Via Jeff’s Gameblog, I just saw that Reaper Miniatures is slated to start producing prepainted plastic minis in a non-collectible format — no random boosters.
Wizards of the Coast’s D&D Miniatures line is the gold standard for fantasy minis, but for many GMs (myself included) it’s hobbled by being collectible. If you’re not interested in the actual minis game, buying boosters to build up an army of useful creatures is a pain — and finding specific minis, especially rares, can be expensive.
Given that Reaper’s Dark Heaven Legends line is, in my opinion, the go-to source for fantasy character minis, and that Reaper’s press release mentions drawing on their “catalog of 1000’s of metal models to design Legendary Encounters” (the name of the new line), I’m very excited about this development.
Stellar sculpts + a wide variety of figures + non-random distribution = awesome, provided the Legendary Encounters minis have good paint jobs — and fair pricing.
What do you think of this development? If you already use counters or other alternatives to minis (like Monster Tiles, reviewed on TT), would you make the switch to non-random, prepainted minis?
And what kind of pricing should Reaper set?
I love to buy HeroClix minis for my supers game. I no longer buy the packs though, I just go to my local comic shop and buy what others have discarded for $.50 each. Since I’m not playing the game I don’t care that the mini is just a “rookie”.
I wish more prepainted plastic minis were available for RPGs and not just collectible mini games. I’d spend $2-3 for a single figure. Maybe more for something really special.
That is fabulous. I do the same thing VV_GM does with heroclix, but with Mage Knight. They make great figures which are durable and have unique features. While I do enjoy painting miniatures, I’ve never actually liked them being metal, and I’ve never immersed myself in that aspect of the hobby as a main course. It’s always been a side thing that I’ve done when I wasn’t gaming. I think this is the course that mini’s should have been heading on for a while now, and I’m very happy to hear this news.
I’ve been a huge fan of Reaper’s minis for a long time. They are always of high quality. This is one of the best generic gaming announcements I’ve heard in a while!!!
awesome. just bloody awesome. 🙂 i’m not sure how my FLGS would deal with the stock issues, but they’ve been making noises about expanding their miniatures section again lately. i’d much rather pick up miniatures i need than randomized packs.
This will be an interesting experiment, though one I hope is very successful. Based on Reaper’s experience in the field, I’d say they know what they are doing.
However, the miniatures they are initially releasing like orcs, ogres, trolls and skeletons have been done to death (and in many cases, done well) by Wizards’ DDM sets (well, we could use another troll). Perhaps those are good entries to work out the kinks in the distribution chain, paint and sculpt issues, but I would have chosen some more interesting creatures from the SRD to draw interest. (I’m assuming they can release miniatures of SRD monsters; I’m not 100% on the OGL thing, so this may only be supposition.)
You mention it being hard to find rares in DDM, and I believe that would have been a better place to start. For example, all of the medium and larger Demons and Devils have been Rares, as well as all of the large dragons and most of the giants. Those are sculpts Wizards has not nearly satisfied the need for (mostly based on a cost of $8-$15 each for these on Ebay). My sigother would choke me if I brought home another batch of orcs or skeletons; however, if I could buy a good-looking Vrock or Ice Devil for under $4, I’d pick up 3 or 4 of each.
Owlbears, naga, wyverns, manticore and the like would also be great, and I bet popular, based on both Wizards rarity and their prevalence in many (if not most) campaigns.
Reaper’s pricing is also going to be a determining factor in whether this line succeeds. Many common and uncommon figures in DDM can be picked up for less than a quarter or fifty cents each on Ebay if I buy in bulk (and orcs and skeletons lend themselves to bulk). If you watch Ebay regularly, you can get large lots for even less per unit than that. I’m not sure Reaper can (or will) match that price point.
Stil, as I said, I hope they succeed; if anyone can take on DDM and the Hasbro juggernaut, it is Reaper.
Interesting point about the “army builder” nature of the initial releases. I suspect Reaper is trying to lay a foundation for the rest of their line, rather than responding to DDM — which is probably the right thing to do.
That said, I agree that I’m most interested in the funkier stuff. I hope they flow quickly into a set of common character archetypes (D&D classes), and then into iconic monsters, big bads and other things that are hard to get individually from the DDM line.
No guesses on pricing so far?
If they’re starting with stuff you can get in bulk on Ebay with decent quality, they’re going to have to price them pretty low.
I would actually like somebody to introduce bulk pricing for new minis. Rather than a 6 item random, collectible booster, I’d rather pick up a 50 item themed non-collectible booster. A pack of 50 undead, 20 skeletons, 20 zombies, 3 different liches and 7 wights… this sort of thing. Enough of us play in themed campaigns for this to be worthwhile, I’d imagine.
They might be high quality, but they are still up against the $0.88 Wal-Mart bag of dinosaurs, army men, farm and jungle animals that work fine in a pinch. For less than $10 you’ve got roughly a hundred of these critters to do with as you please.
Also in the market, though not direct competitors, Lego guys. My brother and I each own a pirate ship and a castle set which both came with at least a dozen figures and more than enough gear to outfit them in roughly D&D appropriate manner. A little spray paint and a dremel and these become at least as customizable as your average miniature specifically made for the game. Between us we have a tackle box full of accessories waiting to be thrown on a figure.
All that said, I don’t expect Reaper to really touch on what I want to see out of the deal at all. It’ll be more profitable, I’m sure, to go with a one-off $0.50 per each pricing even if it means gamers like me only pay for the one in a hundred *perfect* mini instead of building my armies out of them.
Something tells me this means the price of Reaper’s metal figs will go up … not a happy day in this corner of the universe, but I yield to reality and the demands of the marketplace …
One of the best aspects of these minis (if they are made of the same material as the WoTC mins) is that they don’t require very careful storage/transport/handling so they’re great when you don’t GM at home.
I hope they concentrate on figs of beasties that are rare and very rare in the WoTC sets.
They’ll save some money because it looks like they are going to make these minis from moulds thay already produce metal minis from.
And here I’ve jumped in with both feet learning how to paint metal minis this past winter! 🙁
While I continue to enjoy my new found hobby, I really am looking forward to these new pre-painted plastics. As long as the packs offer some variety (different poses and weapons) I’ll be a very happy customer.
As someone noted on another board, if you don’t like the paint job, you can always re-prime and paint over!
Bento … (on painting over prepainted figs)
At the risk of sounding like a metal fig snob (which I’m not … people should use whatever figs they enjoy most), as someone who has painted on both metal and resin, I think there is no comparing the two.
Painting on metal is, for me, a superior experience in nearly every category of enjoyment, including quality of the finished product.
Metal minis do look better when you decide to repaint them, but for me it is the transportation issue as pointed out earlier.
I used to be quite good at painting miniatures, and I would hate it when someone would scratch/drop/bend a figure. I found it too expensive and difficult to keep the figures in great condition.
With my plastic minis I just drop them into a box and go. I can easily replace damaged ones. The only problem I have with the plastic minis is the collectible aspect. I would eagerly plop down $50-$100 for a nice sized collection of figures (35-60 depending upon the theme and quality) if such a product were available.
I have always loved the Reaper line of minis. And have spent more on them than my wife will ever know. But like many of you I’m sure it’s the old issue of having the time to paint them, which I would make an effort to do for major baddies, or heroes I played. The Reaper minis have a more classic fantasy feel than Wizards minis. I am really looking forward to this new line.
Their choice of going with groups of skeletons and orcs is a direct challenge to the collectible nature of D&D minis and a good business move.
The price points of $5.79 for three skeletons or $6.99 for three orcs can make them an impulse buy like the MageKnight boosters were.
I’m interested in seeing some pics.
Aha! They now have pricing. Too bad I can’t find a way to link to that news post on their site.
Compared to DDM commons, which can be had for less than a buck in many cases, I’m not sure $5.79 for three skeletons looks all that great. Definitely impulse buy-worthy, but it doesn’t compare favorably if you’re willing to track down DDM singles.
Having seen the (initial) pricing, I agree: a lot depends on the pics. I’m optimistic.