Printable Heroes

Click once for a two-sided fold-and-trim figure without background
Click again to get the same figure in black & white line work (colour your own!)
Click on the little silhouette figure above the standee to add or remove a heavy black outline
I have a personal preference for 3d painted miniatures when it comes to tabletop gaming, but they do have their disadvantages. They can be expensive, quite heavy en masse if cast in metal, and troublesome to store or transport. Also, they take quite a bit of work to prepare to a standard that satisfies me — pre-painted miniatures are available, but they're either phenomenally (and justifiably) expensive, or they're pretty crap.

There have been flat card playing tokens around for decades, but they've generally not been of great quality. They used to be called standees, among other things, and I first encountered them as tokens included in board games.

What I'm looking at here are much nicer than those old tokens, though they're essentially the same thing. They come from a site called Printable Heroes, and the person who runs it has a Patreon through which they release new standees on a regular basis.

I have only seen some of the PDFs released for free, so my comments are based mainly on those. The example I present here is the Banderhobb.

There is some information presented on the website about the creature, including in which book, and on what page, you can find the D&D5e stats for it.

On the right are download links. There are multiple options, depending on at what level you're donating to the artist on Patreon. As I mentioned above, I've only seen the free one.

The PDF is a single sheet, on which are five layered standees to be printed and trimmed. There are several configurable output options:

  • Click once on the figure to get a double-sided standee that can be printed and trimmed.
  • Click again on it to get the same layout, but this time in black & white line art, which you could colour yourself if you were so inclined
  • Above each miniature is a small silhouette figure: click on that to add or remove a heavy black outline — useful, as it means you don't have to be absolutely accurate with your folding and trimming.

Basing blanks are also provided on the sheet, and they too are configurable — you can choose one of several different coloured rings, to ease differentiation of individual monsters on the battlefield I assume.

Now, although the standee is double-sided, it isn't two-sided — there's no front and back, just two three-quarter front views.

This isn't really an issue for D&D3e onwards, as figures on a tabletop grid have no facing, but it could be an issue if you actually need to be able to easily distinguish a back and front. You could get around the issue by saying that its "front" is the edge of the standee it's more or less looking towards, and its back would thus be the opposite edge. That's a solution, but it's not ideal to me.

Obviously, having to also draw a back view for every standee would double the workload on the artist, but it would make for a better product, in my view.

It's possible that this is not the situation for the paid products, I don't know.

As far as the art work is concerned — I like it. It hits a good line between detail and simplicity, and it prints well. Much more detail would be largely wasted for the purpose of the figures, and less would start looking a bit too sparse and cartoonish.

These card cut-out standees have many advantages. They're cheap, easy to store and to transport, and they don't need to be painted (unless you want to). I like them a lot.

Later on....


Here's some in the flesh, as it were. My laser printer won't handle card, so they were printed on copy paper and then had a sheet of card sandwiched in the fold when I glued them up. The edges were blackened with a Sharpie marker.

I got steadily slacker and slacker at following the outline of the creature when I was cutting them out, but I don't think it will really matter that much when they're in use.

The 20mm standee stands I just designed in Blender and printed; they have a shallow S-bend so they grip the base of the card figure by tension, and they're glued to 22mm fender washers for stability. I printed them at a pretty low resolution (0.24mm layer height), not only because they print faster that way, but the ridges of the layers also help to grip the standee.

The STL for the base can be downloaded from Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3453434

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