Friday 14 December 2012

Sale Extended and Holiday Postal Schedule

I've decided to extend the sale until the 31st December as it seemed a bit Scrooge-like to end it just before Christmas. As before, use the Discount Code 'LILA2012' to get 10% off all figures!

I've also added some information about the postal schedule over the holiday period. I'll be away over Christmas for a couple of days and obviously the Post Office will be closed for a time, but I'll endeavour to get your orders sent as soon as possible.

Finally, you might have noticed some Page links at the top of the blog. There's a link to the Statuesque Miniatures shop and also a page with some comparison pictures with popular ranges. I'll try to keep this updated as new ranges are released.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

The Mechanics of a Figure Range

Here at my desk, I'm in the early stages of planning and sculpting for a range of opponents for the Resistance Fighters : The Faceless Oppressors. It will be of a similar composition to the Resistance Fighter range, with troop packs and various specialists. What I need to do now is decide how the figures will be constructed, namely how weapons and heads can be swapped to give extra variety. As such, I'd like your feedback on your experience of the Resistance Fighter range. To help you get an idea of what feedback I'd like, I'll give a summary of the considerations and decisions I made when designing the Resistance Fighter range and how this relates to the Faceless Oppressor range.

Head and weapons swap variety in action!
Since releasing my own figures through Statuesque Miniatures, I've become more and more aware of the need for figures to go together easily and to be as few parts as possible. For the Resistance Fighter range, I decided separate heads were a necessary extra part, in order to give more variety when using multiples of the same figure and to allow customers to personalise their force as they saw fit.

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.
I believe the decision to construct the Resistance Fighters this way has paid off, as many customers are purchasing multiple packs, or buying head and weapon sprues to personalise their figures. While some people may not want to feature the same figure twice in their force, for others this is obviously less of an issue and, for me, swapping heads and head positions and using different weapons as appropriate allows a surprising amount of distinction between figures. The choice of paint scheme can also help to add variety.

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!
There are some drawbacks though. If the neck were attached to the head rather than the body, the base of the neck would provide a handy point to connect to the sprue. By requiring the head to feature a curved socket for joining to the neck, I am limiting the ways I can connect that head to the sprue. The original Female Resistance Fighter pack suffers somewhat in this regard, with the removal of metal from the join area being something of a pain. This is also why the Helmeted Heads attached to the sprue at the top of the helmet, as I thought it easier to file the helmet smooth than to trim the join area. From my experience this has proved to be the case. For the upcoming head sprue with no helmets and hats I'm going to have to put a bit of thought into how I attach the heads to the sprue without obscuring details, but I'm confident they will be an improvement on the Female Resistance Fighter heads.

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.
Again it is slightly limiting in that each weapon option has to have the same hand positions and the same weapon stock, but I think the compromise was worth it. Were I to do the Female Resistance Fighter pack again, I would alter some poses, mainly for the position of the mould split and undercuts, but it's not something the affects the final, assembled figure.

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! ;)

Tuesday 11 December 2012

The Statuesque Miniatures Social Media Extravaganza!

Statuesque Miniatures is two years old today! I have a lot of exciting things planned for 2013, our third year - more releases, expanded ranges, new genres and maybe even some male miniatures!

As such, I want to be able to reach as many people as possible to show them all these exciting things as they happen. We already have a Facebook page, the Khorosho Productions blog and a Twitter account but I want MORE followers! So how about a prize draw? Or three?

When the Facebook page, Twitter account and Khorosho Productions blog reach 1000 Likes and 500 Followers respectively, I will hold a prize draw including all the names on each list! Three prize draws with a total prize pot of over £165.

Full details can be seen HERE. So spread the word, come and see what Statuesque Miniatures has to offer and maybe win some goodies!

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Lila of the Resistance Released and a SALE!

Statuesque Miniatures is pleased to announce the release of Lila of the Resistance, sniper and weapons specialist!

Measuring approximately 32mm unposed, Lila joins our growing Resistance Fighter range, all featuring interchangeable heads for more variety. Lila can be armed with either a sniper rifle or an S.O.E.-supplied Experimental Energy Cannon.

Lila of the Resistance is priced at £4.75. Purchase two Lila for £4.50 each ; three or more for £4.25 each.

Also starting now, Statuesque Miniatures is running a Sale with 10% OFF all figures, excluding accessories. Use the code LILA2012 to get your discount! This discount is in addition to the quantity discounts we offer across our range. The sale runs until 16th December 2012.


Andrew Rae