I remember when my first gaming group started getting into miniatures. We used our birthday money to buy Ral Partha miniatures and painted them up with Tester paints. They didn't look that great but it was fun times.
Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition emphasizes the use of miniatures. So for me an important element of preparing my character for play is obtaining the miniature for him. I personally love a well painted miniature. However, I am not a great painter.
So to get my minis I hire a great painter, David Gulczynski who operates WarPaint Studio, to paint my miniatures. Custom painting may put pressure on a limited budget but if you have a few extra bucks its well worth it. Having a well painted mini, painted to my specs, really is awesome to play with and well worth the cost.
So if you don't have a great skill at painting or have a friend who does, you might want to invest some time in locating a good painter like David. They are not that hard to find and many of the commissioned painters are fast, reliable, and do great work.
So when I am creating a new character for a campaign here is how I go about getting my mini:
- Find the mini and order it from the manufacturer or from a local retailer.
- Find a painter and negotiate a commission with them.
- Send the mini and pre-payment (almost always required for commission work) to them
- Wait for an awesome mini to come back.
A few tips:
- To find a painter use your local gaming store owner or ask your friends on twitter to recommend someone. If you don't have anyone to recommend someone use google to find the painter galleries and search for someone with a good web-site.
- To find a good mini don't just look at one site or at one store.
- Look for minis no smaller than 25mm. 28mm (Warhammer sized) are really great because they still fit nicely on a 1" base but they are bit bigger than normal. This is especially true for Half-Orc and Goliath characters.
Here is a list of web-sites of figure manufacturers that you might find useful in your search.
My favorite sites for miniatures for D&D
Good minature lines with minis useful for D&D characters
Fantasy miniatures for army based war games
Some worth looking over for pleasure
If you know of another site please post a comment with the link.