I've always been curious of where people find minis for their games- is there a post with a guide to getting started with miniatures? I've usually gone without in the past.
For the longest time I was getting by with chess pieces, cut outs and candy but now my most used minis came from the following sources.
The Legend of Drizzt, Castle Ravenloft and Descent provided me with some nice varied minis, heroes and villains. The Heroes probably won’t fit the PC’s your group makes so keep them for villains and NPC’s. The minis are good, but not great though rank and file enemies don’t have to be. I used Imperial Assault minis for Star Wars and the quality was great! The board games can be expensive though but the tiles you get can serve to build out your map.
I had some old skeletons and zombies from the beginnings of an undead Warhammer army. You can usually pick up a regiment at an okay price and there are some decent character options. Warhammer, Malifaux and Hordes are all War game options but they can put a serious dent in the wallet. Their LotR Orcs are a better option than the Warhammer ones.
Single or Multiple Blister Packs
When I needed specific race class combinations for my PCs I went to the reaper minis website and found what I was looking for mostly. I picked up some bones (cheaper, plastic) and some metal ones. Some races are harder to find the right minis for, Tieflings and Dragonborn for example. Reaper are not the one option out there, Redbox (though I ordered a wizard from here and the scale was off a bit), Otherworld, Dark Sword, Gale Force Nine, and the one I am currently looking through is Oathsworn Miniatures who have a series called Heroines in Sensible Shoes which are female minis dressed in more realistic adventurer gear, meaning no boob windows or high heels, they also have some cute animal adventurers for their Burrows and Badgers game too. I have stuck pretty close to Reaper, most minis are a couple of bucks and there are some nice sculpts. Wizkids Unpainted Minis are pretty decent too, they usually come in two packs and the heroic figures sometimes come in a lower level look and a more tricked out version.
At Heroforge you can custom design your own miniature with a variety of options and print it out in several materials. Don’t bother with the cheaper option, you will get a mess. I plan on getting a Tiefling made through here, they have Sci-Fi, Modern, Western and more options and add poses, accessories and gear from time to time. I have not purchased a Heroforge mini yet, the info above comes from reviews I have read and impressions from ones I have seen.
Matt Colville, because he is a river unto his people, made a video on minis a while back, it is through him I found out about Otherworld and Gale Force Nine, he covers the topic in depth so here is a LINK he also has one on terrain LINK
There are plenty of tutorials online though none beat watching someone work and for that I recommend Sorastro’s Painting guides, in particular I found his Zombicide: Black Plague videos a good way to see the difference in approaching a hero or boss mini versus rank and file enemies. Here is a LINK