Thursday 24 January 2013

Faceless Oppressor Weapon Prototypes

Today I've been working again on the Faceless Oppressors, specifically the main weapons for the troopers. I currently have three designs and I need to decide which will be the standard weapon supplied with the troopers and which will be available as weapon upgrade sprues.

Before I get on to the renders, I would like to preface them with a reminder that these are very large images of something that will be very small. Rifle barrels are at the minimum I feel suitable to ease of production (0.8mm) and details are exaggerated to be visible at actual size (around 16-18mm long) and after two moulding processes. The assault rifle design is very similar to that of the Resistance Fighters so check out how it looks on a figure- I think they're rather finer scaled than most sci-fi figures!

Also, I make no apologies about the fact that my weapons have a very much 'Hollywood' feel rather than real-life tech. So just as designers for a movie (ideally a B-movie!) will take inspiration from real life weapons but twist them to suit their purposes and desired look, so have I. I won't be covering the guns in accessory rails but intend to keep a very clean aesthetic, as should be expected from looking at my previous work.

Faceless Oppressor Combi-Rifle

An assault rifle with integrated grenade launcher, this rifle sets the look of all three designs. In my imaginary world of Secrets, Spies and Saboteurs the various factions share a variety of designs through copying captured weapons. What differentiates each faction's weapons is the quality of manufacture. So while the Resistance manufactured weapons are fairly chunky and basic, the Oppressors weapons cleaner and sleeker. The SOE-designed experimental weapons also all share design elements, some of which have been stolen and copied by the Oppressors.

What this means in reality is that the Oppressor weapons all share a curved underbody and a chamfered upper section, both in profile and cross-section. I also used an oblong vent shape, which references Soviet WW2 SMGs, in place of the round vents used on Resistance weapons.

At its root, the design of the combi-rifle comes from the fact that I cannot fit an ordinary under-slung grenade launcher onto an assault rifle, due to the weapons all having to be interchangeable with the same hand positions. I decided on a single trigger mechanism, assuming some techy way of switching between firing the rifle and firing the grenade launcher... This keeps the design from getting cluttered in my opinion.

Faceless Oppressor Laser-Rifle

The laser-rifle follows the basic format and silhouette of the combi-rifle, though this time the whole body has a curved cross-section shape. This refers back to the Resistance Fighter laser-rifle, which also shares the muzzle shape and vent locations, though here they are in the Oppressor oblong shape. I think I may add some detail inside the three forward vents, possibly some kind of cooling coil.

The 'ammunition' comes in the form of a battery pack slotted into the extended lower section.

Faceless Oppressor Assault Rifle

This rifle closely mirrors the design of the Resistance Fighter assault rifle, but with the Oppressor body shape and vents. I feel I should reduce the height of the stock on this weapon; the height is needed on the previous two guns to balance them visually, though here it overpowers the longer barrel of the assault rifle. This change won't affect interchangeability as the stocks will be attached to the weapons rather than the figures.

So those are the three main weapon designs for the Faceless Oppressors. What I need to decide on now is which to use as the standard weapon supplied with the Trooper pack. Let me know what you think in the comments below and I'll also add a poll on the Statuesque Miniatures Facebook page to see which would be most popular.

I also need to decide whether to add some kind of sights to the weapons. The Oppressors will wear full-face masks with integrated 'optics' (good ol' sci-fi B-movie style) so I don't want a full-on sight but I'm open to suggestions.

All feedback welcome and hopefully I'll have some pictures of the Helmet design to show you soon!


Andrew Rae

Tuesday 22 January 2013

The Plan - Faceless Oppressors

Work is progressing well on the Faceless Oppressor range. I'm alternating days working on this range and more Resistance Fighters. I've found this routine has been really helpful for keeping the work-rate up, as well as allowing a bit of perspective on the progress when I return to the figures after a day of working on something else.

Regarding the Oppressors, so far I've finalised the helmet, gasmask and body armour design. The standard weapon design is set, with just the 'graphics'  and details needing to be done. I've also completed the three poses needed for the Trooper pack, now they just need to be dressed.

Speaking of the Trooper Pack, here's the current plan for the launch range:

Faceless Oppressor Trooper Pack
This pack will comprise of three figures with separate heads and weapons. The poses are all based around using the same weapon and hands, in a similar manner to the Resistance fighter range, which allows optional weapons to be held by any figure in the pack. This time, however, the weapon stocks are attached to the weapon parts rather than the figure body, which will allow me more freedom when designing the optional weapons.

I'm quite pleased with how the poses are turning out; they are posed such that a simple turn of the head will change the dynamic of the figure quite considerably. I've also 'themed' each pose to a specific action: one is advancing cautiously, weapon ready; another is rapidly redeploying; while the final is posed ready to provide covering fire. I think they will work really nicely as a fire-team or squad with the other figure Packs.

Faceless Oppressor NCO Pack
This pack will comprise of two figures: a senior NCO and a junior NCO, with separate heads and right arms. The right arms will be positioned differently and be interchangeable between the figures for more variety. The senior and junior NCOs will be distinguished by their helmets rather than their bodies, so again more variety can be achieved between multiple packs. They will feature weapons held in the right hand only, similar to the Resistance Fighter Cell Officer figures. I will pose them as if they are directing their troops, though I will avoid the rather clich├ęd pointing pose!

Faceless Oppressor Heavy Weapon Team Pack
Again, this pack is made up of two figures, one of which is armed with a heavy machine gun. I would like to use a prone firing position though I am somewhat limited by a maximum available base size of 50mm, only 40mm of which is actually usable for positioning a figure. We shall see. I'd like the 'loader' figure to use the same weapon arm design as the NCOs so he can be armed with all future optional weapons.

Faceless Oppressor Special Weapon Upgrade Sprue
This sprue will be designed to fit the Trooper pack and will feature a squad automatic weapon, a grenade launcher, a flame thrower and an energy weapon of similar design to that used by Lila of the Resistance. These weapons can be used on any of the Trooper figures, allowing for lots of variety between your squads.

Faceless Oppressor Heavy Weapon Upgrade Sprue
This sprue will be designed to upgrade the Heavy Weapon Team from a HMG to a heavy energy cannon. While I'd like to offer this upgrade in the actual HW Team pack, unfortunately mould space will not allow it without a significant increase in costs both to produce and to the customer. As such I feel offering the Weapon Upgrade as an optional extra is the best course of action.

So that is the plan for the initial launch of the range. A NCO pack and two trooper packs will create two fire-teams of four, with the option of heavy weapon support for a squad of ten. The Special Weapon upgrade sprue will allow you to arm your fire-teams as you see fit.

Obviously, once these are on sale (and successful!) I can start working on specialist figures and more upgrade sprues, such as different heads and weapons. Any weapon options such as shotguns would be sold as a pack of only that weapon, including an arm suitable for the NCO (and hopefully HW loader) figures.

But what makes these different from any other near-future trooper range? Well, I fully intend for this to be the best near-future trooper range, plus they'll have a couple of USPs to make them stand out...

However, don't hold your breath! There's still a lot of work to be done. I'll continue to add to the Resistance Fighter range and if you'd like the Faceless Oppressors to become a reality, the best thing to do is buy, buy, buy the girls! ;)

And sorry about the lack of pictures, hopefully I can show some soon. If you're nice.


Andrew Rae

Monday 21 January 2013

BOGOF Deal on Resistance Sprues

Due to an overstock, I've decided to offer the Resistance Fighter Accessory sprues Weapons 1 and Gasmask Heads as BUY ONE GET ONE FREE!

So if you purchase 1 sprue, you will receive 2; purchase 2 and receive 4, and so on. Now is the time to arm your Resistance Fighters!

Don't forget, with a bit of conversion the Gasmask Heads may be suitable for some of your male figures; they need protection too!

Visit the Online Shop to get your bits and pieces!

In other news, I've just paid the printer for the next releases (ouch!). There was a bit of a delay as they forgot to send me the quote, so things have slid back about a week. Hopefully I will still get the next releases on sale early February.

Progress on the following release and the initial work on the Faceless Oppressors is also going well. The Cell Officer Weapon Option sprue has really opened up the choice of poses I can make, while still allowing the same level of weapon choices as the regular Resistance Fighters. I'm really proud of how the range is coming together!

Monday 7 January 2013

Commissar Vespera Venko Preview

Here's another of my quick attempts at cell shading!

This is Commissar Vespera Venko, assigned to a Resistance cell to ensure their efforts further the aims of the ESU!

She'll be a two-part casting with an optional gas-mask head. I hope to get these figures, along with a few bits and pieces, off for printing this week with the aim of getting them on sale late January/ early February.

Friday 4 January 2013

Resistance Cell Officer Preview

Yesterday, I put a couple of preview renders of the Resistance Cell Officers on Facebook. I'm not normally a fan of showing renders of my work as I don't think it's a particularly nice medium, especially for figures sculpted to be miniatures. However, the new Zbrush update has some new 'posterization' render settings that give a nice cell-shaded look; I find this much more pleasant and indeed flattering than the usual renders! Now, I know very little about the rendering process and don't intend to spend too much time learning it as I'm rather busy sculpting for printing, but I had a quick fiddle about and came up with these. Lots of room for improvement, but I'm glad to have found a render option that I'm happy to show the world!

These figures will be sold together and both feature separate right arms (cut at the handily placed arm-band) that can be swapped between the figures. Doing this actually changes the pose quite considerably, so along with the usual separate heads, these figures should have a lot of posing options. I've also designed a weapon option sprue for even more variety. For later release I have more figures planned that will use this arm sprue, as it provides me with another method of adding variety to the Resistance Fighter range.

Also coming soon is the Commissar Vespera Venko. In the hope of boosting our progress towards the Prize Draw, if we get a few more 'Likes' over the weekend on the main Statuesque Miniatures Facebook page, I'll show you a preview of her, too!