Pre-painted plastic miniatures have made it so much easier and yet so much harder for DMs to have cool creatures for their players to battle. On the one hand, you don’t have to prime and paint a dozen orcs before game night; on the other hand, random booster packs make it hard to find just what you need. Reaper Miniatures’ Legendary Encounters line (soon to become Asylum Miniatures) offers the best of both worlds.
Random booster packs of D&D minis are a good way to built a basic collection of creatures and NPCs, and the new “visible monster” packs let you at least cherry pick the one big monster you really want. Still, when your campaign involves a battle with a clan of angry bugbears, it can be nearly impossible (or at least very expensive) to find the specific figures you really need.
Earlier this year, Reaper (whom we’ve had great experiences with in the past) created their own line of pre-painted plastic minis called Legendary Encounters. Some of the sculpts come straight from their well-known line of metal minis, but of course, these arrive fully painted. You can check out the full line-up here. The key to Legendary Encounters is that all figures are sold fully visible. You buy one figure at a time (or three-packs of certain figures like goblins or skeletons) and you know exactly what you’re getting.
The prices average around $3-$4 per figure, which might seem like a lot for a single plastic mini. Consider, though, that if you’re looking for a particular monster, like a troll or an ogre, those can sell for three or four times that amount in the world of D&D minis. I’ve seen a Beholder Lich going for more than $50! Metal minis often cost more, and you’re on the hook to paint it yourself. Plus, I find plastic minis to be more durable. Now, in some cases, if the figure you want has appeared in a common slot in a D&D minis expansion, you might get a getter deal finding a lot of ten of them on ebay or something. But in many instances, Legendary Encounters offers the better deal. Also, the paint jobs appear to be very high quality, although I’m not sure if the figures pictured on the website are paint masters or production units.
A while back, Reaper announced that the Legendary Encounters line would be spun off into a separate company, wholly owned by Reaper, called Asylum Miniatures. The Asylum website is still not functioning, and Legendary Encounters are still only available through the Reaper website (a few other online game retailers), but hopefully in the near future Asylum will be expanding the lineup. I’d love to see some drow.