Until recently, all of my minis have been ordered online, mostly from Reaper Miniatures. I happened to stop into my FLGS for something unrelated and discovered a wall of minis, much to my delight. The manager informed me that these were a new line they’d started carrying. The packaging boasted that they were pre-primed, which would be a time saver. I had my doubts about the priming, but I decided to try a few; I admit that a huge selling point was the price.
The cost range on minis if vast, depending on size, detail, artist, and material. On average, I would say that I spend around $4 per mini at Reaper–just talking about individual character minis, not monsters which are larger and more expensive. The WizKids minis are $4 per package, but most packages contain 2 figures, including their bases. The smaller figures such as goblins and kobolds, contain 3 figures. Some of the larger creatures such as the griffon and troll, only contain 1 figure in the package.
How does the material hold up?
Most of the minis I’ve purchased online have been metal, but I ordered a few from the “Bones” line at Reaper. I haven’t been impressed with plastic minis up to this point, finding them to have less detail and to be a bit flimsy. Still, plastic minis are much MUCH cheaper, so they have their place. In the case of the WizKids minis, they are a much harder plastic than Reaper’s Bones line.
I have a set of plastic goblin minis with spears along with several fron the bones line that came with their learn to paint kits. Because the plastic is so flexible, the spears and other weapons often appear very limp and, well, sad. I’ve tried to straighten them, but they just won’t hold.
That doesn’t seem to be a problem with the WizKids minis. In the pictures below you can see a couple of monk figures I bought and see that both the quarterstaff and chain hold shape quite well.
Plastic minis will never have the same level of detail as metal minis, but theses are still pretty great. Check out this unpainted Bugbear figure and you’ll see what I mean.
Does the primer really hold up?
Yes and no. While I don’t find the “pre-primed” surface of the minis to be quite as effective as when I prime minis myself, it’s close. When I painted my first figure directly on the pre-primed surface, the base coat didn’t get the best coverage. So I let it dry and touched it up with a second base coat where needed. I also took the time to paint a layer of primer on one of the figures before painting to see the difference. My final conclusion was that doing an extra base coat vs doing a layer of primer first amounted to the same amount of time spent, so you decide what you prefer.
What’s better than having minis pre-primed?
The primer can be hit or miss, as I said, but there’s an even better time-saving factor with the design of these minis. You don’t have to clean and assemble them! You will need to glue them to their bases, but you don’t have to glue on arms or weapons or shields. Even better, there’s no need to trim excess material and you don’t need to wash them before you prime and paint. You can literally open the package and start painting immediately. You can still see the occasional mold line, but there’s no extra plastic to trim away.
The Biggest Selling Point
So here’s where my feminist side comes out. What I’ve found until now is that the world of minis is much like the rest of pop culture and art–male minis look tough and badass with ornate armor and huge weapons while women where impractical outfits designed to show as much T&A as possible. On a barbarian figure, I won’t fault you for that, but my female wizard deserves full robse, not a loincloth and pasties.
But WizKids didn’t play into those cliches. All of the figures are dynamically posed and sculpted. They design of clothing and armor on all of the figures reflects their various races and classes. Male and Female figures are treated equally and have equal representation. The female paladins are wearing full armor rather than exposing their vulnerable chests for the sake of cleavage. Even the female barbarians are fully covered in furs and the like rather than being all skin.
I recently went back to my FLGS and bought a sack full of more figures, focusing on the female figures this time. I already have a ton of male figures at home and I was happy to bulk up my collection of badass women figures.