Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pre-Painted D&D Miniatures

D&D Attack Wing
You can't fool Iron Seer by switching the bases around.
Some time ago (2003, to be exact), Wizards of the Coast started introducing their pre-painted miniatures lines for what was then the third edition of the Dungeons and Dragons game.  At the time, I was unhappy with WotC after their triumphant success with the D&D property.  You see, they had also just introduced the "3.5" edition.  I was seriously into some D&D, but my books that I already had worked just fine, you see.  I was in my early twenties, and finally got a taste of capitalism right in my hobby.

Around then I really decided to double down on miniatures games.  However, I had a real distaste for these prepaints.  They just were generally ... poor compared to my own work, or that of my homies.  In certain places where I lurked online, the sentiment was echoed - prepaints were an alien menace to be eradicated, with NO conversation.

I was so entrenched in the conventions of wargaming at the time, it was hard for me to see any 'use' for these miniatures, but now I see it as the hubris of youth.  You see, without any money or a real space to store lots of miniatures, as a young man I strived to obtain precisely what I thought I 'needed' to play 40k at any one time.

D&D Attack Wing - Frost Giant
Jarl Horn will be taking those Huggies...
and any cash you've got in the register.
Today, it's very different.  Of late, I've found myself more and more attracted to prepaints.  This is partially due to the fact that the re-launch of the line in 2014 had a vastly improved quality of production over the older generation...but that really started with Pathfinder Miniatures launch in 2012.   When those miniatures came out, our club was gifted a complete set with multiples as we started down an adventure path.  Honestly, that changed my mind entirely about what pre-paints could be, and even how they could be used.

I've started to be more open minded in my old age.  I devote a 'yooj' portion of my gaming budget to prepainted miniatures as far as X-Wing goes, but the plastic RP prepaints were more of a diversionary thing, a sort of 'supplement' to my normal miniature addiction.  However, as they began to stack up and I took up collecting Star Wars miniatures in general I began to see a much greater value for the humble prepaint.

I'm not so straitjacketed in my gaming these days.  Storage has always been an issue, and right now I'm about to pull everything out and rearrange terrain storage and plan what set of tables I'm actually going to keep and develop.  To tell the truth, my backlog is so great that if I hadn't changed my mind about prepaints I'd not have nearly the amount of cool dungeon monsters to menace adventurers with.

At some point I realized it didn't matter what quality they were, as long as there were recognizable, colorized(ish) and I didn't have to worry about them beyond making the purchase and remembering they were there.  Since both Star Wars and D&D have a rather distinct style, with lots of specific types of soldiers and monsters, it helps to have models that actually display the particular threat you wish to project on your players.

D&D Attack Wing - Red Dragon
Warning:  Trees may come into
focus quickly.
Let's talk about D&D Attack Wing.  First of all, it was cool.  Second of all, it's also easy to see how people were put off by it.  If the price point was 25-50% less than what it was (depending on the product) it would have been a much better sell...but that would have undercut Tyranny of Dragons prepaints, which were the exact same miniatures but on a different base.  So the Attack Wing models were sold as the premiums, mostly because you knew exactly what you were getting with each purchase. With the collectible aspect of the prepainted miniatures line, it wouldn't do to have miniatures (especially the larger ones, specifically dragons) that were the exact same floating around that were that easy to obtain.  The rarity would have been upset and so would collectors.

There just weren't that many Attack Wing collectors.

It's been discontinued since, but I'm still collecting it because we're still having fun with it.  If nothing else, it came with a lot of tokens and models that are going to be pulling exceptional duty around here.  I'm not as put off about 'mixing' models from one game or another anymore, and we've also got the D&D Miniatures Handbook to play with.

I didn't get to play Dungeon Command, but hopefully I'll remember to grab up a few of the sets before they get outrageously expensive.  I'm kinda in the process of doing that with Attack Wing, so we'll see how that turns out.  I should have grabbed those up when they were cheap.

As far as Chainmail goes, we've already been playing a D&D(ish) skirmish game.  The biggest issue is the grid, honestly.  Anyways, the Miniatures Handbook kinda solves all that for us.

I think if I had one thing I wanted, it would be a better points system that wasn't reliant on cards.  Yeah I know it's "impossible" to create a "balanced" system and that's why the Miniatures Handbook only gives us "guidelines"...but I think we'll be able to use whatever we like.  Attack wing is another story, but still - we've got plenty of dials and facing cards.  We could always create our own, and that's the best part.  After all, we've got a war to start in the Silver Marches...

Jake Reveals His Maneuver Dial
Remember:  Reveal your Maneuver Dial with the exact amount of panache that is appropriate to your opponent's misfortune.

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