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Is Metal Dead?

The world of miniature gaming has change beyond all recognition since I first started gaming 40 odd years ago. Way back in those days there really wasn’t the vast array of miniatures to choose from that we are lucky enough to have today and of course you either had lead miniatures or pvc type plastics…..but behold we now live in the 21st century!

So the question I have to ask is are metal miniatures becoming a thing of the past?

In the past years the availability of hard plastic figures with multiple pose options for many different armies and genre of table top miniature gaming has certainly exploded making affordable and well detailed figures readily available, or allowing manufacturers to use computer rendering to create some really outlandish or in some cases what I would consider to be ‘over designed’ figures. And no discussion about plastic figures would be complete without mention of the excellent polymer plastics used by Reaper Miniatures (10% of this is recycled plastic) to produce their very keenly priced ‘bones’ range of figures.

A phrase that is not uncommon to hear is ‘a mountain of plastic’ when referring to someones collection of unpainted miniatures, this is a phrase that I don’t every recall hearing all those years ago, but maybe I’m just doing that old persons things about remembering everything as better in the past!

We are on the cusp of great advances in 3d printing technology, with not only the advent of home 3d prints but also companies using high end printers to produce the 3d prints for you. I was totally blow away recently by the quality of the resin printed miniatures (see picture above) that I purchased from a company called Fully Cycled, they offered the figures to me in various scales and I selected 28mm, the amount of fine detail achieved in the printing was great including defined eye shapes and eye brows and very little cleaning up of the model required before painting. These kinds of details are rarely achieved in metal figures and I would suggest as the moulds which are used to cast the figures wear and degrade the quality slowly becomes worse. So are resin cast and resin printed figures the way of the future? Mantic games have made the switch from pvc type plastic to resin for their Walking Dead range in the latest releases and again I must say the quality and crispness of detail is excellent whilst the pricing has remained the same.

I’m not saying I don’t like metal miniatures, I do love the heft of a nice metal figure and I have no preference to painting metal, plastics or resin, it was just an observation that in the future I think we will see the hobby gaming industry shifting from metals and even hard plastics to resins and as technology improves I suspect even to printed resins.

This is all of course just my ramblings and I am probably ill informed as to the pros and cons of each production methods, I’d certainly be happy to hear what you think. Happy gaming.