Science Fiction Minis are harder to find than fantasy ones, and I’ve wanted to see more cool models in the space, so I started looking at what was out there and the big of sci-fi stuff I found was typically either proxies or direct intellectual property rip-offs, so I figured there was a gap in the market that needed to be filled: unique IP sci-fi models, and so that is what I started working on with my friend, Barry called Sol Prima Miniatures.
We recently launched our second month of models on Patreon which include a character model in different poses, a mech and a space fighter. We are hoping to add around the same number of models each month and it’s a tall order and requires far more capital and time than I think people truly understand.
Our Patreon Tiers start at $1 USD per month which is for people to let us know that they appreciate what we are doing, and go up to $15 which lets people sell 3D prints of our models without us getting cranky at them. With individual models being listed soon on MyMiniFactory at a rate much higher than our Patreon, we hope that over time the project will pay for itself and Barry and I will get to have a bunch of models we are proud of and can use and that others will see the value of our work.
Because neither of us have drawing or 3D sculpting skill, we’ve had to find freelancers to help us with that, and on average it costs around $350 USD per single pose complete model. Are we insane for doing this? Maybe, but how often are passion projects sane?
So each release sets us back around $1500 USD and so ideally we need around 300 people around the world to decide that what we are releasing is worth $4, $7 or $15 per month or around 2000 people to decide that they just want to support us for a dollar. Patreon takes a cut of the money collected, and we also need to make up the funds we’ve already put into the project, hence the lack of a 1 to 1 comparison on expenses to revenue.
Our goal is to hopefully have the project break even after twelve months…
The first step was to create a Welcome Pack. This is a group of files that anyone gets when they first sign-up as a Patreon backer. Typically you build this over time, starting with maybe one file, but we went a bit more all out on that and have a Welcome Pack that now includes scatter terrain, a gun turret, multiple feature character models, a mech size model and two ships. The walls are OpenLOCK compatible too, which means it will work with a system of walls and floors already out in the 3D printing world!
The next step is to produce releases each month. Our first release wasn’t widely received, hence why it got rolled into the Welcome Pack. We don’t plan to do that again. We are currently working on May’s release which might be a bit more eclectic than April’s was with models from different factions instead of just one.
We have been working hard to create multiple different human colonies, alien races and build up the lore and unique design queues for each one. We have been super fortunate with our freelancers creating amazing concept art, and our sculptors for bringing them to life.
For example, with the Tekmahou Watcher, we worked with an artist, Davide Ferro, to create the sketch.
We then worked with a sculptor, for this model, it was Alfin Mubarok on Upwork and he turned it into a 3D model that could be supported, sliced and 3D printed. It took a fair bit of time as he hadn’t done many models for 3D printing before. Thankfully most of his skill with creating models for other types of work translated over.
There was also some issues due to communication barriers and time zones, but in the end, it turned out really well. I printed a bust size version of the model as there is a ton of detail that can’t be resolved at the size of the printed mini, and this process taught me a ton about what is important in a concept for a model and what will and won’t resolve well on a 3D print, even on my resin printer.
I then printed the model on my 3D printer a few different times as it took me a little while to get the supports correct so that it would print well. We then had to do more revisions to the model as some things didn’t work well. One of the biggest issues was the thin staff, and while we did bump it up in thickness, it is still more flimsy than I would have truly liked.
After that, Annie, Barry and I all pained prints of the model to see how it would look. While none of us are the world’s best painters, it was a fun experience and it was great to see the model from start to finish.
And this process, except for the painting, had to be completed for each model. None of them have been completely straightforward.
Add to all of this that we want there to be lore, stories, and even some tabletop game rules, and you have a passion project that can devour all “spare” time.
So far, we have only had one person, my brother, subscribe to our Patreon and he doesn’t even own a 3D printer! I am hopeful that more family and friends will take the leap to support what we are doing here, if not financially then through sharing and promoting what we are doing, providing feedback and guidance if you have it, and anything else you can think of to provide value or exposure would be greatly appreciated.
My hope is that by the time my friend is out of the Canadian Forces, that he can take on managing this project as his full time job and have some revenue from the project fill any gap in his income so he can follow his passion for tabletop games, 3D printing, model painting and more!
We have over 500 people following us on Instagram, but I haven’t figured out how to convert any of them to paying Patreon fans, and I’ve been posting here and there in as many 3D printing groups as I can find and allow it. I have emailed dozens of YouTube creators that talk about 3D printing or tabletop games, but have heard very little in return. So if you have other ideas on how to get this in front of the right people, it would be appreciated.
In the early 2040’s, every first-world nation on Earth was starting to send ships, probes and people to the Moon and Mars. It was a regular occurrence for launches from Earth into space, with one happening almost daily somewhere on the planet.
It was at this point when discussions started to get real regarding ownership in space. For the longest time, it was expected that everyone would just obey the Outer Space Treaty that many countries signed, but China’s expansionist policies meant that they no longer could stand by while other countries’ corporations made more and more profit on the Moon and decided to claim a large piece of it as their own territory.
The retaliation was swift, but it also started a new gold rush as no one could really stand against China and their decision, so companies and countries started competing for prime real estate on the Moon, soon after Mars, and then asteroids and eventually Europa.
Other than an initial retaliation against China, the change was primarily peaceful at the start, with countries and companies preferring to use financial might to attempt to control the narrative and development of off-world resources.
In 2054 a conflict broke out between Edge Cyber and Senshi Technologies with both companies having spent a considerable amount of money trying to bend as much worldwide political capital towards the direction they saw for society. Edge Cyber wanted to commoditize genetic engineering and biotechnology. The merging of man and machine was their greatest goal and the route that profited them the most. Senshi Technologies was focused on advancing technology, but keeping the line between humans and machines separate.
A consolidated religious group called The Believers backed Senshi Technologies, believing that biotechnology was heresy and would remove humanity of its soul and thus Senshi Technologies funded the organization that then started to sabotage and otherwise disrupt Edge Cyber facilities. And with that a war began for not just Earth, but for all of the Sol Sector.
During the summer of 2058, a new technology from a small upstart company, Aurora Prima Corp, was released that brought things to a whole new level: jump drives. This allowed for travel in space at speeds faster than light. With the advent of jump drives, large, powerful ships could move between two points in space almost as fast as crossing the threshold of a door. They would open a gateway between two points in space and transition through with almost no delay and no time dilation.
Aurora Prima quickly became a very powerful and wealthy company, and through careful manipulation, they kept the two warring corporations off-balance, slowly acquiring resources and political capital while expending the resources of their competitors until it was made clear in 2063, that they were in control of Earth, the Moon, Mars, Europa and the stations and bases in the solar system.
What was once a corporation, Aurora Prima, formed a new, singular multi-world government and called it the Sol Prima Coalition, surprising very few. They gave Mars and the Moon colonies free reign over their local government as free states within the Coalition, and provided them much needed resources and repaired the extensive damage caused by the war. They were seen as the saviors and quickly built up their defenses in the name of protecting everyone from Edge Cyber, Senshi Technologies and the Believers. The Sol Prima Coalition made armed conflict between corporations illegal.
The few ships that Edge Cyber had available, as well as their followers, used the jump drive technology that they somehow acquired to set-up some colonies in Proxima Centauri and from there they renamed themselves to the Proxima Alliance, transitioning from corporation to government. They sent ambassadors to Sol Prima and a deal was quickly struck.
Senshi Technologies, seeing the writing on the wall, quickly followed suit, plotting their own course with several dozen battlecruisers and began to travel the Milky Way. They decided to continue to pursue technology as a means to lifting themselves above all others, but decided a home world would be too ripe a target for both Sol Prima and Proxima Alliance, deciding instead to move from place to place.
There is a small group of people on Earth that whisper about the Tekmahou, but it is unknown if that’s the new name of the Senshi Technologies people, it’s leader, or what it is in reference to, but they haven’t been seen in nearly one hundred and twenty years.
The Believers, persecuted for their crusade against Edge Cyber, decided to leave as well. They funded and constructed large multi-generational ships, as well as some combat ready ships to protect themselves and charted a course towards Teegarden’s Star, making many short jumps requiring long recharges due to limitations in their jump engine technology. It is said that they made it and have found a planet of their own to colonize, but the only information most of the Milky Way gets is religious transmissions they constantly send out.
In 2071, a group of humans from Mars with a fascination in Norse mythology and history led by Eric Nord, a wealthy ship builder, splintered off to start their own colony, the Knyja Kingdom. He had been slowly building his own fleet of ships and attempting to inspire an uprising against the homogenized lifestyle that Sol Prima was cultivating when something happened (the Sol Prima government intervened in a strong and quiet way which scared the heck out of him) and he peacefully left instead. He took hundreds of his own ships and tens of thousands of people and found a new world to populate. No one knows where their world is, but it’s said that over the last one hundred and twenty-years, they’ve attacked ships in common, non-territorial space and have become a scary bed-time story for children that don’t want to listen. “Be good or the Knyja will get you!”
In 2129, the near constant signal from the Believers stopped. No one from the Sol Prima Coalition was sent to find out what happened, but it’s rumoured that their colony didn’t survive.
Now, in 2182, there are rumours that the Knyja have been attacking ships not only on the edge of Sol Prima Coalition Space, but also at the edge of Proxima Alliance space leaving many to wonder why.