When Reaper Miniatures came out with their Bones line a few years ago it was a real game changer in the miniatures world. Sure, there had been plastic miniatures before, but Reaper had come out with a white plasticky/bendy set of minis that couldn’t be broken, held a fair amount of detail, could be painted without being primed and were above all cheap. Indeed, the Reaper Bones line was less than half the price of their metal equivalents and allowed some of the bigger boys such as Reaper Bones 77197 Cthulhu to be brought to market. I mean, imagine lugging that around, not to mention how much it would cost to produce in metal.
At the end of 2018 Reaper announced a new line snappily called Reaper Bones Black and with the releases during 2019 and the new arrivals from the Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter we are starting to see more and more of these.
So what is Reaper Bones Black?
I guess in essence, Reaper Bones Black is a continuation of the great work that Reaper did with the original Bones line. They are a great value line of miniatures made from plastic but with a few differences. The Bones Black line as its name suggests comes in a darker shade (not really black but more of a dark grey). One of the criticisms of Reaper Bones is that the white Bones material can be sometimes hard to distinguish the detail without priming them (probably black or grey!).
The other main difference is that the material of the Bones Black is that it is much more rigid than the Bones White material. This helps with thin parts such as weapons, where at times you may have a out of line parts which needs a bit of a help getting straightened out. No more Skeletal Spearmen with wonky weapons! That being said, drop a Bones White mini it won’t break, drop a Bones Black and their is a chance (small but a chance) you could snap a bit of it off. You don’t want a Giant Frog with broken toes so treat them with a tiny bit more care.
From a similarity perspective, both Bones Black and White have many great qualities. As said before they’re cheap, but they are also lightweight, don’t require to be primed, have little flash lines as they are moulded in high quality steel moulds and often come with an integral base so are in a single piece. Basically you can get painting straight off without priming or glueing.
I thought this was a comparison between Reaper Bones Black and Metal?
Yeah, I have rambled a little bit here but I thought it would be worth explaining what Bones Black is before going off into comparing Bones Black with one of Reaper’s metal lines, Dark Heaven Legends.
With Bones 4 Kickstarter out of the way, the Bones Black lines are starting to come out in retail packaging. This give little old Miniature Gamer the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison of a Reaper Bones Black miniature next to its metal equivalent. For this I thought I’d take a shufty at 44018 : Sheriff Drumfasser (Bones Black) and 03889 : Dreadmere – Sheriff Getmose Drumfasser DHL.
First off lets have a look at the Bones Black version of Drumfasser next door to the Dark Heaven Legends metal version. First off, the BB packaging is much more eye catching in my humble opinion.
Although its tricky to see with this shot and through the bubbles I think its fair to say that the metal version is a touch sharper than the Bones with a little more of the detail being present around the face and the characters satchel/bag.
Even the camera preferred the metal version for sharpness. I think with the shining silver it was throwing the camera off and blurring the Reaper Bones Black version. I thought it would only be fair to give them both a bit of a prime. Reaper states that the Reaper Bones minis require no priming, and while that’s true I like to give my minis a prime. I’ve never had an issue priming bones and don’t mind using Halford’s own prime which is relatively cheap. So, I’ve primed both minis in a grey to do a side-by-side comparison of the Bones mini next to the DHL metal. What do you think?
Now the guy on the left is the Bones Black 44018 Drumfasser,. whilst the guy on the right is the DHL Metal 03889. Straight up I can see the facial features on the metal version are sharper and the Reaper Bones Black version has a little bit of moulding round the hands but (and this is a big but) the BB version is around half the price of the metal. I’m pretty impressed with the BB version to be honest. I’ve thrown in a couple of extra shots to give more of a perspective. The Reaper Bones Black is always on the left of all the photos.
Final thoughts on Reaper Bones Black
In summary, with the Bones Black range from Reaper you get:
- A polymer range of minis like the original Reaper Bones but in a darker grey material so you can see the detail easier.
- A lightweight and flexible range of miniatures (compared to metal) that are very durable.
- Bones Black are extremely detailed miniatures designed for painters and gamers.
- A set of minis that can be painted straight from the box. No priming required.
- Most Reaper Bones Black come with an integral base so no gluing required.
- Easy to remove mould lines. Mould lines are removed with a simple hobby file or scraped away with a craft knife. Mould lines should be at a minimum as they are moulded in high quality steel moulds.
- Standard super glue and modelling putty can be used on the minis if necessary. No hard to get or fancy equipment required if assembly is required.
- The scale of Reaper Bones Black is comparable to many standard miniature lines so should fit in with your existing fantasy miniatures.
- A promise of better availability of the miniatures. Reaper tends to run out of the really popular Bones miniatures (Werewolf and Eye Beast to name but two). Hopefully the Bones Black will stay in stock for longer.
I think the Bones Black line is a great addition to Reaper’s existing lines. I could even see the Bones Black becoming the defacto Bones with the White being phased out although the Black Bones do appear to be a smidge dearer than the Whites.
If you’re a metal mini aficionado you’re still going to want your metal mini whatever we say. That said, the Bones Black offers great value and allow for the larger minis (dragons, giants etc) to still be affordable and practical where they wouldn’t be in their metal form.