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Pathfinder Battles Preview: Shine On, You Crazy Diamond

Friday, July 13, 2012

First off, did you know that our first set of Pathfinder Battles minis, Heroes & Monsters, was just nominated as the Best Miniatures Product of the year for this year's Gen Con/EN World ENnie Awards? We're enormously proud of such a strong showing with our very first set, and given the leaps and bounds of improvement on sculpts, painting, and packaging we've experienced since then, I'm very excited to see how the Rise of the Runelords set does at next year's awards!

But in order to complete production on the Rise of the Runelords set, we had to get every miniature just right. And there was one little bastard in the set who seemed to elude our efforts until—quite literally—the very last few minutes of the pre-production process.


Illustration by Eric Belisle

There he is, the final miniature to be revealed in the Rise of the Runelords set. The Shining Child. He's a kind of glowy outsider from the edges of the multiverse, summoned by the ancient wizards of Thassilon to do their bidding in the era of the Runelords' dominion. This creature has been a favorite here in the office since we introduced it way back in Pathfinder Adventure Path #4, and we always knew we wanted to make a miniature of it.

The creature's first appearance, by artist Jonathan Wayshak, was absolutely gorgeous, but also enormously abstract and literally impossible to sculpt into a three-dimensional miniature (that's the thing about those light-based outsiders, you know). When we included the Shining Child in Bestiary 2, we asked artist Eric Belisle to create a more physical version of the creature, still infused with eerie light effects and still otherworldly and spooky. His image is the one posted above, and it's become the definitive "look" for the shining children in the meantime.

So when we sat down to create the list of figures we wanted in the Rise of the Runelords set to support the new Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path Anniversary Edition, we gleefully added the Shining Child to the list. After all, we'd been working with WizKids to add several miniatures with clear plastic effects in the set, and since this guy was translucent and composed of living light, he would be the perfect candidate!

It would be easy!

I've subsequently learned that nothing is truly easy when it comes to making little plastic men, especially when you get into weird plastic effects. In the months that followed our decision to include the Shining Child in our set, he rapidly became the most difficult figure from a production perspective.

For starters, the Shining Child is size Small, making him a bit more difficult to sculpt than some of the larger figures. That turned out to not be such a big problem, as WizKids has great sculptors. The initial sculpt, which has since vanished into the dark depths of my email in-box, sailed through approvals without a single comment. It looked great.

Then we started trying to figure out how to paint it, and the real trouble began. Take another look at that image. The guy's clearly kind of transparent, so we figured we'd start with a fully clear plastic base. We needed some purple highlights, and some splatters of yellow or gold paint to sell the light effects, but that ought to be simple enough, right? Oh yeah, and it had to look like light was coming out of the creature's eyes and mouth. No problem, right?

In an email entitled "Shining Child, the Bane of My Existence," WizKids' production manager sent along these three "options" from the factory, based on our original paint step specifications:

Yeah, not so great. You can see the hint of the awesome sculpt in these images, but the clear effect was really making it difficult to pick out details. WizKids did their best with an opalescent paint effect on the creature's hair, but I knew no one would be happy with this miniature, because both the WizKids production team and I weren't happy with the miniature. Also, it didn't look enough like the art to really sell it as a Shining Child.

So we went back to the drawing board, from a color point of view. Taking a look at Belisle's original art, we realized that he had done a great job simulating a clear figure by starting with a white base. So we sent word to the factory. Any chance you can try that?

Well, they tried, anyway.

At this point I could see we were headed in the right direction, but still a good distance from the finish line. For starters, the figure looked like it had been dipped in White Out, and the face had actually taken a step backward. I knew this was to be a common miniature in the set, but I wanted to make sure it wasn't also hideously ugly, so I sent WizKids back to the drawing board.

At this point, the WizKids production manager got so fed up trying to filter our painting instructions to the factory that he sat down with a bunch of "blank" figures and simply started painting them himself. He rapidly turned around a control figure that came closest to the mark of everything we had tried so far when he sent me this picture:

I thought it looked much better, but needed to see it in person. As you've probably noticed comparing our blog photos to the final miniatures, sometimes pictures don't really do a figure justice. Sometimes, you've just got to hold the figure in your hand to properly judge it. Happily (and by a sort of cosmic coincidence), WizKids' production manager happens to live about 10 minutes from my apartment, so nearing the last day we could possibly fix this without trainwrecking the schedule for the set, he stopped by my place for a quick review of his personally finished paint master.

I thought it looked great in person, and at long last gave him the go-ahead to put the figure into production.

The end result is a Shining Child that actually looks like a Shining Child. A figure that utilizes the clear plastic while still possessing depth. It honestly turned out to be one of my favorite figures in the entire set.

But holy moley, it was a pain in the ass to make, so I wanted to save it for last so I could tell you the whole, gory story.

Thanks, Shining Child. You proved that sometimes, it's the best children who come in last.

Next week, we'll begin our tour of the very next Pathfinder Battles set: The Shattered Star!

Erik Mona
Publisher

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Eric Belisle Pathfinder Battles
Grand Lodge

That is an amazing looking figure. Bravo! Great addition for a Friday the 13th blog.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really love the blog posts that look at the process behind everything.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Come on you boy child, you winner and loser,
Come on you miner for truth and delusion, and shine!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks for the behind the scenes look at the production and approval process on this mini. The final product indeed looks great!

This attention to scale, detail and willingness to either refine the appearance or outright reject the mini completely, is certainly making this product line shine! The DDM line had SO MANY glaring examples of why this process is needed, that I sometimes wondered if "Peter Lee" was just the code name for the die they would roll to see if they approved the mini or not.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Pathfinder Minis website gallery has now been updated.

Pathfinder Minis Gallery

Erik (or anyone at Paizo), do you know when a numbered set list will be released for this set?

If anyone has a picture of the Festering Spirit mini from PaizoCon, could you please sent it to me. My e-mail link is on the home page of the above link.

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

The original Shining Child image is brilliant. I can totally see how it fails to work as a model for a mini though.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

I will try to spotlight the Festering Spirit in an upcoming blog so you can eventually get a photo direct from the source.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Very, very cool. Both the process and the result. I'll be happy to have a bunch of these.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wish You Were Here ;)

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

That is probably the ugliest mini I have ever seen.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Woohoo! I called it! The body looks sweet! The hair looks...im sure it will look awesome in person!

Why is the shining child a common?

Cheliax

Looks great glad it is a common

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

HangarFlying wrote:

Woohoo! I called it! The body looks sweet! The hair looks...im sure it will look awesome in person!

Why is the shining child a common?

Because I figured people might want to use more than one of them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Erik Mona wrote:
HangarFlying wrote:
Why is the shining child a common?

Because I figured people might want to use more than one of them.

I suspect the players in my group might riot if I did that. One shining child almost did 'em all in. :)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Erik Mona wrote:
HangarFlying wrote:

Woohoo! I called it! The body looks sweet! The hair looks...im sure it will look awesome in person!

Why is the shining child a common?

Because I figured people might want to use more than one of them.

Fair enough, thanks! :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
coyote6 wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
HangarFlying wrote:
Why is the shining child a common?

Because I figured people might want to use more than one of them.

I suspect the players in my group might riot if I did that. One shining child almost did 'em all in. :)

What is this almost stuff? Invert it and you've got my story. One shining child inflicted multiple TPKs on me. Yes, okay, one attempt there were two of them (because I was... experimenting), but I'm sure there were at least two more TPKs that only involved one. Valiant, bloody fights, but really... painful.


I don't suppose you could provide a picture of the original Shining Child art for those of of us who don't have Pathfinder #4 / the new Rise of the Runelords hardcover, eh Erik?

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Alexander Augunas wrote:
I don't suppose you could provide a picture of the original Shining Child art for those of of us who don't have Pathfinder #4 / the new Rise of the Runelords hardcover, eh Erik?

It's not in the new hardcover, it's only in the bestiary of AP4.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Quick question - you state the shining child is small. Aren't they a medium creatures? AT least in bestiary 2.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Yeah, that was my mistake in the blog. It's a Medium figure, on a Medium base. I meant to comment that it's relatively short and slight (being a "child," and all), and somehow that translated in my Friday Brain as Small.

Sorry for the false alarm!

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh and are you suggeting the next set contains a "festering spirit
Oh and well done on teh child. I love this creature, have done sonce AP4 (although that was a lot to do with the artwork there). In hand I think this will ge great - although my players won't talk to me again if a field 3 or 4 in an encounter.


Fantastic work, and thanks for the glimpse into the process! Never doubt that the efforts are deeply appreciated, Mr. Mona.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cat-thulhu wrote:

Oh and are you suggeting the next set contains a "festering spirit

Oh and well done on teh child. I love this creature, have done sonce AP4 (although that was a lot to do with the artwork there). In hand I think this will ge great - although my players won't talk to me again if a field 3 or 4 in an encounter.

The Festering Spirit is a repaint of the spectre that was a promotional mini for Paizocon, which will be at Gencon & then on the website. It's not part of any set directly AFAIK


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Enlight_Bystand wrote:
The Festering Spirit is a repaint of the spectre that was a promotional mini for Paizocon, which will be at Gencon & then on the website. It's not part of any set directly AFAIK

Oh I thought it was a PaizoCon mini promo only. Great news. Save me 1 for GenCon :)


Very cool insider look at the mini-making process. Thanks for sharing, and for working so hard on the figure. Looks awesome!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Alexander Augunas wrote:
I don't suppose you could provide a picture of the original Shining Child art for those of of us who don't have Pathfinder #4 / the new Rise of the Runelords hardcover, eh Erik?

I've removed a couple of posts that included a link to this image. Please note that our Community Use Policy provides for reposting a *lot* of images, but this does not happen to be one of them.

Cheliax

Doh! Apologies.

Deleted from twitpic.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
I don't suppose you could provide a picture of the original Shining Child art for those of of us who don't have Pathfinder #4 / the new Rise of the Runelords hardcover, eh Erik?
I've removed a couple of posts that included a link to this image. Please note that our Community Use Policy provides for reposting a *lot* of images, but this does not happen to be one of them.

Can someone with the authority to do so perhaps post the picture, then?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Erik Mona wrote:
HangarFlying wrote:

Woohoo! I called it! The body looks sweet! The hair looks...im sure it will look awesome in person!

Why is the shining child a common?

Because I figured people might want to use more than one of them.

(looks at stat block)

You weren't wrong! Now just to decide where they fit into the big picture ...

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