Don’t Fear the Reaper: Designing the Farmers [Part 1]

We're joined on the Blog today once again by Russ Charles, sculptor extraordinaire, and hes giving us an insight into the world of 3D sculpting. Enough from me, let's hear the good stuff... 

Welcome to another look into the process of sculpting a guild in 3d! Check out my previous article here. The Farmer’s Guild was a series of firsts for me: first season 3 guild, first guild in our new plastic, first guild to be designed as a complete lineup in one go.

As a result, there were some unique opportunities to establish the look and character of the guild and also to take advantage of the new manufacturing process. I really wanted to mail down the sense that this was a distinctly different guild. Rather than the political machinations of the Free Cities or the violent backrooms and bars surrounding, the Farmer’s Guild hails from the gentle rolling fields and golden sunsets of the arable lands beyond. I really wanted to get that sense of countryside, family and stoicism into the models. Let’s take a look at each in turn and see what we can see.


Grange was an interesting model to design. His art suggests a fierce, loyal and immovable attitude that I really wanted to capture, Like many of the Farmer models, this was partly achieved by staying close to the pose shown in the art. Often we don’t do this in favour of more active poses, but for the Farmers it felt more appropriate to use these grounded poses and reflect their characters. His expression was very important- it needed to suggest confidence and determination but not anger or violence. I worked quite some time on his face! Across the rest of the model we can see a number of design choices that would carry into the other players: stitching on the back of the trousers, loose hobnail boots, and a lack of ‘armour’ or padding to indicate the semi amateur status of the guild when we meet them.


The key to capturing Bushel’s look was keeping her innocent and youthful. It was important that she felt honest and capable, a hard worker and friendly. Again, her kit is very simple with the rear stitched trousers and layered clothing. I really wanted to avoid a ‘Daisy Duke’ type character for a simpler look so kept her quite slender and gamine. The movement in her hair is there to show she is happiest outside in the elements.


Harrow was a unique challenge because Mat Hart, our creative director, was determined that he was a youthful character, barely shaving yet! In the craggy faced world of miniatures, teenage features are not often called for, so I spent a while capturing a look I liked! He deviates from his art in a particular way- the verbal description of him made him sound like an eager sidekick character, Robin to his Captain’s Batman, so I placed his hand on his hip to imply a cocksure readiness to leap into the fray!


Jackstraw was the first (non Tater) character I worked on, way back at GenCon last year. Of that work, only his hat ended up in the final design! His face, as drawn, looked amazing but I had to develop a simpler way of suggesting a pumpkin mask to ensure it made sense at scale. His art presented some unique issues to resolve, as he is spindly, has thin parts everywhere and lots of strands of straw- all things that cause casting teams nightmares! Luckily, our new plastics material allows for some thinner elements than we could achieve in metal, whilst being robust enough to survive the trials and tribulations of being a gaming piece. As a result, the final version of Jackstraw is able to capture the elements that made him such fun in his artwork.


Peck was hilarious to create and I had a lot of fun doing him. However, his art did not arrive when I was due to begin him though- so I based my starting sculpt off my own cockerel from my garden chickens, Conan the Buff Orpington! However, poor old Conan is basically a big fluffy ball of dopeyness and was therefore deemed far too gentle for the world of Guild Ball! Instead, we ended up with the mean and lean cockerel you see today- and Conan, with a slight alteration, became the basis for Peck’s harem of hens!


Windle is quite an extreme design, which was fun to develop. He brings together the design elements I have previously mentions and features a fairly impressive array of water bottles, food packages and on-the-go snacks. He also allowed us to explore again the properties of our new plastic, with the leaves of his carrots and other vegetables being produced with a fineness that takes these parts beyond what a metal cast model could have had.

Thank you to Russ for taking the time out of his busy schedule to let us look into the design process. If you've enjoyed Russ' article please let us know on Facebook by giving the article a Like and Retweet it if you're on Twitter.