Proxy War is 3D-Printing the Miniatures Revolution

Proxy War is 3D-Printing the Miniatures Revolution

We sit down with the creators of a service looking to change how tabletop games are made forever.

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I hate how I don't have enough to contribute to this kickstarter. This would be a very fun thing to have for anyone and everyone who loves them some minis. I hope it turns out well.

And if someone hasn't already told /tg/ about this I feel like they should. They'd be all over this.

I was wondering when Proxy War was finally going to get some coverage by the Escapist!

They've got a perfect product, they just need more exposure! I want to see them raise a ton of cash and take over the world.

EAT IT GAMES WORKSHOP

laskfj11:

EAT IT GAMES WORKSHOP

That was my initial thought too. But then I realized GW will end up doing 1 of 2 things:

1) They change their business model and begin streaming their own mini's to people's 3D printers for $5-$15*; or
2) They spend millions of dollars* decrying the poor quality of 3D printed miniatures, promoting their own "master-crafted" models, and prosecuting anyone that illegally reproduces their products in 3D printers.

(*dollar-to-pound conversions unavailable at this time)

I doubt their business model is viable. Time on a big industrial prototyper is expensive and desktop 3d printers have a high failure rate and hardly anyone buys them. The market leader, Stratasys, sold a grand total of 6ooo units worldwide in the last quarter. They may make a living catering to a group ultra enthusiasts but as challenge to games workshop they just don't have the legs.

MinionJoe:

laskfj11:

EAT IT GAMES WORKSHOP

That was my initial thought too. But then I realized GW will end up doing 1 of 2 things:

1) They change their business model and begin streaming their own mini's to people's 3D printers for $5-$15*; or
2) They spend millions of dollars* decrying the poor quality of 3D printed miniatures, promoting their own "master-crafted" models, and prosecuting anyone that illegally reproduces their products in 3D printers.

(*dollar-to-pound conversions unavailable at this time)

I would say the second one is more likely since it would demonstrate the least concern for customers.

albino boo:
I doubt their business model is viable. Time on a big industrial prototyper is expensive and desktop 3d printers have a high failure rate and hardly anyone buys them. The market leader, Stratasys, sold a grand total of 6ooo units worldwide in the last quarter. They may make a living catering to a group ultra enthusiasts but as challenge to games workshop they just don't have the legs.

Fortunately, a lot of patents for 3D printing are expiring in the next, like... year. So the whole market is going to get shaken up and lot of people are guessing everything's going to land nice and neat and within a few years most people will have a 3D printer in their homes. Cheaper, easier to use, more accessible... plus you're gonna have guys like these whoa re making 3D printing accessible for everybody.

Games Workshop is a big grump. They won't be willing to stream the minis, that'd take change and stuff.

If these guys can raise enough money to get a service like that going really fast, Games Workshop won't have a chance to reorganize after big bitch slap these people are going to lay on them.

I hope they'll add functions like "embellish" for people with the creativity of a moss-covered rock.

MinionJoe:

laskfj11:

EAT IT GAMES WORKSHOP

That was my initial thought too. But then I realized GW will end up doing 1 of 2 things:

1) They change their business model and begin streaming their own mini's to people's 3D printers for $5-$15*; or
2) They spend millions of dollars* decrying the poor quality of 3D printed miniatures, promoting their own "master-crafted" models, and prosecuting anyone that illegally reproduces their products in 3D printers.

(*dollar-to-pound conversions unavailable at this time)

Well, we are talking about a company that sells new product lines as unposeable, metal figures and seeing if they sell well before making them out of plastic, so 2 is more likely. However, I think a person could order a conversion without too many problems - if they could get away with the sigil spam and suspicious "similarity".

Here's hoping these guys can just cut a deal with GW (unlikely, but a man can dream) so we can all get poseable Sisters of Battle.

laskfj11:

albino boo:
I doubt their business model is viable. Time on a big industrial prototyper is expensive and desktop 3d printers have a high failure rate and hardly anyone buys them. The market leader, Stratasys, sold a grand total of 6ooo units worldwide in the last quarter. They may make a living catering to a group ultra enthusiasts but as challenge to games workshop they just don't have the legs.

Fortunately, a lot of patents for 3D printing are expiring in the next, like... year. So the whole market is going to get shaken up and lot of people are guessing everything's going to land nice and neat and within a few years most people will have a 3D printer in their homes. Cheaper, easier to use, more accessible... plus you're gonna have guys like these whoa re making 3D printing accessible for everybody.

Games Workshop is a big grump. They won't be willing to stream the minis, that'd take change and stuff.

If these guys can raise enough money to get a service like that going really fast, Games Workshop won't have a chance to reorganize after big bitch slap these people are going to lay on them.

Its not a question of accessibility but demand. How many things around your average persons home is purely made from plastic and isn't dirt cheap anyway? Why are people going to spend even $100 on a 3d printer to make plastic boxes that you can pick up for $2.50. The aren't many things that have significant value added that are made from plastic. Seeing that the global sales for GW total 216 million, there aren't simply that many people interested.

Yeah

albino boo:
I doubt their business model is viable. Time on a big industrial prototyper is expensive and desktop 3d printers have a high failure rate and hardly anyone buys them. The market leader, Stratasys, sold a grand total of 6ooo units worldwide in the last quarter. They may make a living catering to a group ultra enthusiasts but as challenge to games workshop they just don't have the legs.

Yeah, I have doubts that this model is viable at this time either. I don't own one but I was under the impression that 3d prints take a long time, that a lot them still need to be cleaned like mold made pieces, and that the prints are for very small areas like 1 figure at a time.

Additionally I have doubts about the model design thing either. It seems very challenging to have software that will not only let you mix and match hundreds of thousands of pieces, but also repose them too. It seems unlikely they could have enough staff to do all that modeling.

I think this idea has merit, but I think it'll be more than 2 or 3 years down the road.

I actually have a good deal of faith in this because there is already a growing sub-set of gamers who already do this for small scale miniature runs, like custom battlemechs for Battletech or historical warships and aircraft or sci-fi warships. These days, if you can do a 3d model of something, someone can print it out of either sandstone or plastic. The technology behind it has actually come a long way from even where it was six years ago when we saw things like the extremely over-priced sandstone WoW sculptures of characters offered that had long waiting lists.

So what they are actually doing is side stepping the idea that we all need to have a personal one in our homes to be able to make miniatures by absorbing the initial costs in equipment AND the need for most of us to know how to use 3d modelling software by having artists on staff so that we can actually get something done. That is actually not too bad.

Actually, if you want to see a company already doing this, take a look at the company Shapeways. This is very similar in both quality and idea to what this company is offering to do except Shapeways does not offer the catalog to assemble your own miniature nor the artists that could be commissioned to help you get that perfect mini you were wanting. So yes, there is a good amount to be hopeful for in this regard.

Why not have 3-4 "printing heads" running side by side at the same time? If the same object is being made might as well optimize. : )

I can see game stores doing this they are part of a chain where they have the printer and software and they have a licensing agreement with the game publishers. The Publisher designs and provides the data file to print the figures. Maybe they can do load balancing where one shop is not as busy so they get a order in to print three armies to ship to another location?

The other option is instead of just printing what molds are doing currently, leverage the 3d printing advantage by allowing a bit of movement in the miniatures. Be able to adjust the arms or weapons being held, stance etc. Would be popular with WYSIWYG "What you see is what you get" gamers.

Also perhaps at first, print key miniatures on the custom printer and then slowly scale up as the technology and techniques of miniatures production gets better. I could see this with Fantasy Flight Games with expansion pack miniatures.

I really like the concept of printing miniatures on demand and right there on location. Also seeing it made right in front of me is really cool as well : )

albino boo:
I doubt their business model is viable. Time on a big industrial prototyper is expensive and desktop 3d printers have a high failure rate and hardly anyone buys them. The market leader, Stratasys, sold a grand total of 6ooo units worldwide in the last quarter. They may make a living catering to a group ultra enthusiasts but as challenge to games workshop they just don't have the legs.

I talked to these guys at the Expo. They already have their printers and their minis were high quality. I played a demo one day. Far as I know, I was the only person to break part of a single piece all weekend, and that was because it was a prototype model. The main ones were far more resilient.

These guys are/were in talks for deals with Schock Mercenary and Erfworld. They are not pissing around.

albino boo:
I doubt their business model is viable. Time on a big industrial prototyper is expensive and desktop 3d printers have a high failure rate and hardly anyone buys them. The market leader, Stratasys, sold a grand total of 6ooo units worldwide in the last quarter. They may make a living catering to a group ultra enthusiasts but as challenge to games workshop they just don't have the legs.

People said exactly the same thing about computers.

albino boo:
Its not a question of accessibility but demand. How many things around your average persons home is purely made from plastic and isn't dirt cheap anyway?

The single piece of plastic which you don't currently have, but desperately need that nobody else will sell to you for the price of dirt.

I really like the idea- there are plenty of games out there I'd love to have custom miniatures for, and a dozen more in my head I'd love to have custom game pieces made for. But a line like

"You come to us with ideas, or maybe just some pictures you found on the internet, and we can make that. Our sketch artists and designers will work with you to make it,"

(emphasis mine)

...makes me wonder if the whole enterprise, even if it's financially viable on a basic business level, isn't going to quickly become IP lawsuit-bait.

"Oh, you based those miniatures on my sketch of a gnomish engineer, eh? How charming. And how many of those did you say you'd printed...?"

Welp, GG Game's Workshop, you had a nice run with your obscene prices.

Seriously though, I really wish these guys the best. It seems like a very cool idea that could really help eliminate one of the main barriers that keeps most people (myself included) away from actual tabletop gaming, the entry cost.

The ability to have them design custom models for you is awesome as well, depending on how much it ends up costing. There's a lot of people who make their own tabletop systems for their own custom settings, and this would allow them to actually help bring their ideas into the real world and make a little pocket-change on the side from other people using their pieces.

I'm super fuckin psyched about these guys.

Basically they're trying to put the future of the gaming industry into the hands of the gamer... if they can raise enough funds to make that happen, hell, maybe they will make it happen. Rewrite the whole industry.

I hope all you guys are also backing. I just threw half a paycheck in.

go proxy war go!

laskfj11:
I was wondering when Proxy War was finally going to get some coverage by the Escapist!

They've got a perfect product, they just need more exposure! I want to see them raise a ton of cash and take over the world.

EAT IT GAMES WORKSHOP

Well, they DID have a table at the Escapist Expo. One of them fancied my friend's cosplay and made her blush. It was adorable. =3

If any one was wondering, most of the models pictured in the article were painted by Blue Table Painting. A company I work for. I assembled the models and based them. =D
http://bluetablepainting.com/

laskfj11:
EAT IT GAMES WORKSHOP

THIS

You know, this thread really goes to show the consequences of being a huge dick to your consumers. Usually there would be at least one person going "No you guys! Give GW money!" but nope.

I hope this goes well. Obviously GW is going to try and stop this, but if enough blueprints get out, they could be thrown into something of an upheaval.

Maybe I'm just being optimistic, but who knows.

freaper:
I hope they'll add functions like "embellish" for people with the creativity of a moss-covered rock.

They're doing this. You'll be able to pick, say, a constable's coat and click a button to just "Make this guy a constable now!" and kit him out with related things.

I'll see if I can get the Proxy Army guys in here to address some of your various concerns!

Their model fidelity is crazy, though. Something like less than 20 microns* - so that's smaller than a human hair.

*number is probably wrong and not real or correct, but the comparison is true.

Callate:
Oops sorry I meant to quote the guy above you, my bad

Paradoxrifts:

albino boo:
I doubt their business model is viable. Time on a big industrial prototyper is expensive and desktop 3d printers have a high failure rate and hardly anyone buys them. The market leader, Stratasys, sold a grand total of 6ooo units worldwide in the last quarter. They may make a living catering to a group ultra enthusiasts but as challenge to games workshop they just don't have the legs.

People said exactly the same thing about computers.

albino boo:
Its not a question of accessibility but demand. How many things around your average persons home is purely made from plastic and isn't dirt cheap anyway?

The single piece of plastic which you don't currently have, but desperately need that nobody else will sell to you for the price of dirt.

No they didn't say that about computers. Computers have been used by business since the 1950s. I grew up in the early days of home computing my first machine was a ZX81 which was in about 1981 or 1982 and no point did I hear anyone say that their isn't a demand for computers. Furthermore in my 40 years I never have desperately needed a piece of plastic that I couldn't buy in the 4 hours that it takes to print something using a 3D printer.

Just how many people do you think buy miniatures? Its not that big a market and GW advertising budget is almost certainly larger than the total capitalization of Proxy War. I did not say that they won't make living doing what they are doing but they offer no threat to GW. They simply don't have enough money

Double A:

I talked to these guys at the Expo. They already have their printers and their minis were high quality. I played a demo one day. Far as I know, I was the only person to break part of a single piece all weekend, and that was because it was a prototype model. The main ones were far more resilient.

These guys are/were in talks for deals with Schock Mercenary and Erfworld. They are not pissing around.

Deals with IPs that a fraction of the players of 40k have ever heard of does not make them a threat to GW

While I do not think this is an operation large enough, to rattle GW, I sure do hope they manage to make money on this. GW's miniatures work well as armies in battle games, but are lacking as RPG figures: too similar, too little customization. I backed Proxy Wars simply as a way to get miniatures for my Dark Heresy game, which oddly enough are not something GW provides figurines for. (I am planning to make them generic enough not to give GW any bait for inevitable lawsuits, those vultures)

HA! Fucking called it.

I'll bet Games Workshop is shitting its pants right now. If not, well then they are idiots. I hope this takes the world by storm. I know a hell of a lot of people that are going to be very happy with this.

albino boo:
[

No they didn't say that about computers. Computers have been used by business since the 1950s. I grew up in the early days of home computing my first machine was a ZX81 which was in about 1981 or 1982 and no point did I hear anyone say that their isn't a demand for computers. Furthermore in my 40 years I never have desperately needed a piece of plastic that I couldn't buy in the 4 hours that it takes to print something using a 3D printer.

Just how many people do you think buy miniatures? Its not that big a market and GW advertising budget is almost certainly larger than the total capitalization of Proxy War. I did not say that they won't make living doing what they are doing but they offer no threat to GW. They simply don't have enough money

It wasn't a matter of there being a demand for computers or not, but for there being a demand for them in the home. We simply can't tell how much of an impact this company might have because no one has ever been able to offer large numbers of customized figures at a low price before. Tabletop games are a niche market to be sure but it's still a market that has room for a company to start from nothing and prosper (ex. Privateer Press).

I don't play any tabletops or am interested in these miniatures, but I have friends that love everything tabletop, so I kind of know what's going on. From reading the article, I have to say this sounds like a brilliant idea.

It could well push the ridiculous prices for those models down. With my friends in mind, I wish these guys luck with their miniatures.

 

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