It’s four years since I got back into playing Blood Bowl and in that time I’ve painted 11 teams, organised 2 tournaments, played in 2 league seasons and 5 NAF tournaments. I’ve enjoyed it all and despite a few low periods (mainly in the Summers) I continue to take great pleasure from the game and hobby that I love.
I gave a little goal of having a painted team for each of the 24 races and prompted by a little discussion on Twitter I looked at the gaps in my collection of teams to see what I need to plan to buy. There are so many fantastic miniatures available these days so there is quite a lot of choice. The big gaps – where I have no plans to convert or repurpose – are Amazons, Vampires and Wood Elves, and so I started looking around and asking for recommendations. I had quite a few responses and thought I’d share with you what it is I look for in a Blood Bowl miniature.
First and foremost I want miniatures that represent fantasy football players. Remember that Blood Bowl is a sports game played by great (and not so great) players and watched by crowds of crazy fans. Therefore the armour needs to reflect that these players need to move around the pitch regardless of position and that they are inherently tough professional sportsmen. I also want the detail of the armour and clothing to reflect the background of the race and the position of the player. I hope it goes without saying that Bunny Girls, Nuns, Minions, Lego figures and any other “quirky” alternatives are absolutely banned from my collection.
The next thing that I look for it appearance and usability on the table top. I want miniatures that I can play with. I’m not looking for models that will look good in a display cabinet or in a photograph. I want models that when on the table top accurately reflect their race and position. I want models that can be placed prone on the pitch in a single square and that can easily be identified as prone or stunned. I want miniatures that can fit skill rings and have bases that can hold a football.
A lot of modern teams seem to focus on dynamic verging on acrobatic poses and on having unique poses for every model. I don’t like acrobatic poses and don’t mind dynamic as long as the previous two rules are still followed. Uniqueness is nice as long as it is still clear what position each model represents. I don’t like having different Blitzers models that represent the different roles that a Blitzer may have on the field. I don’t want a killer, a ball carrier or a ball getter for example. I want similar looking models with slight variations in stance and body. I want them to look like different sports players not different types of position.
Finally I want the actual physical model to be 28mm heroic (the classic proportion), I want it to be detailed and to have enough weight to it that it won’t move when the board.
To help illustrate what I’m looking for and what I’m not looking for, here are a few examples.
I really like these Dwarfs from the Iron Golems Indiegogo. (Full disclosure: I have backed this). The style is very much the 2nd/3rd Edition GW minis that I love. They are full of character and the sculpts clearly show what each individual player does. I don’t even like Dwarf teams and already have one but they’re so nice that I had to support them in the hope that they make more teams. I like that the helmets, uniform and pose distinguish the positions.
This is an example of a Wood Elf catcher from Star Player miniatures that I don’t like. I’m sure it looks nice in the cabinet, but it is not what I want to see on the table top.
These Amazons from Willy Miniatures are another example of a team that I don’t like very much. Too much diving, crouching and kicking for me.
These Elves from Black Scorpion received several recommendations and I am really tempted by them. To me, they are better as High or Pro Elves than Wood Elves but they fit what I am looking for in general.
These are just a few examples. There is a good list of suppliers on The NAF’s website. Not every miniature is for every coach and it is all subjective. This is just my personal view and it is clearly shaped by the period that I first got into the game and the style of the time. There are many alternatives out there these days and we’re very lucky that Blood Bowl has this level of support from the community long after the creator fell out of love with it. If you’re interested in supporting the game then do check out the various funding campaigns that come out and help these manufacturers. I can’t see that there’s much money in it and without the support of us coaches they just won’t get produced which would be a real shame.
I’d love to have your recommendations for Blood Bowl miniatures of any sort. What do you look for in a model and why?