Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Titan Manufactorum



Spyros Kypriotis (Who goes by Tsipis) has made a name for himself in the Apocalypse community by building Warlord Titans and selling them on eBay.  He goes by The Titan Manufactorum and he took time to chat with Apocalypse40K.


1)  When and how did you get into gaming?

I got into the world of gaming, like many gamers, with collectible card games about 15 years ago. Magic The Gathering was brand new back then and, like all things brand new, it was pretty exciting. Living in an island in Greece meant that there wasn’t much in the way of stores to support the game/hobby so I made do with whatever was within arm’s reach. Soon after, I got into role playing games which was also something entirely new and exciting for me. I was lucky that I happened to find like-minded people in an, otherwise, stagnant society in terms of gaming. If you read that abysmal article from that Greek newspaper a few months back, you have a pretty good idea of what the social paradigm in Greece regarding gaming looks like...

Through all this interaction with various games, a couple of White Dwarf magazines had gotten into my hands and, being a teenager, I was really attracted to the models, the scenery - the entire thing really. Unfortunately the price for getting into war gaming was really prohibiting to my budget back then. It was then that I realised how much money I was spending on Magic the Gathering, sold my cards, bought a small Ork army and never looked back. 


2)  What games do you play? If you play 40K, what armies?

I love role playing games and will probably never stop playing them. I went through a number of systems (naturally started from AD&D) but have come to embrace GURPS for its sheer realism and freedom. I started playing miniature wargames with Warhammer 40k back in 1999 and soon after went to Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Between different editions I went back and forth between the two, depending on which one appealed to me the most. Nowadays my Orcs & Goblins are dust collectors in a forgotten shelf somewhere in my house as 8th edition disappointed my gaming group.

Warhammer 40k is probably the hobby that takes most of my free time. Playing, painting, converting, talking about it. Space Orks was my first army and by far the one that appeals to me the most. Through the years I have come to collect Imperial Guard, Tyranids and Space Marines, but I mostly see them as “NPC’s” for my Ork adventures!


3)  You make 40K scale Titans that you sell on eBay.  How did that start?

I love building stuff. Through the years I have built so many terrain pieces that it’s ridiculous. With every project I work on, about half way through I come up with a way to improve on it or simply make something even more exciting and challenging. Most of the time that means something bigger and more complex...

One day I was talking about making a 40k imperial fortress for our upcoming Badab War IA9 campaign and one of my friends pointed out that a friend of his owns a CnC foam cutter. Having no idea what that was, I went to see it. Minutes after I saw it working I realized it was the perfect tool to build Warlord and Emperor Titans. The level of detail that could be achieved was just about right for models of that size.

However several challenges came up through the multiple iterations of designs that followed which only forced me to delve into more techniques, such as resin casting and 3d printing.


4)  What Titans do you make?

I am currently building Warlord and Emperor Titans, both Imperial and Chaos variants.  There is an Ork Gargant somewhere in there too, but that is proving quite difficult to document.


5)  What are your Titans made of?

The main material is extruded polystyrene. This gives a good solid base for such a large miniature. It keeps the cost and weight down and gives the model a surprisingly high strength. At such a large size a lightweight construction and a robust build are more important than hardness of material. Furthermore, Imperial Titans are inherently unbalanced with their high volume on the upper body. Again, a lightweight construction means that the model is easier to balance. My first few titans would slowly lose balance as the weight of the upper body gradually ate its way through the superstructure. Many a night I woke up in horror from a cataclysmic crashing sound coming from my gaming area, as the Warlord titan I was working on would eventually topple over. It was then that I realized that a light weight construction was paramount.

The polystyrene parts are given more strength with a wooden skeleton meaning that the parts are nicely and firmly attached. Various plastic and resin cast parts are then added for detail. More resin parts are gradually added.


6)  Are the Titans made to order for each customer?

Absolutely. Apart from some standard options, like weapons, symbols, LED’s and scenic bases, I am open to all kind of customizations. I have had requests for minor things like an extra exhaust here and there, and major things like a full Nurgle titan (which was a blast working on!). Full painting is also an option, and I am looking to increase the options offered even more.


7)  How tall are your Warlord Titans and how did you decide on the size?

I am glad you asked that! I can’t tell you how many times I have been told that my titans are way too small - every time having to lay out all the data which concludes the correct size of Imperial Titans.

My Warlord Titan is 23” tall while my Emperor is 32” to the battlements and 44” tall to the highest spire. Let me explain how that size was deduced.

The first clue is, fittingly enough, the Apocalypse rulebook itself. On page 124 we can see a Warlord titan sketch with a Warhound and a guardsman for size comparison. We already know that the Warhound model is 10” tall (approximately 250mm) and after some measuring and math the Warlord sketches comes up at 22.5” tall.

Many Warlords out there are around 3 feet tall which, from my experience, is the case for several reasons.

A)     Lack of research. Modelling projects, as all design projects, need to be worked on paper first otherwise you run the danger of not being consistent and accurate. Throw in the fact that making something bigger rather than smaller is easier and you get a lot of oversized titans...

B)     Titan class confusion. Really a subcategory of the previous reason, but many people confuse Warlord Titans with Emperor Titans (which are actually around 3 feet to the battlements). Throw in the artists who often don’t take scale into account and draw humongous titans, add a pinch of heroic scaling, which makes vehicles smaller so that the miniature men stand out better, and again you get titans that don’t fit on tables.

C)     Common sense. Even if you have absolutely no information on those titans, it only takes a bit of common sense to understand what the size of a Warlord should be. A Reaver Titan is 16” tall, has 6 structure points, 4 void shields and has 3 weapons (2 arm weapons and 1 less powerful carapace weapon). Granted the Warlord has slightly more powerful arm weapons, but in any case the power difference is not that great. If the Warlord was indeed twice the height of the Reaver (making its volume around 8 times greater) it wouldn’t simply have 3 more structure points, 2 more void shields and one extra carapace weapon!



8)  What is next for you?

The past couple of months have been pretty exciting. I have managed to expand what first started as a hobby into a business. That being said I am going to concentrate on Titanic scale models. Resin bases, scenery, upgrade kits and ofcourse the Titans themselves. I am currently designing a Knight Titan variant which I hope to be able to produce en masse as a full resin kit. Also, gradually more resin parts will decorate my Warlords with the help of 3d printing. However, what is probably more important, is to have my website up and running soon.

What I am most excited about, however, is an international gaming convention I am planning. Living in Corfu, a beautiful Greek Island in the Ionian Islands, I am planning a Warhammer annual tournament/convention which will combine summer holidays with gaming. This project is still in an early stage, but being in a country with tourism as its main industry, it is easier to find support in the form of professional expertise and funding. I hope to be able to run the first Titan Manufactorum annual gaming convention next summer.


Thanks to Tsipis for taking the time to chat with us!  You can check out his eBay auctions here.

Loken



4 comments:

Viridis said...

i dont believe it, some who knows what size a warlord titan should be! woop woop!
these are great, if i had somewhere to put it i would order one. it would be great to have a 40k scale titan legion to match my epic scale legion.

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Anonymous said...

origanily i tought the sizes where like this:
2 space marines is a dreadnought
2 dreadnought is a knight
2 knights ia a Scout Titan
2 Scout Titans is a Reaver Titan
2 Reaver Titans is Warlord Titan
2 Warlord Titans is a Emperor Titan

Anonymous said...

WOW epic stuff :D
thx that there is someon, who makes this awesome models all are searching for!
I have some questions:
- how much does 1 Warlord costs?
- would it be possible to make a salamander Warlord Titan with a Hammer for a CC Weapon?
(probably i want to buy one of this Warlords in some years...)

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