Let's begin with the 2 very first painted metal casts of the TGG, done by the expert hand of James Wappel: Mimi the Radio and Tania Tanker.
In this Update:
- It's a Long Way to the Top if you want to rock'n roll (Production Update)
- It's Showtime (First Wave Now Coming)
- Delivering the Goods (Production Images)
- Looks That Kill (New Heroine Renders)
- Big Guns (Artillery)
- Freewheel Burning (Jailbirds' Bikes and Trike)
- Photograph (Photos of 3D prints)
- Got to Choose (Updated Drop Ship Page and Pledge Manager)
- Ace of Spades (Visit of our Concept Artist)
- Princess of the Dawn (Sisters and Dark Elves)
- Revelations (Behind-the-Scenes Video Hangouts)
(And just as the last update's summary had a Big Band Theory theme to it, this one has been themed after a Jailbird's music player's playlist. You can click on each coloured title of this post to listen to the songs.)
It's a Long Way to the Top (if you want to rock'n roll) - Production Update
Well, we are finally in March 2014. When we launched last June, March seemed an eternity away. Since then, the days have just been a blur, and the whole team has been working like crazy to create the best possible minis in time.
Now, the first wave of releases is upon us, but according to what we stated at the time of launch in the Kickstarter description, we should be about the deliver the entire project right now. So we think it is a good time to give you a global summary of everything we've been working on, and how our schedules have been evolving over the past months.
First of all, we want to thank you for your outstanding and continuing support. We keep on getting your emails and private messages everyday, and, overwhelmingly, the message you're giving us is that you love what we are showing you and that we must continue doing the best possible work and not to compromise quality. So it definitely looks like we're on the same page here, and that's really heartening, because we absolutely hate to be behind schedule.
Indeed, we've made some pretty drastic choices towards improving the quality of the sculpts. As you know from out previous Updates, we decided to scrap the whole Troops's first 3D prints and initial production because we felt that some details were not good enough, and we also were not completely happy with the ball-joint system, which was not giving you the freedom we wanted you to have for posing the characters and swapping parts. As you can imagine, this sort of thing is actually quite hard to test in 3D.
Also, you should know that, in the same spirit, since the beginning of the sculpting process, we have been reworking many Heroines. The Cruz and Lady Hilda von Stroheim versions that we showed you recently are definitely not the same as the ones you saw at the Kickstarter launch. It may not be obvious at first glance, but they went through very serious rework, which took them to a whole new level. Mostly, we spend much time on their posing to make them more dynamic, more life-like, and more charismatic. And of course we finely detailed many of their accessories.
It has been the same for other models like Kiki Bulldozer, Nepharyaa, Ilsa Wolfenstein, Aleksandr Kurganov, etc. Not to mention models like Baba-Yaga, Arushka, Snow Ivanka, whom you've all seen in recent updates, but whom we decided to take a notch up as well (there is a new version of Ivanka further down this page). But there are also many others, such as #42, or the alternate version of Severina Madsen, which both appear for the first time in this Update, who also went through quite a few reworks as well.
The list goes on, and the one that takes the prize for most annoying lady (and, come to think of it, that's probably not a surprise given her personality), is undoubtedly Lieutenant Parker. She has been one of the very first miniatures for which we had a sculpt before the Kickstarter launch. But we've never been 100% happy with it. And she keeps on giving us attitude, so this is one lady who may well be among the last to be finalized.
In a way, the unexpected success of this Kickstarter and your continuing wish for an out-of-the-ordinary miniature line have given us the incredible opportunity to push our standards even higher and give the TGG project an entirely new scope. At the time of launch, when we wrote on the KS project page that we had 80% of the sculpting work done, we were not joking. And if we had followed our original plans, we would be currently in the process of wrapping up with the last batch of minis on their way to you.
But the means you gave us meant that we were able to rework most of the sculpts, to use the Free Upgrades to really develop very distinct alternate versions of many Heroines, and, of course, to increase the originally planned Kickstarter offering, such as a completely different set of Freebees than we'd originally planned, Uber Stretch Goals, and probably many more Free Upgrades than what was good for us ;) Recently, we recounted everything we have to produce for this Kickstarter. Believe it or not, there are over 180 different complete sculpts (including characters and vehicles). To this, we need to add all the alternate heads, arms, weapons and other options, which in the end works out to about 250 sculpts for this Kickstarter! As a regular year has about 250 work days, it translates to more than one sculpt per day!!!
We're sincerely sorry that we have to keep you waiting more than originally expected. Your trust and your support are of utmost importance in a project such as this one, and we hope that we are doing the right thing by you by refusing to compromise on the quality of the sculpts. It's pretty hard and heavy with consequences for a small company like ours to decide to rework a whole segment of the production like we are doing. But based on your comments, we are on the same page about this.
The good thing is that the First Wave is now upon us. And after that, there is a steady stream of new TGG regularly coming out of the foundries.
Showtime (First Wave Now Coming)
As mentioned earlier, the first wave is not a super big one but it's getting the ball rolling. The miniatures of the First Wave are currently in production. They are:
The Jailbirds: Blondie, Bernadette, Mimi the Radio, Yoko, Cruz, The 5 Lulus, the Freebie Lulu, Harry the Hippo
The Kurganova Shock Troops: Shashenka, Tarja, Irina Vega, Volga Potemkine, Charlie the war bulldog, Natasha
The Iron Empire: Drusilla (Kickstarter exclusive), Mortaria, Vera Krabbenhöft, Lady Hilda von Stroheim, Jinx
As originally planned, the metal Heroines are going to be the first ones out of the gate, and we are looking at receiving them in about 2 ½ weeks.
The spin-cast resin Heroines of the first wave will be completed about 2 weeks after that.
This means that you are going to get the Pledge Manager very soon. More on that below.
Due to your very positive feedback on spin-cast Heroines, and the fact that we had to do some more works on the Troops, we have decided to turn the production schedule around, and produce at least a large chunk of spin-cast resin Heroines before getting back to the Troops.
Delivering the Goods (Production Images)
So below, you can see various pics from the production. All the spin-cast resin images were taken directly at the foundry, and you can see exactly how the miniatures come out of the moulds on large star-shaped sprues. Doesn't it look like Harry is having a great day at the fair, riding a Ferris wheel?
And here are the 2 very first painted metal casts of the TGG, done by the expert hand of James Wappel: Mimi the Radio and Tania Tanker. It's really great to finally see the final step of the production journey of the first TGG miniatures. James is currently painting more TGG miniatures, and we will of course continue to share the images with you.
Looks That Kill (New Heroine Renders)
Here is a bunch of new Heroines renders, some of them completely new, and some of them in their alternate versions.
On Snow Ivanka: We were not entirely happy with the render of Snow Ivanka that we showed you in the previous update, so we reworked her hat, her cloak, and her posing to give her a more elegant feel. However, it is a miniature which looks much better as a 3D object compared to a 3D render. That's the reason why you'll also find further down a little turntable video showing her in her full-3D glory.
On Katrina Zerga: On the Free Upgrade list, we had hoped to give Katrina a fully-functional helmet visor. However, it turns out that doing that meant ruining the helmet's design, so we went another route and created a completely new alternate head with the visor down.
On Punky: We received several messages asking us to give her an alternate weapon that would give her more of an 'in action' pose, like she's actually in the middle of firing, so we did that.
On Alternate versions: we've seen several comments here and there about the alternate versions, and people wondering which version they would get. So we wanted to clarify this: thanks to your amazing support during the Kickstarter, all the alternate versions were unlocked (we called Free Upgrades) and so, you are getting the alternate parts for free in addition to the standard version of the miniature. This means that if you choose, for example, Mimi the Radio, you get a miniature with 2 different heads and 2 different weapons.
However, for each alternate version that we created, we've tried to bring a new feel to the miniature, because we know that some of you might want to use the 2 versions.
Big Guns (Artillery)
As begun last month, we are continuing to unveil the Artillery supports.
So here are the last 2 Jailbirds Artillery sets as well as 2 KST Artillery sets.
Remember that each Artillery Box will include alternate parts for customisation: 2 additional alternate heads, one additional pair of legs, one additional pair of arms holding alternate accessories.
Also, please note that each box comes with 2 different weapons mounts for the artillery piece: you can see all the details at the bottom of the TGG Kickstarter home page.
Freewheel Burning (Jailbirds' Bikes and Trike)
Coming out of the sunset with all guns blazing, here are the Jailbirds on their wheels of steel!
The Jailbirds have developed their own kind of warbikes, which they can pilot hands-free, so that they can pack even more firepower.
And while the Biker girls swirl around and sting the enemy like hornets, the Trike follows in their wake and mows down the surviving opposition.
Photograph (Photos of 3D prints)
We've received another bunch of 3D prints a few days ago and, as always, it's pretty amazing to finally see the sculpts as a real object and at such a small scale.
So here are the Lulus, which are definitely awesome, if you ask me. They are full of little details and rank pretty high on the cute scale. Even our non-hobbyists (girl)friends may well fall in love with them.
And of this whole bunch, the print that was perhaps the most exciting was the TGG Kickstarter exclusive Drusilla, because she exceeded our expectations in the way she relays our original concept for her. We'd always envisioned as the perfect hood ornament for a very classy diesel-punk car. Couldn’t you just see her on the hood on an old Rolls Royce?
Got to Choose (Updated Drop Ship Page and Pledge Manager)
Obviously, with the First Wave coming on, we will very, very soon open the Pledge Manager so that you can make your Rewards selection and tell us which minis you want. In the meantime, you can still use the unofficial Pledge Calculator (LIEN) to play around with your selection.
We've also added a few Drop Ship Locations to our list, you can check it out here.
Ace of Spades (Visit of our Concept Artist)
This month was a bit special for us because Alex Boca, our amazing concept artist, came to France to pay us a visit and work with us for a week. Alex lives in Romania, more precisely in Transylvania, very close to Dracula's castle, where he tells us he's been on picnics several times... But despite this, Alex is the most charming person you could imagine. And we had an awesome time finally working face-to-face and hand-in-hand. We reviewed a lot of sculpts together, and Alex provided very helpful insights into solving some tricky posing issues.
It was also very exciting for him to see his work translated to actual miniatures, and particularly when we received the 3D prints of the Lulus. You should know that Alex told us that working on the Lulus was one of the most challenging jobs in his life, as he's so much more accustomed to draw giant bloody berserk warriors than dainty little cutie pies ;) But just like us, his heart melted when he finally had the 3D prints in his hands.
We were so busy working together while he was with us that we did not even think of snapping a photo of us all together. But in the image below, you get to see our backs as we're excitedly looking at the just-arrived 3D prints of the Lulus.
Princess of the Dawn (Sisters and Dark Elves)
From what we've seen here and there, the first image for the future Sisters of Eternal Mercy project (our next Kickstarter) has had quite an impact and so, here is another one for your viewing pleasure :)
It introduces The Davidians. This very special unit is named after the legendary Saint Davidia. The stories say that to protect a desperate civilian population, she stood almost naked before the gigantic creature Goliathus and single-handedly defeated him.
The Davidians embody the fight of the weak and small against the powerful ones. The Davidians carry a very special weapon, the Shocksword, a cyber blade designed to generate a shock wave which resonates with the molecular structure of heavy armouring. The heavier an opponent is armoured, the stronger the impact of the Shocksword.
To be protected for the impact of their own weapon, the Davidians must be nearly naked, to the exception of their heavy cyber boots which are designed to absorb the formidable recoil impact created by their weapons.
So it is not rare to see the fragile Davidians charging monstrous metal-clad opponents on the battlefield and reduce them to a pulp.
And just so you know, Alex is currently working on both the Sisters of Eternal Mercy and the Dark Elves Invasion. Here is a very short video that will give you a sneak peak at one of the wicked things he is working on for the Dark Elves.
Revelations (Behind-the-Scenes Video Hangouts)
With the visit of Alex, things got a bit pushed back on the Video Hangouts. But we are still planning to do them. As we already said, each one will be on a very specific theme that will give you a behind the scene look at our creative work. We don't have a set date for this yet, but we intend to do the first one this month.
In this first episode, we will tell you the story of how Mimi the Radio and Foxy Dynamite came to life. You'll discover how, sometimes, we drop an idea because we think it's not really working, and then accidentally stumble upon it again, to find that it was indeed pretty cool to begin with. We'll show you the research we did on these characters, and the very first mock-up sculpts we did for them...