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Made in us
Fixture of Dakka






I'm interested in commissioning someone to sculp some … miniatures from a couple of gangs lines. I'd like to know what a price is that I am looking at to make this happen, and how much can I expect that I would ask, or be asked as a price?

Right now, I have several guys in mind, but I don't want to go into the conversation blind, or talking out of my butt when I ask for or receive the commission price.

These guys are pretty basic, with some differences in face masks, and detail style to the man sized minis... 32-35 mm range, basic plastic or resin.

Looking for experience to help me in the discussion, please.

How much does a sculp cost to crank out, and get like 100 or so?



At Games Workshop, we believe that how you behave does matter. We believe this so strongly that we have written it down in the Games Workshop Book. There is a section in the book where we talk about the values we expect all staff to demonstrate in their working lives. These values are Lawyers, Guns and Money. 
   
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[MOD]
Dankhold Troggoth






Shadeglass Maze

$100 is a good baseline for a human sized model, which honestly I found quite surprising when I found that out! Obviously, if the sculptor is very talented the charge might be more, but it's a good number to have in mind. If you're approaching 35mm you might need to bump that up a little regardless, though.
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka






Glasgow, Scotland

I can only speak for 28mm. Its going to vary by sculptor, the type of piece, quantity of figures being sculpted (/Kickstarters), whether there's repeat sculpts (with changes - though this usually happens once an initial line's made, then further models are needed for variaty - though still costs a fair bit), etc. A sci-fi model tends to cost more than a historical one.

For prices £100 can be on the low end. £200 is what professionals covering historical figures can charge, and even then that can be cheap depending on the particular sculptor (double, triple that...). With sci-fi anything's possible, so I'd set expectations if someone asks for a higher price (historical figures usually cost around the same price to buy as a customer with the end product. Sci-fi models cost whatever the manufacturer feels like, so sculptors charge accordingly - even if its the same amount of work; though that's another topic).

However, its a broad spectrum. I'd tend to low ball things when charging for comissions at the moment personally (though I've found that asking for a lower price for a good product can actually put people off - customers expect to pay a set rate from experience). And price doesn't always mean quality either. As do sculptors work at differences paces from one another. So you may pay less for one sculptor, but find they take three times as long as another (which is to say that having talked to a few others, more than two models a month is fast pace - however most aren't doing this sort of thing full time).


 
   
Made in gb
Bane Thrall






Ive paid anything up to 500 bucks from industry vets for sculpts for personal things.

For work purposes it varies from around 400-600 depending on the nature of the piece and the experience of the sculptor.

I have a new found appreciation for anyone that can do boxes with all unique sculpts since entering this gig professionally, it’s tough to make it viable commercially.

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Made in us
[DCM]
[***]







Sculp and sculpers?

Have I been saying/spelling it wrong all these years?!?
   
Made in gb
The Daemon Possessing Fulgrim's Body





Devon, UK

Nope.

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Cutting stuff up and bunging it back together in new and interesting ways.






Under the couch

 Grot 6 wrote:
These guys are pretty basic, with some differences in face masks, and detail style to the man sized minis...

If they're all variations on the same basic figure, that can keep the price per model down considerably, as it means that only the first model has to be sculpted from scratch and the rest are just reposing and details - although depending on how significant the reposing, there can sometimes be some resculpting required there as well.


basic plastic or resin.

Decide before you go looking for a sculptor, because the skillsets are very different. There are a lot of sculptors out there who can produce models suitable for metal or resin, but nowhere near as many who are experienced with plastic production, and it makes a big difference to how the model is sculpted.

Although if this is just a personal hobby project, plastic is going to be out of the question anyway unless you have a lot of spare cash laying around. Unless you do PVC, like some of the boardgame lines or Mantic and Privateer's horrible stuff, rather than HIPS... in which case you would be better off going with the superior detail from resin.


How much does a sculp cost to crank out, and get like 100 or so?

As others have pointed out, prices vary considerably depending on the sculptor. $100 for a human sculpt would be extremely lowball, although you might fluke it if you find some hobbyist sculptor who isn't actually trying to make a living from it. $300-$600 would be more standard, although can run higher for particular sculptors. If you go with a digital sculptor, you'll potentially be also looking at around another $100-$200 or so to print the model, although some casters will be able to roll this into their service - you'll need to discuss with the caster whether they can work from digital files or need a physical model supplied.

Casting costs will depend on the material - for plastic (HIPS, like GW models) you're looking at multiple thousands of dollars to set up the mould, although would potentially be able to get multlple models on there. For resin or metal, expect something similar to the cost of the cast, although again, prices vary from caster to caster. The model will also have an impact here, as models with multiple, small pieces are more complicated to cast, and models that are rough on the moulds get fewer casts before a new mould is needed - around 50-100 casts per mould is common, but models with lots of undercuts and other points that can catch on the mould material may get fewer than that.

 
   
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[MOD]
Madrak Ironhide







Here's something I found once upon a time. Not sure how accurate it is.

https://www.gatekeepergaming.com/article-6-how-to-get-minis-made/

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Made in au
[MOD]
Cutting stuff up and bunging it back together in new and interesting ways.






Under the couch

 malfred wrote:
Here's something I found once upon a time. Not sure how accurate it is.

https://www.gatekeepergaming.com/article-6-how-to-get-minis-made/

Mostly on point. His sculpting costs estimate is very low, and plastic tooling can be considerably cheaper these days than it was 10 years ago, although is still generally in the thousands of dollars.

Most of what he says about pewter applies to resin as well, although resin is usually gravity cast rather than spincast, so can be more expensive due to being more labour intensive. Also metal models are generaly cast in vulcanised rubber moulds, not silicon as he says in the article. Silicon is for resin. Not sure what sort of moulds are used for PVC, but I suspect silicon since it doesn't have the heat issue of metal.

 
   
Made in au
Anti-Armour Swiss Guard






Newcastle, OZ

Oh, you can use silicone rubbers for casting metals, too.
Just a different KIND of silicone from the one used for resin casting.

It also comes in a ROOM TEMPERATURE VULCANISING (RTV) form for low temp metal casting (white metal alloys). No oven or pressure baking required.

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Bane Thrall






 insaniak wrote:


Most of what he says about pewter applies to resin as well, although resin is usually gravity cast rather than spincast, so can be more expensive due to being more labour intensive. Also metal models are generaly cast in vulcanised rubber moulds, not silicon as he says in the article. Silicon is for resin. Not sure what sort of moulds are used for PVC, but I suspect silicon since it doesn't have the heat issue of metal.


PVC is usually cast in similar steel tools as styrene believe it or not.

The difference is that you pull it hot/flexible so can get away with fewer parts and include undercuts vs a styrene kit, so its not sprued in the same way. Plus it shrinks away from the tool as it cools, which styrene does not.

As a result the engineering/resculpting is not as intensive, that is why its cheaper, even though the manufacturing is somewhat similar.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/01/14 14:36:02


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Longtime Dakkanaut




 JonWebb wrote:
PVC is usually cast in similar steel tools as styrene believe it or not.
Don't they also use softer steel (or even aluminium) that's cheaper because PVC minis don't need the same pressure as hard plastic? I think I've read something like that.
   
Made in gb
Bane Thrall






Mario wrote:
 JonWebb wrote:
PVC is usually cast in similar steel tools as styrene believe it or not.
Don't they also use softer steel (or even aluminium) that's cheaper because PVC minis don't need the same pressure as hard plastic? I think I've read something like that.


Correct, though you also see similar for shorter run styrene these days too.

I want to say copper is an option too, but given we bailed on pvc for styrene for Elder Scrolls, I’ve not had as much info about it as this time last year

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Made in us
Fixture of Dakka






thanks all, for the information. I have a little more to work with, as well as a price range.



At Games Workshop, we believe that how you behave does matter. We believe this so strongly that we have written it down in the Games Workshop Book. There is a section in the book where we talk about the values we expect all staff to demonstrate in their working lives. These values are Lawyers, Guns and Money. 
   
 
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