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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > February 2018 (#15) > Making Miniatures

Making Miniatures

From the metal models of wargames to the plastic pieces finding their way into more and more board games, miniatures are everywhere. But how are they actually made? We follow the entire process from start to Finish

Miniatures have never been bigger, exploding outside of their origins in wargames to conquer a new wave of modern board games and Kickstarter success stories. ousands of unique models are created every year, spanning from historical troops and scif-fi inventions to imitations of movies, video games and famous faces. Although you’ve probably handled hundreds of plastic figures in your lifetime, it’s unlikely you know how they’re actually created – a process that has remained largely untouched for decades.

Ricky Dove has been working with miniatures and moulds for around a decade, having found his way into the manufacturing side of things after starting at Games Workshop as a receptionist. After seven years working in the Warhammer company’s Forge World and resin divisions, Dove eventually moved to Kings of War and The Walking Dead: All Out War studio Mantic, where he is now the resident master mould-maker.

We recently visited Mantic’s Nottingham HQ, where Dove took us through the complex, challenging and even dangerous process that turns miniatures from one person’s vision into the plastic and metal figures on your tabletop. Here, from beginning to end, is the story of those miniatures.


Early models can be easily modified using modelling putty such as Green Stuff, allowing sculptors to quickly add extra details without needing to start completely from scratch
Designing figures on a computer
Then 3D printing them significantly cuts down the time required to create prototypes – with copy and paste especially helpful!

Every original model begins in the imagination of its sculptor. In years gone by, this title was quite a literal one, with creators physically hewing their vision out of a small block of plastic – often helped along by the addition of detail using modelling putty. Nowadays, it’s becoming more and more the norm for sculptors to work with a virtual scalpel, refining a 3D render on a computer over the course of two to four days, depending on the level of detail. While digital modelling is becoming more commonplace – the characters in Mantic’s recent Star Saga were all created digitally – the traditional approach is still used in some situations

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About Tabletop Gaming

Batman: Gotham City Chronicles: As the makers of Conan prepare to take their superhero extravaganza to Kickstarter, we check in and see what’s in store for the Caped Crusader and his sidekicks How Minis Are Made: From sculpting to casting, we follow the entire process of making plastic and metal miniatures and find out how they make it onto your table Masks of Nyarlathotep: One of roleplaying’s greatest adventures is back with a new edition for horror RPG Call of Cthulhu and an Eldritch Horror expansion. We look at the history of the revolutionary campaign and see what’s planned for its return The 7th Continent: Co-creator Bruno Sautter talks to us about the epic choose-your-own-path card game and asks if it’s the end of the adventure Hearthstone: The digital card game with Magic: The Gathering in its sights is taking on the dungeon-crawler in its latest expansion. But can an app really live up to the physical world? How We Made: A Handful of Stars: Martin Wallace looks back on the creation of the final chapter in his deckbuilding trilogy Educating with Evolution: University professors and students consider the brain-boosting benefits of board games Reviews including: Charterstone Battle for Rokugan Pandemic: Rising Tide Fallout Gaia Project Genesys RPG Legacy of Dragonholt Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Fog of Love A Game of Thrones: Catan – Brotherhood of the Watch First Martians And much, much more!