Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos)

For a photographic project, I ordered five miniatures from Hero Forge.

Hero Forge is the an online (internet-based) site for “…customizing and 3D printing tabletop miniatures and statuettes”, according to the website. Hero Forge emerged as a crowd-funded venture using Kickstarter, and provides users with a platform to create detailed 3D characters in a web browser.

3D PRINTING MINIATURE BASES: AN OVERVIEW

After your customize your miniature on their website you have the choice to have them 3D print your custom render, or download the STL file to 3D print it yourself (see our article on 3D printing a Starcraft Hydralisk). From their end, 3D printing is handled and shipped by Shapeways Inc.

Design your character from the ground up and see it in full 3D, and finally have a miniature that captures your vision.

www.Heroforge.com

Unboxing Hero Forge Miniatures (Premium Plastic Option)

Unboxing

Character Creation – Overview

I designed five miniatures using each of their five “genres”: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Western, East-Asian, and Modern.

For the purpose of this article, I won’t go into detail about the ins-and-outs of the customizer. The best way is experience it yourself on the Hero Forge website. It is quite intuitive.

The online customizer is super fun to use. It’s similar to the character-builders in high-profile role-playing games (RPGs), such as Skyrim.

3D PRINT A HYDRALISK FROM STARCRAFT THE VIDEO GAME

I literally spent hours playing with all the different options on the Hero Forge site. After I was done with each miniatures, I was able to save the 3D renders for later use (like if I wanted to make slightly different versions of the same character).

I was also able to take screenshots (which you can see below). These PNG file images I could save/download and share immediately with my friends.

Very fun!

Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
Sword and Shield Fighter (Fantasy Genre)
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
Gun Fighter (Western Genre)
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
Assault Trooper (Sci-Fi Genre)
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
Mage (East-Asian Genre)
VR Sniper (Modern Genre)

After ordering the miniatures, a small box arrived about 3 weeks later.

The 3D Printed Miniatures (Premium Plastic)

The packaging of the miniatures was great. Each mini was encased in bubble wrap and labeled. Every delicate part was intact (i.e., the premium plastic material is pretty durable).

Overall, my first impression from the box was excellent.

Quality of the Miniatures

Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
The models look exactly as my 3D renders from the Heroforge.com website. There are small visible bumps along the bottom of the sword where support scaffolding from the 3D printing process was removed. This looks easy to clean-up.
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
Close-up through a magnifying glass. The build layers are small, and the details are crisp. For a 3D printed miniature of this size, it’s really good.
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
The build lines are visible on the vertical aspects of the miniature. But, they are quite shallow and should fill-in nicely with a bit of primer. This should hold detailed paint work really well.
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
My favorite piece is the sniper. She has the most fiddly bits that I was initially concerned about during the 3D customization part (online). I wasn’t sure they would appear correctly, or at all, on the final product.
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
All of the fine details are defined: nice and sharp.
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
The dynamic pose of the gunfighter shows off the uniqueness of using the Hero Forge service. You can pose your custom miniature in a variety of ways that may not be possible, or available, from pre-made miniatures.
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
Look at the buckles on the straps for the backpack. They are really small! These miniatures are 28mm scale figures. I needed to use a high-powered magnifier to photograph this (I don’t own a macro lens).
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
The mage has some facial details that are a recessed behind a helmet.
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
You can see that face quite clearly, lips and scowl. I’ve got a feeling this will be fun to paint.
Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos) - Premium Plastics
…especially, the lantern, which is an opportunity to paint using object-source-lighting (OSL) effects.

Can I paint these 3D printed miniatures to a high quality level?

My guess is that these will paint up just as well as any other high-quality, detailed miniatures of this scale. I am excited to apply my skills to these minis. 3D printing has come a long way. Just a short time ago, 3D printed objects were blocky objects and the scale things had to be made barred the technology from being applied to our miniature hobby.

Miniature 3D printing is here to stay!

But really, what do you think? Let us know! Leave a comment below.


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4 thoughts on “Hero Forge: Unboxing Custom 3D Printed Miniatures (Close-Up Photos)”

    1. A off-the shelf miniatures is close to $8-20 per miniatures. These custom miniatures that you can design yourself is close to $30. So for $10 more you get to have something unique and personal. I think there are cheaper options for materials (that make the mini cheaper), but they are less detailed prints. Sort of pricey, but it depends on what you’re looking for!

  1. This looks like the “black high-definition acrylate” that Shapeways used to offer. It’s a great material for miniatures in general, but those support artifacts can quickly become a problem for particularly intricate models, I’ve found. A hot knife really comes in handy here. Fine rotary tools might also work.

    1. Hmm, that’s a good tip. I’m prepping these models for painting and clean-up is going to be a part of that process. I have a Dremel with a sander I might try. The nubs aren’t very big, but I need to clean them to get a good blending surface.

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