Ok, so this is going to be long-winded because I’m mixing the showcasing of this model with some of the bigger things I’ve been mulling over with regards to the studio. I’ve got no problem with the philosophy of ‘slow and steady wins the race’ and no matter how things pan out that’s how I’m approaching this entire endeavour and not expecting things to happen at any particular speed. However,
I’m also seeing that I need to start considering something
more ambitious, with more focus, and a larger game plan even if it starts vaguely. The smaller kits I’ve been making have been excellent to dial in Servitor Solus and learn most of the best practices I’ll need to follow in the future to create components but with limited labour and resources right now I need
to consider some larger bread-and-butter products. I really like making unique add-on kits that can upgrade and/or transform the existing models, but it all just makes me want to get to create larger more ambitious projects for complete models like the one in this post even more. I don’t want to stop making smaller kits and add-ons, but I’m finding I don’t I have any choice but to start some bigger projects if I want to really start generating the returns I need to take the studio to the next level and really start to build a presence and reputation for the studio and the models being produced.
But, more rambling on this in a bit, first…
Hey! You got your
Sicaran in my
No! You got your
Land Raider in my
Nope, you’re both
wrong! You got your
Land Raider and
Sicaran in my Clouseau!
years ago I wanted to scratch-build a more aggressive-looking Rhino counts-as for my Chaos army. It was something I fiddled with before I started Legion Rising but the idea didn’t really go anywhere because I was still just starting to learn how to build with styrene and it seemed like a virtually impossible project at the time. The idea evolved some as it sat in the back of my brain while I started to get more skilled at scratch-building, dabbling with the studio, and then attending college; I wanted to make a transition chassis between the Rhino and the Land Raider that had a blend of the design elements that go into each model. At the time the idea was just too ambitious but that just made it something to aspire to. Sometime during those years I also came across the design drawings that some anonymous internet citizen made for the ‘Clouseau’ APC and it fed into what I had in mind. Then, the Sicaran model was released, doing a good job to officially fill in the gap that my idea was kinda’ aiming for, but I came to see that it also gave me some design cues that I could make use of to help in creating something unique. After 3D modelling the Land Raider and Sicaran for other studio projects the idea just wouldn’t let go and I had to see what I could come up with since the process of modelling them was still so fresh.
Oh yeah. Hey look, I can GIF!
As a perfect example of another thing in a long list of things I want to learn how to do, I finally took the time to figure out how to make GIF images. There have been a few times in the past that I wanted to create an image that could transition to different points-of-view and/or subjects but it was something that would slip my mind or just seemed like too much work at the time. Over the years I’ve learned I’m a very capable person who can figure things out if I apply myself, but with the studio I’ve quickly learned that I can only do so much with two hands and one brain and it forces me to pick-and-choose what I can invest the time into. It’s a perfect microcosm of my situation with the studio, I can do almost anything the studio needs but there’s a limit no matter how capable and willing I am. However, when I can find the time its a lot of fun to figure something like this out.
∙ From the back my design is considerably different than the concept sketch but it still retains the major elements that have been rearranged.
The Clouseau design is a bit too narrow for my liking especially if it’s going to have a transport capacity and a ramp in the front. While I made the center hull a bit wider I also added the layered armour elements taken from the Sicaran to bulk it a bit more. From a straight-on view like this, it might even seem a bit too wide but it’s a trick of the angle and it looks much leaner from a three-quarter view shown below. I also really like the asymmetrical details in the design that give it some nice visual interest so it was something I wanted to really embrace with this concept; I like the offset exhausts but I just wanted them on the opposite side.
∙ From the top the concept sketch has more similarities to my design but I wasn’t too fond of the front so it needed some creativity.
My understanding of the fiction behind the Rhino and Land Raider chassis is that they’re more general-purpose vehicles intended primarily for civilian use but also with the capacity to be up-built with a military role in mind. So for me, the Sicaran represents a vehicle with a chassis intended for military use only and over the years my idea evolved further to build on that concept. I didn’t want to copy any of these vehicles directly but my goal was to use the Clouseau design as a starting point and then blend several of the design elements into the base concept to produce a ‘military grade’ chassis, as it were.
As I said, I didn’t really like the front of the center hull in the concept sketch and how the turret was placed in a very Land Raider manner but I did
like the idea of using the octagonal shape. Instead of cutting into the hull I borrowed the same shape form the Sicaran which builds it out proving a good spot for the driver. I also pulled the center hull back a bit to take away some of the rolling-brick vibe and to give it the more aggressive feel that I wanted. The top view of the sketch doesn’t really give a good idea of what’s going on at the front but it does appear to have a hatch of some sort. Since the back is styled after the Land Raider by placing the engines and exhaust where a rear hatch might be it only seemed logical to try and add a ramp to the front to compensate and further blend the base elements of all the models incorporated into the design.
∙ The side profile of the concept sketch is where the similarities of the designs can be really seen and how it inspired my design.
However, there’s one major thing that can be reduced down to two words that needed
to change. Hey kids! Can you say ’ground clearance’?!
Very good! I knew
you could! If there’s one thing that drives me crazy in many of the vehicles of the 40k
universe it’s the lack of ground clearance in so many of the designs. 20-30cm of mud would completely bog down many of these ‘all-terrain’ tracked vehicles and/or the hulls are designed in such a way that they would likely wedge themselves into the ground at the bottom of any modest incline. No sir, you need some clearance so the suspension has some room to travel (even if it’s not visible) and the hull is properly suspended off the damn ground. Plus, it adds to the visual interest of the model adding some gaps of negative space and depth to break up the large solid slabs of armour that comprises the rest of the model. Ground clearance, “it’s a good thing.”
Obviously, I also choose to change the rectangular side doors from the sketch and made them round. Both round and rectangular shapes could work, really, but the round is just a bit more unique and suits the Sicaran inspiration this area of the model has. They also provide the opportunity to add a subtle convex shape and to recess them into the hull a bit to give it a bit more sophisticated look. Again, I wanted this vehicle to feel less utilitarian and more purpose-built, but there’s also the simple idea of trying to find places to add some rounded surfaces to accent the very flat and angular look of most Imperial vehicles. I’m tempted to round a few more spots but it’s something I don’t want to go too overboard with.
∙ The concept sketch doesn’t provide a proper front view and the top view is vague, so there was lots of room for some creative freedom.
A front view in the concept sketch might have been useful, but from what was shown in the top view I don’t think it would have stopped me from going in this direction. This needed to be an assault transport, after all, because… reasons.
Naturally, the center hull is a separate component and with the power of digital design, that means there’s no problem creating alternatives. I’m already pondering how I can change it up to add a turret and sponsons to another version of the same chassis. This is easily going to become the base of several versions of this chassis, I suspect.
∙ With slightly smaller proportions than a Sicaran I think this chassis fits nicely between the Rhino and the Land Raider.
∙ I haven’t done anything to the inside yet, and I’m still not sure if I will, but I suspect my ‘attention to detail’ will compel me. Regardless, the doors and hatches do open.
∙ I’ve been asked I would ever do a full tank model, so I guess this is my answer. Yeah, I wanna’ try to make this (and much more) real! Would you support a Kickstarter for this?
Now, this model may look
close to being finished but it still needs at lease some
interior detailing and to be ‘chopped up’ into components that can be 3D printed; then sub-assemblies need to be made out of those parts in preparation for mould making. So, there’s still a lot more work to make something this ambitious real, but, this
is what I can do with a solid idea in my mind, a reasonably good concept sketch (optional), and a pool of design elements that I can draw on to create something unique, yet familiar, and able to fit right in on a 40k
tabletop; plus, if it happens to appeal outside of that market, well then, I’m not going to complain.
Smaller kits have been great to perfect my process and to dial in my equipment, and I enjoy
making unique add-on kits and bits that can really transform the existing models or fill a gap in an official kit, but it all just makes me want to get to doing larger more ambitious projects like this
even more. I don’t want to stop making smaller kits and add-ons, but I’m finding I don’t I have any choice but to start some larger projects if I want to start generating the returns I need
to take the studio to the next level. I also need to stop investing all of the labour and materials upfront, before waiting on the return on that investment over weeks and months. It’s just too slow. Other studios are creating successful crowdfunding drives for single models (or small ranges) on par with this and generating exactly the kind of funds that I need to let me really dig in and get to work for many weeks and/or months at a time. I can see that the GoFundMe I set up is just too vague and I need to create something that’s focused on specific models (or small ranges) and simply build the studio’s selection and reputation that way.
However, even with more money I only have two hands and one brain. Still with me after 2,000+ words? Then maybe you’re the kind of person I’m going to need going forward. See, I’m not in a position to get a partner/employee into the studio to help me hands-on (yet…) so that rules out the hands. I guess that means I need another brain or two and hopefully they’ll come with hands attached. There’s so much to do building and managing an online presence that I’m open to the idea of a person or two who are willing to work from a distance. I’m constantly asked if I have a newsletter, ongoing back-and-forth with customers, I still have no social media presence, I need to get my online hosting and the like properly sorted out, at some point the web-shop needs a facelift, and once I get these new crowdfunding drives going it’ll just add to the list of tasks and communication needs, especially as I gain more exposure. Like I said in the beginning, I am capable
of doing each task, but simply can’t do it all
if I’m also 3D modelling, printing, prepping, mould making, casting, and much more. While in-studio hands-on help would be nice it’s just not an option yet so any other way I can find to reduce the workload will be a step in the right direction.
So, what am I looking for? First and foremost, serious
hobbyists. Are you an active builder, painter, and/or player? Is the tabletop gaming hobby something you’re pretty sure you want to do forever? Yeah, you’re the kind of people I’m looking for. Yes, the studio needs people with specific skills but I want gamers because that will simply tie the shop to the community that much more and provide more opportunities.
Beyond that, if I were to give it a title it would be something like Online Communications and Marketing; and ugh, that sounds horribly formal but it’s about right. Put simply, I need someone who can help me with general communications, community interactions, and helping to market the studio starting with the aforementioned crowdfunding campaigns.
Communications (written, verbal, potentially video), internet & social media savvy, basic-to-intermediate digital graphic design (crop, edit, adjust images, layouts, etc.), basic understanding of MS Office (or comparable) applications, willingness to learn something new if the need arises.
Good to have:
Strong digital graphic design (advanced image manipulation, good quality sketching, rendering), website creation experience, video editing, good quality miniature painting, photography skills, 3D modelling, active convention/competition attendance, crowdfunding experience, and again a willingness to learn.
For the foreseeable future this will be tied to crowdfunding campaigns of the studio; both workload and compensation will be tied to these campaigns and they will start slowly at first with the intent to build a selection that can sustain the studio to a point that this position can become permanent.
Think you’re someone with the right skills in a position that this could work for you? Want to help me make awesome miniatures with the potential to make your own ideas real in the future? Send me a Private Message or contact me via The Dark Works
and we can discuss this further. Right now I just need one or two people and I have no idea what the response is going to be like so please understand if I’m forced to pick from a few good candidates. It will also be several months before the first crowdfunding drives will be ready as I need to do some serious 3D modelling to get several solid projects to a point that they can showcase well like the APC in this post. This will start somewhat informal and as the studio gains some momentum and expands what I’m sure there will be many unknowns to be sorted out.