top of page

Starting Out | Minis for Role Playing Games - Finding a Miniature for you

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

If you are the kind of person waiting for an excuse to get into painting up your own minis for games, it can be a bit daunting. For Dungeon Masters and Game masters, painted scenery and monsters can help immerse players into that epic fight. For Players, having a miniature for your character can be something you cherish and augment as your character levels up and evolves! Minis with battle maps can help simplify things for new players, or force veterans to think increasingly tactically as they grow accustomed to the game.

For those who have watched Stranger Things, the scene where the Demogorgon is slammed down onto the table is a powerful, intense moment. It's not hard to start wondering how you can start bringing that sort of immersion and intensity to your own games.

Gif - Stranger Things, Dungeons and Dragons cemogorgon scene.
Bam! Stranger things was a powerful introduction for many people into the world of D&D, as well as the idea of miniatures and other tabletop RPG games.

I wanted to put together a really simple, handy guide with some resources on getting started. My humble beginnings with the world of miniature painting started with Warhammer, board games and D&D, and I had a number of lovely people to guide me along. Without that sort of exposure and guidance, though, it would have been overwhelming. My aim with this little series is to help point you in the right direction and set you off on your own miniature adventure.


Part 1 - Acquiring Miniatures


The first thing you want to decide is what sort of miniatures that you want to paint, and where to get them. An important part of finding miniatures is considering what you want out of them. Do you want big, dramatic pieces or characters to show off and emphasise the importance of your Big Bad in a long term campaign, or do you want a hoard of zombies that can be quickly thrown into any setting for a short or one-shot campaign.

There are a massive number of different manufacturers that you can pick from, from official D&D minis, to generic fantasy beasts and even services when you create your own! I've listed a few of the largest ones below. I've used some examples below for different Paladin(esque) sculpts you can find in each brand.

Nolzur's Marvelous Unpainted Minis: Human Male Paladin

Wizards of the Coast produce official D&D minis through Wizkids and Gale Force Nine that match up with official artwork. Between their "Icons of the Realms" boxes, specific campaign minis and "Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures", you can find almost anything in the realms of fantasy (except for a Half-Orc Bard, ever...)!

These can sometimes sit on the average point of the quality scale, but as a budget and entry level tabletop piece work fantastically. Another issue is that the pre-priming can occasionally be too thick and start to clog up the sculpted detail.

Points For:

  • Cheap

  • Easy to find

  • match official artwork

  • Ready to paint

Points Against:

  • Can be missing detail

  • Hard to customise

  • No Sci-Fi minis


Games Workshop Stormcast Liberator

Games Workshop produce high detail miniatures that sit quite high on the price scale, but work fantastically if you want your character, main NPC or your BBEG to look absolutely stunning. Made out of a harder plastic or resin, they are more delicate than a lot of others, but the detail is stunning.

These guys will require assembly and priming before painting so there is a higher initial investment, but the results are undeniable when done well. Find them through their webstore here, or find a store.

Points For:

  • High Detail

  • Easy to buy in large groups

  • Readily customisable

  • Massive range of models

Points Against:

  • High price point

  • Require preparation

  • More Delicate than soft plastic models


Reaper Bones 89024: Holy Vindicator

Reaper Miniatures produce hardy, soft plastic miniatures of all shapes and sizes. Whilst they can lack in detail, their robust construction means that the unpainted miniature can be thrown, stepped on, crushed, jammed into boxes and carried to and from sessions without a care. Once painted, you will need to take a gentler hand with them to avoid chipping your paint.

These miniatures are extremely cheap, but are prone to bending with heat and aren't all too suited for conversion, but the wide range of minis they have available means you will likely be able to find what you are looking for. You can find them here

Points For:

  • Cheap and durable

  • Sometimes difficult to obtain

  • Wide range, including most archetypes

  • Ready to paint

Points Against:

  • Lacking sharp detail

  • Hard to customise

  • Can bend and warp in heat.


Heroforge: The possibilities are truly endless

HeroForge is a website that allows you to create your very own custom miniature out of modular parts and have it exported, printed and delivered to your door. They are continually expanding their range of items, clothes and other greeblies to create the perfect character, but are limited to humanoids. If you're looking for a beast or animal companion, better look elsewhere.

You can choose different levels of detail and materials when ordering these, though the prices start in the mid range and move quite high (right up to getting them printed in Rose Gold!).

Points For:

  • Affordable low-end materials

  • Online ordering

  • Endlessly customisable

  • You can have a penguin pet on your base

Points Against:

  • Online ordering only

  • Only Humanoid

  • Lacking pre-made options for bulk enemies


Another few companies that I'm not personally familiar with, but have seen great results from their minis (in no particular order) are:

If you have additional suggestions, comment below! I'm always looking for new miniatures to check out and add to my 'to be painted' pile.


After you have your miniatures in hand, where do you go from there? You'll need some tools and paints, to prepare your model if need be, and then we're on to picking up the brush!

Wait up for the next post!


Disclaimer: This page includes some affiliate links that, when used to purchase items, allow me to receive a very small portion of the sale back at no increased cost to yourself. This is through Mighty Ape, which has been a reliable source of supplies with Australian support for some time now for me, but may not be suited so much to overseas readers. If you would like to purchase any of the products linked above, it will always be appreciated and allows me to spend more time making guides, writing articles and creating works to share.

110 views0 comments


bottom of page