Hero Forge Review – Options & Customizing: Worth the Price?

If you are a big TTRPG (Table Top Role Playing Games) fan or consumer of TTRPG-related media, then no doubt you’ve heard of Hero Forge.

They’re hard to miss.

Whether you’ve heard about Hero Forge through an episode of Critical Role, at an event like PAX, or someone in your party just got a shiny, new Tabaxi printed… you’re probably wondering, is Hero Forge worth it?

You’ll be glad to hear that I’ve put together this article to answer that exact question.

In this article, we’ll be looking at what Hero Forge has to offer in terms of options and value.

We’ll also be looking at the quality of the minis they print and whether the products are worth the money.

Let’s dive straight into things…

Who Is Hero Forge?

Hero Forge is one of the leading names in online TTRGP miniatures.

The service was originally launched after a Kickstarter campaign through which they gained their initial funding.

Hero Forge is now a fully-fledged business operating permanently. It has made its name by sponsoring some of the biggest names in TableTop Role Playing.

Their goal is to offer the highest quality, most customizable miniatures and statuettes on the market.

They market themselves as a service for TTRPG fans, run by TTRPG fans.

In October 2020 Hero Forge launched their 2.0 services. This extended their range to include precolored and prepainted miniatures.

So, let’s take a closer look at what Hero Forge has to offer….

The Options

Having launched Hero Forge 2.0 in October 2020, Hero Forge now offers eight different printing options.

These options are; Plastic, Premium Plastic, Colored Plastic, Painted Plastic, Steel, Bronze, Nylon, and a digital download.

Plastic$ 

This option is printed with 100-micron-layer resolution. The model has been primed ready for painting.

Some of the layer lines and divots from when the sprues where originally attached will be visible. The model will arrive in a gray color.

Premium Plastic$ 

This option is printed with 50-micron-layer resolution – twice as solid as the basic model. The model has been primed and is ready for painting.

Some of the layer lines and divots from when the sprues where originally attached will be slightly visible. The model will arrive in a gray color.

Colored Plastic (Hero Forge 2.0) $$

This option is made using a similar method to the premium plastic option. These models are made with a color-mixing 3D printer.

Some of the layer lines and divots from when the sprues where originally attached will be slightly visible under very bright lights.

Painted Plastic (Hero Forge 2.0)$$$$ 

This option is made using a similar method to the premium plastic option.

After it is printed and primed, a professional miniature painter will paint the statuette to your instructions.

Some of the layer lines and divots from when the sprues where originally attached will be slightly visible under very bright lights.

Nylon $$

This option is lightweight but really durable. If you’re traveling a lot with your miniature then this might be a good option.

Steel$ 

This option has a similar texture to unpolished steel or cast iron. This option is a lot more durable than a plastic miniature but the fine details will be less obvious.

Bronze$$$ 

This option is made by pouring bronze into a 3D-printed mold. Therefore, it is highly detailed, and comes in a traditional bronze color.

The model will be polished and will arrive with a dazzling shine. It will be very durable.

*For current prices, check here.

Note that Hero Forge’s scenery is only available through their Kickstarter campaigns.

Now, let’s look at how you can design one of these miniatures…

Customization and User Experience

When you open up Hero Forge you are immediately greeted with a sleek customization menu and adorable representation of what your miniature will look like when finished.

The engine offers a lot of choices. I mean a lot. Before you even start to customize you have a choice of 44 fantasy races.

There are millions of possible combinations that will help you to create the perfect representation of your beloved PC (player character).

What size are the models? Well, the humans are 30 millimeters – with the other races to scale based on their height descriptions from popular TTRPG games.

There are also a few races (celestial being one of them) that come as XL options.

There are nine categories of customization:

  • Race
  • Head
  • Clothing
  • Gear
  • Base
  • Mount
  • Pose
  • Color

There are hundreds of customization options and more are added every week. Hero Forge refers to the introduction of new items as Treasure Tuesdays.

Below are some of the customization highlights.

The Mounts

Not only does Hero Forge offer you the chance to make and customize your PC, but you can also give them a Mount (as long as it’s a horse, wolf, or motorcycle).

There aren’t currently a huge amount of options available, but I have no doubt they will be adding more eventually.

If you are looking for the option to add pets this can be found in the items subsection of the Bases menu.

This gives you the option to add classic fantasy pets like cats, rats, mimics, and of course seahorses.

The Poses

I do recommend that you pick the pose of your character before doing anything else as their clothes and gear will look different in each pose.

The poses are a fairly new option on Hero Forge, and they really help to give your character a bit more personality.

You can have your wizard casting a spell or your barbarian flexing. The sky’s the limit.

The Gear

The selection of gear that is available really is exhaustive. Not only do you have a huge choice of items but you get a lot of choice about where you put them.

They add more items every week so this category is only going to get better as time goes on.

The Shipping

Hero Forge has printing facilities in both America and the Netherlands, meaning they can ship quite quickly to both the U.S. and Europe.

Their packages are tracked and come well packed. I have had no issues with my miniatures being damaged during transit.

After your order is placed it will take two to three weeks for your miniature to be printed, painted, and shipped.

The Kickstarter Campaigns

Hero Forge still sticks close to its roots and does most of its major launches on Kickstarter.

Sometimes these launches include themed scenery sets and limited edition characters.

The launches are often themed around the latest campaigns from Wizards of the Coast (D&D) and Paizo (Pathfinder).

If you are looking to get a lot of scenery at a large discount, then these Kickstarter campaigns are a really great opportunity to save quite a few bucks.

You’ll also be able to get your hands on quite a few limited edition items in these bundles.

Conclusion

It’s hard to compare Hero Forge to any of its competitors because it really is in a league of its own.

Hero Forge’s design engine is its standout feature. It has a wider selection of miniatures and scenery than anything else on the market.

It also has a much wider selection of printing materials than anywhere else.

This engine takes what would be weeks of coding, drawing, and designing, and turns it into 10-15 minutes of scrolling and clicking.

Hero Forge’s service has many, many pros; however, one of its small flaws is that it is quite pricey, particularly if you’re looking for anything other than plain (gray) miniatures.

We all understand that the hand-painted miniatures are going to cost a lot more due to the man-hours that have to go into making them.

However, having someone else 3D print your minis is always going to be more expensive than doing it yourself, but it is a lot easier to outsource it.

If you do happen to have your own 3D printer (take a look at the reviews for some of the best printers here), then Hero Forge offers you the best of both worlds.

You can make the most of their awesome design engine without having to fork out for their printing service.

It is worth noting that Hero Forge regularly updates their engine and takes item requests from users.

Overall, I do think Hero Forge is worth the money as it really doesn’t have much competition. It really does offer something unique.

Within minutes you can make yourself good looking minis (even if you have no artistic skills).

Don’t forget to check out their Kickstarter campaigns if you’re looking for a bargain.

Is Hero Forge worth the money? Yes!