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3D print a DnD mimic that transforms from chest to monster

3D modeller and DnD Dungeon Master Andrew Ermer designed a transforming Mimic chest, complete with hidden teeth, which you can 3D print at home.

3D printed model of a DnD mimic, a chest with a row of fangs and four yellow eyes

Utah based 3D designer Andrew Ermer searched for a transforming DnD mimic chest for years, before deciding he needed to make his own. His model, an innocent looking chest that pops out rows of gnashing teeth when opened, is available to download for home 3D printing.

Ermer is a DnD dungeon master who “loves making props” for his players. However, he says his DnD Mimic 5e model was most heavily inspired by a range of classic Hot Wheels vehicles, called Attack Pack. If you don’t remember these ‘90s toys, they were “half-monster, half vehicle beasts that roamed the forest and fought each other”.

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He adds “the gimmick of these toys was a transforming action when they were pressed which caused a hidden fanged mouth to open”. As fans of DnD monsters and horror miniatures we can absolutely relate to Ermer’s response to the Attack Pack as a child: “I had only existed for a few years at that point so it was literally the coolest thing I could comprehend”.

Ermer thinks that his Mimic chest design is distinct from others because “it actually transforms into a monster as you open it, allowing you to surprise an unsuspecting victim!” Certainly, the official DnD miniatures for mimics – and even the “life size” Mimic sold by WizKids – are only ever depicted in their ‘transformed’ state.

You can pick up one of Ermer’s transforming mimics from his store Wermer Creations. You can also get the 3D files to print your own, though you’ll also need a 3D printer, paints for miniatures, and some extra equipment to build the finished model: the video, below, shows you how.

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When Ermer started the project he didn’t know how to 3D print miniatures, let alone how to 3D design an original. “I made a cardboard version first”, he says, experimenting with “gears, string, magnets” and “even a fabric that mimicked the chest material” and a system in which “teeth and eyes would poke through hidden holes in the fabric when opened”.

He spent most of January 2024 “tinkering with the design, creating at least six 3D printed iterations of this mimic”. Though Ermer initially hoped to have a gravity powered design, “I had to implement rubber bands and fishing line to ensure the mechanisms moved correctly”.

Two photos of a DnD mimic chest model, one of them a closed chest, the other with fangs and eyes popped out, biting a person's hand

Though the design is opening, closing, and scaring as intended, Ermer isn’t totally finished with the mimic-modification process. “I’d love to enhance the design further, like adding a tongue that pops out, or a switch that lets you choose whether it transforms or not when opened”.

Mad for mimics? Oddly, they seem to come up in the DnD news quite often. Read up on this DnD party who spent 15 sessions adventuring before they realised they were living inside a mimic.