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A Deep Space Horror board game with 50 amazing miniatures from Mike McVey!
A Deep Space Horror board game with 50 amazing miniatures from Mike McVey!
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4,278 backers pledged $951,254 to help bring this project to life.

Sculpting the Grendlr

Mike posted this over on the Studio McVey blog (where there are larger pictures) - but we thought we would share it here too - enjoy!


One of the most enjoyable parts of making Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster, was working with the sculptors. Seeing wonderful concepts being realised in 3D is such an exciting process - and one that I never tire of. I'm proud to have worked with some of the very best talents in the gaming industry on this product - miniatures have always been the focus of what we do at Studio McVey, and I wanted to make sure the figures we put in the finished game were as good as anything people had seen before.

The Grendlr is the largest and most imposing of all the Strain miniatures (in this game anyway!) - so it really needed to be represented with an impressive sculpt. I commissioned the work to Jacques-Alexandre Gillois, who I have worked with quite a bit on our Limited Edition resin line - and who's sculpting never fails to amaze me.

The process starts with sending the concept to the sculptor - in this case (as with all the Strain miniatures), the concept was by Roberto Cirillo. I want to talk more about Roberto's contribution to this project in a separate post - but suffice to say, he absolutely nailed it with the Grendlr.

Once JAG had the drawing, and we had discussed the size and other technical aspects of the process - he was away. The first pictures he sent were of the armature with very basic bulks in place - some sculptors are quite approximate at this stage, just building a rough support for the more precise work that will follow. JAG is very precise though - the armature is soldered and the bulks are neat and exact.

Next - the masses of the finished creature are put in place and detailing started. In the picture below, the sculpting is a quite advanced, and a lot of the smaller details are already in place. JAG works in a polymer clay (or a mix of different 'clays' I believe), so the whole sculpt is wet at this stage and won't be baked and hardened until most of the work in complete.

The last stage is to work on the baked miniature, and use a blade to sharpen up some of the edges, and add any parts that need to be rendered in epoxy putty - including filling any small undercuts. 

I'm sure you'll agree it's a pretty amazing piece of work, that both captures the feel of the concept and adds to it - making it seem 'real'.

I'll be posting pictures from some of the other sculptors who worked on this project in future posts.



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    1. Brian Skov-Nielsen on

      Nothing enters the Heorot, Beowolf will slay the beast before it enters and all the danes will rise and the grendel and all its kin will be slain.

    2. Emery Calame on

      That looks like something that could stalk through the hall of Heorot and take big bloody bites out of sleeping danes alright!

    3. Robin Lees

      Can't wait for this to be the $300,000 stretch goal ;-)

    4. Missing avatar

      qmpsjj on

      a little discount on resin SW models for a bit would be a great stretch goal.

    5. Daniel Perez Ares on

      JAG is one of the best sculptors no doubt about it !

    6. PrintMonkey on

      My... What big... TEETH you have...

    7. KZ (KingZombie)

      Amazing! I wish I had that kind of talent!

    8. Lawrence "Saker" Collins

      I don't suppose you could make the resin version available as an add-on to this KS campaign . . . at a discounted super-special price? 25 quid is lots a human monies.

    9. Lawrence "Saker" Collins

      Stunningly beautiful.
      Of course, my opinion would be different were I standing in front of a full-sized living version.

    10. Octavio Arango on

      Haha. The really cool thing is that all of those I could see working as a different mini. They first one, bare bones as it is, is remarkably creepy!

    11. Avicenna on

      Bloody brilliant! JAG is a legend

    12. Bolognesus on

      Don't be. get that DVD out and just do as it says. painting organic models like this to an acceptable to good standard is really a lot easier than you'd think. some basic techniques can accomplish a rather impressive result - especially on a good sculpt like this, which will, for the most part, almost paint itself! (painting bad models to look good is where it gets hard!)

    13. Jess on

      @Joshua R - I feel that. I was one of the proponents of the painting guide; I don't doubt my technique as much (though I will be repainting some thoroughly mediocre 40k chaos marines in practice before starting on these guys) as I do my choice of color. If the guide covers the paint and wash colors, then I feel set. This is going to be an awesome game. I'm just not sure if I"m set to invest in battlefoam for it, yet. :)

    14. Forest L Ramsey on

      I've been playing with miniatures forever. And I understand the process of sculpting in theory. However, when you see the process from idea to finished work, I can't help but feel like it's more akin to magic than a craft. Awesome stuff!

    15. Michael OD on

      Can't wait to paint this beast up.

    16. Joshua R on

      Just wild... as a novice painter, I'll be terrified to sully it up with a mediocre color job because the sculpt is amazing.

    17. Shoogoo on

      I'm speechless