Miniatures For Sale

Friday, November 13, 2015

Review: Shapeways

Neat Ninja Turtles right? I got them from Shapeways. Let me tell you a little about them (Shapeways, not the TMNT)...

So  a while ago Pat from Shapeways contacted me about a review of their services. I said yes, but needed to actually use it. I put in an order and waited. It was a good experience!  Let me take you through the details before I sing their praises more :)

I put in my order on September 13th.

I got an email confirming that they were making my order, but there was a slight delay:

We are writing to inform you that your recent order might ship with a slight delay.
Here at Shapeways, we try to be as open and upfront with our community as possible, so we wanted to let you know as soon as we were able. Each and every product is made to order at Shapeways, so sometimes we experience delays during the complex 3D printing process. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and are doing everything we can to get your order out as soon as possible.
Your new expected ship date is between Friday, September 25, and Wednesday, September 30. Once your order does ship, you'll receive an email with your tracking number.
Fair enough, they do print each order when it is received after all.

I got confirmation of shipping on Sept 30.

The package arrived October 8th!

So, onto the review...

The minis were packaged very well. One of the most professional jobs I have seen ever. They take the shipping seriously and protect the products extremely well.

The minis. I ordered 28mm TMNT and Foot Ninjas in the cheapest plastic they had which has a fairly rough texture. I also ordered some 1/72 scale TMNT too in the same material to test the limits of their 3D printing.
Now for the pictures:
The 28 mm minis are decent. Soft detail and rough finish. I could have gotten smooth plastic which would have had more crisp details, but it was a significant jump in price.
The 1/72 scale ones were not great in this plastic. Missing nun-chuck on Mikey and missing blade on Leo. So I would recommend the smooth plastic, but again it's a pretty respectable jump in price.
Here is a scale shot to show you the difference and so you can see the gritty nature of the cheapest level of 3D sculpts.

So, these are pretty good for what I paid  given they're niche minis not being mass produced. I ordered the base level to see what affordable 3D printing is like now. They will require some work and will be good for quick gaming pieces for sure.

I don't think 3D printing is in a place where it can compete with mass market mini companies/ casters... yet. Not from a cost base, but it is close - VERY, VERY close.

I will say this: Visit Shapeways. They do minis, they do models, trains and specialty items. They have stuff there you could lose a whole paycheck to buying and it is all really creative and unique! You will have to shell out more money if you want higher quality. That said, they have items you can't get anywhere else AND - you can send them your own stuff to print! Obligatory inforgraphic?

I recommend them. They are on the cutting edge of what is coming for the mini industry and I'm pretty impressed with what I have seen :)

Next Post: I get to work on the Big Harley Quinn Bust! Check out Shapeways and tell me what you think in the comments and remember; you can't spell paint without a little pain ;)


  1. Very cool.. but still reenforcing my concerns about their products. It was funny, I'd been looking at Hero Forge, except the normal quality stuff had poor reviews and very little detail. The high quality stuff wasn't reviewed much better but the final nail was being warned off by their own staff when I questioned the fragility of their high quality materials and told that if a die hits the mini, it could very well break it.

    Shapeways looks suuuper cool because of the diversity on the site, but again, the options for printing were low quality or fragile.

    I've started looking at the 3D printer the city library has (free to use, but first come first served.) and the silhouette machine to cut my own airbrushing stencils. It's like we're right on the cusp of some potentially awesome stuff in the world of semi-professional equipment for home use and miniatures and we. just. need. to. wait. a. bit. longer...

    1. Yep, it's so close. They aren't that fragile, the missing parts seem to be short shots. I have ebay minis that are clearly recasts that are more brittle. The thing is, since i don't game i don't mind a fragile mini. Display only for me ;) Plus they have other cool things like custom jewelers and laser cut metals and stuff. Oh the possibilities for detailing or conversions or custom bits for display bases... I have a feeling I'll be back on their site before too long.

  2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    Heroes in a half shell
    Turtle power!

    Sorry about that ... my mind just automatically regurgitated that song from the depths of my mind when I set my eyes on the turtles. Admittedly I know nothing of 3d printing so am unaware of how good those details actually are considering they are 3d printed models. Most stuff I'm aware of from 3d magazine still involves actual casting of resin products after extensive 3d modelling.

    From what I gather those turtles were their design right? Not made to your specifications I mean. They look like they do have enough details in them to make good anime paint jobs. :)

    1. Yep. exactly that! They will be fun to paint :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! I still think 3d printing has a ways to go but if you are going to get some from shapeways I would order the high quality glossy versions as they handle detail way better :)

  4. Cool stuff! Nice placement in the google image results too :)

  5. Great post! But are the smaller turtles really 1/72? They look so "massive", but maybe that is also my inability to get an idea about their size :)

    Could you meassure how big they are?

    1. Yeah s you are right, so the larger ones are 35mm and the smaller ones are like 22mm. Weird in between scale o_O


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