Monsters for Sale: Buying D&D Mini Singles

Posted in EpicTable Blog on February 25, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Continuing on the game prep theme from last time, I thought I’d talk a bit about buying D&D miniatures. Alright, before you skip this post: This isn’t about the D&D Miniatures game, nor is it about D&D. It’s about getting those unpainted metal miniatures, those stray dice, stones and random bits of plastic off your battlemat and replacing them with something more representative.

Whether or not you play D&D, the plastic, pre-painted miniatures are a great time saver and a very positive addition to your face-to-face RPG tabletop. In fact, if you dismissed them when they first came out, it’s worth a second look–the quality has improved a lot since the early releases.

I’ve painted lots of metal minis over the years, but for many of us, that day finally arrives when you just can’t find the time to paint that last mummy.

Aside: No doubt, every one of the players in my face-to-face game read this blog, hanging on my every word, and find themselves somewhere between dismay and sly opportunism at this surprising leak of a spoiler–there might be a mummy in the upcoming desert adventure.

So, it happened that after picking out my creepy Lovecraftian/Egyptianesque music, I found myself shopping for mummies minis that were creepy and Lovecraftian and Egyptianesque. I had this vague notion that one can buy singles these days, rather than relying on luck of the draw to get the mummies creatures you’re after, but didn’t know where to look. After asking friends and Googling around for awhile, I came up with a set of fairly reasonable sources for miniature singles. (I’m sure there are loads more–these are the one I found. Feel free to chime in with your own suggestions in the comments.)

Buying Minis on eBay

  • Good for the occasional discount relative to traditional stores.
  • Not a real discount unless you can batch several purchases to save on shipping.

Buying Minis on Traditional Online Stores

  • Some price variation. It’s too much of a pain to price compare everything, so I spot check–if they’re more expensive on average, I don’t bother looking for the odd deal here or there.
  • Shipping is pretty key, again, but it’s easier to find enough to batch into one shipment.

Specific Recommendations

  • MiniatureMarket.com has really competitive prices and free shipping once you hit $75 (purely hypothetical, of course, in case you happen to be my wife and are wondering).
  • Battleworks.net is actually my favorite because they have a flat shipping fee, and their minis are organized by monster type, so if you’re looking for…I don’t know…undead, you can find them all in one group, regardless of the set in which they were released.
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