I have an on-again, off-again relationship with miniatures in roleplaying games. On the one hand I love toys of all sorts and non-rpg minis games. On the other hand sometimes I can be one of those snobs who thinks your brain shouldn't need precisely arranged plastic dioramas to tell you whether or not Bob can attack the goblin king this round. Before the rise of prepainted plastic I also stayed out minis because I suck at painting them. Over the years I've gotten better, but I still pretty much suck.
But I still have a couple of dream RPG projects that involve miniatures. One of them is a combined Chainmail/D&D campaign with knights and landsknechtes and purple dragons and all that jazz. But 28mm metal for armies of figures can get pricey, especially when on any given day I might not be into figures.
Thanks to a tip on ODD74, I'm looking at 1/72 scale plastic as a solution. By my eye 1/72 is roughly equivalent to the 25mm of old, before Citadel started putting horse steroids in the tin/lead mixture. And it's cheap. 35 Orcs or Goblins can run you 10 bucks. You can even get the humanoids in green plastic, allowing you to skimp on painting if you're not too picky. Several companies offer medieval lines, making knights and archers and poor saps with spears easy to acquire. You can even get Swiss from at least three different sources.
Michigan Toy Soldier looks the the number one place to look for this stuff. They carry a huge array of manufacturers, including Caesar, who make the goblins I mentioned and a few other fantasy sets. Click here and scroll to the bottom to check out the Caesar fantasy stuff. I like the Caesar sculpts a lot. Heck, their goblins look a lot like the way I've always drawn the little buggers. The one thing that gets me about the Caesar figures is their Adventurers set. Dig it:
First of all, that troll is friggin' awesome. My beef here is the lack of a beardy wizard with a pointy hat. Why no Gandalf type? It boggles the mind. But again, 1/72 plastic should work well with smaller/older 25mm metal or perhaps recent/taller 20mm. There are lots of Merlins available in those scales.
I'm thinking my Andorian-style hobgoblins could be done up as palette-swapped Romans, as you can get lots of Centurions in 1/72.