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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.