Do you prefer plastic or metal miniatures and why?

G’day gang, just a quick question for the next podcast episode.

Do you prefer plastic or metal miniatures and why? I’ll give you a shoutout on the show.

You can find my podcast by typing Imperial Rebel Ork Podcast into google or into your favourite podcast platform. Eg Spotify or Apple Podcasts.



53 thoughts on “Do you prefer plastic or metal miniatures and why?”

  1. I have to say I massively prefer hard plastic to metal. These days you can get just as much detail from a multi-part plastic figure. In addition they are lighter, more durable (no glue joins metal like polystyrene cement joins plastic), and generally cheaper to buy. Great for building up armies or skirmish forces, or just individual character sand vehicles. Definitely my favourite material to work with. Metal is my second preference though, over resin, soft plastic, or mixed material models.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Plastic. Metal has an old school charm to it, and lots of happy nostalgic memories, and a nice weight in the hand, but plastic is basically better in every way. I cut my teeth working on metal and it’s just so much more complicated, I spent hours building up muscles and blunting saws to cut things up for conversions (which generally turned out looking shit anyway), it’s harder to get metal models to stick together (I’m about to pin a plastic model for the first time ever whereas I had to do it all the time with metal – and it’s rare to drop a plastic model and have it shatter whereas metal does that all the time). Metal also chips so you have to take a lot of care with them, or varnish them, which is a faff and dulls the paint job – again not an issue with plastic. Overall plastic is easier to work with, easier to convert and easier to care for. Plastic is for miniatures, metal is for music.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. After sticking with metal for many years I too am impressed by the plastics. Drilling and pinning are hardly necessar, plus the number of spears/ shields pinging off is a thing of the past. I can put up with bendy spears but not pikes though. Newer ultracast plastics look to be having some teething problems with quality though. Cheapness of plastic is actually a challenge for me because I’m determined not to pile up the old pre- lockdown miniature pile!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Anything is better than resin!
    I like the weight of holding a metal miniature… it feels substantial and stuck to the ground. Metal can be bent… without using heat that dulls detail, and the shapes hold in there. They are timeless, too… Some of those plastics and resins are fluids, after all… In years to come, the constant attrition of the Warp (or Gravity) will reduce many fantastic prints to pools. Do like the Romans did! Choose marble! (or Pewter) We might not see it ourselves, fare enough… Just enough to see those banners bend… But when the Emperor of Mankind finally shows his face, and goes around picking colors, you don’t want to be one Chapter no-one remembers!
    And when your technique advances, you can grab an old pewter model, wash it with some solvent, and have it like new in minutes, ready to try again, now, or thirty years from now.
    But it’s not for playing… Toys are made of plastic.*

    *All opinions exaggerated for balancing the obvious practical advantages of plastic.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. If I was into converting or kit bashing then I would go for plastic because it is far easier to work with but the thing is I am not. That reason aside pretty much every justification people give for liking plastic is why I don’t. I am old school and 100% metal when it comes to figures.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. G’day IRO as one of the gaming senior citizens were plastic 54mm flats mad by my father’s diecast molding company. These were quickly followed up by by an eight year old birthday present of Airfix American civil War and WW11 Germans and Africa Corps – at the time I didn’t realise these were on the same side.

    My first metal toys were Hinchclife Ancient Persians imported from the UK after reading Charles Grants “Ancient Wargaming” This created a lifelong love affair with metal toys. A foray into 40k opened up the world of plastics once more although my favourite 40k figures are the Catachan metals. There is no logical reason for saying this but I still “feel” that metals paint up better and easier but I think this harks back to painting Airfix figures without undercoat or varnish and having them falke all the time.

    These days I am happy with either but do like plastics for converting, but by the same token hate having to put together a 28mm figure with nearly twenty bits. I stik\ll prefer painting metals.

    The third option these days that you have not mentioned is resin. The earlier versions of these were too brittle, but these days the modelling and sturdiness is superb. A large part of my 20mm WW2 vehicles are resin.

    Hope this rant helps paint a picture of the likes and dislikes of an old codger.


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha thanks David. You’re right I failed to mention resin. I guess I, wrongfully, put it under the plastics banner but that’s not correct. To date I haven’t had much issue with resin but I’ve only, seriously, been at it for the last five years. The Catachans were my first WH40K purchase. Still have them. Reckon they might need a re-paint some time.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure if there is any scientific proof of that hehe but I’ve got to say that I am really enjoying painting metal minis lately. I can’t quite put my finger on why apart from that they’re metal haha. Thanks for commenting Savage.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Preference is definitely for plastic; easier to assemble, cleaning of mold lines and to fine details. That being said, my all time favorite WK40 army, that I still have is all metal IG Death Korps, with as many metal vehicles as possible. Sadly, the sit in boxes with many arms or top halves separated from the bodies.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Do I really have to answer this? I mean you know where I going to be standing now don’t you!

    Metal! it’s just better, it feels right, weighs right, paints right, and converts right (In my humble opinion). Seriously though yes there are many advantages to plastics but I dislike multipart figures at nearly anytime but especially metal ones to be honest (Tin man Miniatures do some beautiful (metal) figures but they are total bas***ds to put together), and plastics do tend to be multipart most of the time. I’m not anti anything really it just seems most of the figures I personally like are made of metal.

    Savageddt who does metal miniatures anymore! Ninety percent of the wargames figure producers in the world!! that’s who

    (Resin figures are just wrong, resin is for vehicles and buildings, and possibly scenic bits and bobs and that’s it!) .

    There you made me say it, I hope you’re satisfied now!!

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The old adage is that metal is for grown ups and plastic is for toys. So I feel I should say metal is better, but it’s a bit like saying I should say I should prefer a glass of the finest wine to a cheap lager. Trouble is, I just prefer lager! And I just prefer plastic to paint. There seems to be better detail on the smaller scales that I mostly paint which plastic seems to cope with better than a metal mould.

    Plastic is indeed my childhood medium and there’s certain instinctive respect that I have for it, if only for that reason. That said, I’m certainly not anti-metal and I’ve just purchased some metal 20mm figures this week.

    Feel all grown up now. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This has been a question for ages, and I’ve sometimes gone back and forth. Given that I’ve assembled approx 200 minis since COVID started keeping us indoors, I def have an opinion on the matter.

    Metal minis are often older, sometimes less detailed and can be easier to paint because of the less detail. However, getting paint to stick to them is a royal pain in the ass. I’ve had one I’ve been working on, that has been primed and primed, and just touching the damned thing seems to equate to more paint coming off. I’m trying to rush through it, just so I can varnish it and then pray the paint stays on finally. I’ve also had to re-glue the beast of the arm on it, at least 4+ times.

    Although I’m not always over joyed with GWs multipart mini assembly nightmares, as a material…hard plastic is way easier to work with as far as priming, painting, and converting.

    My third least favorite though, is crappy resin. Can be it’s own nightmare in cleanup, paint, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m learning that most people put resin down to least favourite. I do too but not because I’ve had any issues with it. I’ve been painting metals from warlord games and have found the details really nice but probably not as refined as newer plastics from GW.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yea, some of the newer metal minis have crisp details. I have a few like that. I don’t know that I’ve primed them yet, as getting paint to stick has been a royal pain.

        When you encounter resin with a crap ton of flash, imperfections…it’s a whole ‘nother level of hatred for resin.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh, I do, I do! Everything gets washed, scrubbed, and usually thrown in a sonic bath for added measure. It could be something to do with the thin air brush priming, but on some metal minis, I’ve done 3 coats, and still run into issues.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Hmmm, that sounds odd as I also thinly prime with my airbrush. Here’s my process if it is any use to you. I usually cut Vallejo Surface Primer by 50% with a mix of Vallejo airbrush thinner and Vallejo flow improver. I use a .5 mm needle in my Iwata Eclipse and matching nozzle in the airbrush – as I found that it works better for priming and varnishing with thicker stuff than the .35 needle and nozzle that came with it. My pressure is between 25 and 30 psi. Typically I’ll do two very thin coats of primer. I do let the primer cure for at least 12 hours. Not sure if this is helpful, but thought I’d offer it up to you anyways. Your Blood Bowl stuff has been awesome so clearly you have no problem post priming to be sure!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Hey Mark, that is amazingly helpful! Especially since I also have an Iwata Eclipse HP CS. I don’t thin my Primer quite that much, but I’ve had better luck with the (thinner) Stylnrez Primer.

        Pressure settings sound about right.

        I typically spray the minis, let them sit for 3-4 hours. Then flip them over and spray them again.

        I’m still using a .35 nozzle and needle, so I’ll give the larger one a try and see how that goes.

        The larger metal mini I was battling with, seems to be doing fine now. I brushed on primer after paint rubbed off on a few spots, re-applied the paint. But since then, he also got a coat of Agrax. Agrax can be really sticky, and it seems like that really helped to seal the paint on. Will see how things go with the other ‘problem child’ I’ve been working on.

        Thanks again for the tips and looking forward to trying out the new needle/nozzle!

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Thanks Mark, I have both on order. I only have one team left to prime now, but looking forward to testing the new needle out and making things easier in the long run.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Ok, now ya hit a hobby nerve!

    As you so say, to each his own. So if someone likes plastic or resin, fine by me.

    I’m always going to be a metal mini guy. So why?

    The hobby started with metal, sometimes very bendy and fragile stuff, and sometimes just beautiful stuff sculpted by brilliant hands. My experiences have been well-documented on my blog I started with old Minifig, Ral Partha, and Grenadier minis back in the 80’s. Look at any Tom Meier sculpt or the stiff I love from the late Steve Lortz. Yes, you can get plastic details much better now than then, but I love the weight and heft of metal. I love to cast in metal. I love to paint metal. Somehow I know that in 100 years some of my minis will survive, as will my paint jobs. Your Mark 1 Sphere Tank will endure IRO! I am not sure that plastic will. To me, metal figures are the best, and even H.G. Welles played with metal minis – and there is a connection to the hobby past that is undeniable. Plus everything that Roger wrote, except I do love the challenge of successfully drilling and pinning a tough model (like Archive Roberker that I did.

    As TIM is, I am, and that is old school. Bringing to the tabletop the obscure and strange and forgotten figs – like Archive, Ral Partha, RAFM, Grenadier (some still in production) as well as cool metal stuff still in production now like Foundry, Outpost Wargames, and the new line for Wars of Ozz from Old Glory.

    Thanks for letting me share!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. You can count on Mark to make perfect sense!

      Yes plastic mini’s are really good these days, but a good metal miniature will always have more character in my opinion. Now please don’t get me started on 3D rendered miniatures!

      Oh and Peter Cushing was a wargamer too, and guess what his figures were made of?

      Cheers Roger.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. With me, it’s all about the anatomy. Too many figures look like orcs or dwarves when they are not supposed to be. For anyone interested in standing under a hairdryer, see my rants Here :

    and here :

    Father Ted explains it far better than I do 🙂

    Regards, Chris.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I like some of the more intricate or larger plastic kits, but for individual miniatures I really like the feeling of metal. There’s something nice and satisfying about the weight to them and I find that it’s a more forgiving medium than plastic. That said, I can absolutely see why metal’s on the decline or why another hobbyist would feel differently!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Plastic, all the way. While I have great memories of building and painting metal lizardmen back in the day, there were also nightmarish experiences like nervously building metal Mordor trolls and the Witch-king on his cell beast 😐 lots of anxious gluing of parts together and then breaking out the modelling cement because it just wouldn’t hold, even with super super glue 😄

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe it was poor super glue, I just found the bigger models to collapse under their own weight much of the time (my fell beast eventually fell off a tabletop and shattered into so many pieces) 😄

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s