Sunday, 31 August 2014

Tyranny of Dragons miniatures

Dominic Matte
I went to Fan Expo today. In addition to attending the D&D 5e panel, I also got suckered into buying a few of the Tyranny of Dragons miniatures.

Well, okay, eight boosters and the ancient brass dragon. But they gave me a $30 discount on the dragon because I bought an eight-pack, and the eight pack saved $20 off individual booster price, so I'm going to pretend I didn't actually just spend $145 on more miniatures when the second Reaper Kickstarter shipment is on its way soon.

Click through for photos and impressions!
All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Here's an overview of the Small and Medium characters:

For these figures, the sculpts and paint jobs are solid. For the most part they aren't particularly exciting - fairly static poses, and good but not exceptional paints. But what's there is solid and very workable. Pretty good stuff overall. 

Also, if you look closely, you'll notice that there are only two duplicates out of eight boosters. That's excellent, though due to my past experience with Heroclix, I'm assuming that this is a benefit of buying a booster brick - Wizkids tries to minimize duplicates in their bulk packs to help out collectors. You may see more dupes if you buy loose boxes one at a time.
Closer look at some of the nicer models
However, where this miniature line really shines is in the large figures. Bigger figures means more room for fine detail in both sculpt and paint. The two giants are quite nice.
Paladin for scale
The dragons are what really caught my interest. These are the only dragon miniatures I've ever seen that are actually flying instead of standing (or otherwise grounded), and they look excellent. For pre-painted minis, the paint is quite good, with some layering and variation across the figures.

Copper, gold, and bronze dragons. Paladin for scale.
The brass dragon's pose looks a little bit awkward, but the copper is quite good. The gold is exceptional, with those face tentacles and all the detailing and the pale gold touches on the belly scales.
Green dragon, wyvern, black shadow dragon. Paladin for scale.

The shadow dragon figure is translucent. Very cool.

One very cool thing: it's possible to get two dragons in the same booster. I pulled the shadow dragon and the green dragon from the same booster, and the vendor at Fan Expo told me that one guy opened his booster on the spot and pulled two (one of which was red, don't remember the second).

A note on the ancient brass dragon. This is sold separately, you can't get it from a booster pack - it wouldn't fit. It's a very nice figure with a strong paint job, and it looks very imposing compared to your standard human sized miniature. 

Premium ancient brass dragon. Paladin for scale.
The problem is that the vendor at Fan Expo had it listed at $75. It's a nice figure, but it's definitely not $75 nice - for that price I'd expect something bigger. The vendor offered to knock off $30 (bringing it down to $45) if I bought a brick of eight boosters (at $100). Now here's the bit that annoys me: it's listed on Amazon for $50, currently marked down to $42. So I didn't actually get a deal at all, the vendor had marked it up dramatically for some reason. Anyway, that's an aside that has nothing to do with the figure itself.

I pulled five different dragons out of eight boosters, and two of those dragons were in the same pack. Some quick research shows that I'm missing three dragons: red, blue, and silver. Now I have a dilemma: I would like to pick those up too because these are great figures, but my chances of pulling those three from blind boosters aren't great, and they're going for over $20 each on eBay. Ugh, decisions.

So, overall impression: solid enough miniature line if you're going prepainted, but the real reason to invest is for the big figures. All the ones I've seen look excellent. $15 per booster is actually a pretty great price considering the quality of the big figures - unpainted minis of that size from other companies will easily run you $10 to $20 on their own, but each Tyranny of Dragons booster gives you a big figure and three others, one of which has the potential to be another big figure. 

I do have to point out, though, that the wyvern and pegasus counted as the big figures in their respective boosters, so you won't always get a dragon or giant. Those can be a little bit disappointing.

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