They are certainly not a new release, but the Bones line of miniatures from Reaper Miniatures is certainly new enough that I thought they warranted some time. Reaper is a company whose metal miniatures I own quite a few of and they are one of the few companies producing miniatures with role playing games like DnD in mind. So when they announced a line of cheap, unpainted, plastic miniatures I sat up and paid attention. (I’ve had fantasy miniatures longer than I’ve had DnD and I started with the 80′s Red Box.)
Now a significant reason I’ve been hesitant in buying unpainted plastic miniatures (or any miniatures) is I already have a large back log of unpainted miniatures, and it takes me a long time (2+ hours for a basic human) to paint to my normal standard. However at the end of Febuary I was talking to @adampageuk about a fast way of painting miniatures to “game table” standard. Adam took that conversation and ran with it, painting 20+ miniatures in the time I painted about 2. Yes my miniatures were painted to a higher standard, but for putting on a table and gaming with his looked at least as good as commons and uncommons from DDI. In the last few weeks I’ve tested the technique for myself (and will post about it here when I get a full “in progress” set of pictures) and produced miniatures that I’m pleased with from a “use at the table” perspective, rather than my usual “display” one.
So with a technique in hand, and 2 daughters who wanted to learn to paint, and a need for more basic paints I looked to Reaper miniatures and took the opportunity to buy some of their Bones line. Specifically I purchased 2 each of the Cave Troll, Ogre Chieften, Gnoll Warrior and Kobolds packs. 18 unpainted minis for $23.68, not a bad investment considering the usual price.
The line is made from a plastic (10% recycled material apparently) and they are incredibly light, definately weighing less than their DnD Mini equivalents. They are (as you can see) quite white, meaning I will not need to undercoat (as they are “ready to paint” according to Reaper). The detail in the miniatures is only slightly lower than you expect from Reaper metal minis but is in general of a high standard, certainly comparable to DnD mini rares. The one “problem” that exists with the product is that the current Bones miniatures are mostly true 25mm in size (the Gnoll is an exception). This leads to them being quite small compared to the more “heroic 28mm” of the newest DnD (and Paizo) miniature lines, at least in the case of the ogre and troll miniatures.
For a DnD player like myself this bears a great deal of consideration. At first glance this might make the miniatures seem less useful, however I think that depends very much on how you see the monsters in question. I personally haven’t been very happy with the explosion in size of the DnD trolls and ogres, so these smaller miniatures are fine in my books. If anything it lets me mess with what this monsters are a little more. Perhaps the massize ones are a particular, and more dangerous version of the monster while the smaller ones are more common. Perhaps they are not even ogres and trolls?
Despite the small size of the ogre and troll miniature the gnoll is pretty much directly compatable to DnD miniatures as you can see below, and at $2.49US for the plastic and $10.99US for the multipart metal of the same miniature its a pretty easy choice for me to make. Similar things come into play with the Kobolds; $3.49 for 6 vs $9.99 for 5. Yes there is more pose variety in the 5, but I already have a few different kobold models so I can mix and match.For those of you wanting a more “old school” look it is worth noting that Reaper kobolds have the 1E dog heads, not the more recent lizard-like heads.
My final verdict is that I am pleased with these miniatures; they are actually as advertised – Reaper miniatures great detail at an amazing price. I hope that the line works for Reaper and that we see some of the other miniatures, especially multipart ones (as they tend to handle game use less well) turn up in plastic from them soon.