Newbie question about miniatures

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Hi Y'all, I have kind of a newbie question about miniatures.  I haven't played D&D for about 20 years, and I'm just getting back into it.  What miniatures do people like to use for playing 4th edition D&D?

I am a bit confused about what to get.  On the one hand, the Dungeons & Dragons "Learn to Play" web page it says, "It helps to have D&D Miniatures to represent the heroes and monsters in the game."  However, there is a Wikipedia article on D&D Miniatures that says the game was discontinued in 2011, so I'm guessing that means the figures are not being produced any more.  I'm left scratching my head here.

My local game shop only sells Warhammer figures, but it looks like eBay (and several web sites) have tons of D&D Miniatures available to purchase online.  Do people just buy Warhammer miniatures, or do people go on eBay and buy the old 25mm scale Ral Partha lead figures from the 80's?

Just wondering what figures people like to use in their games, or if it matters at all?



It depends really. If budget or availability is an issue, you could even just make your own tokens with some image doctoring.
I'm using a combination of D&D minis and Pathfinder minis.  Main reasons for going down that path:

  1. Smaller scale that warhammer/reaper

  2. Softer plastic, so you can throw your minis together in a container without worrying about little bits breaking off (some of the earlier pathfinder plastics are a little more brittle though)

  3. Pre-painted

  4. D&D specific - easier to find models for the stuff that's relatively unique to D&D

Buying a case of pathfinder battles minis probably isn't a bad place to start if you have the budget for it.  Some of the sculpts aren't great, but they cover a good range of common monsters (goblins, skeletons, wolves, etc).

 A lot of folks use paper tokens with pictures printed on them. This is the cheapest alternative, particularly if you make your own. There are any number of third-party companies that offer sets of tokens and WotC includes sheets of tokens with several of their box sets.

 Then there are the official D&D miniatures, which are prepainted plastic. They're somewhat limited in the types of races and creatures available, though, as they were put out with a rarity-based collectible scheme, which doesn't always match up with how common the monsters are in-game.  On the secondary markets you may end up paying a lot for a specific mini you want if it's of an uncommon race or class.

 Paizo has just started a line of prepainted plastic minis for their Pathfinder game (produced through WhizKids) and Reaper miniatures offers both their Legendary Encounters prepainted plastics and Bones unpainted plastics. All three lines are still somewhat new and thus currently a bit limited in their offerings, but outside of the secondary markets are the cheapest non-paper option available and will be steadily increasing their selections over the next couple years.
Reaper has based all of their plastics on previously-released metal sculpts, and made an effort to include the more common monsters first, so they curently have one of the better selections of low-level monsters and critters available.

 As for metal minis, the industry has pretty much exploded since the old Ral Partha days - there are currently dozens of companies producing everything from historicals to boutique miniatures in scales from 6mm on up to 72mm (the current "standard" scale for most minis useable with a 1-inch-square map grid are around 28mm rather than the straight 25mm of the old Partha minis).
 In addition to the major companies like Reaper and Games Workshop that have several different lines, many companies that produce an RPG or tabletop wargame offer their own lines of minis. There's been a recent flood of projects on Kickstarter by miniatures companies looking to get funding to increase their production or start up their own lines. (Reaper, in fact, had the 3rd most successful Kickstarter on the entire site awhile back, pretty much tripling their previously yearly production and getting out some killer sculpts they never would have been able to put out otherwise.)


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Thanks everyone for the great information.  Mad_Jack--great to hear that companies are getting positive results through Kickstarter.  I like that web site.  They have some very cool things on there... but I never thought to look there for miniatures!  I didn't know about Reaper; I will definitely look into their products.

The Pathfinder minis sound good too... in the sense they are durable plastic and can tolerate getting tossed into a box.  I used to get bummed out when I had spent hours painting up a lead figure only to have his battle-axe break on the way to a friend's house.  Then I'd manage to super-glue my fingers together trying to stick his weapon back on.  haha

So I guess even paper tokens would work.  I was listening to the Critical Hit podcast recently and I think Rodrigo used a Luke Skywalker and Han Solo figure from some game!  Apparently anything goes.
Do people just buy Warhammer miniatures, or do people go on eBay and buy the old 25mm scale Ral Partha lead figures from the 80's?

Buy single miniatures on line. My top four sites (in order of preference) are:
Yup, I use those sites as well! Cool Stuff Inc. is also really good, and I actually prefer it to everything but Auggie's these days. 
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