Miniatures are nearly as ubiquitous an image of table-top gaming culture as dice. They are necessary for some games, useful for many, and a great addition for more. Miniatures, though, are quite an expensive aspect of gaming to get into. So, how can you cheaply start a collection of miniatures?
The cheapest way to get miniatures is through a Reaper Bones Kickstarter. The third such Kickstarter is ending this Saturday July 25th. Reaper Bones come unpainted and are “Inexpensive, high quality, soft gaming models that are easy and fun to paint and won’t break when you actually use them for games!” From experience I can attest that they need no priming and are extremely durable. A $100 pledge currently gets you over 150 miniatures, plus two weapons packs for miniatures customization, and circular bases of varying sizes. That’s just 66 cents per miniature, and more miniatures are being added to the $100 Reaper Bones Base Set as stretch goals are met. Large miniatures and other add-ons are also available for insanely cheap prices through this Kickstarter.
But if painting isn’t your thing, how can you get prepainted miniatures for less than a dollar each? How can one start a miniatures collection without breaking the bank? One trick is to find old Mage Knight lots on Ebay. Mage Knight is a collectible miniatures wargame that was introduced in 2000 by WizKids.
A quick search on Ebay shows numerous lots that yield from around 80 cents per miniature for 40 miniature lots to as little as 40 cents per miniature for 100 miniature lots. These prices include shipping.
Mage Knight miniatures’ special bases include a dial that allows you to track various combat statistics. If you don’t want these bases, you can easily remove them and add plain bases. Bases are available from many sources including Reaper Miniatures, Amazon, and they can be found in bulk on the web with a little searching. If you want to keep it cheap, here are 72 laser cut stands for just $4.99, or you can use one-inch washers as well. It’s easy to remove the figures with a hobby knife and a little force.
Many of the lots available on Ebay contain a random mix of figures. With a little looking, though, you can find sets like this lot of 52 similar figures that would be excellent for a large group of orcs or goblins, for instance.
Mage Knight miniatures are available for cheap and are more than adequate for many role-playing and miniatures games. They can be used as is, or easily modified to provide more generic looking bases. While I have many different miniatures ranging from Pathfinder Battles prepainted plastic to metal to Bones Reaper Miniatures I’ve painted myself, I purchased one large lot of Mage Knight miniatures a couple of years ago to fill out my collection for use in gaming. I am also more than comfortable letting my kids play with these figures as they are durable and really, really cheap.