Creating our first batch of TGG Troopers as been a very enriching experience. And we are now implementing all the lessons we learned with them for the next batch of 25 Command Group Troopers. At the same time, we've been working on a big batch of Heroines and Special Characters. Today, we are showing you the firsts that are completely done, and more are on the way. In fact, many of them only need some polishing before being ready for their close-ups. That's the case, for example, with the Lulus. We are showing you 3 Lulus today, but the other 3 are very close to getting their final approval. You will also find below images of the sculpts for Vera, Volga, Keela, and Natasha.
Finally, here's an update on the Jailbirds and KST Artillery, showing you all the gun mounts.
There have been some questions about the posability of the multi-part troops, and about how the parts are split. The best way to answer this is probably to show you an image.
Each trooper is made of one pair of legs, one torso, one head, a right arm (in most cases holding a rifle), and a left arm with its hand posed to accommodate the other (firing) end of the rifle.
We basically tried all possible options many options on how to split and assemble the two hands and the rifle. What was obvious was that if we wanted to preserve the posing and the dynamic attitude of the character, we should have the rifle attached to the right arm. Then, by keeping the left hand attached to the left arm, it gives you a little bit more latitude in positioning the left hand on the rifle. And so, this creates more mix-and-match options.
Each trooper also has access to 2 “packs” of accessories (such as grenades, knives, binoculars) that you can attach to her belt in most cases.
And as previously mentioned, each box of 5 troopers includes additional heads and weapons.
All this will allow for maximum variety in posing and customising your army. Below are a few examples of TGG troopers made by mixing and matching various parts included in the kits.
There was some discussion about a couple of design elements on the Iron Empire Heavy Troopers. Namely, some people would have like to see the shoulder pads decorated, for example with some insignia or some sort of modern heraldry. This was a pertinent comment and proposal, but please remember that what you see now is the very beginning of the TGG. There will be more troop types, and more "special" or "customized" versions of some of the basic troops we are releasing through this kickstarter. We are just at the beginning of the TGG adventure and so, obviously, we are starting with the more "common" versions of these soldiers. So rest assured that we have this in mind for the future.
Another thread of comments was about the fact that these heavy troopers do not have visible abdominal armour plating. Well, there are several reasons for this: we wanted to keep them slimmer at the waist to preserve a somewhat more feminine silhouette. And there are also fluff-related reasons: you could compare the Iron Empire Heavies to American football players who have very heavy protection on the top part of their body, because they use their upper body to ram their adversaries, and light protection on the lower body in order to run fast. Actually, the IE Heavies' shoulder armours generate a force field that is used to ram their adversaries or obstacles when they charge. So these troops are used for close combat strikes where shock factor and manoeuvrability are key.
But the last, most valuable reason for us is that we want the TGG to have a pulp feel. We chose to use super big stereotypes like WWII-German-looking-zombies-brought-back-from-the-dead-by-pseudo-Egyptian-magic, and then to add to this several layers of deeper and more mature meaning. For example, we looked at the human side of this kind of world through the tragic destiny of characters such as Nertha. But let's not forget that we want to keep a somewhat B-movie, Tarantino-esque feel to it and so, yes, there will be some crazy stuff, like a baby hippo carrying beer, or a dog smoking cigars, or heavy troopers with light midriff armour. And rest assured that there will also be bigger and heavier armours too :)
As we explained in their background details, the Kurgan culture is somewhat schizophrenic. Having to deal with very profound societal and economical changes in a very short time, they are now trying to reconcile the best aspects of their ancient traditions with the amazing potential of their newfound technological genius. While the government hierarchy and the Kurganova family itself has endeavoured to banish the old ways, they have nevertheless kept in place ancient military protocols and institutions that seem somewhat removed from what the bulk of the Kurgan army have become.
The most obvious example of this is the fact that the Old Guard still acts as the Praetorian Army Corps and is in charge, among other things, of the Kurganova family protection.
The Old Guard is made up of Boyars and Berserkers. The Boyars are all descendants of ancient Kurgan noble blood lines. They are elite forces steeped in traditions and arcane protocols. Since they are seen at all formal events as guardians of the Kurganova family, one might make dismiss them as window dressing. One couldn't be more wrong. Think of them as the lictors of Ancient Rome, or the Vatican Swiss Guard.
Now, if the Boyar are the living embodiment of discipline and order, the Berserkers are their exact opposites and the contempt between the two groups is common knowledge. When the Kurgan Civil Wars erupted, when mafia war bands began using their 'were' powers, when the entire population became enmeshed in battle and blood baths, some of the Kurgans became completely possessed by their werewolf form. As their entire society crumbled, a few of the more bloodthirsty combatants began to sense that their world was heading towards complete obliteration, and they turned towards the last remaining bastions of order, mostly represented at that point by the Kurganova family, to offer their help and support in trying to salvage what could be saved of the Kurgan culture and people. Nobody knows what made these crazy creatures suddenly realise what they had become. A legend whispers that the Wolf Mother herself came in their dreams and brought them back to reason. But no one has ever confirmed or denied this. The Berserkers secrets stay with the Berserkers.
Their exact role in the last hours of the Civil War remains obscure, and it is believed that to end the bloodshed, they has to shed much blood... Once the Civil Wars were over, they felt that the blood lust was too strong in them to return to society and that they would never be able to fully control the primal rage that burned inside of them. They could neither be humans as that would have left them without a vital part of them, nor could they be werewolves as in this form, they would only bring chaos and destruction. So they asked the Kurgan scientists for a way to stay forever in-between these 2 states.
And today, with their cybernetic implants and titanium claws and jaws, they may look human, but they are as deadly as the most feral werewolves. Although they may be the black sheep of the Kurgan forces, they are the most dedicated and loyal forces the Kurganovas can have.
Now, we don't have any specific dates in mind for the release of these miniatures. So, why are we showing you this today?
Well, these characters were some of the things we had in mind if the Kickstarter had done even better than it already did. And while, until now, we had not had the opportunity to show them to you, we though it would bring a new light on the KST forces, and might help you envision whether the KST forces are for you or not, and how assembling/picking different types of troops might help you create an army that really suits your persona and tastes.
As you can imagine, in the same vein, the Iron Empire will get more Aegyptian-themed 'stuff' (characters, troops, background, etc.) and the Jailbirds, more crazy Mad-Max/Tank-Girl 'stuff' in the future as well.
What does it means for the upcoming Game?
When the game comes out, it will allow you to create a “themed” version of each army. We intend the game to be as close as possible to the fluff so that, if you want, you can make a rebel Kurgan force led by Svetlana and bent on the old traditions (with the Yagas, the Werewolves, etc.) or, on the contrary, a “modern” KST force full of mechs, bikes and other mechanical / tech devices, or perhaps even an elite force led by the Kurganova sisters and their father and made mostly of elite troops like the Boyars.
Also, some of you have asked us about what they should buy, what kind of troops, how many heroes, etc. in order to have an evenly balanced core force for when when the game comes out. Well, here's the good news: Our goal is that the game lets you play the minis that you like!
Indeed, don't you hate it when there's a great-looking mini plagued with poor stats, or a unit that would be so cool to play if only it were not systematically crushed every time you put it on the table? Well, our plan is to get rid of this problem.
How can we do this ? By approaching the attribution of the character or unit stats in a new way. We can't guarantee that it will solve every problem of game balance, but it will make a significant change for sure.
Also the game will be quite scalable, so if, for example, you want to play small games with mostly heroines, or large games with tons of troops, you will be able to do so...
We were very excited to get so much positive feedback on the Dark Elves concepts, and on the prospect of focusing our future Kickstarter on the Dark Elves and the Sisters of Eternal Mercy. To be honest, we were not quite sure that doing a DE Kickstarter was the right thing to do next, but apparently, you are telling us that we should not hesitate.
So, as previously explained, this project will include both Fantasy and SF versions of our Dark Elves and of our Sisters of Eternal Mercy. But it will have to wait a bit, because right now, we are putting all of our energy into delivering the Toughest Girls of the Galaxy.
The Cyber-Zombie Unit was a stretch goal that did not quite manage to get unlocked before the end of the Kickstarter. Some of you asked that we take into account the Kickstarter pledges that came via Paypal to see if that could unlock it. So we looked at the numbers. However, it turned out that the Paypal pledges not quite managed to make up for the $50,000 or so that failed to be collected on the Kickstarter itself :(
Nevertheless, many of you have been writing us to ask for them, and we very much wanted to make them available to you Kickstarter pledgers. So we got the concept artist to finalize them, and we've now placed them in the production queue. However, do bear in mind that at this point, they are at the end of the queue, so they might be the last ones to be done.
We chose not to make the Pledge Manager available yet because most of you said to see a maximum number of sculpts before having to make their choices, and that indeed seemed to be the right way to go about it. So we obliged, and focused on the sculpts.
In addition, making the TGG available in more than one wave makes things rather more complex in terms of logistics and pledge management for us. And yet, because of the wave release, we did not want to send you just a simple Excel sheet and leave you with that. On the contrary, we decided to set up something akin to a full-featured web-store that will be open exclusively to you, Kickstarter pledger. It is intended to let you easily allocate your pledge money as you like, and for each separate wave, if you so desire. It will also allow you to choose to be shipped all at once, or in several waves via the Drop Ship Programme or by adding shipping fees.
I better not go into more details about it right now as I'm still in the process of testing its various functionalities to make sure that everything works smoothly.
As mentioned in our previous update, we are adding a new team member, and one of his jobs will be to spy on us while we are working on the TGG and update you on what's going on behind the scenes, ranging from serious sculpting work to Raging's staff antics after an all-nighter...
He is coming onboard next Monday!
Who can attend?
The webinars are available to those who signed up for it (for a 120$ pledge), as well as those who have selected the Connoisseur Box or the Connoisseur Add-on. We already have your contact info.
Each Webinar will run for 2 1/2 hours (about 2 hours + about 30 mins for your questions), so you all get a total of 5 hours. You are entitled to one session of Art Direction and one session of 3D Sculpting.
We've outlined below what we are going to talk about. If there's something you were really hoping to see covered in either of these webinars, and that you don't see here, please let us know and we'll try to include it.
Key elements of the ART DIRECTION Webinar:
This Webinar will discuss how to develop the look and feel of an army or race, and then, how to create characters for this army.
For this, we will concentrate as much on visual elements as on stories and background. We will use the Iron Empire as an example.
We will explain how we developed the main concepts that are used as a base for this army, such as the German World War II and Prussian World War I influence, as well as the Iron Empire's relationship with life and with death, the structure and myths of their society, etc., and how we aimed at creating contrasts between all these elements to achieve a rich and exciting tapestry.
Then, we'll also feature a Case Study of Doctor von X: where she came from, how her looks evolved, and more... We'll show you how we create a Mood Board for each character, mixing the personality of the character with many references (historical, visual, etc.). We will also share with you how we aim to get inspiration from references that are way outside the world of miniature gaming and Sci-Fi.
Then, we will show how Posing is key to expressing the character's personality and intent.
Finally, we'll discuss the production constraints and how to manage them (for example, creating hairstyles that will work for multi-part characters) as well as the challenges of translating 2D concepts to 3D. Some characters look good in 2D but their pose makes them look silly in 3D, moulding/casting issues sometime prevent us from being absolutely true to a concept, sometimes the concept artist uses 2D perspective tricks that we cannot reproduce in 3D, etc.
Key elements for the 3D SCUPLTING Webinar:
In this webinar, we will begin by covering the basic tools that are needed to create miniatures in Zbrush. Then, we will focus on the specific details and know-how related to creating small-scale miniatures with the intent of 3D-printing them. Afterwards, if you want to learn more about specific features or uses of the software, you'll find online plenty of tutorials showing you how to create an anatomy from scratch, how to create a render of your character, etc.
Of course, a 2-hour webinar won't turn you into a 3D miniature sculptor, but we will endeavour to acquaint you with the process while at the same time answering as many questions as we can since we know that some of you will probably be traditional sculptors with a certain level of experience, while others will be completely new to sculpting and yet others will be quite well-versed in 3D software.
- The Basics
The strangeness of the Zbrush interface: how to create a new document and start sculpting in 3D (edit mode, polymesh primitives, ...), what is a Ztool, what are subtools, and how to save them. Manipulating the object on 3D space (action line, zooming, panning, append, etc.). Why you need a graphic tablet to sculpt.
- Basic Zbrush tools
Most of our sculpting work is made with less than 10 tools. We will show you which ones to use for which effect.
- How to sculpt for 3D printed small-scale miniatures
Starting from a standard body mesh, we will show you the steps required to create a torso armour and shoulder plates, and here, we'll especially focus on the constraints of 3D printing and small scale details. We'll also talk about mould-making and casting, and we will explain how to avoid undercuts which prevent miniatures from being castable. We'll also discuss how the perception of size, bulk and detailing dramatically changes when we switch from seeing the miniature in full-size on a computer screen to shrinking it to the actual product size, and why any 28mm sword must always be the size of a tree trunk! This will also bring us to the very strange-looking body proportions of 28mm miniatures, and why you somewhat need them to be that way.
Throughout this webinar, you will realize that contrary to traditional sculpting, a big part of 3D sculpting is done in a neutral pose. So we'll show you how to use the Zbrush tools to actually pose an anatomy and then, how to dress it with the accessories and clothing that were prepared beforehand.
- Preparing a sculpt for 3D printing
For many people, this is often the most obscure part of the work. In fact, once you've finished your sculpt, there is tedious but essential work still required. We probably won't have time to cover all the details, but we'll show you the key jobs that are required to prepare a file for the 3D printer.
So, this is going to be a pretty dense and technical webinar, rather than a showcase of our sculptors' artistic abilities: there is A LOT of info to be covered in these 2 ½ hours... This webinar is designed to help kickstart you if 3D sculpting miniatures is of interest to you, or to get a better feel and understanding of some of what goes into the 3D creation of a Raging Heroes miniature.
Details and Presenters
The webinars will be presented in the English language. You will be able to submit questions in writing during the seminar.
To attend the webinars, you will need a decent internet connexion, a computer and a web browser. There will be no software to install. If you prefer to attend the webinar using a tablet, you will still require an internet connexion, and you will have to download a (free) app. We will give you all the necessary details prior to the webinars.
The Art Direction webinar will be presented by Benoit Guerville. The 3D Sculpting webinar will be presented by Benoit Guerville and Jean-Romain Barrau.
Benoit is the co-founder and Art Director of Raging Heroes. He is well-versed in conduction seminars and classes. Among other things, he taught Art Direction, Photoshop and Matte Painting for several years at ArtFx, France's leading School of Visual Effects. His students now work in top VFX studios worldwide; if you've seen a blockbuster movie in the last couple of years, there's a good chance that at least one of Benoit's students was part of the VFX team. Benoit has also written for many magazines and spoke at world-class VFX conferences next to VFX supervisors of films like Avatar, Harry Potter, etc.
Jean-Romain (JR, pronounced jee-air) is the Sculpting Supervisor for Raging Heroes. He started as a miniature enthusiast in charge of hand-retouching the Raging Heroes 3D prints. He then became a regular freelance 3D artist with us but he also very quickly grasped all the various aspects of the 3D production of wargaming miniatures. He now oversees all the freelancers we work with all around the world, and every single Raging Heroes sculpt now crosses his path at least once prior to being 3D printed.
Who can attend?
The webinars are available to those who signed up for it (for a 120$ pledge), as well as those who have selected the Connoisseur Box or the Connoisseur Add-on. We already have your contact info, and you will receive an email so that you can join in.
If, however, you are not signed up but would like to increase your pledge to do so, please contact us directly as soon as possible.
The Webinar dates
There are 2 different dates for each Webinar, with different times in order to accommodate a worldwide audience (follow the links below to see the times in your country). Just remember to bookmark your Calendar for the dates and times that work best for you. We will contact you soon so with the instructions so that you can join in.