Wargaming Tradecraft: Review - Hero Forge Custom Miniatures


Review - Hero Forge Custom Miniatures

I had a chance to review Hero Forge's new high quality Gray Plastic and was quite impressed. This is definitely the beginning of a new way to approach miniatures. You can either watch my full review on YouTube or keep reading for a text version.

* Full disclosure, they provided a free miniature for review purposes.

What is Hero Forge? It's a website with a 3D interface that allows you to build a character. Characters can be saved to a library in your account. The entire design process is free. Once you've created the Hero you want to own, you place an order and Hero Forge will have it 3D printed and shipped to you. (Unpainted)

If you want to try out their service yourself, take a look at Hero Forge and build your own character today.

Printing is done through a company called Shapeways, the same company my Arc Pucks are sold through.

I'm going to do this review in 2 steps. First, the building interface. Second, the model I received in the mail.

Review - Forging a Hero

Everything in Hero Forge has a starting location that you build upon. There's a TON of customization options so these building blocks help to narrow your search when building your character.

Choosing a genre, race, male/female and body type will get you started.

You begin customizing with the face. If you've played any video games that allow you to create your character, (Sims, Fallout, Saints Row, etc.) you're in for a similar experience.

After picking a face to start with, you then pick an expression and drag the sliders around to increase or decrease how much of that expression (Smile, Cockiness, etc.) is displayed on your Hero.

Everything you do is updated on the 3D image of your Hero as you're making changes and dragging sliders.

It doesn't stop there. Ears, Eyes, Hair, Teeth and Horns can be fully customized.

Like the Face, the Body is totally customized as well, with the changes you make showing up on the 3D image as you make them. If you like, finish the body off with some Wings or a Tail.

When you're dressing your Hero, like designing the Face and Body, you begin with pre-made Outfits which are defined by the Genre you chose at the beginning.

No sliders this time, but a LOT of Clothes you can pick from. You can also select an already added item to remove it from the character, like if you don't want the face obscured by a hood or helmet.

Items, same thing. Choose things to be Handheld and / or on your character's Sides (Hips) and Back. You can choose different items (Weapons, Gear and Magic Effects.) for different hands and the Pose you choose later will affect how that item looks on your character.

If you want to mix it up a little, go back to the start and change the Genre you're choose from to another one or pick All and add a little flare.

You can choose from Round, Square and Octagonal Bases with a small selection of Textures. You can also get a couple logos on the bottom of the base, but that seems to thin it adding a very slight bend.

There's also a small number of Base Items you can add and a couple Mounts. Mounts and Base Items like the cat change appearance when you choose your Poses.

When you're choosing a Pose, it's easy to spend just as much time here as you do designing your actual character. You may also find that when posing it, you decide to go back and switch around some of the clothing and gear, to see what it looks like in the new position. There are A LOT of poses to bring your Hero to life.

When you place your Order, there are 3 sizes of Scale: Standard 30mm, twice as large and four times as large. Certain materials are only available in certain sizes.

You'll notice there are 5 materials listed:

  • Gray Plastic
    • This is their new highest quality plastic.
  • Ultra Detail Plastic
    • The quality is OK, but it's not very durable. (Some would say fragile.)
    • For the small price difference, you might as well upgrade to Gray Plastic.
  • Strong Plastic
    • Great for every day gaming, cheaper, but not a ton of detail if you want to paint your Hero.
  • Steel and Bronze
    • Which is pretty neat to be able to get a metal Hero.

Add a Loop

One of the Hat options is to add a loop to the top of your character's head.

This lets you turn your Hero into an ornament, keychain, etc. If you went this route, it might be a good idea to order it as a metal for the durability, instead of painting it.

I did notice that some hair-styles can interfere with how much of the loop's hole is usable though.

Review - The Product

It took a few weeks to get the miniature in, a little longer because as a Canadian it gets tied up at the border. Packaging, like my other orders through Shapeways, was probably overkill. A good sized box and plenty of bubble-wrap.

While you're able to adjust the height, overall scale is comparable to miniatures we're used to.

The Dragon Mistress, pictured right.

The texture of the plastic is fairly smooth. Not like cheap plastic such as from Reaper or a boardgame, but comparable to painting figures we're used to. There are slight gradients which you can see as light hits them but they're not too obvious once you prime and paint.

The plastic is fairly strong. There's a little flex, but not much and I wasn't concerned about it breaking. Worth noting, the lantern's handle did snap when I was almost done painting the model.

There are no mold lines, which is awesome. However, there were small nub-like imperfections that I had to clean off with a knife.

That lantern is also free-floating. It dangles and can hang back and forth.

In order to test for imperfections, I applied the base coat by watering down my paints so they'd pick up any obvious problems in the plastic. Some of the plastic lines are visible on curves and wrinkles, but not too obviously.

As I apply a layer of actual washes, details pop out more and those lines disappear even more.

For the final steps, I've used more traditional methods to paint her. Layering, highlighting, shading, etc. As you can see, the model looks pretty great.

I'd love to know if you've had any of your own experiences with 3D printing and miniatures!

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