Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Star Hat Miniatures + Flying Kickstarter!

Here are the final turns in the winding road of my Kickstarter: Delvers Lost in The Dungeons of Doom! In my last post, the metal masters were about to be drop cast in preparation for making production moulds.

Ian and Alan Farley at Regal Enterprises sent me photos of the spin casting (aka centrifugal rubber mold casting) process.

You may notice that they are doubled up. By having a two of each miniature, the amount of spins required is halved. The fourth disc also has a few new miniatures. More Delvers? Yes, I let the cat out of the bag with photos of three miniatures that will be part of the next Kickstarter campaign. I am getting a small number of Ailgavart, Saetog and Vok Wightkicker cast in preparation but they won't be included in this Kickstarter.

Halfway through October, well ahead of our December delivery deadline, the production moulds were spinning.

In the words of my good friend Lewis, "It wouldn't be a Kickstarter without some unexpected twists and turns." I received this email from Regal Enterprises about the remaining miniatures:

HI Darcy, I am going to do some casting with the last mould tonight. The barbarian woman is going to cause trouble as she has broken in the mould at her ankles . Hopefully I can get some out that will be OK. Will try to send a picture of her tomorrow. If it’s not Ok might have thicken the ankles on the master , make a new silicon mould etc. Cheers , Ian

On the bright side, Ian is a master mouldmaker and caster, so expect this issue to be resolved quickly. This is the Amazon we are talking about and I know she's a survivor! 

The improved Amazon arrived soon after, ready for packing
Here are some photos from our boxing day. That Saturday we packed 42 boxes, which which were joined by 56 other boxes after the final shipment from Regal Miniatures arrived early the following week. Thanks to Blair and Dave for that second boxing session!

Dave and Lewis ponder mail merge.

Dave, Grant and Lewis boxing.

Pizza break.

A box of treasures.

Row by row.

Calum oversees the production line.
As you can see, everything was well in hand! It took a week to work out shipping details with NZ Post. After some fine tuning and some help from my good friend Dennis, the boxes were ready to fly!

Dennis applies air mail and customs stickers.
Little boxes, little boxes!
Star Hat Miniatures has now sent over 2000 miniatures to gamers all over the world. Last Friday the International boxes left for the airport. I can honestly say that this has been a life changing and at times challenging experience! I still have a few weeks painting to fulfill the Dungeon Master pledges. Bear with me, they will be worth the wait! I will post photos of the painted miniatures on here of course!

If you backed this Kickstarter, please let me know when you receive your Delvers and feel free to comment on here. Your feedback will shape my next Kickstarter campaign. Thank you all for your continuing support and encouragement. The original group of nine miniatures grew into a whopping total of seventeen! I couldn't have done this without your help.

This only just occurred to me but this was a May to December affair! I began sculpting in May and the final painted pledges will be in the hands of backers in December!

A special thanks to Lewis who introduced me to Jason Fairclough's Wasteman game and to Jason, whose miniatures inspired me to try my own hand at sculpting.

God bless and enjoy your games!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Metal Miniatures Master Mould Making

Master Mould Making
As followers of this blog will know, my Kickstarter funded at the end of August. About three weeks after funding, the backers money finally made it to my bank account. I must admit by that time I was somewhat anxious! The sculpts are with Ian and Alan Farley at Regal Enterprises and they have sent me photos of the master mould making process.

Star Hat Miniatures is now on the verge of producing over two thousand miniatures for gamers all over the world. When I started sculpting back in May, this wasn't even something I had considered! Here are photos of the figures being pressed in plasticine and the silicon moulds being made for drop casting the metal masters. 

 After the latex was set, Ian then poured the second half of the moulds.

A few miniatures required minor alterations, so Ian from Regal Enterprises sent them back to me and I got to work. I sculpted a new scabbard for the Ninja and the other two have a slight change in weapon position. Thanks again to Ian for his expert advice and for adjusting the Wizard's sword.

Basically all the changes were to avoid 'undercuts', which are severe recesses or awkward angles on a sculpt. The previous scabbard created a gap behind the Ninja's head that was an issue for making the mould. I sculpted a new one and placed it lower down his back. The Amazon's sword was previously over her shoulder at a different angle which also meant a gap behind the head. I could have snapped her blade off but I wanted to keep this miniature as a single-piece cast, so now the blade is flat against the back of her head. The Wizard's sword is now at a better angle for mould making also.

The only multi-part miniature is the Kobald on a flying carpet, for reasons that may be more obvious if you check out the previous blog post. He would have looked far less dynamic if I made him a single-piece cast.

These miniatures then traveled back to Regal Enterprises to make master moulds and be drop cast. After casting, the metal masters are sent back for me to look over. I'm really excited about this (they are due any day now).

After I give the all clear, the production moulds will be made and then spun. Spin casting is new to me. If it's new to you, Larry (not related to my project or Regal Enterprises) has posted a groovy video on YouTube:

Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! has been an amazing project and I can't wait to send these miniatures out to the people who helped make it all happen.

God bless and enjoy your week!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Sculpting Fantasy Miniatures + Kickstarter Success

More Dungeon Delvers! 
The first part of the journey is over. All the sculpts are now with Ian and Alan Farley at Regal Enterprises in Greytown. 98 people backed pledges on the Kickstarter, Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! which achieved over 250% of the funding goal over the month of August.

The final 8 were Legendary Heroes, Stretch Goals and Kickstarter Exclusives. That makes a total of 17 miniatures, which is as surprising to me as the success of the Kickstarter!

Because of this success, Star Hat Miniatures has become a small business. With pledges to fulfill, I move from amateur sculptor to production manager. I also am continuing to grow. Not just as an artist but as a human being. That's if the two are any different! I love that Kickstarter calls you a creator. I thank my creator for the ability to be creative.

One of the popular pledges was Legendary Hero: your own character sculpted and added to the party. This was a generous pledge because this miniature is also shared with the other backers. Here is an example, Salis Shishervish, a Kobald Cleric/Mage from a backer's Hackmaster campaign. Salis ended up being a 3-part sculpt - the only multi-part miniature of the set. I sculpted Salis from a written description provided by Cally. In all my years of gaming, I have never seen a Kobold on a flying carpet! Now there is one!

God bless you and enjoy your week!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Dungeon Delvers Kickstarter 48 Hours to Go

Murray the Janitor. 
Thanks to an amazing response from backers all over the world, Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! is over 200% funded with 48 hours to go.

I couldn't have done this without my friends encouraging me and a loving wife who didn't mind me sculpting on the couch while we watch TV in the evenings.

If you haven't already, check out the Kickstarter page. There are now 17 miniatures including the original 9 Delvers. Awesome value and worthy of any gaming table. Don't hesitate to share this with your friends!

God bless you and enjoy your week!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sculpting Fantasy Miniatures + Garm of Hrothmyr + Kickstarter

Garm of Hrothmyr. 
Legendary Hero #2 for the Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! Kickstarter. Now 138% funded with 9 days to go. Garm of Hrothmyr! A berserker theologian with a maul and horned helm.

This miniature came from an amazing description of Evan's character, Garm of Hrothmyr. In Evan' s own words, "I've played several incarnations of him in several different games, and he remains 
my favorite PC of all time. I don't have any pictures of him for you to use as reference, so I'll do my best to describe him for you and let your artistic license fill in the blanks."

I'm finding the Legendary Hero pledge backers are the most excited about the Kickstarter. I share in that excitement. It really is awesome to be asked to sculpt their favourite RPG character and I hope I do them justice.

Here are some photos, taking you backwards through my sculpting process.

God bless you and enjoy your week!