The Problem of Miniature Scales

3D printing is enabling everyone to create their own miniatures, rather than buying mass-produced ones. This leads to a problem with scale, when all of these miniatures are on the tabletop.

Andrew Loomis “Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth”

Like most artists, I learned proportions using “heads” as a unit of measure, and the human figure as the reference.

Most of the Ral Partha, TSR miniatures that I have in my collection are 25mm scale–which for traditional wargaming, means that the figure is sculpted so that it is 25mm from the bottom of the feet to the eyeline. The actual height of the miniature might be 28-30mm depending on the headgear….

Games Workshop and others started making what is called “Heroic Scale“, and others have started use the term, but it is not consistent between companies, and with the dozens of artists creating 3D printable miniatures, the scale and proportions seem more confusing than ever….

Hero Forge Scale

This is a sample model from Hero Forge, A company that lets you configure a miniature and then order a print or download the .stl file to print it yourself.

Though this is a nominally a “28mm” figure, you can see that it is 32mm tall (28mm being the distance to the eyeline). I have heard some people give the advice to a new sculptor (wanting to make miniatures), to just base it off a 32mm figure, But that is not enough direction…look at the proportion of the figure based on HEADS–it is only 5-1/2 heads tall!

Normal human proportions, compared to “heroic scale”

When you look at a normal human figure at 32mm tall, the head is much smaller compared to the “Heroic Scale”. It is only 4mm, compared to 6mm. So even though the figures are the same height, the normal human figures look tiny….

This is true, even when you put this same figure on the table next to the old 25mm metal miniatures. The average size of the head on those old minis is 5mm.

5mm HEAD height

At 5mm head height, a normal proportioned human would stand 40mm tall (if standing upright), and the Hero Forge model would be a dwarf (as far as proportions go), but at least they would look right on the tabletop.

Since I am beginning to make miniatures myself, I needed to figure this all out and create a template for my figures that will work for my miniatures and look good even next to someone else’s miniatures…

5mm Head, 7 heads tall

A 7-HEADS figure with a 5mm head, is 35mm tall (standing upright). But when posed in an action pose, will stand a little shorter (28-32mm). This is the template that I came up with, after trying variations in proportions, that I believe will look good on the tabletop, even when mixing between traditional miniatures and 3D printed ones from different artists.

If sculpting smaller races, such as Dwarves, Gnomes and Halflings I will alter the proportions (4-HEADS) appropriately, so that they are shorter on the tabletop, but keep the heads 5mm.

It may be a non-issue, since whenever you are 3D printing, you can scale a model however you like… Whatever proportions or style of miniature that you prefer, if you are mixing and matching sculpts from different artists or companies, if you keep the skull sizes the same, they will look better on the tabletop.

PuzzleLock Sewers & Undercity

Large RPG Cities, just like Rome or Paris, have sewer systems for the primary purpose of drainage–to keep their streets from flooding. The sewers channel storm water away from the city.

Whether your RPG campaign is set in Balder’s Gate, Calimport or Waterdeep in the Forgotten Realms; Beneath the sprawling streets of Ravnica, or in the underground canals of Sigil in the outer planes, your adventures are likely to take you into the Sewers and Undercity….

PuzzleLock Sewers and Undercity is a 3d printable terrain for 28mm tabletop RPGs. The tiles connect like a jigsaw puzzle–there is no need for clips or magnets, and the tiles require no supports for printing.

There are 23 .stl files in the set, each one exquisitely detailed to create an immersive environment. The modular design will allow you to create an endless labrinth of Sewers and Undercity.

Only $29.95
on Cults3D
on DriveThruRPG
on Wargaming3D
on RenderHub
on CGTrader

No supports required!
Tiles connect like a jigsaw puzzle!
Create an immersive environment for your campaign
check out the video!

copyright ©2019 William Sutton.
For personal 3D printer use only. Files may not be shared, remixed, or redistributed.
May not be reproduced by other means such as molding and casting without written license. All rights reserved.

Hand-Painted 3D Printed Figurines

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I know that there is a market for mass-produced collectible statues, and I know that there is a market for resin-cast “garage kit” sculptures.  As I have been 3D printing the past few years, the quality of those prints has increased to a point where they are as good or better than what can be reproduced through casting. So, is there a market for 3D printed statues?

I hand-painted this print of “Tusk” to showcase the model, because I have the .stl file available for sale on Cults3D for $9.95.

But what if you don’t want to print and paint the model? You would just like a cool statue, hand-painted by the artist who sculpted it!  That seems like an work of art, right?

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I put this Statue of “Tusk” on eBay for auction, to get an idea of how it might sell. It had 15 people bid on it and sold for $60.

So that makes me think there might be a market. What I will need to do is print out about 10, so that I can paint them as a group. Then sell as a limited edition!

PuzzleLock Playsets

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In February, I debuted the PuzzleLock Caves and PuzzleLock Dungeon at Con Nooga in Chattanooga. The response was very good, so tomorrow we are launching a Kickstarter to fund the creation of more PuzzleLock playsets!

These playsets are 28mm scale terrain for tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. They help create an immersive gaming experience. They are printed on a $200 home 3D printer, and I printed the entire dungeon on a $20 roll of filament!

Unlike other systems, PuzzleLock doesn’t require any clips or magnets. It goes together like a jigsaw puzzle!

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The Caves are 100mm point to point and about 35mm tall. The sides of the hexagons are 50.8mm (2″) and can connect to any other PuzzleLock playset.

The PuzzleLock Caves are available NOW at Cults3D:
https://cults3d.com/en/3d-model/game/puzzlelock-caves

Also available at DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/267106/PuzzleLock-Caves

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The Dungeon set includes a “stair jack” for placing minis on the steps, and also a couple of “grid-painting” jigs for gamers who prefer a 1″ grid on their tiles.

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The dungeon tiles are 50.8mm ( 2″) square, and about 35mm tall. They work with all other PuzzleLock Tiles. Dungeons are available NOW
on Cults3D:
https://cults3d.com/en/3d-model/game/puzzlelock-dungeon
on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/267145/PuzzleLock-Dungeon

All of the PuzzleLock playsets are delivered as .STL files, which are 3D models that can be printed on a home 3D Printer.

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The Kickstarter was 857% funded! Stretchgoals for Traps & Secret Doors and Sewers & Undercity were unlocked and will be available on DriveThruRPG and Cults3D after they are sent to backers.

Dark Lead Sketchbook

I have been keeping a series of sketchbook/journals for over 30 years now. These are kept on those thick black hardbound sketchbooks that you see in art supply stores. The kind that have acid free archival paper that is supposed to last for years and years…. I went through the collected books and scanned and cleaned up the drawings. Some pages were a little smudged from years of friends thumbing through them. I’m glad that I took the time, since even on archival paper these drawings might eventually be lost to time…. I hope that you will enjoy this uncensored collection of drawings and that you will enjoy this chance to explore a little bit of my imagination… over 200 pages of pencil and pen and ink drawings–Fairies, goblins, fantasy characters. Some of the work is explicit, so keep on the top shelf.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Zandoriacover

Puzzle-Lock

After working on my Caves project, I started thinking about all of the different “locking” options that are being used to connect the terrain tiles on the tabletop. I had an idea of interlocking the tiles with a jigsaw puzzle connection, which would be identical on every side. That would allow you to lift a tile from the table and replace it with a “trap” tile or “secret door” tile without disturbing the rest of the dungeon!

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I started with a standard 2″ tile (50.8mm), and started working out the geometry for different polygons: 4-sided, 6-sided, 3-sided, etc. to allow the most flexibility for laying out a dungeon…

Regarding scale, I wanted  the walls shorter than the standard 2″ height, because terrain blocking line of sight for the miniatures was one of the complaints that I read in the Facebook group (3D Printing for Gaming Terrain).  I decided to design the walls about 32mm tall, which would be about 8′ tall at 28mm scale. This should leave enough height to detail the terrain, but give greater visibility to the miniatures.

Another thing that I noticed when I looked at other terrain systems, was that the details and the “dungeon dressing” of many props was not at a consistent scale. For 28mm miniatures, the scale is supposedly 6′ from the soles of the feet to the top of the head (for a human sized miniature). That scale (1:56) is 4.17mm per scale foot.

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Using this as a guide for my measurements, I hope that this terrain will look better with the 28mm miniatures that players are using for D&D, Pathfinder or similar RPG.

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The Caves system that I already designed, also works well with a puzzle-lock. And since the hexagon is designed with 2″ sides, the caverns will easily work with the dungeon tiles.

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The puzzle-lock system should work with any type of tabletop terrain tile, such as sewers, burrows, etc.  My plan is to finish up my own set of puzzle-lock .STL terrain files, and then launch a Kickstarter campaign to sell it.  Part of the set will be the basic puzzle-lock shapes, which can be used to adapt existing terrain .STL files to this system using Meshmixer! So if you have already purchased .STL terrain for your game, you will be able to modify it.

I would also like to make the shapes available to other designers, so that they can offer a puzzle-lock version of their 3D printable terrain.

PuzzleLock Caves are now a part of the Caves terrain set available on DriveThruRPG:

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Cave Drider

One of the strengths of 3D printing is the ability to create shapes that cannot be manufactured with traditional methods like injection-molding.  I want  to try and create miniatures that take advantage of this, rather than cut up the model as if it were going to be molded.

Since my last project was 3D printable Caves for tabletop gaming, I decided to create some miniatures to populate those caverns, and to design them for small SLA printers like Anycubic Photon and Sparkmaker to take advantage of the amazing level of detail that they can reproduce.

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Photo Dec 20, 5 20 43 AMThe “Drider” is a creature familiar to players of Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. It is part dark elf and part spider.  Driders are often portrayed as a “spider centaur” with the upper body very human (or elf), but I decided that my cave driders were especially cursed–even their faces transformed into a spider!

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I have 3 different weapon poses, and also a Dead Drider option–so that the Dungeon Master can switch out miniatures rather than tipping over the dead monsters.

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This Bundle of STL files is available for only $10 at Cults3D