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Alex Huntley: Warploque Miniatures

13 August 15 words: Ophelia King
The man putting Nottingham on the map in international gaming with his model making business that gained over £52,000 extra for its Kickstarter campaign
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Tell us about Warploque Miniatures…
It’s a company that produces 32mm fantasy wargaming miniatures for gamers, painters and collectors, all of which are hand-sculpted by myself, and cast in either white metal or high quality resin. Our first tabletop game, ArcWorlde, was launched on Kickstarter in 2013.

What originally inspired you to pursue your passion?
I’ve been model making since I was about nine or ten. I initially bought the models from other companies, and then converted them to represent characters I had created. When I was fourteen, I started blogs on various miniature wargaming forums showing my projects, and eventually built up a following.

Your ArcWorlde Kickstarter campaign raised £57,019 in pledges – slightly more than your original goal of £5,000. How did that feel?
The biggest feeling after sheer joy was one of shock and awe, as well as a lot of pressure. I ran out of planned stretch goals – extras offered to backers to encourage more pledges – rather quickly. I had to keep making things up as I went along, so the enormity of the work I then had to do was staggering.

You dropped out of your full-time science degree to pursue your passion. Any regrets?
Although I loved being a student, I wasn’t sure if it was right for me. I have always been a creative, but somewhere in my head I had convinced myself that I should knuckle down and get myself a ‘real job’. So, I chose to study a BSc in Human Genetics. It was all going well – I even won a grant from the university to help start Warploque Miniatures. Then the Kickstarter happened and I was spending more time working on Warploque than on my course. As soon as the third year hit, I had to make a choice.  

What is your favourite fantasy video game?
Now that is a very cruel question to ask. There are loads. Fantasy sword and sorcery games – in particular, I would have to say the Fable series, Overlord, the Dark Souls series and the Monster Hunter series, off the top of my head. Does Pokémon count, too?

Was your work inspired by any other fantasy skirmish games?
My biggest inspiration is Terry Pratchett and his Discworld novels. I’m sure I don’t need to wax lyrical about how amazing those books are. As well as novels, I take inspiration from video games, fantasy art books, fairy tales, films, cartoons and historical events. Nature is a also big inspiration when it comes to designing monsters and creatures.

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Our Alex

What makes Nottingham an ideal place to base your work?
Nottingham is the Mecca of wargaming. Games Workshop, was founded and continues its legacy here. Because of this, lots of other wargames companies cropped up in the area, to the extent that some of the biggest UK miniatures companies call Nottingham home.

What is the most frustrating aspect of your job?
Keeping motivated. I live with students who are always out doing things, and I am stuck inside all day by myself. The demon claws of procrastination kick in, and when you’re your own boss it can sometimes be difficult to push yourself to keep going.

How much work do you do on the computer?
Too much. You would think that the vast majority of my work would be making models, but I spend all day in front of a computer screen: answering emails, maintaining the website and Facebook group, writing, drawing, laying out the rulebook – all done on a computer. Photoshop is my best friend.

Describe the process of taking a 2D sketch and transforming it into a 3D Warploque Miniature…
Once you have the design, the first thing to do is create an armature out of wire – this ‘skeleton’ keeps the model rigid as you work on it. Then it’s all a matter of… Wait a minute! I know what you’re trying to do. You’re gonna have to come to my masterclass to find out more.

What should fantasy model making lovers expect from your masterclass?
There are a vast range of models on the market, sometimes there isn’t anything in particular that just captures your imagination. I’ll introduce people to the skills required for creating their own three-dimensional characters and bringing their ideas to life.

Who is the course aimed at?
Anyone with an interest in learning how to create small-scale sculptures. Although, as these techniques are usually used for collectable figures, it is probably more specifically for people with an interest in miniature wargaming, fantasy, sci-fi or even comic books and graphic novels.

What advice would you give to someone wishing to pursue a career in fantasy model making?
It might be tempting to follow the crowd and copy what others are doing, but make sure you inject individuality into everything you do. Make your work in a way that people can tell it’s yours just by looking at it. If you don’t, it’s just going to be another scoop of vanilla, no matter how tasty.

What’s next?
Getting my rulebook finished. After that, working on the next instalment of ArcWorlde, Troubles in the North. The Kickstarter for that will be launching around April 2016, with any luck, and I cannot wait. Here we go again...

Fantasy Model Making Masterclass, Nottingham Trent University, Monday 17 - Tuesday 18 August, 10am - 4pm, £75.

Warploque Miniatures website

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