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About this project
What Is This Kickstarter About?
The initial Kickstarter goal is to fund the very first WHISPER mecha's masters and production molds.
These are the WHISPERs currently available to pick for your rewards.
SOKAR/BASTET - KNEELING - (Sokar head shown but also includes Bastet head option)
SOKAR/BASTET - STANDING - (Bastet head shown but also includes Sokar head option)
History of WHISPER Design
Over the course of the last four months, the 3-D sculptors of Marchen Atelier - Heriberto and Gibran - and Tom Anders - of Impact! Miniatures - have collaborated with me in the creation of these miniatures.
We've gone from a fantastic two-dimensional art piece done by John Yechan Seung.
To a three-dimensional computer export model.
Full resolution 3D sculpt by Marchen Atelier. To full three-dimensional miniatures created by Tom Anders through Impact! Miniatures' 3-D printing service after some advice on modifications to the design by Tom.
One painted 3d print prototype by Todd Farnholtz next to various 6mm and 15mm miniatures, from Onslaught Miniatures, Khurasan Miniatures, White Dragon Miniatures, and The Ion Age. Now that we have our starting point, I need you, the potential Backers, supporters, and fans, to assist in the creation of the master prints, the production molds, and the base materials.
The Master - These are the original masters that can be re-used to create the production molds.
The Production Molds - The actual mold wheels that will create the miniatures.
Casting Materials - WHISPER mecha will be made of spincast resin. Resin is heated and then injected into the molds, which are spun at a high velocity to fill the molds completely. After cooling, the molds can be separated, and the miniatures removed to begin the process of snipping, partial cleaning, and then bagging for shipping. PLEASE NOTE: All WHISPERs will be sent unpainted. Painted images are just to show you what a WHISPER could look like after being painted.
What Is A WHISPER?
A WHISPER is a mechanized humanoid war machine, approximately 8.5 meters tall, created initially to perform direct actions against hardened targets throughout the galaxy. Piloted by the most elite, the first generation of WHISPERs were created to allow Powers and Dominions to employ their elite special forces teams in fast raids and rapid deployment in response to imminent threats.
The 27th-century version of the U.S. Navy SEAL, USAF JTAC, Delta Force, Russian Spetsnaz, and British S.A.S., WHISPER teams are never to be underestimated. Forty years after the first generation made planetfall on several rogue corporations seeking to commit a heinous terrorist incident on Earth and Mars, technology has advanced at an exponential rate.
First- and second-generation WHISPERs are now commonly employed by lesser Powers, while the elite advance into combat in third- and fourth-generation machines.
The Only Difference is the Head?
With the initial two poses, yes. The Sokar is a beak-like head with a protective armor cover over its sensors, an imposing sight that I thought reflected a combat-worthy opponent. So, I went back to Egyptian times to find a name worthy of a bird that can pursue and destroy prey.
High res close-up of the Sokar head in kneeling pose. The Bastet was initially remarked as "Samurai Pizza Cat", or a fox. I can't help but take my friends and supporters at their joke, so, the cat-like Bastet was a perfect name fit.
3d sculpt example of the Bastet head in kneeling pose. What's Beyond That?
Stretch Goal #1 - Raptor - $4,500 USD
A second-generation WHISPER, the Raptor was designed by the Symbiotic Cyber Consortium in its fledgling years on a limited budget and production capacity. Due to these limitations in technology, they could not install cutting-edge full armored cockpits with augmented reality and neural linkage. Instead, the Raptor had to supplement on high visibility cockpits with less armor, with augmented reality displays.
The end result is a machine perfect for atmospheric combat, but incapable of traversing solar systems. Nevertheless, it is an affordable option for Powers on a budget.
John Seung's initial concept art of the Raptor.
The prototype 3d sculpt created by Marchen Atelier. Stretch Goal #2 - Optional Armaments for Sokar/Bastet - $5,200 USD
One of the earliest requests was optional arms for the original WHISPER, to allow hobbyists and gamers alike to swap out arms. Most wargamers and hobbyists are familiar with drilling out a small portion of the arm holes and balls to affix magnets inside.
With this Stretch Goal, anyone can purchase the optional arms as an add-on for $5 USD, though certain high-level pledges will receive one set for free.
The optional weapons include one holding a Gauss cannon over the standing WHISPER's chest.
The second is a missile launcher with arm blade.
The other option is a pair of battle-damaged arms.
High-res images of optional WHISPER arms. Stretch Goal #3 - Poseidon - $7,200 USD
The Poseidon is a second-generation WHISPER designed by the Northern Martian Federation. On the shores of the Federation, the Poseidon acts as a distinct bodyguard, while on exo-planets that are primarily covered in water, it is one of the only WHISPERs that can operate beneath the waves. Thanks to the latest advancements in its hardened armor shell, the most recent versions of the Poseidon can reach depths up to 500 meters without loss of internal pressure.
The Poseidon was created by Elartwyne Estole, another fantastic artist I discovered on DeviantArt. Elartwyne was kind enough to grant me the ability to license his own old mecha for WHISPER, and I've hired him on for future mecha sketches and layouts, as well as more detailed art, if we can get that far in the future.
Sketch of the base Poseidon.
Finalized 3d sculpt of the Poseidon by Marchen Atelier. Stretch Goal #4 - Tundra - $9,200 USD
A first-generation WHISPER designed by PAC-NATO to usurp the original Mark II, the Tundra swiftly took off in popularity among other Dominions as a reliable unit. By the time of its fifteenth year in service, however, the Tundra was beginning to be outstripped by second-generation designs. With the Throne Confederacy's Sokar, the Tundra was thought to be an outdated model with no viable use left. However, several lesser Powers were able to modernize and upgrade the WHISPER's sensors and ballistic computers to level it out, and improvements in maintenance areas were made, making after action field repairs far easier. Thus, the Tundra remains on the field of combat as a WHISPER not to be discounted.
Tundra sketch by Elartwyne.
Finalized sculpt of Tundra with regular armament.
Stretch Goal #5 - Poseidon Alternate Arms - $9,800
An alternate set of arms for the Poseidon, removing the Gauss cannon and torpedoes, replacing them with a pair of directed-energy weapons (DEWs, i.e. lasers) in the palms, with elongated claws for close quarters combat. With this Stretch Goal, anyone can purchase the optional arms as an add-on for $5 USD.
3d sculpt by Marchen Atelier.
An example of the Poseidon Beta painted by Mastergunz. With More Stretch Goals to Come, Possibly?
How Tall Are WHISPER Miniatures?
The standing version of the Sokar and Bastet miniature is approximately 47 millimeters tall.
I spent awhile going over scale options. Miniature wargames come in all shapes and sizes these days, but for this, I wanted them to be physically imposing enough that when you saw one on the table, you thought, "Okay, that looks like a nasty customer."
On final thoughts, I decided to abstract the scale of the game, and simply place WHISPERs in the 10mm range (thus, a 10mm tall infantryman stands at about the height a real human being would to a 8.2-meter-tall WHISPER). However, if you're a wargamer, and you have 6mm, 10mm, or even 15mm miniature infantry, power armor, and tanks lying around, you are free to proxy these into WHISPER for your games. 28mm and 35mm scale wargames can even use the WHISPERs as heavy power armor (or in Infinity's case, mini TAGs) if they so wish.
The Poseidon WHISPER, Sokar kneeling WHISPER, next to 6mm and 15mm miniature infantry and power armor troopers (note that Knight and Talos are 21mm models, good for heavy power armor). Another reason to go with the 10mm scale was that I had to consider terrain costs. The wargame I'm creating is intended to be played with heavy cover and concealment (think an urban battlefield, like Infinity, or MERCS). This is one of those things that can cost gamers an arm and a leg to purchase, or, if they're crafty, you can make your own. But time is also a factor there, and not everyone has the hours saved to create massive buildings. 10mm offers a wide variety of affordable but impressive options for terrain.
Side by Side of Bastet and Sokar The Universe, and WHISPER Armament
WHISPER takes place in the 27th century Anno Domini, and technology has allowed Mankind to spread to roughly 75 different planets (though more are possible, they are usually unchartered colonization and pirate bases, as well as terrorist outposts or "black sites" of the Dominions and Powers of the times). Some are terraformed, some are inhospitable but livable, and others are colonized mostly through Lagrange colonies, ala Mobile Suit Gundam.
FTL travel is accomplished through hyperspace 'jumps', a capability provided through Tiggs-Dyson eventium generators as an energy source, and hyper-acceleration devices.
Directed energy weapons (i.e. lasers), are the primary armament of almost every standard military force in the universe. They don't fire the intense cutting beams that are a trope of mecha action. Instead, they create a pulsed high-intensity 'blast' that vaporizes on impact. Another high-power weapon system is the Gauss cannon, which utilizes railgun principles to accelerate a metal sabot to a muzzle velocity exceeding Mach 7.
How do you dodge something that travels at nearly the speed of light, or a projectile breaking the speed of sound 7 times over? You rely on a limited artificial intelligence matrix and threat-avoidance programming to recognize when a threat emerges, and utilize high-output vernier thrusters and jet packs to juke away from the threat. Plus, you shoot back.
It's being worked on, but it is not the end goal of this Kickstarter. This Kickstarter will focus entirely on the initial WHISPER miniatures line. I've decided to emulate Infinity, Heavy Gear Blitz, and other various wargames and boardgames, in that I'll be focusing on releasing the rules in a free version that you do not have to pay to play.
However, for those interested I'll be regularly sharing bits and pieces of the universe, and also sharing some of the basics in the Facebook Group for WHISPER:
So these are a couple of "mantis warriors" which I'm painting up as thri-kreen, the insectoid race from the Dark Sun and Spelljammer D&D settings. They are Reaper's 03552: Klichik, Mantis Warrior (the taller one), sculpted by John Winter, and 03142: Zizzix, Mantis Warrior (the squatter one), sculpted by Michael Brower.
Here they are for scale (and unassembled) with Reaper's 03155: Vandora Waverunner, Pirate, sculpted by Bob Ridolfi.
Straight out of the package they have a very flat silhouette.
Here they are assembled, primed, and washed with thinned-down Burnt Umber. I gently bent some of their limbs forward to ease the flatness a tad.
One source said all thri-kreen were golden brown; another said they were earthy shades of red, yellow, and sometimes green. I decided to paint the taller one red and the shorter one yellow.
I mixed some dull, opaque colors using Iron Oxide Red and Yellow, each mixed with a greying-down blend of browns and white, and brushed them on thinly.
As god is my witness, this thing is not so pink in real life.
I painted this same yellow on both of the creatures' bases.
Then I washed over them with some thinned-down Burnt Umber.
To be continued!
The new Deepstar Kraken model is coming out soon for DeepWars and I painted up this one for display using a lot of inks and liquid acrylics. This model (not really a miniature when this big) was done in different stages. The base painting was done with blue skin and light tentacles. The mantle and top of the tentacles were given two washes of Marine Blue (Ultramarine) liquid acrylics (Dr. Phil Martins brand) mixed with matte medium and water. When the first was dry, the second was applied. The underside of the tentacles was done with a mix of Cerulean Blue ink (Liquitex) + white paint + Matte medium and water.
After removing from the base, as it was making it difficult to reach the bottom of the tentacles, I applied many light blue glazes (Cerulean Blue + Ultramarine Blue + White) for highlights and some dark (Ultramarine Blue) glazes for shadows. The goal was to make the blending mostly smooth but not to go overboard and spend too long on it. The reason will become clear soon.
The next stage was the big one. Dots of blue-green, green, yellow-green, white and various shades of orange and Burnt Umber were applied to the mantle and tentacles. This was done using Liquitex inks and Phil Martin liquid acrylics to make sure the dots were very pure in color and, more importantly, flowed evenly off the end of the brush, which was held and used like a pen. After the dots had dried, glazes of inks colors were applied, yellow-green to the mantle and tips of tentacles and bright orange to the “face”. When this dried, more dots were applied over them and highlights were applied to some of the dots using a bit of white or yellow mixed into the ink.
The eyes were done with yellow liquid acrylic mixed with white, black, and a bit of blue as the base. It was highlighted with more white and a touch of yellow. The black iris was painted, then more white highlights were applied around it to clean it up. Finally, the big highlight was added at the top with thinned white. The eyes were not painted as gems (bright bottom, dark top with hot-spot secular reflection) here as the light was meant to be diffused by the water. Maybe next time. The base was done with washes of Burnt Sienna ink first, then washes of Pthalho blue and Marine Blue ink to darken the rocks. it was all drybrushed with Americana brand Buttermilk, then some glazes of greens, magentas and purples were added to the sponges and corals. The barnacles were drybrushed with some white to make them stand out.
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