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Reaper's new pre-painteds
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TOPIC: Reaper's new pre-painteds
Reaper's new pre-painteds 6 Years, 8 Months ago  
Well, I picked up the eight new pre-painted minis that Reaper (finally) released -- here are my thoughts.

First of all, while it was clearly WAY too long a delay before these came out, of the batch they pictured on their site, these were some of the more interesting figures, so I'm pretty happy with the selection. I really want that Ettin and that Marilith figure, plus the succubus, so I wouldn't say they did ALL the figures I wanted (I don't have the metal Ettin, either -- the only one of the bunch I don't have that I really wanted, so...)

The first series took criticism for a lot of reasons, but one comment was that the choice of minis themselves was...uninspired. Orcs and skeletons? REALLY? Defenders pointed out the near-universal need (and popularity) of these critters, and opponents pointed out that these types were readily available all over the place and totally superfluous on the market. In any case, it was a disappointing selection -- made all the worse by the HUGE time lag in getting out a second wave (that repainted wave doesn't count). What we really wanted from Reaper's line was a set of cool monsters, the equivalent of what WOTC puts out as "rares" in their sets -- the things you can't easily pick up all over the place, not the obvious stuff.

And this set does that REALLY well. We've got a purple worm and a mind flayer, both of which are a little tricky to get from WOTC. We've also got some "hero" elves that would probably be rares if WOTC put them out. In general, this series features a lot more interesting stuff than the first series.

So while I'm still eagerly anticipating the rest of what Reaper has previewed, I'm very happy with the choice of figures for series 2. So what about the actual execution?

Let's see...

Evil fighter: This was my least favorite, in metal OR plastic. I just don't find it all that interesting. The armor and pose are dull, the helmet is flat and lacks character (IMHO). (it also looks too much like a Boba Fett rip-off helmet..) I don't insist that figures be QUITE so over-the-top as what GW typically does, but a LITTLE hint of evil beyond a black color scheme would be nice. A skull, some spikes, SOMETHING. This guy also happens to be the worst painted of the bunch -- a clumsily done silver drybrush and some bronze highlights... he's just boring.

Zombie: Another bottom feeder, sadly. I happen to have high standards for zombies, I've never really cared for the WOTC versions either. Sadly, this monster (along with skeletons) really needs a superior paint job IMHO. I have to do it myself, at least -- it needs an ADEQUATE paint job, you need to see SOME detail. At least with prepainted skeletons I usually approve of the color -- zombies are always the wrong color to me, and not nearly mottled enough to suggest decomposition. They just look bad. This one is saved, however, by two points -- one, the pose is nicely funky. Two, his face, while totally inappropriate for a zombie, is a perfect thing for some kind of frogman wizard experiment gone awry. He's just all kinds of messed up. Interesting figure.. not spectacular, and don't call it a zombie... but worth having. Ten or eleven of these shambling around a corridor would give PC's a good reason to stop and think a minute before proceeding... (and at $2.50 a pop, it's a fun figure to get in larger numbers)

Ghost: The last of my "least favorites," this one is surprisingly neat. The tombstone, as in the metal, is going to annoy some people as out of place and difficult to explain away in all settings. Plus, it's painted somewhat poorly, with a glossy, too-thick slop of grey that hides all the detail. Still, the ghost itself is quite well done, with a wash and a highlight that is probably about as good as what I could have done for most of my painting "career." Not professional, but certainly pretty decent. The face is actually impressive, with good detail on the mouth and eyes, which are extremely well done in red, giving a nice contrast and a good tone to the piece. In the end it feels more like a miniature diorama to me than an actual figure, but that has more to do with the sculpt than the paint job. As far as the latter is concerned, it's quite nice.

The two elves (both, if I'm not mistaken, from Warlord instead of Dark Heaven):
I really like this pose, traditional as it may be. Hey, it works. The paint job, sadly, is not that great. There is a lot of detail in this outfit that gets lost here, and I have to admit that a WOTC rare figure would probably sport more detail and a more elaborate paint scheme. Even a WOTC common would stand a chance of beating this (though many, many WOTC commons are far worse). It's a decent archer, the colors are vibrant, and there are some areas that do deserve respect (the gold filigree is adequate, for example). Unfortunately, two crucial areas are lacking: the face (which kills a figure for most people if it's not well done) and the belt (the center of the figure, the eye is drawn to it as much as to the face, and here it's an undifferentiated green blob with no detail at all) It's really not a bad figure, but it's hard to rave about it. I'm happy with it, but I can understand why some people would hate it. At $4.50, it's a tough call -- more than most WOTC commons (and many uncommons) on the secondary market, but far cheaper than rares, it's about what you'd pay for an UNPAINTED figure, far cheaper if we're talking GW metals. So... yeah. Good, not the best.

Female elf ranger:
This is MUCH better. It's still not perfect, but the face is much better done. I REALLY love the pose on this -- dynamic, three-dimensional. This feels like the sort of figure WOTC would just very rarely give us -- even their rares tend to have flatter profiles, and the billowing cape is a nice touch (WOTC capes tend to be attached to some part of the figure rather than flow free like this). Mine loses some points because the skirt inexplicably transitions from matte to glossy paint on the back, but otherwise this is a well done figure. The paint isn't too thick, the details work. It could use one more paint app, something to bring out the highlights more, but for a cheap mini this is really well done. They took a great pose, and they used just enough paint not to @#$@ it up.

Good fighter: I thought this one was dull at first, but I really do like it now. The color combo is good, if familiar, and this one has better highlights than most. The use of gold on the armor and shield really does help "sell" it. The chainmail, of course, is pretty messy, but that's too be expected. As with skeleton and zombie details, it's asking a lot for prepainted chainmail to look all that great. It's a good basic fighter in a good basic pose with good basic colors, well-painted. It's not the most spectacular thing I've seen, but it REALLY fits the niche Reaper is presumably aiming for here -- a player who wants a mini for his fighter and wants to spend less than five bucks for it. If WOTC did this, I think it could easily be a rare. It's certainly a quality figure.

Mind flayer ("bathalian"): Hm. I REALLY liked the early art on this piece, and of course the final version is a bit of a let-down. Two things hurt it: one, the lack of highlighting on the robe; two, the awkward lack of blending on the face tentacles. This guy REALLY needs a two-second touch up at home to work that out. Still, the colors are great, vibrant colors, and the pose is a classic villain pose. WOTC would make this rare and it would cost $10 on the secondary market, this is a $5 figure that is easy just to pull from the wall of the store. I like the purple and gold robes and the head is actually given several layers of detail, so I'm overall satisfied. If they hadn't even TRIED to change colors on the tentacles it would probably be even better, but since they tried (and failed) it loses some points. Still, I can't bring myself to dislike this figure. I think it's really great. I also happen to prefer the brighter colors, and the variety of colors, they used -- most recent WOTC flayers have been somewhat monochrome, I don't think they've done one this colorful since Harbinger. This is a refreshing change of pace.

Purple Worm: Man, I LOVED this figure when it came out. Great pose, great design, great size. The WOTC version sorta took over, of course, since it's so freaking MASSIVE, but this one is a classic all the same. I think the paint job is great (though of the two I found, one had clearly defined teeth and the other was just a mess, so clearly it varies) and I like the colors they went with. Since I use these with DF, of course I wish the base were grey instead of brown, but on the whole this is a really satisfying beastie. He's less fragile (and lighter) than his metal counterpart, and he's easier and more tempting to just grab ten of and give the PC's a cavern they'll REALLY struggle wtih... It's just a great figure of a funky monster. At $7, tough to beat. I may even grab some to repaint, it's so much more headache-free than the metal version.

Overall, I'm VERY happy with the figures. The paint jobs are uniformly superior to the first wave (with the possible exception of the evil fighter) and the choice of miniatures themselves is stellar. We've got three "heroes" (two elves and a fighter), two undead to add to the skeletal legions, an evil fighter (albeit one that seems somewhat low in rank), and two aberration type beasties. We've even gotten our first completely non-humanoid monster, which makes me very happy. Reaper has so many great unusual sculpts, I hope they get a chance to visit all of them with this line. I'd say wave 2 is where this idea can really take off -- I just hope the retailers haven't already given up....

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Reaper's new pre-painteds 6 Years, 8 Months ago  

Thanks for the detailed review. THe closest FLGS to my house is over an hour that carries this stuff.

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Over 143 Sets (Expanding), 300+ Loose Pieces (Expanding), 11,000 plastic figures (Expanding), 1,000 metal figures (350 actually painted)
Reaper's new pre-painteds 6 Years, 7 Months ago  

Thanks for the review. I'll check out their mind flayer and purple worm.
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