8/31/2013

"Wimpy" 2¢ Miniature

"Wimpy" 2¢ Miniature
One of my more popular posts was for the Hefty 12¢ Miniature. When cleaning out my office I found even more of these miniatures, along with even more of the older Alea Tools markers I thought I had given away.

Not a lot mind you, but enough to make me wonder just where I had managed to squirrel all these things away. I'm pretty certain they were just part of the collection I had separated out for a trip to a game convention somewhere.

In with this stash were a small stack of....what for the sake of this post I will refer to as Wimpy 2¢ Miniatures. I had made a bunch of these up for players to use as PC tokens. They took a little bit more work to create, but were much cheaper and quite a bit easier to transport.

The biggest difference between the Wimpy 2¢ Miniature and the Hefty 12¢ Miniature is that instead of obtaining an cutting up a cardstock card from some collectible card game you are printing the minis at home. There are several options and variations on getting this done and your price might come out a bit more than a couple copper pieces, but even if the most expensive option is used it will be cheaper than the 12¢ miniatures.


1) You need to determine if you can print this at home or you need to go to a print shop. When I made mine I had access to a decent laser color printer. If you go the print shop route, you might need to glue the printed paper to your basing, which will make it more rigid (a plus), but make it more difficult to punch out (a negative).

ProMag Magnetic Paper
ProMag Magnetic Photo Paper
2) You'll need to determine the magnetic sheeting you need based on your ability to print the minis. I used the same magnetic sheeting I used to make my miniature storage boxes. You may need to use the more expensive magnetic sheeting made specifically for printing. 

3) Get some digital files of the minis you want to print. There are plenty of good ones out there, some for free and others, well others will cost you. Since these files aren't going to be "consumed", the cost isn't factored into the price. A HUGE bonus here is that if you get some quality files, you can use them in your virtual games as well as your face-to-face games. A good place to start is with Devin Night's free tokens, but an even better place is with some of his paid tokens because they are usually at a higher resolution and will print out much better for you. As of this posting Devin has a sale on his new batch of 364 tokens for $35. That comes out to less than 10¢ a token.

GIMP: GNU Image Manipulation Program
4) Manipulate the tokens in your favorite program. Adobe Photoshop is my choice, but if you want a free alternative, go check out GIMP. You want your figures to come out roughly 1" equals 5', but I generally make them just slightly smaller in order to get an action pose come out "right" or to make sure all of the mini is visible. You want to make sure you have the spacing between each figure to be as tight as possible, but still have adequate separation. Using some grid-lines is invaluable.

Also, and I cannot stress this enough, make sure you factor in your printer's required margins. You could lose four whole rows of minis if your fail to factor this white space in. That space isn't wasted though, just make sure none of your printing extends into that area.

5) Once your minis are arranged as you like, print them on your magnetic sheeting using your printer or on paper at the print shop.

6) Using your 1" (or other size) hole punch, punch out your new minis. If you had the print shop print them out for you, I would glue the paper to the magnets first and then punch them out. It will be a lot less messy this way.

Now you have your minis! I recommend using them with 1" fender washers, just like in the Hefty 12¢ Miniature, but since they aren't permanently affixed, you only need enough washers to base the maximum number of figures you'll have out on the table at any given time. This cuts down on the weight and expense severely (mostly the weight). If you use Alea Tools markers, then you can just place these minis straight on them.
Miniature magnetically mounted to an Alea Tool marker and a fender washer

These wimpy minis weigh 6% of what a hefty mini weights, at 17% of the cost.

This is what $4 worth of minis looks like (with one red Alea Tools Marker for reference):
$4 worth of "Wimpy" two cent miniatures

Oh...right, you guy probably want to see the math:
$1.49 sheet of 8.5 inch by 11 inch magnetic paper
÷ 80ish minatures per sheet
$0.02 cost per mini (actually 0.018, but I rounded up)

Now I know the printing isn't free, but by my math as long as it costs me 50¢ or less to print a single sheet at home I'm closer to 2¢ than 3¢ per mini.

If you've bothered to read down this far into my post, then you may be interested in obtaining the collection of "wimpy" miniatures from above. Not so much a contest this time as just a simple offer to ship them off to one of my subscribers. Next Saturday I'll reach out to a randomly selected subscriber/follower/member and offer to mail this lot off to them.
Frugal GM Followers