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The Uprising Miniature's Race!

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Hey Reapamunity! it may come to no surprise that recently WOTC Wiz kids miniatures have been growing in Popularity and has been tiding over some of your local gaming stores.

i am fortunate enough to have 4 such game store here in Houston TX. Now i am a MASSIVE fan of Reaper's bones miniatures line, the Reaper Co. took up 95% of my actual miniatures collection. . 2 years ago.

and now with the Popularity of Wizkids Deep Cuts/Pathfinder & Nolzur's miniature growing FAST in popularity my collection is now 65% Reaper co. 30%WOTC, 5%various.

now don't get me wrong more Miniatures is a win for EVERYONE indeed, how ever after seeing in ALL my local game store stock walls completely adorned in WizKids mini's line and Reaper selection has been drastically reduced as a result i find that i want reaper miniatures to remain 1# choice for affordable mini's.

 

so to avoid ranting on too much i wanted to start this Topic of how we as a dedicated collective community of game masters and players alike, can give reaper crew some more direct insight on what we look for in a miniature

please share your Ideas, Criticism, suggestions &  laudation how we can give our Reaper guys a nudge in the right direction.

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Now me personally i am a heavy Purist Dungeon master i find the aesthetics of a miniature extremely important when i make my selection. now i Know WIZKIDZ being the owners of D&D they have full use of all Iconic baddies in the Monster Manual and their miniatures sculpts are leagues past "normal" Reaper Bones, but reaper's quick thinking introduced Bones BLACK & they are quite close on terms of detail.

1. Wizkids miniatures have a more livly dynamic feel and poses to their sculpts while Reaper minis have a slightly more casual tame/muted presence in comparison.

2. Reaper covers a vast selection of Miniatures kudos! i feel that making miniatures that are difficult to find give a huge edge. (that Catoblepus, War Wammoths are outstanding  selections!!!)

3. Reapers mini's are somewhat too cartoonish on a vast selection of models and sculpts (I.E. the new BonesBLACK Efreeti face lacks that intimidating look, great scupt but the face and feet size are.  .  well comical)

4. Reapers fire and frost Giants are KILLING IT MAN! im sooo ecstatic that Reaper giants are incredibly >>UNIVERSAL<< the facial expressions and powerful poses are on Target. i would helichopper my shirt over my head to see reaper revisit some of their older sculps and put a little for of that BLACK magic on thoes bones (i.e Yephima, Male Storm Giant, Frost Wyrm)

5. no more fixed terrain base for flying creatures please. i would much preffer optional modular miniature with a choice of either a flight stand or "environmental" stand (i.e. Succubus will always carry around that piece of rubble every where, Mortar, Gargoyle again same thing, Roc is attached to a rock.)

6. unique original monster are a blessing!!! Jungle Titans as absolutely stunning, Coral Golem please take my money!!! Mashaaf POWERFULL! more of what ever prescribed substance you guys were taking that day.

lucky7. guys i just want to say how grateful i am that you divers not only in types of miniatures but more importantly the gender of miniature, i have all of your major monsters and beast but by far my most favorite models are the gals. so just a quick shout out for mini's Sophie & friends "minotaur", female Snake cultist, female stone giant champion, Frost giant raiders.

 

thank you for reading my gripes and rants guys, please i only mean this is a positive light take everything with a grain of seasalt

keep up the good work Reaper crew.

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Sadly, officially licensed products with similar price range are mostly always going to take a major shop space
not that I dislike Wizkids.
Reaper's need to buy bases extra might discourage people to try them.
Maybe free bases with a certain threshold in the shop?
Kits would be nice
ex: want lizardfolk: here is a big package with 1 of each for a little less
it could really help starting collectors out of a kickstarter

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I'm a gamer, not a hobbyist. I don't paint minis. I don't convert minis.

 

My biggest need is "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" minis for the monsters, creatures, and NPCs that you find in rulebooks like the Monster Manual for D&D.

 

I need something that I can pull out of the package, plunk down on the table, and have my players recognize right away.

 

I feel like Reaper's biggest advantage is that Reaper has the capacity to release minis much, much more quickly than WizKids, which releases minis at a glacial pace (I feel like we will be on the 7th edition of D&D before WizKids releases even 1/4 of the Monster Manual for 5th edition).

 

I also feel like Reaper's aesthetic isn't as much "cartoony" as "classic" and prefer that aesthetic to WizKids, which I feel like is much too modern for my tastes.

Edited by criticalhit
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I think this is actually a great question, but I also think a thread like this is bound to give Reaper some mixed messages since everyone's probably got their own unique needs and preferences, so in that grain-of-sea-salt spirit the question was asked in:

 

I'm an Role-playing game master first and foremost, with customization and painting being a secondary hobby for me; I live in an apartment with limited space, and I'm beginning to feel like I've reached that point of Too Many Minis a long, long time ago - I've got more than I'll practically ever need or use.

 

For my tastes and needs, the things that Reaper Bones does right are:

  • Reaper Bones has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive and highly customizable (especially "classic" Bones, vs. Bones Black).  Those are strengths that Reaper can really play to, especially with customization - as always, I'm a big fan of things like weapons and equipment sprues, sprues of heads, etc. 
  • I love Reaper's sculpting and modeling style - for most purposes, I prefer Reaper's products, aesthetically, to any of the competing products - Reaper's artists and sculptors are extremely talented, where I kind of feel like the competition's products are fairly workman-like in comparison.
  • Reaper's got a big edge on variety vs. the competition - Reaper may not have too many player-character figures in a fairly generic style, but it's easy to find a dozen different dwarves or two dozen different goblins or whatever to field thanks to Reaper.
  • I like inventive and original monsters, and unique takes on the subject matter - I rather like Reaper's "not-quite-X" monsters like the Eye Beast, Oxidation Beast, etc., and even prefer them to the name-brand versions!  And the original stuff without precedent in the monster manuals is always golden, and I appreciate that it exists, even when it's something I might not need or want.
  • Reaper's selection of townsfolk/villagers is unequaled - for those of us who love and use NPC models, there's almost nothing out there quite like the selection Reaper has!  Reaper also has a fair selection of related dungeon dressing and terrain - maybe not the biggest selection (Mantic's Terrain Crates are maybe the leader here), but better than, say, Wizkids'.
  • Reaper's Chronoscope Bones line is something that is completely unique - unless you try to do something with the (now out-of-print?) Star Wars pre-painted collectible minis, or Games Workshop's very specific sci-fi miniatures or similar and even more specific kits from GW's direct competitors, there just aren't really very many plastic sci-fi gaming miniatures out there, and even fewer steampunk, cyberpunk, and post-apocalyptic miniatures, let alone weird western and pulp miniatures!  Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Wars has made a lot of Mythos themed plastic monsters available, but you have to raid board games to find an appreciable alternative supply of Mythos investigators.  Minis for Paizo's Starfinder sci-fi RPG seem like a relatively untapped market with some strong demand right now....  With a little extra TLC, I have a feeling this is one relatively small market but untapped market that Reaper can dominate and build its own demand for by providing a more complete selection of good miniatures - "If you build it, the RPGs for it will come!"

 

There are some specific niches that I kind of wish that Reaper would fill for me, many of which actually fall under the banner of criticism of the RPG industry in general, and also of taste and style in gaming, but those are perhaps best addressed in separate posts because this post is long enough, and many of those niche things are conversations of their own. 

 

Some of those YMMV room-for-improvement items that I will mention now:

  • I don't care for the integral "broccoli" bases, unless they're in a standard, round, relatively plain size - I usually cut the original base off, and glue the mini down to one of Reaper's replacement bases instead.  I think I'd actually rather get most minis without the integral bases to save some trouble, and maybe it would save Reaper a TON of plastic.  I know the minis are designed to be "plug-and-play" so that you can pull them right out of the package and drop them immediately onto the game table, but maybe we can at least at least sculpt the minis with standard-sized round bases wherever possible?
  • More Bones Weapons Sprues and other Conversion Bits. There seem to be virtually no other companies producing the equivalent of the Bones Weapons Sprues and other Conversion Bits - I know I'm a broken record on the topic, but with regular Bones minis being such a pleasure to modify and customize, Reaper really should be playing up this aspect of their miniatures line compared to the competition by providing a reliable and broad supply of conversion parts and miniatures that can take even better advantage of those conversion parts!  Again, I know that Reaper Bones are meant to be dropped immediately onto the table without requiring conversion first, but the ease of conversion for Reaper Bones seems like a much stronger selling point for me....  I mean, with Reaper Bones, gluing a baseless mini, a head swap, weapon swap, or whatever into place takes almost no skill, only a few seconds, a cheap side-cutter clippers, a cheap hobby knife, and a bottle of Wacky Gloo... almost anyone who can be trusted with a hobby knife can do this safely and quickly, and make it look good!

 

 

 

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They should transition as many of their minis away from the cheap quality Bones and instead into the better quality Bones Black as soon as possible. I would be buying more of their Bones minis, but the quality is inexcusable. Nobody wants minis that bend like they inherently do and cleaning Bones mold lines should not be like this...it all goes back to poor quality. 

For example, I would like to buy more Jabberwok in Bones, but the quality is pathetic. I have one, and had to pin it just so it would be posed and stand without "Bonesing" over from the the cheap plastic and not stand properly. I would buy more if they were in Bones Black. If they want sales back Bones Black should be their entire non-metal mini line and just phase out Bones original.

 

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5 hours ago, WIP said:

Nobody wants minis that bend like they inherently do and cleaning Bones mold lines should not be like this...it all goes back to poor quality.

Sales say different. Minis in the original Bones plastic have been Reapers biggest selling minis ever since they were first introduced. They’re near indestructible for introducing younger players to the game and cheap enough for new players to buy without spending much money.

 

Plus a lot of folks like the ease of cutting them apart for conversions. A sharp hobby knife cuts through them like butter, or near enough.

 

5 hours ago, WIP said:

I would buy more if they were in Bones Black. If they want sales back Bones Black should be their entire non-metal mini line and just phase out Bones original.

A lot of us have been wanting a harder plastic from Reaper, and Reaper listened. 

I prefer Bones Black myself. the detail is better and I like the harder plastic, but I think both plastics have a place in Reapers line up. The harder plastic isn’t perfect either. It’s more brittle and subject to damage by being dropped or knocked about while being transported. Especially the bigger and heavier a mini gets.

 

One thing that I believe  Reaper does need to do better, is judging which minis work best in which plastics, and the sculptors need to learn to take that into account when planning their sculpts.

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To be honest, Bones Black could still use a material tweak. It's an improvement that isn't quite sorted. It's a bit too brittle and some of the sprue break off points are problematic. It also might be better if Reaper had fewer figures in their kickstarters, but made far more with better poses and sculpt details. There are a lot of beautiful minis in Bones 5 but most of them are surrounded by too many meh figures. Wizkids has far fewer minis, but also far fewer boring ones. It may not be a good idea to have 100 Bones villager minis, if only 30 of them are cool. A big selection is nice, but maybe cut the wheat from the chaff. Not every sculpt deserves a mold. 

 

They also seem afraid to cast all but a few of their new Bones 5 character minis in multiple parts. Nearly all of them are standing flat-footed and either holding their weapons against their bodies, or out to the sides. Lots of the character minis in the Bones 4 core set had exciting dynamic poses, but they were all cast in old Bones. I don't understand why they don't make equally dynamic sculpts to show off the newly improved Black material. Wizkids character minis are made from hard PVC and are in extremely dynamic attack poses, many running with flowing robes. It can be done. 

 

Retail packaging also needs a boost. From the individual mini packages to the inexcusable paint labels. The big minis are packaged nicely though. 

 

I think part of the reason the Greek expansion seems so popular is because nearly every mini is nicely posed and individually sculpted. No set with 5 versions of 2 sculpts cut n' pasted together then re-positioned to make a group of 5 similar warriors. It's got a strong theme with a condensed selection of killer sculpts in energetic poses. It's Reaper at their best. Hope part 3 has the same quality. 

 

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to rag on Reaper. They are hands down my favorite mini company. I'd just love for Reaper to have a plastic mini catalog that's as awesome as their metal catalog. It's a tall order, but I'd much rather see Reaper do it than Wizkids. 

Edited by CorallineAlgae
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16 minutes ago, CorallineAlgae said:

Bones Black is a major improvement, but it is not as good as the Wizkids material and most of the Reaper figures are only available in the old Bonesium

Going to have to agree to disagree here, but the Wizkids plastic is much closer to original Bones than it is to Bones Black. It has a bendiness to it that Bones Black doesn’t have.

 

17 minutes ago, CorallineAlgae said:

Lots of the character minis in the Bones 4 core set had exciting dynamic poses, but they were all cast in old Bones. I don't understand why they don't make equally dynamic sculpts to show off the newly improved Black material.

It’s been mentioned on ReaperLive shows that the mold requirements for the harder Bones Black is different that the softer Original Bones plastic. Since the Wizkids plastic share the same bendyness, granted to a lesser degree, as the original Bones I suspect some of the less dynamic poses are due to the limitations of the Bones Black mold requirements.

 

17 minutes ago, CorallineAlgae said:

Wizkids character minis are made from hard PVC and are thrillingly dynamic. It can be done. 

Again, they’re not as hard a PVC as Bones Black.

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To compete directly with D&D, obviously the best strategy would be to make cheap, quality monsters (which Reaper does really well) that fit into the campaigns that D&D offers (which Reaper does mostly well).

 

I know that no matter what it's impossible to anticipate homebrews, and obviously there are copyright issues to consider, but piggybacking off of the released campaign/DM book monsters for inspiration is perhaps the best way to address this.  

 

There's really still some pretty iconic stuff that Reaper (to my knowledge) either has little or none of-

 

Bugbears

Yuan-Ti (especially malisons)

Mindflayers (I know the Bathalians fit that well, but there are so few of them for such a popular monster)

 

 

Then, of course the weird stuff like Flumphs, modrones, intellect devourers, githyanki, etc.

 

I really can't complain with the variety of what Reaper offers, because it's amazing, but it could be better.  For instance, I started preparing for my campaign earlier this spring, and my collection began with a mix of Descent 2E and the DnD adventure board games (Tomb of Annihilation first). To be honest, those official adventure board games quickly filled out what I needed for a ton of monsters, with Reaper really only being needed for supplementary fixings.  Of course, Reaper's quality is a lot better, but not all DMs are going to necessarily be concerned with that- if one of those games comes with a ton of iconic and usuable D&D monsters, then it's definitely worth it.  

 

 

On that note, one of Reaper's best deals in their Kickstarter is about to close soon- so if you're looking for a ton of iconic monsters for cheap, I'd definitely check it out!  (I realize I'm likely preaching to the choir here, but even if it reaches one person it's worth a shot).

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On 10/28/2019 at 3:18 AM, CorallineAlgae said:

No set with 5 versions of 2 sculpts cut n' pasted together then re-positioned to make a group of 5 similar warriors. 

Uh, you know there are some of us out here that use these similar sculpts to make warbands for skirmish games, right? We WANT that. That's a feature for us!! 

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57 minutes ago, Crowley said:

Uh, you know there are some of us out here that use these similar sculpts to make warbands for skirmish games, right? We WANT that. That's a feature for us!! 

 

I do. My point was more about the copied sculptural elements than about having a grouping of similar figures. Like the dwarves all having the same boots, bracers, belts, and even a couple with the same faces. All wielding variations of the same weapon. As useful as they may be for all the fantasy skirmish game players with a dwarf warband, it seems a little unimaginative compared to past Bones offerings. I understand your point though. In wargames it does seem common to see the same character in different poses making up a group. 

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For human-sized figures, WizKids packages two miniatures per blister, something like $5 per two figures here, while Reaper is $3.50 for a single miniature in a blister. 

WizKids figures are RPG staples. Reaper has a much larger variety, though some sculpts would never be bought for an RPG or miniatures wargame.

In non-Reaper forums, the consensus is that the WizKids sculpts are better, compared to white Bones. However, most of these posters paint. 

I'd like to know what the retailers are saying and ordering.

 

But, personally, I think the race has already been won -- by CMON. The RPG and painting markets are much smaller than boardgames. CMON put much less effort and had far fewer sculpts in their recent Zombicide 2nd edition campaign than Bones V, yet made more money from more backers. This Zombicide campaign included an RPG that used its Zombicide miniature and card components. CMON could make a Massive Darkness generic fantasy RPG using its MD miniatures. 

 

Bones V did make more money and have more backers than Bones IV, while Bones IV did the same for Bones III. So it's not clear whether or not Bones Black made a difference. I think Reaper (and other companies) should poll their backers why they pledged (or didn't raise their $1 pledge).

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I don't really see any one company being a one-stop-shop for any kind of figures.  There's just so much variety in RPGs, and gaming in general, that a single company is not going to be able to bridge all gaps.  Even with the gaming hobby being a niche hobby to start, there are niches within the niche that allows many, many companies to thrive.  Kickstarter has proven that there is a market in which the small and solo companies can succeed and be along side companies like Reaper and CMON.

 

And this thread hasn't even mentioned Games Workshop yet, which definitely dominates a lot of store shelving.

Edited by Clearman
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48 minutes ago, ced1106 said:

I'd like to know what the retailers are saying and ordering.

My FLGS has expanded their wall space for both the Wizkids AND the Reaper Bones line twice in the last year. 

However, even though both lines have about the same amount of square footage, there is a distinct difference - the Wizkids D&D lines are effectively given more wall space per mini because they're better organized.  The Bones pegs are packed full - almost all the pegs have 5 or 6 blisters, but there is little to no organization to them.  The Wizkids minis generally only have 2-3 blisters per peg, and many of them are empty, with one of those "Oops, sorry we're out" cards for many of them, because they're neatly organized by class and race. 

If you're a player walking into the store looking for a mini for a given character class/race, you're going to have an easier time finding it among the Wizkids stuff than among the Bones stuff.  If they have it, that is.  I know I've been in the store several times and heard someone say "oh, they're out of <some monster/character type>" while looking at the Wizkids stock, and I've been able to say "Oh, Reaper has one of those - have you looked over here?".   I'll even pull it up on my phone and find the SKU, and help them look. 

In terms of the actual stock of each carried, my guesstimate would be that the store doubled their Wizkids inventory, but tripled or even quadrupled their Bones inventory. 

My recommendation to Reaper would be to design some sort of organizational system and out of stock cards like Wizkids has, and offer them up to retailers. 

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