Wednesday, September 4, 2013

DM Advice - Minis on Dime

Anyone who knows me knows that I have spent years and hundreds of dollars on the hobby and in particular on purchasing the right miniatures.  I have seen a great deal of good miniature lines out there. Now I used to be a complete metal only buff with the exception of GW sculpts but the DND miniatures line really got me to start using plastics for my rpgs.

Why plastics? They are versatile which means you can toss them into a box and haul them off to a convention with little or no worry about damaging them. They were cheap at the time. You used to be able to pick up DND Miniatures for a few bucks or less at most stores and even the blister packs were only around 4-8 dollars depending on what you wanted. Then something happened where they started up the Chainmail game with plastic DND Miniatures only they didn't just start up the miniature game they used iconic characters from my favorite novels. Now I could finally have AUTHENTIC Elminster and Drizzt Du Urden, Wulfgar and even Icingdeath! I could get archetypes (no not the Pathfinder word) from various campaign settings including Forgotten Realms, Grayhawk, Dragonlance, and Ebbron! The more they came out with the miniatures the more I got into them! I even started to get the Pokemon Gotta Catch them All syndrom and was much like an addict trying to get his next fix.

Then it happened. The DND Miniatures line dried up right before it went to DND 4th Edition. The miniatures doubled in cost (Pathfinder is now 14.00 for a box of four figures!) and the quality went down (imho). Do not get me wrong here. I do enjoy some of the later sculpts of the dragons and it seems that Pathfinder is attempting to bring the line back (albeit with some exaggerated poses (seen the Hammerhead Shark for Skulls and Shackles?) but on the whole they are doing an admirable job.

This brings me to Reaper's Bones. I almost went in on the kickstarter but was too late and by the time we could get into it I didn't have the funds so I really couldn't get into it. I did go ahead and preorder a Hydra from Cool Stuff and picked that puppy up today. The nice thing about Bones is that they aren't prepaints and the resin quality is more durable than some of the prepaints that are currently available. The other nice thing about Bones is the cost. I am so glad to see that we have returned to a somewhat normal pricing scheme after the fiscal collapse.

All of these miniatures are specific for the hobby but I've always been kind of unconventional. Just ask my players about the time that I let them jump over a horse if they made the rolls. I like to find good deals. I am not 'cheap' but I do like a deal. This brings me to my other passion which is animals. I LOVE animals. I love collecting figures of animals, going to the zoo, watching documentaries, and reading books.

So for hobbies for me it's animals (extinct and extant), games and computers, books, history, television and outdoors pretty much in that order of the things I love to do. I am also a big fan of my family and of God but those are not necessarily hobbies. Anyone who has ever had a toy animal as a kid knows that some of the quality lacks in some of those plastic toys. I personally like realism and size to match up with my games so I am looking for a large shark to be large and huge to be huge and so on and so forth. Two companies in particular make some excellent museum quality replicas of animals - Schleich and Safari Ltd but Animal Planet has been closing the gap!

So that is what today's help article is about. Helping the DM save some money! In comparison these animals are very cheap when considering metals or even prepainted plastics of our hobby. Now I am not saying do not go out and get Pathfinder Miniatures or DND Miniatures. I am not saying that at all. I have lots of both and will continue to get them as I see the need but what I am saying is why go out and get the same model when you can have variety at a fraction of the cost!

Animal Planet Tubes are about 5.00 USD and come with a boatload of animals. Safari Ltd Toobs are closer to 11.00 USD, don't come with as much as Animal Planet but still contain a good 12-14 animals. That's less than a buck for the Animal Planet figures and just slightly over for Safari Ltd! Schelich models are beautiful but can be more pricey averaging 10.00 to 15.00 USD per model.  Still, nothing beats Schelich or Safari Ltd on their larger models!

Of course you will still need something like the Pathfinder box above but why not also consider the other items below!

Here are some of my toobs and tubes.

Animal Planet - Marine

Animal Planet - Insects

Safari Ltd - Prehistoric Sharks (These guys are COOL!)

Safari Ltd - Ocean Life

Here is a comparison shot of the Pathfinder "Shark" and one of the Prehistoric Sharks from Safari Ltd Toob

 Safari Ltd Sperm Whale and Squid

Sperm Whale and Squid with 28mm Luke Skywalker prepaint for scale comparison

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