Thursday, June 7, 2007

Paper Miniatures

OK, it's only a little later in the day, but I've got a few minutes and have the energy to keep this going, so...

One of the things that prevents me from completing an army is the time it takes me to paint miniatures. When working on a 25mm character figure, I can easily spend 6-10 hours on it, spread over a week of evenings. I can paint units a little faster, in batches of 10-12 25mm figures, or maybe 25-100 15mm figures (the high end only if they're all in the same uniform).

At that pace, I could probably paint a DBA army before the Distraction Demon came a-callin', but nothing more ambitious. In fact, I haven't even done that. I'm about 80% done with each of three 15mm DBA armies. Sigh.

Then, a few months ago, I discovered paper miniatures. There are lots of places to download them from on the web. Sadly paperworlds.com, the largest collection on the web by far, has apparently disappeared for good. Still, with a little digging you can find all kinds of things.

Paper miniatures don't look as nice as painted metal. Definitely not. But....

1) You can put together an army QUICKLY. I printed and assembled a huge skirmish collection for Wild West gaming, consisting of about 300 figures covering all kinds of different figures, in a few weeks. In that same time, I might have been able to paint 12-24 25mm figures.
2) You can store the entire army in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. That's a big deal, for me, since I have three kids and very little space in which to store my figures.
3) They're CHEAP. OK, the print ink isn't cheap, but compared to metal and paint, they're REALLY cheap. This means I can build a collection that's larger and deeper than what I'd be able to afford in metal.

Some other time, I'll post about my interest in solo wargaming, but paper miniatures are perfect for solo gaming. They don't look as nice as metal, but they look plenty good enough for my home tabletop.

Let me underline the key point, though. I finished an army. And then some. I have all the Wild West figures I'll ever need in this collection of little paper desperadoes and lawmen. Cowboys too. And Apaches, and US Cavalry, and Plain Indians, and miners, and citizens to line the streets, and hitched horses to line the rails along those streets, and paper buildings to provide the essential backdrop, and wagons, and cattle, and buffalo.

This is huge. I can now play games whenever I want, without an unpainted figure in sight. This feels GREAT.

But.

This success has underlined the problems I have with my metal armies. It has made more acute my longing to have nicely painted ranks of Napoleonic and Civil War facing off against each other across a nicely modeled field of battle. Having this Wild West collection finished and at my fingertips makes me want to get to the same place with my other collections. In fact, this success is in many ways the reason I started this blog.

Oh, and after a bit of research, my copy of Wooden Ships and Iron Men is looking better and better for those Age of Sail games. And with some tweaks, my Wizkids Pirates ships might serve nicely! Not as nice as well-painted GHQ Micronaughts, by a long shot, but I could have battles going soon, and probably have enough ships to fight all but the largest battles, even if I leave out all the colorful ships (come on...bright blue ships?!?!) and the "undead" looking hulks. And all the ones that look like the captain has an overhead projector aboard, shining a huge skull-and-crossbones slantwise on the mainsails. Yeah. This will work. All I have to do it touch up the unpainted edges of each plastic piece, get some spare "sail" masts and glue them to the foremasts, make up some scenic bases, create a play board with hexes in the right size, ..., all before the next inspiration hits. Sigh.

9 comments:

Johnnyboy said...

If you want more figures, then juniorgeneral.org has a decent collection as well. They're almost all 1/72 scale.

Concentrationally Challenged said...

Thanks johnnyboy. I'm always on the lookout for new sources of paper miniatures. The breadth of the collection at juniorgeneral is pretty impressive!

Anonymous said...

I would second juniorgeneral.org. They have a nice collection of top-down WWII German and Soviet units. I just need to find a good set rules to use them with.

Concentrationally Challenged said...

My favorite rules for that kind of thing would probably be Crossfire. I'm a big fan of Sturm, from Don Bailey (more on that set of rules on the blog soon), but I don't think they'd suite top-down counters well, unless the infantry were individually "mounted."

penguin133 said...

Second your remarks on paper figs, additionally enables you to have figs you wouldn't normally buy/paint, PLUS letting you have "personality" figures galore, a little tinkering with the design or do your own, and the sky is the limit. what is he/she carrying, wearing etc? Great for Skirmish or roleplaying games. Love to know where you got your Western figs, I have some but not many, also like the sound of the vehs, buffalo, cattle and Indians!
Thanks,
Ian

Concentrationally Challenged said...

Hi Ian,

Thanks for the note.

For my Western figures, I trolled the web, looking for photos of painted miniatures from the catalog pages of various manufacturers. I looked for pics of figures in profile (shot from the side), removed their backgrounds using Paint.NET, and aligned them such that, when printed out, the photo and it's mirror image became both sides of the figures.

Hope that makes sense.

As these are copyrighted images, I can't share them with anyone, but you could take a similar approach pretty easily I would think.

coreydm676 said...

As miniatures become more and more expensive I have been looking for other options, and I found exactly what I was looking for! I have seen many paper miniatures before, but these are beyond what even I expected.

OneMonk is a really incredible company that has a growing array of Fantasy and Sci-Fi miniatures that can be used for roleplaying and wargaming. Each set includes 8 individual miniatures, complette with independant stances, and full front and backs. The sets can be bought individually, and as bundle packages that include both 4 sets and 8 sets.

The best thing about them is really the fact that they are downloadable as a PDF and printed imediately. The figures are made to be cut out around the edges and OneMonk also supplies amazing textured bases that come in many many different sizes, colors, and shapes.

You really must check out these figures, you will not regret it! Also they make a great altrenative to buying those D&D miniatures, and my brother uses them for full complette 40k Armies.

Http://www.OneMonk.com

magedogtag said...

coreydm676, onemonk is oneguy. as in one guy. he has his company, of course, but all the figs are done by one guy - phil hartmann - i think. but onemonk.com does have some really cool stuff. i have his entire skelebot set and am looking at a getting a few sets of his terraforce too. also, somewhere, there used to be a download of "starship troopers" grunts and a bug. the bug was 2.5d which makes it pretty cool. none the less, he has a great variety of free downloads also. and no, i don't know him and am not paid by him. i just like his stuff enough to buy it on occasion.

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