News time! Straight to the point - It's backers 400-450 being picked and packed now, which means with the final stage of cast and dispatch - we are half way through with 50% dispatched. Plus the remaining 50% will be much faster than the first 50% for certain :)
If you are a backer in the 300's with no box just yet, it's either in transit or we do have a shortage of fountain demons holding up about 20 boxes from the 300s which are just waiting on that piece. We now have a new bigger production mould for these demons, so we can catch up and get those straggling boxes out in the next few days :)
With 130 something separate items to cast, and most boxes having at least one model of each - trying to make sure we constantly have enough production moulds and castings of every one of the 130 items at all times for a period of over 6 months - has proved even more challenging than it sounds.
So what else?
We also had some professional pictures of the minis taken. Really nice stuff! These are all ready for packaging, promo material and the new webstore once the KS is completed (it's time to start thinking about these things soon! :P)
Having someone who knows how to use a camera really makes the minis pop!
More speed! Spreading the Workload
It's all good being 50% dispatched, but we do need the next 50% to dispatch faster!! However we also need to keep the quality high - one of the worst things to happen would be to rush casts out and have higher ID backers see a quality drop. Especially since we have had not at single negative backer so far (aside from the odd mispacked mini here and there) everyone has been hugely positive about the quality, most of all things.
I have been thinking about this a lot and the best solution to keep backers happy and stocked with quality scenery ASAP, is to use my personal funds to outsource some of the simpler casts - such as doors- and spread the workload! It took ages to get a perfect partner for this who meets the same standards as us but now I'm pleased to say we have some help casting the door pieces.
This will not only speed up dispatch for the second half, but it frees up production here and keeps quality high as we don't have to cut any corners when casting. The outsourced doors are every bit as good as the ones we have produced here :D
We have got over 15 thousand doors, enough to complete all remaining KS backers and also some surplus which have been added to the webstore at higher retail price - the proceeds of which will be reinvested into methods of speeding up KS dispatch even more, snowballing nicely! :D More in depth on the Zealot Blog here http://zealotminiatures.com/tc-dungeon-doors-general-release-how-where-why-when/
Lastly, it's great to see people's pictures of painted scenery as it arrives and makes it onto your gaming tables! Thanks everyone who has posted up so far :)
That's everything for this month! Good luck down there adventurers!
If you have moved to a wonderful new home in the last 10 months and have not updated us with your new address: Firstly, congratulations on the new home :) Secondly, send us your new address!
It has happened for the first time this week; We have dispatched a pledge to a backer but they have moved house, in the chaos of moving, forgetting to let us know the change of address. (luckily it's a small pledge, which, for this one, we have agreed to re-send to the new address for the cost of postage. Since we are nice :P) But it's not good for you, not good for us and the only person it is good for, is the person who bought your old house who gets a big pile of free dungeon minis ;) We only have the data from the Pledge Managers which you have entered from Feb onward. So if you have moved home since then, I stress again, please send me a message on KS here with your new info. Since we cant replace pledges lost to the ether if they are sent to your old address and you haven't updated us.
Progress Report, Capt'n!
At the moment we are picking 350s - 400s. New staff and new methods are meaning we are moving onward at a steady pace in line with the estimates. We are still aiming for 100 a month over the next 5 months to fulfill all remaining backers :)
Got your number?
Soon we will send out a KS survey for phone numbers. Since, especially with international orders, having a phone number for the courier to contact you on means a much smoother pledge delivery service!
Painting and Photos
In other news, next week we will be getting the first batch of professional photos done for the scenery. 'What is a "professional photo"? What is the difference between regular snaps with your phone camera and "pro" photos?' i hear you ask :P. The answer is about £10,000 / $15,000 worth of camera and some good photography know-how. From the test shots we have had, the images will look more than great. They show off all the detail you have/can expect from your miniatures in person :D Im excited to get these and sort some proper branding!
And caster Andy took away a Dragon to paint up. He's done a super job in the classic draconic greens. [If interested, Andy does take painting commissions, during the hours where he is not skillfully casting TC resin.] This fella will also be getting his picture taken next week ;) An awkward snap of the scary beast in the cabinet for now
Thanks again and good luck down there, Adventurer! Eddie
It’s update time! We wish everyone a fun and prosperous 2016 which will also certainly be filled with scenery for all :D
What is great, is seeing continued activity and pictures posted in the comments from backers who have received their pledge already. A big thanks to everyone who has been sharing!
Dispatch Moving Forwards
The fulfillment and dispatch is now nudging up to 40% dispatched and it is good news that with new production methods and a new staff member starting tomorrow, things are going to continue over the next 6 months with a goal of clearing 100 backer IDs a month to finish the dispatch process.
Here is the TC packaging box-o-meter ;)
There are 20 large pledges from the 200-300 range yet to ship out, waiting for a couple of straggling parts (popular library bookcase, im looking at you!) and we will be starting on backers 300-400 very shortly.
No longer interested? You can always offload your pledge on the Pledge Market.
Since the KS closed there has been a fantastic reception from the model community and we get around a dozen emails and messages a week with people who have missed the kickstarter and who would love to jump onboard Twisting Catacombs. Even some early backers who have received their minis asking if they can order yet more scenery! But of course, we don’t want to take on any more backers at this point since as it stands we have more than enough to produce! :P
But we also understand that what with dispatch starting 6 months ago, as a gradual process, and some backers in the higher numbers having to wait further months for delivery of their pledge – people’s hobbies and interests may change and they may become less interested in dungeon RPs or scenery.
So it makes sense that we offer something extra and link these two phenomenon up to keep backers happy!
If you have decided you don’t want to wait for your pledge delivery for whatever reason, first off; im very sorry to hear that, but we are happy to help you put your pledge up on the Pledge Market that we now host on our webstore.
Your pledge can be listed on the market and when purchased by a new backer, we will refund your pledge through KS and the new backer takes your place in the KS. This way we can keep backers happy so they don’t feel tied to the project, and new backers have the opportunity to join and get scenery at a great discount price with mountains of free stretch goals.
Backers joining this way will be assigned a new backer ID at the end of the dispatch queue so they don’t have their pledge delivered before any original backer. Prices of the marketed pledges, while still at a heavy discount from what the store prices will be, are higher than KS prices to reflect the initial 10% KS fees, initial VAT charged and our new status of a VAT registered company upon the new sale. We are pricing accordingly so as to not make a loss on the pledge market place.
If you wish to do this just PM me on Kickstarter and ill arrange with you to list your pledge on the market. The market opens tomorrow here.
Thanks again for everyones support with TC so far, and im sure we will continue to create happy backers as we cast and ship the last 60% of pledges :D
Its a big update this month! Why? Because we have just passed a momentous milestone; the 12 months stage since Twisting catacombs successfully funded with over 2200% of the goal! With so many high detailed resin pieces to produce, we have made great progress on everything since funding and a third of us have now received their pledge as we continue ongoing dispatch :D
Before jumping into what is going to be the start of an in-depth analysis of TC 1 year on, i must once again thank everyone who is reading this, for their support, suggestions and involvement with this project :D The whole kickstarter experience was, and continues to be, a learning curve where I believe we can create a better quality product with everyone’s feedback and involvement, than we ever could by going alone. So thank you for your continued support with Twisting Catacombs, and helping bring to life what is already becoming known as the finest modern dungeon scenery ever created.
I hope people are pleased that they will be the first 887 people in the world to have this all in their dungeon. Im confident that when we finish the remaining production/dispatch and learn from our first foray into crowdfunding, we will be ready to come back with creations even more impressive than anything ever seen before :D
Of course for those readers who only have a minute to read this and want a quick summary at a glance as to where things are at: We are approaching a third of the KS pledges dispatched soon. 29% out the door.
This week coming we start backers 200-300 and clearing off the last stragglers pre 200. While things are indeed taking longer to produce than we had imagined, detailed quality resin pieces are labour intensive, we are hopeful we will be able to speed up a little and keep shipping at a steady pace now that we have cleared our previous commitments that were left from the pre-KS era and are looking at expanding with more options. All the remaining pledges are due to be delivered throughout the first half of the new year. If you would like more detail, read on! ;)
What happened this year?
With regards to getting through the remaining progress, we are looking to have the remaining backer's pledges heading out the door in the first half of the new year. We are also wanting to explore all alternatives; If there is a way to get things made quicker for you. We are looking at either a new UK casting facility to meet demand.
Or alternatively outsourcing to a Chinese manufacturer who after a month of correspondence with, we may have arranged it so they are able to quickly produce at least some of the sturdier pieces, like doors for example. We will be reviewing the physical samples in hand next week, we certainly do want to ensure the quality is the same, but initial images are looking promising ;)
Hopefully that addresses the main question on 2/3rds of everyone’s minds :)
TC: A 12 Month Review
The next part of this update for 12 months on, id like to give an in-depth and shrewd look at the KS’s inner gears and workings which I hope some backers will find interesting to get some insight into what makes ZM tick. Also, I think really talking about the whole process is something few projects tend to do effectively beyond glossing a few updates out about the end product which we have all seen before. I hope it will be refreshing and perhaps useful to any others who may be considering using crowdfunding themselves in the future.
When launching a kicksarter I dont think anyone can ever reliably predict if it will fly or nosedive. My belief is that the success of a KS is down to a mix of planning, advertising, product, graphics design, price point, competition, creator engagement and community.
I dont pretend to have a better idea about crowdfunding than any other project creator who has run one project, this is our first KS after all. (Although having worked with nearly a dozen miniature companies as they run their Kickstarters, has helped give a little more insight. Personally, i feel every aspect of TC has worked extremely well, aside from needing a little more polishing on the pledge manager and either more hands to cast quicker / less backers! ;)
So what did we expect from Twisting Catacombs before launch? Well, I remember thinking that if it could keep Zealot Miniatures busy for 3 months and get a new vacuum chamber, it would be great. Now im typing this and Twisting Catacombs hit number 1 on Kicktraq, raised 2200% funding, given us so much kudos that we have other well-known companies queuing up to work with us on their projects and it has literally swallowed over a year of my life. Would i change anything given the chance? Not at all! (..well.. apart from maybe having more vacuum chambers fall from the sky? :P)
Twisting Catacombs started off very humbly. The first sculpt for the kickstarter was done by myself and it was the simple books sprue. Having finished the books set, I looked at it. My own dungeon library would look nice and detailed now with books scattered everywhere :D But that was silly; All the other rooms of the dungeon would look plain and bare! This needed to become a more complete range! And from here the seeds of the Twisting Catacombs range grew.
I remember meeting for an ale (yep, aptly I drink ale) in a local pub with my friend Dan (who does part time concept art and who is also planning a refreshing sci-fi boardgame colab with us for the second half of next year, watch this space!) and we sketched out some designs for a few of the pieces. We wanted the mundane cupboards and chairs mixed with some exotic bits that people will have never seen before, like the map table or fountain demon.
Later on, the fantastic Ulrik and Darrius jumped on board too for the production of more concept art. It helps when sculpting from a design already fleshed out in 2d, plus its easier to change things on paper than in 3d. So concept art is essential for every piece, even if it’s just a line sketch.
After some more planning, a month of sculpting more dungeon goodies and creating a hard drive of graphics and spreadsheets, TC was launched on KS ready to see if anyone else, aside from us, had an interest in new-age quality Dungeon Scenery! :D
++ continuing my musings in the next fortnights update ++
Time for the fortnightly update! :D We are now mid way into dispatching backers 100-200 so if your backer ID is in this bracket - make sure your address info is up to date and you have filled in the Pledge Manager
In the Spotlight
Since the last update, backers who have started painting and converting their sets have started posting some awesome pictures of their work. If you have created something you are proud of, please do share it, as it's great to see everyone's creations :D
An elegant paintjob for the regular doors by Robert Cook, cant wait to see what pieces he tackles next on his blog the-brothers-grimm.com
Stefan L has taken the prize of creating the first LED mod on the TC scenery. An awesome effect on the regular fireplace here!
Uncle Billy has started small with the flaming torches, a great paintjob demonstrating the "true fire" method (darker flames on tips, brighter at base)
And Ampersand has taken the simple double doors and started to modify them, here is his orcified door. See more on somethinginthedungeon.blogspot.co.uk
How to: Reshape Resin
Now that we are a good chunk into dispatch, its time we started on the "how to" videos and guides. Along with my musings, hopefully we can get Andy to do some step by step painting guides for wood / stone etc.
Here is how to reshape any pieces that may become bent due to bad storage or squished in the post!
*0. Again, i write it as a disclaimer. Those underage, should seek adult assistance when working with boiling water.
*1. Yep that's snow white... we accidentally cut ourselves a lot with so many sharp things in the workshop here. So Andy brought in some Disney princess band-aids to add that extra element of shame and mockery to each and every cut! :P
Replacement Pump. One of the vacuum pumps was feeling a bit ill! Here it is groaning away. We have had to replace it this week and the new one purrs away nicely.
That pump actually weights 60 lbs and can pump nearly 900 cubic feet of air a minute (aside from the rattling) its an amazing piece of kit. :D
Suggested Use: Living Doors
With each piece in the Kickstarter, one of us did have a vision of what intended game use it has and what sort of rules you can incorporate with it, in order to make your games immersive and having players engage with the scenery and the dungeon.
First in this series is the Living Doors.
The Living Doors were intended as riddle doors, players would approach and the door would ask a riddle of the players. (practice your best booming voice! ;) )
Gentle enough to sooth the skin, light enough to caress the sky, yet hard enough to crack rocks?
If the players guess right, the door opens. Crouch down and crawl through!
If the players get the riddle wrong - its time for them to be punished for their foolishness! :P Release D3 Zombies into the room for each wrong answer!
If you have other ideas of how to use this piece in your games, it would be great to hear from you in the comments section below :D