Welcome to this review of Trash Mob Mini’s upcoming “Elemental Enemies” paper miniatures. A companion pack to their existing “Ultimate Elementals”. (And the first ever review from the grinning frog!)
Now, let me say straight off the bat that I’ve never used paper minis – except that one time I forgot my figure case and made a quick print out for a key player, so they would have a table-top representation for the game!
Apart from then, never used them. I’m guilty of having a rather large figure collection thanks to my love of both wargaming and dungeons and dragons. My miniature collection goes back to the late seventies and some of those original Ral Partha Fiend Folio figures still see action! Consequently, never really felt the need to go the paper route.
I’ve seen paper figures, and scenery around of course and thought it was a nice idea for those who want it. I’ve seen Trash Mob on my twitter feed for a while and they always get positive feedback. When they asked for reviewers I thought ‘what the heck, time to try these things out.’
I chose to approach this review from the perspective of someone with limit tools and time. Instead of using a craft knife, tweezers or any of my other modelling toolkit I got some scissors from the office. I used a Pritt glue stick and cereal card for the base. To compare if I was doing this for myself, I would be using a scalpel, tweezers, steel-edged ruler, likely the same glue but then photo-frame card for the base. Additionally, I gave myself 45 minutes as a time limit.
My attitude to reviewing
I will tell it like it is. By which I mean that if I like something I will say so and if I don’t then I will, hopefully positively, point that out. I actively game with figures in homebrew games, published wargames and multiple RPGs. I know what I want to see, I believe I have a valid opinion, (having gamed for over 35 years) and I want my reviews to be of some practical value!
No instructions. Now that is likely because myself and the other reviewers were sent a sample pack rather than the full set. Jesse Jennings of Trash Mob sent over an instructions pdf as soon as I asked. I am going to assume they will be in the full set.
Other than that, the file is a single page PDF and you simply send it to print. The images are clear, and I would say fit for purpose.
What you have here are:
- One water cultists,
- One armoured earth cultist
- One earth myrmidon
- One “2.5D”* model of a water weird
In the full pack, there will be 16 unique miniatures.
* “2.5D” is the description that Jesse sent to the reviewers. I will talk about it later on as it caused me some issues!
I don’t know if the figure contents are listed in the final pack, but I hope so otherwise, you might struggle to recognise some of the figures.
From an artwork perspective, everything is very clearly drawn and the colours are quite bright. My printer muddies browns and greens a bit so you might get cleaner cultists on your printer.
The earth cultist (top right) reminds me of some old Warhammer figure I think – chaos warrior maybe? It seems derivative. And he doesn’t look particularly ‘earthy’ for an earth cultist. My least favourite figure I think.
The water cultist (top left) is great. I really like him. He’s wearing armour with an old diving suit helmet visor. A lovely touch and after all, what else would a land-based, air-breathing water cultist wear – very clever. I like it a lot.
The earth myrmidon (middle) is a little too manga styled for my personal taste. It’s not an art style I like for my DnD. Also, I do have to point out that it is a little at odds with the style of the other four figures.
Finally, the water weird (bottom). I love it. It looks exactly as I feel it should look. That is, the main body rearing out of the water. And there they missed a trick – the base tabs for the water weird should be blue to represent it coming out of a pool of water. Unless it’s coming out of a crack in the ground? Nope, doesn’t work. Make the base tab water coloured like the rest of the creature and you are onto a winner.
I’ll mention the snake appendages here briefly – they look like brilliant little sea serpents. I really like them … but they are part of the water weird? Okay, that’s weird and a point I will come back to below. For now, let me just say that the snakes are great … except the colour is missing from the eyes and teeth on one side! A small error but it’s on the face so noticeable. A quick going over with a coloured pencil would fix it but it’s still an error.
Construction and Build
I was a little unclear at what point I cut away the adjoining white space between the figures. What I ended up doing was cutting most of the shapes away, scoring the middle and folding them over before finishing the cutting.
And the water weird
And now is where things got a bit sticky … I have no idea where the snake appendages are supposed to go on the water weird.
Do they face the front like this?
Or do they face backwards like some kind of tail? In both cases, you don’t seem to need both of them. I’ve decided to leave them off the figure this time. I’m sure Jesse will let me know how it was supposed to look and I can make another one!
(As an aside – I actually need some small fire snakes for a game that’s coming up, so I don’t mind having the two snakes left over. Yes, I know I said I had a large figure collection, but all my snakes are green – I need magical fire ones … which might now be magical blue fire snakes!)
It is a little vexing not to have some kind of guide as to how it should look. A shadow silhouette on the original sheet would have been sufficient.
Anyway, after thirty-five minutes of work what I had was this
Three mini’s cut out and based. (Obviously not the snake).
Another few minutes going around the edges with a Sharpie and they looked like this:
They are nicely 28mm in scale so would go with existing mini’s without any issue. Sadly, I can’t actually get to my miniature collection at the moment because of some building work in the house so I’m not able to show you a comparison right now. Give me a few days and I will update this!
They were relatively easy to build – all you need to do is take your time cutting them out. Sharp scissors are quite satisfactory.
They are going to take about fifteen minutes a mini to cut out and make. Not the slowest thing in the world but do appreciate that makes it about 4 hours if you make all 16 from the pack. Give yourself enough time prior to the game!
The figures seem fairly durable. I printed them on presentation card. The thickest paper that will go through my printer – 180gsm I think from memory. I can fold the figures flat and then unfold them without, it appears, doing any damage so if I really wanted to I could tuck them in my game book for emergencies or prior to using them in a planned session.
If you are just starting out in the hobby or fund are particularly tight this is a good way to get the more exotic and larger creatures that can cost quite a lot if purchased in resin, plastic or metal. Equally, if you are looking for one-time figures then this is very economical – and quick. Purchase, download and get printing. Even Amazon Prime isn’t that fast!
However, for regular figures that will see a lot of action, or that are important to the story I do think you are better off saving up and purchasing a 3D physical figure. There are various forums around where you can source second-hand physical figures if funds are tight.
Without knowing the competition out there, if I was going to purchase a paper mini for a game that was upcoming then I’d be happy to browse Trash Mob’s DM Guild website and buy what I needed. The art is clear, the scale is right, the price is a bargain. And the ultimate testament … that water weird is going to get used – with or without its appendages!
How to Buy
“Elemental Enemies” should be available in their shop https://t.co/GBQo0rv7VK mid-late December. Currently there are over twenty other packs available starting from only $2.50!
16 unique figures in the pack, and it will cost about $4 USD.
I, nor anyone at The Grinning Frog is affiliated with Trash Mobs in any fashion. I was sent the sample pdf to review in good faith and I stand to make no financial return on this review or on any sales of the items.