We interrupt our regularly scheduled Red Rover terrain programming to joyfully bring you a long-awaited pre-painted miniatures review. Our monthly character sacrifices to the RPG Gods apparently worked because for the first time in 16 painful months, we have new boxes of finely made miniatures to unwrap. Hazah! Join Ben as he shares his take on Pathfinder’s inaugural set.
Editor’s note: this post will unavoidably draw comparisons to the Wizards of the Coast’s own miniature line. It’s not done with any negative intent. Ben is a super fan of WotC’s work and has collected every darn mini they’ve ever created. However, for the first time, we have choice and that my friends, is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Let’s start with where to buy these little bundles of happiness. Pretty much every website is selling cases ($189.99) and bricks ($49.99) for the same price. Certain singles are hard to find right now with a few full sets dropping in and out on eBay for about $163-ish.
Packaging is quite robust so environmentalists of any sort may want to skip this paragraph. Each random mini is firmly packed in its own box – creating a mountain of garbage. It’s incredibly rare to get a bent Pathfinder miniature – yet often a frustration of the old days. However, gamers with little ones of their own will cringe at the sheer amount of waste from the opening of one brick.
Now let’s talk about the actual material. Pathfinder minis definitely seem to be made out of a slightly different substance and consequently, feel a little lighter – certainly in an attempt to keep their production cost down. They feel good in your hand and so far, are holding up well to being stuffed in a box for storage (but a weapon snap can still happen). The bases on some of the small to medium figs are unique in that it’s not a direct connect to the circular base. Instead, the feet are actually on their own plastic circles which in turn, are glued to the final bases. This assembly method is probably a wise attempt to stop that dreaded slump. Sure, it looks different but worth the minor sacrifice if it truly keeps Ben’s monsters upright.
While the set is a tad small for a debut (Harbinger opened with 80 minis in 2003), 40 is still a decent number and is actually 45 if you count the starter set and the dragon promo fig. It took Ben 5 bricks to get a full set but that didn’t bother him at all since the monster types and commonality were well planned. Ben actually bought six bricks in all – more than enough for a full set but he was eager to get doubles in all of these categories:
- Goblins and Orcs
- Skeletons, Mummies and Zombies
- Town Guards
- Lizard Men
- Spiders, Snakes and Rats
- Spectres and Gargoyles
The quality and attention to detail in the set is immediately apparent, particularly in the faces. Really tiny hands or amazing technology has produced amazing facial detail. Gone are many of the common blotches or dot splotch effects. The quality bar has definitely been raised. You also will be quick to admire their new spin on old monsters like the Troll, Orcs or Goblins. They got a tad Cartoon Network with the Ogre and Manticore there could be some staying true to the brand intent there (at least we hope that’s the excuse).
Ben also applauds the innovation of interchangeable weapons as shown in the Frost Giant’s mighty ax or huge sword. This will only get more interesting in future sets.
So here we go with our traditional miniature set top and bottom five. Drum roll, please.
Ben’s RPG Pile Top Five:
- Giant Caveweaver Spider (the red back design is primo)
- Human Ranger (great pose and face)
- Spectre (best all-round mini)
- Human Rogue (no denying the cape sculpt)
- Goblin Warrior (The teeth say it all)
Ben’s RPG Pile Bottomfeeder Five:
- Vampire (more like master butler)
- Manticore (Wizard of Oz cowardly lion face)
- Gnome Fighter (dear god)
- Lizardfolk Champion (more like king of the losers)
- Ogre (your Greant Aunt Ruth wearing a moving vest)
There it is. The bar has been raised! More so, Pathfinder might get one more set in (a heck of a head start) before Wizards even re-enters the miniature arena in July with Dungeon Command: Heart of Cormyr. Its first set since September 21, 2010. We’re entering the renaissance miniature days. Good times…good times.