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RPG Miniatures – What are your Options?

So, today we’re looking at miniatures, but I figure that everyone here already knows how to paint. If you don’t, or if you (like me) just plain suck at it, I can heartily recommend the Army Painters Speed Paints that came out not too long ago. I bought myself the full set, and I ended up painting more models in about 2 weeks than I had in the past 12 months. And they look better too, though I had to take a break to write my thesis for my Degree.

So if you’re looking for guides to speed paints, I suggest you hit up the old YouTube and search for “speed paints.” There are a number of reviews out there, along with people showing how to use them, some of which are really good. (My personal favorite so far is this one – and for those in the know: I haven’t had any problems with reactivation at all.)

But that’s not what we’re looking at today, we’re looking at where and how you can get your models.

So first off, the New Kid on the Block: 3D Printing.

It seems like everyone and their grandmother have bought 3D printers nowadays – and I’ll be honest, I haven’t – I simply cannot afford one at this time. I’m also not as keen on it, as it seems a lot of them have some issues with how grainy the models are. And don’t get me wrong, mould lines on “classic models” are annoying too, but this somehow annoys me more.

Anyway, that’s your first option. And the good news here is that you don’t have to sculpt the models yourself. You can find STL files on DriveThruRPG (where you’re likely to buy your RPG books anyway) here and from various other marketplaces here such as STL Miniatures and My Mini Factory (both of which I think actually have higher quality models than the ones I’ve seen on DriveThruRPG, so I’d strongly recommend searching around.)

Then there is HeroForge (or other custom miniatures) which is where you create a specific model for yourself, and they then print it and ship it to you (you can get the STLs here too). There are a lot of people who have good things to say about them, though they seem a bit pricey for what they are. You can get them from about $8 for a 3D printed model (or the STL) to a plastic model for about $20 and upwards from there for things like Bronze models. (I will say that the Bronze models look like they’d make a great special gift or trophy).

And then there is the classic approach of already-made miniatures. And I have to point out Reaper Miniatures here (my personal favorite for a combination of price and quality). While it can be annoying to paint your own models, you cannot compete with the sheer range of models available and the quality of the models, especially with the later version of Bonesium that they’re using. The Bones Black and Bones USA in particular are great, with a wide range of high-quality models available (for all kinds of games from Fantasy to Horror to Science Fiction to Cyberpunk to Steampunk to Weird World War things).

It also helps that Reaper Miniatures tend to be quite cheap in comparison to the custom-printed or pre-painted models (that aren’t randomized into booster packs).

Of course, you can always buy the prepainted ones from Wizkids and elsewhere, which are great, but they do tend to be rather costly. And it feels quite good for it to be your own painted ones that go on the table, even if you’re not the best painter in the world.

So – what do you use?

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