Artificial Intelligence driven Marketing Communications
Never before in the History of gaming has there been such a time as What we live in today. We exist in a paradise of fantasy miniatures availability! And I am not just talking about overly large (and pricey) “Heroic” scale figures, but instead I speak of the one and true perfect scale of 15mm. The companies and sculptors producing 15’s have gone far beyond the generic ancient/medieval warrior and common mythic monster to an unparalled scope of Fantasy tropes. However… I am not satisfied with this golden era of toy soldiery and have decided to add more magical creations for our ever growing addiction to fantasy miniatures.
Building the evil army of plate armored knights, crossbowmen and ogres is great! Savage hordes of Orcs and goblins riding wolves and pigs is epically cool to march onto the battlefield. Even the gaudy but deadly Elven host with great eagles and antlered cavalry is inspiring. But don’t we all secretly dream of something more like succulent silk pajama clad Harem girls peeking over their gossamer veils while brandishing heavy scimitars? WELL DREAM NO MORE! I proudly bring to you Flying Carpet Riders, Scorpitaurs, Desert Rat Riders, Giant Spider Cavalry, Evil Spider Knights and more…..
After 40+ years of collecting, painting and playing fantasy miniature games, I decided the dragon horde of lead models was not enough. So I stoped kit bashing other figures and started sculpting my own. I scoured art stores and the internet for sculpting knowledge and tutorials, and played with different mediums and tools. I fell in love with the creative process and sculpted everything from Pokemon to DaVinci inspired war machines. I realized however that while having a unit of 12 unique models was great looking the time invested to produce them would never get me the “armies” I desired. So I took the next logical step that any sane man would do and looked for a manufacturer to make molds and reproduce my models in mass.
What I am presenting to you today is the result of my roughly 3 year adventure in sculpting. I have as of this writing purchased 6 master molds containing 60 + figures and armaments that I have sculpted. Master molds are made, with a rubber best suited to picking up the details from a hand sculpted model or “green” without destroying it, so you can spin cast master casting in lead/pewter. All molds wear down in the process of having molten metal forced into them, then cooled, opened, and repeated. The master mold rubber deteriorates much faster than the heavier production mold rubber and are not suited for “mass production” but to cast “master” figures of the best quality to be used in the production mold process.
My goal for this kickstarter is to produce production molds, cast a bunch of models for supporters and of course cast the units I wish to build and play. Production molds cost roughly $100 each and can fit 12 to 18 models in 15mm scale. To produce a unit of 12 of the same figures you can either put 1 master model to a production mold (along with 11 or more different models) and thus need to spin it 12 times or put 12 master models in a production mold and only need to spin it once. There is obviously alot of variations on this and with over 60 models can be quit a complex problem. How do you fill orders of variable models without either having excessive production molds made or minimal molds with maximum model variation which means to get the unit of 12 figures you end up with 12 leaders and 12 of everything else in the mold. By doing this kickstarter I will be able to determine the best mix of models to put in the least amount of molds based on the orders/demand. I hope you can see what an advantage this “crowd source” funding has for manufacturing, truly a great tool!
This is not a normal”I am company A with a new figure line that you can buy later at my online store” type of deal. I am not asking backers to help me stock a new line of figures. I am grateful for the manufacturers and stores, but I have no desire to become a retail outlet. Once this KICKSTARTER is funded (which I hope it does), these models most likely will never be offered again! I am not going to be spending my time operating an online store after this, but instead I plan on painting and basing models as well as sculpting more and hopefully better, wilder figures. You will see there is a master class reward of purchasing all the molds and masters should anyone feel they want to open a store or an existing manufacturer want to expand their lines, but I am not counting on this reward level for success of this project. So if you are inspired by these models and concepts, don’t hesitate to click that pledge as these are probably a one in a lifetime deal!
15mm fantasy gamers? Who are we? I have pondered this question for decades. Tabletop rules range from element stands to units in the 30’s. I have also noticed a huge uptick in RPG’s using 15’s or the skirmish games of single figure basing. My thoughts in trying to service every players potential needs is to offer a small quantity of mixed models in a reward. I hope this provides the smaller size game with “elements” and characters by purchasing 1 reward while larger size game systems can order multiples of the same reward to create 3 or 4 large core units.
I have tried to base the rewards on figure groups of 12. This will mainly be 2 of each of 6 different models. At $10.00 reward levels this means most foot figures are running .83 each (the $100 pledge gets you 11 packs so they are roughly .75 each then). Larger models such as mounts and monsters take up more room in a mold and also use more metal and as such you will see there are fewer in a reward and are harder to pin down a “per figure” cost. Suffice it to say that twice the size = twice the cost. I do want to say that my pricing is not arbitrary and I have done everything I can to minimize the cost while still maintaining a fair estimate to breaking even on this.
Spider Empire– or my generic evil troops who have a decidedly 8 legged fetish. The spider riders were some of the very 1st figures I sculpted and are still some of my favorites. The fighters are a very “Marauder” style warrior caste with a mix of weapons and armor such as deamon face breast plate, Black widow hauberk on the bowmen, skull helmets and non-standard weapons etc. Great look as a warband.
Slayers of the spider empire – Full helms with eye slit and grill mouth guard with 3D spider crest. Chainmail with heavy plate on breast, back and thigh resembling bone. Spider emblazoned kite shield and beautifully massive bastard sword. These are third generation models which I ended up making a fully armored dolly, seperate weapon and shield and casting them so I could pose and sculpt the varients. A decidedly expensive and time consuming method for getting that look of uniformity in different poses. I am just not good enough to sculpt 3 models that all look like the same figure. In mass these troops are going to look great. The reward will give you 12 figures- 4 of each pose + 4 seperate shields for the overhead strike pose (attach to back, hang from arm etc.)
Spidrax Slaver – The most ambitious model I’ve done to date. My spider nation creative juices were flowing as I pondered a war engine component for these troops. What evolved was a huge bi-level platform atop a gigantic “Portia” inspired arachnid.
Look up Portia spider and honestly you will find some of the most unrealistic looking “real” spiders ever. Sculpting the spider, though large, was fairly easy while making the decks and walls were the most difficult. I soon wished I had 3D printing skills as the geometric proportions and straight angles were very hard to get right doing it free hand.
I have female crew steering the ships wheel, firing ballista, reloading and throwing heavy cabel lines with great hooks down on the enemy (I realized after the sculpting you would refer to them as “hookers?” oops). I have several barbed nets, banners with web icons or spiders and several shields that can be used to decorate the structure as desired. This model will probably be a combination of resin and metal and I can only estimate the production cost at the moment but hope to keep it reasonable. This is a BIG model and if I get this project funded I will post this model as a stretch goal.
The last models I produced and had cast were a group of very diverse mounted figures. My goal was to create unique and varied mounts with an equal number of riders that could be mixed and matched to produce a large variety of fantasy cavalry. I even produced 3 styles of saddles and 3 styles of blankets thinking this would add to the individual looks (I have excluded them from this kickstarter as I dont think the demand would merit the cost).
If you have read this far you can tell that my tastes in figures and fantasy are far too varied and ever expanding. To me the Savage has its own cool “look” when mounted on a Deamon Steed, is certainly great (and expected) mounted on a Buffalo and has similar appeal to both when riding a giant War Rooster or Jackalope and I simply cannot decide the best combos.
Excuse my repeating myself but I just want to make sure everyone understands how I am packing these mounted models.
The Fantasy Cavalry Experiment pack will be for mounts in groups of 4 of all 1 model i.e. 1 pack will contain = 4 buffalo OR 4 Deamon steeds etc. Paired with riders of 4 of all 1 model i.e. = 4 Amazons OR 4 Evil Knights etc. You need to write in the specific mount and rider when ordering each of these packs.
Example you might pledge to get 4 Fantasy Cavalry Experiment packs, and will note 2 groups to be “War Roosters” (4+4=8 models) 2 groups to be “Buffalo” (8 models) Then pick the 4 types of riders to be 2 groups “Savages” (8 models) 1 group “Amazons” (4 models) and 1 group “Levy” (4 models).
I apologize in advance that some of you are saying to yourselves “why not mix and match any mount and riders, they all cost the same?”. I am just afraid that if done per-piece that the variety of orders will end up a big request for one type and variable amounts of others creating a logistical nightmare in placing them in production molds and ending up with excess castings, costs, loss of my brain cells, etc.
Last but not least are the Mercenary Dragoons of the Tulgey Woods- Anime inspired proto-gunners riding giant Isopods (yes Rollie Pollies). These mounted troops dont move any faster than infantry nor do they charge headlong into melee. Their unique qualifications however make them a living strongpoint as when they dismount and kick their Isopods into a rolled defensive posture they become a living armored wall from where the riders loose a deadly hail of projectiles into their foes.
The ever looming question in this ever shrinking world is “How much does this cost to mail?”. Well I will honestly tell you that based on numerous sites I believe I have determined the most cost effective “flat rate” shipping that should hold true for any orders under $100. For you international folks (those outside the USA) I have my fingers crossed as I am not sure what additional hoops and tricks will pop up. I do promise to do everything I can to get these models shipped at the lowest cost.
Yes I am finally done (he says as he continues to type and post pictures….). I have a few minis I have not included due to volume and unique subject matter. As seen by the photo I have had these cast mainly just filling space in various molds. I hope to have these doing the same thing for the production molds. Depending on how well this Kickstarter goes I hope to be able to throw a few of these in with orders as special thankyous for early backers.
Kickstarter suggests this is where I am to introduce my team and other tidbits. As you can see I am just an old time gamer working on my own with just my wife and 2 kids who politely compliment me anytime I force them to look at some strange wire armature covered in putty. I hope you can see some value in my work. I am no Julie Guthrie or Tom Meier but I think amongst the flaws there is some rough gems. I am very excited about working with this platform of crowd funding, a truely amazing concept that conects people like myself with people like you and look forward to feedback wether this project funds or not. Thanks for looking and good gaming.
The risks are pretty minimal at this point as I have already purchased the master molds for 90% of the models. This means once the project funds all that needs to be done is determining the distibution of models into production molds and having those molds done and models produced. I have been working with Valiant Enterprises and have had nothing but top quality proffesional service from them. They are well established in the industry and manufacture models for many other miniature companies. I have gone off their production time estimates and am very confident that the models can be produced and delivered as per the proposed time line. This is my 1st Kickstarter, could there be some unforeseen hiccups? Well of course there could be but I don’t see any reason that this project should not produce the product promised in the time stated. I will be closely monitoring the process to help assure that the hiccups that do occur will not be felt by any of you.