Good evening everyone! Tonight we have the first review of 2018 and it features not an RPG or supplement, but a tool that you can use at your table. There are many ways for you to represent creatures and heroes at your table, and many ways of doing so on a battle grid. Some use gummies, dice, or other small objects. Many people use miniatures whether they are plastic and pre-painted or metal hand painted ones. Today’s review is about paper miniatures and is my first foray into this medium. Trash Mob Minis passed along an elemental promo pack and I dug out the file for a naga and gnoll which was given out on Twitter at one point. This probably won’t be a long review, but should give you some insight, especially if you have never made paper miniatures before. You can find Trash Mob Minis over on DriveThru RPG where there are tons of miniature packs and more always being worked on!
The first thing we need to talk about is the art. I have to say I have been following TMM for a while now on Twitter and always love the art that gets posted. Whether we are talking about elementals, dinosaurs, snake-people, or goblins the art has a distinct style. Not everyone might like the art style, at least not at their table. I know some people find it a bit too….cartoonish? Cute? Nevertheless, I find it to be an excellent art style, but I am partial to these types of art styles for many things. What is lacked in “realistic” detail is made up for by great colors and simple, stand-out details. Even with this style you can get minis like the large water elemental which is serpentine and features a skeletal back-bone and skull with waving tendrils of water that give it a 3D appearance. For miniatures details are easily lost and I especially find this art style perfect for mitigating that.
So the technical product for Trash Mob Minis is a PDF file of the miniatures themselves. For the packs I got, there were no instructions but there really aren’t any needed. There are grey lines which represent places to fold. This is readily distinguishable given an image of the finished product and the fact that back and front meet at the same spot, allowing the fold to make it two-sided. Aside from this the images all have large line strokes, providing some extra room for cutting out along it. Beyond that there are sized and color-coordinated bases for which to glue the circle base attachments. This gives the bottom of the miniatures a little more heft and stability near the bottom, allowing them to stand easily.
Now there is one difficulty when dealing with the product and, frankly, I cannot say that this is the fault of Trash Mob Minis or my inexperience. I have made a few things before and had a decent idea of how to go about making these minis from the PDF file. Still, I already know some things I could and should do to improve the minis and their longevity. The PDFs I had have no such instructions or suggestions. The purchasable packs might or it may be like buying an unpainted mini. The finished product is up to practice, care, and learning from others. Besides, it is not like you will lose the PDF after the first print.
Making The Minis
I wanted to mention what I did, the tools I used, and what tools I will add when I make more. Cardstock and a decent printer are important. I was able to find both at work, but I KNOW that I would not like my printer’s rendition of these. Note, however, that my printer is about 4 years old, cost me 20 dollars, and uses the un-official ink from an Amazon shop. Needless to say, your printer might do a perfectly fine job. Card stock is a must to make sure they are durable and stand straight. In order to cut them out I used smaller scissors and a well used pocket knife to score the grey lines before folding. Elmer’s glue sticks were used for adhering the pieces together. It is perfect because it goes on visibly purple, dries transparent, and dried rather quickly. After putting them together I used a marker to tidy up the edges and make the white disappear.
Next time I want to try a couple other things. First I want to get a hobby knife to cut the outlines much better and cleaner. That will improve these a whole lot. If I use a marker again, I might go for something on the more grey side of black as that ink is much darker. It’s fine unless you look closely, but I know the difference is there. Another experiment I want to work on, if I can get access to the tools is laminating. The hard part about this is that I will need to do some research. I don’t have a laser cutter, so I will need to cut them myself. Do I do this first? After putting it together? Just after cutting? Additionally, when will it be better to get some stands for them as laminates rather than using the printable bases? It is highly likely that I will write an article out in the future after figuring this out.
All that being said, let’s get to the worth of this product. If you have a decent printer and get yourself some glue sticks, scissors, and card stock then you NEED to try some paper minis out. I definitely recommend Trash Mob Minis because the art style is fantastic and the mini packs have plenty of useful things. Even more, they are very well priced! I love the art, I love the way they look when made. I will definitely be starting my paper mini collection with some of Trash Mob Minis’ packs. That being said, I will experiment a little more with what I have first. Well, I might grab the dinosaur pack before that…