Perram surprised me with a gift certificate for a Hero Forge miniature for Christmas (thanks Perram!). I’ve been critical of the quality of Hero Forge miniatures in the past, but I do enjoy the service and am a repeat customer. Now that my latest Hero Forge miniature is in hand, my feelings have changed.
For those who don’t know, Hero Forge is a tabletop miniatures manufacturer with no physical stock, only a website with an a la carte menu for miniatures on demand. You can choose your miniature’s race, expression, body shape and size, gear, and more. Each option has further tiers of options (eyebrows being the smallest tier with six options, but some have dozens and even hundreds of options). Once, you were limited to the basics of fantasy options. Now you can be an undead space turtle trying to escort his squirrel friend to safety.In the past, I’ve characterized Hero Forge as offering low quality miniatures that justify the high price tag with an amazing selection of customization options. That opinion evidently precedes me, as the most recent Know Direction: Beyond episode included a conversation about my Hero Forge feelings.
To summarize some of my Hero Forge miniature experiences:
- When I was GMing Rise of the Runelords, one of my players (Jeff “1s” Chapman) bought the whole group Hero Forge miniatures of their RotRL characters. As the GM, he gifted me a Hero Forge miniature of my choice. I made Karkerkast, gnome giant slayer.
Jeff opted for the lower detail quality, more durable option that was recommended for miniatures you intend to play with. Before the end of the campaign, Kark was the only miniature to have intact weapons. We weren’t hard on the minis and didn’t transport them further than from the shelf to the table, and yet that was too much for the points of least resistance. On top of that, the lower detail was as advertised. The plastic was rough, and the features obscured.
- This seems to be an isolated incident but the printer somehow didn’t register the chest armour Cathy picked. Her fighter miniature arrived topless. We notified Hero Forge and they corrected the error immediately.
- Every interaction I have had with Hero Forge staff has been similarly positive.
- My friends and I had a PFS side project where we made Batman-inspired characters. I made Quippy, a gnome witch/alchemist based on The Joker and took advantage of the prone pose to create something unusual. The material had improved, but we still felt the need to handle our miniatures with care.
Between the fear of squandering the gift on a miniature that falls apart at the table and my tabletops tending to be digital these days, my first plan was to order a shelf ornament, something that looks cool and would be fun to paint, but not something that would ever make it to the tabletop. I mocked up a Skeletor in Hero Forge that I was pretty happy with, I expected I’d be ordering something along those lines.
Then I remembered an e-mail I’d sent Hero Forge shortly after PaizoCon 2017. I inquired if there were any plans to add a newsboy hat for my Super Mario inspired PFS character, Eetzame. I was told there weren’t at the time. But now…
What better use of a Hero Forge gift certificate from Perram than a miniature wearing a newsboy?
The voucher was for a Premium Plastic miniature, with a Durability rating of 3/5 and Detail 5/5. I was surprised to receive the toughest Hero Forge miniature I’ve ever held in my hand. It’s harder plastic than a Reaper Bones or Pathfinder Battles miniature, so it will shatter if put under the same pressure that would warp one of those soft plastic miniatures, but compared to Hero Forge figures from even a few years ago, this is solid and feels durable. I expect this miniature to survive the rigours of play and even transport.
Without weapons I can’t speak to how weak the weakest point of a premium plastic Hero Forge miniature might be, but I can say that this figure is tough enough for me to revise my opinion. If you order a premium plastic Hero Forge miniature, as long as you remain conscious of the thickness of your thinnest options and the weight you expect them to support, the production quality of the miniature you receive will withstand tabletop usage.