Inspiration for this Creative Outlet - Part Two...
So continuing on from Part One, which outlines my motivation to bring Wereweevil Miniatures into existence, where I explained I had reached a decision to take full control of all aspects of the creation and distribution of my sculpts:
How to actually reproduce my creations and learn how to make moulds, sprues and even how to cast properly without ending up with a bubbly resin mess was a task that I needed help with. I searched online and did my homework, reading as much as I could and watching many videos. There was a lot more to this whole process than I really anticipated!
Thankfully, help was at hand from my mate Zac, who is a local Sunshine Coaster like myself and who had had plenty of experience in sculpting and professional resin casting himself and who even had his own online forum (remember those??) called Resin Addict, dedicated to the art of resin casting. His initial help was invaluable and it allowed me to proceed forward without making many of the mistakes he, and many others before him, starting out had made, saving me a LOT of time, money and heartache!
Now this learning process wasn't without it's share of minor disasters along the way, but I can say with confidence that it would have been a far worse experience without his assistance and I will always be grateful for it.
To start things off, he made another mould for me (from the basic Termynata sculpt I'd done) and made a few casts for me as well as offering some advice from the first model I outsourced (such as how to make the mould more efficient and cheaper and how to position the parts on the sprues as well as how to cut the mould using a split mould technique). In addition, he made the moulds for the very first eggbots and cast up a bunch of 'blanks', which were basic body forms with little to no detail on them, also known as 'dollies'.
These blanks allowed me to create a bunch of eggbot variations all with the same consistency of shape and size quickly. From there, new mini's were made and more moulds as well - all of my own work this time! The Imperial Eggbot set was the first set made using these blanks. This process continued and snowballed quickly, with each set being a variant of the set before, so that now, 5 years later there are approximately 70 eggbot variants which ALL originate from just one blank!
During this time, there have been a number of moulds that have passed their life expectancy and required the models to be re-moulded. As I have begun this process, I have ensured that the models themselves get a bit of an update; sharpening details or adding more little extras to them or just refining some of the sculpting done. I have evolved as a sculptor (thankfully) during this time and I've wanted to ensure that the miniatures are reflect my growth in ability and the quality continues to grow over time. A good example of this is the Imperial Eggbot Command set which had some major updates and modifications made to them which I feel really enhanced them.
The process itself used in the casting hasn't really change much during this time, nor have the materials used. I use a vacuum and pressure casting technique, which removes trapped air bubbles and then pressurizes the models to ensure every detail is captured. When the models are removed from the mould, they then are carefully removed from the sprues they are attached to and then packed. Like any hand made process, there will be slight imperfections from time to time, but I do my best to ensure these are few and far between.
I have a rule that when looking at a figure I have produced, if it is something I would be unhappy with (due to flaws or imperfections) then it doesn't get sold. I often give these miscasts away free with orders that I post for people to use for basing, or converting - or even fixing up themselves. So if you ever see something like this in a package you get from me and think, "I didn't order this!", have a good look at it and you'll probably find there's a flaw which rendered it unsellable.
So as of this point in time, I have sculpted approximately 140 figures for the range, with many, many more planned and quite a few that I've done which are still unreleased. When I look at where this all started and why it started, I am grateful that where one door closed, another opened and the end of my competition painting days allowed me unfettered access to a whole other side of the hobby which I've found just, if not more, rewarding and which I thoroughly enjoy.
It has also allowed me to make many new friends and contacts for which I am grateful, including the opportunity to collaborate with a number of other talented people - whom which I am sure I will make the subject of future blog posts to come.
And with that, I am going to leave you with a picture of the original eggbot blanks and hope that you, like me, are somewhat surprised that the vast chunk of Wereveevil miniatures started with these two little egg shaped bodies :)
Until next time...