9 adventurers' (which bizarrely has 2 wizards and no dwarf). Still, they are pretty good sculpts and in suitably aggressive poses for battle maneuvres. The pack is only 10 UKP so you might not mind if you have some use for the other figs (which are fairly good apart from the lame-o wizards).

After all its less than Reaper would charge for four halflings, even if you did bin the extras.


Old Grenadier hand Doug Cowie (yay) has one halfling in a pack of adventurers (hmm) in the pre- painted miniatures (boo!) section. At 11UKP (+P&P) you had better find a use for the other figures (wizard, ranger etc etc) or it'll be the most expensive halfling mini in the world (barring GW of course).



Reknowned nutbox Andy Foster has a rather smart halfling vampire hunter 'Van Halfling' that would make a cool assassin or sharpshooter. He could also see use leading a unit of halfling crossbowmen... If anyone made a unit of halfling crossbowmen of course.

The Heresy range has recently been expanded with another couple of 'Halflings in Unexpected Employments' - a mysterious mage and a muscle-bound barbarian. All are 2cm or shorter (to top of head) and priced at 3 UKP each, or at 2 for 5 UKP you can give your halfling army some class with a couple of these unusual characters.

Ravensforge Miniatures

Looks like we're scraping the barrel a bit with these two 'barbaric halflings' (what?) though the halfing dragon rider (what?!) might be useful somewhere. Note the ballsy use of the word 'hobbit'. Hard to tell if its any good from this pic (even the full-sized version), though the mount isn't too bad.


Given the scarcity of rank and file Halfling figures about you might have thought about bulking up with human figures from a smaller scale, and 15mm seems a likely choice (most halfling fantasy figs come in at 15-18mm). You'll have to be wise here - although there is a slight tendency to sculpt shorter limbs in 15mm, anything created with proportions approaching those of most 28mm halflings is probably a rather poor sculpt in general. You'll likely find very few of your halflings are actually as short as 15mm anyway, and any that are will be much rounder than any 15mm men. This may be one time when scale creep does suit you, but chances are you'll need to field them as #kofkof 'gnomes' or just forget all about it.

Theres often little variation in this scale, and you'll also struggle to avoid facial hair, unless you can live with a fantasy background where halfings have furrier lips than toes. I have not found anything that I could cheerfully present as a halfling unit, and I'm not always the fussiest frother when it comes to field units. That said, its very likely a cheap option compared to filling your ranks with 'proper' halflings.

Closest I have seen to ideal proportions are Essex, and even then only in their older 15mm ranges (try Early Renaissance for heavy beardless shotlegs)- your opponent might even accept a small unit of halfling foot knights if suitably ill-proportioned and based up in a comedy fashion. You might also try Museum Miniatures if you really aren't worried about having any sculpted detail or consistent body structure (and especially if a unit of naked halfling fanatics has any appeal).

Museum 15mm 'naked horde'. Hmm...
Essex 15mm Medievals
Essex 15mm Medievals/Early Renaissance

You might also take a look at Demonworld's rather good 15mm armies. These are well sculpted and have a much more 'fantastical' feel to them, though again whether it is obvious that they are 15mm humans and not 28mm halflings is another matter. The proportions do appear to border on the halflingesque, but best to have a proper eyeball before investing!

Its a shame that this nice line of figs has been discontinued, but you might be able to find some of them around.

It would be pretty cool to draw from the highlander themed 'Thain' and renaissance-style "Empire" ranges for your halfling hordes. If you were going for a really sinister halfling force you could well be tempted by the skull-masked "Death Guard". And where else could you get a halfling on a wyvern indeed?

Anyone willing to take some snapshots of Demonworld figs next to some regular halfling minis could solve the world halfling shortage (shortage, see I did it again) in a stroke.

You can certainly supplement your army with 15mm equipment and baggage - if you can find or convert crew figures (Grenadier cannon crew and the Essex artisans would do well for lower tech crew while spearmen can often be be roped in as ballista-loaders) there is no reason not to include smaller scale seige engines (with probably the power of a normal-sized heavy crossbow).

There are other halfling figures out there, but either there are no pictures (or likely any stock) or what I see is so poor that I can't even be bothered to write them up. Anyone who has any further recommendations for Halfling miniatures, good 15mm alternative sources, or pictures of the figures I have not been able source, please do get in touch at the Colonel Marbles web address, or hit our miniatures forum with your news. Good luck to all you pint-pot generals!

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