Actually a bronze is a bit spendy, but a few years ago I had a "rapid prototype" zcorp procress figurine made from a model I made in Hexagon. I sent that to another service bureau who cast some resin figurines that came out pretty nice, even had a bronzy coloration...
I still do not like colored figurines, they look like bobble head dolls to me, and while my "Ranger" is still a caricature of sorts, I think he would work as a bronze replica. I have dabbled in western painting (yes gallery stuff) and greeting cards for over 30 years and I still have the dream to do these... dudes, horses, etc.
I understand that the company who did the rapid prototype for me now has the ability to take the 3d model directly to resin castings... so, it's all a matter of $$ (what else is new?) I haven't heard of any prototype companies going directly to bronze, but that would still be a really expensive foundary operation, I suppose.
The Ranger as a bronze (dream) dude and hat modeled in Sculptris, base in Carrara, rendering in Carrara...
The Ranger as a bobble-head colored figurine. I could do real looking hair and moustache in Carrara, but didn't want to get into that.
I had a Blender Suzanne Monkey printed in Stainless steel. hehe
I know from the forums there that several dozen people have Molds 3D printed instead just the object. and a few have even used the base WSF material in the same way that Wax is used in Lost Wax Casting.
@ W. Widgets... thanks, i've bookmarked Shapeways for further investigation. Cool Beanz!! Oregon!!! Lived in Eugene and Bend... Sisters has to be the coolest place on the planet. I'd go back in a heartbeat if possible. McKenzie Pass, the view East of Sisters from the Redmond highway... don't get me going ....
@ Jim... My plan would be to market these in some sort of quantities, if I do it. Hand painting them would not be a viable prospect, but thanks for the suggestion. The one I had make int resin castings was a bronze patina done in their casting process.
I just spent 4hrs reading that zbrush thread and have the mother of all migraines for my effort what can i say that guy saw something and made it an integral part of his business although i did notice a (in jewelery terms) a fair bit of detail loss i wonder if this is due to poly reduction or the usage of wax and the burnout process leaving (im assuming) a residue deposit in the mould used for casting. truly fascinating work though.