Interview: Tim Prow
Another opportunity I had courtesy of AetherCon V was this virtual Q&A with miniatures-legend, Tim Prow. Tim has formed DieHard Miniatures and is attracting a lot of attention. The company is a collaboration of 3 sculptors, Tim Prow, Chaz Elliott, and Drew Williams, with the artist Richard Luong. Luong is perhaps best-known right now for his work on Cthulhu Wars. The goal of the company as they put it, is to give “high quality sculpts with more than a nod to the past.”
I enjoyed Tim’s responses in this Q&A very much, and I am pleased to be able to share it with you:
Q: What games do you play and what role do miniatures play in them?
Tim Prow: I think with most people when you become a parent time for one’s self evaporates. I’ve gamed through different genres, starting as a teenager playing mostly Games Workshop stuff, Fantasy Battle and roleplay as well as Blood Bowl and 40K. When I joined Games Workshop at the age of 17 I was amazingly fortunate to help play test games such as Space Hulk, the new at the time version of Blood Bowl, Mighty Empires, and Space Marine Epic. After leaving in ’93 I mostly played on computer games, Diablo and Quake being some of the earliest online gaming I did. I also enjoyed playing werewolf games from White Wolf’s World of Darkness. EverQuest was one of the biggest things to affect my gaming life towards the end of the 90’s. That sucked several years of my life away. 😉
Q: How have miniatures and their use changed during your time in the industry?
Tim Prow: I think until the mid 90’s miniatures had been the mainstay of any gamers experience, from roleplaying with your character figure, to large table top battles. I saw the change come in with Magic the Gathering, it sucked a large chunk of cash and players time from miniature games and for a time I worried this effect would be the beginning of the end for miniatures, but as with most fads it crested and has added itself to the gamer’s world. Miniatures are still here and if anything, there are even more miniature companies out there than ever before. The next change I saw was when I moved to the US to work for Ral Partha, which was taken over by Wizkids 6 months after I’d moved. Within the 3 years I was in America, I saw the crazy that was the clicker base take off like a rocket. I think it all took us by surprise. Yet again another mouth to feed at the gaming table, but it has been absorbed, and miniatures still survive. I think the latest thing to hit is the rise of the figure designed on the PC and 3D printed. I hope it settles like the other changes we’ve seen in the industry and is another string to the bow, rather than something that will remove the old string.
Q: What is the most satisfying part of your work?
Tim Prow: I love to create, and with my new company I can finally start to create more and more from my own ideas. Don’t get me wrong I love working freelance, you get to work with some very creative people, and the work is always varied. I’ve been a sculptor since 93 and I’ve honed my skills and am still learning, and I think that drive to be better every day is what keeps me sculpting. As long as someone out there wants my figures I’ll be happily sculpting 😊 I’m not sure how many sculptors out there paint their own figures, and I am blessed with having been at the top of two arts in the industry. Being a ‘Eavy Metal painter at Games Workshop during the golden age, and having sculpted for many big names producing the best sculpts I’ve ever done. I really enjoy painting my own figures, and I usually have a paint scheme in the back of my mind when working on a sculpt.
Q: How would you describe the allure of miniatures? What is the difference between a good design and a forgettable one? Looking back, what figures are you the proudest of? Which were the most challenging?
Tim Prow: Hmm, well I’m old school, so I love the weight and feel of metal figures. It feels like you are getting something for your money. I have only maybe one or two resins in my painted collection and these were test casts from Wizkids. I think these days it’s all about quality, there are more and more great sculptors joining the ranks and it would be foolish to ignore something like that. As a freelance sculptor you have to be the best you can be. There are some amazing companies to work for as well, and the challenge is on when they send you art that stretches your abilities. I think Avatars of War gave me some of the best art to work from. Wayne England’s artwork may look simple but it is highly detailed, if you’re not a sculptor this is something you may miss. You think you can sculpt it in a week, but two weeks later you are still at it and cursing the art, hehe. But once the sculpt is finished it looks amazing! I don’t usually have a favourite, but if I did it would probably be one from their range.
Q: How would you describe Kickstarter? What advice would you give to someone who is considering doing it themselves?
Tim Prow: Running a KS is a double-edged sword, there are highs and lows, and when it works it work, but boy if you’ve missed something it can come back to bite you in the ass. My advice would be to make sure you do your sums, cover your basic costs, and don’t expect the moon on a stick. Be prepared to lose a month’s work as the campaign can be a busy one, answering questions, updates and promoting your project take a lot of time, and can feel thankless. Try to give yourself some family time, as it is easy to neglect loved ones while engrossed in fluffing your backers. Having run two successful KS I found it expanded my skill set immensely, and stretched me as a person; it is very easy to live the life of a hermit being self-employed.
Q: Other than your recent Kickstarter, what projects are ahead of you?
Tim Prow: Well Diehard Miniatures has gone from a pet project to something I’m going to have to run as more of a proper business. With each new KS we hope to add to each faction, and expand the world in which they live. At some point I’d hope to think, with enough backing of our fans we could talk about making a rules system and game.
Q: Is there a challenge or goal that you have not accomplished that you hope to?
Tim Prow: My challenges and goals change all the time. My pragmatism keeps my optimism in check pretty well, so I don’t try to over stretch myself. My long term goal is to be able to continue to have as much fun in this industry as I’ve already had, and leave my mark before pottering off this mortal coil. 😉
Q: What do you think of gaming online and Virtual Table Tops? Does the prospect of modelling for virtual spaces appeal to you?
Tim Prow: As a participant in early online gaming I can understand their allure, and I’m all for new modern choices for gaming, it’s what keeps gaming alive and not stagnating. As with card games and clix bases it will either join them or not, I think it’s too early to say. At the end of the day there is nothing so simple of primal than the want to have and hold something that is yours, a sculpted gaming pieces will always be with us.
This interview was made possible through the auspices of AetherCon, and our thanks go out to them for making it possible. AetherCon runs from November 11th through the 15th and will host a variety of events and opportunities to game, develop skills, check out online shops, and interact with other gamers.