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  • WAMP review: Reaper Bugbear Warrior - Bones vs Metal

    During their immensely successful Kickstarter project (“Help us dig up all of the bones!”), Reaper got a huge amount of attention for their new miniatures line, Bones. Miniatures of this line are made of a polymer plastic that is supposed to be easier to use as it allows gamers and painters to skip priming and start painting immediately after taking the mini out of the blister package. In addition to that, the prices are much lower than the prices of the metal range.
    In this review we will take a look at a Reaper miniature that is currently available in both the Bones line and in the P-65 Heavy Metal line (minis cast in a lead based alloy). The miniature is the Bugbear Warrior sculpted by Tre Manor. So, let’s find out if Bones miniatures are as great as Reaper claims by making a comparison between these two versions of the same model.

    Bugbear Warrior - Reaper Miniatures
    Material: Metal, price: $4.99
    Material: Bones, price: $2.49

    Bugbear3.jpgThe sculpt
    The Bugbear is a large miniature sculpted on an integral base, and measures approximately 5cm tall, and has a number of interesting surfaces to play with including large skin areas with some fur, a highly detailed ferocious face, and large metal surfaces.
    Overall it’s a classic sculpt, with good proportions and a strong pose.

    Cast Quality
    Obviously in this aspect, the two materials differ a lot.

    The metal miniature has strong details, with the face as a highlight which shows many small sculpted details such as wrinkles and folds. Prepping on this model will be quite intense as it has some strong mold lines on both sides of the mini and little flash at some areas. These do not obscure any important details, however. The mini also requires extensive sanding as some areas of the skin appear to be a little rough.

    Bugbear2.jpgThe Bones counterpart also contains many strong details, especially on the leather belt and the metal armor. The studs on the leather (on boots and arm) are actually much better cast in Bones than in metal. The face, however, has less detail but still looks quite decent. Funnily enough it does looks quite different from the metal miniature as the fur is also not as sharp as on the metal miniature. There are no mold lines on the side of the miniature, only some small ones on the bags at the back. The Bones material is very light and when you apply a little force it bends. After removing the force, however, it bends right back in place

    Assembly & prep
    The metal miniature requires the shield to be glued into place and some general clean-up of the sculpt.

    Bugbear4.jpgThe Bones sculpt requires little clean-up and no assembly. But, for some strange reason, the head seems to have been a separate piece which was glued on in the Reaper factory. Basically this means that there is a strong gap between the neck and torso which will require green stuff. And because this area covers fur, it also needs to be sculpted to match. I really don’t understand why the head is glued on, because it was one piece on the metal miniature.

    Is Reaper right in saying you can paint this mini straight from the blister?
    Well, I disagree. Maybe for gamers who are in need of some enemy miniature this is ok, but if you want to paint this mini as a display piece it will require some prep time. Also, I would not recommend skipping the priming of the miniature as Reaper suggests. The Bones plastic is quite smooth and glossy and paint does not adhere to that properly enough. I have tried base coating the mini without priming it, and it will work with undiluted paint straight from the pot, but diluted paint pools on the smooth surfaces. As using undiluted paint is not an option for most painters, I strongly advise that you prime it first. And honestly, priming does not take that much effort, so you had better do it anyway!

    On both materials the weapon is bent. For the metal miniature this requires some patience to put it back in place. The material is very hard, and of course bending it too much too fast will break it. The Bones material can be easily bent to the right position by heating it under warm water.

    So, is the Bones version of this miniature an improvement?

    Bones: 8/10
    Metal: 8.5/10
    Nice traditional sculpt, great for Role Playing gamers but will also look great on dioramas. The Bones mini has good details and smooth surface areas, but details on metal version are slightly better.

    Bones: 7/10
    No assembly needed. Green stuff required and some clean-up is necessary.
    Metal: 7/10
    Requires little assembly, but some major mold lines need to be removed.

    Bones: 10/10
    Great value for money.
    Metal: 8/10
    Although twice the price of Bones, it is still a good deal for a big chunk of metal.

    Bones: 8.5/10
    Metal: 8/10
    A good looking classic model with a wonderfully small price tag! Is the Bones version better than the metal counterpart? I would say it's comparable. Both have their weaknesses and strengths. Considering the price difference the Bones version has my preference as it is simply a good miniature.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Serenity's Avatar
      Serenity -
      Thank you for the very thorough and educational review.

      About the P-65 model, it is now out of production along with the rest of the P-65 line. I believe the plan is to eventually convert the most popular ones into Bones. Some of them, like this Bugbear, are also available in Dark Heaven Legends pewter. For those interested, 03245: Korgug, Bugbear Bully is $11.49.

      My guess about the head being a separate piece in Bones is that the steel mold is less forgiving of undercuts than the latex(?) one used for the P-65 model. I've read that the Bones plastic sometimes needs a dunk in cold (or ice) water to set it after being heated in hot water or by a blow drier.

      About painting, I've heard from Anne Foerster at Reaper that if the plastic is thoroughly cleaned, a thinner base coat can be used than if they are not cleaned. Depending on your preferences, this might be a way to avoid priming. If you want to prime or just want to know more about painting Bones, check out this thread on the Reaper forums. Some aerosol primers leave Bones plastic tacky.