What the!? Christmas in February?! Round three of Pathfinder’s bold entry into the once dying miniature market makes them the clear industry leader in this now budding category. Shattered Star is a pure delight. Get ready to be amazed and bewildered.
Inside the Numbers
Shattered Star is Paizo’s third miniature set so Ben has gotten a real good sense of what gets him an acceptable number of doubles and ultimately a complete set. The booster-brick-case packaging vernacular on Paizo’s site still sorta requires a Cracker Jack decoder ring but thankfully Huge Booster packs weren’t part of the packaging equation this time. So, Ben stuck to the plan and ordered a case (which included the promo miniature).
For fun, here’s how some of the online retailers measured up for case prices:
Editor’s Note: Prices quoted were as of 2/11/13 and included the Gargantuan Blue Dragon promo figure in the final cost.
PopularCollections.com remained the best price on the web for a case with a promo figure. Even better, Ben had a holiday shopping cart code which saved him $35.
Things get a little messy with the shipping of Shattered Star product. The Internet is showing countless posts of disappointment and anger for every retailer on the number of shipped broken miniatures.
Here’s why. Paizo builds their minis differently than Wizards of the Coast. WotC figs always had a propensity to bend whereas the Pathfinder minis have been known to break. However, this latest set really showed a higher degree of snap, crack and pop. Ben had seven minis come out of boxes in various forms of shatter (hence the irony of the set name).
Ben spoke with a Popular Collections representative and received the following:
“We shipped your case as well as the rest of our case orders the way that we received them in the factory sealed cases. It seems this set had more fragile minis than the previous two sets. We have been told all along that if any minis are damaged that come in factory sealed booster packs/bricks/cases the manufacturer (Wizkids) is responsible for replacing the damaged minis. Here is the link to their replacement page.”
Side Note: Singles are an entirely different story with Popular Collections. They pack their individual minis with great care (and Ben has ordered through them many times without issue).
And while Ben accepts their response as a fair one (as it’s obvious this is how all the online vendors sent this product), you just wish there was an extra level of service when you spend $350 and $16.99 on shipping. If you think about it, Ben got more packaging on a $6 order of Americana paint from Amazon Prime then he did on his minis order. Want another example? Dwarven Forge goes through extreme lengths on its shipping and packaging protection – it’s impeccable.
Ben could certainly pursue the matter with Wizkids but he’s honestly just doesn’t have the strength. So while this issue wasn’t a deal breaker, every buyer should be aware of this problem with the manufacturer. The shatter is likely to come up regardless of the online vendor you choose. Bottom line: Ben would order again from Popular Collections again.
Once again Ben was able to fill out a whole set by ordering a case. And once again it was by the skin of his chinny chin chin. However, throw in that dastardly break-age problem and you run a real risk of spending $400-ish and not having one of every miniature. The last rare Ben opened came on the second to last pack and was the Amri, Human Barbarian.
Promotional Fig Nuttiness
The Gargantuan Blue Dragon seemed like a really odd choice here. You kinda expected Paizo to “read the room” and already know what was currently available on the market. Gamers have a horde of dragon choices from WotC. More so, Rise of the Runelords resisted that dragon urge and truly pushed the creativity envelope with the Rune Giant. This latest dragon sorta feels like Paizo took a step backwards and was more concerned with sticking its chest out.
The promo fig fumble was quickly erased by the outstanding breadth of this set’s overall sculpts. Our game group had endless rounds of disagreements on what were the best miniatures. Honestly, there were too many good ones to choose from and that’s the mark of a great set.
Now you’re certainly going to hear whispers of too many elementals in Shattered Star. And yes, too many bad sculpts of a particular type can be bad. However, plenty of amazing sculpts of a great monster category is music to our ears. We adore this sub group of miniatures: the poses, the quantity, the bases, the variety, etc. And you’re going to love them too.
Paizo continues to have exquisite face detail and paint quality. It’s such a relief to see that this manufacturing technique hasn’t been abandoned for higher profit margins.
These faces in particular were top-notch:
The innovative designers deserve to be recognized for their efforts. You’re going to pull fig after fig from this pile and gasp in glee over the…
- Quirky races (three cheers for the Mites)
- Mechanical mischief (what time is it?)
- Animal nature (plenty of bestial instincts)
- Classic reset (lots of great additions to your master mini library)
- Freaky fun (get ready for some awkward silence)
Paizo really shined by bringing a ton of fascinating characters and monsters from its Shattered Star adventure path to its miniatures forefront. Ben was so intrigued by what he saw that it didn’t take him long to start snatching up the six modules that make up this particular Pathfinder campaign. And that’s quite a feat considering Ben is such a 4E fan (or a “Fourthy” as they like to say at Gen Con). Think of it though. There’s no way you can’t resist knowing the backstory behind something like an Alchemical Golem.
Break It Down
Ben likes the monster make-up of this set with 80% monsters and 20% characters
And now for our Shattered Star top and bottom five. The envelope please…
Ben’s RPG Pile Fabulous Five:
- Mite on Spider (The total package)
- Caryatid Column (Stone cold good)
- Clockwork Reliquary (Skeleton in a tube!)
- Troll Champion (Big weapons | Big Bite)
- Large Air Elemental (Air kung fu grip)
Ben’s RPG Pile Bottomfeeder Five:
- Ravenous Ooze (Like it was sneezed out)
- Mesmalatu (The Mess in the name is actually correct)
- Pallid Path Cultist (Boring city)
- Cleric Mummy (Keep staring at its bad headgear)
- Female Pile Up (Thundercats…hoooooo! | too many chicks)
So what’s next in miniature land? Paizo hasn’t announced its next full set yet but we will get a tidy 12-mini set called We Be Goblins monster set that supposed to drop in May. WotC is also close to releasing its next Dungeon Command set, Blood of Gruumsh, in mid February (Ben’s pre-order is already in).
Questions to Ponder: How many boosters will you buy? Did any minis arrive broken? Did we get our top or bottom five wrong? How so? Do you only buy singles? Is Dungeon Command ever going to be able to compete with Pathfinder’s miniature line? Do you still find yourself re-basing a lot of old Mage Knight and HorrorClix minis?