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?

Demon Lord Aseroth by Lillybat

The number 7 spot on this week’s Hero Forge Miniature Masterpiece countdown fits the frigid winter weather I’m experiencing in this area. It also displays an excellent hand at color manipulation and adhering to theme. Lillybat used the transparent plastic option in the color palette to help create an icy texture. And the pose really sells Aseroth as a creature of cold wrath.

Infernal Scourge

I’m not sure that I even have to explain why I put this one on the countdown. The designer, somecleverusername, layered 2 miniatures over each other in order to give the armor more facets and details. More importantly, they gave each miniature a different weapon. One carries the swords and the other wields chain weapons. They essentially created a new weapon through this technique.

And the coloring! You will be hard-pressed to find a better example of expert mastery of the color palette. With Infernal Scourge the designer used varying shades of black against a glowing fire paint. Giving the coloring a glowing effect is tedious work, but the designer put the effort in, and it shows.

Mantaur by Malchior

Does this one unsettle you? Good, that means you are still a normal and sane human being!

That being said, I have to admit this was damn creative. Mantaur by Malchior uses the floating torso bug. This glitch in the system allows the torso to float in the air despite not having any legs. They then inserted a second mini and removed the head. By rearranging the pose, they are able to create a Mantaur.

Yes, it’s weird and a little disconcerting, but it is innovative and thematically consistent. Obviously, the designer wanted to insert a comedic flare in this Hero Forge creation. Seeing as I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I stumbled across this particular Miniature Masterpiece, I’d say he was successful.

Miliessa Daughter of the Tide by Xikey

Washing in on the tide at number 4 we see a sultry sea seductress!

This miniature has quite a bit going on. I was surprised to find that the designer, Xikey, managed to produce this masterpiece with only one figure. They achieve this by employing the tail asset to its maximum potential. Xikey used 9 straight tails in order to render a complex tentacle appearance.

This wasn’t easy to do. Each tentacle needed to be painstakingly arranged, and I’m quite literal when I write “painstakingly”. Each tail possesses 19 separate pivot points. That’s 19 points in which the tail can be arranged in a three-dimensional direction. In order to wrap the torso and arms in twisting tentacles, Xikey needed to methodically bend every single joint in each tentacle employed in this way. Achieving this spicy design required patients and dedication.

Xikey’s hard work didn’t end with the alluring detail dedicated to the tentacles. The coloring employed in this figure also displays the designer’s mastery of the platform. The decals sell a cultural look while the disk floating behind the figure gives a truly otherworldly aesthetic. Adding assets to the platform was also a nice touch. Without a doubt, we see a miniature forged by dedication and determination in Xikey’s “Miliessa Daughter of the Tide”.

Vayne by Silwyn

This character’s expressive nature secured its place on the Hero Forge Miniature Masterpiece Countdown. Admittedly, the figure’s pose isn’t particularly unique. However, employing multiple floating objects demonstrates the designer’s expertise with the platform, Silwyn’s use of color is absolutely phenomenal. Mixing the flat black and high-gloss gold in this manner creates a striking contrast that ignites curiosity. I want to know more about this character.

What they did with the eyes is also incredibly powerful. That’s not a standard color design. Silwyn made her own eye color and added a touch of illumination to the paint. What really impressive is how subtle yet impactful their technique was. It’s easy to overdo the glowing effect in the miniature’s eyes, but what we see here is just a touch of radiance.

Ultimately, I chose this figure for the number 3 spot on the countdown because I found it to be thematically compelling. I want to know more about this character. What kind of campaign is she in? What’s her back story? Hell, what’s her name? If a miniature subtly stirs up this many questions, it certainly earned its place as a Miniature Masterpiece.

Void Stalker by Somcleverusername

With Void Stalker, we see a spider like monstrosity ready to haunt our nightmares. This type of creature requires the use of “the no legs glitch” in the Hero Forge system. Somcleverusername needed to angle the body so that it was laying downward. They then added multiple arms and placed curved swords in each hand. After that, it’s all about layering assets and manipulating the details to create the textured angles we see in this Miniature Masterpiece.

These types of creations require time-consuming delicate work. This is something I’ve come to expect from Somcleverusername. Many of their miniatures have made it onto the countdown this season. They are truly a master of their craft.

Hagfish Mermaid Catching Pray by All the Lesser Evils

What a horrifying way to go, but it does make for a great visual!

I am all but certain that All the Lesser Evils runs this monster in their own homebrew campaign. It’s a fantastic monster concept and their Miniature Masterpiece truly brings it to life. There are several technical challenges that make this mini so impressive. First, creating 2 figures interacting with each other is never easy, creating a realistic rope to strangle one of the figures requires virtually in human patients. With all the various pivot points requiring manipulation in order to wrap around the second figure, All the Lesser Evils must have the patience of a saint.

Thematically, the scenario playing out before us appears to be a scene straight out of a game. If I were DMing a game at sea, I would show my players this image when introducing the Hagfish Mermaid for the first time. This is a perfect still shot to illustrate the horror of these creatures.

The innovative and creative nature of this figure can be seen through the clear demonstration of all of its various facets. Thematically, it’s a fresh and interesting idea. The technical skill required to create this pose demonstrates the ingenuity of the designer. And the face, oh Lord that faces horrifying!

I was so impressed by this figure, I began thinking of ways I could introduce this creature in my own home table D&D game. Because of how inspired and inspiring I found this creation, I place it at number 1 in this week’s Hero Forge Miniature Masterpiece Countdown.

This is week 7, which means we have come to the end of season 2. Now, all of the number 1 picks will compete. Starting this week, you’ll be able to vote on which Miniature Masterpiece is your favorite. Who will be this seasons All-Star? Find out next Sunday.

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