Hero Forge: Everything You Need to Know About Making Your Own Mini
Hero Forge lets you bring your tabletop RPG character to life in a way that no miniature you’ll find in your local game store can.
For tabletop RPG players, finding a miniature of your character can be a challenge. The options for mass-produced figures can be a little limited, so the right species and class may have the wrong hairstyle or clothing that your character wouldn’t wear in a million years. It’s a pretty minor problem. And with a little paint, it’s possible to have a totally passible character gracing that grid paper even if they’re not totally perfect. But wouldn’t it be better if they were totally perfect?
Launching in 2014, Hero Forge aimed to make that exact issue a thing of the past with entirely customizable miniatures. Designed by you to look just like your character, this site lets you bring your character to the table instead of something similar enough. And since its inception, it’s only gotten better and better.
How to Use Hero Forge
As a website, Hero Forge is pretty darn easy to use. A simple point-and-click interface makes mini-designing as simple as can be. In fact, if you’ve played any video games that allow you to design your own character, you’ve already done this part. The hardest part of mini-creation on Hero Forge may be how many options you have. Because it can be a truly overwhelming number.
Not only are there options for species and faces, but you can move around their features, adjust their stance to your liking, and change their size. Hero Forge has an almost limitless number of options and configurations to choose from. But after you nail those down you can start editing the minutiae for yourself.
And it looks like this is only getting more detailed soon. Hero Forge is about to roll out a brand new face customizer with even more detailed options and alterations. Is that really what their nose looks like? Is that actually where their eyebrows sit? Let’s make it perfect.
After you figure out what your character looks like you can start designing their clothing. And while the website offers you a decent selection of premade outfits, you can also take your mini on a shopping spree with separate selections for head, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, feet, and masks. And once that’s all taken care of you can make sure your new mini captures your character’s personality with special designs for your stages, poses, gear, and even familiars.
Once your mini is perfect, you can order it and have your one-of-a-kind miniature created just for you and sent to you in the mail.
Back in 2020, Hero Forge launched a Kickstarter to get Hero Forge 2.0 off of the ground. This wildly popular campaign was quickly funded and saw most of its stretch goals met. As of just a few years ago your selection of familiars, mounts, weapons, bases, and character customization has increased tremendously. But now, using the same system of sliders and selecting, you can design a miniature printed in full color.
For those of us who aren’t quite as skilled in painting our own miniatures, this option was something of a blessing. Printed plastic may never look as beautiful or artistic as a mini that’s lovingly painted, shaded, and aged by a skilled hand. But if you–like me–have never managed to paint a miniature without googly eyes or an entire line of color in the wrong place, sometimes it’s nice to have one that just looks right.
Like all of Hero Forge’s other options, the color options are robust and detailed. I thought for sure that the color options would be pretty simple and static, but that simply isn’t the case. Some items have ombre color options, as well as metallics, naturals, and woods. Unsurprisingly, this feature isn’t cheap. But if you’re as bad at mini-painting as I am, it may just be worth it. Especially if you’re designing a character who you know is here to stay for a while.
Print Your Hero for Yourself
Of course, Hero Forge also lets you go hard in the other direction, too. For the adventurer with their own 3D printer set up, you can design your own character and then buy and download the stl. file for home printing and painting. The benefit here is that you can print as many copies of your character as you want or need. And of course, you don’t need to wait for shipping. Plus, there is something oh-so-satisfying about printing your mini for yourself. Sure, you’re not sculpting it of clay or anything. But it feels so much more homemade and personal when it comes out of your own garage. Like a mad scientist’s secret lab.
This is actually a route I’ve taken personally. And obviously, I’ve loved this process a lot. But if you’re not familiar with 3D printing, this can also be finicky. Some poses are easy to knock off of balance before the print is done. And depending on the age or quality of your printer, finer details may get lost in the printing or even the finishing and sanding process.
To make a custom mini for yourself, you can check Hero Forge out here!
Do you have any miniatures that you designed or ordered from Hero Forge? Which of their customizations or features is your favorite? Have you tried 3D printing your own mini, and if so how did it turn out? Let us know in the comments!