Reaper Plastics - Rubberband Damned and More! | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Hey Y'all Prepare Yourselves For the Rubberband Damned 
(or, Reaper Miniatures' Legendary Encounters zombies (and others!) - a review)

A year or so back Reaper Miniatures announced that they were going to start producing a new line of ready-painted plastic miniatures under the title "Legendary Encounters".  These would be non-random monsters (and characters) to use in your campaign for those times when you either didn't have time or simply weren't inclined to paint whole armies of orcs, goblins, trolls and the like.  Initially I was afraid of and opposed to this idea - but given that I game in a cave and am frightened by electricity and the wheel, this should come as no surprise to anyone.

My biggest concern was that the new plastic miniatures would be produced at the cost of alloy miniatures, and the chief cost would be the quantity and quality of the latter.  I'm happy to say that this is not the case; the metal miniatures keep on rolling in and amazing me, and I'm as pleased as a beholder at an ophthalmologists' convention at Reaper's ongoing commitment to the gamer and to quality as well. 

So why, you might ask, did I shell out for pre-painted plastics?  Well, the allure of inexpensive plastic miniatures of creatures that are less than shall we say "iconic", with their own paint job, was just too strong.  I for one have always liked painting minis but it becomes a chore after putting paint on the 325th goblin when he's going to be seen for six seconds prior to being carved into demi-human cutlets by first zero level NPC with a dull spoon.  This is where the Legendary Encounters miniatures come in, and this is why I bought the zombies.  My rambling on aside, let's look at what you get.

For a little less than an unpainted metal miniature, you get exactly one (1) zombie on a blister card.  This card differs from Reaper's metal miniature blister cards in a key fashion: the Swag Point isn't included.  For the uninitiated, Swag Points are a sort of S&H Green Stamps issued by Reaper which you can redeem (now along with a hunk of cash) for Reaper branded items and by that I mean hats, tote bags, key chains and so forth.  Reaper printed up new cards for Legendary Encounters that lack the points.  Otherwise, it's the same familiar packaging.  A nice blue card on the front (as opposed to the purple of War Lord miniatures, the red of C.A.V.and the green of traditional Dark Heaven miniatures), with a black and white drawing of Sophie the Succubus (the buxom corporate logo for Reaper) admonishing us in eight languages not to try and eat our new miniatures.  Thanks, Sohp.


No!  No swag for you!

The miniature itself is a small thing - I mean smaller than seems normal.  I don't own the original metal that this particular piece is cast from, however, it is from the WarLord line of 28mm minis set in Reaper’s titular fantasy realm.  Be that as it may, they do seem a bit insubstantial in hand, and in more than one way.  I've complained about Dungeons & Dragons "collectable" miniatures' rubbery feel before but these guys are positively elastic.  I feel like I could erase pencil markings with them.  I've gotten toys out of plastic bubble machines that felt more substantial.  This is a bad thing if you like your minis to have a little more weight to them, a little more heft to resist falling on their faces at inopportune moments, but it's a good thing if your storage and travel system for carrying minis is "throw into plastic grocery bag, stuff into cargo pocket".  Despite their lightweight feel, though, I would point out that the bases of these counterweight the miniature well enough to prevent too many "Keystone Cops" moments if you bump the table. 

Paint wise, the minis are about the level I could do if I was knocking out an army of them - serviceable but not great, but definitely above the slop that the first run of Dungeons & Dragons collectible miniatures were.  

Better paint this time around makes for a better value.

The sculpts themselves seem to have held up well transitioning from metal to plastic.  Detail seems better than the nearest competitor, again being D&D Minis.  Also, while I don't own any I have directly observed the Legendary Encounters first run in blisters and I have to say I'm much happier with these zombies paint wise than I would have been with say the orcs.  I think Reaper has taken critiques of the earlier run and are going with a more detailed look on these than the first run.



At the last minute, I decided that my game I played at LGGC this year would feature miniatures.  Rather than try and explain four pounds of white metal to the fine folks who secure our homeland, I elected to spend some money assembling a party of adventurers out of Reaper’s Legendary Encounters plastics.  It’s not just monsters they make, there’s an extant (with more coming) line of adventuring types there, too.  As I said, I’m sticking with metal minis for the time being, but the occasional iconic bad guy or handy NPC is always appreciated, and being able to snag them easily is nice.

Plus, as noted, they travel well. 

This is the carrying case for my Legendary Encounters minis.

If I’ve a single gripe with the adventurers it’s the same I’ve had all along: the weapons.  If I get a metal miniature with a bent (or “unhappy” as I call it) weapon, gentle pressure can usually line the offending offensive device right up.  Failing that, a little retouching with clippers and a new implement of destruction from my bits-box does the job.  Plastic minis are another matter altogether (everybody: “Plastic minis are another matter.”).  When you get one with a bent weapon it’s because the rubberized plastic has cooled that way, and you’re stuck unless you have nerves of steel and a heat gun.  I myself don’t (and if you’d ever seen my painting jobs you’d know this), so I’m stuck with unhappy weapons on a few of the minis.  Que sera, and if it comes to it I can always put metal weapons from the bits-box in, but that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? 

To summarize, they're miniatures, they're pre-painted they're inexpensive and they're made of a lightweight plastic.  If that suits your needs, these are the ones to buy.  Don't snuffle around trying to find D&D Minis on eBay.  These are worth your time.

Pros: Lightweight, inexpensive, durable paint jobs 

Cons: Not as detailed as metal, unfixable weapon flaws in some, very, very small assortment and long periods between releases.

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