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How Table Game Miniatures Are Made?

Nov. 12, 2021

Miniatures have never been bigger, exploding beyond the origins of pawns and conquering a new wave of modern board games and Kickstarter success stories. Thousands of unique models are created every year, from historical troops and sci-fi inventions to parodies of movies, video games and celebrity faces. While you may have come across hundreds of plastic models in your lifetime, it's unlikely that you'll ever understand how they're actually made.

How Table Game Miniatures Are Made?cid=5

3D Rendering

Every original model begins in the imagination of its sculptor. In years past, this title was a literal one, with creators actually digging out their vision from a small piece of plastic - often helped by adding detail using modeling putty. Today, it is becoming increasingly common for sculptors to use a "scalpel" to perfect a 3D rendering on a computer in two to four days, depending on the level of detail.

While digital modeling is becoming more common - traditional methods are still used in some cases. 


Once the resin-filled production molds are prepared, one sprays the silicone blocks with a release agent to prevent them from sticking together. Once fixed, the molds are placed in a vacuum chamber.

The resin can be as hard as plastic or soft and bendy. It all depends on the particular resin you are using and how it is mixed. You can customize it exactly the way you want it.

The resin is in its raw state when it's cast, it's white, and you can't see the details. So we actually put a black colorant in it to make it gray, and the detail is more visible. You can make it any color you want.


Watching resin form models is fun, but it can be a dangerous way to create miniature models. Despite the relatively few materials and safety measures used, the incredible amount of heat required to turn metal into liquid makes casting a decidedly dangerous endeavor. 

The mold is covered with talcum powder, which allows the metal to flow over the top of it. When you pull it out, it won't snag and tear. It also provides you with a beautiful matte finish.

The resin model has far more mass than the metal, and it shrinks as the metal cools. So no matter what detail it fills, it will shrink a little.

Injection Molding

Injection molding is probably the best known way to make miniatures, forming the pieces of iconic model parts that need to be cut from the surrounding rectangular gates. The core process is similar to hand casting, but instead of using vacuum or centrifugal force to distribute liquid material into a silicone mold, powerful machines spray PVC plastic into a metal mold. 

Producing the plastic is cheap, but making the molds and everything in the initial stages is expensive. The cost, training and space required for injection molds means it is a method usually reserved for publishers who can guarantee a successful hit that will get a return on investment and the ability to invest a lot of cash in the first place. 

Nowadays, Miniatures are becoming more and more indispensable in many board games, since miniatures can make board game become more attractive and interesting. Honestly, if you look at the process, the technology hasn't changed in hundreds of years. It's exactly the same. It's just that we've changed the material and made modifications. In general, not much is different. Contact us today to get the customized, unique miniatures, and our experts will design according to your wish.

Shanghai Hopes Industry Co., Ltd.