Weaving players through an enchanted world of sword and sorcery, the key to tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons is centered around following an adventurous tale. First though, let’s backtrack to the story of Hero Forge, and how their partnership with Shapeways has led to the 3D printing of countless miniatures—allowing gaming fans to bring their favorite characters to life on the tabletop, in stunning detail, full color, and with more options than ever before.
Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, Hero Forge came to be as the co-founders Joshua Bennett and Teagan Morrison, while trying to determine the perfect holiday gift for friends, realized there was not a comprehensive service available for 3D printing miniatures. Putting their own impressive technological skills to work, the team created a platform for 3D printed, personalized miniatures. As customer demand began to grow quickly, Hero Forge reached out to Shapeways, finding a like-minded manufacturing partner able to produce all of their customized miniatures quickly, at the highest level of quality, and with continued proactive collaboration focusing on the good of the customer.
Finally, Gamers Have More Options to Bring Characters to Life
Tabletop gamers have an astounding number of options open to them now in comparison to decades past when most adventures consisted of just paper and imagination. Still though, one of the first things players do is choose their characters, often becoming deeply tied to their identities living in an alternate universe.
Previously, gamers in search of miniatures had the option to go to a store and buy available products closely representing what they were looking for, or they could buy a bunch of them and then dismantle them in a process called ‘kit bashing.’ Once parts had been removed from a variety of miniatures, they could redistribute them to make miniatures look more suitable to their own purposes, whether that required cutting off limbs or weapons.
“Customizing miniatures like that takes a lot of fine motor skill and modeling expertise,” said Joshua Bennett, co-founder and Chief Operations Officer at Hero Forge. “After decades of sawing apart miniatures only to glue them back together, or manually sculpting additions out of epoxy, we thought there might be a better way.”
“We’ve tried to give as big a toolbox as possible to users. Now, they can also make adjustments in tiny increments in the angle of the pose, the elbow, and in really subtle degrees of facial expressions too—actualizing the promise of 3D printing in a way that a lot of other custom products don’t.”
For tabletop gamers, the adventures, and the characters, are very real, whether they are entering dusty dark corridors or sending group fighters out onto the battlefield to protect their fate. Ultimately, as the stories unfold, players can become very attached. This is even more true now as they have the ability to choose how characters look in meticulous detail, what they wear, how they stand, and so much more–to include painting them in precise, full color with just a few quick taps. Hero Forge and Shapeways provide the foundation for doing so with their own technological magic, but immense control has been handed over to players interested in taking precise command over the design and customization process.
Myriad of Colors Are Available for Customizing Miniatures!
Designing gaming characters is even more fulfilling for users now as Shapeways is manufacturing Hero Forge miniatures with the Mimaki 3D printer, founded on Material Jetting technology. Shapeways 3D prints each full-color mini, packs it in customized shipping materials, and sends the order out for delivery.
Gone are the days of buying plain miniatures requiring hours of hand painting. Using Hero Forge technology which offers nearly limitless customization options and over ten million colors for 3D printing, the options are boundless. Both the vibrancy of the website and the actual products lend themselves to a fascinating—and comprehensive—design and gaming experience, featuring diverse characters in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
The story of the Shapeways and Hero Forge collaboration is one of evolution and growth, all converging together to solidify a long-term technology partnership. Continually elevated to new heights, tabletop gaming is more popular than ever with the massive re-emergence of fantasy RPGs, the new cool of geek culture, and the ability to stream games online. Find out more about the collaboration here.