Das Tabletop-Hobby ist enorm vielseitig und nicht jede Miniaturen ist nativ mit einem bestimmten System verbunden, egal ob als Stand-in für eine bestehende Figur, einfach nur als Sammelfigur für Malversuche in der Vitrine oder als Darstellung des eigenen Helden beim Pen & Paper-Rollenspiel, bei der aktuellen Menge an Herstellern ist für jeden Geschmack etwas dabei. Und heute haben wir etwas exklusives, denn das Team vom Artisan: Guild stand uns in einem Interview Rede & Antwort, natürlich nicht ohne ein paar exklusive Einblicke in ihre Arbeit und ihre Sicht auf das Hobby.
Aber lest selbst:
Otaku-Lounge: Hey, so to introduce ourselves first: My name`s Tom and I write for Otaku-Lounge.de, we are a growing blog focused mostly on anime, video games and comics but I´m building a corner for tabletop wargaming and boardgames and want to expose our audience to some smaller studios as well. I´ve been playing Warhammer 40k, Warmachine and use a lot of my minis for roleplaying games as well. Why don`t you guys introduce yourself to our audience?
Artisan: Guild: Hello Tom! We are Andrea Tarabella and Francesca Musumeci and well… We do 3d sculpting! Many years ago one of our dreams was to start a physical miniatures line.But with physical sculpts the casting process to mass produce the miniatures is not as simple.
After many years of commissions for private individuals and companies we decided to work for ourselves and sell 3d printable (STL) files, as now home printer start to become popular.
This lets any tabletop gamer (wargamers, dungeon masters etc) to print their own miniatures and terrain in any amount they need. Patreon is where we are mostly active: our supporters get premium STL printable files earlier and for a fraction of their final shop price: https://www.patreon.com/
Otaku-Lounge: How did you get into the hobby? Did you play wargames yourself or have you started as sculptors?
Artisan: Guild: I’d say we were always in the hobby. Most of the kids like to draw fantastical creatures, we both just never stopped… We had years and years to practice the skills. I remember me with a pencil in my hand since the very beggining of my life. Books like The Hobbit and RPG like Baldur’s Gate introduced me to fantasy long time ago. As a child I always had the urge to create my paper tabletop games, writing rules and drawing tons and tons of paper figurines. We also played a couple of wargames (Lord of the Rings from Games Workshop and Warhammer), but honestly we are more into digital old-school RPG.
Otaku-Lounge: I get a strong World of Warcraft vibe from your current miniature range. Is that on purpose? Why did you choose a more comic-like aesthetic instead of more life-like proportions? What are other inspirations or artists that inspire you?
Artisan: Guild: When we started 3d sculpting for miniatures the first mistake we made was to make characters that were too proportioned. They look great on the big screen but when you print those at 28-32 mm scale they lose most of the tiny details, look fragile and break easily. Life-like proportions and details are not really visible on that scale, so we evolved accordingly; testprint after testprint. This was many years ago and for testprints we had to spend quite a lot on 3d printing web services like Shapeways.
Our current style is based on how I sketch with pencils and what we think works best for small models: sharp compositions and edges, thick details. It’s a „heroic scale“, so it’s more life-like proportioned than most of the commons miniatures when you compare them at the same size.
It’s possible that we had also been inspired by Warcraft (I played a lot of the original RTS trilogy!), but it was not really intentional: for example we started our Orc line inspired by the Elder Scrolls universe but when the testprints where ready they looked like too human in proportion at that scale. We beefed the orcs up as needed and now they look like more Warcraft inspired. On top of that the regular orc minis have Warhammer proportions, very different from ours !
Otaku-Lounge: Can you describe the process of how you end up with a miniature? Do you start with pen&paper, mess around with some clay or come up with your stuff in a 3d-modelling program?
Artisan: Guild After many years into the 3d sculpting, the Zbrush (the 3d software we both use) is an extension of your mind/arm, just like a pencil.
The first stage is sketching quickly exactly when you have the idea: most of the time is not even a precise concept but lines. It could be an angular composition you have seen ina tree, a building or a cloud, that properly sketched and divided into portions works with determinated races. Some lines works best with the stout dwarves, some others are perfect for the slender elves. We sketch rough ideas on the first surface we find: it could be paper, a napkin or even zbrush if we are at home, 3d sketching is great!
Generally we never go out without a sketchbook.
Otaku-Lounge: What´s your favourite material for your miniatures? Pewter is going out of fashion and 3d printed material is kind of the new thing right now. What´s your favourite material and why do you prefer your it over others?
Artisan: Guild: We don´t have a favourite material at the moment, but we prefer resin over metal. That shiny looks it has before painting makes some details less visible and it’s not great for photos.
As for printer, even if some of our patrons create crazy good results on FDM (filament) printers, we prefer resin printers for characters.
Otaku-Lounge: What`s your opinion on 3d printers in general? You sell STLs yourself, so you are aware of their growing influence on the tabletop scene. Do you think they are going to grow in importance or is it just a fad that cannot compete with regular casting methods?
Artisan: Guild: A few years ago we’d have said that home 3d printers would not work for miniatures: the cool ones were really super expensive! Now the scene is really different: common home printers print models very well and premium 3d Printers (like ASIGA) have better quality than casting.
Most big companies print the models in these premium printers and afterwards do casting. This last process can end up in a little detail loss, something that doesn’t happens if you just print the model. I would not be surprised if these premium printers become the standard in few years.
Other winning points for printable files:
– If you break the model, you print another
– You can mirror the models to get „extra poses“
– Models can be upgraded if there’s an issue, you just fix it and reupload in the shop.
Imagine in a big Kickstarter, if a digital model had any kind of problem you’d just fixt it and resent it to all your backers in few minutes, it’s that simple!
Otaku-Lounge: Are you yourself into manga or anime? what shows/books did you read recently?
Artisan: Guild: Fantasy is our favourite setting, we really Like Lodoss War, Berserk and Slayers. Lodoss War surely inspired our designs in some way! We also love Dragon Ball in all its glory, from the very first one when Goku was just a child to the recent Super. We could just make a giant topic about movies and books too, but let’s be brief telling that we really love J.R.R. Tolkien books, recently we have been digging through the Silmarillion.
Otaku-Lounge: Where can people see more of your miniatures? Do you have a showcase with painted one`s aswell?
Artisan: Guild: We have a private Facebook Group we use for our Patrons and Costumers to share printing and painting tips. We also run monthly painting contests! We’d say that the best thing about sculpting minis is to receive photos of their paintjob. From time to time we publish some painted models on Instagram, you just need to slide through the renders. https://www.instagram.com/
Our actual complete line is published in our official Shop, so you can see all our models there:
The Shop is the place where we sell the models, but our supporters on Patreon get them first for a fraction of the price! We even have patrons who don`t own printers: anyone who’s interested in collecting our designs can already start storing the models for a better price on Patreon and print them in the future when they actually have a printer. It may sound strange but you’d be surprised to see how many people are doing that waiting for their printer. Here’s our Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/
Thank you so much!
For the first time we are jumping into Kickstarter to expand our line with Francesca’s personal sculpts. She has been sculpting a line of battle ladies inspired by Amazons, Conan Universe and Greek mythology in general. There aren’t enough strong women miniatures in the 3d printable universe and we are coming in to fill the void! The Kickstarter is called AMAZONS! and it will feature some terrain and truly epic giant bosses too. You can check it here, it will be live very soon: day 1 October!