In reading terms, 2023 has been the year of Malazan: Book of the Fallen. After countless recommendations and several false starts, I finally hit my stride with this vast, epochal fantasy series. While only on book seven, Reaper’s Gale, I can safely say that Malazan is among my very favourite.
This begs the question…how should they look on the tabletop? As I dove into Steven Erikson’s boundless world, the itch to realise it in miniature form became clear. Who would lead a Bridgeburners warband? Could the war on Lether be translated to a mass battle game? What about a miniature RPG tracking Mappo and Icarium’s wanderings? The mind boggles.
And so I scour the internet looking for suitably Malazan-looking miniature proxies. There’ll be conversions, kitbashes and creative interpretations.
28mm Miniatures: The Tiste Edur
** Spoiler Warning: the following contains spoilers for Malazan #5, Midnight Tides**
“As tall as Darist, their skin a dusky pallor. Long brown hair, knotted and snarled with fetishes. Necklaces of claws and canines competed with the barbarity of their roughly tanned armour that was stitched with articulating strips of bronze. Their helmets, also bronze, were shaped like bear or wolf skulls.
Among them there was nothing of the natural majesty evident in Darist – or in Anomander Rake. A far more brutal cast, these Edur. Tip heavy black bladed scimitars were in their hands, sealskin covered round shields on their forearms.”Steven Erikson, House of Chains
Let’s begin with the Sengar Brothers. Properly introduced in Midnight Tides (the fifth book, which has the audacity to reset the entire cast and setting), the Sengars are Tiste Edur: a grey-skinned tribal people undergoing an identity crisis.
Taller than humans, the Tiste Edur are formidable warriors adept with spears, dark magic and skirmish tactics. While technologically underdeveloped, the Tiste Edur form the last bastion against subjugation from their neighbours: the expansionist, money-obsessed Letherii.
Bestiarum Studios Models
The models were sourced from Bestiarum Studios. I *love* the grim, Lovecraftian look of these models and will surely return for more. In this instance I chose their interpretation of Dark Elf warriors. At 32mm scale they make perfect stand-ins for the muscular, larger-than-humans Tiste Edur.
Above and below: Rhulad Sengar, adorned with his death garb of scabs and gold coins. The coins – miniature snow particles – were lathered on with PVA.
What do you think? Do these models faithfully represent Erikson’s legendary Elder Race? There’s plenty more to come on this front: from soldiers of the Malazan Empire to Ascendants, the Pannion Domin and the tragic, everlasting T’lan Imass.