Prior to the first D&D Miniatures Harbinger set back in November 2003, a role player’s only true option was to go the metal figure route (where Reaper sat at the head of the table). With the Wizards of the Coast’s pre-painted miniatures line taking some unexplainable twist and turns, hand painted metal miniatures are making a bit of a comeback.
Metal miniatures take painstaking amounts of patience and care to paint properly. They’re also trickier to store and transport. And accidental chips are always a heartbreaker.
Still, a really well done hand painted mini is a one of kind and adds a bit of nostalgia to one’s collection. The key is to know where and when to look. Lots of artisans are trading their original precious pieces for new games or quick cash.