Character Creation, From First Thoughts To Finished Products: Part Two

October 17, 2016 by crew

Massive Awesome is Simon Barlow and John Taylor, friends and business partners whose shared love of gaming and a desire to make something awesome prompted us to set out on our own. We are currently deep into the production stage of our first game – the tabletop miniatures game ‘Shattered Earth’, after our first successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year.


This is part two of this article on the nuts and bolts of the creative process; the previous entry can be read HERE.

Creating The World Serpent!

We left off having the complete 3D printed master in our hands which we can then send off to Brian Fawcett to cast our prototype miniatures. After another few weeks, we get back our initial run of resin miniatures, and we get out the clippers and glue. Construction isn’t normally my favourite part of the hobby process but there is not much else in life like constructing your own model and seeing it literally come into existence in your own hands!

Miniature #1

It’s also the only opportunity I’ll likely get to be the first person in the world to put together a model that hopefully thousands more people will eventually build.

While all this is going on, because the Lee Kyong-Min/Jormungandr model is a two-piece set, we are repeating the entire process for the serpent model, starting with Iwo’s rough sketches…


We all discuss this together again, picking the elements that we like…

jormungandr_sketch (1)

…and agreeing on a pose that we feel will work with the serpent twisting around Lee Kyong-Min in a way that will both look cool on the tabletop and be actually practical to cast and build.


Iwo then starts his final art process…


…and after a final round of discussion and feedback we end up with an image that will adorn our rulebook, website, Kickstarter page and all our promotional material.


Now Seth re-positions Lee Kyong-Min into a new pose that will fit inside the larger serpent model and begins on Jormungandr.

He has to be very aware of both the pose and details of the model but, more importantly for a large piece like this, how the final resin model will balance and support its own weight.


Here we can see that he has edited the tail to provide two very solid contact points while also keeping the flowing, dynamic look of the model. It would have been quicker and easier to simply have an entire circle of tail attached to the floor but that would have given the final model a static feel that none of us wanted.


You can see here the final stage of the design process where all twenty-two of the pieces have been cut-up in a way that will allow for a huge amount of detail on each piece but still enable easy construction for the player. Again, Seth worked his magic here ensuring that all the fronds on the tail are planar, making for a relatively straightforward cast.

jorm cut up

Once again we send the designs off to Clockwork Goblin and Brian and, after the final round of edits, we are able to put together our own, first prototype copies of the complete model.

…and Done!

This is my own personal model and I am immensely proud of it. Because of the time spent planning the design, the final product is pretty easy to put together. It doesn’t need pinning but as I knew I would be travelling overseas to conventions with it multiple times, I added one to the mid-tail joint for added stability and the whole process of cutting, cleaning, pinning and gluing took me under an hour.


I’m fairly certain that I have never been so nervous of making a mistake while building a model before but I have also never been grinning ear to ear the entire time either…

The final step is to get a couple of the masters painted up to a professional level to show off at conventions and put up online. For this we hired the amazingly talented Robert Carlsson, sending him one each of our prototype copies of both Lee Kyong-Min and Jormungandr and providing him with Iwo’s artwork as a guide.

As you can see, he knocked it out of the park. You can also see this model in more detail on the Weekender Episode we filmed with Warren along with a number of our other models.


So there you have it, two models completed and now we just need to repeat the process twenty-seven more times to finish every model for the first five factions available at release – easy!

We have learned a number of things along the way: firstly, there really isn’t a shortcut along this process if you want to have a really premium product. We could have saved money by using younger, less experienced artists, sculptors, 3D modellers, casters and painters but we realised through experience that dealing with the best in the business is usually hassle free and results in a top product without any problems further down the line.

The little, pro-active changes that each of our collaborators made really paid off in the end and saved us a huge amount of time.

Secondly, if I were to do this again, I would go back in time and take up art at school. If I could have done any of the art or sculpting myself it would have saved a huge proportion of our initial outlay, although the idea of doing all the artwork on top of the rules and backstory doesn’t feel that appealing and I wouldn’t have got to spend time working with all these fantastically talented industry professionals, so maybe scratch that…

We’re now getting close to fulfilment so we will be back with a final article or two to close out this series in the next couple of months once we completed our fist Kickstarter.

Simon BarlowJohn Taylor

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"...we are repeating the entire process for the serpent model, starting with Iwo’s rough sketches"

"The little, pro-active changes that each of our collaborators made really paid off in the end and saved us a huge amount of time..."