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"Why is GW not participating in 3D printing market?" Topic

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10 Jul 2024 11:37 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed starttime from
    10 Jul 2024 10:27 a.m. PST
    10 Jul 2024 10:27 a.m. PSTCrossposted to 3DPrinting board

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Dragon Gunner10 Jul 2024 10:27 a.m. PST

I would spend a fortune if they partnered with Hero Forge. I would love to create unique personalities, gangs, Imperial Guard with 40K weapons.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian10 Jul 2024 11:36 a.m. PST

I am surprised they have not been more active in shutting down people selling STLs of obvious 40K clones.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2024 1:25 p.m. PST

I guess if they cn sell a figure for £15.00 GBP-25 then why let someone print it themselves?

The day their business model stops making money is the day they will change.

Dragon Gunner10 Jul 2024 2:50 p.m. PST

If they owned and operated a printing business and didn't sell the STLs I wonder what would be cost effective in the long run? Plastic injection molds and warehouses full of stock or made to order 3D printing?

jgawne10 Jul 2024 3:48 p.m. PST

Look at Wargames Atlantic- they run a plastic figure line, but have taken up doing a large number of 3D figures, many of which are related to their plastics, or provide extra variations for them. They seem to be doing pretty well, although they out so many 3D files that many of them suffer from some pretty bad historical issues.

Still, that company sees a future in selling both.

The H Man10 Jul 2024 6:36 p.m. PST

The title is flawed.

GW are participating in the 3d printing market, as they use it to print some of their master models.

I'd suspect painted studio models for the plastic figures may also be 3d printed.

They just aren't operating at their customers end.

It's all behind the scenes.

I'd think 3d printing is more labour intensive then injection.

However metal is also and they are spin casting.

But if you want a billion space marines, it's cheaper to inject them.

GW are about bulk sales.

3d printing doesn't fit that.

Resin, metal and plastic are faster to cast by far.

Louis XIV10 Jul 2024 7:09 p.m. PST

love to create unique personalities

Unless GW has rules for it you won't see "custom" models. There was some fallout from Chapterhouse and you're only going to see rules and matching models now. If the game doesn't allow X with a grenade launcher then there is no model and if the rules take the option away the model is discontinued.

GW cycles models as "made to order" which solves the need for 3D printing

GW is about: models, setting and rules in that priority order.

KeepYourPowderDry10 Jul 2024 9:05 p.m. PST

They have just announced a large expansion at their Nottingham site, a fourth factory see link for details.

Zephyr110 Jul 2024 9:44 p.m. PST

If GW could figure out how to make an STL file that self-erases after printing one mini, they'd be selling them… ;-)

Personal logo Lluis of Minairons Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jul 2024 1:29 a.m. PST

If GW could figure out how to make an STL file that self-erases after printing one mini, they'd be selling them…

evil grin evil grin evil grin

The H Man11 Jul 2024 1:42 a.m. PST

"Hmm… But what's he think she's really gonna see?"

If GW are adding a factory, something is afoot.

I doubt it's just to level things out.

Perhaps TOW has been more successful than we realise? And now they are going to need dedicated machinery going forward.

On the other hand, it could just be one big bungle.

They may overstretch.

Maybe they expect sales to pick up with the new 40k show.


The H Man11 Jul 2024 1:44 a.m. PST

They could sell discs in store and on line that degrade once opened, like the DVDs.

kevin smoot11 Jul 2024 4:03 a.m. PST

They will when it becomes necessary. For now, it isn't necessary.

Dragon Gunner11 Jul 2024 5:16 a.m. PST


I don't actually play 40K I haven't in many years I detest the rules. I have a lot of GW miniatures and use a generic cyberpunk rule set that is miniature agnostic. I actually have miniatures from a variety of manufacturers. I know I am not Games Workshops target audience / customer.

I already have some Heroforge models in my sci-fi collection.. I would love the ability to create custom color printed miniatures with 40k weapons. I currently have Heroforge printed inquisitors, inquisitor acolytes, agents, assassins, gang members and cultists with generic weapons.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2024 6:57 a.m. PST

I think they have concluded that it doesn't currently fit their business model.

clibinarium11 Jul 2024 7:31 a.m. PST

Once you allow the STL out the door you loose control of it and in GW's case piracy would explode. Smaller makers rely on a certain amount of goodwill not to pirate their work (and I am sure this is abused, its a question of how much the maker can live with), and while GW's figures are popular there's not a huge amount of goodwill out there towards them
to put it lightly.
If they can work out how to control the STL they'll probably do it, if demand fortheir own physical production wanes. I have heard the suggestion that you could have a GW sold printer that would be needed to print GW STLs, but I'm not sure that solves all the problems.

clibinarium11 Jul 2024 7:32 a.m. PST

And as the editor says, its odd that they haven't cracked down more on people selling stuff that is clearly ripping off GW designs.

Decebalus11 Jul 2024 7:47 a.m. PST

Like Clibinarium said. The size of GW makes piracy a big problem. If i have the STLs of napoleonic Wurttembergers from Piano Wargames, there arent many friends, who also want to print this army. If you are a 40k player, you will have a ton of gamers nearby, who would be more than happy to get the files.

Dragon Gunner11 Jul 2024 8:12 a.m. PST

I will pose my question again, What if they don't sell their STL files as a down load.? You create your miniatures using GW software and GW prints your miniatures?

I am not suggesting people have GW stl files they can share and download.

I also understand it is not part of the current business model but sometimes a business model can be flawed or there is a stubbornness to abandon sunk costs. Sometimes business decisions are driven by a single stubborn ego.

I don't claim to be a business or economics major that is why I posed my questions.

Dragon Gunner11 Jul 2024 8:14 a.m. PST

This is not about piracy it is about why GW is not participating in this market. I understand GW prints some miniatures what I am suggesting is something along the Heroforge model.

Dragon Gunner11 Jul 2024 8:31 a.m. PST

This is not an insult or meant to be. How many of you that posted know what Heroforge is?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2024 12:46 p.m. PST

Maybe they are being stubborn.

Maybe they just don't want to bother with it.

Maybe they think it will dilute their brand.

Maybe they have production or shipping concerns of some kind.

Personal logo jensutkremp Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2024 1:18 p.m. PST

How many of you that posted know what Heroforge is?"

Did not post, but know them. Hope they will come with real historic figures. The system is great, lets see, maybe in future they will make them….

The H Man12 Jul 2024 1:33 a.m. PST

I assume the generals are also mounted.

One point.

What if the new factory is to be filled with 3d printers?

I doubt it, buy what if?

As they use them in masters , maybe they find them (lines and all) good enough for retail?

I can't see it cheaper than injection, but they could be sold assembled.

Eliminating assembly (their kits are horrible) would be a definite plus and attract more customers.

Actually a single piece marine in a blister, like those D&D ones (though they are cast and pre assembled) would probably tolerate a higher price point.

I don't think GW will have a make a character thing going, as they only want named characters they own. And as most figures are grunts, it wouldn't get the use.

Louis XIV12 Jul 2024 9:23 a.m. PST

Napoleon or Robert E Lee figures always cost as much as a normal cavalry figure

That's where Historicals miss their chance. Make troops within 12" of these awe inspiring figures always pass morale and be so inspired they shoot and fire twice. Then they'd be worth $30 USD

Eliminating assembly

They have push fit which is the closest so far.

The H Man12 Jul 2024 7:59 p.m. PST

Actually single piece GW figures already exist, but they mostly do multi part now.

LOTR have a lot of single piece figures in all materials.

TOW will keep seeing them.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2024 1:32 p.m. PST

Might make life difficult for GW's enforcers--the guys who ensure that only GW figures are used in GW tournaments, and who accidently/on purpose fail to recognize older GW products.

They may or may not go ahead with custom manufacture completely under their own control. But the perfect GW product would be a figure which disintegrates five years from date of purchase--or maybe just whenever the next edition of the rules comes out.

The H Man13 Jul 2024 6:34 p.m. PST

It is interesting they haven't done that.

They could be biodegradable.

But they just redesign armies to fullfill a similar purpose.

Like the new liardmen (now even newer kroxigor) and primaris marines. And Tyranids, necrons so on.

Even just odd units being revamped.

Rule changes can drop units, even armies.

Squats, zoats, slann, skink cold one riders, bretonian warmachines, so on.

Then new rules can bring them back, with new models to buy.

So, GW do have their own biult in obsolescence.

UshCha14 Jul 2024 8:04 a.m. PST

To be fair 3D printing is best for limited production. If you can sell enough then Injection molding is more cost effective. With its limited ranges (in part due to obsolescence) GW may sell enough to gain from Injection molding. Massive mold cost but minimal printing cost, make and sell enough and it makes more money than a 3D printed version. Many years ago the crossover was 5000 items but 3D printing is cheaper now so the crossover may be far higher than that now.

The H Man14 Jul 2024 6:53 p.m. PST

I'd think, after the Finecast fiasco, they would be very shy of a process with such varied results.

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