Miniature Masterpiece Countdown – #1

Welcome to the Hero Forge Miniature Masterpiece Countdown.

Every day I post a miniature that exemplifies a designer’s use of at least one of my critical design principles: technical skill with the tools, innovative thinking, and expression of theme or subject matter.

At the end of the week, I post the number 1 Miniature Masterpiece. This mini demonstrates the designer’s ability to employ all 3 creative elements in their work.

After 7 weeks, all the winners of the countdown are placed on a single list, and you vote for your number 1 miniature.

Who will be the season 2 All-Star?

Sprinting into her number 7 spot in this week’s Hero Forge Miniature Masterpiece Countdown we have “The Flash Jay Garrick” by an anonymous designer.

This mini made it onto the countdown due to its excellent representation of the subject. Even the expression reflects Jay Garrick’s easy-going and steady demeanor. And I appreciated the attempt at creating a lightning bolt across the chest despite not having a decal in that exact shape. Adherence to the theme is why this miniature masterpiece made it into the number 7 spot.

Number 6 on the countdown is another Miniature Masterpiece that exemplifies what technical skill looks like in the Hero Forge platform. This mini is straightforward and to the point, but is still so striking. I felt as though the “Paladin of the Sacred Flame” could be a token in an official publication or game release.

The color really sold me on this one. The metal polish gives the character the gleaming sparkle you would expect from a Paladin. Toastybuns designed a miniature that I would employ in a game. Which is why he ranked in at number 6 on this week’s countdown.

(PS. I couldn’t stop laughing after I read the designer’s pseudo-name.)

Our number 5 miniature depicts a kick ass steam punk heroine ready to do battle with whatever awaits in the dark. “Aellce”, of course, left me with the impression that the designer crafted a spin on “Alice in Wonderland”. Unfortunately, Silwyn didn’t leave us any notes in Hero Forge’s lore feature, so I can’t confirm my hypothesis.

However, the blonde hair, blue eyes, and adventurous spirit directed my imagination towards the various retellings of the iconic childhood storybook. There have been several retooling’s of “Alice in Wonderland” intending to craft it into a serious adventure. I have not personally read a steam punk adaptation, but this particular miniature could easily end up on the cover of such a novel.

It’s clear representation of theme without an outright declaration of the designer’s intent is why “Aellce” made it onto this week’s countdown. I can’t confirm that this is a steam punk depiction and retelling of the classic childhood heroine, but it seems so apparent, I couldn’t imagine it being anything else.

This amphibious soup peddler made it into the number 4 spot because of its animated nature and the various assets. I feel as though this image could have been lifted directly from a campaign or setting book. This little creature could be serving soup right now in someone’s game. Perhaps he’s giving directions to an adventuring party.

The coloring is on point and full of energy. Instead of simply making a green toad, the designer (Nostrodomus) gave “Grung Blue” blue skin and colorful stripes like Amazonian tree frogs. This subtle touch provides a sense of realism and background. Which is exactly what a DM needs when trying to immerse their players into a fantasy world.

What really sold me on this miniature was the assets. The bowls piled high with spices, the cauldron and ladle, and how the creature interacts with them tells a story. You know who this creature is, or at very least what his character does. I feel immersed in the designer’s world simply by looking at this miniature. Which is why he made it onto this week’s Hero Forge Miniature Masterpiece Countdown.

Number 3 made it onto the list because of its unique and striking design. “Canon Wizard” appears to be a high level soldier in the trenches of some magically supercharged war. The helmet, goggles, and Canon displaces this miniature from common fantasy tropes.

In this masterpiece, we see yet another creation that exemplifies how effective the Hero Forge platform can be at expressing theme. This mini is one of the best examples of “Dungeon Punk” I’ve seen in a while. In fact, if someone were to ask me what that genre was all about, I would start by showing them an image like this. It’s one scoop magical, one scoop technological, with a sprinkling of alternative history.

Can you imagine being a player in a high level multidimensional campaign and running into this creature? I would just about s**t my pants. This is the exact type of thing you don’t want to run into when jumping cosmic planes!

“Sol Heilos” by Somcleverusername demonstrates how useful the Hero Forge platform can be for creating dynamic characters. Is this some kind of warrior fire celestial or God? If I were a PC at this table, I would be running the moment the DM dropped this image.

The flaming swords hovering around this creature was done with the technique I have yet to have figured out. I know a few tricks for creating floating items, but not 10! And not with this layout. This is quite an impressive display of technical skill.

Flesh Golem Colossus by Seldom Mercer

Oh Lord, this thing is gruesome. For reasons I’ve yet to understand, Flesh Golems are amongst the lower ranking golems in Dungeons & Dragons. This particular monstrosity clearly elevates that horrific creature to new heights of terror.

Flesh Golem Colossus by Seldom Mercer could easily be a high-level encounter (if not a devastating boss fight) at the end of a necromantic adventure. This is the monster waiting for you at the end of the hall. Try not to ruin your pants.

The number of assets creates a sense of unified chaos. This gruesome creature clearly derives its origin from a hodgepodge of living parts. The wizard that sowed this beast together must have been truly evil. Creating a monstrosity of chaos is no easy task. Trying to join disjointed assets and design features to create a unified figure is a contradiction in itself. Which is why Seldom Mercer’s design is so impressive.

What really ties everything together is a consistent color palette. The various shades of pink and deep reds clearly indicate this creature is made of a fleshy mass of organic material. The flesh golem’s biological motif is accomplished despite the majority of the assets used are not organic in nature. There are fire elements, crystal elements, spell assets, and armor disguised as meaty ornamentation.

Being a unified and clearly defined design created with disjointed and dissimilar parts is why “Flesh Golem Colossus” made it into the number 1 spot on this week’s Hero Forge Miniature Masterpiece Countdown.

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