September was a wild month. Though that's not purely accurate. Saying that makes it sound like it was just fun and games all the time. It wasn't.
Anyone who has ever done a kickstarter will tell you, it's pretty much the hardest way you can imagine to get a project off the ground, but often it's the only way.
In our case (Dream Pod 9) we had experienced losing out on sales for years simply because we lacked an affordable plastic starter set. A big hats off to all the backers because we literally could not have done it without every single one of you. Every single one. Thank you!
Now we're in stage 2. Stage 1 was the first kickstarter. Stage 2 is learning our lessons from the first one and applying them to the next kickstarter. And getting the word out to game stores and distributors that you want more Heavy Gear.
The first hard lesson is the most obvious. Nothing is perfect. I like to think that spending more time pouring over test pops of sprues sent from china would result in every possible issue being found, it didn't. It's amazing what we did catch. One of the ferret hands only existed on one side of the mold for example. Or the obvious ones where the heavy grenade launcher for the hovertank always cast as a plastic squiggle - insufficient plastic injected into the cavity - or a laundry list of issues that we bounced back and forth to the facility in china over a three month period until they finally gave us a reasonable quality of cast that we could accept.
This doesn't mean that the first round of castings was perfect. Far from it. As was noted in the kickstarter updates there are some minor imperfections on four of the parts. These range from 'oops' for the missing detail on the mount hip to 'wut?' for the dimpling on the tank and the Hunter head, and the Jager engine. These are issues that we expect our caster to solve for the next batch. There's nothing we can do about that at this point other than say we're very sorry, and try to focus on the other 99.9% of the parts that turned out great.
Myself I am looking forward to putting some more of the new plastics together and painting them. I got to do the plastic demo pieces for Gencon but that was only Hunters, Jaguars, Jagers, and Black Mambas. I want to get my hands on all the rest, especially the mounts, and get to work on them. After all. Winter is coming and we all need something to work on when it's all snowed in and the days are short.
Now's the time for the homework assignment. Everyone gets to participate in this one so it'll be fun. Every single kickstarter backer who has received some models from the kickstarter has to put at least one together and post it to the forums. You get to give yourself a bonus point if you can paint it first but it's not neccessary. When you go to post you'll already see people who have fully painted up their forces and posted them already. You need to join them!
Myself, I've been painting models for 25 years now and I always have to remind myself of a couple of basic principals that often stop me from getting started when I should:
1) The Perfect is the enemy of the good. No one paints perfectly and if that's your goal you're going to fail, always. Working for a decent base coat and then up to three colors and something on the base is a lot more achievable.
2) You can always paint over it. Really! this point is often forgotten in the rush to create a masterpiece. Most models can survive 5, 10 even 20 layers of paint without losing their detail. If you tend to splash on the paint without thinning it slightly first then expect that only one or two coats will be possible. In reality if you are using some good paints like the reaper range (plug!) then a light base coat of primer and three thinned layers of paint is the way to go for a basecoat. One coat will always be a bit splotchy, two coats will clean up nicely but three coats should always come out smoothly.
3) Prep is everything. Really. I have seem far too many masterpieces that just failed to notice some basic mold lines or small gaps that needed filling. Get some gap filler at your local hobby supply or order some online. Learn to trim with a hobby knife and when it is better to use a file. Experiment with techniques.
4) There are some really great resources available online either as videos on youtube or in blogs about painting or websites that cover all the basics. Pintrest is also a great place to go. There are also multiple bloggers that covers everything from assembly to modification and all the way through to painting all the myriad techniques.
My last piece of advice is don't throw out the sprues your new plastic model come on. They can be made to make some truly excellent rubble/wreckage terrain. A future blog will be about that.
Again, thanks a lot to everyone for your support in the kickstarter, we really hope that you will all be great ambassadors to the gaming community with your new models, showing new players how to play the game and leading the way for a new era of Heavy Gear tabletop miniatures gaming. Me, I get a couple of days of rest then I'm back working on FAQ, rules, and support for Heavy Gear and the new edition of Jovian Chronicals that I'm looking forward to previewing next month.