Thursday 9 October 2014

Soooooo........ Reaper Bones...

If you've not heard of Reaper Miniatures' "Bones" project you may well be the last person alive who hasn't. Since it was launched it has been something of a phenomenon. Yours truly was sorely tempted by the Kickstarter but in the end resisted. I'm glad I did. Read on for why...

Last week I thought I'd give Bones a stab and duly picked up a handful on the cheap whilst at MOAB. Some where unwanted figs from someone else's Kickstarter, some where from the blister range. Having now spent a bit of time with them I've got some seriously mixed feelings and thought I'd share them to see what people think and what kind of opinion others have of the Bones range....

POSITIVE. This one's a winner obviously. You can't argue with a list price around 50% (or less) or the equivalent miniature in pewter. What's not to like?

Detail Level
POSITIVE. Again, a winner. Despite the fact they are plastic the detail is right up there and I've found there is no discernible difference between the plastic and the pewter.

POSITIVE. As they are for the most part copies of existing Reaper Minis and therefore from the same stable of sculptors the miniatures are as a rule quite lovely sculpts. Lots of character, interesting poses and not too bad scale-wise. OK, some are gigantic but I could see that before I bought them.

Plastic Material
NEGATIVE. They're bendy. Like seriously bendy. Much bendier than I had expected. Which is fine for the majority of the miniature but I found removing mold lines a pain. Painting small or thin parts like weapons and belts was also seriously tedious as the miniature flexed away from even the gentlest brush strokes making a smooth finish very difficult to achieve.

Why Are They Standing on a Soap Box?
NEGATIVE. The bases are thick. Amongst the thickest I've seen for some time and out of step with what the majority of manufacturers are capable of. I've had to apply gloop around the base to avoid a noticeable step between the figure and the rest of the base. Something I never normally have to do and which just added more time.

Applying Paint
NEGATIVE. This one's the killer. I read plenty about prep beforehand and am generally quite careful. Unfortunately despite that my preferred enamel spray primer remained extremely tacky no matter how long I left it. This lead to a lot of bleeding and certain brands of paint, especially Citadel, to require multiple coats. In one case even a fifth coat of paint still cracked the following day. Now I've heard tell you can apply paint directly to the plastic but why would you if you really like to paint? My preferred primer gives a consistent, smooth surface which paint adheres to really well and which helps me produce a consistent standard at a great pace. Note: To be fair regards cracking and bleeding, the current Citadel paint range is also awful and I'm replacing them but still other paints like Vallejo and P3 had similar issues...

EDIT: I've just taken some photos of how easily the paint rubs off. One good swipe of my thumb and my golem is back to bare plastic.

Paint rubs off easily. Most likely a primer issue but why the issue to begin with?

Paint cracks and bleeds over time. This is just a couple of days. How about a week from now? A month? A year?

Over all, NEGATIVE. I'm NOT a fan. I didn't enjoy painting them, all the extra effort extended the time required considerably and in the end the result is nothing I can't get from metal or traditional plastics. If I worked out a cost benefit then my time lost cost a lot more than I saved in the purchase price.

Who else has painted them and what do you think? I'm really curious to see if I'm the only one who is more than a little underwhelmed.

PS. A rant for a 300th post? Sure, why not :-)



  1. Sorry to hear of your woes. Must admit I didnt dip my toe in this one. I wonder if range was aimed at those who just want a simple miniature on the board and arent bothered about painting it? The Bones range is notably for RPG-ing, and I seem to find a lot of dedicated RPG-ers arent so much into the miniatures side of things... one of my woes with the new LOTR RPG: The One Ring - Adventures over the wild... its has little requirement for actually miniatures on a floor plan at all, which put me off immediately...

  2. I'm not a huge fan either... but they're cheap and I don't mind giving them to the kids to paint (watching them two minutes sloshing paint on a $7 metal figure and then saying "DONE! What's next?!" makes me want to cry)

    The only bonus about the super soft plastic is those plinth-like bases can very easily be carved down - which is what I did before basing any!

    1. Yeah this. They're great for the kids to paint. I must admit, I haven't tried many myself. just 1 dragon. I found with a basecoat of gesso, it seemed to work okay, but I haven't stress tested the paint job too much.

  3. I just glue the bases onto fender washers for a bit of heft and then fill around them with white glue and dip into mixed sand & grit. for texture. But then I like most things on fender washers better than slotta bases. Got through straightening a bunch of the weapons a couple weekends ago by heating a cup of water in the microwave and then dipping the part to straighten, pluck out, straighten and quench in cold water. I'm having pretty good luck so far with various acrylic paints with the initial layer on pretty heavy, unprimed. I usually toughen up my paint jobs with polyurethane satin sprays.

  4. I gleefully bought into their first kickstarter, but over time I have become quite disappointed. So many of them are bent and I haven’t figured out a proper way to easily bend them back into a proper shape. Their claim to be able to paint them without primary is false and I have also had trouble keeping the paint on, a clear overcoat helps a little.
    I do like all the cheap giant beasties though.

  5. Sorry to see that this has been a less than satisfactory experience for you!

    Agreed on the mould line question - not a quick and easy process at all. I've had better luck cleaning up polystyrene plastic and good old-fashioned metal.

    Relative cheapness is a major factor for RPG figs such as these, although we still pay a premium here in Oz for anything from overseas. Cheaper by far than anything produced by GW though!

    I should get a couple more and see how they go - I'm not convinced either way as yet.

  6. A friend sent me almost all of his from the first Kickstarter. The detail on the larger models is pretty good, however on regular sized humans I find it to be very poor. I painted up a few and despised it. I've got about 100 figures and the only thing I'm using them for is bits. You can cut off the shields, swords, axes and even the heads to use in creative bases.

  7. Seems I not the only one underwhelmed by Bones! Thanks for the feedback folks.

  8. Interesting to read. Also, I've never heard of Reaper Miniatures' 'Bones'. I'm not 100% on who, or what, Reaper Miniatures is, mind.

  9. I've only picked up one or two they are using the same plastic most 1/72 model figure companies used to use. You need to put a fresh blade on your hobby knife to clean flash off of these I also cut them off their bases and insert strait pins into their feet to base them. I've used the old Airfix trick of giving them a light coat of PVA before priming that helps.

  10. Wow, that is unacceptable. A good warning here.

  11. I jumped into the first kickstarter when I had renewed interest in D&D. Sadly, they've mostly been neglected while I work on wargaming projects, but I have done a few. I typically wash the model with soapy water and use Reaper products for painting. An old girlfriend was not happy with them AT ALL, but I like them well enough as a side distraction when painting numerous infantry becomes tedious. The major beef I have with the range is bendy models. I love the giants I got in the KS, but their bendy weapons just kill the model.

  12. I managed to get a couple of these, really not a fan for all the reasons you've listed.

  13. News to me about the primer problems. Beautifully painted nonetheless. Best, Dean

  14. Not a fan here either, I've picked up a couple including quite a large piece, but couldn't get on with them. It feels as if they are fighting back when I apply paint.


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