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Best Alternative for D&D Miniatures?

amnuxoll

First Post
I, for one, am disappointed to see the D&D Miniatures line cancelled. I'd like to pick your collective brains about the best alternative for me.

Things I like (in priority order):
  • for medieval fantasy RPGs
  • 3D! I'm completely turned off by the cardboard discs that WotC is peddling now.
  • durable. Plastic isn't a necessity but I don't know of any alternatives that can bounce around in a box, fall of the table, etc. with minimal damage.
  • relatively inexpensive but not "cheap." DDM fit this bill well. The minis were about $2 each or less than half of comparable metal minis but still decent quality compared to alternatives like "army men" from the dollar store.
  • prepainted. I paint minis from time to time but I'm not the kind of person who will spend an afternoon painting a dozen orcs.
  • lots of different sculpts. I like Reaper's plastic minis line, for example, but there aren't very many of them. As a DM, when I create an encounter with an orc tribe, I like to have 15 different orc sculpts on the table not 15 copies of the same sculpt painted differently or, worse, numbered or color-coded.
  • mostly monsters and NPCs. I use my minis mostly for DMing.
  • not out of print. (sigh)
 

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buddhafrog

First Post
Agree with your post and questions, but I don't think you'll/we'll find many or any very good alternatives. But I'll be watching this thread and hope to be proven wrong.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Perhaps cardstock stand-ups might fit the bill?

I've seen some ads for such on rpgnow, and you could use the WotC art galleries to print double-sided stand ups tacked to properly scaled bases.


such as this

dragon-paper-miniature-final.jpg
 

Dausuul

Legend
  • for medieval fantasy RPGs --Plenty of this available.
  • 3D! I'm completely turned off by the cardboard discs that WotC is peddling now. --This too.
  • durable. Plastic isn't a necessity but I don't know of any alternatives that can bounce around in a box, fall of the table, etc. with minimal damage. --Not quite as much of this, but still a fair few options.
  • relatively inexpensive but not "cheap." DDM fit this bill well. The minis were about $2 each or less than half of comparable metal minis but still decent quality compared to alternatives like "army men" from the dollar store. --I'd recommend Reaper's Legendary Encounters, using the pieces from WotC's new board games (you can get them on Auggies for way cheap), or just buying old DDM stuff secondhand.
  • prepainted. I paint minis from time to time but I'm not the kind of person who will spend an afternoon painting a dozen orcs. --Okay, forget the board game pieces. Legendary Encounters or old DDM it is.
  • lots of different sculpts. I like Reaper's plastic minis line, for example, but there aren't very many of them. As a DM, when I create an encounter with an orc tribe, I like to have 15 different orc sculpts on the table not 15 copies of the same sculpt painted differently or, worse, numbered or color-coded. --Oops, there goes Legendary Encounters. We're down to old DDM stuff now.
  • mostly monsters and NPCs. I use my minis mostly for DMing. --Not a problem...
  • not out of print. (sigh) --Aaaand, there goes DDM.
The sad fact is, I really don't think there is an alternative on the market. DDM was made possible by the combination of WotC's market share, randomized booster packs so that chase rares would subsidize cheap commons, and the skirmish game helping drive sales. With the skirmish game dead, and most hardcore DMs having already filled out their collections, there simply isn't enough market to support it any more. I think your best bet is just to scavenge old DDM figs on the secondary market... grab 'em fast before the prices rise.
 
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Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
DDM figures are hardly off the market. There just aren't many new ones being made. There are plenty available secondhand online and off as well as Mage Knight figs that are easily used and many other lines of prepainted plastics that can serve well. My FLGS has a bin full of old Dreamblade and other failed lines as singles that can be picked up for cheap.
 

kitsune9

First Post
DDM figures are hardly off the market. There just aren't many new ones being made. There are plenty available secondhand online and off as well as Mage Knight figs that are easily used and many other lines of prepainted plastics that can serve well. My FLGS has a bin full of old Dreamblade and other failed lines as singles that can be picked up for cheap.

I recommend Dreamblade minis too. They got some really wierd ones that reek of cool when you make them a monster against the players. I have a bunch of these. The only thing though is that the bases on these minis are large so I make them large creatures.
 

pawsplay

First Post
I've mostly switched to Reaper plastics. While they don't have a huge variety (yet) you can cover some basics. I don't object to using the same three orcs twice, for that matter, especially if a dab of paint will distinguish them. But in terms of very large groups of unique sculpts, you can still pick up DDM commons all over the place for about $2.50 each on average, cheaper for some pieces. Lots of DDM minis also go on sale from time to time on Ebay; get fifty, a hundred minis at once.

So I have an accumulated collection of DDM minis, plus a fairly complete line of the Reaper stuff, two boxes of Mage Knight minis I've rebased, some Safari Ltd. toy dragons, and some metals I am painting by and by for those special pieces (like Reaper's "eye creature" and a marilith). I don't buy critter minis any more; instead, I buy cheap plastic bugs and snakes and such and stick them to bases. Often, they look as good or better than some of the more mediocre minis.
 

rgard

First Post
I've mostly switched to Reaper plastics. While they don't have a huge variety (yet) you can cover some basics. I don't object to using the same three orcs twice, for that matter, especially if a dab of paint will distinguish them. But in terms of very large groups of unique sculpts, you can still pick up DDM commons all over the place for about $2.50 each on average, cheaper for some pieces. Lots of DDM minis also go on sale from time to time on Ebay; get fifty, a hundred minis at once.

So I have an accumulated collection of DDM minis, plus a fairly complete line of the Reaper stuff, two boxes of Mage Knight minis I've rebased, some Safari Ltd. toy dragons, and some metals I am painting by and by for those special pieces (like Reaper's "eye creature" and a marilith). I don't buy critter minis any more; instead, I buy cheap plastic bugs and snakes and such and stick them to bases. Often, they look as good or better than some of the more mediocre minis.

To add to Pawsplay's cheap plastic bugs...you can find these at the party stores around Halloween if not year round. I glued a bunch of tiny ants to a 40mm round base to make a swarm fig.
 

Jan van Leyden

Adventurer
I've mostly switched to Reaper plastics. While they don't have a huge variety (yet) you can cover some basics.

I've ordered a troll from Reaper's to check out the line, but was quite disappointed with that mini. Compared to the DDM minis the Reaper troll was a wimpy, little guy who could hide behind any orc.

As I have to order all my stuff per mail, I didn't repeat the experiment.
 

Cergorach

The Laughing One
Amnuxoll seems hardly new (7.5 years registered). If he hasn't picked up his core DDM monsters by now, he never will, no matter wether DDM is in print or not.

As a GM that uses minis, I've got oodles of older DDM miniatures, usually 12 from each common, 4-6 ftom each uncommon, and 1-2 from each rare, across multiple sets that makes for a large selection (maybe to large). DDM is ideal for 'cheap' (because if you know where to buy they really are cheap) and I can actually throw them in a bag and not worry to much about them getting damaged. The prepainted is nice enough, some of their rares are indeed great 'end bosses' but for that I usually go for something unique (usually metal or resin that needs to get painted), I sometimes want that extra WOW factor from the players.

But to be honest, I stopped buying DDM a while ago, as I already had most of the iconic monsters, and a lot of the monsters were getting less and less mainstream. I might have a look at the range in the near future, have to seriously look at what I have and what I don't and fill in some of the holes...

I think we'll see some interesting collectors sets in the future (still need to get my hands on that Beholder set)....

As for alternatives, Rackham did decent prepainted fantasy plastics, they are out of business. It seems that WizKids is going to ressurect MageKnight, so depending on quality and range, that might be interesting to keep an eye on. Personally I found most of the early MK minis horribly painted and most of the miniatures to specific to be useful in my D&D games, there were some 'gems' but the MK secondary market was pretty horrible around were I lived and most of the interesting miniatures were 'very rare' and often cost a ton online.

Heroscape also went belly up, besides Reaper and the WotC collectors sets (if we'll ever see those) there's no one producing pre-painted plastic fantasy miniatures at the moment. With the restructuring and rebranding at Reaper we might see some more prepainted Reaper miniatures, but I seriously doubt it.
 


JustKim

First Post
Reaper has recently restructured their company and seems to be putting a much greater emphasis on prepainted plastic, with two out of three divisions dedicated to it (one Legendary Encounters, the other plastic dinosaurs I guess). I know that communication back and forth between Reaper and the Chinese manufacturer of the miniatures was an ongoing setback for the line before, so this could be a big deal.

I think Reaper is poised to inherit the prepainted plastic market, and we will see stronger offerings from them in the near future.
 

NewJeffCT

First Post
What I've done in the past is buy Warhammer plastic army boxes and have somebody paint them for me. You'll pay more than you did with DDM, but you'll get what you want in terms of colors and you'll be able to get a bunch of different poses/weapons. A box of 20 Empire militia is $35 from GW itself, but you should be able to get that from a hobby store for $28 or so, so $1.40 each, unpainted. You can probably get a similar amount of goblins for that amount. But, if my link works correctly, they have 20 figures and 20 different looks to them . Empire Free Company | Games Workshop

I've bought a bunch of boxes and then shipped them overseas to Asia to get painted and have had good results that way. You can get them painted for $2.00 to $4.00 per figure and twice that for "leaders" or "bosses" I'd recommend either doing it in bulk, or having several of your gaming buddies get together & send together.

I won't advertise any specific service, but you can send me a PM if you want names/recommendations.
 

pawsplay

First Post
I've ordered a troll from Reaper's to check out the line, but was quite disappointed with that mini. Compared to the DDM minis the Reaper troll was a wimpy, little guy who could hide behind any orc.

I like those trolls. But, they are smaller... I use them for cave trolls. For an old AD&D style swamp troll, I've gone back to metal. I was not a big fan of any of the DDM trolls.
 


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