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Hi, it’s Marked_by_Chaos (aka James) with part 2 of my report of the recent Design Studio open day on July 12 2013 at Warhammer World (dubbed “Enter the Citadel”). Check out part 1 about designing Eldar here.

Having replenished my energy reserves with a “Fat Bloke” burger and pint of Bugmans XXXXXX beer I attended the seminar “Here be Giants – Developing Big Miniatures” presented by Citadel designers Jes Goodwin and Matt Holland concerning the production of recent large plastic kits.

As with the Eldar Q&A they answered a number of pre-planned questions and then the floor was opened to questions from the audience. It was a great session with plenty of banter.

The session started off by considering scale issues with the big kits. Jes continued his thoughts regarding the “pace” of a model as discussed in the Eldar Q&A. Jes reasoned that when designing these larger kits this became an even more important issue. You need some plainer areas for painters as well as details. The nature and type of details can be important for conveying the scale of the model.

Jes and Matt both referred to the size of head of a model as something that they have carefully considered for the recent Wraithknight and Riptide models.

Tau Riptide Battlesuit (painted by ThirdEyeNuke)

They have deliberately used a proportionately smaller head, especially with the Riptide. This is for number of reasons. Firstly, they believe that it reinforces a sense of scale, i.e. the head size is more in keeping with the rest of the range, but the body is disproportionately larger which reinforces the size difference to the rest of the range.

In the case of the specific models there were also particular thought processes. With the Wraithknight the head is essentially defunct since the living pilot is encased in the body. The point of having the head is to keep design continuity with the other Eldar models. However, in Jes’ view if you simply scaled up the head, not only would it be very large but also the model would lose its point of reference in a sense. It would no longer clearly be in 28mm heroic scale and would be almost be comparable to a magnified version of a different model in the range.

Eldar Wraithknight (painted by ThirdEyeNuke)

In the case of the Riptide Matt was keen to use a very small head. The reason for this is that again there was no logical reason for the model to have a larger head. However, he also wanted to reinforce that the model was essentially still a one man (or Tau) battle-suit. The head is more or less in keeping with the other battle-suit heads but the suit itself is considerably larger and more powerful.

another Tau Riptide Battlesuit (painted by ThirdEyeNuke)

Jes stated that further key elements with the new kits were creating a suspension of disbelief and also incorporating narrative points that really tied the models into the broader range and scale.

A further issue discussed was the potentially greater level of animation of the larger kits. As the models scale up in size there is natural scope for greater pos-ability, particularly through the incorporation of ball and socket type joints. Apparently they have played around with this to a degree. For those who wish quickly put together a model in a fairly standard pose, they have incorporated pegs or slots on many of the parts. However, you can simply shave these off and create some really interesting poses.

The seminar then moved on to consider some of the practical issues with the kits. Jes confirmed that at present the kits are limited by the number of frames allocated for releases and the thickness of individual plastic pieces. However, particularly with the CAD process you can really play around with pieces and have models divided up very cleverly on the sprues.

In terms of top end sizes for the kits, Jes saw the current limit being roughly Knight-Titan type models. Kits could be made larger, but Jes thinks this is currently as much of an aesthetically based limit as a practical limitation. However, they are clearly excited by the potential kits that could be made and Jes cautioned that he wouldn’t be surprised if they pushed through that boundary in future.
In terms of what other armies can look forward to Matt and Jes suggested that it is not going to be the case that all armies will receive large walkers. They saw these as key aesthetics for Eldar and Tau and suggested that other armies would receive alternative types of kits that match their aesthetics. This can be seen in the Tesseract Vault and the Lord of Skulls. They suggested that Space Marines would be unlikely to see a similar walker style kit as it doesn’t really fit their current background or army dynamic.

Naturally, they would not be drawn on the type of kit that Space Marines might get but Jes did make the point that the Land Raider itself is already one of the large type kits in its own right. Similarly, Jes stated that Chaos Daemon Engines and the Tyranid Trygon and Tervigon kits are considered to be in the same broad size category. 

Land Raider Crusader (painted by Garfy)

Jes and Matt are clearly big advocates of the increasing plastic focus with the Citadel ranges. Jes personally finds plastic as the best medium. He finds that it is the closest representation to his original designs and that many issues such as shrinkage in the moulding and production process are not issues with plastic kits.

Garfy's Get a Grip banner 760x100 px

There were some interesting questions asked about future technology use. Jes and Matt were quizzed on whether there was any technology that they do not currently use that they would like to implement. They both saw an attraction to using “sliding core” methods for certain kits. For those who are oblivious to this technology (including me until I looked it up), this is a summary from EHow:

“Moulds with sliding cores are used to create parts that have hollow cavities or sections. The hollow parts are reinforced with ribs or bosses created during the moulding process that make them less prone to developing stress cracks. Sliding core moulds are expensive to make; however, their end products tend to be more stable and of a higher production quality. Sliding core moulds are also called composite injection moulds.” 

As summarised above, Jes and Matt acknowledged that this would be an expensive process and that they were happy with their existing capabilities.

Questions were also asked concerning the developments in 3D printing technologies. Jes believes that although this is developing rapidly, we are at least 5-10 years away from viable (and affordable) home printers that could produce Citadel quality miniatures. Jes is clearly watching developments and noted that most of cheaper types being designed were the extrusion/drip style printers which did not have sufficient resolution for the detail and scale of the models. This is not to say that there will not be developments in future.

Jes did note that they use 3D printing at present for rapid prototyping, but that the results were incomparable to the mould produced kits.
In terms of whether 3D printing could be a threat to Games Workshop, Jes sees it as quite an exciting development, for the future. Thinking out loud he can see great scope for maybe even having printers in stores one day, with the facility for hobbyists to order customised models. He referred for example to the humorous possibility of one day transposing a representation of your face onto your commander figure or such like. Clearly we will have to keep watching this space.

That’s all for this part of my review of “Enter the Citadel”. Stay tuned for the next part when I will be downloading a plethora of great tips direct from the ‘Eavy Metal team.

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