This is a Toughest Girls of the Galaxy Update for our last Kickstarter project.
These miniatures will be available in our webshop later this year.
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 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...
Written on March 11, 2014
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In this Update:
• The Ball Joint Extrapolation
• The First Casts Production
• The Spin-Cast Resin Equation
• The Command Groups Finalization
• The New Heroines Apparition
• The First Mecha Presentation
• The Artillery Humanization
• The 3D Prints Escalation
• The Pledge Manager Compilation
• The Webinars Observation
• The Dark Elves and Sisters Conceptualization
• The Game Design Excitation
• The Winning Captions Multiplication
• The Friendly Support Ramification
• The Heroines Resizification
Sorry, we kind of went nuts on the titles...
The Ball Joint Extrapolation
In our last Update, we explained that we were reworking some details on the Troops, mostly minor proportion issues.
However, because we spent quite a bit of time playing with the actual casts, we saw that there was also room for improvement with the ball-joints system.
As you know, we have made some pretty radical choices to give you the most dynamic posing possible. However, this makes the multi-part swappability more difficult to achieve in an effective and elegant way.
We worked on that quite a lot in the 3D programs on the computer, but some parameters can only really be assessed with actual, real-life objects, which can be affected by such insignificant things as, for example, the thickness of a layer of glue...
Indeed, while gluing the parts together, we noticed that, when arranging some of the more extreme poses, the layer of less than one half millimeter of glue was sufficient to effectively disrupt the pose and make it look, well, not as elegant and balanced as we want it to be.
So, we're now going back into the 3D software to make the necessary adjustments before the 3D reprint of the masters. This means, again, a bit more delay for the Troops, as it is now Round 3 of the Modification of the Troops. We hope you agree that it's a worthwhile one.
The First Casts Production
But at last, the first Wave is finally nearly upon us.
The first set of Heroines are now at the foundry, being prepped for casting.
Two other batches will follow this week and the week after that.
Depending on how long the production casting takes, we plan to make either a First Wave with all of these Heroines, or 2 mini-waves with the 2 initial series of Heroines.
This First Wave is intended to include Yoko, Tania, Nathasha, Mimi, Volga, Vera, Irina, Hilda von Stroheim, Blondie, Bernadette, Cruz, vonX, Aaqila, Tarja, Sashenka, Mortaria, Katrina Zerga, the 5 Lulus + the Freebee Lulu, and the 3 mascots (Charlie, Harry, Jinx).
There is a chance that part of this First Wave will also be available in spin-cast resin just a few weeks after the metal release.
Err... wait a minute! Did we just write Spin-cast resin Heroines?
The Spin-Cast Resin Equation
In our last Update, we explored the possibility of making the Heroines available in spin-cast resin as well as in white metal. We asked your opinion on this topic, and a vast majority of the replies we got supported that option.
So, it is now official!
Barring a major catastrophe or a natural disaster, we'll have all the Heroines available both in white metal and in spin-cast resin.
HOWEVER, please note that this was not the original plan. As stated in the last Update, the Troops and Supports will always get priority treatment in our resin-cast production schedule. This means that most of the spin-cast resin Heroines will be available ONLY once the rest of the production has been taken care of.
And yet, at this point in time, since we are reworking several details on the Troops, there is a good possibility that a first batch of Heroines be made in spin-cast before the foundry starts working on the Troops. We'll keep you posted on that.
The spin-cast resin Heroines will be available at the same price as the metal ones.
The Command Groups Finalization
As promised, here are the sculpts of the Command Boxes for the Jailbird Division, the Kurganova Shock Troops and the Iron Empire.
This means that all the Troopers are all virtually done now. We are just finishing a few of the Heavy Weapon Specialists guns, which we will show you in the next Update. And we are eagerly moving to get the Support Units done.
The New Heroines Apparition
Of course, we'll also been working on a whole bunch of new Heroines. Here is the latest batch.
And please note that this last one, Arthemisia, is still a Work-in-Progress, but she was so close to be done, we wanted to share her with you anyway...NB: Work-in-progress
The First Mecha Presentation
And here is the first of the 3 Mechas, the KST one.
Please note that the pilot, at this point in time, is just a place-holder and not the definitive version.
Now that the sculpt of the machine itself is done, and we are working on an assembly system that will help you get the most flexibility possible when you put it together.
If we succeed, this means that you will be able to pose the Mecha in many different ways. And therefore, you'll be able to have a full unit of them while making them all look different.
The Artillery Humanization
Here is also our first set of Artillery for the Jailbirds.
The 3D Prints Escalation
One of our main tasks at this point in time is to finish outputting the Heroines 3D Prints.
We are preparing the 3D files in the required format, sending them to the 3D printer, verifying the prints when they come back in.
Sometimes, we need to fix some issues, create a new 3D file and send the corrected version for a reprint. Then, everything goes to the foundry for production.
Once at the foundry, the 3d prints are first duplicated to create enough submasters which will be used to make the production moulds.
It is at that point that we do a final check of the prototypes, and we may request changes, perhaps even new moulds before going into actual production.
Below you'll find images of some of the 3D prints that are being prepped to be sent to the foundry this week.
The white stuff that you see on the pictures are just a bit of Blue Tack (Patafix) to temporarily hold the miniature together for the photo shoot without damaging the delicate 3D prints.
The Pledge Manager Compilation
As we are nearing the release of the First Wave, we will soon be opening the Pledge Manager. You will be notified as soon as it goes live.
We are often getting questions as to what will be doable with the Pledge Manager, so here are some of the answers we often provide:
You will be able to up you pledge for a limited time if you want to.
You will be able to change you shipping address if you need to do so.
You will be able to notify us if you want to use a Drop Shipper, and which one it will be.
If you don't use a Drop Shipper, but still want to get your shipment as soon as we have minis available, you will be able to purchase shipping for as many waves as you want.
If you have other questions, just drop us a line.
The Webinars Observation
Did you pledge for one of the Webinars, or for the Connoisseur Box or the Connoisseur Add-on?
Then by now, you should have received an email message giving you the location and password of the recordings of the Art Direction and the 3D Sculpting Webinars we presented back in December.
These two webinars went on much longer than expected, and so, you are looking at over 7.5 hours of video, instead of the planned 5 hours.
We went deep into the most important notions that we rely on to create Raging Heroes miniatures, and we tried to explain them in the most approachable manner.
If you haven't received your email, please contact me.
If you wished you had been able to be a fly on the wall, then please know that we are about to do some Google Video Hangouts that will be recorded and shared, and that will cover aspects of our work.
These Hangouts will be available for free to everyone. Of course they won't go into as many details as the Webinars did, but they will give you a good feel of the work we are doing on a daily basis.
The Dark Elves and Sisters Conceptualization
Our concept artist Alex has been doing some amazing work for our next Kickstarter project.
Only last week, he sent us over 40 different designs for that project, and then 40 more today, most of which were beyond excellent!
At this point in time, Round 1 for the Concept Art of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Dark Elves is done. Round 2 will aim at filling the gaps in our range and finessing a few special characters and troops and, overall, make sure that everything is consistent across the range.
A lot of work has also been done on the Sisters, and while we are still debating some very specific points, here is one Sister character, a low-ranking officer from the Regular Troops in its Sci-Fi version. We hope it will whet your appetite...
The Game Design Excitation
It's now been a long time since we began working on the Raging Heroes game.
However, to date, we've never been able to give it our full attention.
But this is about to change.
Since the very beginning, our plan has been to come up with a fresh and exciting new way of looking at the wargame experience. We have accumulated (and discarded!) many ideas and concepts since we embarked on this quest. And we are now not very far from implementing these into a rule system.
To help us in this task, we are currently in contact with several renowned game designers who have made ground-breaking work in these last few years.
Wish us luck!
The Winning Captions Multiplication
As you know, we have an ongoing caption contest featuring the TGG characters which takes place on our Facebook page. Here is the winning entries and some runner-ups for Bernadette, followed by the runner-ups for Sergeant Parker.Winning entry - Congrats to Dan Sanders!
The Friendly Support Ramification
We are regularly contacted by crowdfunding project creators who want us to talk about and push their campaign in our TGG Updates. We usually don't, though, because we don't believe you should be subjected to third party 'adverts' in this manner.
However, today, we are making an exception: one of our TGG backers, Brian Khoo, has contacted us regarding his crowndfunding project, and in this case, since Brian's project is not directly game-related and we thought it might be a good opportunity if you are a PC power user, we decided to let you know about it.
We are not involved in any way in Brian's project, but this is a way for us to thank a member of our backers community who have been so generous and supportive of our work.
His project is called 'The Gladius - World's First Passive Submersion-Cooling Gaming PC'
It will be running until February 16, 2014.
The Heroines Resizification
One of the questions we're being asked with increasing frequency these days is whether we plan to release some or all of the TGG Heroines in 54mm or, even, in 6 inches (about 150mm).
Of course, it would be something great, and actually quite simple to do, as it requires no new sculpt, except perhaps a few details enhancement. However, the cost of printing and moulding would be quite high, and of course, manufacturing schedules have to be taken into consideration...
So, while we really like the idea, we shall need to make sure that it won't impede our other projects and, most importantly, that there will be enough demand for it.
It's been suggested that a small Kickstarter later on in the year would allow us to gauge demand and determine the project's viability. We think this could work.
In that case, we'd probably make sure to have a straightforward simple board game to accompany the miniatures, and possibly create a set of chess pieces with the TGG.
If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to share, either in the comments or via a direct message.
Written on February 04, 2014
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We won't be showing you any of our new sculpts today. But we just had to cheer in the New Year and send you our warmest wishes with an Update, so here are many other news and things that you may enjoy and be interested in, as well as new, never-seen-before images of the Toughest Girls of the Galaxy.
And we already have a new Update in the works with many more new sculpts, as we are currently finishing all the Command Group boxes (25 new sculpts!), and other Heroines too.
There's quite a bit of info below, so here's a quick summary of what's included:
- Jailbirds Best Wishes
- New views of the TGG
- We'll sell no wine before it's time...
- Test casts
- “Spin-cast” Heroines?
- New 3D Prints
- The sculpting of Jinx
- Looking back on 2013 and what's up in 2014 (including 2 teams, the game, more background, video hangouts, TGG Plush Chibis...)
- Dark Elves and Sisters of Eternal Mercy Kickstarter
- Pledge Manager
- Sneak peek of what's to come in the next Update
Jailbirds Best Wishes
Oh, by the way, Punky and Blondie wanted to give you their very own best wishes for the New Year. Well, they didn't want to, but you know how it with Harry's beer barrel... Things just happen ;)
They ended up shooting selfies in the wee hours of New Year's day. While we could not recover the actual SnapChat photos, Alex, our concept artist, caught them in the act.
And now, for something completely (errr... a bit) different...
First of all, one of your fellow TGG backers asked us if it would be possible to see back views of the sculpts we've already released.
Indeed, we've been so caught up in the process of sculpting the minis, and then preparing renders for you all that we completely forgot to do this before.
So, here's a quite strange series of images... They show a bunch of characters who all look like they couldn't care less about you... Or, more charitably, we could perhaps say that they are all resolutely turning their back on 2013 and looking out to 2014! Something we can all emulate ;)
Anyway, we think you'll find plenty of cool details on these images!
We'll sell no wine before it's time...
While reviewing some early test casts of the TGG Troopers just before Christmas, we had A LOT of discussions about several small details that were still bugging us. Things like some of the accessories that seemed a tad too small. A head that could have been a touch bigger. Things like that. Nothing really major, but frustrating small problems that, once they are in the production casts, are with all of us forever.
OK, so we're picky!
If the TGG Kickstarter had not been so successful, we would have no choice but to let those issues go because we would not have the financial means to polish everything up to the last detail. However, thanks to your amazing support, we can allow ourselves to be super picky and give you the best possible quality. In this case, this means that we are going to reprint and then remaster a certain number of Troopers to make sure they all fit perfectly well together before we can give the final approval for production casts.
This means that since we did not give our green light for the production casting of the Troopers yet, and because most of our partners were closed for a 2-week period, we are slipping a month out on this release :(
It is always quite heart-wrenching to decide to add some extra time, and so, inevitably, delays to the production process. We know how much you guys are waiting to get your hands on those minis. Not to mention the extra costs involved (although this one is more heart-wrenching to Mireille than to any of us;)). But since you keep on telling us that you want the best possible quality from us, and also because we're probably too perfectionist for our own good, we do think it's the right thing to do.
We don't have the exact production date for the TGG Troopers yet, but we should know more soon, now that we are back working with our partners. However, please note that this is not affecting the first wave of Heroines, who are tracking for production for late January/early February as mentioned in a previous Update.
We'll sell no wine before it's time... See the reference here:http://youtu.be/oSs6DcA6dFI
As we already mentioned, we've also been working a lot with our foundries over the past few months. Now, just before we're about to produce the first TGG troopers in spin-cast resin, here is a test that has been done on one of our pre-existing miniatures, the fairly complex Brunhilde on War Steed with Great Banner. This miniature is already available in white metal and we thought it would make a perfect test subject for a full production run before producing the TGG Troopers.
We must say that we are extremely excited with the results. The crispness of the details is pretty amazing, the material is very easy to work with, it is easy to glue and to sand and to bend (if you let it rest in hot water before doing so). The occurrence of bubbles is very minimal, even on this prototype run, before any fixes have yet been applied. And we already have several approaches and techniques in the works to reduce their occurrence even more. The only concern to date is that, sometimes, some parts come out of the mould a bit bent. But as we mentioned earlier, this issue can easily be corrected by immersing the piece in hot water for a few minutes and then bending back in place.
The successful conclusion of this testing and prototyping process may not appear like a big deal, but it is in fact a huge achievement: for confidentiality reasons that you will easily understand, we can't go into the work and development that were needed to achieve these results, but it has been a very large endeavour and we are very happy to see it come to fruition.
This directly brings us to a question that was asked a few weeks ago: “Will you make the Heroines available in plastics?”
Once again, we do want to clarify that, when we are not using white metal, the material that we use is spin-cast resin. So it is somewhat between plastics and resin. As you can see on the Brunhilde pictures above, it is a material that brings out the finest details.The plan has always been to produce all of our Heroines in white metal, and the the rest in spin-cast resin, with the exception of the limited number of high quality hand-poured resin Heroines that come with the Connoisseur Box and Add-on.
However, since the production of the Kickstarter has so far been progressing well and without any major hiccups, we are now considering the possibility of also making the Heroines available in spin-cast resin too, for those of you who would prefer this material.
At this point in time, we can't assure you that this will be feasible, but it's looking like a distinct possibility. In any case, however, it would mean that these spin-cast resin Heroines would be produced after all the the other spin-cast miniatures are done. So, that would mean a later delivery date.
Of course, we are interested to know your thoughts on this:
-> Is this an option that would interest you?
-> And if it is an option that you would choose, and because it cannot not be done any faster, will you be OK to wait, say, an additional 2-3 months for them?
Oh, and please bear in mind that the Heroines will, in any case, be definitely available in white metal as originally planned.
New 3D prints
Here are a few pictures of the new 3D prints we received just before Christmas, some of which are incomplete. Our 3D printer was closed for 2 weeks during the Holiday season (as were indeed all of our suppliers) and he did not have time to finish every single part of every miniature we sent him, which is why, on the images, below, you can see, for example, an incomplete Natasha. However, he tells us that the missing parts are on their way. It's off to the foundry right as soon as we receive those missing parts, which means that our first batch of Heroines should be ready for shipping in late January or, (better safe than sorry), early February.
The sculpting of Jinx
As a special New Year treat (in France, New Year wishes are exchanged throughout the entire month of January!), we also wanted to share with you a time-lapse video of Jinx being 3D sculpted.
What you see here being done in just a few minutes is actually about 3 days of work, with much back-and-forth between 3D sculptor Andrea, Sculpt Supervisor JR, Art Director Benoit, and acting Posing Supervisor Mireille. Indeed, as mentioned before, sculpting Raging Heroes miniatures is always quite the team effort.
Looking back on 2013 and what's up in 2014
As you know, 2013 has been a pretty amazing year for Raging Heroes! The success of our TGG Kickstarter has completely redefined what is possible for us as a company, and what kind of projects we can tackle.
During 2013, our team increased from 3 to 10 and continues to grow. We have created completely new and very effective workflows. The overall quality of our sculpts has stepped up to the next level. And we can now be even more demanding on the quality of our output without flirting with bankruptcy... We've also been able to begin setting up a wider and more regular presence on social medias to share with you more images and insights in what we're doing.
So, what does this mean for 2014?
Well, of course, the first thing we are doing is working hard on delivering the TGG Kickstarter. That is our topmost priority.
A second team
But in addition, as we know that every project we work on demand a long period of single-minded focus, we have decided to set up a second Raging Heroes team. The plan is to have each team work on its own project in parallel but staggered fashion. This means that as one team is working on sculpting and outputting a project, the other one is working on researching and developing a new line of minis. In this way, we can have a more regular release schedule.
We also realised that once a project like the Toughest Girls of the Galaxy has been launched, it has a life of its own. Without a second team, the life of a project would have to be suspended for a fairly long period (at least a year) during which we would work on, for example, the Dark Elf Invasion and the Sisters of Eternal Mercy... This hardly seems fair to all of you who have been so supportive of the TGG project! You'd probably like to be able to add new units or characters to your army, such as the Old Guard we showed you in a previous Update, or any other unit that would strengthen your army.
And so, having two teams working side-by-side will eventually allow us to release new miniatures for one project while at the same time working on another project.
2014 should also be the year during which we'll launch the first version of our game. Many of you have been asking about this, and so we plan to have at least an early version of it this year.
Stories 2014 will also be the year during which we discover more about the TGG universe and its secrets. You'll find out why this universe is at war, and the very strange events that have upended the flow of human history.
The 3D Sculpting and Art Direction Webinars have been a very inspiring experience for us, and so we are thinking about setting up Google Hangouts to be able to share with you a bit more about the way we work. We are not sure exactly how we'll do this yet, but what we have in mind right now is to do some mini Webinars during which we would show you some very specific aspects of our sculpting and developing work. They won't go as deep in details as the Webinars (which ended up lasting 8 hours long in total!), but it will help you get a more technical behind-the-scenes look at what we do. I know we already talked about this, but we expect to set it up this month, so stay tuned for more on this soon. It'll be like spending a few moments with us in our studio.
TGG Plush Chibis and more...We also have plenty of other projects. Here's an example:
We've been contacted by several independent artists who tell us that they would like to expand on the TGG world and characters, sometimes in quite unexpected ways...
One has offered to create a few chibi plush versions of some of our TGG Heroines! We thought it could be a fun idea: we often see on our Facebook page that Raging Heroes fans actually enjoy sharing the Hobby with their kids, in whatever way possible. So we gave the go-ahead for a prototype Raging Heroes chibi plush toy/puppet. We hope to have it in a couple of weeks.
So please tell us:
-> What do you think?
-> Would that be of interest to you?
Dark Elves and Sisters of Eternal Mercy Kickstarter
As you know, Alex, our Concept Artist, has had much time on his hands since he finished designing the TGG characters. Therefore, since August, he's been working on adding new designs and exploring new directions for our Dark Elf Invasion and our Sisters of Eternal Mercy. He worked so well that even if we still have not begun focusing on this project yet, he has probably done 2/3rd of the DE designs, and big chunk of the Sisters'.
And so, as we did last year before launching the TGG Kickstarter, we will now begin to regularly share with you several designs for this upcoming project. There is no definite launch date for this new Kickstarter, although it would be nice to see it happen in late Spring 2014.
Also, and this is very important, please know that the Dark Elves and the Sisters of Eternal Mercy will both be available in 2 versions: Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
Fluff Alert! We'll soon begin unveiling bits and pieces of the dark and twisted background for these new factions!!!
We do keep receiving questions about the elusive Pledge Manager. So here's a formal reply on this:
At first, this being our first Kickstarter project, we thought that the Pledge Manager was something that we should provide as quickly as we could. But wiser minds prevailed. During the last few months, we realised that not only was there no real reason to rush out the Pledge Manager, but even more so, there were actually a lot of reasons for holding it back.
First of all, when we finalised some of the TGG sculpts, it became obvious to us that several of them were even better than their concepts. Therefore, asking you to choose your rewards based only on the concepts would not be fair to you. This was confirmed by many messages we received: many backers told us they wanted to see as many sculpts as possible before making their final selection.
At one point, we thought we'd release the Pledge Manager approximately at mid-point between the end of the KickstarterPledge period and the delivery date. But, with new sculpts being shown and having our mailbox filled with comments like “Wow, I never though this mini would turn out so good, now I'll have to get it too!”, waiting as long as possible was the better choice.
So our intent is to have the Pledge Manager available about a week before the release of the First Wave. This will allow us to present in the Pledge Manager as many sculpts as we can (as opposed to concepts) before you have to make your Rewards selection. And it will allow you to order from the First Wave selection, if that is what you want.
Sneak peek of what's to come in the next Update
Just to whet your appetite, here are 2 pictures showing the guys' computer screens here at the studio, so that you can get a feel for what they are working on.
Written on January 08, 2014
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On behalf of the Loud'n Raging/Raging Heroes Team, Charlie, Harry and Jinx wanted to take this opportunity to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!
And if you'd like to have them all on one image, here's a little tryptic:
Oh, and we ran a caption contest on our Facebook Page for Christmas Charlie, and here's the winning entry, by Cole Blaquesmith. (For those who don't know, this is a reference to the traditional Christmas song "Deck The Halls"):
We'll be back soon with a New Year's update: it won't feature new sculpts (that will be in the next one, later in January), but it will include, among other things, back views of many of the sculpts we've already shown you, since some of you had the good idea to request this. You'll also see photos of new 3D prints, photos of test casts that we've done with our spin-cast resin foundry on pre-existing Raging Heroes minis, and a recap of 2013 and a preview of our plans for 2014.
Shipping through the Holidays
Just thought I should mention that if, by any chance, you've been thinking about getting your hands on Raging Heroes' other minis (such as Olga, Ivanka, or Malinka Kurganova, for example, or some of our cool Dark Elves or a few other tasty morsels...), we wanted you to know that there is no rest for the wicked and, as such, please know that we will be preparing and shipping orders throughout the Holidays.
Written on December 23, 2013
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LIMITED TIME OFFER ON A LIMITED EDITION!
A few weeks ago, our resin caster told us that he had created moulds for the Kurganovas Limited Edition Box, and that he could make an initial production run of about 100 casts! We thought this would be a great opportunity for the Holiday season!
We've now received them! 100 Kurganova Limited Edition kits in high quality Resin (which include Ivanka, Olga, Malinka and Charlie). Over a third have already been sold in the past few days! And once they're all gone, it's a bit hard for us to say when the next run will be, as our resin caster will soon be very busy working on the Connoisseur Box Resin Cast Heroines...
Interested? Don't miss out!
For a limited period of time, we're offering a special deal for those who want to get the Kurganova Limited Edition Set in High Quality Resin: you'll get 5% off with this coupon: V5MTX29SHZ5N
And here's a quick-and-dirty image of all the stock we just received...
Written on December 16, 2013
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Hello everyone!! There's quite a bit of info in this Update, so here's a table of content:
- 10% off on a very Limited Resin Run of the Kurganova sisters!
- New Heroine Sculpts
- Free Upgrades: Heroine Sculpts with Alternate Heads / Weapons
- New Heroine Renders
- What about the First Wave?
- A bit more details...
- 3D printed masters
- Webinars + a brief video excerpt for you
- Communication, Social Media, and more!!!
- Write a Caption
- What else is going on?
- And last but not least: Off-duty TGG
10% off on a very Limited Resin Run of the Kurganova sisters!
Although this is not truly part of the TGG Kickstarter, we thought you'd want to be the among the firsts to know about this, especially if you went for the Connoisseur Box Pledge (or Add-on), which offers all the TGG Heroines in high quality resin.
This summer, while we were working on the Kickstarter, our resin caster found itself with a bit of spare capacity, and asked us if we wanted anything. Since our stocks were full-up at the time, we told him that we could send them the masters of the Kurganova sisters and Charlie and see what he could do with that. This was by no means a priority at that time, since we had a lot of other stuff on our hands. But a few weeks ago, he told us that he had created moulds for each of them, and that he could make an initial production run of about 100 casts. We thought this would be a great opportunity for the Holiday season!
We've already received the first 50 Kurganova Limited Edition kits in high quality Resin(which include Ivanka, Olga, Malinka and Charlie). We should receive the other 50 next week. We expect them to sell out quite quickly. Once they're gone, it's hard for us to say when the next run will be, as he will soon be very busy working on the Connoisseur Box Resin Cast Heroines...
To thank you for your support on the TGG, we created a special deal for the first 25 TGG backers who want to get a Kurganova Limited Edition Set in High Quality Resin: you'll get 10% off with this coupon: TGGspecial
Once again, please note that these minis are NOT part of this Kickstarter and will NOT be available in the Pledge Manager.
And here's a quick-and-dirty shot of all the stock we just received from the resin foundry:
New Heroine Sculpts
And now, what you've most been waiting for: brand new Heroine sculpts!
The first ones are the Yagas wielding their tremendous shamanic powers. Please note that Arushka still needs a bit of polish, and so does Baba Yaga, but we did not want to keep you from seeing the four of them together.
Here is Aaqila, ready to serve the Kurganova family.
Here is the regular version of Mimi the Radio, as you've come to know her from her concept.
And here is her alternate and even funkier version. Both heads and weapons come with the miniature.
Who would think that the rather reserved Irina Vega holds in her hand the power to eradicate entire planets?
Here is the Kickstarter exclusive, Drusilla Lepic, soaring up to the skies.
And here is the craziest Standard Bearer you'll ever meet, Punky, the Jailbirds Army Standard.
Last but not least, meet Mortaria, the deadliest of the Iron Empire's Snipers.
And here is her alternate head version:
Free Upgrades: Heroine Sculpts with Alternate Heads / Weapons
You may have already seen some of the sculpts below in previous Updates. However, as you know, they also come with Free Upgrades, which had to be sculpted too.
So here are new versions of Heroines you already know. We really enjoyed working on this because these alternate heads and/or weapons give many of them a truly new twist to their personality.
And we also used this opportunity to touch up many details and bring them up to our new quality standards.
First, here's Volga with a new head and a new gun. She looks like an entirely new mini to us.
Here is Lady Hilda von Stroheim, with a new head and a new pistol.
We also took this opportunity to massively rework the sculpt and update many, many details. So here she is for the first time with her regular head in a full-blown render.
Even when she's not helmeted, which happens only on very rare occasions, Vera never fully shows her face. Here she is, with her alternate head.
She may look innocent without her gas mask, but don't be fooled... You probably don't want to end up in Dr von X's hands...
Here is Tania Tanker with her two weapon options, a rocket launcher and a shotgun.
And here's Cruz with her two weapon options.
New Heroine Renders
You've already seen Blondie and Bernadette, but we thought it would be nice to show them to you with the new renders, which you told us you really like!
And before we did these new renders, we spent a great many hours upgrading them to our new standards.
What about the First Wave?
Our original plan was to deliver the First Wave before Christmas. But after finishing the first set of Troops and a few Heroines, we looked back to the first sculpts we had already completed when we launched the Kickstarter, and we felt they were no longer up to our new standards. So we decided to give them all a facelift!
But this pushed back our planning and landed us smack into the foundries' Christmas season, when they are fully loaded up with restocking minis for all the companies they work with.
So, as much as we wanted to make the First Wave available to you for Christmas, we'll have to wait for the Holiday rush to be over :(
Now, it is possible that this delay may not impact you directly. It concerns those of you who are going to pick up their rewards at a Drop Ship location.And also, those of you who had intended all along to pay for additional wave shipping.
But to all of you, please know that we are so very sorry about this :( We would have been so happy to have the First Wave shipped out to you for Christmas...
However, we truly believe that this decision is for the best as we are getting so many messages and emails telling us to not rush the process and take the time needed to make the best possible minis. That's why we made this tough decision.
A bit more details...
Our original plan was to have mostly Heroines in the First Wave. However, as the Kickstarter ended up way more successful than originally planned and with nearly twice as many sculpts required compared to our original plan, we had to set up a new workflow (as already explained in previous updates). This has been a very enriching process, as it pushed us to come up with truly new ways of producing miniatures. But at the same time, for many technical reasons, it forced us to shift our focus from Heroines to Troops, at least for a while. We learned so much during this phase that every person the team has now moved up to the next level! And so, the Troopers we ended up with, as well as the Heroines we created through this workflow, truly outshine the quality of the sculpts we finalized before the Kickstarter.
So we were left with a difficult choice: keep the First Wave right on time and deliver on Kickstarter time but with some lesser quality sculpts, or take more time and upgrade all the sculpts to the level we've now reached. Since, from the start, backers have been very clear in asking that we not rush things and deliver the quality that the TGG demand, we picked the second option.
Given the enthusiasm that the TGG have sparked, it would not be acceptable for us to deliver anything less than the best that we can produce.
So, after we took time to set up the new workflow and get it exactly right, made the first set of Troop boxes, and also tested that workflow on several new Heroine sculpts, we went back to several of our very first sculpts and updated them. We also added the extra weapons and heads that had been unlocked during the Kickstarter as Free Upgrades. This was not a super heavy task per se, but with the Holiday season drawing near, we ended up falling too short to have our Heroines ready for casting in what our foundries are calling the Christmas slot, that time of the year were everyone is calling for massive restocks and the foundries are all in overdrive.
This means that, in all likelihood, most the Heroines shown in this Update (as well as the previous on), will only be cast in metal and ready for shipment in late January. The Troops are made through a different process and will be right behind.
Basically, you should know that in our production process, once a sculpt is ready to go to 3D printing and metal casting, the subsequent production process is one that we have been practicing for the past 4 years, and that is now solidly established: a sculpt goes to 3D printing, comes back for quality control and preparation, then it's off to the foundry for a normal production run. Apart from issues with customs or shipping delays, all this part of the process is very straightforward and timely.
3D printed masters
Over the past few weeks, we've been working a lot with our 3D printer, sending files to him, getting back the 3D-printed masters, checking them out and then sending them to the foundry.
When we receive a 3D-printed master, there is not a lot of cleaning to do on them, but we always have to correct a few problems here and there. Once we finally have the a real live object in our hands is the best time to double and triple check potential problems that might arise at the moulding and casting stages. For as much as we catch many undercuts and other casting issues while working in the 3D software, we pretty much always need to reach for the green stuff when the masters arrive...
With the first sets of Troops, it's about 250 parts and bits to check, clean, and prep before being able to send them to the foundry. If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you'll likely soon see pics of the guys trying to assemble the multipart characters with blue tack (obviously, we don't use glue to make sure we don't leave any residue on the masters) and, in most cases, amidst much laughter, not being very successful at it (blue tack and 3D printed masters just don't play well together!).
Nevertheless, we still managed to snap a few decent pictures which give you a better feel of what's coming. We are really excited about the quality. Also, we were very pleased to see that our plans for mix-and-matching parts with our ball joint system are working very well indeed, and will grant you much flexibility and variety on the battlefield.
Webinars + a brief excerpt for you
The first set of Art Direction and 3D Sculpting webinars took place last week-end. We had to push back the first sessions by one week as we experienced major Internet issues at our offices, and had to scramble to find an alternative. Once this was dealt with, the Webinars were truly a blast!
We were able to show and explain many things (see bottom of this post for the outline). On top of showcasing everything we had prepared, we had good Q&A sessions. And with the entire week-end reserved for this, we were able to go into overtime. In the end, much to everyone's joy, the 5-hour webinars stretched into well over 8 hours!
Here's what some of the attendees had to say:
“Thanks Team, excellent webinar. :)” [B. Keegan]
“'Non published concepts'... I'm sure a lot of people would like to see inside this folder!”[B. Arnault]
“Thank you very much for taking so much time answering our questions, have a nice evening.” [M.Gsaller]
“Fantastic tips! It is good to see I am on the right track with my ZBrush work compared to your process. Great ideas for measuring and printing parts that are very useful to me. I can sculpt with a French accent now! Looking forward to receiving my Toughest Girls! :)”[P. Keith]
“Thank you, this was very informative. I appreciate you taking the extra time beyond what was scheduled.” [J. Law]
“That was an awesome webinar, many thanks! I didn't say as much during the Sculpting Webinar as I did during the Art Direction one but this was just as informative and will definitely give me an edge when I start using Z-brush in january!” [M. Noma]
“I hope we will see all these concepts (unpublished concepts shown during the webinar) and very early sketches inside the artbook (the later it comes, the better it will be!)” [B. Arnault]
And to answer the last comment, yes indeed, they will!
Below, here's a very short excerpt from the Art Direction Webinar, where we show how we work on the underlying structure that supports every character design.
The remaining 2 Webinar sessions will be held on December 14 and 15. If you are eligible for the Webinars and have not received your invite, please contact us ASAP. Also, since both sessions are likely to run into overtime again, please note that we are moving up both sessions by one hour.
Communication, Social Media, and more!!!
It's now been 3 weeks since Bruno's joined our freelance team to create content for our communications. His first 2 weeks were mainly about acquainting himself with the TGG terminology and all of our Heroines. During that time, he also started to gather elements to help take you behind the scenes of what's happening at Raging Heroes. To this end, we have set up accounts with all the major social media, and we will use them to share with you our day-to-day experiences, our inspirations, or the goofiness that sometimes happen in the office. Each of these account is geared towards a slightly different purpose.
Our Instagram account will share sneak peaks of what's going on at the office, through pictures and short videos. So we'll try to keep our desks not too messy, and wash the coffee cups from time to time...
Our Tumblr page continues to feature images that, in a very broad sense, we find inspiring. As much as it will also now feature some of our own creations, it is also a simple and effective way for Art Director Benoit Guerville to share with you some of the stuff that fuels the creativity behind the various Raging Heroes projects.
Our Pinterest account features thematic boards dedicated to various aspects of our work. Since most of the team already uses Pinterest as a repository for their own work references, it's a very fast and effective way to share with you some of the things we shuffle through every day.
Our Youtube Channel will also be used to post longer videos, such as 3D sculpt timelapses, or to repost stuff from live streaming sessions (see below).
Many of you have asked us for more frequent updates, sneak peeks and so on. Setting up these social media account will allow us to do just that without spamming you with Updates and without taking time away from the sculpting work. We will of course continue to have big Updates more or less every month to showcase new sculpts and major news.
We know that many of you would like us to give you more news and to interact more with you. The truth is, we feel the exact same way! We'd very much like to be able to share more and interact more with you, and have you live the experience with us... Sadly, after our 12-15 hour days, it's been hard to have some time left to do that. However, after having such a great experience with the Webinars, we are exploring the possibilities of setting up regular free mini sessions, streaming live from our offices. We would do short sessions, sharing with you a specific aspect of our work. These videos would then be posted to ourYoutube Channel. We'd like to do these sessions regularly.
Write a Caption
You may have noticed that on Raging Heroes' Facebook page, we have begun an ongoing write-a-caption event.
It started with Magali, one of our French fans, who posted a funny comment under an image of Natasha. We liked it so much, we decided to have a new image for you to caption every week, and to top it with a weekly reward of 15€ voucher (to use in ourRaging Heroes webshop), and have a good laugh reading what everybody else has written.
We were a bit surprised but completely delighted to see many of our backers virtually falling in love with some of of the TGG characters! And so we thought that these caption events would be a good way to infuse the characters with even more life and personality in a fun and endearing way.
Caption suggested by Magali
Caption suggested by Roy
Of course, there are plenty of other things moving forward.
We've already done a big chunk of the Command Boxes and of the other Heroines. For example, the WereSheWolves are nearly done!
We've also added a new freelancer to the team, who will work exclusively on posing the anatomies of the characters. Posing is a part of the sculpting process that takes a lot of time. It is very hard to find the right people to do this work. 3D sculptors tend to create characters in what is called a T-pose (standing upright with arms spread out), and are not as comfortable with posing as they are with sculpting. So having a specialist do the posing contributes to increasing the speed of the sculpting process.
And we are of course continuing to work on the Artbook, as you can see in the next paragraph...
And last but not least: Off-duty TGG
Since our concept artist has finished all the TGG concept work, and since he's already done so much stuff for our other upcoming projects (i.e. the Dark Elves and the Sisters of Eternal Mercy), and since he hates twiddling his thumbs, we asked him to come up with a series of light-hearted images featuring the Toughest Girls of the Galaxy when they're NOT in combat mode. We'll of course be using them for the Artbook, and we'll also regularly share them with you.
Do tell us if you like them and if you'd like to see more. And also, feel free to suggest us scenes that you'd like to see illustrated in this manner...
Written on December 09, 2013
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