I think that the question I get asked more often than any other is whether or not I make custom miniatures for games, usually Role-Playing Games, usually D&D. I'm often asked by obviously well-intentioned people, but in such vague terms that it's difficult to give them an answer, so I've decided to post a long form response here.
Yes, I DO from time to time make custom miniatures to represent figures for RPG's.
If you would like a custom or unique figure for you to use in your role-playing games, take a look at this checklist:
STEP 1 - Go to http://www.reapermini.com/
Use their search function ( http://www.reapermini.com/FigureFinder ). They make character figures for almost any era or style of game you can imagine. There's a focus on fantasy figures, but they make historical, steampunk, sci-fi, modern, movie, and even cute animal figures. You can search by gender, race (orc, elf, dwarf, etc), weapon type, even by what sort of clothing the figure is wearing! Their catalog is huge, their sculptors are the best in the business, and personally I've always had great experiences when dealing with their mail-order system. It's very likely that Reaper can provide you with the figure that you're looking for, or something very very close.
STEP 2 - ARTWORK:
If you weren't able to find what you're looking for in the Reaper Catalog, then maybe I'm the right person for you to talk to. Reaper has a huge selection of figures, but if you're looking for something super-specific or you just want something truly special and unique for yourself (or for someone else), then you're probably looking for someone like me. However, before I can even begin to consider whether or not I'm interested in taking this commission, there are a few things you need to do. Start with artwork.
I need to know what you want the figure to look like. Find an artist and have them draw your character. Ideally both from the front and the back.
I used to play a LOT of D&D, but 2nd edition was where I stopped. I've seen Chainmail miniatures - I'm aware of the fact that lots of things in D&D now have Diablo and Warcraft-like pronouns and suffixes attached to them, but that doesn't mean that I know what a Dragonborn Tiefling Battlerager looks like. I absolutely do not know what it looks like in your head!
Find an artist, have the design put to paper. Then move on to the next step.
STEP 3 - Size:
I need to know exactly how big you want this figure to be. 25mm from the bottom of the feet to the eyes, 32mm from the bottom of the feet to the eyes, 45mm from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head, the spear needs to be 35mm long, etcetera. If you don't have strong preferences, that's fine, I'll do something that *I* think looks good - but always keep in mind that what I think looks good may not exactly match what *you* think looks good. The more specific you can be, the more happy you'll be with the end result.
STEP 4 - Pricing:
The most common miniatures you'll see today used for RPG characters are in 30mm scale. That roughly covers Warhammer miniatures, the current D&D plastics, Warmachine and Reaper Miniatures - there's some argument about whether to call it 28mm, 28mm Heroic, 30mm, or 32mm scale... whatever, this is just a broad general guideline.
A single figure in 30mm scale, sculpted from scratch, will cost you a MINIMUM of $350, upwards towards $700 or more for large of complex figures. Most human-sized figures will fall in the $500-600 range.
This is far more than most people are willing to pay for a single figure - but if you want to get something really spectacular, I can make that happen. Get me the artwork and the scale and we can talk pricing and schedules.
If you really want to make me happy, my dream commission email will read something like this:
"Hi Alex, I'd like to commission you to create a miniature to look like my character. Attached to this email is the artwork showing the character from both the front and the back, and I'd like it to match the D&D figures I'm already using, so I need it to be 28mm from the bottom of his feet to the top of the head. What are your rates and availability?"
STEP 5 - Modifying existing figures:
This is probably a more realistic option for most people than a custom sculpt from scratch. Take another look at your artwork, then take a look through the Reaper catalog (and the Warhammer catalog, and the Warmachine catalog, and the catalog of plastic D&D figures, or any other line of miniatures that has figures that you like in it! I'll also recommend Otherworld miniatures as they make some awesome old school D&D figures, but there are other companies out there that also make great miniatures. Crocodile Games, Mantic, Mierce Miniatures, and on and on and on...)
What you're looking for are pieces and parts that, when assembled, can approximate your character. Find a head you like, a torso you like, legs you like, a weapon you like (there are dozens of weapon sprue options available), etcetera.
Ideally, find figures that were all sculpted by the same sculptor for the same range or company - these will most likely all match up very well.
What you'll then do is buy all of those figures & send them to me with instructions on how you want them matched up.
"I'm sending you a paladin, a barbarian, and a knight. I'd like you to put the paladin's helmet on the barbarian's body, but give the barbarian the knight's shield and switch out his axe for the knight's sword."
I can totally do that, most likely for under $50. You'll have spent some money on miniatures and shipping, but the total project will come to under $100, you'll have something completely unique to you, and I can easily fit it into my schedule. I can also fairly easily add things like belt pouches, backpacks, and small accessories, particularly if you buy the bits packs (since Reaper makes kits that consist of nothing but adventuring accessories like that...).
If you don't have the time or the inclination to research existing product lines, there are plenty of places that will do the work for you - if you post your character description and artwork to a miniatures forum, the folks there will almost certainly help you to come up with something that is a close match. Once you've got something that's close, I or someone like me should fairly easily be able to modify the existing figure to match your specifications.
Some forums that I'd recommend are: www.theminiaturespage.com, www.lead-adventure.de, Frothers - http://frothersunite.com/phpBB3/ and Dakka Dakka - http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/forums/list.page
There are many more, but those are four of my favorites.
I think that about covers it! If you're looking to have custom miniatures made for your role-playing games, yes, I can do that, but please read this first.
Note that this does not include painting - just sculpting, converting, and customizing. I do custom commission painting, too (once in a while), but that's a separate topic.