Monday, 13 August 2012

We are going plastic!

Several months ago, I started searching for a way to improve the quality, lower the price and bump the production level to meet my customers’ expectations. I am happy to say that I have met and exceeded these goals. The Leviathan Crusader has made it to the pre-production phase (mold draft and parting line establishment for metal tooling) and is ready to become a plastic injected model kit. Not Resin, not Restic, not some soft plastic hybrid, but injected high impact styrene. The same kind of model kit you will find in any hobby store.

One of our largest stumbling blocks has been keeping up with customer demand for our resin kits. We have found it increasingly difficult to produce our large kits in a quality, quantity and price point to meet my high standards. The constant search for a suitable service provider and manufacturing method for our resin kits has stifled design and production, taking me away from the important work of product design and game development.

On August 16th; the first day of Gencon, we will open up our Kickstarter campaign to help fund the switch from resin and metal miniatures and models to an all plastic line.

What does this mean for the future? For one thing it means we will not have a shortage of kits when you want them. We will be utilizing the supply chain that all major vendors use and will have distributors selling to your local retailers.
What about converting the old models? The first plastic kit is a very ambitious project. We will be releasing the Leviathan Crusader at full scale (28mm 8.5” tall).
We have taken great care with the reworking of the Leviathan Crusader, improving the engineering of the components while staying 100% true to the appearance and scale of the resin kit you know and love.

What I am referring to when I speak of “engineering” is working hydraulics, tight fitting ball joints and tolerances far tighter than I could ever hope to achieve in a resin kit and an overall repeatable quality that is sure to amaze. This is all made possible through top quality machining on granite bed CnC mills. When all is said and done it might be possible to assemble the kit, pose it and then use superglue to lock all of the components into a pose. A huge improvement over cutting hydraulics to length and trimming away any resin vents and gates.

If you have ever looked at this model and thought “that’s a great kit, but the price….” Or“’Cool, but its resin, I hate resin…” Here is your chance to purchase a much improved version in durable plastic at less than one quarter or even one fifth the price of the resin kits.

What can I expect for the next releases?
Plastic Eisenkern Stormtroopers? Yes. 
More vehicles, Tanks, APC’s etc.? Yes.
More factions for the Iron-Core universe? Yes.
More Leviathan variants? Yes.
Optional arms for your Leviathans? Yes.
15mm scale kits? Yes.
All in plastic? Yes, yes and YES!  

Many of these are in the pre-production phase (mold drafting and part line establishment for metal tooling) Many units for other factions and the Iron-Core game system to support them are in the design phase and all can see the light of day, with your help. It is my hope that I can release at least one new box set each month until we have all the factions core sets, infantry and vehicles ready for your gaming enjoyment. 

Why bring this project to Kickstarter?
A great deal of time and effort has been invested preparing this model for hard tooling. Issues such as undercuts could be ignored when we were using soft tooling (rubber molds), however this was not an option when moving to metal tooling. In order to preserve the details you have seen in the resin kit, it was necessary to utilize Slide Core Tooling, a very impressive and expensive form of metal tooling that allows the mold to open in four directions, up and down as well as side to side. This will allow for details in multiple directions of pull!  

As you can imagine, the initial startup costs involved with this production method are substantial. The tooling costs for this kit will exceed $100k, but moving in this direction is the best and most logical choice not only for my company but for my customers. We are offering this project in order to pay for the tooling, an expense far outside the ability for most small companies (such as DreamForge-Games) to absorb.

To celebrate,  I will be giving away a Leviathan Crusader to one lucky winner. Just use the link to the Facebook page in the upper right corner, “Like” our Facebook site and leave a short message or comment. One person will be chosen at random. (*Prize is subject to a successful Kickstart campaign) 



For all of this to happen, I will need your help to get the ball rolling, just keep an eye here and I will announce the start of the Kickstarter campaign.


All the best!
Mark Mondragon

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