For many small startups who choose to use Kickstarter, not meeting your funding goal often feels like the end of the line. Sadly, many young companies with good and viable products who do not earn enough crowdsourced funding for a variety of reasons too often throw in the towel or have no idea how to try something different and simply fade away. But truthfully crowdfunding is an often unreliable way to start up a business, and is typically fraught with unforeseen risks and challenges for both the startup and those looking to support them. Many times the failed campaign has little to nothing to do with the actual company and more to do with bad timing, bad luck or the right audience simply not seeing the campaign.
Back in May when I wrote about Imagine 3D Miniatures and their Mounted Heroes Kickstarter campaign I found myself more than a little surprised that the campaign didn’t manage to reach its relatively modest funding goal of $30,000. Tabletop miniatures have found quite a bit of success on Kickstarter previously, with Reaper Miniatures running four incredibly popular and successful campaigns and several smaller companies making their goals more often than not. The Mounted Heroes campaign was put together well, had prices that while high weren’t unreasonable and solid figure designs, so when I noticed that they had only made 10% of their goal I was a little confused.
The Mounted Heroes campaign was a simple one, they wanted to start an on-line table top miniature customizer with mounts that the figures could then ride. They initially offered two races, and each race had several race-specific mount options that could also be customized. Stretch goals included a dozen more race and creature options for each additional $10,000 over the original goal. And they offered five different sized miniatures, so figures could be printed at 90mm, 75mm, 54mm, 35mm or 28mm scale. Backers had options ranging from single figures on foot, mounted options and even large bulk groups of figures.
The service was also rather straightforward. Users would be able to simply go to the Imagine 3D Miniatures website and design their own figure using the browser-based design tool. They could choose between the available races, armor and clothing options and a variety of body poses, weapons and heads. Once the user’s figure was complete they simply pay for it and then have it 3D printed by Shapeways and shipped directly to them. They offered two different materials, a standard Strong & Flexible which offered average detail and the Frosted Ultra Detail material which offered an extremely high level of detail.
Unfortunately the Mounted Heroes campaign simply didn’t catch on and ended up raising only a little over $3,000. My initial thought was their thunder was taken by Hero Forge, a similar 3D printable tabletop miniature design app that had managed to raise over $360,000 the year before. It turns out that they had finally launched their retail site a few months before Mounted Heroes started their campaign. I had assumed that the novelty of Imagine 3D Miniatures 3D printed mounts would make them stand out, but unfortunately it looks like crowdfunding wasn’t the right place for their company. Like I said, sometimes it all comes down to timing.
But thankfully Imagine 3D Miniatures didn’t give up after the initial disappointment of their unfunded campaign. They asked the community what they wanted from the service, took the advice to heart and after a lot of hard work launched the figure builder in January with the original two races, Humans and Orks. All of the original customization options offered on the Kickstarter campaign are available, and they even added a few new ones. The customizer is easy to use and gives users a clear picture of the figure that they’re designing.
After some initial success they have now added the first of several new race options, the Elves. They also currently have nine mount options available, including a Horse, Dragon, Griffin, Wyvern, Lizardon, Wild Boar, Lion Deer and an Eagle. All of the mounts have different armor and accessories available so it can be designed to match the figure, which will have the legs altered to fit onto the mount. Imagine 3D Miniatures also have plans to eventually release Dwarves, Ogres, Dark Elves, Skeletons and even gender and wizard variant types. And of course monsters like Giants, Trolls, Centaurs and Demons.
Let us know your thoughts on these designs in the Mounted Heroes forum thread on 3DPB.com.
Here is a new Mounted Heroes promotional video: