(Credit: Hero Forge)
A Santa Monica-based tabletop gaming startup has launched a Kickstarter that hopes to allow you to custom-design your own miniatures, then have them 3D printed and delivered to your door.
If anything was going to break Games Workshop's near-monopoly on tabletop gaming miniatures, it was 3D printing — and the number of successful Kickstarter campaigns for 3D printed sets (including a couple of all-female armies, woo!), as well as independent gaming stores making waves, are a strong testament to a growing boom.
Hero Forge, a Santa Monica-based startup, is adding something new to the mix: the ability to customise your very own minis for an army that truly feels like your own.
Now, to be clear — you won't be designing your own character models from scratch. Rather, Hero Forge has created a web app using WebGL that allows you to customise the race, gender, facial expression, pose, physical build, size (28-30 millimetres, three inches and six inches), hairstyle, armour and weapons of an existing base — rather like creating an avatar in an MMORPG.
You can also save and print out a high-resolution screenshot of your model for character sheets, overhead views for virtual gaming, or save and edit later, so that you can several iterations of the one evolving character.
"Print on demand means you're not limited to what big companies think have the broadest appeal, and we don't have to exclude poses, equipment, or designs simply because they can't be made with injection molds. This means more freedom for you," the company said. "Interior or recessed detail, which is notoriously difficult for injection molds, is easy with 3D printing. We can also offer certain novel options like printing segmented chains or swinging lanterns with articulated parts, no assembly required."
Initially, the company will be creating miniatures designed for a fantasy setting, with stretch goals and future plans including mounted, sci-fi, cyperpunk and western figures. The miniatures will be available in two different types of plastic. Both are printed on a high-definition 3D printer, and both can be painted as easily as any other miniature, but the regular one offers a slightly lower level of detail.
Pledges start at US$20 for a single, low-detail 28-millimetre miniature. It's a little on the pricey side for a regular mini — but, for the option to design it yourself, we think it's a bit of a bargain.
Head on over to the Hero Forge Kickstarter page for more details and to pledge your support.