Thursday, June 24, 2010

L5R Week - Miniatures for Legend of the Five Rings

From TheBro

Welcome to all our new L5R visitors! Come in, kick off your shoes, and stay awhile. If you wait a bit, booze might be served later. Of course by booze I mean sake! :D

Disclaimer: I have not played L5R yet, but have become interested in the game due to the Free RPG day giveaway (I guess that means the marketing plan is working on me). I have come across some miniatures in my day that might be useful in playing the game. While I firmly believe any rpg (except maybe D&D 4e) can be played without minis, I also love seeing representations of players as a way to immerse myself more fully into a game.


First I will mention the official minatures line produced by Valiant miniatures are found here. I ran across these minis after purchasing some Heroscape minis and looking for more Samurai minis. On the first link I looked at, I was sold on these minis as I saw:
I am also really impressed with the price point of these metal minis. Hida Suku here is only $5.00. If you have the time and talent to do these miniatures justice I doubt you will find anything better. Even if you don't have the time or talent it may be picking up one or two just for the cool factor even when unpainted.

Reaper Miniatures also has a line of Samurai figures. The price point on these is a little lower than the Valiant ones, but I think the quality of the Valiant minis appears much higher. For example you can get the Samurai of Okura figure below for $3.99:


I tend to like a lot of what Reaper does with its minis most of the time as their selection is one of, if not the, largest and most varied of any manufacturer, but I also find you can get higher quality minis when you find a company that focuses specifically on your area of interest. If you do check out Reaper's line, go to the figure finder and search for "samurai." that should get you a couple dozen results to check out.

Okko is a board game/skirmish game where a team of samurai fight demons. Fantastically simple concept, but the board game itself comes with cardboard punch out figures. While they have fantastic art design, there's really nothing better than a miniature for a miniatures game, right? Well, we're in luck because Asmodee produced a line of metal miniatures to go along with the game and replace your punch outs.



Confession time - I have more bare metal minis waiting to be painted than I will likely ever paint. Because of this, I look for prepainted figures to help fit certain gaps for the gaming table. This fact is especially true since I provide 80% or more of the figures for our games.




Heroscape provides a few prepainted minis that may work well in an L5R game. The Rise of the Valkerie base set contains three Samurai, three different Samurai were introduced in Wave 4, Wave five contained three more Samurai and three Ninjas (not the movie - and, no, they do not kick back), Wave 5.5 has another Samurai (an amazing looking flag bearer), Wave six has one hero Samurai and three other Samurai Archers, Wave seven has not One (with rifles) but Two (with spears) Ashigaru squads and a Ninja, Wave eight has a Daimyo plus Ninja one and Ninja two, and finally, a promotional figure from GenCon 2007.

Another resource for prepainted minis is the Wizards of the Coast D&D miniatures line. Some of the older sets have a few oriental themed minis such as the Whirling Monk and Dragonblade Ninja that might work well. I recommend buying the pieces from a secondary source such as Auggies Games (which may also have some of the Heroscape minis). I find that the D&D prepaints are a little smaller than Heroscape and don't work quite as well with the metals as heroscape does, but they are great if you are in a bind.

I am sure that some readers out there have some great suggestions for where to get other minis for use in L5R. Please help out everyone (especially this L5R noob find some great minis by posting suggestions in the comments.)

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