Because the effects of range are so important, and because the ranges between specific characters can vary greatly, it is suggested that the complex combats be mapped out on a line grid (as shown in the diagram). Ordinary lined paper serves this purpose quite well. The grid consists of broad bands in which the characters are placed (use cardboard markers or cast metal miniatures to represent the characters).As you can see, miniatures are reduced to the role of mere markers on a range grid rather than anything more elaborate.
Book 2 is a different matter altogether. The chapter devoted to Starship Combat begins thusly:
When starships encounter in space, they may be forced to do battle as a result of desire or of circumstance. In such situations, starship battles may be resolved using miniature spaceship combat in accordance with the following rules.The implication here is that, unlike personal combat, which is natively much more abstract, starship combat is inherently a miniatures-based affair. This is supported further when, while describing the "Basic Parameters" of such combats, the chapter discusses "Space" and "Units:"
2. Space: A playing surface is required, representing space as a two dimensional surface at a scale of 1:63360000, or, in more familiar terms, one inch equals one thousand miles. The term inches and thousands of miles are used interchangeably in these rules, and refer to distance. Planetary templates may be made as discs on this scale also.Throughout Book 2, the term "miniatures combat" is repeatedly used as a synonym for "starship combat," suggesting that, as original conceived, starship combat was in fact a kind of "sub-game" within Traveller and a miniatures-focused one at that.
4. Units: Starships and space vehicles are individually represented by spacecraft miniatures, or (if necessary) by counters or markers. Because spacecraft miniatures are almost certainly oversize when compared to the scale in use, each such craft should be marked with a spot to designate the exact true nature of the ships in play.