When we talked about WizKids sending us a bunch of different sets to play with and paint up, we could not imagine the amount we would receive. The company was super gracious to send us several sets, which we’ll show you below as we go over how all of them look and play out.
The sets in question are Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures from the Dungeons & Dragons collection, the Deep Cuts collection for regular play, Paizo in general, and for Pathfinder specific. Each of the sets below has its own specific charms and differences which we’ll examine for a moment.
Now, while I do enjoy miniatures and figures, I admit that I am not a painter. In the artistic echelons of life, that was not one of my strong suits. That’s why I asked for the assistance of my longtime friend Tony Henrichsen, who has over two decades of experience in the field. He’s also played D&D just as long, as well as Pathfinder since the game’s inception, so he knows what he’s doing and what to look for in terms of inspiration.
For the fact that we don’t have a lot of time with products during the review period, I sat down with him and chose some specific models to paint up as we looked at the choice of design work and how they can be painted. Every single one of these sets came primed by Acrylicos Vallejo, so it saved us (and you) some time.
We’ll start with everyone’s favorite traps to avoid — mimics. Part of the collections we received was a pile of furniture, which included some kegs. This worked out beautifully, as the two mimics we received was that of a keg as well as the traditional treasure chest. When you look at the designs below, everything has a place for deception. The kegs by themselves look very standard and ordinary, as objects to be placed in the room as an obstacle or to add scenery. But any wise DM or GM will take advantage of this situation if the storyline suits it and place a mimic in the room to take shape and make the players’ lives miserable.
As you can see from the color choices he made below, he decided to make the kegs look like they were put together by different people, or perhaps designed in a way to let you know what kinds of ale or brews were inside each one. When he tackled the mimics, he made them more monstrous than you should expect to see in battle. When you get a mimic, you usually think of the open mouth with the purple tongue, while the eyes and other features don’t come off right away in your mind. Here, by taking advantage of the bumps to represent the eyes, you’re able to add in a depth of fear and hunger on the part of the creature. These are magnificent designs that you can have a lot of fun with, depending on how menacing you wish them to be.
Moving into something from the Paizo sets from WizKids, we decided to mess with the clear Hell Hounds that came with this collection. Much like how you’ll see on a couple figures below, these are made from clearer plastic to give it more of an ethereal touch. Like casting a spell from your hand or having a gem on a staff, it’s not meant to appear as a purely physical object, but something entirely different on the same physical realm. I personally loved these designs, as the shine off of them makes them feel much more arcane.
For the paint, Tony started with a deeper shade of red than you might expect; but because of the material, it comes out to be a regular kind of hellfire red. As he went into detail about the collar and the face, he made the tops of the dogs look like it was burnt lava. Aesthetically, this gives a double effect to the eyes of the player. On the one hand, you’re looking at them as normal dogs who happen to be created from magic, so they retain a little bit of real-world look to them. On the other hand, you can interpret it as their bellies being full of fire that’s constantly burning, so there are parts of them exposed to the air that while still hot, have cooled down and turned black. It’s a very interesting dynamic that, as you can see below, works well with painted and unpainted figures.
Going into the Pathfinder sets from Wizkids, we cracked open the Evil Wizards box. While they don’t really go into detail of what’s here, it appears you get a halfling and an elf. I like the presentation of both for different reasons. The halfling looks pleased with himself as if he knows he’s a powerful wizard and there’s nothing you can do to stop what he has planned for you. Meanwhile, the elf looks much more mysterious and cloaked in garbs that hide the true nature of who they are and what magic they possess.
When Tony went into the painting phase, he stuck with the red on the elf and gave them green skin as a juxtaposition to give them definition. He also decided to make the wizard more attuned to spells revolving around flames to match it up, so the cloak was given a darker approach while the fire coming from the left hand was brightened up. There was also an opportunity to add in a touch of scarlet to the armor along with bronze hooks attached to the silver chains on their person, and a final touch of a purple book.
The halfling, however, got a much brighter tone to match his hair as he was adorned with green and light blues. This gave the figure more of an earth/poison/necromancer kind of tone that you don’t know how to predict. All you know if you kinda wanna kick the smug jerk in his face whenever he lights up a spell from his staff with the green gem.
Overall, these were amazing sets to have fun with and design on from Wizkids. Everything they sent us works perfectly fine if you don’t have the skills to paint them properly, as the detail in each figure will let your imagination run wild. However, if you or a friend do have some skills to spend time on them, there are enough points of articulation for you to get some real in-depth thought into why this character looks a certain way and how they can look like the biggest badass on the board. We look forward to reviewing more sets from WizKids, because these absolutely help bring in a lot of life to a game for a small amount of cash.