Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hero Forge Miniatures Review: A Massive Improvement

UPDATE 01/08/18: A new lower cost "Plastic" option is now available. Read about it here.

UPDATE 08/17/16: "Premium Plastic" (formerly Gray Plastic) is available again. Ultra Detail has been discontinued.

Too Long; Didn't Read Summary:  So, you probably just want to know, "How much better is the new Gray Plastic offering?"  In a word, immensely better. OK, that's technically two words. The new plastic offering from Shapeways means that the Hero Forge Gray Plastic miniatures are an order of magnitude more durable than the previous Ultra Detail figures. The detail of the Gray Plastic is also much better in my estimation than Ultra Detail (now somewhat ironically named). In summary, buy Gray Plastic. Avoid Ultra Detail.

The Bronze figurine works well as a
showpiece. Detail is very good.


A little over a year ago, I came down hard on Hero Forge miniatures (rightfully so). I had ordered 2 "Ultra Detail" miniatures ($50) as a gift for my wife and myself... a gnome and half orc. After receiving the figures, I immediately noted issues with the detail. While the detail was not considered a show stopper, the fragility of the figures absolutely was. The Ultra Detail printing process creates a very stiff and brittle plastic which breaks under even the most minor pressure. My gnome's sword blade broke off during light handling while painting, and later a drop of a few inches fractured the ankles separating the base from the figure. Both breaks could be re-glued, but it illustrated that the figures would not be durable enough for play.

Fast forward a year later, Hero Forge contacted me to try out their new "Gray Plastic" material as well as their metal offerings, Steel and Bronze, to see how they compare. They have also added some new items and features to their figure creation software, I will touch upon those later as I know everyone wants to know about the new plastic.

Full Disclosure: Hero Forge provided me vouchers to print 3 miniatures for the purpose of evaluation. There were no strings attached to provide a positive review. I hope I have provided an unbiased view of the results.

State of the Blog 2016: 200K and counting

Beaky -- the new official unofficial mascot of Raging Owlbear
So 2016 has been a bit of a hard year for the blog. It'll be June tomorrow and I will have only posted 16 articles for the entire year so far... Life can sometimes be demanding in ways that kill my ability (or sometimes desire) to post frequently...

And yet, my page views are as high as ever.

I can't entirely explain this phenomena, except to say that, of the articles I have posted this year, a couple have been very well received and reshared (a good page view driver over the long term), a couple have been controversial (a good page view driver, but only over the short term) and a couple have spiked for reasons that just can't be explained other than "the interwebs are weird". I also have been lucky in that there are a few older articles that consistently drive decent numbers every day due to D&D related web searches, and I think that may be the one key thing that keeps my blog relevant.

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