The Journey of an OSRS Figurine: from start to finish
I have had the idea of creating OSRS figurines for many months now, but until recently actually executing the idea didn’t seem feasible. Originally, I was so keen to create these because I think when you spend so much time-consuming something not so physical, be it a game, book, anime series, etc, there is a want to materialize that interest.
Before ever even having this idea, I personally had a strong desire to somehow bring the game's presence into my own physical world. I think mostly this is a natural want after having been playing the same game for well over a decade. Unfortunately, in times where I would act on this desire by searching for OSRS merch, I would find myself disappointed. While I own some of the official merch Jagex sells, it just didn’t quench my thirst. There is something lackluster about pins, mugs, and t-shirts; they are all just so two dimensional.
What I really needed was what other games had: figurines. After first having the idea and periodically for months onwards, I looked into options for turning this into a reality. I considered many things:
- Paying a sculpture to craft a figurine then producing silicone molds of it
- Working with a Chinese manufacturer to wholesale a huge batch of figurines
- Working with a plushie toy making company to create plush OSRS figurines
- Paying one of the few people who make Funko Pop spinoffs to do OSRS characters
- 3D printing figurines
Each option came with its own layers of challenges. Notably, for all except 3D printing, the upfront cost would have been huge. That being said, while the initial cost of 3D printing was doable, it provided an extra layer of complexity: actually modeling RuneScape characters for print.
You see, none of Jagex’s model assets are public, and likewise, each figurine must have a model created in 3D modeling software before it can be converted to the g-code 3D printers understand. This was a huge problem for me because I have no 3D modeling experience. Heck, I don’t even have an artistic bone in my body.
Many months went by, and I still wanted to execute on this idea. During a two week lapse between graduating from college and starting my gig as an intern, I spent some time learning to create 3D models using Blender. My creations were rough at first, but over time they got better and more refined. With work, I was able to create the first figurine ever for sale on this store: the giant mole pet.
With my 3D creation in hand, or perhaps better stated on a hard drive, I started looking at options for 3D printing. At first, I didn’t want to invest in my own 3D printer, because not only are they expensive, but the maintenance on them is notorious. When you buy a 3D printer you are basically signing yourself up to fixing & calibrating it constantly. So I looked into 3D printing farms like Shapeways to print the models for me. What I found is that not only are they expensive, but their model requirements are restrictive. Printing things so thin, like the claws on a mole, just isn’t allowed by them. Furthermore, because of the cost, the models would have needed to be excruciatingly small, like half an inch wide and tall.
Another week or two went by, and I knew I had to bite the bullet on a 3D printer. I researched affordable options, learned a ton about 3D printing, and eventually settled on a mid-range printer that was capable of producing quality prints. Once it arrived the headaches began. From setup & calibration to tweaking models, and later replacing worn out parts it has been a continuous struggle. That being said I truly abuse it, and frankly, for the trouble, it has given me it deserves it. It has been running almost none stop since I got it.
I was really happy though to finally have a RuneScape figure in my hand, albeit not yet painted. Unlike my girlfriend, I have zero artistic talent, so before even buying the 3D printer I asked her if she would paint Moles for me. She agreed and later admitted she only did it because I really wanted her too, she thought nobody would buy one.
Actually painting the figurines takes a few steps. First, the paint has to be mixed to match the colors of the models in-game. Secondly, the 3D printed figures have to be stripped of their supports & sanded down for a smooth finish. Thirdly, they get painted, painted again and painted one last time for a total of 3 coats. This redundancy, as Lilly says, ensures they have “full coverage,” whatever that means.
The real fun is after they have been painted. I feel like Santa packaging and shipping them all around the world. So far some have been sent to places very close to home, and others to the other side of the world. It is a funny thought to know there are Giant Mole Pets & Jads flying all over the world.
Also, we try to make the packaging an experience in itself. We put each item in a nice box, try and use a tasteful filler to prevent damage, and include a personal handwritten note with each order. Sometimes we even toss in an extra item with the order, most commonly a little pink baby mole.
Overall it has been a lot of work but immensely rewarding on a personal level. I love the comments from people who have received their figurines already. A few have made Instagram posts, someone put theirs on Reddit and another even made a YouTube video. I will link them below.