Here's a 10 man unit of Palace Guard:
It's been to two tournaments already in two different builds and in a 'work in progress' painted state so I'd like to take it to a third event fully painted.
I was initially unimpressed with the Mantic Elf miniatures but I think that was actually down to the painting on the original promo pics. Once I had a look at the models in real life I saw they were a lot better than I'd first thought.
I use them in Kings of War but they're obviously usable in Warhammer Fantasy Battle too (which I'll also be using then in) if you like massed combat games.
The price of them (like many of Mantic's products) make them a very low cost way to build a big army. Or, if you're looking to use them in skirmish games an incredibly cheap way to put a force together.
Mantic elf plastic kits don't have the options you get in Games Workshop kits but that's the trade off between the two. Low cost and few options vs high cost and loads of options.
The Palace Guard above are from the original metal release, the bolt thrower is plastic. Both have been painted with GW washes, strong tone army painter dip (painted on), hit with anti shine spray then a few simple highlights and details added in.
Mantic have recently moved many of the metal kits over to the restic material which I really don't like working with. It's one of the reasons I didn't take advantage of the recent Mantic sale to get more Palace Guard (it's a lot better to use them in a regiment of 20 in my elf list for Kings of War if I was being more efficient on points values).
As it is I just use what models I have to put a force together and don't really concern myself with the min/max super-optimal approach to list building. (I can understand the value and appeal of doing it that way if you're serious about tournament placing though).
One last thing I posted these pics on twitter using the tag #miniaturemonday if you've not used twitter or simply haven't heard of the hashtag before you ought to take a look. There's some fantastic examples of hobbyists' work from the whole spectrum of the tabletop gaming ranges. It's very inspiring.