NEWS: Beginner Box Heroes Production Samples


Pathfinder Beginner Box Heroes Miniatures Set - Production Pictures

Earlier this year, Paizo confirmed that Pathfinder RPG was throwing its hat into the pre-painted miniature ring through a license granted to Wizkids to produce figures based upon Paizo’s artwork associated with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Paizo and Wizkids put their first toe in the water and released pictures online earlier during the summer of 2011 showing a rendering of a digital model “painted” with simple digital coloring without shading or significant digital lighting effects added to the renderings. What was being shown at that time was completely a digital mock-up of the expected miniature.

For most miniatures created for use in the RPG hobby, a master figure is first modelled using a green epoxy as the sculpting medium to create the master model which will be used to create the mould for the figure. The use of green epoxy to sculpt master models is so ubiquitous in the hobby that the masters are called “greens”.

In the case of most of Wizkids’ Pathfinder miniatures line, Wizkids chose to use a different basis for creating the master from which the moulds would be derived. Wizkids’ artists modelled the figures first using 3ds max, a 3d modeling program that is used to model characters and environments in the vast majority of modern computer and console games. These digital models were then rendered and textured with simple color palettes to convey an idea of what the proposed finished model might look like. Pictures of those renderings of the initial Pathfinder Beginner Box Heroes were released this past summer.

Wizkids’ digital models did not stay confined to the computer screen. Wizkids employed 3d printing technology to “print” the miniature in 3d using additive micro layers of plastic to create a 1:1 scale master model of the figure. These figures were then painted using the same painting steps and masks as Wizkids proposed to use during the production process of the miniatures. The four “paint masters” for the Beginner Box Heroes were shown at Gencon 2011 to the public at both the Paizo booth and at Wizkids own both (where the figures were displayed at a level lower to the eye and more conducive to photography.)

As may be seen the paint masters were impressive. In particular, the cloak on the Kyra the Cleric showed off some impressive detailing that had everybody who had seen that figure at Gencon 2011 step away quite impressed – while still being highly skeptical that the detailing on the miniatures was truly representative of what the final production runs would look like.

Without putting too fine a point on it, I have seen some truly impressive paint masters that Wizards of the Coast had created for the D&D miniatures line in the past. Particularly in the 2004-2005 era, WotC seemed to be frequently releasing pictures of what final models would look like. The promotional pictures and posters were based upon paint masters created prior to the creation of the actual production runs which were far more detailed than the final minis would prove to be. The effect of the promotional art was simple: the pictures could often mislead the customer as to what he or she was buying. That’s a practice that WotC soon stopped after the hue and cry was raised online.

Fast forward six years + to Gencon 2011 and the questions raised by Wizkids new Pathfinder minis lines remain essentially the same: were we now seeing paint masters of the Beginner Box Heroes which were truly representative of the production figures, or not?

Paizo was quite frank with its customers at all of their presentations at Gencon 2011. Paizo admitted it was not the manufacturer and they were not in a position to provide guarantees as to final production quality. Nevertheless, Paizo advised their fans that Wizkids representatives had told Paizo that the production paint jobs were usually an improvement upon the painting masters, as the masking process and appliqués used to create effects like those on Kyra’s cloak could be refined during the final tooling up for the production paint run. As to whether or not all that was true? We would have to wait and see samples from the production runs.

Privately, Paizo staff expressed some healthy skepticism themselves as to the final production quality -- but they were quite honest and open with me about what they had been told and what they had been promised. They were not in a position to independently verify the truth of what they had been told and frankly, they seemed as genuinely curious and as hopeful as the fans were.

In the end, Paizo staff passed on all they heard on paint quality to their fans and advised fans to stop by the booths, look at the minis and await the final production figures. We did just that and took the photographs below at Wizkids booth on Saturday, August 6, 2011.

Wizkids ultimately delivered samples from the production run of the four figures that come in the Beginner Box Heroes line in late September to Paizo’s offices. The reaction at Paizo was one of great excitement. Privately, Paizo has been saying that the quality was probably as good as what had been shown at Gencon 2011 and, if anything, was a little better in terms of the detailing on Merisel’s boots and Kyra’s cloak. Paizo promised fans updated images as soon as everything was verified and photographs were approved and ready for the reveal.

Paizo today has finally revealed the final photos of the Beginner Box Heroes, with these photos which are held out to be representative samples of the final models, as they will appear for sale in the box. The figures depicted below are expected to be in stores next month on or about November 9, 2011. The results, to my eye, are impressive and do appear to be equal or exceed the quality of the paint masters shown this past Gencon.

The four Iconic heroes that are included in Pathfinder Beginner Box Heroes should be available at your local FLGS by the middle of next month for $12.99, MSRP.

You can browse and compare our original Gencon 2011 pics of the Beginner Box Heroes Paint Masters with the photos of the Production Samples (white background) by viewing the thumbnail attachments below.


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I would guess Paizo is implementing the black disc so that their miniatures seemlessly mix with WOTC's now discontinued miniatures line. I applaud them for doing so.


I would guess Paizo is implementing the black disc so that their miniatures seemlessly mix with WOTC's now discontinued miniatures line. I applaud them for doing so.

Keep in mind that the new WotC minis (no longer randomly boxed) seem likely to use the same round bases. The upcoming dragon set uses round bases (two of the figures are new).


These are in a box of 4 for 13 bucks, not sure if I'll buy. I only like 2 of them, but I would buy individually for 4-5 bucks each. hope to see more sets and singles, probably wont after market them either.


The paint job definetly looks nice and detailed, but the minis themselves still look like they were pulled straight from some cartoon or anime. Ill have to wait to see them myself and not pictures posted online before I can say for sure, but at this point based on these pictures and the other pictures released, I greatly prefer the WotC minis.

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