Who does not know Dungeons & Dragons from either paperback or PC role-playing games? I myself am a big fan of D&D franchise due to uncountable hours spent gaming or reading related stories. D&D offers a lot to our imagination, but in the recent years Wizards of the Coast took extreme efforts to both promote and expand the variety of products branded with the holy D&D logo. Well, as it happened, there is a vast series of miniatures designed to fit the universe of D&D. Easy to say that I was thrilled to work with some of the Dungeons & Dragons Collector’s Series. More so, when I saw the boxes delivered by a courier. These looked really sweet and the designs and intricate detail presented in the cover was pushing my impatience into the danger zone!
When it comes to how these miniatures are packed I can only say that the boxes look great. Classic D&D style with nicely painted miniatures in the cover. Unfortunatelly looks are the only thing of value, as the protection offered by the box is rather mediocre. Inside each box I found a protective layer of cardboard supposed to keep miniatures from harms way when it comes to some degree of damage, but failing exponentially to keep the miniatures from being crushed. That’s because one long wall of the casing is loose and not supported by the short one . On top of that each miniature was wraped in a piece of bubble wrap for additional protection, but the boxes were not filled to the brim. This led to miniatures being thrown up and down during transportation and some small details were damaged beyond repair. This would be totally ok in case of regular plastic miniatures, but resin, of which these are made, is crunchy as hell and was punished severely by the lack of better protection.
I must confess that the first impression when I took a closer look at the miniatures was ‘what the fuck?!’ I was almost blown off the chair and couldn’t believe that Wizards of the Coast accepted this quality to actually hit the stores. Some might say that Games Workshop or Corvus Belli’s quality spoiled me, but guys – this seemed unreal. I was swearing under my nose and shaking my head with disbelief. The miniatures presented in the pictures where nothing close to the final product and as much as I understand how things work with modelling and that some miniatures require additional preparation – I considered calling the friendstomer and declining the commission. This would have been the first time in my entire career. I really like the particular friendstomer so I decided to inform him of the quality and proceed with the miniatures, but the bad taste follows me up to this day…
So, what is actually wrong with the miniatures? Everything… I know how it sounds, but just take a look at the pictures below and weep. Oily surface with dimmed details, holes, extreme mold lines, shifted form, shifted surfaces, broken parts and unbelievable differences between the pictures and the real deal. Add to it that almost all thin parts were distorted and you might have a dim idea of what I faced. Atop of that some parts just did not fit each other, creating huge gaps inbetween. This last one was a common thing in every big creature from the series I have worked upon, but almost each miniature had some major defects. Even the bases looked like crap and that is not something I usually deal with…
The ideas and designs for D&D miniatures are really nice and if not for extremely bad quality these might have been a group of really awesome products. What pains me the most is the amount of work required to bring these to a decent level so that they might be painted. I never done so before, but upon agreeing with the owner I just had to skip some of the defects or in one case even trashed a miniature. I don’t know how these would fare if not for specific style I choose for the job. I won’t lie – upon finishing the commission I was happy with the effect, but would always feel like these might have been done better if the quality let me. For this reason and taking the quality factor into consideration I must give a ‘6’ which is just ‘OK’.
I already mentioned the defects that clearly translate into bad modelling experience. Instead of repeating myself I would like to point out two more things.
Most of the quality issues could have been avoided by simply improoving the casting ducts and redesigning the way the miniatures are divided into particular parts. All in all the quantity of work required to prepare the miniatures was insane. I would never call these even close to proper and functional. Actually I think that the Wizkids Dungeons & Dragons miniatures might be much more hobbyist friendly than the Collector’s Series… and these are made of gum…
Here’s probably the craziest thing. For the quality and functionality already described a box of approximately five to six miniatures is around 50€ (E-bay prices). Let’s say that these are of perfect quality, then they still would have been a bit overpriced but fully acteptable. With ‘crap in the box’ that you get the pricing is just ridiculous! 🙂
Miniatures should look cool and working with them should certainly be fun. I tend to pick products that I really like for a review, but once in a while I feel compelled to shout a warning to fellow hobbyists and this is just such an occasion. On a scale where 10 is awesome, 8 is good, 6 is ok, 5 is mediocre, 3 is bad and I don’t want to even mention 1 – I would give a 3 to Dungeons & Dragons Collector’s Series and would advice you to avoid these products if able. I myself would decline taking these to my desk, unless these are for a particular friendstomer of mine in which case I will make an exception, cuz he’s my bro.
Please remember that this is just my personal opinion, based on my own experiences and you have full right to disagree. I wish all of you the best possible experience with Dungeons & Dragons Collector’s sets and that I’m ultimately wrong about this series.