Can You 3D Print Warhammer Models? Is It Illegal or Legal?

3D printing Warhammer models is a subject that people wonder about whether it’s actually possible, as well as whether it illegal to 3D print them. This article will answer these questions so you have a better knowledge about it.

Keep on reading for more information about 3D printing Warhammer models and the legal issues at the end.

Can you 3D Print Warhammer (40k, Minis)

Yes, you can 3D print Warhammer minis using a filament or a resin 3D printer. Warhammer minis are a popular type of 3D print that many people create. You can create some really high-quality models with a resin 3D printer in just around an hour or so. Higher quality models do take longer.

How to 3D Print Warhammer

Here’s how to 3D print Warhammer models on a 3D printer:

  1. Find an STL file or design your own
  2. Get a 3D printer
  3. Slice the STL File
  4. Choose a material
  5. Paint the models

1. Find an STL file or Design Your Own

The first step to 3D printing Warhammer models is to get a 3D model to 3D print. Most people will find an existing 3D model (STL file) from a website, but you can also design your own if you have design skills.

It’s even possible to take existing models and make some unique adjustments to it using a CAD software.

You can download some Warhammer 3D models from websites like:

  • Thingiverse
  • MyMiniFactory
  • Cults3D
  • CGTrader
  • Pinshape

Simply type in “Warhammer” or a specific model name on the website. There are usually some filtering options that you can select to refine your search even more.

If you are looking for some high quality models and are willing to pay for them, you can join some Patreons of designers that create Warhammer models. There are plenty of designers that make some amazing models that can be used in 40K scenarios.

If you are interested in designing your own Warhammer models, you can use some free software like Blender, FreeCAD, SketchUp or Fusion 360 which are all free to download. Also, you can get inspiration from premade models and redesign them according to your own tastes and preferences.

Here’s a video to help you make your own Warhammer design.

You can also add a base to the model. A Warhammer model’s base is an important but often overlooked component. With cork, you can create an impressive effect that blends in with most gaming boards and is easy to work with.

2. Get a 3D Printer

The next step to 3D print Warhammer miniatures is to get a 3D printer. You can go with a filament 3D printer or a resin 3D printer. Resin 3D printers are the best option because they are higher quality and can capture more details, but they do require more effort to process the models.

Here are some recommended 3D printers for Warhammer miniatures:

  • Elegoo Mars 3 Pro
  • Anycubic Photon Mono
  • Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k

Many users have successfully 3D printed Warhammer miniatures on these types of resin 3D printers, so you can definitely have good results as well.

Filament 3D printers may produce lower quality, but there are definitely ways to create some high quality Warhammer miniatures with a filament 3D printer. Check out the video below by 3D Printed Tabletop.

3. Slice the STL File

Once you have your STL file downloaded or created from a CAD software, you need to process it through software called a slicer. For resin printers, some good choices are Lychee Slicer, ChiTuBox, or Prusa Slicer.

For filament printers, some good choices are Cura and Prusa Slicer (does both resin and filament). These slicers are all free to use.

To properly understand how to slice the STL file, watch the video below by Uncle Jessy.

4. Choose a Material

The next step is to select the materials you want to use. You can choose from a wide variety of different types of materials that you can use. All you need to do is decide which ones would be the most suitable for your needs.

Many users have success with Siraya Tech Fast Resin for resin printers, as well as Elegoo ABS-Like Resin 2.0 or Anycubic Plant-Based Resin from Amazon.

For filament 3D printers, the ideal choice is usually PLA filament since it’s the easiest to print with and get good results with. You can go with a standard HATCHBOX PLA Filament from Amazon.

One user who recently used Siraya Tech Fast Resin said he was really satisfied with the results he got. The durability of the miniature was said to be really good. Resins are known to have bad smells, but this resin didn’t have too strong of a smell.

Check out the video below to see a comparison of resins to use for 3D printed miniatures.

5. Paint the Models

You can choose to paint your Warhammer figures to get the best results by doing the following steps:

  • Spray with primer
  • Apply a base coat
  • Apply a wash
  • Dry brushing
  • Weathering wash
  • Cleaning up and basic highlighting
  • Add some extra highlights

There are different techniques that people implement to paint their models, so you might see some differences in the process.

This thread is a great introduction to learning how to paint Warhammer models.

Additionally, you can watch this detailed video to better understand how to 3D print Warhammer models.

Is It Illegal to Print Warhammer Models?

It is not illegal to 3D print Warhammer models. It is illegal to 3D print Warhammer models in order to sell and earn a profit from them. As long as you are using it for non-commercial uses, it is not illegal. 

According to users, there is no legal prohibition against printing Warhammer models using a 3D printer. A simple Callidus assassin with the same design as the Game Workshop model can be 3D printed, but becomes illegal if you try to sell it.

The products are copyrighted so you can’t make money off someone else’s intellectual property.

One user said that 3D printing miniatures for your own use is completely legal. Also, 3D printing miniatures that are legally distinct from Games Workshop (GW) designs is legal.

If you are in an official Games Workshop store or competing in a larger tournament, your miniatures are going to have to be real GW models, though some tournaments might allow it. For casual games, as long as the models look good, they should be accepted.

This video by 3D Printed Tabletop gets into the legalities of 3D printing Warhammer models.

GW has a history of heavy litigation, even for things that should be considered fair use. It did experience backlash from the community for doing so.

One example of this was where GW sued Chapterhouse Studios for alleging copyright and trademark infringement, along with related state and federal claims. The main issue was that Chapterhouse used GW’s copyrighted names of their models.

Chapterhouse filed a lawsuit against GW in 2010 in response to several intellectual property infringement claims that GW has made.

A result of these legal battles was that GW stopped releasing rules for units they don’t have a model for, since a ruling said third parties could create models for concepts GW created but didn’t create a model for.

Chapterhouse ended up going under a few years after the suit had been settled.

You can read about the Games Workshop Ltd. v. Chapterhouse Studios, LLC Case here.

Lawsuits aren’t done unless there are some larger operations going on. Things usually start with a DMCA to the hosting website or a Cease & Desist to the individual or company.

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