As grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal our doom...
we've decided to move this and future Updates to the www.ragingheroes.com blog, as the big bad souls of the world-wide web have given us a run for our money over the past few months. So keep reading for exciting news on production updates AND a special Halloween offer...
We may have now entered the season of less visually exciting Updates are there are no more new sculpts to share with you, and a lot more technical stuff to talk about. However, we think we are in a very exciting time nonetheless, as in the past two months, we've been making massive progress on nearly every aspect of the production process!
October was mostly dedicated to implementing new workflows and ideas, and we are now reaping the results of an extensive reorganisation in production. You'll get many of the technical facts below, but mostly, despite the amazing complexity of the TGG2 miniatures, our 3D printing pipeline as well as the moulding side of the foundry are now getting to outputting one unit every day. This is totally mind-blowing!
Read on for more details and other news!
Let's Start by what's most Important: the Progress of the Production
First, to clarify things, we realise that the Production Status online spreadsheet
with which you can track what's going on has become a bit misleading. If you've been following this document, you might feel like: “I don't get it, things are going into production, and then, never come out of it...”. And so, you might feel that not a lot of progress is made.But that's not the case, a lot is happening!
The reason for this is that, as we have been working closely with the foundry to redefine the manufacturing pipeline, we realised that it would be much more effective to have nearly all the moulds done before we start spinning them.
So, it means that everything that gets moulded shows up stuck in the In Production
category, and doesn't move to the In Stock
category because we are doing all the production moulds first before we spin them. To reflect this, we will add a new category in the tracking spreadsheet. This will be done this week. So you will have a clearer view of what's going on.
Overall, we are pushing for having all the Troops and Heroines production moulds done by the end of November
. We are still working out the order of production for the bigger pieces such as the Altar of the Succubi, the Avatar of Shah, etc.
Better Focus and Speed
Allowing the entire foundry team to focus on the very delicate task of mould-making ensures more efficiency and quality, and allows us to optimise this process. The same will happen when the foundry starts spinning the production moulds, as the more senior members of the team, who usually focus mostly on mould-making, will be fully available and part of the spinning process, again guaranteeing better quality and improved efficiency.
We now have attained our aim of outputting the production moulds for one new unit every day at the foundry!!!
This is a pretty amazing feat, considering the tasks involved in making this happen. Of course, this is our ideal production plan, which is occasionally slowed down with the occasional breakdowns but overall, this is now going very well.
In the last Update, we told you about our new 'Pizza Pie' layout system for the Troops. We now have production casts of these, and they look most excellent!
Overall, they allow for less intrusive gates (the connections between sprue and miniature which feeds the resin into the parts), and for us, they simplify the whole packing process with more accurate and speedier picking and sorting while making the sprue more robust.
Creating moulds for a full unit box (we call them Family Moulds) instead of having one mould for each single one miniature of the unit considerably speeds up the mould-making process. It came with other challenges for picking and packing, but we found ways to successfully solve them and so, we are also working on a similar process for the Heroines so they can eventually fit in blister packs once they are commercially released.
The Big Paypal Problem
You may have noticed that during the summer, we took down the Paypal payment option in the Pledge Manager. At that time, we did not go into the details of why we did that, because we did not want to unnecessarily risk alarming anybody about something we knew would eventually be resolved. However, we went through a pretty rough time there. If you read our Risks and Challenges section on the Kickstarter, where we compare a KS campaign to a long journey at sea, well, this certainly qualifies as a Category 4 storm!!!
To give you a quick and simple explanation, Paypal can freeze an account and retain all the funds in it until they are given proof that the activity is legit and not a scam. This usually works well with regular businesses. However, when it comes to crowdfunding, Paypal does not have a history of being fair and thorough with project creators. We won't go into the details here, as we are still pondering what actions we might take now that this has been resolved. But just so you know, Paypal tends to say black one day and white the next, or, as one of their representative plainly told us: “Our policies change all the time”, and “I cannot put anything I am asking you in writing”.
The amount involved was staggeringly high. It forced us to make huge adjustments to our production plans. It altered staffing, as you can imagine, as we had to pause the work with some of our regular collaborators. We had to negotiate with our suppliers who thanks to our long-term relationship building, agreed to temporarily act as our bankers. Our careful approach to managing funds over the entire Kickstarter paid off, as we were able to draw on (and complete deplete) all of our reserves to get that first wave of shipments out as quickly as possible and keep operating our business.
The situation was resolved earlier this month, but it took an enormous amount of work and energy to get through it. All this was made by Paypal to supposedly protect you, the customer whereas instead, it made the delivery of the Rewards much more problematic. Had we been a younger company, less organised or less careful, it could have easily sank the project.
Nevertheless, onward and forward, and we are now nearing the end of our journey in calmer waters.
And Other Creepy Stories about the Internet Giants...
Oh, and by the way, Paypal was not the only one to have fun with us. Facebook decided to close our Asharah Raging page and then took two months to start answering our messages.
Google threatened to remove us from their search engine, and I'm still at a loss to figure out what they want.
And Kickstarter still has the sh#@!ty interface that makes every update we make super-long to upload and edit, which sealed the decision to move our Updates away from there.
We're now waiting from Instagram and Twitter to put us in their crosshair ;)
But hey, it's Halloween! Let's party tonight!
Faster 3D Prints Turnaround
One of the impact of the Paypal situation was that it prevented us from getting a new software that considerably speeds up and improves the 3D print workflow. For this software, we were dealing with a new supplier, and so we had to wait to have the cash on hand before being able to proceed on this. It created a bottleneck of nearly 2 months for a product that does in about 30 seconds what can otherwise take half a day to make. You can easily imagine the impact on production.
This has now been implemented, and you can expect most of the remaining miniatures that still show on the Production Status online spreadsheet as Sculpted to be upgraded to In Production within the next 2 weeks.
Why We Keep Updating Our Wokflows
We already told you that in our previous update, but it bears repeating; what we are doing with the foundry is a major overhaul of the whole manufacturing process, from the time a 3D sculpt is finished to the time the miniature is put in a ziploc bag.
You might think: “Oh, you have already told us several time that you are revamping your workflows.” This is absolutely true. You might also be wondering: “Why do you keep on changing stuff?” The truth is that with a team that has been multiplied by 3 in just about two years and sculpts that in TGG2 have become so complex that technically, they have little in common with the TGG1 (let alone with the minis we did before that), we cannot stand still, do business as usual and hope for the best. We know that the foundry team is reading this update, and we want to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work and dedication, as well as their willingness to work with us to improve practices and workflows to achieve the impossible.
We know that is already a wall of text, so we'll stop now, and have another Update in a few days with additional information concerning re-opening the Pledge Manager, purchasing extra shipments, showing you the next TGG2 beer mats which will be included in your Rewards shipment, and fresh news on our 2 upcoming Kickstarters (Terrain and Game).
Halloween Promo: Harry Gets Lost in Zombie Land!
Head over here for 50% off on selected items with this discount code: PUMPKIN
But don't wait. Deal ends on the night of November 1!
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