In 1999 Wizards of the Coast began production of their own line of miniatures and it is obvious that every attempt was made to produce an excellent line of miniatures from both a gaming and an artistic perspective. WOTC worked with many of the best sculptures of the time to produce an outstanding line of miniatures, though they were not the most popular D&D miniatures ever produced. The detail of the miniatures was perfect, not to much unnecessary detail that burdened the miniature and the painter, but enough detail to make for a stunning and interesting model. The best thing about the WOTC miniatures is that they almost always look better painted then one would have thought when starting. This makes painting them very enjoyable as nothing beats painting a mini and thinking, "geez, this one turned out way better than I thought it would!" Often minis look wonderful in the bare metal but when painted they just do not turn out, not the case with the WOTC miniatures. Even with all these merits, the WOTC line had some serious faults: those made for plastic bases did not fit the bases well and many of the later models required ridiculous amounts of assembly even in small figures of the like which every other miniature producer was able to cast in one piece, WOTC cast in two, or three. This combined with WOTC just having come out with 3rd edition rules and rumors that plastic miniatures were a future possibility, all served to reduce the popularity of the line and it does not get the attention it deserves by collectors, which has the advantage of keeping the price down on these out of production miniatures for those who desire to collect them.
WOTC produced three lines of D&D miniatures. The first line was the TSR silver anniversary line produced in 1999. The miniatures were excellent, had metal, not plastic bases and did not require unnecessary assembly. These are by far the most popular WOTC miniatures with prices ranging from 7.00-30.00 for a miniature in blister and not much less out of blister. At the time three boxed sets were also produced. A magnificent black dragon and two Diablo boxes. The boxed black dragon sells for 60-80.00, the Diablo boxes sell for anywhere from 25.00-50.00 each.
Following the silver anniversary line, 3rd Edition D&D miniatures were produced in 2000 and 2001. This line has many great miniatures, though they did suffer from the above mentioned base and assembly problems. Several boxed sets were also released. These miniatures are not as valuable as the silver anniversary miniatures but still sell for 5.00-20.00 a blister, with some rare and larger figures selling for a bit more. Boxed sets generally run from 20.00-40.00. The later boxed sets, which is all but two of the boxes contained miniatures from the Chainmail line, their 3rd line of miniatures which are detailed on another page.
WOTC miniatures are readily identifiable as such by the WOTC stamp and the year 1999 stamped on the bottom of those with metal bases or the year 2000 or 2001 stamped on the base strip of the models requiring a plastic base. The plastic base itself has no such markings and is completely generic.
It is unfortunate that WOTC did not continue production of their metal miniatures as they were wonderful miniatures with a lot of promise. While plastic prepainted miniatures are great for most gamers who want to game and not paint, it would have been nice if WOTC had continued with a metal miniature line for the rest or us. Some of the metal miniatures have been recast in plastic and every so often they resurrect another. The WOTC plastic miniature line does have some great figures and many necessary figures for playing the latest edition of D&D, if only WOTC would cast those in metal and stick them in blisters...I really do not think doing that would hurt their plastic business, but they probably figure it is just not worth their time. At least a painter can always take a plastic prepainted mini, glue a dime into the bottom of the base (or better yet base it properly) so that it does not blow away and paint it it, which is just what some people are doing...
My WOTC D&D miniatures are all still in blisters, so until I get them all out of blister and photographed, please visit Minibase, which has pictures of the entire line.