Iron Mask Miniatures

Iron Mask Miniatures
...and one for all!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Ogre does what ogres can...

[With just over a week to go, I'm halfway toward my  Kickstarter funding goal. For a cottage business like mine, Kickstarter is a convenient presales tool. With the finished figures in hand, the crowd funding provides the money to put them into production, while the premiums for the backers helps me gauge the size of the first production run. Iron Mask Miniatures will not go away if the crowd funding fails, but the enterprise will be greatly expedited if it succeeds. If you haven't pledged already, consider doing so this coming week.]
Last Saturday I received a small batch of Cardinal’s Guard Ogre precasts, fresh from the master mold. I am really pleased with how they turned out.
The bodies:

and the heads:

The ogres use the same multipart system as the dwarves, so virtually any hand-and-arm activity can be represented depending on the hand you choose and how you rotate the wrist. When I was planning these figures, however, I was resigned to the fact that, given the classic ogre posture and the lamentable absence of neck, there would not be much articulation of the head. But John Pickford's talent for sculpting multipart figures apparently knows no bounds. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that with each of the four poses in combination with any of the four heads, a great many head positions were possible.

In scale Cardinal’s Guard Ogres match the classic ogres of the 80s and 90s:
And here next to an Iron Mask Miniatures Dwarf Musketeer:
The following examples are white-primered to enhance the detail, assembled with Blue-Tac (gluing would provide a much tighter fit, of course), and based on 40mm lipped, round bases. The bodies are shown in the same order left to right, with the heads and arms swapped around to show the variety of poses possible:
Following is a study of the stooping ogre. This is by far the most restrictive pose, but the placement of the head and positioning of the hands can direct the figure’s action to the left, to the right, or to the front:
Currently one other ogre is planned. This will be Jussac, the ogre captain, who will look something like this:
Jussac is one of eleven special figures that will eventually complete the Three Musketeers theme.

Monday, July 1, 2013

To Build an Ogre

 [This posting's slide show illustrates the birth of an ogre -- sculptor John Pickford working his magic.]

The Kickstarter campaign has been submitted for review. Hopefully, it can launch this week.

Meanwhile, the Iron Mask project carries on as the greens for the Cardinal’s Guard Ogres make their debut. When I conceived this phase of the project, I faced the same dilemma I faced with the dwarves: there really wasn’t anything like them on the market. Ogres from modern manufacturers are larger and more exaggerated than what I wanted, tending toward the grotesque if not outright silly or gross.

I knew that I wanted the ogres to pay homage to the classic figures of the ‘80s, so the height and overall heft of the figures was a given. But even the best of the best ogres, the old Citadel and especially the Marauder ogres, were posed in ways that were too static for ogre duelists. The solution, of course, was to use the same separate hand and head system that I used for the dwarves. This has advantages for casting (fewer undercuts) as well as more variety and versatility for the modeler.

For the concept art, I turned to Colin Upton, an extremely talented artist and illustrator whose drawings have frequently brought him into contact with the world of wargaming. Colin works quickly and efficiently, but most importantly to me he was quick to grasp what I wanted and more than accommodating when it came to making changes and fine-tuning a concept. While he was adept at interpreting the briefs, guidelines, and image references I gave him as my ideas developed, some of the things you will see in the coming months sprang from his imagination as much as mine.

Here are the concept drawings for the Cardinal’s Guard Ogres:

The third piece shows the ogre sentry, a relatively static pose, I admit, but separate hands would allow considerable depth and versatility. I love this face, especially with the moustache wrapped around his fang.
For the final pose, I wanted a hulking figure bending low to engage a (possibly?) shorter opponent. No concept art for this one, alas.

Eventually, I decided to drop the beards. Ogres have more-than-prominent chins -- in the cosmic scheme of things, I think more chin makes up for less neck. As John rendered the concept art into real, 3-D portraits, it occurred to me that the beards forced the weight of the heads too far forward, so he resculpted the chins.

Here are the results:

The above is holding a dragon, a short-form blunderbuss pistol.

...and to give you an idea of the size, compared to the dwarves:

Now these are definitely old-school.

The completed kit, which does not show the daggers still to be converted from the rapiers, looks like this:

The greens are in the hands of Steve Phillips, who does my casting. Hopefully, by the beginning of next week I’ll have actual samples in hand and can show you some assembled samples.