Miniatures -- Where to start?

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I am gearing up to try out the DM role for the first time. I'm brushing up on a lot of information, but something unsettling happened when I visited my local gaming store for supplies this weekend.

I was looking for some general minis (ideally, some typical monster types, as well as some minis my players could use to represent their characters). The employee at the store told me that D&D is no longer producing minis and that I would have to buy boxes of 'random' Pathfinder minis.

How would you suggest I go about acquiring some standard minis for a low cost??

I've seen some suggestions of things to use other than minis, but I just really like the idea of showing my players exactly what a creature looks like with a mini!
First, good luck in trying out the DM role.  It is a bit daunting at times, but also very rewarding.

Unfortunately, minis are expensive and now that Wizards has stopped making their own, they are just going up in price.  There are paper standees you can use, though I do not have a link off hand, I am sure someone else will.

Instead of buying boxes for random minis, I would recommend going to a place like trollandtoad.com and buying the minis individually.  They are still expensive, but at least your money goes to what is needed and not in hopes of acquiring a certain piece.

No matter what which route you go, individual or boxes, the minis are going to cost you.  It would be wonderful if you could just buy large, premade kits, but that isn't the case.  It is unfortunate, but Wizards and Pathfinder have turned the minis into collectibles instead of tools, especially since 4e focuses so much on using minis.  I have spent nearly $2000 on minis over the years, and I still come up short from time to time.  The last season of Encounters (Crystal Caves) was particularly frustrating as there are no leprechaun or pixie minis, just had to be creative.

[EDIT] Forgot, another thing you can look for are Mageknight figures, also on TrollandToad.com.  The bases are a bit big, but since they went out of print and popularity a long time ago, they can generally be purchased for very cheap.  I have used them quite a few times when I couldn't find the right D&D mini, or the right one was too expensive.
I am gearing up to try out the DM role for the first time. I'm brushing up on a lot of information, but something unsettling happened when I visited my local gaming store for supplies this weekend.

I was looking for some general minis (ideally, some typical monster types, as well as some minis my players could use to represent their characters). The employee at the store told me that D&D is no longer producing minis and that I would have to buy boxes of 'random' Pathfinder minis.

How would you suggest I go about acquiring some standard minis for a low cost??

I've seen some suggestions of things to use other than minis, but I just really like the idea of showing my players exactly what a creature looks like with a mini!

If you're just starting out you should seriously consider tokens (Monster Vault and Threats to the Nentir Vale have a bunch included plust monster stats) or standees (pathfinder beginner box). That should get you a bunch of "minis" for cheap and then supplement with actual minis  for big boss fights and/or character miniatures.

Also, nothing wrong w/ printing and making your own. Our group started with a bunch of minis but now we almost always use generic tokens.

If you've got about $50-60 bucks go over to miniaturemarket.com and buy one of the Pathfinder Battles "Heroes and Monsters" BRICK for $50 dollars + shipping.

Each brick contains 16 random packs of the small minis, and 3 random boosters of the larger ones so you'll get a good deal of them.  Word around the campfire is you get a pretty good assortment in a brick and tiny creatures (like goblins) come like 2 to one of the normal sized mini packs.

So, you'll get 19 random minis, compare that to the MSRP for a Lords of Madness DnD mini blind box.  $21.99 for 6 minis.  (Albeit miniature market also has those for $15, cheaper than you'll probably find at stores around town.

When I buy I try and buy a lot at a time, a few places will also do free shipping on orders over a certain amount. 

Of course, like was suggested before, check trollandtoad, and miniaturemarket and look for individuals.  I've bought a lot of cheap ones (.75 cents a pop) for just filling in the ranks of unimportant monsters.  Though, usually if there's a fight with some kind of iconic beast I'll try and acquire a mini for it.  Or a reasonable fascimile. 

Ebay is also an option.

Being a DM is quite expensive. 
Thanks for all the tips so far! Definitely some good resources for finding minis.

I like the idea of using something cheaper like tokens mostly, but spending the extra dough on 'important' things like characters and more impressive foes.

I also have a feeling that I will be able to borrow some minis from friends in a pinch... a lot of them have shelves adorned with them that are mostly just gathering dust. That, in combination with some purchasing of important figures might make it so I don't break the bank on this!
Welcome to the other side of the screen.

Now;
1) NEVER buy your minis in blind/random booster form.  I don't care what company or game system you prefer.
Because you'll spend a fortune amassing a mere handfull or so goblins, skeletons, orcs, etc etc etc.
(this is GREAT for your local game store, not so great for your wallet)
And while you're doing that you'll end up with all manner of things you've no need - or want- of.

2) Dungeons & Dragons, has been around for decades.  And so have minitures for it.  There've been countless companies who've come, gone, stayed, &/or changed names making minis to help bring our games to life.
The point is, WoTC is far from your only choice of mini provider.  So it doesn't matter if they're currently in the mini-making buissiness atm.

For some companies check out:
Reaper
Ironwind Metal
Games Workshop
Mantic
WizKids (makers of the PF minis)
Cool Mini or Not.com
Black Orc Games
Crocidile Games
Privateer Press (makers of Warmachine/Hoardes)

* Alot of these companies make minis that need some assembly (it's not hard) & virtually all are unpainted.
BUT!  There's some really great looking models.  And once you have a model?  It'll be usefull for decades to come.


For the pre-painted plastics as singles (WoTC or Pathfinder), check out the following sites:
Troll&Toad
Strikezone
Miniture Market
* Prices on these sites go up based upon rarity.  Goblins are cheap. Kobolds are cheap.  Orcs, Bugbears, etc etc etc are cheap.  So buy a handfull (it's still cheaper than through boosters)
Large Red Dragons?  Expensive.  Infact you can go to Reaper & buy a cooler looking dragon cheaper....  But the good news is that once you have a large red dragon, you generally aren't shopping for another....
Hills Wholesale Gaming in PA (hey, if you really must open boosters you might as well see if you can do it cheaply)

And of course you can do a search on EBay (under Toys & Hobbies).  Just type in D&D minis.  Should give you about 1k pages of listings.

Now;
1) NEVER buy your minis in blind/random booster form. 



Gotta disagree with the "NEVER"

Usually when I buy, I'll buy the ones I want, but I will still buy a random pack.  The reason for it is because of the chance I've got to get something rare in it.  Granted I don't do this all the time, but if I've got about $30 bucks to spend on minis, I'll spend 10 of it on ones I need, and the rest on 1 or two of the blind boxes.  My reasoning is the chance I've got to get something that would be expensive to buy individually.  I've opened up and got my hands on minis that sell for $30 bucks plus for a $10 dollar blind box. 

Now I would agree with you to not use blind boxes as the sole supplier of your mini army.  But as a supplement every once in a while, you might end up with something neat or rare.

I guess it depends on whether you are looking for something specific or not. The way I see it, you can design a campaign and need specific stuff for it, or you could get some crazy random minis build a story around those... Both seem like they could work?
How would you suggest I go about acquiring some standard minis for a low cost?

Buy single miniatures on line. My top four sites (in order of preference) are:
Troll&Toad
Auggies
MiniatureMarket
PopularCollections

I might suggest starting with something like:
- 6 PC stereotypes (wizard, cleric, halfling rogue, Dwarven fighter, elven archer, etc.)
- 6 identical small sized humanoids (goblins if possible)
- 4 identical small sized creatures (guard drakes, if possible)
- 6 identical medium sized humanoids (guards w/polearms, if possible)
- 6 identical medium sized humanoid undead (zombies if possible)
- 6 identical medium sized creatures (wolves if possible)
- 4 identical large sized humanoids (ogres if possible)
- 4 identical large sized creatures (spiders if possible)
- One large dragon (white if possible)
- One huge miniature (regular treant if possible)

fwiw: it's wise to plan your adventures ahead of time and buy only the singles you need (I can often get stuff from Auggies within a couple days). Also note: sometimes a token with the correct picture will work better than an incorrect miniature... players mostly just care that their PC's miniature is 3-D.




I guess it depends on whether you are looking for something specific or not. The way I see it, you can design a campaign and need specific stuff for it, or you could get some crazy random minis build a story around those... Both seem like they could work?



I've built encounters around monsters I got out of random packages.  The DnD minis come with a stat card that is 4e compliant, well the older ones didn't, but you can also find the stats on the adventure tools / monster builder. 

If you get something that's in the level range of your party, it's fun to throw something at them if you've got the model for it. 

I got a neat vampire lord mini a while ago that the party is finally getting to the level it is.  I'm kinda giddy about building a mini campaign where they meet vampires and have a showdown with this lord. 

If you know what you're going for in a campaign, sure, buy what you need.  Sometimes I like to find inspirational muses from boxes of toys too.
I was thinking about picking up a Pathfinders battles case tomorrow.  It is a few more dollars than online but I would be supporting my local hobby shop, one thing I did notice though is the huge price difference ranging from 49.99 to 75.00, is this normal?  Would this be a good place to start for some decent minitures.  I am currently running a group through the 2nd part of the Red Box campaign and would love some minis. 
I was thinking about picking up a Pathfinders battles case tomorrow.  It is a few more dollars than online but I would be supporting my local hobby shop, one thing I did notice though is the huge price difference ranging from 49.99 to 75.00, is this normal?  Would this be a good place to start for some decent minitures.  I am currently running a group through the 2nd part of the Red Box campaign and would love some minis. 

Go to www.trollandtoad.com/. They have various D&D minis. You can pick up either specific type packs (human, dwarves, elves, etc usually 10 or 20 piece packs) or do what I did and choose the random monster generator and choose as many as you want for 1.29 ea.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

Can't... stop... browsing through hundreds of minis... Tongue Out
I was thinking about picking up a Pathfinders battles case tomorrow.  It is a few more dollars than online but I would be supporting my local hobby shop, one thing I did notice though is the huge price difference ranging from 49.99 to 75.00, is this normal?  Would this be a good place to start for some decent minitures.  I am currently running a group through the 2nd part of the Red Box campaign and would love some minis. 

Go to www.trollandtoad.com/. They have various D&D minis. You can pick up either specific type packs (human, dwarves, elves, etc usually 10 or 20 piece packs) or do what I did and choose the random monster generator and choose as many as you want for 1.29 ea.



I could not find the link to the random monster generator on T&T.

I was thinking about picking up a Pathfinders battles case tomorrow.  It is a few more dollars than online but I would be supporting my local hobby shop, one thing I did notice though is the huge price difference ranging from 49.99 to 75.00, is this normal?  Would this be a good place to start for some decent minitures.  I am currently running a group through the 2nd part of the Red Box campaign and would love some minis. 

Go to www.trollandtoad.com/. They have various D&D minis. You can pick up either specific type packs (human, dwarves, elves, etc usually 10 or 20 piece packs) or do what I did and choose the random monster generator and choose as many as you want for 1.29 ea.



I could not find the link to the random monster generator on T&T.




Just found it.  When you order how long does it take to get it?

Cardboard/cardstock standees are nice for starters.  You can probably find sheets of them online with a little google-fu

For PCs and and other single entities that will get a lot of use, I like Reaper metals.  For a throng of related critters, there are a bunch of companies that sell plastic kits for fantasy wargaming: Games Workshop (Warhammer), Mantic (Kings of War)... of course you have to paint both of these, and they can get a bit spendy, but you won't get better looking little guys for your tabletop, even if you're a beginning painter going fast.  I wouldn't generally buy single characters from wargames lines because they tend to be gouged: double or triple the price of a similar Reaper metal miniature.

For prepainted plastics, don't ever buy random.  Find a FLGS that sells singles, or buy singles/multipacks online.  Others have suggested Troll and Toad, I will now repeat their good advice: look there.

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Just found it.  When you order how long does it take to get it?




Took about a 7-10 days to get to me in Canada.  I ordered 30 mini's, got some doubles like the site comments may happen. They all came in clear plastic bags with their stat cards and in excellent conditon.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

How would you suggest I go about acquiring some standard minis for a low cost?

Buy single miniatures on line. My top four sites (in order of preference) are:
Troll&Toad
Auggies
MiniatureMarket
PopularCollections

I might suggest starting with something like:
- 6 PC stereotypes (wizard, cleric, halfling rogue, Dwarven fighter, elven archer, etc.)
- 6 identical small sized humanoids (goblins if possible)
- 4 identical small sized creatures (guard drakes, if possible)
- 6 identical medium sized humanoids (guards w/polearms, if possible)
- 6 identical medium sized humanoid undead (zombies if possible)
- 6 identical medium sized creatures (wolves if possible)
- 4 identical large sized humanoids (ogres if possible)
- 4 identical large sized creatures (spiders if possible)
- One large dragon (white if possible)
- One huge miniature (regular treant if possible)

fwiw: it's wise to plan your adventures ahead of time and buy only the singles you need (I can often get stuff from Auggies within a couple days). Also note: sometimes a token with the correct picture will work better than an incorrect miniature... players mostly just care that their PC's miniature is 3-D.







I agree with and second this entire post.

A few more things. I consider a mini thats $1.50 or less to be "cheap", so you could probably pick up the above list for about $60-$80. Be willing to pay a bit more for good PC minis and cool villians, like the dragon.

Both auggies and popular collections allow you to list or search minis by price, so just limit yourself to $2 and under.

Plus, who says the DM has to buy it all? If you have a regular play group, ask them to chip in or buy thier own that you can borrow.

And last, I strongly suggest that you start buying random boosters, random minis from troll and toad, and large lots of minis on E-bay only after you have your basics aquired.

And last, I strongly suggest that you start buying random boosters, random minis from troll and toad, and large lots of minis on E-bay only after you have your basics aquired.



Would the Pathfinder minis or the D&D minis be better?  I guess you could do a mixture of both and it wouldnt really matter.



Would the Pathfinder minis or the D&D minis be better? 

Either work fine (as does mixing them).

I suggest looking at Ebay, there are people who sell off their entire Mini Collection for cheap.  
Ant Farm
I like using Star Wars minis too, as I found a bunch of them cheap.

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