Wednesday 21 September 2011

Process & Photography - musings

What a start it's been for the blog. Great commentary and great questions, one of which I intend to address today. I find the blogger format and the smaller, but more interactive following a great motivator. Thank's for the amazing start.

What is my (miniature-hobby) Process?

It's a good question. One I haven't really paid that much consideration. 

With my models, I always start with identity: individual, group, army. I look for strong overall character (individual model), then create dozens of small ideas to support that. Army level ideas have a lot to do with feel. For example, the Legion fights in the moon light. Partly for curiosity of how to represent the eerie shade of lighting in the models, partly because that's what special forces do. The darkness inspires.

Between the army level and individual I have units, and they are to me the most enjoyable ground. One such example is the desert Alpharius, and his entourage. Starting from an individual, weather beaten super soldier on a guerrilla mission (Snake Eyes from G-I-Joe met 40k). Blowing up train tracks (basing), accompanied by XX agent (hooded guy with crusader connotations), leading a pack of dune twists (special forces operating with local forces)... then the theme goes into gear and detail. But ALL of this started from a strong focused idea to create a very different, climate specific Alpharius model. 

I am not afraid of a huge variety of different identities as long as they work with the sub themes or themes of larger projects. 

For the conversion work, strength of character and great differentiation to the starting point are key drivers. I want the models to make me excited to work on them and the end result distinctly a unique model. People don't necessarily need to be able to say it's a model of mine, rather I hope they think, wow - what a nice way to represent an interesting and fitting character. It seems the ingredients do add to something many see as "mine", which is a nice bonus.

I like to be part of a group working for a joint goal or venture, so all through my projects friends working on the "nemesis" army or competing =I=munda gang have been a great source of motivation and a springboard to push into a slightly different direction.

I design everything in my head before going at it, but then let each added part alter that to unexpected directions. I can ponder details for hours. I don't want to sketch, but often use little short stories to "paint an image" in my mind. My day job is industrial design, so with the hobby I tend to just dream up characters and then convert them. I want to avoid tools and methods I use during the day (such as sketching, modeling, making notes...).
"Ghost" of =I= trilogy part one is a good example. I wanted to make a sick feth, who is in the team just for the permission to hunt and kill. Then a to of the ideas went to making him look scary: for example he has screwed bolts to his head to act as horns. as I took a Kroot as the base model, I also needed differentiation from the starting point. And to also reinforce "sick". The yellow boots were a great way to alter the Kroot volume into something different and to lend the model oddity. 

An important detail I've come to realize is that I have a photographic memory, so I remember pretty much every single part I see in WD or have in the box, so that also lessens the need for sketching and makes me quite productive when the idea is shaped.

I hope this gives you some idea on how I work and why my work currently looks like it does. Please let me know if you have more questions.


ps. Photography It is time to put more thought on the photos, inspired by John's with the beautiful box and "mapplethorpe" lighting. I will develop two distinct languages, one for wipe, one for showcaseWip pics will be with the iPhone and models over very Old book pages and finished work with a new camera (Lumix G3) and models over something a bit special ;) Stay tuned for that.


  1. Excellent post; informative!

  2. im completely miniature driven - ei a great sculpt will stimulate me into painting it - and the desire to make it fit a theme and the sheer joy of creating a new fresh image drives me to convert - i search the bits box for potential and build from that point - its very organic - i try not to take the conversion to far as to break down the integrity of the originals anatomy and dynamic - i neither have the time patience or migs skill so often i find very simple conversions are the most effective - so how do i stop migs inspiring me ........

  3. @John - it's a vicious circle ;) You inspire me so much, it's only fair I inspire you a bit too!

  4. Great article :) Cheers for sharing your thoughts, gives me stuff to reflect about!


  5. By the way, speaking of photography. I found this thing on Warseer called "stereoscopic 3d images", I guess it's a fancy photography technique to really make your models stand out.

    If you want to take the photography of your finished models to the next level, you might want to try it out. Some links that come in handy here: