RPG Minis Update – Spring 2018

WizKids recent Wardlings release is a great line of kid-themed pre-painted miniatures. Each kid-model mini comes with an associated “pet” to add a bit of playfulness to any RPG session. WizKids other mini lines (D&D Icons of the Realms and Pathfinder Battles) keep on truckin’ with a couple jungle themed releases and one that fits in with D&D’s most recent adventure book. While minis aren’t cheap, they can add a bit of flash and excitement to any game night.

There is a plethora of extra components one can add to an RPG to make the story that much more memorable. Maps and handouts are always great, but when an important story interaction comes up, it is always fun to have a few miniatures around to add a spark to players’ imaginations. WizKids has several lines of prepainted miniatures suitable for use by players and GMs alike. In addition to the mentioned Wardlings line, their two main lines consist of Icons of the Reams (with D&D tie-ins) and Pathfinder Battles (with tie-ins to Pathfinder releases.) The minis are completely interchangeable, so no matter which release you buy, the minis will fit right in to your game. (Well, so far, the lines have always been fantasy-themed, so if you’re a sci-fi themed role-player, you’re out of luck.)


Wardlings is a new line of minis, with an eye toward the younger gamer. The first wave of six figures (and their pets) released this past spring and another release is just around the corner in July. I’m a particular fan of the set. With one exception (I’m not a fan of the Boy Cleric) the painting on the figures and the pets are well done. I particularly like how much fancy accents were put into the minis. They have very active poses, with most of them flashing a nice sword or translucent crystals and magic spells. The pets are amusing with the Fighter’s Battle-dog and Druid’s Tree Companion my favorite of the bunch. With three boys (Druid, Cleric, Fighter) and three girls (rogue, wizard, ranger) there’s a mini for appropriate for most players. If not, July will see a second wave of minis released where the genders and classes are flipped. These figures are also a great option for other kid-friendly RPGs like Hero Kids, and the like.


Wizkids – Special Sets


In addition to the regular miniature lines (D&D and Pathfinder), WizKids has been putting out a few special one-off packs. In the past year they’ve produced several special sets.

Wizkids: Pillars and Pools set 1

This is a small collection of stony pools of bluish water, four pillars, and a set of embellishments (banners, torches, and a deer head) that connect to the pillars. Not much to describe here as the name pretty much covers it all. Someone who collects terrain probably has a few pillars around, however a decent looking set of stone-edged pools are harder to find. I certainly don’t have any columns set up to hang banners or the head of a deer (perfect for the dining room in the king’s hunting lodge.)


Icons of the Realms: Classic Creatures

This box set has a little of everything, focusing on the most iconic creatures in D&D lore. There are a couple of orcs, a pair of sahuagin (think swamp or fish men), an ogre, troll, purple worm, an owlbear, and (conveniently matching the Stranger Things series) a Demogorgon. My favorite is the purple worm (although I prefer a slightly larger model) and an owlbear is just too classic to pass up.

Pathfinder Battles: Iconic Heros Set 8

The Pathfinder minis also have their own special sets. The Iconic Heroes line (set 8 released last winter) has sets of figures that correspond to famous class types in the Pathfinder game world. They aren’t limited to their stated role, so you could easily pass off a psychic for a wizard. What I like best about the line is their above-average detail. Figures with more details and a fancier paint job are really appreciated when used as a player character (or main NPC.) The molds and painting of these figures foot the bill nicely.


Wizkids Standard Miniature Lines


The bulk of Wizkids miniatures come through their D&D line of Icons of the Realms and their Pathfinder line of Pathfinder Battles. In terms of style, quality, and quantity of miniatures, there is no real difference between the two lines. However, the two lines tend to try to align with major story arcs going through their respective games. The newest D&D entry, Monster Menagerie III has a more versatile collection of useful figures while Pathfinder’s entry this past season is the jungle themed, Jungle of Despair.


Pathfinder Battles: Jungle of Despair


Whether you’re still running D&D’s jungle-filled Tomb of Annihilation or have your own jungle adventure going on, there is a lot to like in this release. It includes plant-themed figures like creeper vines and a shambler as well as other figures found in the wilderness: lions, tigers, and the excellent (and only Uncommon, not Rare) Couatl figure. I’m not sure what to do with the little Tanuki, who looks like he came right out of Kung-Fu Panda, but I know he’s getting into my game somehow.

My only disappointment for the set are the somewhat risque Dryad and Nymph. Yes, I know it’s somewhat traditional, but as a parent I’d still rather have all the figures on the conservative side. I appreciate how hard the Dungeons and Dragons folks have worked to make sure their artwork avoids scantily clad female cliches, and I’d love to see Pathfinder head more in that direction.

I’ll end with the special release that always comes along with these sets. This one is a huge (scale) hydra. It would be pretty as it stands. However, it have five necks but interchangeable heads. Each neck can hold either a single head or swap it out for a double-head at the end. This means the hydra can go from five heads to ten over the course of a battle. Definitely a memorable encounter.


Icons of the realm: Monster Menagerie III


As one would expect, Monster Menagerie II is a set with a little bit of everything. There are Aasimar and Slaads, Dragonborn and Tiefling, and a pair of very rock-star esque bard figures. To me, the main theme of the set is giants. There are sixteen different figures of huge humanoids. If you plan to run the famous Giants series or the more recent Storm King’s Thunder adventure book, this is the expansion for you.

One thing I appreciate about WizKids newer minis lines is the way they deal with figures that are useful to have in numbers. Rather than opening up packages and finding you have seven of the same miniature, they are now producing two styles of the same miniature. You end up with the same number but it is much better to have some look just a bit different than others. The example you see here are a pair of Frost Giants. They are nearly the same figure, but one is holding a sword and the other an axe. I have one of each and rather than feeling that I simply got a duplicate figure, I can take pleasure in having two different frost giant options (three if you include the Rare Frost Giant Everlasting One that I found in one box.)

The special promotional set for Monster Menagerie II is a Kraken invasion, complete with tentacles climbing out of the deep, and a rowboat and treasure piles to boot.


As always, minis can get expensive but having a few adds a great accent to gaming at the table. I can highly recommend the Jungle of Despair (minus the dryad and nymph) if you’re planning on doing some jungle gaming and Monster Menagerie III has a wealth of giants if your campaign heads that direction. For kid-friendly gaming, definitely keep your eye on the Wardlings line.

One Response to “RPG Minis Update – Spring 2018”

  1. One time when I was at PAX South and took a good amount of my brothers with me, their favorite thing to do at the show was paint mini-figures.

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