very beginning I knew I wanted to be able to offer our members exclusive
miniatures they can’t get anywhere else whilst offering an interesting and
unique style which would hopefully inspire them to try new things.
So I am so
excited to be able to bring these ideas to life just in time for our 2yr anniversary!
Last year I asked our fans on Facebook what sort of character/ Mascot they would like to see in miniature form that could easily be themed around that month’s box and we had loads of great ideas. We threw in the suggestion of an anthropomorphic character to add some uniqueness to the mascot.
The majority were excited for the idea of an anthropomorphic character which then lead to the question……. Which animal?
I originally had the idea for a chimp, because a chimp in an outfit is amusing to me, and one of our members (Stephen Lennon) had the great idea of using a Fox (because it rhymes) and that’s when it clicked. Not only did it rhyme but the Fox is actually one of my favourite animals (there are a ton of them in London and a few frequent my garden).
With the Fox now chosen it was now the task of figuring out not only which theme would be the 1st of our 5 in the 2018 series but who would be the perfect sculptor for the job.
I knew that I wanted our character to be versatile. I want our miniatures to be fun to paint and light-hearted with the occasional grittier mini for darker themes a possibility in the future. More importantly I wanted the first one in the series to be the bridge for experienced and newer painters, to look at and feel a familiarity. With a Dungeon theme being heavily in the works, I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity.
Bringing the Fox to life
I like the idea of letting an artist be free with their work so I never had a strict design in my head. I knew that the Fox would need to have human like characteristics but would still need to be very animalistic visually but that was just about it.
Choosing a sculptor can be quite difficult however I was fortunate enough to know a young and talented company which had a unique style itching to be utilised in the miniatures industry.
Vae Victis Miniatures are a French company formed by Jonathan Llinares and Mathilde Calon who have worked with a number of other miniature companies in the past on sculpts like weapons etc.
previously worked with them in the past on our Model Box 1yr anniversary Zombie
Hand and loved what they had done to bring the zombie hand to…life!
Mathilde, who sculpts the characters for Vae Victis has an amazing eye for detail and a creative way at looking at a character’s design and evolution. You can see from her work that she is massively inspired by games like ‘World of Warcraft’ where certain aspects of a character are accentuated.
With a sculptor on board it was now the time to figure out exactly what the mini would be, with the Dungeon theme being blocked in I knew it had to be something iconic. I decided that the wizard would be the perfect icon for the Dungeon theme (I did play with the idea of a Fox barbarian or Ranger but those designs can work pretty well with future boxes I have planned)
With Mathilde’s style in mind and my easy-going approach to character design,the creation of our Fox would be relatively hassle-free.
From Sketch to Sculpt
For Mathilde’s evolution of the Fox I asked her to talk about her thought process:
The first theme was “Dungeon” and George asked me to do a wizard fox ! As a DM for D&D I was really excited at that moment haha !
The first thing that I had to do was to make a quick concept for the whole design. To be honest, I already had an idea and everything settled into place very quickly in my head but but there were elements that I absolutely wanted to incorporate :
- A pointed wizard hat ! Classic , highly recognizable and very fashionable !
- Large, floating robes ! Because the folds would be able to give movement to the silhouette.
- A wooden staff with an orb : the orb is an interesting element to paint as you can give it a large panel of effects (radiance,glow,etc…) and the staff is,well, vital for a great wizard !
- A spell book ! To give the impression that our fox was about to cast a spell !
The design approved, I could then begin the sculpture. I used Zbrush, a digital sculpting software with which I can create high-resolution models.
The first step was to create a solid silhouette that I then used as a base to sculpt the details. I take advantage of this moment to try to find a dynamic pose that respect the constraints given by the process and the small size of the finished product. The details must also be sufficiently visible but without being too coarse (for example : the engravings on the staff, or the hem of the dress).
Mathilde's Sketch of our Wizard Fox (you can see that it is almost identical to the final product)
Mathilde's final work using ZBrush.
Thanks everyone for your feedback , this is really heart-warming ! And thanks to George for the opportunity, and Jonathan, my partner, for helping me to push my limits !
At the moment the second sculpt is finished and I will soon start the next one ! I can't wait, I'm taking great pleasure in bringing this little fox to life !
Throughout the process I also have to think about how the figurine will be assembled and therefore which parts will need to be separated to facilitate 3d printing. It has to be easy to assemble! For the Wizard Fox it was the hands and the hat that would be separated pieces.
Then I polish the surfaces, add some “last-minute” details and check the whole sculpt to see if there are any artefacts (holes for example). And if George is satisfied, then my work is done!
Mathilde will be sculpting all 5 of our 2018 series and I look forward to seeing where her imagination takes her with the rest of themes.
On to Casting
Once the sculpt is finalised I send the files over to the chaps at Hysterical Games who print up a master and begin work on casting the final miniature!
I’m currently playing with the idea of a different artist working on either an entire series a year or possibly an artist a month however that is still up in the air.
As mentioned in previous blog posts, I would love to be able to have a Model Box Fox in every month’s box but at this time it will have to be every 2 months.
I have also mentioned that I will be having a display base created for every series to allow for you to display them with pride in your cabinets or on your desks!
I hope you enjoyed this read and would love to hear your thoughts so feel free to message me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Email me at email@example.com or let me know in our Facebook Group “Model Box – The Official Group”
Thanks Again for Reading!