Hello everyone!! There's quite a bit of info in this Update, so here's a table of content:
- 10% off on a very Limited Resin Run of the Kurganova sisters!
- New Heroine Sculpts
- Free Upgrades: Heroine Sculpts with Alternate Heads / Weapons
- New Heroine Renders
- What about the First Wave?
- A bit more details...
- 3D printed masters
- Webinars + a brief video excerpt for you
- Communication, Social Media, and more!!!
- Write a Caption
- What else is going on?
- And last but not least: Off-duty TGG
10% off on a very Limited Resin Run of the Kurganova sisters!
Although this is not truly part of the TGG Kickstarter, we thought you'd want to be the among the firsts to know about this, especially if you went for the Connoisseur Box Pledge (or Add-on), which offers all the TGG Heroines in high quality resin.
This summer, while we were working on the Kickstarter, our resin caster found itself with a bit of spare capacity, and asked us if we wanted anything. Since our stocks were full-up at the time, we told him that we could send them the masters of the Kurganova sisters and Charlie and see what he could do with that. This was by no means a priority at that time, since we had a lot of other stuff on our hands. But a few weeks ago, he told us that he had created moulds for each of them, and that he could make an initial production run of about 100 casts. We thought this would be a great opportunity for the Holiday season!
We've already received the first 50 Kurganova Limited Edition kits in high quality Resin (which include Ivanka, Olga, Malinka and Charlie). We should receive the other 50 next week. We expect them to sell out quite quickly. Once they're gone, it's hard for us to say when the next run will be, as he will soon be very busy working on the Connoisseur Box Resin Cast Heroines...
To thank you for your support on the TGG, we created a special deal for the first 25 TGG backers who want to get a Kurganova Limited Edition Set in High Quality Resin: you'll get 10% off with this coupon: TGGspecial
Once again, please note that these minis are NOT part of this Kickstarter and will NOT be available in the Pledge Manager.
And here's a quick-and-dirty shot of all the stock we just received from the resin foundry:
New Heroine Sculpts
And now, what you've most been waiting for: brand new Heroine sculpts!
The first ones are the Yagas wielding their tremendous shamanic powers. Please note that Arushka still needs a bit of polish, and so does Baba Yaga, but we did not want to keep you from seeing the four of them together.
Here is Aaqila, ready to serve the Kurganova family.
Here is the regular version of Mimi the Radio, as you've come to know her from her concept.
And here is her alternate and even funkier version. Both heads and weapons come with the miniature.
Who would think that the rather reserved Irina Vega holds in her hand the power to eradicate entire planets?
Here is the Kickstarter exclusive, Drusilla Lepic, soaring up to the skies.
And here is the craziest Standard Bearer you'll ever meet, Punky, the Jailbirds Army Standard.
Last but not least, meet Mortaria, the deadliest of the Iron Empire's Snipers.
And here is her alternate head version:
Free Upgrades: Heroine Sculpts with Alternate Heads / Weapons
You may have already seen some of the sculpts below in previous Updates. However, as you know, they also come with Free Upgrades, which had to be sculpted too.
So here are new versions of Heroines you already know. We really enjoyed working on this because these alternate heads and/or weapons give many of them a truly new twist to their personality.
And we also used this opportunity to touch up many details and bring them up to our new quality standards.
First, here's Volga with a new head and a new gun. She looks like an entirely new mini to us.
Here is Lady Hilda von Stroheim, with a new head and a new pistol.
We also took this opportunity to massively rework the sculpt and update many, many details. So here she is for the first time with her regular head in a full-blown render.
Even when she's not helmeted, which happens only on very rare occasions, Vera never fully shows her face. Here she is, with her alternate head.
She may look innocent without her gas mask, but don't be fooled... You probably don't want to end up in Dr von X's hands...
Here is Tania Tanker with her two weapon options, a rocket launcher and a shotgun.
And here's Cruz with her two weapon options.
New Heroine Renders
You've already seen Blondie and Bernadette, but we thought it would be nice to show them to you with the new renders, which you told us you really like!
And before we did these new renders, we spent a great many hours upgrading them to our new standards.
What about the First Wave?
Our original plan was to deliver the First Wave before Christmas. But after finishing the first set of Troops and a few Heroines, we looked back to the first sculpts we had already completed when we launched the Kickstarter, and we felt they were no longer up to our new standards. So we decided to give them all a facelift!
But this pushed back our planning and landed us smack into the foundries' Christmas season, when they are fully loaded up with restocking minis for all the companies they work with.
So, as much as we wanted to make the First Wave available to you for Christmas, we'll have to wait for the Holiday rush to be over :(
Now, it is possible that this delay may not impact you directly. It concerns those of you who are going to pick up their rewards at a Drop Ship location.And also, those of you who had intended all along to pay for additional wave shipping.
But to all of you, please know that we are so very sorry about this :( We would have been so happy to have the First Wave shipped out to you for Christmas...
However, we truly believe that this decision is for the best as we are getting so many messages and emails telling us to not rush the process and take the time needed to make the best possible minis. That's why we made this tough decision.
A bit more details...
Our original plan was to have mostly Heroines in the First Wave. However, as the Kickstarter ended up way more successful than originally planned and with nearly twice as many sculpts required compared to our original plan, we had to set up a new workflow (as already explained in previous updates). This has been a very enriching process, as it pushed us to come up with truly new ways of producing miniatures. But at the same time, for many technical reasons, it forced us to shift our focus from Heroines to Troops, at least for a while. We learned so much during this phase that every person the team has now moved up to the next level! And so, the Troopers we ended up with, as well as the Heroines we created through this workflow, truly outshine the quality of the sculpts we finalized before the Kickstarter.
So we were left with a difficult choice: keep the First Wave right on time and deliver on Kickstarter time but with some lesser quality sculpts, or take more time and upgrade all the sculpts to the level we've now reached. Since, from the start, backers have been very clear in asking that we not rush things and deliver the quality that the TGG demand, we picked the second option.
Given the enthusiasm that the TGG have sparked, it would not be acceptable for us to deliver anything less than the best that we can produce.
So, after we took time to set up the new workflow and get it exactly right, made the first set of Troop boxes, and also tested that workflow on several new Heroine sculpts, we went back to several of our very first sculpts and updated them. We also added the extra weapons and heads that had been unlocked during the Kickstarter as Free Upgrades. This was not a super heavy task per se, but with the Holiday season drawing near, we ended up falling too short to have our Heroines ready for casting in what our foundries are calling the Christmas slot, that time of the year were everyone is calling for massive restocks and the foundries are all in overdrive.
This means that, in all likelihood, most the Heroines shown in this Update (as well as the previous on), will only be cast in metal and ready for shipment in late January. The Troops are made through a different process and will be right behind.
Basically, you should know that in our production process, once a sculpt is ready to go to 3D printing and metal casting, the subsequent production process is one that we have been practicing for the past 4 years, and that is now solidly established: a sculpt goes to 3D printing, comes back for quality control and preparation, then it's off to the foundry for a normal production run. Apart from issues with customs or shipping delays, all this part of the process is very straightforward and timely.
3D printed masters
Over the past few weeks, we've been working a lot with our 3D printer, sending files to him, getting back the 3D-printed masters, checking them out and then sending them to the foundry.
When we receive a 3D-printed master, there is not a lot of cleaning to do on them, but we always have to correct a few problems here and there. Once we finally have the a real live object in our hands is the best time to double and triple check potential problems that might arise at the moulding and casting stages. For as much as we catch many undercuts and other casting issues while working in the 3D software, we pretty much always need to reach for the green stuff when the masters arrive...
With the first sets of Troops, it's about 250 parts and bits to check, clean, and prep before being able to send them to the foundry. If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you'll likely soon see pics of the guys trying to assemble the multipart characters with blue tack (obviously, we don't use glue to make sure we don't leave any residue on the masters) and, in most cases, amidst much laughter, not being very successful at it (blue tack and 3D printed masters just don't play well together!).
Nevertheless, we still managed to snap a few decent pictures which give you a better feel of what's coming. We are really excited about the quality. Also, we were very pleased to see that our plans for mix-and-matching parts with our ball joint system are working very well indeed, and will grant you much flexibility and variety on the battlefield.
Webinars + a brief excerpt for you
The first set of Art Direction and 3D Sculpting webinars took place last week-end. We had to push back the first sessions by one week as we experienced major Internet issues at our offices, and had to scramble to find an alternative. Once this was dealt with, the Webinars were truly a blast!
We were able to show and explain many things (see bottom of this post for the outline). On top of showcasing everything we had prepared, we had good Q&A sessions. And with the entire week-end reserved for this, we were able to go into overtime. In the end, much to everyone's joy, the 5-hour webinars stretched into well over 8 hours!
Here's what some of the attendees had to say:
“Thanks Team, excellent webinar. :)” [B. Keegan]
“'Non published concepts'... I'm sure a lot of people would like to see inside this folder!” [B. Arnault]
“Thank you very much for taking so much time answering our questions, have a nice evening.” [M.Gsaller]
“Fantastic tips! It is good to see I am on the right track with my ZBrush work compared to your process. Great ideas for measuring and printing parts that are very useful to me. I can sculpt with a French accent now! Looking forward to receiving my Toughest Girls! :)” [P. Keith]
“Thank you, this was very informative. I appreciate you taking the extra time beyond what was scheduled.” [J. Law]
“That was an awesome webinar, many thanks! I didn't say as much during the Sculpting Webinar as I did during the Art Direction one but this was just as informative and will definitely give me an edge when I start using Z-brush in january!” [M. Noma]
“I hope we will see all these concepts (unpublished concepts shown during the webinar) and very early sketches inside the artbook (the later it comes, the better it will be!)” [B. Arnault]
And to answer the last comment, yes indeed, they will!
Below, here's a very short excerpt from the Art Direction Webinar, where we show how we work on the underlying structure that supports every character design.
The remaining 2 Webinar sessions will be held on December 14 and 15. If you are eligible for the Webinars and have not received your invite, please contact us ASAP. Also, since both sessions are likely to run into overtime again, please note that we are moving up both sessions by one hour.
Communication, Social Media, and more!!!
It's now been 3 weeks since Bruno's joined our freelance team to create content for our communications. His first 2 weeks were mainly about acquainting himself with the TGG terminology and all of our Heroines. During that time, he also started to gather elements to help take you behind the scenes of what's happening at Raging Heroes. To this end, we have set up accounts with all the major social media, and we will use them to share with you our day-to-day experiences, our inspirations, or the goofiness that sometimes happen in the office. Each of these account is geared towards a slightly different purpose.
Our Instagram account will share sneak peaks of what's going on at the office, through pictures and short videos. So we'll try to keep our desks not too messy, and wash the coffee cups from time to time...
Our Tumblr page continues to feature images that, in a very broad sense, we find inspiring. As much as it will also now feature some of our own creations, it is also a simple and effective way for Art Director Benoit Guerville to share with you some of the stuff that fuels the creativity behind the various Raging Heroes projects.
Our Pinterest account features thematic boards dedicated to various aspects of our work. Since most of the team already uses Pinterest as a repository for their own work references, it's a very fast and effective way to share with you some of the things we shuffle through every day.
Our Youtube Channel will also be used to post longer videos, such as 3D sculpt timelapses, or to repost stuff from live streaming sessions (see below).
Many of you have asked us for more frequent updates, sneak peeks and so on. Setting up these social media account will allow us to do just that without spamming you with Updates and without taking time away from the sculpting work. We will of course continue to have big Updates more or less every month to showcase new sculpts and major news.
We know that many of you would like us to give you more news and to interact more with you. The truth is, we feel the exact same way! We'd very much like to be able to share more and interact more with you, and have you live the experience with us... Sadly, after our 12-15 hour days, it's been hard to have some time left to do that. However, after having such a great experience with the Webinars, we are exploring the possibilities of setting up regular free mini sessions, streaming live from our offices. We would do short sessions, sharing with you a specific aspect of our work. These videos would then be posted to our Youtube Channel. We'd like to do these sessions regularly.
Write a Caption
You may have noticed that on Raging Heroes' Facebook page, we have begun an ongoing write-a-caption event.
It started with Magali, one of our French fans, who posted a funny comment under an image of Natasha. We liked it so much, we decided to have a new image for you to caption every week, and to top it with a weekly reward of 15€ voucher (to use in our Raging Heroes webshop), and have a good laugh reading what everybody else has written.
We were a bit surprised but completely delighted to see many of our backers virtually falling in love with some of of the TGG characters! And so we thought that these caption events would be a good way to infuse the characters with even more life and personality in a fun and endearing way.
Of course, there are plenty of other things moving forward.
We've already done a big chunk of the Command Boxes and of the other Heroines. For example, the WereSheWolves are nearly done!
We've also added a new freelancer to the team, who will work exclusively on posing the anatomies of the characters. Posing is a part of the sculpting process that takes a lot of time. It is very hard to find the right people to do this work. 3D sculptors tend to create characters in what is called a T-pose (standing upright with arms spread out), and are not as comfortable with posing as they are with sculpting. So having a specialist do the posing contributes to increasing the speed of the sculpting process.
And we are of course continuing to work on the Artbook, as you can see in the next paragraph...
And last but not least: Off-duty TGG
Since our concept artist has finished all the TGG concept work, and since he's already done so much stuff for our other upcoming projects (i.e. the Dark Elves and the Sisters of Eternal Mercy), and since he hates twiddling his thumbs, we asked him to come up with a series of light-hearted images featuring the Toughest Girls of the Galaxy when they're NOT in combat mode. We'll of course be using them for the Artbook, and we'll also regularly share them with you.
Do tell us if you like them and if you'd like to see more. And also, feel free to suggest us scenes that you'd like to see illustrated in this manner...