Why use Miniatures in Glorantha?

In my last post I reviewed some Dark Age warrior figures by Gripping beast, amongst other things it created the feedback  of why? do people still use models at the table top?

Slightly odd questions, but I think fair ones. So if we are talking about using figures in Glorantha what is it that we will use them for;

  1. The main usage is to visualise the positioning and movement of characters and NPC’s in combat. It makes communication at the gaming table clearer and less prone to misunderstanding.
  2. To help create in players minds a defining visual look of characters and NPC’s
  3. Also it helps us visualise and define our world of Glorantha.
  4. Because it’s fun and some grown men (and women) still like playing with little plastic soldiers.
Orlanthi Fyrd Part Painted

What do I want from Glorantha miniatures?

What I want from my figures is best defined below;

  • I want figures with a look and feel that belongs in antiquity, not the middle ages or generic fantasy figures.
  • A good selection with variation in type, pose, equipment and usage. I gain no advantage with lots of version of the same figure. We are not war gaming so we only want to represent what reasonably could happen in a RPG, not a skirmish war game.
  • I don’t want figures which very obviously come straight out of one of our worlds cultures, i’m happy with influenced by , but don’t want to present any RQ figures that look like a direct lift from any distinctive period.
  • I want figures at the right price, £4.00 and £5.00 a figure are not numbers that work or me.
  • I want believable figures ,not minatures that are in unrealistic heroic proportions.
  • I want figures which I can change and mod without the excessive work being required.
  • I don’t want to purchase prep and paint figures I have no use for, my money and time are limited.

Decisions Decisions

That leads me to a number of conclusions;

  • Go Plastic – Cost is the mayor decider here, but also mod-ability and flexibility. So where I can plastic is my preferred medium
  • Go Historic – Both for feel of antiquity and the more believable scaling suggest to me historic miniatures suit my take on Glorantha more than most fantasy models in market, also the prices are significantly better
  • Mix it up and customise – Gloranthan Figures don’t have to match any period of earth’s history for historical accuracy. In fact its probably better if they don’t. So mixing heads, shields,weapons and armour between figures in ways a historical war gamer do not, will leads to unique, but often believable fantasy warriors of antiquity.If a model distinctly looks like a Saxon, a Viking, a Roman or a Celt, I think it removers from otherness of Glorantha. Hoplites are hard to mix and match though, but they are also pan cultural so i’m quite happy to work with them.
  • Buy few whole boxes – I’m learning that if I buy a whole box of historic figures i’m likely to have many duplicate figures I don’t want or need. I don’t need 40 hoplites, I will want them but realistically they won’t all be used.
    I make exceptions to this box sets that give me significant variations in types of model Warriors of Carthage from Victrix is a good example of this with three troop types in the same box. Also Gripping Beasts dark age warriors are that flexible and mod-able that would make another exception for them
  • Buy by the Sprue – If we are looking for maximum figure variation and are buying plastic historic miniatures, I would recommend going to eBay and buying by the sprue. I sprue of hoplites gives me all of the Yelmalians I will need for  game, and one sprue of peltasts gives me a whole lunar squad.
    Also buying command sprues can give you heroic type character models at very reasonable prices. Also all sprues should leave you with lots of bits for your bits box, which leads to lots of different mod options.
  • Buy, model and paint figures with multiple uses – I don’t want to spend many hours painting figures I will only ever uses once. So choose models which will be used regularly or can have a variety of uses.
  • Chain mail is hard to avoid – When looking at plastic figures for Orlanthi warriors, Chain mail is ubiquitous, especially when looking at Vikings, Romans, Carthaginians and Anglo Saxon figures. There are very limited numbers of plastic figures available with heavy leathers and scale armour.
    I’m looking at painting techniques to make chain look like light scale but am currently frustrated in my attempts
  • Love your Bits Box
  • Plan your models – Following on i’m finding as I buy models based on the fact I like them or that they have potential in Glorantha I have found myself over buying certain types of figures, “Oooohhh shiny!!!!”.
    I have no need of 40 hoplites, and 3 squads of lunar pletasts is probably too much. So I’ve started to plan the figures I want to use on the gaming table and buy and paint to fulfil an actual use, not be driven by model preference and possibility.
Maybe I have over bought

Example Miniature Plan

The following is a plan I created for my game, the list for your campaign will vary, but is always worth making before buying, converting & painting.

Generic Figure Pool

Hunters 12 Woodland Indians
Customised Peltasts – Victrix Carthaginians
Dark Age warriors  – no shields, Leather paint job
Leaders 2 Bits Box Build or metal
Citadel Warriors Use other appropriate warriors,
Dogs 8 Metal TBC
Shamans 3 Metal TBC, Woodland Indian Conversion
Balazaring Womenfolk 4 Metal TBC
Citadel dwellers 6 Dark Age Warriors Conversion – GBP


Fyrd Fighters 12 Dark Age Warrior GBP, Dark Age Archer GBP
Also can be used for bandits, poor mercenaries
Weapon Thanes 10 -12 Armoured fighters, Plastics, Celts,  Anglo Saxons & Vikings
Sages, healers 6 Converted Dark Age Warriors
Vingans 4 Metal TBC
Priestesses 3 Metal TBC
Women Folk 6 Metal TBC


Sun Dome
Hoplites 8 Hoplites – Warlord Minatures
Carthaginian Hoplites- Victrix
Leaders 2 Hoplite Command Spru
Auxiliaries Use Lunar Figures


Hoplite Infantry 12 Carthaginian Hoplites- Victrix
Medium Infantry Carthaginian Infantry – Victrix
Peltasts 8 Carthaginian Skirmishes- Victrix
Greek  Peltasts – Victrix
Leaders 3 Carthaginian Command Spru – Victrix
Nobles 3 Metal TBC or Bits Box Build
Priests/ Heros 3 Metal TBC or Bits Box Build


Civilised Urban Ancients –  Pavis, Esrolia, Lunar Provinces, Lunar heartlands
Thugs, Thieves & Rouges 10 Dark Age Warriors Conversion – GBP
Light Fighters, mercenaries & militia 15 -20 Dark Age Warriors Conversion – GBP, Assorted Ancient Soldier Characters
Merchants 3 Metal TBC or Dark Age Warriors Conversion – GBP
Sages 3 Metal TBC or Dark Age Warriors Conversion – GBP
Healers 2 Metal TBC or Dark Age Warriors Conversion – GBP
Priests/Priestesses 2 Metal TBC
Peasants & Townsmen 10 Metal TBC or Dark Age Warriors Conversion – GBP


Bison Riders 8 Woodland Indians Paintjob
Other option metal or plastic TBC
Leaders 2 Metal TBC


Non Humans
Trolls 10 Orcs Plastics TBC
Trollkin 16 Goblin plastics TBC
Aldryami 12 TBC
Broo 16 Plastics Beatmen (maybe with gnolls or skaven) TBC
Ducks NA Just No …….
Dragonewts 8 Gloranthan Specific Figures


For PC figures I will;

  • Take what I can from the Generic Figure pool
  • Custom build figures from bits box
  • Buy specific metal figures if need ( though high risk of subsequent character mortality )

 Specific NPC’s

I do want to have a plan or figure for some specific NPC’s in my campaign. I will pull miniatures out of the pool for some, and for those this list until I get specific figures sorted.

Eryptus  1 Metal or Custom build
Namara  1 Metal TBC
Lan  1 Viking Command Spru – GBP
Thrax  1 Metal TBC or Custom build
Rackal  1 Use Vingan TBC
Starnia  1 Metal TBC
Quintas  1 Use Urban Sage or Metal TBC
Torath  1 TBC
Pay  1 Use Vingan or TBC
Toraths Orlanthi  8 Use Orlanthi weapon Thanes and Vingans
Jo Mith  1 Metal TBC
Blueface  1 Metal TBC
Blackshields  8 Pull from pool

This plan is obviously what I think I need for my game. Your needs will be different, but I think this approach be helpful in stopping me buying enough figures to re enact the hero wars.

Next post can I mod these Dark Age Warriors into Balazaring Hunters, Tarshite Militia, Trashite Fyrd, thugs & thieves, assorted townsfolk & traders.

3 thoughts on “Why use Miniatures in Glorantha?

  1. Hi- thank you for this list! You’ve inspired me to start my own Glorantha miniatures conversions. One question- what’s TBC stand for?

  2. I agree with you that plastics are better for mini’s – they are much lighter and the medium is more forgiving when you are doing conversions. However I went for 20mm platics using Bronze age minis from Caesar and Mars. I am finding it easier than I thought to do the conversions and have even managed a couple of convincing ducks!!!

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