Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rusty Dragon Inn (Pathfinder Battles) Quick Critques

The Pathfinder Battles miniatures line from WizKids has been around for a couple years now. Since the release of D&D 5th edition, WizKids has also picked up the license for D&D Icons of the Realms miniatures

For the most part, the WizKids lines were not that interesting to me. While there were occasional sculpts I liked, I mostly skipped out on anything from WizKids due to the plethora of other owned miniatures. I own a great deal of the old miniatures from the D&D Miniatures games, a set of the Reaper Bones and a bunch of lead from the 80's and 90's as well.

However, several of the new minis from the Rusty Dragon Inn caught my eye. This is not so much a full review the entire set as it is a few quick observations about the recent release.


Compared to the D&D Miniatures game, the Pathfinder Battles sculpts are a little more "mushy" for lack of a better word. D&D Minis have finer details in their sculpts. When you compare the older D&D Miniatures vs. the Pathfinder Battles minis, (such as the guards and farmers pictured below) the fine details just aren't as present. Those minor details just make the D&D minis stand out as slightly superior sculpts.

The size of the WizKids miniatures (both Pathfinder Battles and the new D&D Icons of the Realms line) are slightly smaller than D&D Miniatures. Of the figures I've purchased, they seem slightly closer in size to the 25 mm lead figures of old than the 28 - 30 mm plastic that one usually finds today.

A close comparison of commons from former D&D Miniatures line and
Pathfinder Battles illustrates that minor details can make a huge difference.

Paint Jobs

The colors on the WizKids minis, while not bad, sometimes seem overly bright or splashed on. To be fair, the paint jobs on the old D&D Miniatures were very hit and miss, with the occasional strange outlier.

For instance, the Farmer figure from the Desert of Desolation set was a common, but the paint job on that figure was almost always excellent, as good as an uncommon or even rare figures rather than a common. Similarly, there are a number of commons showing up in the WizKids Pathfinder and D&D products that have excellent paint jobs while many of the others, even rares, are just "meh".

With the old D&D line, the paint jobs did generally improve with the maturity of the product line. WizKids is still a bit up and down, but generally speaking the paint jobs are pretty close if not quite on par with the former D&D Miniatures line.

Rusty Dragon Inn

So, the new Rusty Dragon Inn boosters had a few items that lured me to add a few more minis to my somewhat obscene collection. I'm not a fan of random boosters, so I went to the Ebay after market instead, but I think even with the random selection, the Rusty Dragon Inn release has very few duds.

1) Beaky - This is the best freakin' Owlbear miniature I've ever seen. Because it's a common  it's still quite cheap even in the after market at the time of this writing. If you think owlbears are at all cool, this mini is a must-own. Excellent paint job (even some drybrush highlights for the breast feathers). It's a massive beast in comparison to other minis in the "Large" category. By comparison, similar beasts of the same size category are shrinking violets compared to Beaky. I think this may be my new favorite mini of all time.

2) Townsfolk - This set has a really nice array of regular non-adventuring types. I love these. Between Reaper Bones and this set, I think I finally have a good number of unarmed, normal people to populate a village or hang out in the tavern.

3) Furniture - I didn't purchase any set dressing pieces, but for people who don't want to buy Hirst Arts molds or pre-made pieces off Ebay, this set also features crates, chairs, tables, beds and a full bar if you buy the "incentive" bonus set (you can pony up around $50 on the after market). For what they are, the furniture pieces are a little pricey. I'd probably look for someone selling resin or dental stone pieces from Hirst Arts, but these are nice bonuses to get if you do buy random boosters. The horse carts are going for pretty high price on Ebay, so even if you don't want them, someone else will.

Other beasts are dwarfed by the pure brawn that is Beaky.

 Final Thoughts

In general, I haven't been that impressed with the various WizKids miniatures available for Pathfinder or D&D. The selection and paint quality is getting better, but I'm still not a fan of random boosters. As a set, the Rusty Dragon Inn shows that a promising future may be ahead for the WizKids line. Aside from the original Heroes & Monsters set, this is probably one of the best to date. Some of the recent WizKids D&D sets have also been pretty good.

The older D&D Miniatures are getting harder to find (aside from the commons that nobody wants), so their cost on the secondary market is becoming less appealing. The D&D Dungeon Command sets are still around, so they are a good way to build up bands of Orcs, Goblins, Drow, or Skellies, but for anything else, WizKids is one of the few providers with a wide variety of pre-painted miniatures. Both Reaper and Dwarven Forge are exploring pre-painted sets, but still have only a small variety available. Heopfully, more competition in this space will create better miniatures all around.

A closer shot for size comparison. I just love how bulky this miniature is.

PS: Dear WizKids, Please do a version of Beaky with this color scheme.

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