How to Find and Print Miniatures for Warhammer: A Guide

3d printer

How to Find and Print Miniatures for Warhammer: A Guide for 2024

As an avid Warhammer enthusiast with over 20 years of hobby experience, I have built up an extensive collection of miniatures. Like most fans, I started out buying standard plastic miniatures which can get quite expensive over time. Eventually, I got into 3D printing which allows you to create your own custom miniatures at a fraction of the cost.

In this comprehensive guide, I will share my top tips on where to find STL files to 3D print miniatures for Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. I’ve done the research to uncover some hidden gems across crowdsourcing sites, marketplaces, communities and even Patreon creators. Read on for the best places to download free and premium files to bring your tabletop battlefields to life!

Introduction to 3D Printing Miniatures For the uninitiated, 3D printing involves taking a 3D computer model and turning it into a physical miniature using a machine called a 3D printer. It works by building the model layer-by-layer using strands of melted plastic filament or UV-cured resin.

3D printers come in two main categories – FDM (fused deposition modeling) which uses filament, and SLA/DLP which uses resin. For highly detailed miniatures suitable for tabletop wargaming, an SLA/DLP resin printer like the Anycubic Photon is best. The layer resolution can capture intricate textures and fine details better than regular FDM printers.

Of course you need the 3D model file first before you can get printing. This file format is typically STL and dozens of sites online offer Warhammer-related options available to download or purchase. Let’s take a look!

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MyMiniFactory

My top pick for Warhammer STL files is MyMiniFactory. Despite having “premium” in the name, there are actually thousands of free downloads here thanks to its supportive community of 3D printing enthusiasts.

While the paid models only cost ~$1.50 on average, you’ll find no shortage of free characters, accessories and terrain pieces here like this Barbarian Warrior and Grizzled Witch Hunter. Sorting by “Most Downloaded” filters out the best gems with hundreds of positive user reviews.

For breathtaking paid options, I recommend splurging on more intricate showstopper pieces like this epic dragon. With insane detailing that brings sculptures to life, it’ll be a joy to paint and will captivate your friends!

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Cults3D

Cults3D takes a broader all-inclusive approach as a platform for 3D printing enthusiasts to share their creations across various verticals. Naturally Warhammer fans have made their mark here with thousands of related models up for grabs.

While print quality varies more here without curation, the text search makes it easy to spot gems in the rough. I scored awesome free terrain pieces like these modular ruins which can expand your battlefield options.

Paid models feature more controlled quality but rarely exceed $20. The Demonhunter Inquisitor pictured exemplifies Cults’ knack for striking dark fantasy characters brimming with personality. For doubling down, expansive themed packs like the Temptress Institute’s warrior women offer batch discounts.

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Kickstarter

Impassioned designers often leverage Kickstarter’s crowdsourcing model to fund premium Warhammer inspired works. Backing their visionary projects lets you access STL packs before public release.

A standout is this modular Graystone Ruins terrain offering adaptable configurations to customize your battlefield’s look. The palpable passion behind these labors of love renders exceptionally thoughtful recreations oozing with detail.

The Cthulu Unbound project also appealed to me as an H.P Lovecraft fan, with Eldritch monstrosities worthy of the Mythos! Also watch out for similar initiatives on Indiegogo and Patreon seeking supporters for STLs in exchange for early previews.

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Printables

Prusa Printing’s Printables hub offers a rapidly growing library of community uploaded designs checked for printability. The platform’s open approach fosters a supportive exchange conducive for approachable newcomer uploads.

Functional toolkit prints like this KeyChain Collection and Magnetic Figure Holder enhance your miniature handling process. Meanwhile this Mortar model inspires with dangerously high octane detail coming out wonderfully.

Printables regularly runs well-judged design contests too, keeping quality contributions rolling in! Definitely drill down into specific search filters though as “Warhammer” casts a very wide net here with mixed results.

Warhammer 40k Mini

CGTrader

Catering primarily to 3D visualization artists over just printing, CGTrader impresses most with its premium market section requiring user vetting. Few platforms curate quality to this degree.

Lord Byron pictured slammed me as an old god dead ringer instantly for Cthulu Mythos themed play. With creepy elaborate details like face tentacles and severed heads on display, it should unset our players nicely!

Similarly I felt drawn to the Death Division Combo Deal pitting red swordsmen against blue rifleman in dynamic multi-figure battle arrangements across 19 models. At around five dollars per character, it stacks value.

Dark Eldar Warhammer 40k

Gambody

While super specific towards gaming IPs with few Warhammer explicit listings, Gambody’s meticulously crafted models inspire universal tabletop scenarios.

The Chaplain’s otherworldly biomechanical suit strikes an expert balance between intricate mechanical elements and sleek alien contours. Study the complex layered intersections of tubes and armor conveying dark imposing mass.

Illidan Stormrage’s elaborate horned demon wings, claws and blindfold evoke similar ominous gravitas. Print eithermultipart figure at over a foot tall to anchor sprawling multi squad skirmishes! Both models guide optimal support and orientation settings for flawless results too.

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War Layer

Catering exclusively to modular 3D printable wargaming terrain with clever interlocking systems, War Layer thinks big in scale. Their pieces literally build height adding verticality.

I love the Combat Zone’s mix of square and octagonal tower pieces joining through connectors at multiple axis points enabling custom configurations. The Heavy Lifter vehicle transports these structures as mobile anchors bolstering squads tactically.

Designer Aaskedall honed this proprietary system through an engineering mindset for maximum customization. With announced plans to expand the line, War Layer gets my recommendation despite its current limited selection. Their quality and consistency delivers irrespective of variety thanks to a production focus.

Lava Base Warhammer 40k

Hidden Gems on Patreon

Several independent 3D artists offer early access to their upcoming designs by supporting them on Patreon. Here fans pledge monthly payments between $5-$20 to creators for bonus perks.

Exclusive Discounts: Top players like Archvillian Games and The Makers Cult share 20-40% off deals with backers before public sales.

Sneak Previews: Gumroad merchants like Gearguts Mekshop share work-in-progress renders for patrons to provide feedback on.

Commercial Licenses: Some designers like Anvil Forge offer STL bundles for small business use upon special request to qualifying patrons.

While most hide their work behind passwords, respecting IP, a few rebels like Red Pilgrim openly share on MyMiniFactory with muted keywords. I leave hunting their amazing works as an exercise for the reader!

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Pros and Cons of 3D Printing vs Buying Miniatures

Now that you know where to get files to 3D print Warhammer inspired miniatures, how does this compare against buying ready made official merchandise? Here I break down the trade-offs across crucial categories.

Time Investment It takes significant time to 3D print miniatures compared to buying ready made ones. Expect 6-8 hours for printing alone per piece, not counting post-processing clean up and curing over 2-4 hours. This hands-on process trading money for sweat equity and patience may appeal rather than detract for some hobbyists finding rewards in personal craftsmanship.

Quality Consistency As veteran players invariably notice, injection molded miniatures generally uphold higher standards in baseline quality over amateur 3D printing projects prone to calibration issues. Official licensed figurines also access production grade paint jobs.

Of course premium consumer printers constantly press technical limits while talented designers can compete on quality through meticulous optimized models and settings. But consistency inevitably suffers under home conditions with more failed efforts.

Warhammer 40k Mini

Cost Efficiency

Looking purely at individual miniature material costs excluding initial printer investments, 3D printing wins hands down with resin expenses averaging under $1 compared to minimum $10 purchases adding up for mass troop production. Just remember results take work and knowhow instead of instant satisfaction and reliably telegraphed expectations.

Creative Customization What 3D printing indisputably excels at is empowering customized remixes, personalization and decorative flourishes simply impossible under mass production constraints both financially and technically. Warhammer fans with imaginations overflowing should chase their ultimate vision.

Just ensure your skills match your dreams to avoid wasted resources from calamitous misadventures! Start small, learn iteratively and scope up ambition gradually after nailing fundamentals.

Paintset2

 

Painting 3D Printed Miniatures

Before painting 3D printed miniatures, clean them first to remove any leftover resin with high percentage IPA alcohol. Support marks will also need sanding down gently using fine grit sandpaper before priming.

Rinse properly then cure overnight under UV light to further harden models. Priming prep applies a preparatory base layer helping paint adhesion. Avoid true matte primers obscuring finer texture details paint accents later enhance through contrast.

With diligent prep finished, standard miniature painting practices take over! Thin coats prevent messy build up. Allow adequate drying times between layers and washes. Plan color combinations mindfully respecting contrasts suited to varied materials and lighting context.

The only difference lies in needing extra primer insurance given resin’s slippery surface tension differences from traditional plastic. Otherwise paint liberally and unleash imagination bringing these sculptures to animated life!

We have an active Warhammer painting community on our YouTube channel sharing useful tips too with entertaining videos. Marco Frisoni NJM also posts outstanding practical guidance.

Key Takeaways

  • For budget friendly Warhammer STL files, first check MyMiniFactory along with Cults3D avoiding IP keywords
  • Support passionate 3D artists via crowdfunding initiatives revealing exciting early STL access
  • Balance tradeoffs carefully before diving into printing vs purchasing miniatures
  • Always properly clean and cure resin-based 3D printed models before painting for best results

So there you have it – the complete lowdown on creating your own custom Warhammer armies on the tabletop battlefield! With this comprehensive guide’s help locating quality miniatures STL repositories, curating optimal prints fitting your vision stands as the next step.

Setup a devoted print chamber safely ventilated away from living spaces given off-gassing concerns. Dialing tuned models onto an adept resin printer able to resolve fineilitary details sets the stage for bringing imagination into reality! Experiment and iterate freely while honing this additive mastery.

Soon enough your customized troops will stand proudly mustered swirling with personality and promise bound for glory in the crucible of friendly conflict! May this guide help unlock your epic Warhammer journey. Now to arms and let valor guide your charge onwards to victory!

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