As an old school miniature gamer something has always felt slightly 'off' about pre-painted miniatures but I think they're good for the health of the hobby game industry because they remove a potential barrier for player (and GM) involvement.
Having said all that, for someone like me who does like painting miniatures a pre-painted line has to have something unique going for it to actually appeal to me personally. Wardlings has more than one unique thing going for it.
Wardlings is a new line of pre-painted fantasy miniatures from WizKids. the figures are packaged and scaled identically to the current WizKids Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder miniature lines and are made from the same material.
The first thing that makes Wardlings stand out is that all the characters are younger children who still look like serious adventurers. There are lines out there that include miniatures for kids but they tend to either be chibi, cutesy animals or less serious in tone. The Wardlings are clearly young kids but they are armed, armoured and look ready to explore a dungeon or a haunted house and stick it to evil doers.
The second thing that makes the line unique is that each pack comes with an animal companion. I really like that some of the companions are classic animals (dog, badger, etc) while some of them are more exotic (genie, winged, snake, etc). Small animals and well detailed familiars can be hard to come by and not only are these figures well sculpted and cast they are all also really well painted right out of the pack.
The Wardlings line is a great option for anyone running an adventure for a younger audience that still doesn't want their adventurers to be cartoonish and will also really appeal to young fans of the Spirit Animals series of books.
Although the figures are good to go right out of the packs, I'm going to re-base mine to match my existing D&D figures and may do a few touch-ups.
Personally I hope Wardlings is a success for WizKids and if they expand the line beyond these initial six packs I'll definitely get their new releases as well.