Pathfinder Battles Preview: Heroes & Monsters Behind the Scenes

Friday, September 23, 2011

So far we’ve revealed the digital sculpts for 11 of the prepainted miniatures in our Pathfinder Battles: Heroes & Monsters base set, including the mighty Huge Black Dragon! Digital sculpts give us the chance to see what a miniature will look like in full color, and allow us a chance to make minor (or even major) adjustments to ensure that the miniatures accurately model the characters and creatures that inhabit the Pathfinder world.

But digital is not the only way to sculpt a miniature, of course. Even though our partners at WizKids use the most modern methods to create their beautiful minis, sometimes the best way to make a miniature is to sculpt it by hand using precision tools and modeling putty. This is the same process by which most metal miniatures come into the world. Because the epoxy putty used by most sculptors is usually green, minis lingo refers to these preliminary miniature sculpts as “greens,” no matter what color they turn out to be.

Below you can see the green of the tallest miniature in the Heroes & Monsters set, the two-headed Ettin. The pose is an amalgamation of a black-and-white ettin image from a Pathfinder’s Journal fiction piece and the ettin entry in the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary. When WizKids provided this image to Paizo for approval, Senior Art Director Sarah Robinson and I thought it captured the creature perfectly, and gave the sculpt our stamp of approval almost immediately.

Once a sculpt has been approved, WizKids technicians use the green to form the basis of the mold from which the entire production run will come. At about the same time this is being done, painters must determine what the final paint job of the miniature will look like. In the case of digital sculpts, general paint guides come with the sculpt itself. In the case of traditional sculpts, however, the artists must interpret colors from the original art, and take their best shot at how they think the final colors should look.

Just this week, WizKids sent over the proposed paint deco specs for the Ettin, which looked like this:

Like the sculpt before it, the paint deco sample passed inspection with very few changes. We like the way this guy looks. That said, from experience with the Beginner Box Heroes set, WizKids improves the painting with each step, so the final miniature will likely look a little more “weathered” than this one, giving it a slightly more realistic look.

So the Ettin went very smoothly, transitioning from art to green to mold to paint deco with virtually no hitches. I’m happy to say that this has been the case for most of the miniatures in the Heroes & Monsters set, but a few have been somewhat more stubborn, requiring more substantial changes at each step in the process. A good example of this is the Human Ranger.

When we decided to put the Human Ranger in the set, we provided this great illustration by Eric Belisle to WizKids.

Their sculptor’s first crack at this miniature captured a lot of what we thought was important about the character’s costume and general demeanor, but Sarah and I were concerned that the pose was too two-dimensional, and wasn’t as dynamic as Belisle’s original illustration. Our WizKids counterparts agreed, and came back with the following major improvement:

We really liked this approach, and approved the sculpt. Now here was a bowman we could see people really wanting to play, and the pose really tells a lot about the character. We were excited! But things got a lot more exciting earlier this week, when WizKids sent over the following paint deco for approval:

And that, as they say, was a bulls-eye.

From here the paint decos will be turned into “masks” that go over the unpainted miniatures, allowing paint application to go in all the right places. Add some hand-finishing to bring out the tiny details, and the Ettin and Human Ranger are on their way to production!

Next Week: Goblins, Goblins, Goblins!

Erik Mona
Publisher

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Tags: Eric Belisle Miniatures Pathfinder Battles
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I am loving the look of the human ranger!!!


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The human ranger just got me to pull the trigger on the subscription. Looks great!

Dark Archive

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Bastards.

You made me drool all over my iPad.

Liberty's Edge

Really appreciating the process the Human Ranger went through. Glad to see so much care is being put in the design process.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Go Go Human Ranger!

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And so I guess I WILL have a designated mini for Happs when I run Kingmaker...

Contributor

Matthew Winn wrote:
And so I guess I WILL have a designated mini for Happs when I run Kingmaker...

Folks should be seeing a lot of that. Just click on that first link and you'll probably notice a few familiar faces. For long time readers, that includes the ettin.


Nice looking sculpts/images of the ettin and the human ranger.

@ Matthew - I've already run THAT part of Kingmaker... so the human ranger can be for someone else (a PC perhaps). :) But, of course I thought the same thing when I saw the artwork.

Seeing these is a slight double-edge sword for me... I won't be able to subscribe before the Oct 1st deadline. :(

That makes me sad.

Minis are still cool-looking though.


Like the look of the new minis alot. Definetely like the second Ranger. I would like the orriginal a lot more if the bow was being drawn properly. Too bad proper positions do not look good so artists have to modify it for appearance. That elbow is way too low and the draw point not nearly high enough. Chin, mouth or ear, not chest.


I was taught "chin", because it is the spot with the least "play" or variability.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:

Nice looking sculpts/images of the ettin and the human ranger.

@ Matthew - I've already run THAT part of Kingmaker... so the human ranger can be for someone else (a PC perhaps). :) But, of course I thought the same thing when I saw the artwork.

There are Power Rangers in Kingmaker? I missed that.

Grand Lodge

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Thanks Erik! This was well worth the wait. Your sharing the process for making the miniatures is not only fascinating but appreciated.

The Ranger is incredible. The goatee is a nice touch. It is very Sherwood Forrest.

It is clear there are some fine craftsmen over at Wizkids. You make a very good team.

Later,

Mazra


TwoWolves wrote:


I was taught "chin", because it is the spot with the least "play" or variability.

British longbowmen shot from the chin. Some groups shoot from random points on the mouth or jaw. Others anchor on their ear. If you tried to draw to the pose that the longbowmen is here, it would be very difficult because you would not be able to bring most of your upper back/shoulder muscles into play, and they are the strongest. You should have a straight line through your shoulders to your elbows.

Dark Archive

Matthew Morris wrote:
The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:

Nice looking sculpts/images of the ettin and the human ranger.

@ Matthew - I've already run THAT part of Kingmaker... so the human ranger can be for someone else (a PC perhaps). :) But, of course I thought the same thing when I saw the artwork.

There are Power Rangers in Kingmaker? I missed that.

IF you multi-class in both ninja and summoner. Then you can have your eidolon look like the red lion and add in a little Voltron.


Shut up and take my money.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'll tell you what, I'll meet you halfway.

Contributor

Lolz.


Erik Mona wrote:

I'll tell you what, I'll meet you halfway.

So you're going to be quite and we get them for free? :D

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Friday, 06:35 PM

Erik Mona wrote:

I'll tell you what, I'll meet you halfway.

Sunday, 12:20 PM

Varthanna wrote:
So you're going to be quite and we get them for free? :D

Apparently so :)


Forgive me for saying this, but will a figure like the Ettin have additional washing/drybrushing/shading over the body? It seems a bit flat to me. I can compare the ettin above more to the <a href="http://wizards.com/dnd/images/dangerousdelves_gallery/grimlock_minion .jpg">WotC grimlock minion from Dungeon Delves</a> than, say, the <a href="http://wizards.com/dnd/images/dw/Ettin_Spirit-Talker.jpg">Ettin Skirmisher (which is from an older set but has comparable base colors).

I sure love minis and it seemed to me that the final on-display version of the intro minis set looked far more detailed in person than what had been shown on the site (I'm going by what I saw at Gen Con). I'm curious if similar improvements would be made in this case. (And if so, any way we could see the final version of a mini?)

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I suspect so given our experience with the Beginner Box minis, but I won't know for sure until I see the production run.

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