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Made in nz
Strategizing Grey Knight Chapter Master





Auckland New Zealand

Ooooh excited

IceAngel wrote:I must say Knightley, I am very envious of your squiggle ability. I mean, if squiggles were a tactical squad, you'd be the sergeant. If squiggles were an HQ, you'd be the special character. If squiggles were a way of life, you'd be Doctor Phil...
The Cleanest Painting blog ever!
Gitsplitta wrote:I am but a pretender... you are... the father of all squiggles. .
 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada

++++
++++++++
+++
Comm-Link ∙ Active
++++

Damn it. I feel like Prince Herbert in Monty Python and the Holy Grail; “… but I don’t want to get married, I just want to, sing!” … “No no no, there’ll be none of that!”

+++
+++++++

+++ Decrypting Uplink ‧ Halt! +++ Neural Congress ‧ Initialized +++ Data Uplink ‧ Corrupt +++ Decrypting Uplink ‧ Repairing +++
+++++++++
++++

I don’t want to write, I just want to, build! I just want to, paint! … No no no you don’t, there’ll be none of that procrastination; get writing!

++++++++
++++++
Motivation Subroutines ∙ Recalibrating… *HARSH BINARIC SCREECHING!!*
+++
+++++

+++ Exchange Output ∙ Inadequate +++ Incentive Reprimand ∙ Administered +++ Information Exchange ∙ Adjusting Parameters… +++
+++++++
Praxis Protocols Initialized ∙ Motivation Subroutines… Altered
+++++
+++
+++++++

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada


+++ Comm-Link ∙ Active +++ Data Exchange ∙ Compiling +++ Progress Assessment ∙ Insufficient +++ Message ∙ Complimentary Motivational Encouragement Servitors directed to assist with data compilation. +++

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in us
Bounding Ultramarine Assault Trooper






Those are some good looking servitors. One hell of an improvement over the clunky, old, Frankenstein sculpts.
   
Made in nz
Strategizing Grey Knight Chapter Master





Auckland New Zealand

Those look amazing!

IceAngel wrote:I must say Knightley, I am very envious of your squiggle ability. I mean, if squiggles were a tactical squad, you'd be the sergeant. If squiggles were an HQ, you'd be the special character. If squiggles were a way of life, you'd be Doctor Phil...
The Cleanest Painting blog ever!
Gitsplitta wrote:I am but a pretender... you are... the father of all squiggles. .
 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada

Ok, time for a shameless bump, because, why not?


∙ I literally ran out of AdMech models to assemble but have so many bits at my disposal I was able to create this chap (and others) with some Electro-priest legs and nothing but spare bits.

I have too many images for the proper update I’m working on (yeah, big wall-o’-text incoming soon), so here’s a better look at one of the kit-bashed counts-as Daedalosus I came up with recently. It's a shame that his current rules limit him to one in an army because I had so much fun making the first one that I could help but make this second one.

Eradication Pistol ∙ Check. Servo-arc Claw ∙ Check. Omniscanner ∙ Check. Looks like a Daedalosus to me.

I’m particularly pleased with how the Eradication Pistol turned out but I need to tweak the wrist since its drooping ever-so-slightly and aiming a bit low for my taste. I’m not completely sure I’m sold on the small ‘reactor’ backpack solution I came up with but it does accommodate the servo-skull really well, which I like, and I guess it’s a bit of a contrast to so many Tech-priests that are bulky and strapped with all manner of gubbins. Maybe once I add a few pouches and other bits it’ll fill him in a way that works for me. It’s fine if I can’t come up with something better, but he’s still a work-in-progress that has room to evolve because he’s not the only experiment in bits-bashing that I’ve been having fun with.

Ok, back to smashing the keyboard with my brain in hopes of finding the right words to finish my full update.

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada

Ok, I’ve got no choice but to trim more out of the large post I’m working on. I’m stuck at a certain point and these images/projects simply take the post off in another direction just when I’m explaining my thinking and then I need to pull it back to what I’m trying to get across.



∙ With no AdMech kits left to assemble but a mound of bits to work with I found myself compelled to create this counts-as Daedalosus and it turned out better than I expected.

Like with the other Daedalosus I showed previously everything except the Electro-priest legs is spare bits bashed together, even the outer robe from the Infiltrator kit, that I’m so amazed it fits as seamlessly as it does; I kept looking at the spare Infiltrator robe and the E-priest legs and it seemed like they would fit together very easily but I had to chop them up to find out. Given that the robe adds a lot of motion I fiddled around with the arms quite a bit to try and get a pose that compliments the happy accident I had created. It’s very dramatic combined with the rather static legs so I tried to give a sense that he’s spinning around to take a shot with the pistol at a target the servo-skull as picked out. This was my first try at making an Eradication Pistol and it wasn’t bad, but the solution I came up with for the other Daedalosus above was so good I’ve replaced the one pictured here with the improved version.



∙ I’m not that fond of the official Manipulus model and I still had another set of Electro-priest legs kicking around (*Groan* Dad joke? *Nod* Dad joke.) so I picked over the pile-o’-bits again to see what I could come up with.

Ok, so I need an Omnissian Staff and some kind of shooty gizmo that can counts-as two obscure weapons. Yeah, I’ve got enough odds-and-ends that I can come up with that. I’m happy with the staff, but while the rule of 40k is that over-the-top is usually a good thing I think the shooter might be a bit too, err, over-the-top-heavy. It’s not the worst solution but I think I’ll keep looking for another opportunity to bash something together that’s more suitable for the role. I’ve also just noticed that I overlooked that the Manipulus has Mechadendrites (Considering the official miniature, of course he does, until you break them all off one-by-one) so I’ll have to see what I can come up with to evolve this idea just a bit more. But, not bad for a start of just bashing spare bits together to see what comes out the other side.

Adeptus Mechanicus is comfortably settling in alongside Chaos as a favorite for converting, bashing, and scratch building, with so many opportunities to mix things up. I can’t wait to get back to my Chaos to explore some darker ideas, and then blend the two factions as I start to contemplate my proper Dark Mechanicus and how they’ll be made real. I still suspect that GW will make them a proper faction someday, but who knows how far out that is, so until then I’ll keep working towards my own Darker goals…

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada

∙ Disclaimer: Talk of the real world is going to find its way into this and some future posts because the tabletop gaming hobby and real-world conditions converge in the studio I’m trying to create. Earlier failed attempts at writing an update were going to do their best to avoid this but given the scope and scale of world events, I’m finding it difficult to untangle everything. In the spirit of being relaxed and civil, I don’t have any desire to bring up really heavy-handed economic, social, or political, subject matter that will cause friction in a place intended to help distract from such subjects of the real world. However, I find it all but impossible to talk about the hobby as it’s related to the studio without touching on some of my perspective about the structures and conventions of society that are having such a huge impact on my personal plans and the world that impacts us all. I welcome any dialogue that might arise from anything I’ll be talking about over the coming weeks, months, and years, but I insist that in public it remain casual, civil, and tied somehow to the subject of tabletop gaming; if it’s going to go too far off into the weeds please take it to a Private Message.

TL;DR ∙ Please see the end of this post for a summary of these extended musings. Abandon all hope ye who enter; here, there be monstrous walls of text.

Well then, it’s been a while. I really enjoy writing, but when there are too many things pulling at my attention, it’s so hard to do. Where to start? How ‘bout, the begending?

I didn’t invent the word but the mashup dawned on me a while back and seemed fitting as I came to the realization that so many events don’t really have a formal start or finish. Some events do have a discrete start, middle, and finish, but so many beginnings represent the end of something else, and so many endings are the beginning of something new. While I was coming to this understanding on a personal level, world events had me noticing that it’s even truer when it comes to the flow of history. There is no arguing that we are in a unique moment in history and it seems like it might be a once-in-a-lifetime begending on a massive scale with outcomes that we can only guess at right now. So what was originally going to be more about my own recent begendings, well, world events have made it difficult to ignore a larger picture.

So, last spring (Oh yeah, we’re going back a bit, but just for a quick recap) I managed to injure my hand when I had an altercation with a cat we’d adopted. I don’t hold it against Oakley because he was still mellowing (He’s nothing but a good-tempered suck today) but he’s a huge cat and bit me really badly. He managed to nick the bone, hit a nerve, or something, in my right hand ruining my grip strength, and cats have bites that are notorious for getting infected so it took two rounds of antibiotics to get that under control; watching the infection spread across my hand, even after starting the first round of antibiotics within 24 hours, had me a little nervous until a switch to a more effective antibiotic made things right. I figured it would heal in a few weeks but it turned into more like a few months where I had no strength in my hand so it was all but impossible to cast or make moulds in the studio. All things considered, it was not lost on me that the same reasonably minor injury in another part of the world would have come with far more cost and/or complications but for me, it was an inconvenience that sidetracked me for a while.


∙ I was able to paint, 3D model, contemplate, and procrastinate. This beauty is an example of my distracted 3D modelling but it also got me thinking. Want to help me make it real?

Initially, I created this APC as a bit of a flight of fancy not really considering it for production any time soon; it seemed too large and ambitious but I wanted to model an entire tank, so I did. But, the more I considered my situation the more I could see that small kits aren’t working right now. Crucial to perfecting my printing and production process, smaller kits are also very easy to get distracted with because they’re generally less work to design, consume fewer materials, and very prone to tempting flights-of-fancy; but, I simply can’t produce enough small kits by myself to make them profitable enough to fund faster studio expansion. I have the ambition to try and make it work by myself while I have no other realistic choice, but the cold reality is, the only way to make smaller kits work is to ramp up production by dividing the labour between more people; it’s fascinating how diving a complex task has a compounding effect on the output, so doubling or tripling the labour actually produces more than double or triple the output, and that will be the key in the future. So, for now, I’ve decided to really curb smaller ideas, keeping them for side projects and when I have proper studio space that can accommodate the extra people I can really focus on the smaller ideas to produce them in volumes that make them sustainable.

Until that can happen, I need to do larger kits like the APC pictured above that command a higher price per kit, and these kinds of larger projects will lend themselves to individual crowdfunding drives; if I can get 50 people to support a $100 kit, that’s $5,000 upfront that can let me really focus all my attention on the project for the weeks it’ll need to finish. Up to this point, I’ve been doing lots of labour and investing in materials upfront to get a kit ready for production and then waiting for it to recoup that investment with sales. I wish I could simply keep doing it that way but until I get some kind of a proper cushion of funds to work with I need to at least have a selection of kits that provide healthy returns as a foundation that fund progress. Even if a funding drive is less successful I can still make it work but the pace will be slower, and if it’s more successful I can slog to finish knowing I’m obviously on to something and gain more momentum to expand the studio that much faster. With everything I’ve done so far, I’m very confident in what I can produce, just not how quickly I can do it, but once I get a few done I’ll have a better idea going forward. With each kit successfully put into production I’ll have an ever-broadening selection for future customers and some upfront profit to take the pain out of the process. Once I’ve got a large enough selection of kits that can do some heavy lifting the cycle should be able to become self-sustaining as long as I can keep the ideas up and I’ve got plenty of ideas. So that was the plan, put the smaller stuff on the back burner to simmer and get the larger kits cooking, and then life happened, quite literally…


∙ Hello Begending. You didn’t think I was only going to reference current events and the like when I was talking about the real world, did ya’? I’ll see your expectations and raise you a baby!

In case you’re wondering, he’s about 7 minutes old in the picture above, and he’s about 7 months old today. So, right around the time, my hand was finally healing properly and I was getting the above plan sorted out this little guy became a future consideration… and promptly melted my brain. Preparation for his arrival combined with contemplating how he was going to fit in with everything I thought I had just sorted out, well, that was enough for my brain to start overheating for a while. At some point in the next 3-4 years, my house is going to need another bedroom and at least part of my in-house studio space is now on the chopping block to provide the room. If I’m starting to get cramped for space in my studio now, well I guess my timeline just got much more concrete. If I’m going to do the studio now I have no choice but to get really serious about it, or, let it go. *Sigh* Back to pondering and weighing pro’s, con’s, timelines, and all sorts of other things.


∙ I had plans of showing more in-progress images as the Onagers received their paint but that kinda’ got lost along the way as I became absorbed in it as a meditative distraction.

I’m fortunate to have some contractual work during the fall and winter months at the college I attended. It’s a mixed blessing since it’s nice that it adds to the household income but it also takes away some of the finical motivation to get the studio up-and-running. It can be frustrating when it feeds into my procrastination, but in this case, I was feeling more than a little distracted so I’m glad I have it to fall back on and provide some outside structure to my weeks. With that, I set to work on the modest task of three Onagers so that I might meditate through the act of painting; it isn’t my favorite part of the process, but I do like it for the trance-like state you can attain, that can then be used to block out some of the excess noise of the universe. My little nurgling pictured above (Producers of saliva, urine, feces, vomit, vectors for contagion of all manner, and yet so adorable and entertaining, yes, infants are essentially nurglings.) arrived in early December 2019 so there were only a few weeks until a hectic holiday season of visiting family followed up by a new year settling in discovering the kind of routine that a baby creates. No two are the same, so it takes some time to learn the routines and rituals of placation that work.



∙ Despite the Onager competing for space in AdMech lists these days, I’m still very pleased to have a ‘unit’ of them ready for the tabletop.

I’m not sure I’d choose to do three of them together in one go again, but I can say that despite being much larger they were less daunting than painting three of the Sydonian Dragoons at the same time. Gluing the flip-down foot component to the base using the legs as a guide, and then keeping the legs loose during painting was a good plan. The AdMech model range benefits from (demands?) painting the models in sub-assemblies much more than other miniatures I’ve painted over the years, but they’ve given me an appreciation for what you can get away with if you’re careful during final assembly. I’ve learned that you can make surprisingly delicate/obvious connections between components without harming the paint job if you use Extra Thin solvent glue carefully; the simple trick is to be ready to aggressively blow on the join after applying the glue to quickly evaporate any excess that will cause damage or wrinkle the paint. However, the join must be plastic-on-plastic if you want it to properly fuse and have any serious strength so carefully masking all of the touch points with poster-tack before priming and painting adds to the model’s preparation. Personally, the reduced headache of trying to paint some of the many challenging nooks-and-crannies of the AdMech models is worth the effort.

While I’m pleased with how the decals turned out I’m a bit frustrated how obvious some of the edges are even after ample Micro Sol/Set application. They snug down to curved surfaces perfectly but it doesn’t soften or blend the edges. Being new to making decals I’m certain I was too heavy-handed with the spray-on film so I think I might need to try a few experiments to perfect the process of making them. I did some research to see if there are any other options for dealing with this and discovered that you can put a heavy coat of hard gloss varnish over the decal and then use really high grit sandpaper to blend the edges away. Naturally, I learned this after I had applied some softer satin and matt varnish in hopes that they would do the trick by themselves. I’m fighting the urge to be impatient and trying to very gently sand the edges with some 1200 and 2000 sandpaper, but I’m forcing myself to try it on something that isn’t a finished model first. I’m not pleased with it but it’s ultimately very minor and I’d hate to make a bigger mess trying to fix it.


∙ As the Onagers were finished it started to dawn on me that, hold on a moment, *Checks his to-do list* I’ve… got a… painted army… ? ... I’ve got a painted army. I’ve got a painted army!! And look at that, a begending.

Now, the points have changed over the many months of painting and building, my understanding of 8th game mechanics and tactics changed (and now 9th is here), along with the AdMech faction getting some new toys, so I knew already that my 2,000 point list was going to change. (More on that in a moment.) I’ve also still got to do the decals on all of the troops, and some final little touch-ups and overlooked details, so there’s still a bit more work but the end of this phase is in actual sight at this point; I’m finally at the tipping point that going forward all I need to do is paint units to add to the greater whole and that’s always a lot less daunting. *Binaric screech of glee* So, even if the list is going to get an adjustment I have enough painted models to put a proper table-ready list together and actually venture out into the real world and start checking out what the scene in my area is like. I get out, start throwing some dice, meeting some people, and let my models work as conversation starters; I need to find at least a few talented individuals to grow the studio so I’d rather try and find a gamer or two who appreciates the hobby and this strange obsession with little plastic toy soldiers rather than someone just doing a job. To be perfectly honest, I have no desire to be a boss so why would I want someone who’s just an employee? (Again, more on that in a moment.) I finished the custom bits, assembling, basing, and priming the Onagers in December and painted them over January and February as the little nurgling settled into his routine, my brain settled back into my skull, and I reassured myself that yes, I can make this work. I’m sure you can see where this is going…

What could possibly happen in March to stop me from being able to go out into public?!

*Subtle sslloowwllyy tilts his head as his eyes grow wide and his expression becomes… disturbing*

Huh? What the heck is a Novel Coronavirus? *Entire regions of the world begin grinding to a halt* Aw jeez, now that’s a begending.

I think I’m gonna’ need another distraction, or several, and some time to process this turn of events. What’s that, stay at home orders? Well looks like I’ve got the time part sorted out.



∙ Umm, what else needs some paint? Some Breachers and another Dominus? That works for me! Because of my procrastination, these are actually finished at this point but that’s another story for another post.

Ok, this is somewhere in the middle of what I’m trying to write, but I got tangled up trying to convert my thoughts into words, and then I got pulled in a few directions by some studio stuff and more real-life events to distract me.

So, this will be a To Be Continued post that I hope to follow up within something resembling a short while.

TL;DR – See the end of my next post for a summary of my prolonged wording.

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in us
Near Golden Daemon Caliber





Affton, MO. USA

Congrats on the baby . No time to read right now, but the parts look fantastic.

LOL, Theo your mind is an amazing place, never change.-camkierhi 9/19/13
I cant believe theo is right.. damn. -comradepanda 9/26/13
None of the strange ideas we had about you involved your sexual orientation..........-Monkeytroll 12/10/13

I'd put you on ignore for that comment, if I could...Alpharius 2/11/14 
   
Made in ca
Speedy Swiftclaw Biker




Canada

Happy to have found this thread, I just read it start to finish. Congratulations on fatherhood from a fellow Torontonian!

I would love to see that APC become a reality.


 
   
Made in us
Enigmatic Exalted Daemon





Albany, NY

MEGA post is mega

Big congrats on the kid! And just slightly smaller congrats on the 'finished' army in that shot - so much bright blue O_O

KOW BATREPS: BLOODFIRE
INSTAGRAM: @boss_salvage 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada

Other direct replies to come soon’ish. But first, see, what else is new? I want to be writing to finish up my last post but then all of this showed up and I had another task to get done. I was planning on getting this at a later point but a recent windfall let me invest in a new ventilation hood and two 5’x3’ solid steel workbenches. Getting the 68 kg (150 lbs) benches down into my cave, err, basement studio was fun to say the least, here’s hoping they don’t have to get back out. I’ve been looking at these for a few years and the price kept creeping up so I’m glad to be able to get them sooner rather than later in case another increase is in the cards, which I suspect is likely.


∙ Great, a much needed 500 CFM upgrade to my ventilation but now I gotta’ figure out how to fit it in and connect all the ducts.

∙ Now that’s a respectable upgrade to my modest Manufactorium that’s instantly helped with my organization and equipment layout.

The setup is still rather humble but it’s almost starting to look like I know what I’m doing. It might seem odd that something as simple as a large sturdy flat surface would make me downright giddy but I’ve been dealing with a cobbled-together collection of tables that were less than ideal up to this point so it’s a simple but significant improvement.

Next up I need to get a small clay slab roller so I can speed up my mould making process and save my poor ageing hands from the torture of doing it with a rolling pin. After that, I will be upgrading pressure camber ‘A’ and ‘B’ to match the heavier ‘C’ chamber and the two lighter chambers will be put on permanent mould making duty to help the process further since casting and mould making won’t need to share the same pressure chambers. But for now, this setup will let me hit the ground running again with my current plans and have room for improvement soon. The next update should be my finish to my last wall-o’-text where I’ll give an outline of what I’m planning and to look for any input or feedback that might be forthcoming.

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada

*Subtle clenches his eyes shut and blocks his ears with his hands in a futile attempt to stop the endless ideas that lurk in the dark corners of his brain*
 
No no no! I have things to do! Please stop temping me with distracting ideas! *Binaric screeching* Lo, the Omnissiah offers inspiration so that I might find my way in these dark times.
 

∙ Yes! I know! I am to take the concept of the Forge World Ordinatus and blend it with this glorious AdMech mega kit-bash.

∙ Look! Can you see?! I have begun gathering the required components and have contemplated my plan. Can you see it?! I can see it!
 
It will happen, and it’s sooo tempting to get started on it because it’s begging to come into existence, but I’ll settle for this much progress as a proof-of-concept and put it aside. For now…

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in nl
Did Fulgrim Just Behead Ferrus?





The Netherlands

Scary...

The Wars of Tusculum Nova - A Vanguard Miniatures fanblog 
   
Made in us
Liche Priest Hierophant






I would suggest trying to keep the gun mount as low to the ground as possible.

Not only will it give it a more aggressive profile, but it makes sense because a lower COG means the recoil is less likely to flip the whole thing over.

Also... Perhaps an odd-number of treads? Admech stuff seems to enjoy having a certain amount of asymmetry or non-standardness to it.

GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy and paste it into your sig and add 1 to the number after generation. Consider it a social experiment.

If yer an Ork, why dont ya WAAAGH!!

M.A.V.- if you liked ChromeHounds, drop by the site and give it a go. Or check out my M.A.V. Oneshots videos on YouTube! 
   
Made in us
Near Golden Daemon Caliber





Affton, MO. USA

Anvildude wrote:
I would suggest trying to keep the gun mount as low to the ground as possible.

Not only will it give it a more aggressive profile, but it makes sense because a lower COG means the recoil is less likely to flip the whole thing over.

Also... Perhaps an odd-number of treads? Admech stuff seems to enjoy having a certain amount of asymmetry or non-standardness to it.


Is it a projectile weapon? I thought it was energy and wouldn’t have recoil? Serious question as I’m not sure. Either way it leaves space for plenty of servitors underneath .

LOL, Theo your mind is an amazing place, never change.-camkierhi 9/19/13
I cant believe theo is right.. damn. -comradepanda 9/26/13
None of the strange ideas we had about you involved your sexual orientation..........-Monkeytroll 12/10/13

I'd put you on ignore for that comment, if I could...Alpharius 2/11/14 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada

Thanks for the interest. Yeah, this is a very early mock-up to explore the concept and it looked just good enough to take a pic and give an idea of what I've got in mind. Any of the elements might switch, rotate, move, or be altered in some way as I explore mt way through this. My plan is to build the structure with mostly styrene, and then use the 3D printer to detail it. And yes, it will have some distinctive asymmetry to the design in the spirit of the inspiration kit-bash in the top-right of the picture and AdMech in general.

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in us
Liche Priest Hierophant






Oh, are you making this just as a one-off custom? I thought this was going to be the base of one of those 'large kits' you were talking about.

GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy and paste it into your sig and add 1 to the number after generation. Consider it a social experiment.

If yer an Ork, why dont ya WAAAGH!!

M.A.V.- if you liked ChromeHounds, drop by the site and give it a go. Or check out my M.A.V. Oneshots videos on YouTube! 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada

Yes, the 'micro-ordinatus' is going to be a personal one-off project because it's going to be quite elaborate. One thing I try to do with my add-on kits is to design them so that minimal alterations need to be made to the base kit or else I really limit who might be interested in the kit; not everyone wasn't to do major cuts or alterations to a model in order to add an aftermarket kit. In this case, I'm likely going to make some major changes to the base parts as well as create lots of custom structure so it's much more ambitious and complex than my typical kitbashing efforts.

Larger kits are happening, but this is a personal passion project to scratch a creative itch I've had recently. That said, I'll never say never that I'd do a proper kit like this in some fashion in the future, but we'll have to see. I keep thinking every idea and inspiration I have is possible, and on many levels they are, but I also need to keep my progression forward realistic and choose what I produce with some restraint.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/08/02 19:35:55


"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in us
Liche Priest Hierophant






See, I figured you'd just be making the whole thing. You have the know-how and equipment, you could be making your own line of miniatures.

GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy and paste it into your sig and add 1 to the number after generation. Consider it a social experiment.

If yer an Ork, why dont ya WAAAGH!!

M.A.V.- if you liked ChromeHounds, drop by the site and give it a go. Or check out my M.A.V. Oneshots videos on YouTube! 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada


+++ Warning! ∙ Procrastination Scrap-code Detected! +++ Progress Assessment ∙ Diverted! +++ Critical Action ∙ Primary Activity… Halt! +++ Primary Motive Cache ∙ Dumping… +++ Primary Motive Cache ∙ Resetting… +++

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in gb
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Killer Klaivex







I've bought some components from your store before, and been keeping an eye out for a restock that's just never quite happened. I'm a big fan of how careful you are to make everything modular and top notch quality. Your ethos in that regard is outstanding.

With all that said. Having read your small essays on expanding your business, I think you're going about this wrong to a degree. You want to start making actual money out of this, but at the same time, you don't want to move quickly or take any risks. You want to expand production, but you don't really want to be a boss. You want to have the freedom to keep doing whatever you like, but you find yourself struggling to find the time to do anything at all.

Guv, what you need is a partner or a partnership. I'm not volunteering (far too much stuff on my hands already), but it's quite clear that your plate is as full as you really want it to be. You need somebody else to run the business end of things whilst you get to tinker in your workshop and enjoy the bit of it that you like most; namely the creativity and creation end of things. The level of caution you're showing is fully understandable, but the extent to which you fiddle fart around really doesn't indicate you to have the sort of mentality a start-up entrepeneur/potential CEO requires. You need someone else who can bring that to the table and start making the gears grind.

Take for example your production levels. You fret over how you have limited space and time to produce, but the fact (as you recognise) is that you can't personally both design and manufacture in enough quantity to make real money. The logical business solution is to outsource production. Send the business to Anvil or somebody else with a good reputation for quality. Give them a percentage of the profit, and they'd probably even handle distribution for you. That would leave you time to focus on the designing - after all, the more kits you design, the greater the stable of products to channel you income. A business partnership would suit well if you want to retain maximum control over IP and future business direction (you can always move manufacturers or go in-house later on if the sales are there).

Alternatively, a dedicated partner could seek to raise the sort of capital needed to start driving your studio forward as a serious prospect. The middling companies like Warlord Games turn over millions per year. The market has expanded vastly if you follow GW and various analyst reports, and it's absolutely ripe for continued expansion. If you can get someone with a background in venture capital or the like in, you could start taking off sharpish without needing to look at things like kickstarter. Even if you decide to go that route instead, you'll need someone with a business mentality to drive that angle whilst you focus on the designing and casting.

But that would necessarily involve surrendering strategic control over to somebody who runs the place like a business. And frankly? I don't get the feeling that's what you're after here. It seems more like it's your baby (to go along with the other one pictured), and you want to keep holding all the reins near where you can grab them. Strategy, development, manufacturing, and communication, etcetc. And it's going to shoot you in the foot on a practical level because you can't commit wholeheartedly to it as a 'business'. You damage your hand, and the work stops. That's no way to run a serious business prospect, and shows you just how trying to be responsible for absolutely everything makes you into the biggest potential liability to your business's success. All solid companies run on a multiple redundancies basis in case someone dies or walks out the door.

If you really want to micromanage, you could keep doing that to an extent whilst expanding if you're willing to move premises and become more of a manager/administrator. But the minute you meet with success, all the design end of things is going to get less and less of your time. You'll have to contract or hire people in to do that end to make up for your reduced time as you spend it on paperwork. And there'll be a LOT of paperwork. Always is in small business.

If you want to avoid that fate, you need someone else willing to do that end for you. To talk with the accountant, file the taxes, conduct the interviews, plan the marketing, and so on. Your strength is in the technical know-how. You can order the right equipment to outfit the production unit, teach the casters how to do their jobs, and advise the business chap on what's technically feasible. That's what you bring to the table, and it's a good solid skill-set. Any business would do better having you handle that end of things, and somebody else handle the paperwork end. Rather than one bloke trying to do everything. Specialism leads to efficiency and less wasted effort in business.

tl;dr, you need a partner or a partnership, I think. Not just someone to run a facebook for you. You have great plans and great talent, but I'm not getting the sense of a business executive from you right now. That doesn't mean you couldn't be one (anyone can learn these things), but frankly, I just don't get the impression that you want to be one. So you should try and find a business model that helps you achieve what you want out of your life and time (babies are very consuming of both things), rather than eating your hat because you're trying to wear six of them at once. Otherwise you'll just end up unhappy, stressed, and depressed.

Unrequested business lecture over.

This message was edited 6 times. Last update was at 2020/08/09 01:31:39



 
   
Made in us
Liche Priest Hierophant






Ket's got some great points there.

I don't know if you had any small business management courses during your schooling, but 'making a good product' and 'selling a good product' are two very different skillsets.

I don't know for miniatures, but I do know Jewelry making- and I think that's somewhat applicable. Small scale, hand crafted, high quality high value art pieces. That's what you're making, essentially. And for independent jewelers, they need a LOT of hustle- spending 10 hours a day, 5 days a week building their stock of production level stuff (the easy-to-make, economical-to-buy product), spend their entire waking weekend developing more expensive one-offs or figuring out new production stuff, and then 3 weekends out of 4 going to craft fairs and the like to try and sell the product they've made. And that's alongside things like Etsy stores or galleries that might carry their stuff. And from what I've heard, a lot of those folks are still struggling to make ends meet.

But something that helps a lot of them is to outsource production of some of their stuff. If they have cast parts, send those out to casting houses. If they have cut parts, send those to a place to laser-cut. Instead of hand-making jump-rings or stone settings, buy them in bulk pre-made. There's entire industries out there built around doing busywork for small businesses to increase value and production for everyone involved.

Even if you just bring other family members in to do other stuff, that would help. Get your SO to do the books and update the website, teach a cousin how to do resin casting and set them part quotas, and pay them a wage from it.

One other thing, though...

For you specifically... I don't think you can make a full business piggybacking off another company. I think you have the imagination, you have the technical know-how, and you have the resources that you can start making your own full custom production line. 'Counts as' models, and just general cool things that you want to build.

This serves a two-fold purpose.

One: You have stuff that can't be litigated away. Chapterhouse should have taught everyone how dangerous that can be.

Second: You get to diversify. DnD minis and terrain, stuff that can be used for other systems (Warmahordes comes to mind), and just general "That's cool, I want to paint that" things. This brings more people to your shop, expands your customer base. Which brings stability and profit, which are both good things.

You got a good thing. Make it better.

GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy and paste it into your sig and add 1 to the number after generation. Consider it a social experiment.

If yer an Ork, why dont ya WAAAGH!!

M.A.V.- if you liked ChromeHounds, drop by the site and give it a go. Or check out my M.A.V. Oneshots videos on YouTube! 
   
Made in ca
Sagitarius with a Big F'in Gun





Toronto, Canada

Thank you very much Ketara for your reply and input. I genuinely appreciate it because you're right, it's the business side of things that has me intimidated and the last thing I need is more stuff to learn and duties to take care of. However, I'll be honest and say up front that some of my procrastination is a performance and things are happening in the background and I am getting around to writing another large post outlining what I've got planned. But since you took the time to write I'll touch on some things here. First, fresh materials are in the studio so casting is underway but I want to get a bunch done before I put things back on offer.

In many ways, you're right on the mark because I'm not trying to hide anything and it's exactly like you're saying; I can do it all, but I can't do it all, and that's what I'm saying, I need to be able to start delegating lots of stuff. But like almost everything in life, there are a few things that make it more complicated. While the studio has existed for many years it really is only the last 2.5 that it's been something I could really concentrate on because college was finally finished, and a chunk of that, in the beginning, was actually trying to outsource to places that could do what I wanted to the right standard that wouldn't force me into arrangements with companies outside of Canada that will just add cost and complication; what I discovered was that small scale high-resolution 3D printing and high-quality RTV mould making is something that's actually very hard to find in my area and I see it as an expansion opportunity for the studio, within and outside of the hobby. Then I just committed to getting the inhouse process worked out completely because it simply became the most cost-effective solution and that took another chunk of time. As you allude, I have the process worked out and I'm confident I could train people how to do it but it's not going to work this basement space.

Yeah, I need some people, and that was the plan this spring/summer; get out of the house and start visiting the local games shops and GW stores to get an idea of what the local scene is like and start getting a feeling for the area. I'm going to do a lot online but I'll be active in my local community and need to figure out where to set up shop. Yup, I need some people who are interested in the day-to-day hands-on operation of the studio, casting, shipping, and the like, but I do also need to find a proper business partner who can do lifting in the business operation area. As you said, I know I have to be realistic in what I can do, but I also know what it's like when you run a smaller business and if you're not willing to wear several hats in the beginning things simply won't happen. I understand that in the beginning I'm going to be called on to do almost anything in a pinch but I'm the first to say that I want to delegate as soon as I can so I can concentrate mostly on what I know I can do to makes the monies - designin' da' cool plastic toy soldiers n' stuff. I was well past being cautious many months ago, but I had to sort our the new baby and then the world got turned upsidedown with C-19.

Right now I'm in the painful spot that many startup businesses get to; I've got the ideas and potential product, but not enough of the ideas exist yet to support the space that's needed to bring the potential products into existence. Especially right now (with the economy in wonderland) I'm extremely nervous about borrowing any kind of significant capital for things I still need to sit down and spend many hours designing, let alone moulding, and then casting in quantity. I recognize that I'm a rather unknown commodity with no direct network to find someone I could trust who in turn can trust me. Yes, I need a business partner but finding someone with the right skills who's willing to get involved in such a niche product? Yeah, it might take a least a little time to meet the right person but until I do I'm determined to do it anyway I can slog my way through it.

To that end, I've recently attended an orientation session for a small business startup program in my city that I will be applying for in the next week. It's a competitive process but I'm quite confident in my chances to get in. I have a vague outline of the things I need to get in order and this program should get me on the right track with help on things like my business plan, cost and profit projections, hiring considerations, taxes, licencing, etc., and hopefully, also help me consider my other financing options. It also has a chance to apply for a small grant at the end of the program and while the money would be nice it'd not very much and it's the business know-how that I'm most keen on getting. I still think crowdfunding will be a key source to begin with because it will let me tie finding to specific kits which will be more manageable than trying to cover the costs of everything before I know just how much demand I'll have and what return I should expect on a given project and/or line of kits. Smaller crowdfunding drives should help me get that feedback as well as give me a chance to really pay attention to development time, without the pressure of $50,000+ being borrowed to cover the many costs of trying to kick this into gear, while so many of my ideas are still just pictures in my brain that I can't even showcase and sell as a proof-of-concept. What I've done so far is good, but I feel I'm going to need to show much more potential if I want to build confidence in what I've got planned.

Again, thanks for the input. It really underlines that I'm thinking about the right things and I simply need to get past my nervousness about this next big step and get in gear. Keep an eye open for my next post where I'll be talking at length about what's going to be happening over the coming months and years. There's more to why I've been dragging the last while and I'll explain it in more depth there. Yeah, I'm juggling a lot, the world is upsidedown, and I'm nervous as hell about lots of things right now, but there's no choice but to keep moving forward like everything is going to work out, until it doesn't, then figure out what to do if that happens.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Damn it Anvildude, you guys keep trying to drag it out of me. Give me a little more time and in my next update I'll start to clarify what path I'm settling on. I know what I want to do, but labour is a major issue; I simply don't have a large network of people, family or friends, who I can try to recruit to help with the business. On that front, I literally need to start from scratch and as I said the previous post I understand the reality of trying to find someone who's willing stop what they're already doing and jump into this with me; even if I know I've got a great thing that just needs a chance, I'm asking a lot of anyone who doesn't know me at least a little and/or someone I can show a serious body of work to so I can prove the studio's potential. Exactly, if I can get some proper stand-alone kits done to show what the studio can really do, then I've got something serious I can show people who might be interested in joining my efforts.

That said, GW is too large with too much gravity to ignore and being in their orbit simply draws customers so I can't help but see conversion kits as at least a start point but you're right to say that I don't want to make that my only, or even primary, offering. Note, the worst I'll ever have to deal with from GW is a C&D letter and even that will be very unlikely unless I get very successful and choose to become sloppy. I've got a good grip on copywrite law and have a good understanding of the Chapterhouse lawsuit. If I'm stupid enough to act the way they did then yeah I'll paint a target on my back that GW will have no choice but to shoot at because that's literally copywrite law; when the transgression is as deliberate as that, you defend it or lose it. But in turn, GW also defined the legal limits of their IP and made it straightforward to know what you can reasonably produce.

In the end, it's not as much what I produce, but how I produce it and if it's viable and sustainable. The right kinds of conversion kits are very viable but only if I can make them the right way. The same thing goes for stand-alone kits. The hump I need to get over right now is not what to produce but how to get it producing in a sustainable way without taking on huge amounts of debt to get it going.

I have no problem with the idea of outsourcing certain parts of the business but I don't think it will be any of the key processes - design, 3D printing, mould making, and casting. When I was doing the costing for these kinds of things it was so high that I immediately recognized that those are the tasks that my studio can do to generate profits at the next level, after selling models and miniatures. I don't want to outsource these things because the models are just the foundation and those services will likely be the next step built on that foundation. If I can do it in-studio I can save a huge start-up cost (but yes, a lot of that will be on my back for a while) and build the capacity and knowhow in-studio to then offer it as a service. That is unless the models do so well that it's not needed, but I suspect it's too good of an opportunity to ignore. We shall see.

Ok, enough rambling. I'll get a proper update talking about all of this and other bits-and-pieces soon. Thanks again for the feedback.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/08/09 05:01:07


"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



 
   
Made in gb
[SWAP SHOP MOD]
Killer Klaivex







It sounds to me like you have a reasonably solid grip on what you'd like to do, which is half the battle.

I'm inclined to agree with you that you'll never make much money outsourcing production. I suggested it purely because as a brand new dad, you might want to maximise your free time (they're never that young again). Leaving the production end of things to one side whilst you grew your stable of products wouldn't be the fastest way to grow the business and wouldn't be amazingly profitable. But it would be low stress/effort on your end. I believe M.A.M. miniatures started off in a similar fashion.

Likewise, I'm also inclined to agree (sorry anvildude!) that there's a lot of flexibility in the market just doing conversion kits. Popgoesthemonkey has literally hired in a new designer recently. That shows that having enough conversion kits on sale actually can generate enough cashflow to sustain a small business. Likewise, Taro Model maker and Blood and Skulls Industry are a little smaller but do well enough.

The real leader example here to emulate is the Polish trio Scibor/Maxmini/Kromlech. Whilst Maxmini has folded and Scibor went off the deep end a little, Kromlech is still doing very well for themselves. Their success was in getting their product into all the different hobby independent stores, where your average 40K gamer can grab a set of shoulder pads or rhino doors with their main 40k model purchases. It allowed them to really leverage their manufacturing apparatus, because they weren't just stocking their own webstore. That equals more time producing during the day, more turnover, and more market visibility/penetration.

Frankly, they're the model to aspire to and improve on. You want a little 'Dark Works' stand in every Hobby shop near the 40K rack.

But as you very clearly understand, that's going to be impossible from your little backroom studio. You do know what you want to do though, so I'll cease lecturing and instead earnestly wish you good luck and keenly await your next update!

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/08/09 09:06:27



 
   
Made in us
Liche Priest Hierophant






You know, that is very true, about the smaller stores. I know that I almost never bought anything from websites for minis- just about all of my armies were bought in my FLGS. Expanding out and finding as many of those to reach out to might be a good idea.

Maybe make yourself a little pamphlet that you can mail out, with ordering information on it.

GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy and paste it into your sig and add 1 to the number after generation. Consider it a social experiment.

If yer an Ork, why dont ya WAAAGH!!

M.A.V.- if you liked ChromeHounds, drop by the site and give it a go. Or check out my M.A.V. Oneshots videos on YouTube! 
   
 
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