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Monday, November 03, 2014

Dragon Forge Interview - Jeff Wilhelm (plus Kickstarter)

Here is a recent interview I conducted with Jeff Wilhelm from Dragon Forge.

1) Tell us about yourself and Dragonforge. Also what got you started into this line of work?

Well my name is Jeff Wilhelm and I have been working as a sculptor and miniature designer in the gaming industry since about 1990. I'm one the old guard you might say. Been at this a long time. I started at Ral Partha back in 1991 sculpting Battletech Mechs. After Ral Partha I worked for Wizkids on Mechwarrior and then did a bit for freelance work for companies like Reaper Miniatures, Mongoose games and Privateer Press. I probably sculpted one of my favorite piece ever working for Privateer Press. It was the Khador Colossal.

About 7 years ago, not sure exactly when I started my base line with Dragon Forge sculpting the first series, Concrete Rubble. Which today still is a top seller of mine. Since then I have added over 700 different base sets to my line. My most recent being Ancient Ruins II which is also currently my first Kickstarter running right now.

2) What drew you to this particular project for the Titan Knight bases and how did you go about developing them from start to finish?

Like most projects, customer feedback and requests and of course new base sizes. 2014 was the year of new base sizes. There were many major sizes added in the miniature hobby being The Knight Titan base, the 50 mm round base, the 55 mm round base and the 80 mm Round lip base size. When the Knights were just a hint that they were coming, I started getting a lot of emails asking if I were going to add Knight Titan sized bases to my line. I now have 12 different Knight sized bases in production with more in the works.

3) What do you draw for your inspiration from for this type of project? These new bases are quite large so I imagine more work is required on your part. By the way I have a couple of your older bases with flight rods I use for my Imperial Thunderhawk and it's very snazzy... This was back before GW introduced their large oval flight stand for flyers — kudos, you are definitely ahead of your time.

Well Google is your friend LOL I guess I do a bit of research online looking for pictures. Ancient lost civilizations, ruins, war torn builds and so on. Even nature subjects like deserts and ice covered wastelands. Plus the vast amount of science fiction art to draw ideas from... Of course my imagination too. I'll occasionally do some sketching but I really tend to work by just having an idea and running with it. I start making things and if it has a good feel going with it I keep going. If it just doesn't feel right to me I make changes or it goes into one of the many boxes of lost or dead projects to maybe be resurrected some day. I try to make each base look like its a piece from a much larger scene. Sort of like taking a picture and then just choosing a portion of it.

4) Share some pictures with us along with some descriptions what each one represents in terms of theme.

This is my Broken Wasteland themed base. Just a dried cracked earth sort of feel.

The Lost Empires themed base is intended to represent a long lost civilization or empire. Maybe an alien world.

This is the Thrench Boards themed base.

... and of course Urban Rubble representing a destroyed building in a long fought over war torn city.

5) I'm sure these will be quite popular. Do you ever incorporate direct feedback from your customers into your design? If so please give us some examples.

I always love getting feedback and input from my customers. Some of my best sellers have come from suggestions from customers.

6) Is there anything you'd like to discuss not covered in these questions? Please feel free to do so?

Not really, other then I guess most don't realize is I'm just a small one man shop. I'm not a big company with loads of employees or a big factory. It's just me doing all of this. I've had some freelance sculpting done for me and in time I hope to grow and expand. we shall see what the future brings. I only sell direct from my website and I don't expect this to change any time soon.

7) Finally do you have a favorite 40k army? Tell us all about it.

Imperial Guard!!! I have always loved the guard but I have not had the time in years to paint or model anything. I'm to busy making stuff for you guys    : )

Jeff Wilhelm
Dragon Forge Design, Inc.


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