Monday, March 18, 2013

Where to buy cheap minis?

I promise I'll do a post with some new pictures soon, but in the meantime I want to do one more informative post. Someone at EN World asked about where these figures can be found. I had put a big post on EN World about that very topic recently, but I think if I repost that info in list form, it might be more useful. I'll organize by types of figures, describe them a little bit, then list some useful sources for these figures.

1/72 miniatures for toy soldier hobbyists

Caesar Miniatures orcs and goblins
  • There are also dozens of companies making hundreds of historic figures which are easily adaptable to typical medieval RPGs. Plastic Soldier Review is a great resource for checking out these miniatures.

  • Some North American sources with great selection include Hobby Bunker, Michigan Toy Company, and Woodrow's. Pegasus Hobbies seems to be the American distributor for Caesar Miniatures and has the best prices I've found (watch the shipping, though). Hobbylinc, a very large online discount hobby store, recently expanded their stock of 1/72 miniatures to include many sets discussed on this blog.

  • Other sources that ship internationally include Hannant's (UK), Always Model (Taiwan), Linear-B (Germany), and HobbyTerra (Ukraine, I believe). Other online hobby stores often have a limited selection of 1/72 soldiers, and eBay is always worth investigating.

1/72 tabletop/board games

  • Arcane Legions is a defunct tabletop miniatures game, and one of the few such games in 1/72 scale. It's now being liquidated: Miniature Market sells booster bricks (around 50-60 figures) for $24 (now $12, as of late September 2013).
Modified and repainted Arcane Legions centaurs
Repainted Arcane Legions boosters
    Manufacturer paintjobs for Arcane Legions boosters
    • Age of Mythology is a board game published by Eagle Games with various mythic hero and monster figures. Human-sized figures are 1/72, while some monsters are a bit smaller than I'd like, but still useful. You can buy the miniatures individually for $3 a faction directly from the publisher, which is crazy-cheap.
    The dwarf with the red beard is an Arcane Legions figure. The rest are Age of Mythology minis. The death knight in the middle was a Viking hero that got accidentally melted a bit (a candle is not the best way to remove excess plastic flash, by the way).
      • Twilight Creations makes the popular Zombies!!! board games and other gonzo-horror games. Their miniatures are just a bit larger than 1/72, but still quite usable. I'm not a fan of their zombie sculpts, but it's hard to argue with the price of their "Bag o'" miniature sets, $10-$12 for 100 minis, available at most gaming stores. Less well known is their set of demon figures, only available at their online store, but also pretty cheap.
      Twilight Creations demon figures.
      • War of the Ring is a tactical Lord of the Rings board game with lots of 1/72 fantasy miniatures. The sculpts are a little static, and I can't find any way to buy them apart from the game. Even the obsolete 1st edition of the game is pretty expensive, but if it were cheaper, I might go for it.

      • Other fantasy board games have figures in larger scales, but they might be usable in 1/72 scale. See "Larger Scale Minis" below:

      Larger scale minis

      • As I mentioned in my last post, larger scale minis have many uses in 1/72 gaming. A 28-32mm D&D halfling looks about human-sized in 1/72. A large figure in these scales look only a little larger in 1/72 and are quite believable. Some really small figures still look pretty small compared to 1/72 humans and are usable for small or tiny creatures.

      • The secondary market for D&D minis isn't quite the bargain it used to be, but there are still a few places that resell individual minis pretty cheaply. Auggie's and Gold Dragon Horde are two of the cheapest. Other online stores with great selection include Troll and Toad, Cool Stuff Inc., and Miniature Market (who also carries Arcane Legions and Bones miniatures).
      D&D halflings repurposed as 1/72 scale humans and halflings.
      • The Bones line of plastic figures from Reaper Miniatures is set to expand hugely in the next month or so, thanks to their highly publicized Kickstarter project this past year. I already have a couple large monsters, and I can tell you that their kobolds look pretty good next to 1/72 figures. Most online game stores sell them at around 20-25% off MSRP.
        Some Bones kobolds, with a few simple mods.
      Some Bones gnomes and halflings adapted as 1/72 humans.
      Large Bones monsters.
      • A few Warhammer sets look pretty good in 1/72, despite some oddly-proportioned hands and weapons. Skinks and skaven make great lizardmen and ratmen in 1/72. Games Workshop, who produces Warhammer, also produces various Lord of the Rings minis: goblins and hobbits from these sets make good orcs and halflings in 1/72 scale. Ebay is a good place to get full sets, as a lot of Warhammer hobbyists wind up buying more sets than they can use. You might have good luck finding bargains at bits stores on eBay, or from places like Hoard o' Bits or Bitz Barn.
        Some Warhammer lizardmen adapted for 1/72 scale.
        • You can often find figures from 28mm fantasy board games sold individually online. Good minis can be found from games like Castle Ravenloft, The Legend of Drizz't, Wrath of Ashardalon, Descent, and the World of Warcraft board game.
        Various unpainted board game minis, with a few painted D&D minis.
        • 1/32 scale miniatures are often perfect for giants and large monsters in 1/72. Lots of great minis in this scale are marketed as toys and can be found in stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael's. Safari Ltd. "toobs", Papo "mini tubs", and Tim Mee bagged toys are some products to look out for. Tehnolog is a Russian company that makes plastic 1/32 figures for gaming; a lot of eBay stores sell them.
        Tim Mee cavemen as 1/72 hill giants.

        Metal miniatures

        • Metal miniature manufacturers are more numerous than plastic manufacturers, but they are also more expensive. There is also a greater variety available, so sometimes the mini you want can only be found in metal.

        • 20mm scale is more or less equivalent to 1/72 scale. Some 20mm fantasy metal mini manufacturers include Splintered Light Miniatures, Elhiem Figures, and CP Models.
        A few Elhiem figures, along with a 15mm East Riding boar.


        1. Thanks a lot for this. I just bookmarked most of these for later shopping.

        2. Thanks for the info! As another source of 25mm scale figures, for very little cash, check out Prince August Fantasy Molds ( They are used to cast 25mm figures, out of lead (available at fishing/gun supply stores, sold for casting sinker weights, and bullets for black powder guns), or Model Metal ( ; sold by PA; gives the best quality output, but also the most expensive metal to use).

          The cost per figure cast, depends upon how many you cast from each mold, and what metal you use. I needed 60 Wolves, for a Wolf army, for a "Battle of Five Armies" game, and so I used my Goblin Wolf Rider mold to make them. After that game was completed, I sold some off, on e-Bay, and the rest are carrying Caesar Goblins, as riders, to give them some variety on the tabletop (roughly the same size as the PA Goblin Riders figures). For inexpensive, metal figures, PA is the best route. For plastic figures, all of the above! Thanks for collecting, and sharing, all of the above information! Cheers!

          1. Thanks guys!

            Sgt. Slag, I remember stumbling across the Prince August molds (possibly via your site), but I confess to being a bit intimidated by the prospect of do-it-yourself metallurgy. Any thoughts on the difficulty/safety/investment of metal casting that you'd like to share?

        3. Chiming in late..... Check out Eureka miniatures' 18mm fantasy range. They blend perfectly with 1/72nd scale, awesome centaurs, dwarves, elves, ents, and some very lotr themed factions. Also, the games workshop lotr 28mm makes a set of moria goblins that are absolutely perfect as 1/72nd orcs. There's no shortage of orcs for 1/72nd fantasy, but these guys look exactly like the movie orcs. And I just never have enough orcs........

          1. Thanks! I've updated this post to include your excellent tips.

        4. I've found on e-bay some big bags of War of the Ring figures !
          not especially cheap, but I've too much figures that I need: so if you're interested, I can send you some pieces (gift or swap : no matter !)
          mail to samsagace57 at hotmail dot fr

        5. Twillight Creations has if I recall correctly four each of the demon figures in their game Dante's Inferno. Plus, about 20-25 generic adventurers (beaded, wearing tunics with a staff).

        6. I wish to thank you for your blog I have tryied to do the same but with mixed results.My club the Kent and Kenmore Gamers will be having a 800 figure fantasy battle in 1/72 scale, At "Con on the Cob" convention near Akron Ohio. The age of Myth figures will help the bad guys out in the up coming fight. Recently we had a small fantasy battle using foam inserts of a ceiling fan to simulate a lost city. I wish I could pictures but I don't know how.

          1. Hi Ralph. That sounds amazing! Are you trying to use Blogger to create your blog? It's pretty easy to upload and post pics in Blogger. It looks like maybe you can do the same in Google+, though I don't know how to use that. In any case, I'd love to hear more about your club.

        7. Some one where can I furniture for 1/72 dungeon?

          1. Try Moveable Objects, or Blitz Bits. Also, "Dungeon in My Pocket is just under 1/72 scale and has lots of dungeon terrain. Imex's Battlefield Accessories has some good pieces that could be adapted to dungeon crawls.

        8. Great post! Which Arcane Legions booster packs specifically have the 'specials'? I've seen lots of Han and Roman army packs with vanilla units. Thx!

          1. Thank you! What you're looking for are the booster packs or booster bricks. Unfortunately Miniature Market, which was the only place that still reliably sold them, seems to have stopped recently, so they may be hard to find as cheap as they used to be.