|Head and weapons swap variety in action!|
The second necessary separate parts were the weapons. The four figures in the Female Resistance Fighter pack all use the same weapon part, with exactly the same hand positions. This meant I could design extra weapons that could be used on any of the four figures, again adding more variety and allowing the customer to tailor their force to specific needs.
|An unassembled Resistance Fighter.|
The Mechanics of a Head
In contrast to many figure ranges that feature separate heads, I decided to have the neck of the figure attached to the body rather than the head. I first used this method on the Fembots I sculpted for Crooked Dice. As a sculptor, this method is far preferable to having the neck attached to the head, especially for female figures, as it allows a much more realistic movement of the head, meaning better posing of the final figure. I can alter the neck position as appropriate for the pose still give the customer plenty of options for the head position.
Obviously there are limits to this; for example if I position the neck too much for a figure looking to their left, it will look odd if the head is positioned looking to the right. However, if I bear this in mind and don't over-do the neck position, it still produces a much nicer pose than the alternative.
|Yes, the top of the helmet really is the best place for the sprue join!|
How to Hold a Gun
Statuesque Miniatures are somewhat finer in proportion and details than some ranges. This means weapons and hands are smaller than those of some 'Heroic'-sized figures. I'm sure I've been cursed a few times by customers whilst they pin skinny arms to bodies, though I think the newer figures in the Statuesque range are easier to put together than the older ones. And as I said, I always try to minimise the number of parts.
For the Resistance Fighters, aware that each figure would have a separate gun, I wanted the process of putting them together to be as painless as possible. As such, each of the core figures has a plug and socket system for attaching the weapons; the wrists of each hand form the plug and the cuffs of the arms form the socket. I believe this has proved to be a good system as I've not found the need to pin the weapons, though for extra security one pin in the right arm would be fairly simple to do.
|Lots of guns, but only one set of hands.|
One alternative would have been to have the bodies spit at the waist, with weapons attached to the torso. While this would allow more variety for swapping torsos and legs, for female figures in particular it would have severely compromised the poses. The additional cost of producing alternative weapon sprues would also have been significant.
Learning from Experience
So how does all this affect the Faceless Oppressor range? Well, as I said, the range will follow a similar pattern to the Resistance Fighters, though there are some key differences: initially the all figures will be male, they will be uniform in appearance and the majority will be wearing helmets. More standardised equipment in a fire-team means there will likely be fewer basic weapon options needed, too.
Let's start with the heads. Most miniature ranges that feature separate heads use the opposite method from the Resistance Fighters, with the neck attached to the head. So in order to maximise sales, surely it would make sense to use this method for the male Faceless Oppressor range (any female figures in this line would use the same method as the Resistance Fighters)? However, as Statuesque proportions are not 'heroic' it would be unlikely that the heads would be suitable for use on your more 'heroic' soldiers. I would prefer to design the parts first and foremost for my range, rather than anybody else's! My preference as a sculptor is the method I already use as I think it gives better results.
Now for the guns: The First Method is for separate, interchangeable weapons as with the Resistance Fighters. Method Two would feature separate torso and legs with different torso options for different guns. The former will be cheaper for me to produce and therefore can be sold cheaper; the latter will allow more variety in pose by swapping torsos and legs around but will mean I can produce fewer different weapons. I also have my reservations about the effect a waist split would have on posing; the hip to shoulder position is very important! The Third Method would be to only have separate heads and to produce a single figure each for weapons such as grenade launchers, squad automatic weapons and light flame throwers. In this case, it would be less likely I would produce weapon options such as shotguns.
In all three options, specialists such as heavy weapon teams and officers would be stand-alone figures (with separate, interchangeable heads.
So what would be your preference, based on your experience of the Resistance Fighter range? Do you appreciate the extra head and weapon options or are the number of poses too limiting for you to consider more than a small warband? Feel free to leave your comments either here on the blog or on the link I've posted on Facebook. I want to use the experience of the Resistance Fighter range to produce the best range of figures possible, sold at a price that will allow you all to buy lots of them!
For those who prefer the character allowed by having a figure come with it's head attached, don't worry, I still plan to release figures like this independent of the Resistance Fighter and Faceless Oppressor ranges; I've been feeling the need to sculpt some more S.O.E. girls!
And if you've read this far (thanks!), don't forget we're still running a sale! Discount code LILA2012 for 10% off all figures! ;)