Cheap Sprue Review: WGA Halfling Militia and a Classic Hobbits Roundup.

I recently discovered that McDougall Designs sells Wargames Atlantic (WGA) sprues separately. There are alot of Wargames Atlantic figures that interest me but I have no need for a whole box of 24-40 of them. So, I purchased a variety of single sprues and I'll be reviewing them over time. Note that at this point I have paid the McDougall Designs price for all sprues. If I receive free product to review I'll always note that at the start of the review.

The first one on the bench is the Halfling Militia Sprue. Generic Halflings seemed to be a notable missing faction in my collection of fantasy skirmish figures which includes most other fantasy races. I thought this would be a quick and cheap way to acquire some for Song of Blades and Heroes and other fantasy games.

This is the official WGF sprue shot:

PART 1. An Adventurers Review.

The sprue is setup to make 5 figures. They are good sculpts with a nice level of detail and easy to pose in fairly realistic manner. Options exist for building them in some combination of 4 with pole arms, 2 with Bow, 2 with sling, one with dagger. It's kind of an odd mix in that you can neither arm them all a given weapon to make a unified 40 hobbit unit (the box comes with 6 of these sprues to make 40 figures) nor are there any allowances beyond a dagger for hand weapons. This sort of unusual distribution of weapons options and inability to make uniform units is something that will come up in other WGA sets.

There are plenty of other great reviews of the Halfling militia boxed set already published online as well as excellent build-ups and painted examples. The general consensus, which I agree with, seems to be that this is an excellent set of figures with the inability to make a uniform unit and lack of credible hand weapons being the only drawbacks. It should noted that with the possible exception of EM4 monopose orcs and dwarves (now crippled for US buyers by high shipping costs) these are the most affordable fantasy figures currently in production. A box of 40 (Two Regiments in WHFB and KoW or one Kow Horde) is only $35!

I don't need to re-do the work of excellent reviewers and I don't have any plans to make a Regiment of Halfling pikemen. So, I'm going to review these from the perspective of their usefulness as a base from which to build some mixed hobbit adventures with hand weapons. I set to work modifying these figures and here's what I came up with:

All parts are either from Wargames Atlantic or Eccentric Miniatures (EM).

Modifications are as follows from left to right.

  • Both hands repositioned, WGA Goblin Sword and Conquistadores shield and EM pouch
  • Modified left pike arm, hand/shaft from pike arm. Axe made from reshaped pole arm blade. EM pouch and shield,
  • Modified left pike arm, EM Shield and sheathed sword
  • Stock WGA parts, slight adjustment of left shoulder joint for more downward walking bow arm pose.
  • Stock WGA with EM Pouch. Used the shortest of the provided pole arms.

The results are pretty good, but it was quite a bit of very fiddly work. I never want to glue separate hobbit hands again. There aren't a lot of adventurer type accessories on the sprue, but there is a frying pan that I forgot to add and a small sheathed dagger. IMHO, the single included unsheathed dagger and buckler are just too small to look convincing.

A more thorough, separate review will be forthcoming but for now it's worth emphasizing the suitability of the extremely affordable Eccentric Miniatures bits for modifying these figures. All the pieces I used were from the two dollar "Weapons, Buckers and Belt Pouches" sprue, but I just got in some of their other parts sprues that might make converting these figures even easier. Stay tuned...

The Halfling Militia sprue is an excellent kit for making ranks of pike and some archers. It also has the potential to be a nice sprue of adventurers with with additional bits. Either way, it's an unparalleled bargain.

Part II. Scale Comparisons

Despite what I wrote in the opening of this article, as I dug through my stock of miniatures I came to realize I in fact had quite a few Hobbits in my collection that I could use for comparison. All figure measurements are from sole of foot/boot to eyeline.

GW Hobbit Comparisons

L to R:

-WGA Halfling (20mm)

-GW LOTR SBG metal Frodo (19mm,)

-WGA Halfling (19mm),

-GW Hobbit SBG plastic Bilbo (19mm)

After seeing how huge the Dwarves in the Hobbit SBG boxed set were, I was surprised that the Hobbit SBG Bilbo figure was the same height as the LoTR Frodo and yet also skinnier.


Classic Hobbit Comparisons

L to R

-Grenadier's Julie Guthrie's Fantasy Personalities #8145 Female Halfling II (16mm).  Now OOP.

-WGA Halfling (20mm).

-Grenadier Fantasy Warriors Halfling Leader (16.5mm) Probably Sculpted by Mark Copplestone.  This one and similar figures still sold by EM4 and Merliton Miniatures.

-WGA Halflings (19mm).

-Mithril Miniatures LoTR Hobbit (15mm, the crouchy pose and large forehead may push it into the 16mm range). Similar Hobbit figures by the same sculptor, are still sold by Mithril.

It's interesting to note the relative uniformity in the proportions of the classic figures which I believe all date to the 1990s. The similarities between the Copplestone and Guthrie figures in particular as they are from two artists with quite different styles.


Altogether Now!

L. to R. Grenadier Guthrie, Mithril, Grenadier Fantasy Warriors, GW Hobbit SBG, GW LoTR SBG, WGA

It does appear that WGA Hobbits are a bit too big to be compatible with most classic lines. I've done a bit of looking around though and it appears they may be compatible with Vendel (now OOP) hobbits. Also, if the height is the same as the GW examples, a look through the Middle Earth Hobbits on GW's website suggests that the proportions of current Hobbit models would make them relatively compatible with WGA Halflings. Of course the GW Hobbits come at a much steeper price.

For you old figure fans, here's the original packaging for the "Grenadier's Julie Guthrie's Fantasy Personalities #8145 Female Halfling II"

Notably absent from my review is a comparison between these figures and classic GW WHFB hobbits and the recently released Mantic Hobbits. Regarding classic GW hobbits, my impression from other pictures is that though they vary, they would be midway in size between the Grenadier Copplestone and the WGA. While it doesn't have any WGA Halflings, there is a massive compilation of halfling size comparisons at the "Halfling House" Blog if one wishes to explore more classic metal hobbits.

As for Mantic's Halflings, -the only other "affordably" priced plastic range aimed at large units- here's a picture taken by McDougall Designs and posted to DakkaDakka with Two Mantic and one WGA Halfling bodies.

The Mantic are HUGE. They've got to be nearly 25mm and darn close to the height of Mantic Dwarves. As far as I know, that makes the Mantic Halflings incompatible with nearly every other available halfling figure line.

Part III. Final Thoughts.

What we've got in the WGA Halfling Militia is a fine set of miniatures with good detail at a very nice price. In my opinion, the style and size is superior to the recently released Mantic Halflings (though I do like the Mantic Halfling Dog Cavalry). Part of this is  simply a stylistic preference, but I think it's worth emphasizing how large the Mantic figures are. Additionally while I have a soft spot in my heart for classic metal figures, I really like how the style and size of the WGA figures would fit nicely with both modern and classic sized humans in a variety of styles. It's a very nice midpoint in size and appearance, and though I wasn't able to compare to current production Games Workshop Hobbits, GW gamers in Middle Earth might find this set to be very useful.

The line is slightly comprised by only currently being offered with Pole arms and Archers and having very few compatible ranges with which to expand. However, the range of affordable appropriately sized parts from Eccentric Miniatures means that there is great potential to expand the line to all manner of hand weapons as well without too much difficulty.

I hope you found this review informative. I've got a whole box of individual WGA sprues that I will be working through in the coming months. I'll be publishing additional reviews like this for each one, often with an eye towards skirmish gaming and with scale comparisons to similar ranges and common figures.

Happy Gaming,





4 responses to “Cheap Sprue Review: WGA Halfling Militia and a Classic Hobbits Roundup.

  1. Wargames Illustrated and Miniature Wargames magazines are good sources of free sprues from time to time.

    Might be a good idea to buy boxes that you like then sell off the seperate sprues to others in your wargaming circle.

    I know that some who collect the 1/72 scale plastic figures have this same problem of not wanting loads of the figures.But at least with the plastic sprues you have many options to make each figure different.

    For me the Halfling Militia are on the larger side compared to other makes of Halflings.

    Midlam miniatures do a large range for anyone interested in doing an army of the little people.

  2. Thanks!
    Good to know about Midlam Miniatures. If you have it, what’s the to-the-eye-measurement on them? Folks reading this article might like to know. You’re right that the WGA hobbits have very few compatible ranges. In a future article I’ll show how Eccentric miniatures parts can be used to expand this kit into even more types of troops.

    As for sprues, splitting boxes is a good idea, but I haven’t had much luck finding folks interested. Luckily, there’s dealers like McDougall and others (I bought Stargrave sprues separately from Recreational Conflict) who will sell you separate sprues for only a modest increase in the price-per fig.

  3. I wonder what the Halflings would look like with Dwarf heads and arms used.

    Here is a link to the Midlam Halfling range.

    As to size of them i am not sure.

    Midlam did get quite a bit of the old Metal Magic range when they were sold off by Mega miniatures.So they would match thier size if you have any of them?Maybe around the 18mm to eyes level at a guess.

  4. Thanks for the info about Metal Magic Fantasy and Midlam. I had wondered where many of the Mega-Minis figures went. They Mega Minis range was a contemporary of many of the earlier figures and on the smaller end of size, so my guess is that the size is closer to 16-17mm, but I don’t know for sure. They sure do make alot of them!

    As for the WGA halflings, I don’t think they’d play well with most dwarves figure parts who tend to be larger and much stockier. The halfling arms and hands are quite small. Might be worth trying with the Oathmark dwarves though if you’ve got a sprue lying around. If you’re looking at converting these guys, I think you’ll like an upcomign review of the Eccentric minis parts.

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