Once upon a time, a young boy was given a box of Heroquest…
The weird and wonderful models within captured his imagination and he would spend hours inventing characters and stories which developed as the games unwound. A few years on his local toy shop would start stocking Citadel Miniatures and each month he would save his pocket money and peruse the small rack of blister packs for the model which grabbed his attention. Although he would later learn the game system and the background that came with it, it was always the models that entranced him and the creation of intricate mythologies and plotlines that gave him most pleasure. As he read the works of Tolkien, Mervyn Peake and Lovecraft the mythology fed into the stories, connecting with ancient folklore and legend. With these stories he began creating his own games and characters.
When the boy grew up he returned to the fantasy world he had loved as a child. New friends helped stir the fascination which had never quite died away. But he found the world changed. Too often there was something missing from the miniatures he picked off the shelf, something of the strange, something of the humour, something of the depth of character had gone. So the man within whom there was still more than a bit of the boy began again to create stories and games, striving to revive the rich flavour of fantasy he had enjoyed as a child. Something playful, dark and brooding at times but with a sense of humour and the bizarre which had first grabbed his own attention. Thus was founded Oakbound Games, a tiny, independent games company based on a narrowboat in Bristol.
In May this year Oakbound released The Woods, a board game set in a realm of Celtic Folklore and Faerietale which expands into a simple but flexible narrative roleplay. Imagine a world not unlike Iron Age Britain, but one into which the creatures of Brian Froud, Arthur Rackham, Alan Lee, Ed Org and Rodney Matthews have crept and are living just beyond the edges of human civilisation. A world in which a vague memory of a long-past, closer relationship with the mysterious Fae lingers in stories told around camp fires and the inherited rituals of the tribes. As fascinating as the world was, we felt there was something missing. It had been the miniatures that had gripped us and drawn us into the world all those years ago and yet, search as we might, we couldn’t find miniatures to represent the races from the game. Where could we get the seashell-encrusted Shellycoat? The gruesome, flayed Nuckelavee? The downright odd one-legged, one-eyed, one-armed Fachan?
Last year we ventured into the business of miniatures production, with a range of Myeri Marsh Demons- the founding creatures of the world of The Woods. Armed with the knowledge our first foray had provided we set out upon a more ambitious task- producing one of each of the creatures featured in The Woods. Sculpting began in November last year, and the range is nearly complete. A few have had trial castings taken and we’re busy painting some of them up so you can see them in all their glory, but to get the full range of 50 creature types cast and into production we’re going to need some help. We’ve got sketchbooks full of ideas to expand the range, and we’re planning a quarterly survey on our website to give our customers the chance to decide which race we work on next. There are Myeri Coral Knights, Spriggan Bandits, Bucca Raiders, Huldra Clansfolk and many others, but we can’t expand until we have a basic range.
We hope you like the look of our sculptures, we’re really pleased with their character and have loved painting the ones that have been cast, so if you’d like to own a set of these quirky, metal gaming figures this is your chance. They’re in 28mm scale to fit with most other companies’ fantasy wargaming miniatures and are supplied in sets according the area of the world they inhabit.
Folk from the Hills are more solitary wanderers with the strong sense of mystery that comes from their association with the ancient standing stones, burial mounds and monuments that stand across the high country.
Folk from the Seas keep themselves largely hidden from the inland folk, only occasionally venturing upon land to deliver a message, seek help or, most frequently, seek prey for devouring… or worse. Among their number are both the most gentle and the most horrific of folk.
The Folk who live in the Woods are the closest to human society, often giving help to lost wanderers in the forests. Although they come from other planes and realms they have developed strong ties with the natural world which surrounds them and many have adopted the forms and manners of animals and plants to keep themselves hidden until they wish to reveal their true natures.
The Folk of the Mines live in established cities carved into the hillside for their previous masters and are robust, if generally short in stature.
The Fae, the World Dancers, are the movers and shapers of the cosmos. Leaping across realms they come to conquer for their own pleasure and drag the enslaved peoples of their dominated worlds along with them. So it was that the Fae brought most of the other Folk with them when they danced into the Mortal Realm, intending to become the lords and ladies of it.
The models will be supplied with hexagonal MDF bases to fit the board of The Woods, but can easily be fixed to different shaped bases should you wish to use them with other systems. The Woods is not a wargame, and weaponry plays only a small part, so the figures are not supplied with swords, shields, axes or any other form of weapon. However, they have been designed to allow you to add your own weapons or any other accessories easily to their hands and belts. If we reach the initial goal we will be offering stretch goals of accessories packs which you can use to kit out your figures as you see fit. These packs will feature equipment, tools, weapons and small creatures to adorn your miniatures and their bases. If enough funds are raised we will also be able to offer a pack of Tuatha, the human Mortals whose ritual quest forms the basis of The Woods board game.
The Woods is available as a free print-and-play download from the Oakbound Games website, but as part of this Kickstarter we are also offering some special The Woods rewards. For £30 you can get yourself an original piece of artwork from the game, signed and framed. For £25 we are also offering a limited edition, signed and numbered, hardback version of the Leabhair Scéalta- the book of tales, featuring expanded information on all the races and artwork.
STRETCH GOAL 1: UNLOCKED!
Miniatures Accessory Pack: An assortment of tools, weapons, armour and everyday objects to complement The Woods miniatures. The pack will be available as a new reward once the goal is reached.
STRETCH GOAL 2: UNLOCKED!
The Fireside Folk, or Tuatha. The Mortals, legacy of the Fae. If the Kickstarter reaches £2500 there'll be a set of six Tuatha to match the characters in the game up for grabs!
Thank you for your support.
Risks and challenges
The greens (initial sculptures) for all of the figures are almost done, within a couple of weeks of the Kickstarter launching they should be complete. We have a foundry lined up to take the moulds and production run, and we have used them previously so know their timescales and quality well. We don't expect any delays and hope that the figures will be ready for shipping before the end of November, but just in case we're giving December delivery as an estimate.
Once a figure has been sculpted it is taken to the foundry where the mouldmakers work out how best to position the model within the mould. Sometimes it is necessary at this point to return a figure to the sculptor so that it can have arms, legs and sometimes more chopped off and made multipart in order to cast well. We have pre-empted this on some of our larger and more complicated models, the Nuckelavee and Cabyll Ushtey for example are both multipart figures. Designing them like this initially means we can build some flexibility into the model so you could have two of the same figure but posed differently because of the design of the multiple parts. Should any of our single-part figures need to be made multipart the process is simple and should not cause more than a week's delay. If the project total is reached before the end of the campaign we will begin talks with the foundry immediately so as to speed through this process.
After a master mould has been made in silicone the first batch (the master casts) are made in high-tin-content lead. This preserves all the original details and gives a hard-wearing model that can then be used to take the production moulds. These are vulcanised rubber moulds taken from the master casts and from these the final castings are taken. The mouldmaking process takes around 4-6 weeks depending on how busy the foundry are at the time and we are very pleased with the quality of the figures they have supplied in the past. When we toured their workshops last year we saw moulds from Hasslefree and a number of major film companies so our miniatures will be in good company!
Should there be any problems we will, of course, let you know as soon as possible. We have had some excellent feedback from our Myeri Marsh Demons range, have learnt a great deal from the process and are hoping that the quality of these miniatures will be even better.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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