What Is This Kickstarter About?
The initial Kickstarter goal is to fund the very first WHISPER mecha's masters and production molds.
These are the 3 WHISPERs currently available to pick for your rewards.
SOKAR/BASTET - KNEELING - (Sokar head shown but also includes Bastet head option)
SOKAR/BASTET - STANDING - (Bastet head shown but also includes Sokar head option)
OPTIONAL ARMAMENTS FOR SOKAR/BASTET - $5 per set
By adding an extra $5 to your pledge for any reward level you can receive a set of additional arms to change the look of your Standing or Kneeling Bastet/Sokar (if you pledge for the Jam Team reward level you receive one set of these arms for free). The optional weapons include one holding a Gauss cannon over the standing WHISPER's chest. The second is a missile launcher with arm blade. The other option is a pair of battle-damaged arms.
Note: $5 USD offers you all three options as one set. Thus, if you add $10 USD, you would receive two missile launchers, two Gauss cannon, and two sets of damaged arms.
History of WHISPER Design
Over the course of the last four months, the 3-D sculptors of Marchen Atelier - Heriberto and Gibran - and Tom Anders - of Impact! Miniatures - have collaborated with me in the creation of these miniatures.
We've gone from a fantastic two-dimensional art piece done by John Yechan Seung.
To a three-dimensional computer export model.
To full three-dimensional miniatures created by Tom Anders through Impact! Miniatures' 3-D printing service after some advice on modifications to the design by Tom.
Now that we have our starting point, I need you, the potential Backers, supporters, and fans, to assist in the creation of the master prints, the production molds, and the base materials.
The Master - These are the original masters that can be re-used to create the production molds.
The Production Molds - The actual mold wheels that will create the miniatures.
Casting Materials - WHISPER mecha will be made of spincast resin. Resin is heated and then injected into the molds, which are spun at a high velocity to fill the molds completely. After cooling, the molds can be separated, and the miniatures removed to begin the process of snipping, partial cleaning, and then bagging for shipping. PLEASE NOTE: All WHISPERs will be sent unpainted. Painted images are just to show you what a WHISPER could look like after being painted.
What Is A WHISPER?
A WHISPER is a mechanized humanoid war machine, approximately 8.5 meters tall, created initially to perform direct actions against hardened targets throughout the galaxy. Piloted by the most elite, the first generation of WHISPERs were created to allow Powers and Dominions to employ their elite special forces teams in fast raids and rapid deployment in response to imminent threats.
The 27th-century version of the U.S. Navy SEAL, USAF JTAC, Delta Force, Russian Spetsnaz, and British S.A.S., WHISPER teams are never to be underestimated. Forty years after the first generation made planetfall on several rogue corporations seeking to commit a heinous terrorist incident on Earth and Mars, technology has advanced at an exponential rate.
First- and second-generation WHISPERs are now commonly employed by lesser Powers, while the elite advance into combat in third- and fourth-generation machines.
For a size comparison, here's how a pilot would fit in a third-generation design:
The Only Difference is the Head?
With the initial two poses, yes. The Sokar is a beak-like head with a protective armor cover over its sensors, an imposing sight that I thought reflected a combat-worthy opponent. So, I went back to Egyptian times to find a name worthy of a bird that can pursue and destroy prey.
The Bastet was initially remarked as "Samurai Pizza Cat", or a fox. I can't help but take my friends and supporters at their joke, so, the cat-like Bastet was a perfect name fit.
What's Beyond That?
Stretch Goal #1 - Raptor - $4,500 - UNLOCKED
A second-generation WHISPER, the Raptor was designed by the Symbiotic Cyber Consortium in its fledgling years on a limited budget and production capacity. Due to these limitations in technology, they could not install cutting-edge full armored cockpits with augmented reality and neural linkage. Instead, the Raptor had to supplement on high visibility cockpits with less armor, with augmented reality displays.
The end result is a machine perfect for atmospheric combat, but incapable of traversing solar systems. Nevertheless, it is an affordable option for Powers on a budget.
Stretch Goal #2 - Optional Armaments for Sokar/Bastet - $5,200 - UNLOCKED
One of the earliest requests was optional arms for the original WHISPER, to allow hobbyists and gamers alike to swap out arms. Most wargamers and hobbyists are familiar with drilling out a small portion of the arm holes and balls to affix magnets inside.
With this Stretch Goal, anyone can purchase the optional arms as an add-on for $5 USD, though certain high-level pledges will receive one set for free.
The optional weapons include one holding a Gauss cannon over the standing WHISPER's chest.
The second is a missile launcher with arm blade.
The other option is a pair of battle-damaged arms.
Stretch Goal #3 - Tundra - $7,200 USD
A first-generation WHISPER designed by PAC-NATO to usurp the original Mark II, the Tundra swiftly took off in popularity among other Dominions as a reliable unit. By the time of its fifteenth year in service, however, the Tundra was beginning to be outstripped by second-generation designs. With the Throne Confederacy's Sokar, the Tundra was thought to be an outdated model with no viable use left. However, several lesser Powers were able to modernize and upgrade the WHISPER's sensors and ballistic computers to level it out, and improvements in maintenance areas were made, making after action field repairs far easier. Thus, the Tundra remains on the field of combat as a WHISPER not to be discounted.
Stretch Goal #4 - Poseidon - $9,200 USD
The Poseidon is a second-generation WHISPER designed by the Northern Martian Federation. On the shores of the Federation, the Poseidon acts as a distinct bodyguard, while on exo-planets that are primarily covered in water, it is one of the only WHISPERs that can operate beneath the waves. Thanks to the latest advancements in its hardened armor shell, the most recent versions of the Poseidon can reach depths up to 500 meters without loss of internal pressure.
The Poseidon was created by Elartwyne Estole, another fantastic artist I discovered on DeviantArt. Elartwyne was kind enough to grant me the ability to license his own old mecha for WHISPER, and I've hired him on for future mecha sketches and layouts, as well as more detailed art, if we can get that far in the future.
Stretch Goal #5 - Poseidon Alternate Arms - $9,800
An alternate set of arms for the Poseidon, removing the Gauss cannon and torpedoes, replacing them with a pair of directed-energy weapons (DEWs, i.e. lasers) in the palms, with elongated claws for close quarters combat. With this Stretch Goal, anyone can purchase the optional arms as an add-on for $5 USD.
With More Stretch Goals to Come, Possibly?
How Tall Are WHISPER Miniatures?
The standing version of the Sokar and Bastet miniature is approximately 47 millimeters tall.
I spent awhile going over scale options. Miniature wargames come in all shapes and sizes these days, but for this, I wanted them to be physically imposing enough that when you saw one on the table, you thought, "Okay, that looks like a nasty customer."
On final thoughts, I decided to abstract the scale of the game, and simply place WHISPERs in the 10mm range (thus, a 10mm tall infantryman stands at about the height a real human being would to a 8.2-meter-tall WHISPER). However, if you're a wargamer, and you have 6mm, 10mm, or even 15mm miniature infantry, power armor, and tanks lying around, you are free to proxy these into WHISPER for your games. 28mm and 35mm scale wargames can even use the WHISPERs as heavy power armor (or in Infinity's case, mini TAGs) if they so wish.
Another reason to go with the 10mm scale was that I had to consider terrain costs. The wargame I'm creating is intended to be played with heavy cover and concealment (think an urban battlefield, like Infinity, or MERCS). This is one of those things that can cost gamers an arm and a leg to purchase, or, if they're crafty, you can make your own. But time is also a factor there, and not everyone has the hours saved to create massive buildings. 10mm offers a wide variety of affordable but impressive options for terrain.
The Universe, and WHISPER Armament
WHISPER takes place in the 27th century Anno Domini, and technology has allowed Mankind to spread to roughly 75 different planets (though more are possible, they are usually unchartered colonization and pirate bases, as well as terrorist outposts or "black sites" of the Dominions and Powers of the times). Some are terraformed, some are inhospitable but livable, and others are colonized mostly through Lagrange colonies, ala Mobile Suit Gundam.
FTL travel is accomplished through hyperspace 'jumps', a capability provided through Tiggs-Dyson eventium generators as an energy source, and hyper-acceleration devices.
Directed energy weapons (i.e. lasers), are the primary armament of almost every standard military force in the universe. They don't fire the intense cutting beams that are a trope of mecha action. Instead, they create a pulsed high-intensity 'blast' that vaporizes on impact. Another high-power weapon system is the Gauss cannon, which utilizes railgun principles to accelerate a metal sabot to a muzzle velocity exceeding Mach 7.
How do you dodge something that travels at nearly the speed of light, or a projectile breaking the speed of sound 7 times over? You rely on a limited artificial intelligence matrix and threat-avoidance programming to recognize when a threat emerges, and utilize high-output vernier thrusters and jet packs to juke away from the threat. Plus, you shoot back.
It's being worked on, but it is not the end goal of this Kickstarter. This Kickstarter will focus entirely on the initial WHISPER miniatures line. I've decided to emulate Infinity, Heavy Gear Blitz, and other various wargames and boardgames, in that I'll be focusing on releasing the rules in a free version that you do not have to pay to play.
However, for those interested I'll be regularly sharing bits and pieces of the universe, and also sharing some of the basics in the Facebook Group for WHISPER:
Who Are You?
A long-time fan of the mecha genre, a veteran, and just an all-around wargamer and roleplayer. I got my start in mecha like many, I think, with Toonami's reveal of Gundam Wing. From there I graduated to the computer game Mechwarrior 3, to Heavy Gear 2, and so on.
The wargames that attracted me the most (outside of the ever-present Grim-Dark-Future-Which-I-Will-Not-Name) were Heavy Gear and Jovian Chronicles, created by Dream Pod 9, and Infinity: The Game, created by Corvus Belli.
I have benefited greatly from my time spent in those fandoms. Now, I want to take the steps to start up something for everyone from my own mind, and the minds of the artists and sculptors I work with.
Based on advice from Impact! Miniatures and others, I will be charging shipping after the Kickstarter concludes based on the actual costs incurred to ship. This will be collected via the pledge manager, where you will let me know what WHISPERs you want in your reward after the campaign ends. This is so we can be fair to all our backers (shipping is rarely one size fits all). As a rough estimate, the pledges will cost about $5 within the US, $10 for Canada, and around $15 for everywhere else (Jam Squad and Ambassador levels could be $23). Shipping of the KickStarter will be EU Friendly and should not incur any customs fees. Thank you for your understanding.
No one operates in a vacuum. I have many folks to thank for getting me this far.
John Yechan Seung - The original artist who granted me the use of his art for these WHISPERs. Can't thank him enough, and I will not slack in repaying him for this kindness.
Glenn McClune - Creator of Sacred Sword miniatures and game, Glenn is the man who introduced me to Marchen Atelier and Impact! Miniatures.
Marchen Atelier (Heriberto and Gibran) - For outstanding sculpts. Look forward to working with them on even more sculpts in the future.
Tom Anders and Impact! Miniatures - For working with me so far, producing amazing 3D prints, and all the free education in details of casting. An outstanding provider, critic, and voice of reason.
Elartwyne Estole - For granting me license to the art he created, and concept art for these WHISPERs. I'm looking forward to working with him more in the future.
Todd Farnholtz - For exemplary painting services and tips.
Nathan Burg - Likewise exemplary painting services and tips.
Aris Kolehmainen - For helping create some amazing datacards that emulate both the feel of the WHISPER universe, and also display the aspects of the WHISPERs with style and panache.
White Dragon Miniatures - A small U.K.-based company with big dreams, amazing resin miniatures, and great tips.
Joshua Tumbry (The Gamefather) - For assistance and collaboration in the creation of my Kickstarter video.
Khurasan Miniatures, The Ion Age, Onslaught Miniatures, The 15mm Sci-Fi Wargamers, and other Facebook groups and manufacturers - For the plethora of tips, scale comparisons, and a general good eye for details I might miss.
Veronica Gordon, James "Jimbo" Burrell, Christopher Lynch, Wunji Lau, Brian Jordan-Dean, Greg Perkins, Sonny Von Hofstea, Harley Graves, David Barrow, Harold Crossley, Christopher Lynch, James Ryan Cunningham, Arthur Braune, and many, many more - Your support, observations, and friendship is one of the things that's kept me going. Thank you.
My Family - Always there. Love them.
And, if you have any interest in joining the community as we grow, you can check out the WHISPER Facebook Group here.
Risks and challenges
This is the first Kickstarter I have personally ever created, however Tom Anders from Impact! Miniatures - who has successfully run 30 Kickstarters - is assisting me to help ensure the project's successfully delivery.
As with any Kickstarter, this is not a 'pre-order'. This will help realize the end goals of the miniatures being produced in full.
Some prospective Backers might inquire why certain Stretch Goals are smaller in amount to achieve than others. This is primarily due to those Stretch Goals not requiring as much material and time to produce as others. A set of optional arms will not require the same amount of material to complete in comparison to the rather hefty Scorpio. By comparison, I have been blessed with Impact! already doing some of the work on the cuts for the Sokar and Bastet.
I do want to emphasize that weight is a concern with any miniatures-based Kickstarter, and for that reason, I chose spincast resin as the go-to material, rather than white metal. White metal holds detail phenomenally, however, the weight is often a concern when shipping to Backers, and I wanted to ensure that Backers were not 'double-tapped' by weight considerations.
Likewise, the additional funds provide a cushion to deal with unexpected snags in prototype, master, and production casting. I have great faith in the men and women I choose to do business with. I am equally aware that almost every Kickstarter encounters issues, and I want to ensure that what I promise to deliver, I deliver in full.
Should certain parts or pieces of the miniatures develop miscasts or issues early on, I will consider choosing to cast those in white metal, which will of course affect aforementioned shipping, but what I have seen so far does not indicate that this will be an issue.
If you have any further questions, or if commonly recurring questions arise, I will add them in a F.A.Q. during the Kickstarter, and I will also be available for questions in the WHISPER Facebook Group.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)