I’ve talked about this before–the minis I use for my table.
I had the same problems most DMs find themselves having when they want miniature-based (or grid-based) combat… minis themselves. They’re a nexus of three major conflicts:
- Reference – we want miniatures that can be used in the place of monsters and players in a way that makes it easy to know what the heck they are. That old box of half-painted Warhammer figures and some random Bones minis, etc. is a disappointment because, end of the day, you end up having to say “that wolf there, that’s the hellhound; yeah, and that blue guy? he’s the Helmed Horror; and that giant is a dragon”. Proxies (objects used to represent things) are a legit way of doing it all, but even then, random proxies are terrible (“I shoot at the hobgoblin!”…”Which one?”…”the d20 over there by Bill; no that one… no THAT one”).
- Quality – Paper miniatures can be alright, but they’re fragile. Cheap minis rip and break and it’s just no fun. Flimsy plastic warps. In the end, we want something with a little table weight, something durable, something consistent, and useful. Quality.
- Cost – Sure… if we had an unlimited budget, then an unlimited inventory of well painted monsters of all kinds could be at hand. But, that’s not practical, it’s not cheap. We would love to be in and out of the mini market for under $100 (many of us) and under $50 (if we’re lucky).
So, my solution was to take a note or two from other games.