Orcs... lots of them... WW2 US Army gear... YAY!!! At least that were the thoughts that crossed my mind when I thought it is right around time we should work on an army. The thought of lots of models swarming on the table was simply too tempting to resist, especially considering how fun greenskins are to work on. Something of such magnitude comes with challenges though - starting from design phase and ending on funding. The first can be solved with an experience (which luckily we have :D) the 2nd we wish to overcome with your help - by using crowdfunding.
Choosing the theme - planning it all out
When I sat to the table and started thinking about the project the choice was an easy one - for the first whole army deal we would settle on orcs and goblins as they gave the designers lots of freedom and are notoriously enjoyable. What we want to do with them was less obvious - when we flipped through couple of catalogues and websites it became clear a lot has been done already. You can have Russian-themed orcs, German-themed, hell even Napoleonic-Era themed. But as a fan of weird science , pop-culture (yes, I humbly admit I think "Captain America: The First Avenger" was a cool movie), and games like AE:WW2 I quickly noticed WW2 US Army theme has not been explored on such scope.
And that's something we want to change - US WW2 Army had lots of cool equipment that simply clicked with the theme in mind.
It all started with the idea for small tanks. When you look at creations like T1 Cunningham, M1 Combat Car or M2 they scream post-apoc to me. While the 1st one was rather a prototype the latter seen a field use, each with a couple of variants.
When it comes to larger tanks Sherman was a natural choice - as the 2nd most produced tank of WW2 it is so iconic! What's more, we already have done orcish Sherman in the past - hmmmm.... it seems the idea has cooked in our subconsciousness for quite a while.
Infantry is usually the core of greenskin armies. So we had to dig references a lot - and we reached a conclusion that a mix of uniforms from Mediterranean and European theatres of war will work best.
The weapons were noted as a challenge. Standard M1 Garand rifle or Thompsons look good in larger scale , especially on human models, but we weren't sure how they will turn out in heroic miniature form. On a good side Browning machine guns seemed like a natural-fit. Moreover equipment for special units, like flamethrowers, bazookas could be used easily.
Of course infantry needs a proper transport. Luckily US Army offers a nice variety, from small jeeps, through super-cool M2 halftracks, to big trucks.
So all in all the things started to click...
Breaking up the design
With the initial ideas in place it was time to assign the tasks. Kuba, our Rhino3d master, has been tasked with basic assets and vehicles creation, Konrad, Zbrush miniature maker extraordinaire ;), with sculpting and assembling, while I got supervisory and "fill the gaps in between" role. This way we were able to muddle through initial stages quickly.
After 2 weeks of modelling Kuba had the tanks done as well as basic weapons and helmets for the troopers. This allowed Konrad to start working on orcs , as he had most of the work on goblins done. Apart from issues with M1 rifle we had to tweak helmets slightly - otherwise neck joints would come in the way.
As usual it required some planning ahead and trials to make the parts between models interchangeable. We were all for an option that allows as many custom builds as is technically sensible. In fact Konrad has to rebuild arm joints for this matter alone.
As we were working on a units, not on individual models , it gave me a chance to try incorporating different way of posing the models. This time we have rigged a basic "doll" orc model instead of using transpose inside Zbrush. Rigged, transpose... what?! In short this means we've added sort of skeleton structure inside the 3d model which allows model to be animated and posed easily. As this process is in itself quite time consuming and tricky it is not best suited when you work on single minis but for a project like this it can speed the things up greatly - once rigged you can have extra variants quickly, something you can fine tune in sculpting app. Oh and it is fun - we've played with a dancing orc for a while ;) . You can check a short video showing early work on a rig on our FB profile.
I look forward how this will allow us to work on specialized units for this project. I especially can't wait to help with creation of airborne characters, as I have some crazy ideas for those.
3d printing and manufacturing
As soon as we had some files to work with I've set up our printer to build the prototypes. Some things need to be verified in reality as they may look differently than on computer screen. This time this allowed me to scale the gobbos up slightly and eliminate some areas that may be tricky during casting, few ones I've overlooked while inspecting models on my PC.
Well and I had some real toys to play ;) - was happy to see that so far it works well. The models look great , the style we developed really transitions from a virtual 3d model to a physical copy nicely.
Paying attention to design is paying too - resin parts and metal did not caused any issues so far (hopefully it will stay this way :D ) and the prototypes cast great. The plan is to have main bodies of minis cast in metal , with heads, vehicles and accessories in resin. This should allow us to cope with the whole sheer size of the project.
First and foremost Kacper needs to sort out crowdfunding for the Green Alliance. In a meantime we'll work on preparation of the assets for the next units and work out moulds for the things we did so far. Once done we will have good basis to follow up from there.
That's the part where you come in :) . Without support from you it will be difficult to make it happen. Releasing a whole army takes a lot of our resources. While we have both design and manufacturing capabilities to do it I believe we shouldn't make it "half-way". To make it awesome I think we should focus on this project - and without your backup it would be too risky.
On top of that I think it is the only way we can offer those models to you at reasonable price. As the orc models usually take 3-4 times as much material as human models those raw resources (white metal for example) really start to matter. But as (thx to crowdfunding platform) we will be dealing with you directly we should be able to work something that would please both sides :).
So stay tuned - future of this project looks bright. Feedback we received so far is outstanding , not to mention (well, or rather TO mention :D ) fantastic help from a bunch of people, like Pawel "Cukier" Cukierski who introduced us to video /audio edit and created super cool poster, Bartek Wielgosz who created awesome soundtrack for the intro video, Jacek who did the extra art.... The list goes on. Thank you friends! Oh and by the way if you haven't seen the intro video check it out: