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Author Topic: How do I become a sculptor?  (Read 1921 times)


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How do I become a sculptor?
« on: 02 November 2016, 15:14:51 »
Since 30 years I´m a fan of Battletech and I have always been intrigued by the idea of creating a mini. I´m a former dental technician (now personell/HR officer) and teamed up with a friend who invented his own 3D printer. He himself has about 25 years of experience in the German 3D printing industry ( After I told him about the revival of Battletech, we thought of creating our first Battletech mini, but we are also quite puzzled about whom to contact. We can print in almost any material one could wish: several sorts of plastic, metal and ceramic. We thought of picking a random mechdesign which isn´t on the shelves right now, do our best and send it to .....whom? With all the rights issues about the Battletech brand, we need some advice on how to make contact and what to do best.


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Re: How do I become a sculptor?
« Reply #1 on: 02 November 2016, 16:11:30 »
So you have something already made in CAD (or your favorite 3D software of choice) and you just need to print it? With the computer sculptors, they provide the file and IWM sends it to their printer vendor. I'm not sure if they are looking for any new sculptors. I think they are currently limited by their mold fabrication room.


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Re: How do I become a sculptor?
« Reply #2 on: 02 November 2016, 22:05:47 »
At the moment I'd say it's more a limitation of sales. Notice the number of items per release is only 4-5, and releases are now 1 per quarter. That's not for lack of sculptors or for lack of production capacity. There's some wiggle room when we get to online-exclusive items, but set your expectations accordingly. Don't expect to claim that awesome new assault 'Mech that just got published, and make a fat wad of cash off of it. For example, between online-exclusives and fan-funding, I have 3 vehicles under consideration, and two of those are variants of existing chassis. And they may not all pan out either. There is a regular stable of sculptors, and a QC group that works to vet sculpts before their release that you would need to work through. My experience with CSO has shown quite vividly that many people over-estimate their ability to take criticism well, especially when it comes to creative endevours. You may be presenting your 3D version to the person who did the initial illustration, and they may have a lot to say about you've done.

If you're happy just to know you've contributed - kind of a bucket-list type of thing - talk to Mike at IWM. I can't say if he'll be receptive or not. Given some of the challenges and growing pains I've seen from working with newer people, a solid portfolio would be beneficial to demonstrate that you have proficiency in creating models to the detail and scale necessary.


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Re: How do I become a sculptor?
« Reply #3 on: 02 November 2016, 22:18:50 »
"Mike" in this case is Mike Noe. While we won't publish individual's contact details here, there will be ways to contact IWM on their website.

I'd recommend doing something original - note that IWM have the rights to manufacture spin-case metal minis for the game (which Ral Partha Europe hold a sub-licence). Use some existing original art - public domain, or get permission from the original artist. Make it to master quality - eg. can resist the temperatures and "squeeze" of master mould making. Send a couple of such to IWM.

No offence, but they probably won't be impressed with good intentions and some 3D graphics. Show them the quality of work you can achieve, I expect they would listen.

And best of luck! The game needs a new trickle of talent for making minis.

And there's an alternative to help you work up to this - there are, out there, some wholly original mini sculpts. With respect to the sculptors who made them, I don't mean the "BT lookalikes" which are heavily derived from BT art - I'm talking about things like the Black Angel, Ranger, Gauntlet and the like. Find some fan art you like - here, Deviantart, whatever. Make sure it's not derivative from something else. Get permission to make minis of it. Do a couple of these, and - given you got permission from the artist - you can sell them AND use them as 'journeypieces' for IWM's consideration. A long road, but a thought.

(Heck, if you want to have a go at any of my scratchbuild/kitbashed minis, I'll talk :) )

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Re: How do I become a sculptor?
« Reply #4 on: 04 November 2016, 09:20:21 »
So, a little more on the matter of joining.  I am currently the second newest sculptor working with IWM (Dak just became the newest nearly 2 years after me). 

I had two full miniatures drawn up in CAD (Vulture III and Thor II).  I first proposed the Vulture, and was ultimately knocked down in lieu of the current (and beautiful) mini we have today.  The Thor II was accepted as an online exclusive.  My next 5 minis were all released as online exclusives (Arion, Arctic Wolf II, Chimera, Pendragon, Centurion Resculpt).  It was only this year that I started submitting minis for the quarterly releases and cons (Centurion Omni, Roadrunner, Hound, and Gravedigger).  Next year, I am only scheduled for 2 quarterly releases thus far, though I might submit a few Online Exclusive proposals, which may or may not get knocked down.

Don't expect to make big bucks in the process, but at their core, everyone at IWM are still BattleTech fans.  Give an earnest submission, and they will definitely consider it. 

I personally would recommend that you try and do a mini that is requested from Fan Financing, maybe something nearer the middle of the list. Give them detailed images, and they will consider it. 

Best of luck!


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Re: How do I become a sculptor?
« Reply #5 on: 24 November 2016, 08:46:47 »
Sometimes you just have to jump in and get things done. Case in point, the airbox on the Catapult -C1 versus the non-existent part on the -K4. I handcarved the missing part and the major details to match the illustration in TRO 3025(39) because it's what I wanted. Both base minis are the CE Catapult.


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Re: How do I become a sculptor?
« Reply #6 on: 24 November 2016, 08:52:58 »
Same Catapult -C1 with paint added. The leg and launcher got modded to match the illustration as well.