Originally, I was going to talk about my favorite class, magic-users, but lately, miniatrues have been on my mind.
I know that this hobby of ours developed out of old-style tabletop wargaming. But, for me, I've never really used miniatures EVER when playing RPGs. The only time I've ever used figs is to play WH40K, which is a whole other barrel of fish (that being said, I have a whole hell of a lot of bait from that kettle I need to sell.... maybe W will be for WH40K Figure sale? 8)
The only thing I ever appreciated miniatures for was painting them. When I first started, my painting was VERY primitive... unprimed lead figures, painted with Testor's model paints. Over the years, as my exposure to WH40K showed my the error of my ways, I started to paint more figs, but really, other than Space Marines, the only thing I can ever remember really painting was a Blood Bowl team of Dark Elves, and the odd Warhammer Fantasy goblin figure.
Later, with the advent of Heroclix, and prepainted plastic figures, I see how miniatures really made a comeback. Sadly, they turned it into a collectibility thing, but really, what did you expect? In a way, I miss some of those old figures. I recently came across two packages of old Grenadier AD&D figs (Elementals I and Djinn & Efreeti), as well as an actual, honest to goodness Grenadier WIZZARDS & WARRIORS blister (the Dungeon 01 pack, which has about 8 figures in it), and I am torn between selling them ASAP on eBay, and actually painting them. I also know of a sizable supply of old RAFM lead figs, waiting to get purchased.
I guess what I'm asking is... just how important are minis to your old-school campaign? I know they're kinda required for 4th Ed (what with all it's intricacies), but has anybody out there used miniatures regularly in an old school D&D / AD&D game, and found them to be extremely useful? Also, is it possible to find those new plastic ones cheap and plenitful enough to be a good modern stand in? Maybe I just never got this, and it puzzles me.....