By Phil Lewis
Originally Published in Forge Magazine #1
So there I was, working away Queen Live at Wembley’86 blaring away in the background, when the phone rang. There was that slightly hollow sound on the line that told me it was that was Bob Watts, calling from the other side of the Atlantic. After lulling me into a false sense of security with the usual pleasantries…
‘Have you still got your camera, Phil?’ he asked.
‘Yeeeees?’ I replied cautiously, wondering what was coming next.
‘How do you fancy taking some stage-by-stage photos of making a miniature for a magazine article?’
There was an initial feeling of panic. Could I remember which bit to look through? Had the cars been using the camera case as a dirt tray? Did I know where the bits were?
‘Yes … no problem,’ sez 1, ‘I’ll give it a go.’ As it happened, I could remember which bit to look through, the cats hadn’t disgraced themselves (for once), and the close-up attachments weren’t hidden too badly. So, over a period of about a week, I alternated between modeling and clicking away as I worked on some new figures for Earthdawn.
It’s difficult taking pictures of something of this size which hasn’t got the wonderful colour contrasts that a well-painted miniature has, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll be able to see what I’m talking about over the next page or so. The prints I’m looking at are fine-honest!
First of all, don’t be fooled into thinking, every miniature designer works to this specific method. Although there are similarities in the way many of us construct a model, there are also many variations of style and technique. With luck, we’ll be able to show you some of these in future issues of Forge.
This is the way I set about it:
STAGE BY STAGE MINIATURE
ORK PERSONALITY FROM EARTHDAWN
1) The initial armature, made from three pieces of wire, is soldered together. The only careful measurement at this stage is for the gap between the ‘hips’ & shoulders’. Obviously, for a larger figure such as a Troll, the gap would be increased accordingly. I try and keep a record of all the different sized armatures I use – this saves time and ensures consistent sizes.
2) The wire armature is now bent into shape. The lengths of the ‘thighs’ and ‘shins’ are marked on the side and a thin skin of putty is worked onto the figure.
It’s quite possible to ignore this stage and go straight on to step
3) where the figure is bulked out and ready to go. You’ll have noticed that the arms have been left up and uncovered.
6) With the arms lowered, the jerkin is put on as a rough shape with an indentation to mark where the belt will go.
9) Now for the sleeves:- As before, the putty is put on as a rough shape and then worked to model the creases. More stitches are added to the jerkin where the sleeves emerge.
All that’s left to do now is remove the miniature from the cork and put the tab under his feet.
Right, Bob….. what’s next?
If you decide to try your own hand at miniature designing, remember there are two things that you’ll need that no amount of anatomy book, modeling tools, etc. will help you with: Practice and patience.