|August 20, 2008||Posted by Troy E. Taylor|
He’s a regular Becky HomeEc-y
I like doing crafts. You’re more likely to see me in a Michael’s, a Hobby Lobby or even the paint section at Wal-Mart as you are at a game store. I guess I’m always looking for creative outlets. And painting the 25mm metal miniatures used in roleplaying games is just one way I express myself.
Land of the Lilliputians
In fact, the most interesting aspect of Third Edition D&D when it was released in 2000 was the support it received in metal miniatures. I picked up the D&D branded Heroes set and the Monsters set and I was painting those for my game. Before long I was painting Chainmail sets — and then I discovered Reaper miniatures, and I was in heaven then, I can tell you. For a while there before I bought storage cases, entering my study looked like Gulliver in the Land of the Lilliputians.
Now I don’t have the world’s largest collection. And while I do a fair job of painting, I’m not a professional quality minis painter. (I’ve seen the quality of painting pros, and there are promises to keep and miles to go before I would consider my brush strokes even deserving to be displayed alongside those folks). Even so, I’m pretty proud of my little collection, and glad to have them for my games.
Age of plastic
I’ve always been of two minds of pre-painted plastic miniatures, such as those for HeroClix and the D&D Miniatures game.
First, I fully realize not everyone, in fact, mostly everyone, doesn’t want to invest in metal nor even paint figurines for their games. The whole collectable, randomized-pack thing perplexed me, but then, I don’t go for that in trading cards either. So if this was a relatively inexpensive (compared to buying metal) means of getting into the minis scene, then I was cool with that.
On the other hand, when I saw people trying to roll up a characters that matched what they had in their plastic collection — rather than going with their gut and simply reaching for a metal fig that best fit a character of their creation, I had to admit I was taken aback.
My own packs
I recently came into possession of a few booster packs of D&D miniatures. So for the past few weeks, my son and I have been opening one each weekend. And I’m starting to see the appeal of the collectors — the grab bag aspect of discovering what treasured rare is inside each pack.
And to be honest, I’m a lot more comfortable with my 4-year-old playing with the plastic figs (supervised of course) than my pewter minis and their more fragile pinned parts. In fact, we’ve had a blast doing the toy soldier thing with the plastic minis and a few dungeon tiles. No rules, just imagination play with monsters and heroes and a dungeon landscape.
Seeing one of my children embrace this kind of play, to be enriched by the little figs in a positive way is worth more to me than any old metal vs. plastic debate, anyway. Count me in as a fan.
About Troy E. Taylor
Troy's happiest when up to his elbows in plaster molds and craft paint, creating terrain and detailing minis for his home game. A career journalist and Werecabbages freelancer, he also claims mastery of his kettle grill, from which he serves up pizza to his wife and three children.