View Full Version : Miniature options?

2013-05-09, 10:23 AM
I would love to use miniatures in my campaigns, but they're just too darn expensive. I've seen other GM's use dice as an ultra-cheap option, but I don't really like it when the stand-ins don't look like what they represent. I've been using homemade tokens, which has been cheap and satisfying and lets me show who is bloodied, but I'm itching for more.

What do you all use for miniatures? does anyone know a cheap way to obtain miniatures? Do you use paper miniatures or something similar?

Jay R
2013-05-09, 10:39 AM
Here (http://www.sjgames.com/heroes/) are the first cardboard heroes, available again after a couple of decades.

Here (http://www.thefantasytrip.org/pieces.php) are some available for free download.

And here (http://tartex.blogspot.com/2009/04/free-paper-miniatures-flat-figures.html) is a link to more links.

That will get you started. Much more can be found by googling. (These are the ones I have bookmarked.)

I recommend printing them on very light cardstock, and take the time to cut them out with an Exacto knife, not scissors.

2013-05-09, 10:41 AM
Paper minis are handy. You can get print-outs online, or just make your own - shrink some images, slap them into a grid in Paint, and print that out. Cut them out, glue them onto pieces of card stock folded into stands. (For extra steadiness, tape the stands onto small coins.)

I mostly just use plastic Warhammer minis that I buy in huge numbers (boxes of 20 or so), because I regularly need 10+ orcs/goblins/whatever at once. They do a lot of double duty, naturally.

2013-05-09, 10:55 AM
If you prefer to get already finished pawns that you don't need to print, fold, and glue yourself, I can recommend the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary Box (http://paizo.com/products/btpy8tj5?Pathfinder-Roleplaying-Game-Bestiary-Box)

The box contains over 300 full-color paper pawns made of durable cardstock and a collection of different sized bases (from tiny to huge).

Additional bases and new set of pawns (without bases) can be purchased separately

2013-05-09, 11:46 AM
You could try out the FlatsCreator by Zerghase, found on his site here (http://zerghase.die-informatiker.eu/) Turn a bunch of PNG pictures into Prism-shaped figure flats.

2013-05-09, 04:00 PM
One interesting idea I saw was to use old Magic (and other CCG) cards.

Get a hole punch that can do relatively large holes, and then cut out the art from the cards. Ready-made, nice looking circular tokens.

Depending on the scale you want, you can also check out hobby stores. They tend to have all kinds of miniatures for model train sets, and many also have generic plastic toys for dioramas and such.

2013-05-09, 04:03 PM
honestly? legos work freaking amazingly, with a couple of exceptions. 1) you have to give characters a base to stand on or they fall over all the time (or you can have them sit all the time) 2. anything larger than the lego man pretty much has to be used with representation. for instance, the lego horses are pretty darn big comparative to the map. apart from those two, though, they work great. also, it's an excuse to play with legos!

Lord Torath
2013-05-09, 06:05 PM
There's always the (Monster Minis!) The OotS-Style Monster Manual Art Project (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222749) thread.

Dakaran has his own thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13565219#post13565219) too!

(I love using legos too! They make awesome PC's, and with all the new gear they're releasing, you can customize them quite a bit! Then my kids paint them with acrylic paint - easily removable with Simple Green - for an even more unique look! I've even built a Thri-Kreen that's roughly to scale with the mini-figs.)

I've used my ancient collection of Battle Beasts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Beasts) for any kind of humanoid we end up fighting.

2013-05-09, 11:41 PM
What I mostly actually use is painted figures, or unpainted ones for the not at all insignificant number of them that I haven't yet found the time to paint.

However, I do supplement that with other things sometimes. If you can find them, packs of plastic soldiers on a very small scale work well for monsters or hordes of enemies in general. Anything small and numerous can work well for that. We've a few packs of zombies as well, and some things like that. Whenever I go through a gaming store, I wander around and see if there's anything on the right scale that can be used. For animals and dinosaurs and such those tubes of creatures they often have in zoos can work out pretty well.

If you or anyone at your table is good at drawing, you could draw them on small pieces of cardboard. I did that once when everyone forgot to bring figures.

Lego figures also seem as though they could work quite well, though I've never tried it -- the customisability would probably be nice. Although, if you don't already have a lot of them on hand, that might not be all that much less expensive than buying figures to begin with.

Lord Torath
2013-05-10, 12:07 AM
Although, if you don't already have a lot of <Lego Figures> on hand, that might not be all that much less expensive than buying figures to begin with.This is very much the truth. They are great if you already have a bunch. If not, they're generally worse than other figures, as you generally cannot buy just the minifigs anymore; you must buy entire sets. If you only want the mini's this gets expensive very quickly!

Mando Knight
2013-05-10, 01:00 AM
This is very much the truth. They are great if you already have a bunch. If not, they're generally worse than other figures, as you generally cannot buy just the minifigs anymore; you must buy entire sets.

This depends on what kind of minifigs you want. Star Wars sets with a small vehicle or emplacement and four infantry (two on each side) are available. So is the Series 10 (http://shop.lego.com/en-US/LEGO-Minifigures-Series-10-71001) grab bag, which has a Centurion, an Amazon, and Medusa as some of the possible pulls, and more detailed paint jobs than most other minifigs. The LEGO City cycle is currently at the Cops & Firefighters stage, so there's some sets with police officers or firefighters and their accompanying gear, and a few sets with police and a criminal or two. The chess set has a roguish lass and a wizard for the Black Queen and King as well as a myriad set of mooks for pawns on both sides, and runs "only" $50 (which is cheap for that many minifigs... they are some of the costliest parts per-element, as far as I know, due to their complex shapes and paint applications, and you get 28 minifigs... the rooks are little towers like usual).

You can also choose to purchase from a selection individual pieces, though the selection on minifig torsos is currently limited to City designs. They do have a fair selection of tools and weapons from more than just City, however.

(Though, yes, these are more expensive in general than buying a booster of minis)

Edge of Dreams
2013-05-10, 01:38 AM
Take a look at Reaper minis (http://www.reapermini.com/). Now, wait, before you go "yeah, yeah, metal minis, too expensive", take a closer look at their Bones line of minis (http://www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/Bones). Bones are ready-to-paint plastic minis (some super-glue assembly occasionally required) that cost FAR LESS than metal minis.

For example:

Metal Werewolf - $9.49 (http://www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/werewolf/latest/02747)
Exact same werewolf model in plastic - $1.99 !!! (http://www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/Bones/latest/77009)

Currently, Reaper only has about 30 different Bones models, but they're almost all under $4. BUT Reaper is almost done shipping rewards for a MASSIVE Bones Kickstarter that they ran last year. As soon as shipments are done (within a couple months at most), DOZENS of new Bones models will be available in stores and on Reaper's website. Many of the models are simply existing metal minis re-done as plastic, but there's also a substantial number of brand spanking new sculpts to choose from.

So, yeah, TL;DR: Reaper Bones plastic minis - less than half the price of metal, just as much detail, just as much fun to paint.

2013-05-10, 02:55 AM
Cheapest is to find pictures of the monsters or characters you want, resize them, and print out on a color printer on glossy paper.
You can get exactly the monsters you want, you can number them on the face for easy bookkeeping in game and the most expensive part, the printer, can be used for a lot of other things.
Not nearly as fun as miniatures, but they do the job excellently.

Lego figures do an excellent job for basic human variants. Monstrous type enemies are a bit harder to do.

2013-05-10, 06:28 AM
Things I've used:

Dice - For quick and dirty "where is everyone" encounters.

Plastic miniatures - I have a box full of some I've bought as sets or single pieces, collected over the years. Only issue is that you don't always have a good representation of the one you want, and I don't have a lot of the same type.

Chess pieces - these work pretty well; lots of pawns for similar weak baddies, other pieces for the more powerful ones, one colour for PCs and another for the enemies makes it easy to know everyone's position.

Paper and pencil - just grid paper or looseleaf with a letter for each PCs name and Xs for the enemies. Becomes dirty and difficult to read during a long encounter though.

Lego men and other assorted action figures - remember Kinder Surprise eggs? Sometimes those would have cool little minis in them. Really any figure around two inches works.

For games without tactical grids, any action figure works. GI Joes, Ninja Turtles, Transformers - whatever you have laying around left over from the 80s!

Jay R
2013-05-10, 02:51 PM
The most consistently helpful option is to have one gamer in the group who loves to paint and has collected miniatures for years.

2013-05-10, 03:16 PM
If you want really jenky but not completely abstract, get a roll of nickles (or quarters, if you want more space) and some wet erase markers. You can label them, use 'em, and wash them off quickly when you need to change.

Joe the Rat
2013-05-10, 03:19 PM
JayR: That is the ideal. Sadly, I was not that guy.

I've actually put a lot together recently for my tabletop group. paper friends (http://www.seven-wonders.co.uk/paperfriendsindex.html) site has a rather impressive array. If I were more patient, I'd have greyboxed out one side for facing, as the fantasy trip set has them. Also watch to make sure your images are scaled right. We ended up having a nights of cut, fold, and tape to put together a decent set.

If you've got patience and a good graphics program, you can also play with color. I took the fantasy trip kobold set and ran it through GIMP. Now I have Red Tribe and Blue Tribe.

A lot of minis suggest the pane on stand/ cardboard cutout, but I find that doing them tent style gives them a bit more visual weight. Plus it's a LOT faster.

$15 for a pack of Light cardstock is worth the investment, but you can get by on paper.

Of you could do what I do and kick myself repeatedly for missing the OOTS Kickstarter and the miniatures reward. :smallmad: