Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Not a Skirt!

It's a Zkoot!

By Eli

My background in gaming starts as an RPG guy and this has stuck with me all along. I usually end up on the GM side of things and as such world building, character developing and background fluff are sort of second nature to me. This comes out in my miniatures projects as well whether it is my own gaming or designing stuff for release by LNG.

When developing the Ikwen, it was important form to manifest some sort of cultural elements in their designs. One of the easiest ways to do this in miniatures is through distinctive articles of clothing. In the Ikwen this came out as a sort of ceremonial cloth worn around the waist called a "Zkoot". 

Every Ikwen receives a Zkoot at birth. It is the first and last thing they will ever wear. The Zkoot is tied into their belief system and the Ikwen believe that they record the events of their life to be proclaimed when they enter the afterlife and join their ancestors. To die without a Zkoot is to be denied the afterlife. 

Zkoot are worn tied around the waist in a way that allows a wide panel to hang between the legs. This panel displays patterns and symbols that identify the family ties, community and even nationality of the Ikwen wearing it. The Zkoot is worn at all times except when being washed or repaired and even then certain rituals must be upheld in the way it is maintained including restrictions on materials, folding and storage. Holy men among the Ikwen do not wear the Zkoot around their waist. Instead they wear their sacred cloth draped over their head and shoulders, shrouding their faces. In this way, interaction with the holy men is not with them but directly with the lineage displayed on the Zkoot and thus the ancestral line of the Ikwen.

Because of the connection with the afterlife, the absence or loss of a Zkoot is a serious crisis for Ikwen. Those born outside of traditional family bonds or who are orphaned often have no Zkoot and live marginalized lives. Those without Zkoot or "Hadzakoot" are often looked on as untrustworthy, false, even corrupted as they are seen to have no accountability. It is no surprise that Hadzakoot are often involved in criminal dealings and other undesirable lines of work. It is possible for a Hadzakoot to acquire a Zkoot in some cases such as adoption, special religious rituals and high-level political decree. It is considered an incredibly solemn and selfless act to bequeath one's own Zkoot to another Ikwen and thus surrender ones chances at an afterlife.

There are few instances where the Zkoot plays directly into the actions of Ikwen as in the case of the Ki-Ki-Zkoot, a sect of fanatic warriors. Ki-Ki-Zkoot have always existed among the Ikwen but have always risen in numbers during times of great conflict when there is a need for those who are willing to do the things that would shame their lineage.

Ki-Ki-Zkoot surrender their sacred cloths in a ceremony in which they pass them on to an unfortunate soul, bringing them into their families to replace them. While this frees the fanatic of his obligations to his ancestors, it also indentures the recipient of the Zkoot to the great responsibility of not only fulfilling his obligation to his new family but also honoring the warrior who's place he has taken. The recipients known as Yotzkoot often go on to be civic leaders, frequently rising as priests, teachers, or other mentors to their communities. 

Once they have shed their Zkoot, these fanatics are unfettered by societies rules and expectations. They are now ready to fight an unrestricted battle and it is expected that they will do anything and everything to win short of suicide. While sacrifice and extremes are the stock and trade of these fanatics, to waste their lives and the opportunity needlessly is still looked on as taboo. Ki-Ki-Zkoot are often scarred and marked, showing their savagery in open displays. They often carry multiple weapons, including melee weapons.

Every society has it's rebels and those who buck convention. Among the Ikwen, these are the Mugoda or "Shadowy Ones". These Ikwen live by a different set of rules within  proper Ikwen society. They are a sort of under-society that exists to function where a society needs them to - breaking rules, while adhering to their own. In many ways the Mugoda are the organized crime syndicates of this alien culture. 

Like the Ki-Ki-Zkoot they exist to do things that polite Ikwen society does not look fondly upon. Unlike the warrior fanatics, these Ikwen have not surrendered their Zkoot but instead wear theirs proudly and garishly, attaching charms and trinkets, trophies and other embellishment to what is normally a very modest attire. They also pierce their skin with obvious signs of wealth and wear jewelry. To the Mougoda, it's best to live life well because the afterlife is not going to be pleasant. Mugoda afterlife is an eternity of low service and drudgery. It is also worth noting that dealing with Mugoda is allowed by common Ikwen belief as the layer of detachment absolves one of any real guilt. 

The Mugoda figure prominently in the Ikwen's fight as their underworld enterprise allows them access to materials and resources not available to those among regular society. This has allowed them to stockpile weapons and armor, fighting with gear that is often far more sophisticated than the rest of the Ikwen militias. In this way, these criminal syndicates provide a much needed backbone to regular militia, though often at a cost.

Progress Report

A recent update from my pals over at 15mm.co.uk informs me that the production run for the Chuhuac "Space Raptors" Kickstarter is as approximately 70% of total production. Even cooler, some of the smaller production runs are completely done. This means it won't be long before I am buried in metal space raptors and going mad trying to get them out in the post.

Soon....very soon...


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ikwen Weapons Concepts

Developing the Ikwen weapons has been a bit of a trick. 

The Ikwen range is designed to represent one side of a conflict against an undetermined foe, making them ideal opposition force for any range of miniatures as they are not designed to fight any specific force. This is not special, in itself, but what makes their weapon design tough as a militia force is that they have no pre-made world from which they would have sourced their irregular arsenal. When considering how to arm them, the decision was made to give the Ikwen weapons that were analogous to the weapons seen in terrestrial militia forces, but not human weapons. A balance between form and function had to be reached and with the help of artist Todd Ulrich, I think we did just that.

Todd took my notes and together we came up with what you see above. With the exception of the blades (Huli) the other weapons are very much cousins to weapons we know. Assault rifles, submachineguns, shotguns, and the rest of the cast are here. All familiar, but looking like they were made in a factory far away. This will allow them to fight any force of miniatures enemies and not have to worry about having weapons that are too human or too alien.

In a lot of ways the weapons were picked based on how they would look in the hands of miniatures. I can see Ikwen swinging around their Huli or lugging around the suitcase-like reloads of their rocket launchers while they scurry around, snapping off shots with their rugged assault weapons, all in a desperate play to fight whoever players pit them against.

Friday, November 22, 2013

More Ikwen Concept Art

While I had planned to hold off on showing more Ikwen concept art, I decided what the heck. So, in the spirit of holiday cheer and good fun, here are some more pictures of LNG's upcoming new alien species range due out in 2014.

Enjoy More Ikwen...

A note on weapons: With the exception of the blades, the weapons in the concept art are not the final weapons that will be used in the sculpts. These were placeholders used in the concepts. The final weapons will look to have a more alien origin.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Future of LNG


I realize, with the Chuhuac Kickstarter yet to be fulfilled and the range's retail release still pending, that it may seem odd to discuss the future of Loud Ninja Games, but there is a future and I would like to talk about that. 

Despite the stumbles and slumps in getting things going, the mindset here has always been for us to turn Loud Ninja Games into another place you can find new and interesting miniatures in an ever-expanding product line. To this end, we have been working to develop future ranges and expansions on the Chuhuac. I have also given thought to the best way for me to present our products to the public and to make sure they are available across the widest area possible. 

So, let's take a look at some of what is in store. 

Before there was a Loud Ninja Games, I had established a working and friendly relation with Gavin Syme ate 15mm.co.uk.. In many ways Gavin has been a major influence in my growth as a sculptor and my development into a miniatures entrepreneur. When it came to considering how I wanted to go about selling my line of figures to the gaming public, he was the obvious person to turn to. The end result is an agreement between Loud Ninja Games and 15mm.co.uk in which Gavin and crew will become the retail source for my line in 2014. 

Why did I go this route?

It comes down to simple resources and customer service. 15mm.co.uk is an established company with myriad ranges across a number of subjects and scales. They have in-house mold-making, casting, packaging and retail facilities. Add to this my trust and existing working relationship as well as their knack for serving worldwide customers with quick and fair shipping and it really wasn't much of a decision.

Why not do it myself?

As much as I'd like to, I really cannot and would rather not have to mire myself and my family down trying to manage inventory, sales, packaging and shipping. 15mm.co.uk will be able to keep stock on the shelves, shipping going smooth and a clean and well-managed retail site. I'll still maintain creative control as well as marketing and promotional interests and in return I'll collect a percentage of the sales. Loud ninja Games is still a brand and I'm still in control of that brand, but I've got a big brother (so to speak) in the industry that can help me make it work.

The Chuhuac are a range of minis I have wanted to make forever. I have a host of ideas for them, most of which came to fruition in the Kickstarter. Still, there are more troop types and vehicles I would like to add to this range.

Now, allow me to be a bit tentative here, if I may. Just because I would like to make something, doesn't mean the opportunity will present itself or that it would be a good idea. I'll have to see where the market goes with these dino dudes before making any final decisions. Of all the designs I am sure would be well-received, a flying vehicle like a dropship or gunship and a light tank are at the top of the list. After this, new troop types may be in the future and even more vehicles, but that really comes down to how things shape up for the Chuhuac.

Here are a couple of WIP images of what we are planning for our vehicles...

The light attack vehicle in its most basic shape.

And, the gunship/dropship in some very early WIP renders.

My vision for the LNG brand has never been about a one-shot with the Chuhuac and then let it ride. I've had host of new species ready in my notebooks for ages and all of them are at least runners up for inclusion in this line as miniatures. The exact order in which they will be released, really depends on how things shape up for the company. Smaller, easier to release ranges and one-offs are always doable while larger, more involved ranges will absolutely have to bide their time or wait for a windfall. I can, however, show you the NEXT release, already in early development.

Meet the Ikwen...

I don't want to say too much about these odd alien humanoids, but these images show off some of their more interesting features. Please, don't pay too much attention to the weapons as they are really just placeholders for the final weapons. More on them as they develop, but they will be released in 2014, hopefully in the first half of the year.

So, there you have it. LNG is definitely thinking forward and the new year will bring new shiny toys from us to you.



Friday, October 25, 2013

More Painted Examples of the Chuhuac

Hey folks,

Just a quick update to the blog to show off the latest crop of painted samples that were sent my way from my partners at 15mm.co.uk. Their resident pro-painter has done a splendid job on all of these and I think he followed my notes very well. 

Herdmaster - a company level command figure carrying a staff of office which sports the preserved toe claw of on of the unit's historical elites.

Commandos - this single pack contains six Chuhuac and includes a leader , SAW gunner, and a sniper poised and ready to lay down some hurt with his accelerator gun. The commandos where lighter armor and stealth packs that mask their biometrics as well as provide them with optical camouflage (yes, invisibility).

Chuhuac in HTH - These six minis have been posed in various crouching, slashing, biting and kicking poses and depict what a pack of these aliens would be like up close. Because they do not have weapons sculpted on them, it has been noted that they would work well as casualties, gunners, or even as possible vehicle crews. 

This picture shows how the Chuhuac scale up to one of the 15mm Ion Age miniatures. The Ion Age minis are in the larger category of 15mm figures and so you can see that the chuhuac are at a nice size to blend in with most range.

Chuhuac Battlesuits - These are a popular favorite. Each battlesuit comes with two SAW arms and two of each of three support weapons - Drone Missile Pod, Accelerator Cannon, and Heavy Plasma Gun (not shown). The chuhuac pilot is fully enclosed inside the armored body of the battlesuit and uses hi-tech sensors an micro-cams to interface with the outside. The Chuhuac use their battlesuits instead of support weapon teams, allowing them to keep their support weapons as mobile as their infantry. To the Chuhuac, speed and maneuvering is everything.

Grav Bikes - These miniatures are two-piece models with the rider's body sculpted on to the bike. There are three variant heads that can be glued on, allowing a bit of animation in the sculpts by adjusting the head positions. The pilots of these bikes steer with their tails which are in the rear section of the bike, leaving their hands free to control weapons and sensors. These bikes are used as scouts and for fast, local air support as each carries the equivalent of four (4) SAWs.

28mm Chuhuac Squad - Many folks had expressed a desire to see the Chuhuac in 28mm. While the main product line was conceived of as 15mm, I thought it would be nice to at least provide a 28mm squad. The 28mm squad is depicts a typical six-member pack of Chuhuac, including Alpha Leader, SAW, and a Plasma Gun.

These figures are a beautiful upscaling of the 15mm Chuhuac and are robust and sturdy models. All of the trooper heads are separate, allowing some minor variation by posing them. The Alpha's head is sculpted on depicts the greater amount of plumage the Chuhuac leaders display.

Here is a 28mm Chuhuac, posed next to a 28mm Ion Age miniature.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chuhuac Preview Pics

Hey all!

This morning I received some preview puvs of the painted Chuhuac that will appear in the catalog at 15mm.co.uk. While these do not depict the entire range, they do show the potential for these critters.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Progress Report

Alright, so for those following along on the blog, I do apologize for the long time since the last post. There hasn't been a lot of interesting stuff to share with you all as we're really into the nitty-gritty of the slogging grunt work of bringing these miniatures to life.

Where are we at?

The current metal production of the Chuhuac stands at about 30% complete at last estimate (about a week ago). The casters report that they are finally getting the hang of the tricky casting and attention these minis demand and have managed to improve their success rate from 45% to 85%. This should speed things up a bit for the remainder of the production run and really makes them a bit more viable as a continuing retail product.

One of the major obstacles to the completion of the production run is that all those delays i ran into have dropped my production smack in the middle of one of the casting company's biggest releases ever, putting me to a secondary position behind their own product, a fact that I am okay with and understand. They have their own time tables and release schedule and while they are doing work for me, I am the one who is off schedule, not them. So, no sour grapes.

I have a set of minis being painted for the catalog shots right now and so should hopefully have some "living color" images to show you soon. I'm also waiting on a couple of sets of the production minis to look over myself. Call this a quality control as the last sets I saw were just the master bits. Though, to be honest, I have to admit I really have no worries about the quality. I just feel it's sort of the thing I should do as a responsible business guy.

We're getting there and the end is almost in site. Soon I'll be pulling my hair out trying to fill all those boxes!

Thank you for your continued support,


Monday, August 12, 2013

APCs Have Arrived

Hello Raptor Fans,

The post man delivered these two lovely packages today. After a hair-raising delay, thanks to the USPS, the Sirrus APCs arrived about 9 days later than they should have with their 2-day Priority delivery. Each box weighs in at about ten pounds and was a densely packed.

The contents of the boxes were wondrous. Each box contained fours bags of 25 APCs each for a total of 100 APCs per box. This is what 200 APCs in the raw looks like. Each APC was individually packed in its own baggy with its six anti-personnel guns. Chris at Ravenstar Studios cast them up as a seamless single piece chassis fusing the separate bottom piece to the chassis with not a hint that they were separate.

The detailing on the APCs is crisp and the resin is nearly flawless with a wonderful finish that one expects in a quality gaming model. the pics below show the nifty details in all their splendor. Future note, that hexagonal roof details is likely going to be the anchor point for future weapons upgrades of the Sirrus. My hopes is to create some add-ons that will use the same sprue weapons as the battlesuits. I hope to offer them in two ways - full kits and mountings that will let you make use of un-used battlesuit weapons.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Space Raptors Invade Scotland!

I have been informed by, 15mm.co.uk, that all the metal masters have arrived and that the production molding for all the metal Chuhuac has begun. The details of the packs are set and we're discussing the retail future of the range.

At the same time, Ravenstar informs me that the molding on the resin APCs is nearly done and ready to deliver to me.

Once I have these two elements in hand, I will be able to set to the task of putting together the pledges and getting them out to your eager and VERY patient hands.

I am very excited to have finally reached this point in the project. It is long overdue and it's getting real fast!

Take care,


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Final Master Fixes Shipped

In the long process of pre-production, I have finally finished the last of the work left for me to do myself.

This week, I finished the last of the fixes needed on the metal masters so that they can be shipped off to the casters in the UK and be put into production molds. We've still got the final mold arrangements and the final collation of the packs to sort out, but that's it. 

The next weeks following the caster's receipt of the masters will see the production run of the miniatures to satisfy the Kickstarter. Once this is finished, I will begin arrangements for regular retail sales of Loud Ninja Games' Chuhuac range.

At this time, the all-resin APC kits are being produced and I hope to have all 200 of them in the coming weeks.

Hopefully, it's smooth sailing from here.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pictures of Masters

There have been some requests to see the metals being produced by this project. Currently all I have are master casts destined for the molds, so I cannot take pics of them with any sort of inking or shading on them. I have done my best, with the camera I have, to snap a few pictures that show how I have had to minimize the basing to get them to work in the molds.

I've also snapped a couple of really rough pictures of one of the trooper poses along side a few figures from other manufacturers to show their general size.

 Tacked on to some paces using adhesive putty

Khurasan Miniatures Exterminator, Armies Army Commonwealth, Chuhuac, Khurasan Miniatures Control Battalion  

GZG Crusty, GZG Daghaur, Chuhuac, Khurasan Garn, Khurasan Meso-Nai

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Chuhuac Support Units (Part One)- Battlesuits

Sheshrawl felt the hum of his battlesuit around him. Eyes darted about, keying in status checks as the on board AI analyzed the battlefield below. Firmly ensconced in the carry bay, he and his packmates were on their way to the ground to assist several other packs of the Caltheed Herd. 
The herd had been pinned down by their enemies and his saurian brothers were unable to maneuver away and make use of their speed. The AI on his suit had already received drop zone data from the AI on the Chathra dropper and he was figuring the best drop pattern to deploy his pack in. He would have to make sure that they didn't drop into the field of some of those big pulse cannons but he was going to make sure the enemy would start to pay it's tole as soon as claws hit ground. Nine and one enemy packs and one hand (3) of pulse cannons would have to be dispatched for optimal effect, but there were many more on the ridges overlooking the settlement where the Caltheed Herd had been ambushed. 
A klaxon sounded inside his armored cocoon, signalling the dropper was on final approach. His battlesuit AI warbled indicating it had completed its analysis and transmitted the data to his packmate's suits. Their combined AI network would maintain constant real-time analysis of their battle, feeding information to their pilots for optimal effectiveness on the field. Sheshrawl, felt his tail twitch, housed in the tail of the battlesuit and felt the feedback systems confirming his input, despite the tail being held by carry clamps. 
With the battlefield rising in his optical feeds, the sound of his packmates began to click and whistle. Thrask, goggled and clucked one of his usual jokes and the hissing and guttering of the packmates could be heard in appreciative response. Then, as quickly as the mirth had come, all went silent, the cunning minds of the predators in their metal avatars honing in on the imminent task. 
Lurching into a tight banked turn, the dropper's engines rose up in a growling cadence that vibrated through the hull and into the battlesuits it carried. Grav drives working overtime to bring the dropper into a controlled hover. Clamps released and freed the battlesuits in their carry bays, the only grip that of their talonned feet and the molecular adhesive pads in their soles and as the bays opened from beneath them, the battlsuit dropped down onto the battlefield amid theh ail of fire both friend and enemy...

Like many other Chuhuac designs, their battlesuits capitalize on their advanced technology and unique approach to the ergonomics of their species. At first glance, the battlesuits appear to be nothing more than large approximations of the species that constructed them, and this would not be an unfair assessment.

These weapons are designed to augment the abilities of the Chuhuac in ways that even their advanced biomechanical augmentation can accomplish. Incredible strength, heavier body armor and power enough to move at a speed comparable to that of Chuhuac infantry on the ground. Sensors and an on board AI, make the battlesuits incredible agile and aware, able to take in and process data at the speed of thought,s sometimes faster. Interpretive reflex systems, help protect pilots, kicking in intuitively when the AI detects a threat missed by the pilot. 

Weaponry is made up of two standard rapid-fire plasma guns, similar to those carried by the infantry as SAWs and two hard points on the back. These hard points can be given any number of loads to carry or left empty if a lighter mission role was desired. Standard weapons include: 

Heavy Plasma Cannon - Essentially a scaled up version of the infantry weapon, this weapon is capable of rapid-fire, launching scores of powerful plasma bolts down range to pin down the enemy, chew up light cover and destroy lighter vehicles and structures.

Particle Accelerator Cannon - The heavy-hitter for the battlesuits, this weapon fires an incredibly powerful beam of charged particles moving at near relativistic speeds. The impact caused by these particles is so great that they can disrupt the molecular bonds of a target. The resulting release of energy is usually rather dramatic and produces a spectacular light show as the target is rendered to pieces. 

Drone Missile Launcher - The primary indirect support weapon used by battlesuits in support of infantry, drone missiles are guided by the battlesuit's AI. through this control, the missiles can be directed to move around intervening terrain and impact in a variety of nearly limitless patterns. The payload on the missiles is also variable and consists of a flexible sort of proto-matter that can be set for varying degrees of solidity and instability. In this way, a single drone is capable of being used for anti-armor, high-explosive, fragmentation, air-burst and other roles simply by the pilot designating the needed mix of material properties.

The versatility of the Chuhuac battlesuits is one of their greatest attributes and in addition to the more common weapon loads, there are a host of other options utilized for specialize missions. Sensors, stealth systems, even gravitic jump motors have all been utilized in one mission or another. In space, they often employ thruster packs to allow for greater maneuverability. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Print for Chuhuac APC

The Chuhuac APC has had a bit of a refit.

While the original printing was good, the tech available for prints has improved while the project has been developing. I took advantage of this extra time to see if a few tweaks to the design and a new print might make a difference. I think it has.

The finished print gives you a really good idea of what a resin model of the vehicle will look like. The material used in these new prints has a similar weight, texture and consistency to the resin being used in good resin models. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Newest Chuhuac Greens

The last of the greens have been received from the sculptor. These include the battlesuits, the attack bikes and the 28mm versions of the basic squad. Also included is the newly sculpted aerial drone bioform. The new sculpt is more in line with my original concept of a small observation drone.

The battlesuits are multi-part models with the tail separate from the body and an assortment of back-mounted weapons and arms. The pictures below only show one arm and back weapon attached but you will be able to build them with two arms and various combinations of weapons. Their are two variations on the main body pose.

Missile Pod

Particle Accelerator Cannon

Heavy Repeating Plasma Gun

The new bioform sculpt is much smaller than the original and represents the sort of biotech enhanced organism the Chuhuac utilize as observation drones. This model replaces the original, larger model in the command packs with the original sculpt to be released later as a companion to the 28mm troopers.

Aerial Recon Bioform

The attack bikes are designed as a simple two-part kit. The bikes with riders' bodies will have separate heads available to glue to them. This will allow you some variation on the bike by positioning the head how you like.

Attack Bike

The 28mm Chuhuac are designed for players who like larger scale figures. The figures will represent a typical six-raptor squad including an Alpha Leader, three troopers, a SAW gunner, and a plasma gunner.

28mm Trooper

28mm Plasma Gunner

28mm Trooper

28mm Trooper

28mm Alpha