A few months ago Paizo Publishing announced that they were going to be working with Wiz-Kids to release a set of four pre-painted player character minis for their new Beginner Box set. Well yesterday they announced the full line of 40 different pre-paints that will be available in their new Heros and Monsters set. Among the 40 minis will be a mix of large, medium, and small creatures that should cover the basics that you would need for a solid RPG mini collection.
The bad news is that they are being done as a blind purchase instead of open package so you won't know what you've gotten until you have it open. The price point is also a little high in my opinion with the large booster (containing 1 large base critter) running $5.99 and the standard booster (containing either 1 medium base or 2 small base critters) running $3.99. No these are not horrible prices but for a blind purchase it seems a little steep to me.
Hold your horses though as the doom and gloom don't have to carry the day. The initial set only includes 40 different minis and by Paizo's estimation you should be able to get almost the whole collection if you buy one of the factory sealed cases. Yes this will run you about $275 but when you consider that includes 12 large base monsters which would normally cost more than the $6 price point the random booster has I'm inclined to think that it starts to balance out. For those who say "but I want a horde of goblins not just one" Paizo has an answer to that call as well as they are planning to release Encounter Packs which will not be random. They haven't said officially but I'm assuming that these will feature the more common critters that people would want to have en masse (such as orcs, goblins, etc., etc.) so you don't have to buy a ton of cases to get a handful of goblins. There is no price point for these yet but they should average about six figures in each Encounter Pack.
In addition to all of this, Paizo posted a FAQ that explains their reasoning behind doing the random route from a business perspective and it honestly makes sense. This doesn't make it cost any less but I can understand why they are doing what they are and I can respect that kind of open communication from a company.
So what's the final verdict? Well based on what I've seen so far I think that these are a good option for whatever RPG game you might be playing. The examples that they've shown look nicely sculpted and painted, plus it sounds like it will be a nice entry point for those looking to get a good assortment of RPG minis for the first time. Add in the Encounters Packs and I see a huge potential for building up a good selection of minis for a fairly reasonable price.