Obviously there are a lot of DMs who use metal (and plastic) minifigs to enhance the gaming experience. Using LEGO® bricks is still a novel idea to many DMs, but it is lightweight, durable, movable, versatile, and retains value over time.
We here at Adventure Bricks are obviously a little biased, but we did our best to be impartial and tried to show all of the pros and cons of different figures.
Round 1: Cost
The results on cost are mixed, and depend heavily on the particular figures.
Metal and plastic prices tend to be more consistent, but LEGO varies widely based
on availability of parts and pieces. Metal is not available or is ridiculously heavy and expensive in large sizes. One additional factor that needs to be considered here is the
flexibility of LEGO pieces. With cast pieces, each one is very
specific and can only be used for a particular purpose. LEGO pieces
have some flexibility.LEGO also retains value over time as a collectible.
Round 1 Winner: CAST PLASTIC
Round 1 Runner-Up: LEGO
Round 2: Variety
Cast figures do have one big advantage here - oddball items and things that LEGO® does not make. Slimes, oozes, tiny creatures and huge creatures, owlbears, otyughs, and bulettes, etc. At AdventureBricks we are currently working on building all of these, and many DMs build their own, but overall and for the convenience of it, we are still giving a slight advantage to cast figures on this.
While there is in fact a huge selection of miniatures available, we believe the advantage in actual minis still goes to LEGO® pieces because of the ability to mix and match. Metal skeleton? Yes! Metal skeleton with an axe? a sword? a crossbow? wearing a hood? missing an arm? extra arms? The ability to customize both PCs and NPCs and a large variety of monsters is a huge bonus for those who opt to go with LEGO, and add a variety that simply can not be matched by cast figures.
Round 2 Winner: DRAW (but only until Adventure Bricks has finished its complete lineup of monsters)
Round 3: Moveability/Posability
LOL. NO CONTEST.
Round 3 Losers: EVERYTHING ELSE
Round 4: Durability
Plastic is plastic. Metal is the clear loser on this one. LEGO pieces can be damaged as well, and are subject to scratches and dents like any other plastic material, but their low weight and sturdier printing makes them far more equipped to deal with the rigors of life on a campaign.
Round 4 Winner: DRAW
The new plastic miniatures are lighter, cheaper, and more durable than their metal counterparts. However, they still completely lack mobility as well customization options like weapons and armor. Large monsters are more fun with LEGO bricks, and for PC figures LEGO is a clear choice. The whole point of RPG is to have fun, and LEGO bricks are great for that.
We certainly won't hate on anyone using plastic minis, but we honestly believe that LEGO is the winner here, even if not by a large margin. As for using metal...