Nolzur’s Marvellous Miniatures are really the go-to place for affordable Dungeons and Dragons miniatures. They come as single figures, pre-primed so they are ready for painting (though I personally always spray them with a basecoat myself), the detail of the sculpt is strong and they look just like the pictures in the books. Plus, they are really well priced so that filling your dungeon with enemies doesn’t require stealing a dragon’s treasure hoard!
There are only two drawbacks with the range. Firstly, many of the monsters have only been produced in single poses, so when the party levels up and needs to face multiple monsters, you either end up with duplicate sculpts or have to get creative looking elsewhere. I don’t think this is a big drawback – essentially, you could think of this range of models as introductory pieces which can lead deeper into the modelling hobby. Besides, to be fair, there are a huge number of monsters in D&D so they’re doing a good job producing them all!
The second drawback is the plastic, which is quite a common issue these days amongst the more affordable miniature ranges and many board games. If you’re used to multipart, injection moulded hard plastic models, the softer plastic can be a little disappointing at times. However, I find it only tends to be an issue on particularly thin parts of models (weapon hafts can get a little bendy), and there is an argument that this might be better for some people as the model is less brittle so less likely to have bits snap off.
In this case, with the Owlbear miniature, there is no problem with the plastic whatsoever. It’s a lovely chunky sculpt – no flexing, he holds his pose perfectly. And what a pose! It’s a gorgeous model, and an iconic D&D monster. I was incredibly excited to get some paint on one, and the deep sculpted detail made doing that easy and a complete joy. It really lends itself to the newer paint types (Contrast and Speed Paints), or more conventional washes over base coats, as the deep recesses allow the paint to really flow away from the raised areas. Some progressively lighter drybrushing over that really makes the fur and feathers pop.
Nolzur’s actually have produced a second Owlbear sculpt which was available in the Monster Paint Set that was released in conjunction with Army Painter. It’s another fantastic sculpt, and I chose to paint it in different colours to really have the two of them stand out when they charge out from the trees to attack my surprised players from two different directions!
All the Nolzur’s miniatures come with thin plastic bases. I’m personally not a fan of the thin bases and so I use thicker wargaming bases (part of the vast collection that I’ve accumulated over the years). The models come on some sculpted terrain, and I find that they work very well being stuck to a plastic base and then blended in using grit and sand to build up the texture. I like the final result, but this is entirely optional.
The Nolzur’s range of miniatures provide a fantastic collection of affordable enemies to populate any dungeon. The models are well suited to beginners, but the character of the sculpts mean they will also find a place in the collections of hobby veterans. Owlbears are distinctive D&D monsters, and this model captures their nature perfectly with well sculpted detail that is a joy to paint.