Taking a closer look at custom mini making with Eldritch Foundry

Posted by Annabelle Collins on


The first custom mini I ever made using Eldritch Foundry. Her name is Senara :)

Like a lot of people, my first mini was an off-the-shelf adventurer. It didn’t really capture the essence of character, but it was ok.

How things have changed!

Whenever I play in a campaign now (and often when I DM), creating beautiful and accurate minis is well-loved part of my experience!

The two biggest mini maker sites are Eldritch Foundry and Hero Forge.


In this guide, I'll walk you through the process of crafting your own epic custom minis using the popular platform Eldritch Foundry.



Oh by the way, this is sponsored :D


Full disclosure, Eldritch Foundry reached out to me and asked if I would write a review for them. I’ll be sharing my honest opinions and experiences with their platform in this guide!

Use the Eldritch Foundry discount code modrealms15 10 get 15% off your order

Happily it’s easy for me to talk about them, because Eldritch Foundry has been my personal favourite mini maker for several years now!

They were also kind enough to give me a handy dandy Discount Code for 15% off to share with you all. Enjoy!

Alright! Now let’s take a closer look...



Why choose custom minis?


There's something magical about designing your own miniatures for your TTRPG games.

I’ve always been someone that spends ages on the character creation screen in Skyrim, and it feels even better when you can hold the end results in your hands!

Creating the mini and spending time thinking about clothing, expression and accessories helps me feel more connected to my character as well.

A custom D&D mini with a broken nose - options like those spark ideas for the backstory for me



So how does Eldritch Foundry work?


Eldritch Foundry has become my personal favourite mini-maker for a reason.

It’s a web-based platform that works pretty much like a character creation screen in a video game, except with the bonus of being able to physically print (or order) your creation.


It looks like this …

image of the Eldritch Foundry mini maker screen with lots of options for creating your D&D mini


You can see there’s a whole bunch of customisation options to choose from on the left.

There are options for race (humans, dwarves, elves etc.), lineage (choose between features resembling folks of black, white and Asian descent), build, height, tails, wings … and that’s just under the “Body” tab!

There’s definitely a lot to choose from! 

A custom D&D mini holding a cute pseudodragon familiar

As you explore and play around for yourself you’ll find that you can customise clothing, weapons, accessories, add familiars, change the pose and more.

I won’t list everything you can do because that would make for a very long and boring post!


Instead I’ll take you through the features I love the most and share some tips for how to use them effectively!



How to make the perfect mini


Before we get started, here’s a really good tip that I don’t follow often enough…

I'm definitely not still salty about accidentally refreshing and losing my progress

Seriously, do it. It can be so heart breaking when you’ve spent two hours getting your mini just so, only to accidentally refresh the page and lose it!


Plus, if you save your progress iteratively, you can make variations, try out different things and then compare them to see which effects you like best.


I also recommend that throughout the mini creation process, you have in the back of your mind that you’re going to have to paint it. I’ve done some beautiful intricate models before and only realised after printing that I’ve now got to try and fit my brush in a verrry tight area!



Getting the right facial expression


When you first go into the expression controls the only two sliders you see for expression is “happy” or “angry”.

Actually you can get a lot more variety than just those two emotions by fine tuning eyebrows, cheek bones, jaw position, chin size and whatnot.

As a general guide, eyebrows that slope down and inwards look more angry and those that slope upwards look more sad.

Two D&D minis with a neutral expression and their eyebrows moved to look angry or sad

Raised eyebrows tend to look more surprised.

Uneven eyebrows (one raised) often add confusion, uncertainty or doubt.

By tweaking eyebrows, expression, jaw, nose height and chin you can get some pretty sophisticated expressions.

A highly confused D&D mini with a little bit of disgust and horror at hearing what the bard did last night



Choosing clothes and Accessories

A D&D mini looking down at the doll she's holding in her hand and wondering if it looks enough like the bard for her to be able to use voodoo on them


The right clothes and accessories can really give your character personality and atmosphere.

You can also use them to highlight roleplaying cue’s like a familiar or voodoo doll (yes, that is an option).

When creating your character I suggest you browse and try out a few different looks. You’ll find some really interesting options that you might not have considered otherwise.


I will say that even with all the choice, there are times when I can’t find quite what I want clothing wise. Eldritch Foundry do add new things pretty frequently so I’m hoping there’ll be an option to mix and match undershirts and armor in the future.

 A really cool burglars backpack that Eldritch Foundry make as an accessory option for your custom D&D minis

Something Eldritch Foundry does really well is their backpacks.

They have a variety of options with different styles and equipment.

One of my favourites is the burglar pack, with grappling hook and crowbar.

I also have to give a shout out to the explorers pack with axe and potions, that one's also really good!




How to get the right pose


A custom DnD mini in a fighting lunge using sword and shieldLike Heroforge, Eldritch Foundry gives you options to fine tune your characters’ pose by changing arm, wrist, head, hair, body, cloak and accessory positions.

When customising a pose, I look for a stance with the leg positioning I want, since this is the one thing I won’t be able to alter later.


For example, this mini on the right is using an altered “football throw” stance.

I liked the way the legs were in a forwards lunge and just played around with the body and arms until she was facing into the lunge with a raised sword and shield.


There are also options for flying poses which are particularly cool.

It’s not something I’ve seen on a mini creator before and great for making a badass Aasimar.

It’s really nice to have an option for a mini that shows your character suspended in mid air. 

some really awesome D&D minis in cool flying poses with wings or jet pack smoke providing support



Eldritch Foundry Vs Hero Forge, which one to go for?


Both Eldritch Foundry and Hero Forge are fantastic options for custom minis, but they cater to different preferences.

Eldritch Foundry is about 38% cheaper for STL files  ($5 Vs $7.99)

Eldritch Foundry offers high-quality, realistic-looking minis at a lower price point for STL files.

It excels in facial expression control and overall detail.

On the other hand, Hero Forge provides the ability to colour your mini and create digital tokens for online games, making it a go-to choice for folks looking for coloured renders to use online.


Hero Forge minis are lower resolution, but the platform has a broader range of clothing / hair options.

Eldritch Foundry offers less variety in mouth shapes, but finer control over facial expression.


Another difference is that Hero Forge minis have their distinctive art style which I find a bit cartoony.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made and used plenty of Hero Forge minis in my time and loved them, but I prefer the realism I get with Eldritch Foundry. That’s just my personal preference though.


Comparing Hero forge and Eldritch foundry custom D&D minis and their different styles. Which styles you prefer is down to personal preference


In essence, if you're seeking high resolution and cost-effective stl’s, Eldritch Foundry is the way to go.

For coloured renders and digital tokens, Hero Forge is your best bet.



My final thoughts


Creating custom minis has added a new layer of depth to my TTRPG characters. I've tried a few different mini makers and Eldritch Foundry is still my favourite.

Even if you’ve never made a customised mini in your life, I still recommend you check Eldritch Foundry out!

It’s a really fun tool to use that brings your characters to life in a way that is seldom reached with off-the-shelf minis.

Use the Eldritch Foundry discount code modrealms15 10 get 15% off your orderCreating my own mini gives me a closer connection to my characters and is just so darn enjoyable to do  ^ ^

Give it a go!

And if you do, don't forget to take advantage of the discount code from Eldritch Foundry!



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