Product Spotlight: Hero Forge
Published on October 6, 2020
We reviewed two full-color miniatures sent to us by Hero Forge!
The items reviewed in this article were sent to Arcane Eye free of charge.
In this product spotlight, we will be covering two full-color miniatures sent to us from Hero Forge. Seeing as Hero Forge miniatures are completely custom, I have dubbed the two miniatures: White Fox Sorcerer and Space Marine.
What is Hero Forge?
We’ve talked about Hero Forge a number of times in our Guide to Buying D&D Minis and Best DnD Gifts articles. Essentially, Hero Forge is a one-of-a-kind miniature design and printing service that uses a state-of-the-art 3D modeling software to allow users to heavily customize their miniatures.
Hero Forge specializes in bipedal, player character-type miniatures. For instance,
you can create a half-dragon character, but there aren’t currently options to create a dragon character.
Their online software allows users to tweak everything from the miniature’s eyebrows to what gear it is carrying, and now, what color the miniature will be.
Hero Forge’s full-color miniatures went live on September 24th, 2020 and cost $44.99 USD. This falls in a middle ground between Premium Plastic figures at $29.99 USD and bronze figures at $99.99 USD. This pricing also puts it well below the previous color option, Painted Plastic, at $149.99 USD.
How do the full-color miniatures hold up?
White Fox Sorcerer
One of the miniatures sent to us was this White Fox Sorcerer. We reverse-engineered a model using Hero Forge’s online editor, and it came out looking like this:
I think the color matching here is great. The colors are obviously a lot more vibrant on the online editor, but there is definitely no bleeding between color lines or other issues that come across as shoddy. The sharpness and definition between lines is so expertly done that it would be quite hard to paint a miniature with this level of precision.
I did notice, and this is something addressed in Hero Forge’s recent AMA on Reddit, that the main weak point of this mini’s coloring is the shiny materials. This is most easily seen in the collar of the White Fox’s robes when comparing the 3D rendering to the actual printed mini. The 3D rendering has a reflective sheen to the gold-like metal on the collar, whereas it is matte on the printed figure.
I am super impressed by the detail on this mini. I was expecting to lose a fair bit of detailing to a “smoothing” process that can happen with some 3D printed minis, but Hero Forge’s colored minis have as much detail as their non-color counterparts.
The one area that has suffered between the 3D model and the printing is the face. The mini definitely lost some eyebrow and mouth detail when printed, which makes the intricate expressions difficult to notice.
If you take a close look at the grid picture above, you can see that the top right picture has some vertical lines that run up and down the miniature’s length. This is likely a result of the 3D printing process and is quite hard to see when not in the ideal lighting, so ultimately it’s a non-issue.
On the Hero Forge “Materials” page, they mention the following regarded their Color Plastic material:
“The plastic is slightly flexible, though fine wire-like details should be handled with care…This plastic is somewhat less durable than our other plastic materials.”
To test their durability, I gave them a light push off of my desk onto a hardwood floor (about 2.5’) and the miniature broke at the ankles on the first drop.
If you are going to spend the extra $15 for a full-color miniature, be sure to keep it safe when traveling and while playing.
The second miniature sent to us was this Space Marine. Again, we reverse-engineered a model using Hero Forge’s online editor, and it came out looking like this:
Like I mentioned above, the precision of the color is no joke. There is no bleeding to be seen and all the lines and detail are very tight.
The issue with metallic sheen stands out a bit more on this model, as made clear by looking at the miniature’s suit in the 3D render as opposed to the printed model.
This miniature has a more “high tech” feel than the White Fox Sorcerer, so it’s not surprising that the sheen issues are more obvious here. Based on my experience between the two minis, you may also notice this on any heavily armored miniature.
The details of the miniature are simply amazing, much better than I could ever do when hand painting. The armor and gun both have expertly crafted intricate detail, and, when looked at from a tabletop gaming perspective, this is all the detail you would need.
Unfortunately, the face appears to have suffered as much if not more than the White Fox. As you can see in the 3D rendering, the facial expression was supposed to convey a cocky, roguish look, but the similarity in color of the facial features, as well as the fine detail, is mostly lost in the 3D printing process.
My worries about the full-color miniature’s durability were certainly founded when I performed the drop test on the second mini and the sword broke off on the first drop.
To me, this solidifies that these miniatures need to be handled carefully.
The upside to this is that the miniatures definitely don’t shatter upon impact, so a quick super glue fix is most likely possible if they were to be damaged.
What is the Verdict?
Overall, I am extremely sold on Hero Forge’s full-color miniatures. Although they are rather fragile, being able to create an intricately detailed, 3D model of your character in full color is outstanding.
I have purchased Hero Forge miniatures in the past, and you bet I will be splurging the extra $15 for full-color Hero Forge miniatures in the future. We can wholeheartedly recommend Hero Forge for all your custom mini needs, especially if you don’t want to do the painting yourself!
If you would like to design your very own custom miniature, check out heroforge.com.