After proving beyond doubt my total mastery of sculpting 15 mm miniatures ;), I decided it was time to have a go at a slightly larger scale. So here you have my first attempt at sculpting a 30 mm miniature.
Concept-wise there’s nothing particularly original here. Games Workshop have been starving me of High Elves recently (at the moment it’s starting to look doubtful they’ll ever return, but I live in hope) so I decided to make my own. As I usually do when I sculpt something, I spent a while with a pencil and paper sketching various designs for armour and so on. I rejected a few designs that I thought looked cool on the grounds that they probably wouldn’t print very well or look good when painted.
I was conscious that I needed to get better at anatomy. At 15 mm you can get away with a certain amount of fudging, especially with the distorted proportions I’ve been favouring. As the miniature gets bigger it becomes more difficult to hide this ineptitude, so I spent some time on google and bought a book (Anatomy for 3D Artists) to try and improve my knowledge. There is still a long way for me to go in this area though.
I wanted the scale to be similar to the Warhammer range. Happily I have hordes of these miniatures lying around, so some time with a ruler enabled me to get a rough idea of the proportions to use. The pose was deliberately kept very simple as I was already stretching myself with this project and I didn’t want to make it any more difficult than it needed to be.
I roughed out the proportions in blender and spent a fair bit of time viewing the model from every angle until I was happy that the anatomy wasn’t too awful. I then went back and refined each element, and made decisions about how the hair and the cloak would flow. Hair is an interesting element – you can either sculpt individual strands, accepting that due to the limitations of the printer they will be thicker than you’d like, or you can just sculpt the general form of the hair and let the painter deal with it. Because of my experience painting this kind of featureless hair in various plastic kits I decided to go this way. But perversely I’ve gone the other way with my 15 mm miniatures and I’m quite happy with that too!
As usual, the miniature was printed at Shapeways. In this case I was able to evaluate the new high definition black acrylate material vs frosted extreme detail. My impressions are overall favourable, but I’ll probably write more about that in a future post.
There are one or two things I’d do differently next time. Because this was my first miniature in this scale I wasn’t totally sure how much I needed to exaggerate the details to get a good result. I think I did ok overall, but there are a couple of places where I didn’t get it quite right. The biggest disappointment was the eyes, which are too bulbous. For the 15 mm miniatures I’ve found that I need to make the eye protrude quite a lot to get it to print well, but here it’s overdone. I disguised it as well as I could with the paint, but it’s a source of irritation!
I elected to go with non metallic metal when painting as there are some interesting shapes and I wanted to explore the reflections. For the steel parts I used my tried and tested method of highlighting with cyan and shading with red added to the mix.
Overall I am quite pleased with how the miniature has turned out for a first effort at this scale and I’ve learnt a lot that will hopefully lead to better results in the future.
If you want, you can buy your own copy here.