Minis, Minis, Minis – Your Questions Answered
Are you thinking about producing a game with plastic miniatures for the first time? Or, perhaps you’re an established company looking to take the detail and quality of your miniatures to the next level? Great! GPI has produced thousands of highly detailed miniatures for our customers. If you’re looking to dive into the world of miniatures, we are here to help -- from creating sculpts, to tooling, molding and assembly.
How do I go about producing a game with miniatures?
Typically, miniatures start from sculpts, sketches, or more recently, 3D prints and 3D files. If you provide hand sculpts or 3D prints, GPI can use these as reference for creating the production molds for your miniatures. If you provide sketches, GPI’s sculptors can bring your drawings to life and use these sculpts to create your molds. If you provide 3D files, we can arrange for prototype 3D printed sculpts to be made prior to tooling. Whichever way you proceed, just remember, the more detail and information you provide us, the better the end result will be. Great source sculpts make great miniatures!
What materials are miniatures typically made of?
The most popular material for pre-assembled miniatures, with minimal pieces, is PVC. PVC is ideal for molding miniatures because of its ability to release easily from the mold while maintaining high detail with the least amount of parts. Because of this property, PVC miniatures can be molded in fewer pieces than harder plastics, thus requiring less hand assembly and therefore making them more cost-effective to produce. One thing to note is that PVC is a softer plastic when compared to others like HIPS or ABS. However, as trends in the miniature world have evolved, GPI has too. Over the past few years, GPI has invested much in advancing its cam-action tooling and molding capabilities and is currently producing some of the highest durometer (hardest) PVC and detailed miniatures in the industry.
Other popular materials in the miniature world are HIPS and ABS. These plastics are much harder than PVC and are typically used for molding figures that would remain on the sprue for assembly by the consumer, like a model kit. Because these plastics are much harder, the figures are typically broken into many pieces to aid in mold release.
How long does it take to make the molds and how many molds will I need?
After sculpts are approved, it typically takes 30-60 days to complete the tooling for your miniatures. After molds are completed, we will send you tooling samples to approve prior to production. Depending on the size and complexity of your figures, we typically can fit 2-3 miniature designs in a cam-action vertical press mold.
I’m ready to begin, now what?
Please visit our “Contact Us” page and tell us about your project. After that, a GPI Project Manager will contact you to discuss.