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How much do you think it would cost to start a small company making miniatures? Nowhere near the size of GW, no storefronts, probably sold and promoted mostly through the internet and conventions. This is hypothetical, but I'm genuinely interested in the possibility. I realize that not many people have much disposable income right now, and it's a niche hobby as it is, but I have a design idea I think is potentially powerful: modular models. Instead of designing specific characters and creatures, give players a system that allows them to create their own and gives examples but doesn't proscribe ideas, and sell models that can be similarly customized, designed to be assembled and posed in many possible combinations. They would probably be on a larger scale than GW models, too, to make each individual more noticeable.
Unless you're a big company that's making models (or other spin-moulded stuff) all the time, you wouldn't necessarily own the equipment, would you? You'd just hire a production run or something, submit your designs to someone and have them do all the casting for you.
Not that this helps establish a price. Maybe getting in touch with a smaller company that already does this sort of thing would give you a better idea?
I don't know any personally; we did have a massive thread on these forums somewhere (I believe it was stickied in the relevant forum) listing a plethora of miniature manufacturers. So maybe pick a few of the smaller ones from the list and drop them an e-mail or something, see if they'll take the time to answer a few questions.
I'd certainly be interested in any discoveries made, even if I'm not intending to start up my own miniature line!
A friend and I have been thinking about the designing characters aspect of miniature production, but your idea is pretty interesting and certainly original. I guess you'd want to look at what medium would be best, I've heard 3D printing is an expanding 'market', if you're suitably IT inclined.
Two sites you may be interested in...
Kingdom Death Store - from what I can gather they 'print' their models, after using something like CAD to design them (Please don't quote me if I'm wrong), However from what I remember they have reported that is a very difficult process to get right... Okay just been back to reread and they are casting / or printing maybe both or neither... not sure what the hell they do, but consider my information garbage and see for yourself
Gribbly Miniatures - This guy is a home brew modeller from the UK. His about me section is pretty informative and he's a nice bloke too and likely to answer a couple of questions you have, or send you in the right direction.
I have a friend in my gaming group that makes boxes for magic decks, and terrain out of resin with a spin mold and sells them online. This is his facebook page
Travis Horton | Facebook
he might be able to help you out.
Mention that Patrick sent you if you do.
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