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Brock Savage

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Truthfully, I was thinking less about how to make attractive terrain, and more about:
What gets used most often
I don't know what you mean. I thought I already addressed your question.

What miniatures get used most often? I linked the DM David article.
What terrain gets used more often? I linked the Dungeon Craft video. He covers DIY dungeon dressing like pillars, walls and doors in other videos.
 

DeadBob

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nI don't know what you mean. I thought I already addressed your question.

What miniatures get used most often? I linked the DM David article.
What terrain gets used more often? I linked the Dungeon Craft video. He covers DIY dungeon dressing like pillars, walls and doors in other videos.
I did a bad post and went back and added a bunch of stuff. Sorry Brock.

Please don't get me wrong; I very much like the stuff you're posting.

I think there's more to also consider.

Sorry, let me edit and add a bit to what I left hanging here.

I think minis and terrain use in RPGs needs to be ready for more location changes than in a wargame, but less than in an RPG (minis optional). There are a couple of ways to do that, but the one I suggested upthread I feel is a good transitional or mid-way method.

So making cool terrain on the cheap and having a core collection that's very flexible is part of that, and important part, but there are still points of fiction in minis use even then.
 
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Psychopomp

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I think the big turnoff for RPG gamers using wargame minis is the need to assemble and paint them.
If an RPG gamer doesn't want to assemble miniatures, that's not the wargaming companies not catering to rpgers, that's rpgers choosing not to engage with another hobby element. That's the rpger voluntarily cutting of an optional method of collecting cheap miniatures. (The earlier assertion that wargaming mini companies aren't catering to rpgers, as opposed to my opinion that it's more rpgers just not engaging with wargaming as a viable source of cheap miniatures is what I've been trying to address.)

I mean, it's 100% fine if an rpger wanting to play with minis doesn't want to take up the entire sub-hobbies of assembling and painting them - but the less work you're willing to put into it yourself, the more you're going to pay for the complete product. This payment will probably be split between actual monetary payment and sacrifice in quality and customization - especially as I understand the collapse of the collectible pre-paint market was driven by a significant increase in factory painting costs, even in China.

But it should be clear that this is a choice by the rpger, not a failing of wargaming miniatures. It would be like someone wanting to get into TTRPGs wishing rpg companies would give them an easier option than reading the rules, because they feel reading rulebooks is too much like homework. That's just a major part of the hobby...it's not going to go away, just get reduced by carefully choosing the product.
 

DeadBob

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I think sometimes it is just lack of knowledge that something exists, as well as an unfamiliarity with secondary/used markets or single sprue sellers.

I also think some things get greatly exaggerated.

For example, while I've run across some miniatures that were hard to assemble, it's rare.

Assembling multi-part plastics, especially the currently available ones, is almost as easy as assembling those old Snap-tite Model kits, with the exception being that you'll need glue of some sort.
 

E-Rocker

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I saved money in the hobby this weekend by staying home instead of my initial plan of going to the game store. But that had more to do with me taking into consideration that the roads were flash-flooding, rather than any particular use of willpower on my part to resist impulse spending.
 

Gabriel

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I think with assembling and painting miniatures its because of a disconnect between how the stuff is sold to the user versus the true expectations.

I think a lot of people are only interested in playing the game, and the whole model building aspect is make-work rather than any kind of welcome thing they're buying into .

I had that problem for years with that type of game. But then I had an experience where I picked up a game for the model building rather than the game and had a blast with it. I never ended up playing the game, but I had fun building models for a while. It gave me a new perspective on the whole thing, and made me realize "it's about the models, dummy." The game is just kind of a marketing tool to lure people in.

But then there are things like Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps which should be mass market games with single piece miniatures or at least quick assembly push fit, but instead have have 8 pieces to each of the most common figure in the box and glue and clippers are required.
 

DeadBob

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IIRC, at one point there was a company making plastic army men type colonial marines and xenos (and official ones, too, IIRC, and not knock-offs).
They were bit of an odd scale though.

 

Bunch

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If an RPG gamer doesn't want to assemble miniatures, that's not the wargaming companies not catering to rpgers, that's rpgers choosing not to engage with another hobby element. That's the rpger voluntarily cutting of an optional method of collecting cheap miniatures. (The earlier assertion that wargaming mini companies aren't catering to rpgers, as opposed to my opinion that it's more rpgers just not engaging with wargaming as a viable source of cheap miniatures is what I've been trying to address.)

I mean, it's 100% fine if an rpger wanting to play with minis doesn't want to take up the entire sub-hobbies of assembling and painting them - but the less work you're willing to put into it yourself, the more you're going to pay for the complete product. This payment will probably be split between actual monetary payment and sacrifice in quality and customization - especially as I understand the collapse of the collectible pre-paint market was driven by a significant increase in factory painting costs, even in China.

But it should be clear that this is a choice by the rpger, not a failing of wargaming miniatures. It would be like someone wanting to get into TTRPGs wishing rpg companies would give them an easier option than reading the rules, because they feel reading rulebooks is too much like homework. That's just a major part of the hobby...it's not going to go away, just get reduced by carefully choosing the product.
well. there is a whole group of folks who might also play wargames if it didnt involve all the paint and assembly portion. Warhammer has/had a requirement that armies be painted or you couldn't play in tournaments I believe which is a turnoff if your main desire is to have battles. It's great that someone paints their minis. You can see from boardgames with tons of unpainted minis what a large large number of people want is preassembled dudes they could paint but can play with right out of the box.
 

Psychopomp

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well. there is a whole group of folks who might also play wargames if it didnt involve all the paint and assembly portion. Warhammer has/had a requirement that armies be painted or you couldn't play in tournaments I believe which is a turnoff if your main desire is to have battles. It's great that someone paints their minis. You can see from boardgames with tons of unpainted minis what a large large number of people want is preassembled dudes they could paint but can play with right out of the box.
Games Workshop has/had a requirement that armies be painted in their official regional tournaments. I've played in many a store or convention WHFB or 40K tournament where the painted armies were far outnumbered by the gray legions.

Also, I can look over at my shelf and pick out about two dozen indie or small-press wargame rulesets that I could play entirely using board game miniatures - let's not even start in on how many exist as PDFs on my tablet. There are also wargaming companies that produce single-piece models that you only have to glue or snap onto bases. (You don't tend to get the economy-of-scale savings you do on modular unit box sets, but they're out there.) And the wargamer who has never tried a game out with unpainted minis to see if its for them is as rare as hen's teeth.

What we're really talking around is that miniatures wargaming is a hobby all its own just as varied as roleplaying, with just as much reliance on varying amounts of accoutrements as roleplaying. Yes, there's Warhammer-only players out there that think if you're not playing with painted, Games Workshop figures only, you're doing it wrong. These are the equivilent of the D&D players who think you have to be playing the latest edition with only WotC rulebooks and dice, or you're doing it wrong. They're out there, but they're not terribly common and they're welcome to do their own thing with like minded folks. There's also people out there who have a stable of fantasy miniatures that they use to play Frostgrave, Lasting Tales, Brutal Quest, and Five Leagues from the Borderlands and will 100% welcome you trying the game out with them with your unpainted Conan boardgame or Zombicide Black Plague minis, as long as they can tell roughly what they are and what they're supposed to be armed with.
 

DeadBob

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It's worth noting that in the case of RPGs (rather than competitive, build your own army wargames) there are things that players in a minis-using group can do that don't entail painting the miniatures.

You can buy minis.
You can assemble minis.
You can buy (or find freebie) and print downloadable terrain
You can find and construct 3d terrain from inexpensive items and or recyclable stuff from the recycling bin
You can help defray costs for players who are willing to do the modelling and painting.
You can store and transport stuff
You can help organize set up and breakdown/repacking
You can keep an eye open and pickup non-gaming toys and minis that could be converted for gaming use (as per the origin of the Owl Bear)
You can buy and bring the gummie bears for that mass battle scene
If they're starting to do dungeons and hill terrain in 3D, springing for the insulation foam sheets is lovely and not too expensive.

In a play group, usually if about half the people are down with the hobby end of the stuff, as long as the other people are helpful, you should be able to get the thing done.

You're unlikely to convince someone else to paint up a Games Workshop sized army for you for free, but you can probably convince someone to paint up your character and a henchman or two.
 
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carpocratian

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In my experience, rpg players are less likely to buy wargame miniatures because they have to be assembled. A lot of people play with unpainted minis, but assembly takes extra effort. Wargame minis on sprues are also harder to put out as impulse buys in game stores, since they tend to be in boxes.

The stores that carry rpg minis in my area put the wargame ones in a different place or just don't carry a wide selection of them. When it comes to the ones that do carry them, I bet they would be able to sell more to rpg folks if the stores would assemble a sample set of the minis from each box and put them on display, with a very visible price next to them. My bet is that people tend to think of box sets as being on the expensive side, without realizing what the cost breakdown per mini is.

I built up a lot of hordes/armies of goblins, orcs, soldiers, etc. by buying lots on eBay that were put together from boardgame sets, particularly those from CMON. I don't think a lot of regular rpg folks realize that they can get a bunch of minis pretty inexpensively that way.
 

DeadBob

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If someone had put an extremely simple model kit together, they can handle putting a plastic gaming miniature together.

It ain't rocket surgery.

  1. Put a torso, usually with legs already attacked, onto a base.
  2. Then pick out a head and put that on.
  3. Put on two arms. In the case of many minis using two handed weapons, the two arms and the weapon in question are a single piece.
  4. Finally, put on any last bits. A shield? A backpack or belt pouch?
Some are even easier than that.

Once again, I think stuff to encourage people is great, but there's a limit to handholding, and I can tell my limit is already higher than Brock's, but even I shake my head a bit at some of this stuff.

The biggest problem with selling wargaming minis to RPGers IMO, isn't the hobby end, it's that they generally don't need nearly as many minis as come in a wargaming army set or even an Oathmark or Frostgrave box. They need half or less of that specific box of multipart plastics.

(On the GM end, a bit different set of problems. Not entirely different, but different enough.)
 
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DeadBob

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From experience, when it comes to using/buying/hoarding miniatures...going in without a plan is expensive in the long run for mediocre results.

Not the same kind of FOMO, but related.

Aso, just some perspective on minis pricing:

I looked around at online sites for an average price for Nolzur PC blister packs. They seem to be usually 2 D&D PC minis for average price of $5 USD ( so 2.50 each).

At my goto website (http://www.recreationalconflict.com/) for Frostrgave/Wargames Atlantic/Oathmark minis on seperate sprues, the average cost for a 5 Man Oathmark sprue is $6 ($1.20 per mini). There are a number of kits covering yer basic Tolkien-y races ( plus skellies), often with a couple of options (light versus heavy infantry for example). Cavalry when available is about 5 for $10 by the sprue.

The average cost for an Frostgrave 5 man sprue is $8 ($1.60), with a couple at $9 ($1.80) and wizards coming in at a whopping 4 minis per sprue for $9 ( $2.25)

You do save slightly on some of the boxes. If you know your baddies are likely to be barbarians, orcs, goblins, serpent men, gnolls, cultists, or low-tech tribal types, it might be worth getting the box of twenty of those for $28 ($1.40).

Wargames Atlantic prices trend slightly lower, but some of their frames have less miniatures. Examples include 5 halfling sprue or 5 goblin sprue for $4 ( $0.80 each) versus 3 Lizard men or 3 Fauns for $4 ( $1.33 each roughly)

The Wargames Atlantic parts and the Fristgrave ( Northstar) parts should be pretty size compatible.
 
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Jetstream

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If someone had put an extremely simple model kit together, they can handle putting a plastic gaming miniature together.

It ain't rocket surgery.

  1. Put a torso, usually with legs already attacked, onto a base.
  2. Then pick out a head and put that on.
  3. Put on two arms. In the case of many minis using two handed weapons, the two arms and the weapon in question are a single piece.
  4. Finally, put on any last bits. A shield? A backpack or belt pouch?
Some are even easier than that.

Once again, I think stuff to encourage people is great, but there's a limit to handholding, and I can tell my limit is already higher than Brock's, but even I shake my head a bit at some of this stuff.

The biggest problem with selling wargaming minis to RPGers IMO, isn't the hobby end, it's that they generally don't need nearly as many minis as come in a wargaming army set or even an Oathmark or Frostgrave box. They need half or less of that specific box of multipart plastics.

(On the GM end, a bit different set of problems. Not entirely different, but different enough.)
Or they could just sell minis that don’t require assembly. What a utopia we could live in :tongue:
 

Brock Savage

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There are tons of inexpensive one-piece minis out there aimed directly at the RPG market. There's really no reason for someone to buy the multi-part kits unless you're a weirdo like me and use historical analogues for your RPGs minis. The plastic minis with tons of fiddly bits are meant for wargamers, esp historical wargamers. The multi-part kits keep prices down when building large units while also allowing for some variety. They are awesome. I still remember the bad old days of high school garagehammer where I'd have a 2-4 different lead models representing a unit of 30+ dudes. With plastics you had one pose with terrible detail and that was it.
 

DeadBob

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I think would be wonderful if inexpensive, single piece, roughly 28 mm minis, on par with basic plastic army men in quality, were available.

I think complaining about that minor amount of model construction unless you have some serious medical issues is making a mountain out of a mole hill.
 

Fenris-77

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Well, as a fuckin' insane 40K collector with enough minis to fill a small store, I don't really get the issue with having to put shit together. I suppose I'm a product of my experience though. I like multi-part minis because I don't have a ton of dudes with the same pose.
 

DeadBob

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Well, as a fuckin' insane 40K collector with enough minis to fill a small store, I don't really get the issue with having to put shit together. I suppose I'm a product of my experience though. I like multi-part minis because I don't have a ton of dudes with the same pose.
For purposes of RPGs, having dudes in notably different poses is a distinct advantage, even more so than in a wargame!

I any case, neither those Nolzur D&D minis nor most Reaper Bones PC minis (or smaller monster minis) are mutipart.
 

Brock Savage

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I think complaining about that minor amount of model construction unless you have some serious medical issues is making a mountain out of a mole hill.
The casual collector doesn't need to do any construction nowadays. The cheap mass market Reaper Bones and Wizkids minis are usable right out of the box with zero prep. Interestingly enough it's the nicer stuff like boutique pewter minis and plastic historical & wargamer kits that need prep work and assembly. I'm not being a snob, I collect all kinds of miniatures and collect the cheap stuff along with the good stuff!
 

Fenris-77

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For purposes of RPGs, having dudes in notably different poses is a distinct advantage, even more so than in a wargame!

I any case, neither those Nolzur D&D minis nor most Reaper Bones PC minis (or smaller monster minis) are mutipart.
Hmm, well I suspect that depends on the wargamer. I take the painting and modeling side of the hobby as seriously as the competitive play side (or I did). I wouldn't even consider painting an army that had a ton of figs in duplicate poses. I'd rather stick a fork in my eye.
 

Fenris-77

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So...Napoleonics are out then? :hehe:
Actually, and maybe oddly, no. Static poses wouldn't bother me for Napoleonics as it fairly represents what things would have looked like. If I had anyone to play with I'd have a Napoleonic collection.
 

DeadBob

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The casual collector doesn't need to do any construction nowadays. The cheap mass market Reaper Bones and Wizkids minis are usable right out of the box with zero prep. Interestingly enough it's the nicer stuff like boutique pewter minis and plastic historical & wargamer kits that need prep work and assembly. I'm not being a snob, I collect all kinds of miniatures and collect the cheap stuff along with the good stuff!
I assume everyone starts from relatively simple and inexpensive and works up to their own comfort level of intricacy, skill, and budget.

On a tangent, the last time I looked, the price for one hand-painted, assembled, PC type mini from a painting service ran about the same as one of those 20 miniature, multipart Frostgrave boxes. One custom Heroforge unpainted mini seems to run about $20.

So, I mean there are options out there. They just tend to be pricey enough that for me, it makes more sense to assemble them myself.
 
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DeadBob

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Actually, and maybe oddly, no. Static poses wouldn't bother me for Napoleonics as it fairly represents what things would have looked like. If I had anyone to play with I'd have a Napoleonic collection.
Just painting a few cheap 54mm Napoleonics from Armies in Plastic to a "toy soldier" level of detail nearly drove me mad.

Definitely not a period I have any love for.
 

DeadBob

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BTW, a great minis related tip pointed out to me for the GM/monster collection side of things in RPGs:

If the monster doesn't move (or barely moves), it's basically a form of dangerous terrain/area trap and you can de-prioritize buying/building a mini for it.

That doesn't mean don't buy/build a mini, it just means it's lower priority.
 

Bunch

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If someone had put an extremely simple model kit together, they can handle putting a plastic gaming miniature together.

It ain't rocket surgery.

  1. Put a torso, usually with legs already attacked, onto a base.
  2. Then pick out a head and put that on.
  3. Put on two arms. In the case of many minis using two handed weapons, the two arms and the weapon in question are a single piece.
  4. Finally, put on any last bits. A shield? A backpack or belt pouch?
Some are even easier than that.

Once again, I think stuff to encourage people is great, but there's a limit to handholding, and I can tell my limit is already higher than Brock's, but even I shake my head a bit at some of this stuff.

The biggest problem with selling wargaming minis to RPGers IMO, isn't the hobby end, it's that they generally don't need nearly as many minis as come in a wargaming army set or even an Oathmark or Frostgrave box. They need half or less of that specific box of multipart plastics.

(On the GM end, a bit different set of problems. Not entirely different, but different enough.)
no.
 

DeadBob

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Ok?
Shrug.

Then go with another option.

Like I said, everyone starts simple and moves up in complexity to their comfort level, just like with rules.

Brock Savage noted the two major one-piece. low expense options, that are usually available at your FLGS and most online shops.

After that, you're starting to look at issues of cost. You want something painted to spec, it's gonna cost significantly more.

I had a buddy who chose that option back when we were doing some old west skirmish gaming. His time and space were valuable to him, and he found a seller that for about $8 per mini (you got a standard paint job that was pretty decent) and had about a dozen or so minis to choose from. He needed, I dunno, maybe 7 for his starting gang (People that do custom jobs on minis you choose to purchase and send to them or similar are more around $30 per mini usually)

For $50 bucks +shipping and one time purchase, it made sense for him to go that direction.

It saved him needing to pick up new skills or buy brushes and supplies, and in that specific case, wasn't terribly more expensive than just buying the minis ( I thinnk at that time they were metal and about $3/each unpainted although you might have needed to buy them in blisters of 2 or 3)
 
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David Johansen

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I like clean and simple figures, Mark Copplestone's work for example, because they're quick and easy to paint. Too much detail and it takes forever to get the figure on the table. I suppose you could go for a black with gold highlights base look and stop there. Painting doesn't have to be all consuming. One reason I like metal over plastic is less time to assemble the models. A resin and metal Flames of War tank takes about five minutes to assemble, a plastic one fifteen to twenty.
 

Bunch

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Ok?
Shrug.

Then go with another option.

Like I said, everyone starts simple and moves up in complexity to their comfort level, just like with rules.

Brock Savage noted the two major one-piece. low expense options, that are usually available at your FLGS and most online shops.

After that, you're starting to look at issues of cost. You want something painted to spec, it's gonna cost significantly more.

I had a buddy who chose that option back when we were doing some old west skirmish gaming. His time and space were valuable to him, and he found a seller that for about $8 per mini (you got a standard paint job that was pretty decent) and had about a dozen or so minis to choose from. He needed, I dunno, maybe 7 for his starting gang (People that do custom jobs on minis you choose to purchase and send to them or similar are more around $30 per mini usually)

For $50 bucks +shipping and one time purchase, it made sense for him to go that direction.

It saved him needing to pick up new skills or buy brushes and supplies, and in that specific case, wasn't terribly more expensive than just buying the minis ( I thinnk at that time they were metal and about $3/each unpainted although you might have needed to buy them in blisters of 2 or 3)
Sorry I was mostly being sarcastic there not trying to shoot you down hard.

I will say people don't want to assemble and it's a hard stop. Not because it's hard. It just adds a step and for a lot of people the removal from sprues, cleaning of flashing and or just dealing with imperfect fit is more than they want. If they have to choose between not hard enough plastic like the old D&D minis the majority will pick assembled with the best detail they can afford.
 

DeadBob

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I like clean and simple figures, Mark Copplestone's work for example, because they're quick and easy to paint. Too much detail and it takes forever to get the figure on the table. I suppose you could go for a black with gold highlights base look and stop there. Painting doesn't have to be all consuming. One reason I like metal over plastic is less time to assemble the models. A resin and metal Flames of War tank takes about five minutes to assemble, a plastic one fifteen to twenty.
I've been assuming cost is an issue for a new minis user, so variety and cost are where I've been pointing people.

In general, I like one piece metal minis (or a few pieces) better as well. I've just been imagining someone trying to bulk out a collection early, and then expand it later, so in early Bang for Buck matchups, multipart plastic minis usually win that contest.

Depending on what you're doing though, the suggestion of historical 1/72s paired with fantasy 1/72s from Red Box and Caesar, and some selective planning for monsters and toys would get a group far as well. It just may not make transitioning later to the more common 28mm+ scales easy.
 

DeadBob

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Sorry I was mostly being sarcastic there not trying to shoot you down hard.

I will say people don't want to assemble and it's a hard stop. Not because it's hard. It just adds a step and for a lot of people the removal from sprues, cleaning of flashing and or just dealing with imperfect fit is more than they want. If they have to choose between not hard enough plastic like the old D&D minis the majority will pick assembled with the best detail they can afford.
I really do wish WotC had gone for a less expensive series of unpainted minis packs based on their old CMG minis than what they seem to have ended up doing.

Something like that could have done a lot of lifting for use of minis in RPGs. If they could have brought them in at a similar price to the per miniature cost of those multipart sprues, especially if they were geared more to GMs than players, I think they'd have had a winner.
 

Fenris-77

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I like clean and simple figures, Mark Copplestone's work for example, because they're quick and easy to paint. Too much detail and it takes forever to get the figure on the table. I suppose you could go for a black with gold highlights base look and stop there. Painting doesn't have to be all consuming. One reason I like metal over plastic is less time to assemble the models. A resin and metal Flames of War tank takes about five minutes to assemble, a plastic one fifteen to twenty.
You assemble metal figs faster than plastic? What sorcery is this?! I've never found that to be the case. Tell me more.
 

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To me minis are an entirely different wing of the hobby. Personally I like minis, I use them in games and I enjoy collecting and painting them. However they are absolutely unnecessary to play even tactical RPGs. Random tokens, coins, washers etc with a sharpie of some paint is entirely adequate as stand ins for minis, and scraps of paper, blocks, Legos etc are functional terrain. A cheap laminated roll of paper and a set of dry erase pens is a workable stand in for all of it.

Minis and cool terrain certainly adds a visual element, but by no means do cheap substitutions make any RPG unplayable.
 

David Johansen

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You assemble metal figs faster than plastic? What sorcery is this?! I've never found that to be the case. Tell me more.
Single piece or figures with only a head or shield to glue on. With the resin Flames of War tanks all you have to do is glue on the two tracks, the gun barrel, and the hatch. Well, unless they're mould's breaking down and you have to auger out the hull to mount the tracks. Then it's more like a couple hours.
 

Fenris-77

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Single piece or figures with only a head or shield to glue on. With the resin Flames of War tanks all you have to do is glue on the two tracks, the gun barrel, and the hatch. Well, unless they're mould's breaking down and you have to auger out the hull to mount the tracks. Then it's more like a couple hours.
Oh, I see. That's fair. Lots of other metal models have multiple parts, which is where the misunderstanding crept in.
 

chuckdee

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I think this is good advice for life in general. I know I'm certainly trying to reign in my focus and attention -- "Do I need to care about this?"
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As an added bonus, it works really well for work, too!
Well, as a fuckin' insane 40K collector with enough minis to fill a small store, I don't really get the issue with having to put shit together. I suppose I'm a product of my experience though. I like multi-part minis because I don't have a ton of dudes with the same pose.
I had to jump off that insanity. It was just too much. I still love the lore and the setting, but the miniatures are insane.

I got into Iron Kingdoms because it was a bit better... but now they're getting insane also.
 
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