The past few weeks have been intense like never before (well, almost), and I have to say that, even though the start of the next Kickstarter campaign is still far away, I'm already starting to feel a certain panic creeping inside me, coiling in my gut like a python on the hunt.
First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who decided to participate in Alberto's contest. I had to close the orders for the kits simply because I couldn't keep up with the demand, and unfortunately, my 3D printer has some crucial tasks in the coming weeks, as you can imagine!
More than 150 chubby cats have been printed and shipped around the world, and I've lost count of how many have downloaded Alberto's STL files in recent days – what a spectacle!
However, as you can tell from the title, this post is not about the best painting contest of the last twenty years but is the first episode leading up to the fateful start date of the campaign (October 24th, mark it on your calendars!).
I thought that a nice recap of everything done in recent months could be useful for you to get to know the kits in this range better and discover some behind-the-scenes details.
Of course, we couldn't start anywhere else but with the essence of this range: the Orc Soldiers!
The Orc Soldiers embody, in their simplicity, some of the key elements of the style I wanted to characterize the Orcs of Inneath with – from Conquistador(c) helmets to spaghetti Western-style ponchos, and their crazy love for cats.
Usually, I like to come up with three variations for this type of basic character (the three Iron Crow Sentinels, the three Bluecoat Soldiers, the three Elven Archers, etc.), but the decidedly substantial size of these guys and the limited resources at my disposal left me with room for only two.
So, it was a challenge to fit all the elements I wanted (both stylistically and narratively) into just two sculpts!
The first thing you'll notice is the significant physical diversity between these two Orcs: Orc Soldier A is tall and slender, while Orc Soldier B is shorter (well, if you can call it that!) and more muscular. One has long and thin legs, the other has short and stout ones. One has an elongated, almost crocodile-like snout, the other is compact, almost like a bulldog.
I wanted to play a lot with anatomical proportions, exploiting the uniqueness of this fantasy race to give each Orc their own personality and a distinct silhouette.
Furthermore, I find that two such different body types pair very well together, reminding me of movies with Bud Spencer and Terence Hill!
Orc Soldier A is a kit with a very pronounced storytelling element, where the focus of the sculpture is the affection between the Orc and his cat, a moment of tenderness that I wanted to contrast with the action of the Orc, intent on loading his rifle!
I had a lot of fun showcasing these two opposite sides of the Orcs of Inneath's character. On one hand, they are menacing creatures, undoubtedly dangerous and often not very recommendable, but they also have an unexpectedly affectionate and playful side that I wanted to use to give them more depth and facets. When looking at the Orcs of Inneath, I want you to feel both a legitimate fear at the thought of encountering one in a dark alley and a desire to go out and drink with them, celebrating all night surrounded by cats and cheerful songs!
As I mentioned in previous posts, this is undoubtedly the most cheerful and joyful range of models I have ever created!
From a pure design perspective, simplicity and accessibility were my first thoughts: I wanted models that are fun to paint, not too complex to assemble, and open to various interpretations while maintaining a recognizable style. The level of detail is intentionally kept to a minimum, both to represent the low rank of the two Orcs and to provide you modelers with two "entry-level" kits to get familiar with before diving into more prestigious and complex characters!
Especially Soldier B was designed for a small project that I will talk about in a few weeks; let's just say that it is a piece particularly suitable to be "my first model," and perhaps included in a dedicated educational bundle (winks).
Orc Soldier A brings to the stage the love that this race has for cats, the sparring partner of this gang of burly mercenaries. Orcs of Inneath have a very low life expectancy compared to Humans or Dwarves: generally, an Orc who has reached 30 years is already considered very old, and the current Inneath world record for the longest-lived Orc is held by Bular the Ancient, with his impressive fifty-two years.
This means that the Orcs' approach to life is very much oriented towards "carpe diem" or, as they say today, "YOLO": they want to live a life full of adventures and incredible feats to leave behind an immortal legacy.
Of course, this also translates into more bizarre and annoying behaviors, such as an obsession with superstition and, in general, an extremely complex and deeply rooted relationship with the concepts of luck and misfortune. If there's one thing that Orcs fear, it's not death but bad luck! It's bad luck that can prevent you from performing glorious deeds, achieving glory, wealth, or simply fulfilling your destiny!
Cats fit into this cultural context: being considered the luckiest animals par excellence (after all, they are said to have nine lives!), Orcs believe that cats are real lucky talismans! Every sensible Orc tries to have a cat (at least!) nearby.
From a modeling perspective, I knew that cats could pose a small (literally) element of difficulty in the range, given their 32mm scale size, but I loved the idea so much that I decided not to discard it for mere technical reasons. Fortunately, it seems that I'm not the only one who thinks this way, and I notice a growing enthusiasm for this Orc/cat combination, which makes me particularly happy and optimistic.
The Orc Soldiers are certainly the humblest characters in this range, but I believe that this is their strength. Without frills or intricate details to distract the eye, I think these two characters effectively convey the spirit of this race and the uniqueness of the Orcs of Inneath. I see them as excellent heralds of this project, two kits that I'm sure will give you a lot of fun (cat aside. But he's adorable, so I know you'll forgive me when you paint him!)
If you want to be notified on launch, when the campaign will start, and if you don't want to miss a thing about this project, click the link below and book a ticket to our incoming KS campaign!