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|The Last Alliance > Community > Events > Perry Twins Interview |
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Perry Twins Interview
|By Chris Pritchard (samwisethebrave) |
Following the arrival of Gary Morley on TLA, I thought that it would only be fair to see the point of view of the Perry Twins. I (and a lot of other gamers) are big fans of the Alan and Michael's sculpting for LotR and their own ranges. I emailed them asking if they would like to take part in a Q and A session, a bit formal to call it an Interview.
They agreed to do this, and we agreed that I would send them the questions on Microsoft Word. - This was because they couldn't have possibly answered all of the questions in one go, due to their very tight schedule and social lives!
I hope that you enjoy the Q&A with
The Lord of the Rings Alan Perry Photo © Games Workshop 2003. All rights reserved.
The Lord of the Rings Michael Perry Photo © Games Workshop 2003. All rights reserved.
I hope that you enjoy learning about them and their views on different aspects of the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, Games Workshop, Sculpting etc
| The Questions and Answers !!!|
The Q&A is split up into 13 sections, each with many questions included! - Enjoy
| The Strategy Battle Game - |
Q) – Do you play the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game?
A) – We don’t have time anymore to play , but we were very happy to help Rick Priestly out play testing the rules at the start of the project in between sculpting miniatures.
Q) – What do you enjoy most when playing?
A) – Being paid to play games!....... I love playing wargames in general, but I suppose with LotR it’s putting well known characters in ‘dangerous’ situations. - Alan.
Q) – Is there anything you would change in the game? E.g. shamans.
A) – We haven’t played for about 4 years now so it’s hard to comment on that.
Q) – Who is your favourite Hero/Character in the game?
A) – Well, when we did play, the Hobbits were always amusing, especially if one or more cop it !- Alan
I don’t know really as we didn’t play them all, but Lurtz was always a favourite.-Michael
| Games Workshop and Events – |
Q) - What is the atmosphere like working for the largest and best Battle Games company in the world?
A) – It varies from relaxed to extremely hectic within days, depending on deadlines.
Q) – Is it nice to hear product sales? - For example I heard a few days ago that 7 Million Uruk-Hai have been sold….wow
A) – Wow! 7 Million that’s more than the population of New Zealand isn’t it? As you can imagine it’s great to hear about product sales, actually it’s something that GW have re-established recently in a more formal way.
Q) – Do you enjoy going to Events and meeting fans?
A) – Of course, it’s always great to meet and receive feedback. It’s nice to be able to show people how we sculpt etc.
Q) – Where do you get most of your feedback from?
A)- We get the initial feedback from the studio but most (later) from Events and Websites like……..TLA!
| Sculpting - |
Q) – Can you recall what your first LotR sculpt was?
A) – Yes, of course - Goblins. We were asked to make the first Figures for the pitch to New Line. Two figures had to be made from the only existing still from the film at the time. We didn’t realise these were Goblins at the time and made them the size of Orcs! These had to be sculpted, cast and painted to make up two 20 figure units within about 5 days.
In complete secrecy from the rest of the studio this was done. With an excellent pitch made by some of the GW management, supported by some subtle help behind the scene from our old friend John Howe the deal was done.
Q) – What is your favourite Lord of the Rings sculpt?
A) – All of the range so far have been fun to make, but I suppose the Mumakil, the Hobbits from the SotS and the Ring-Wraiths……….-Alan
A) - The Ring-Wraiths, Hobbits, Characters, Wargs, rank and file etc,etc,etc,…-Michael
Q) – When did you realise that you wanted to sculpt and design for your job?
A) – Probably when we were making Plasticine figures when we were about 6 years old!
Q) – Have you sculpted any models for GW’s other ranges and would you like to (do more)?
A) – We’ve been working for GW since 1978 so, as you can imagine, we’ve had our hands in most ranges GW have done. We’re actually more than happy to continue sculpting LotR for as long as the licences last.
Q) – Do you feel under a greater pressure when sculpting Plastics?
A) – Sculpting Plastics can be more stressful mostly because of tight deadlines, not the actual sculpting although they’re sculpted 3 times bigger. Saying that, LotR threw up some impossible problems i.e. Moria Goblins.
These are the last thing you’d want to sculpt in plastic because of the huge amount of undercuts and spikes in all directions, but they had to be made and they had look as they do in the movie….so there was a lot of filling in and compromising on poses….that was tricky !
Q) – What is your favourite part of sculpting?
A) – Most things really Faces, Cloth….and finishing them!
Q) – Have any of your Greens been destroyed during the production?
A) – No the greens usually come back intact, but we often butcher them to use bits from them on other figures so there’s sometimes little left of the original.
Q) – Can you give us an example of the deadlines that GW gives you to complete models?
A) – They seem to vary a lot. Sometimes you have, say, two months to complete a 12 figure Plastic Frame or 2-3 weeks!!
The original concept for Bandobras Took (drawn by Michael Perry) and the finished model (sculpted by Alan Perry).
The Lord of the Rings SBG Concept Sketch and Miniature © Games Workshop 2004. All rights reserved.
Q) - Do you always stick to concept sketches and do you do some of the sketches yourselves?
A) –Originally in the 70’s and 80’s we did most of our concept work ourselves (along with John Blanche on some ranges) but that changed gradually as more people became involved in concept process. With LotR figures we were sent stacks of stills of actors, extras (from every angle) and digitals of the creatures which we had to follow 100%.This was an exiting time as you didn’t know what images you’d be getting next. Digital creatures were always the last to be completed at Weta so things would change sometimes in the middle of making a figure.
e.g. I (Alan) had nearly completed the first Cave Troll, but at Weta the size was Digitally altered so I had to scrap that one and start again. It was a great privilege and fun, though, to work from the Weta’s designers concepts and (then) unseen stills. Whereas with the Tolkien Ents licence we’re back to doing our own concept work together with Dave Galaghar…which is great too!
Q) – Do you have any basic but essential tips for Beginner Sculpters?
A) – Make sure your happy with the armature (pose and proportions) before starting to bulk out. Don’t try and make the figure in one go, just work on, say, a leg and leave it to dry before working on the next leg. We’ve usually got 2 or 3 figures on the go at the same time so we leave one to dry off under a lamp before going back to it.
It’s also best to start from the feet up, you tend to get the proportions easier that way as well as any detail partly covered by overlapping cloth or armour will be done first.
Q) - Do you have any superstitions when sculpting, do you listen to any music etc?
A) – No, not really just favourite tools……….
Some of the wounded miniatures from Perryminiatures!
Q) - Where do you get the time to sculpt your own range – Time travel?
A) –Yes, time travel does help! We sculpt PerryMiniatures in our own spare time. We actually find it relaxing to work on Historical Figures while sitting in front of the TV in our respective homes. We do have Wives and a full social life too!
We are quite speedy sculpters (even when Michael’s right arm was blown off it didn’t slow him down for long*) especially when it comes to Historical Figures as they’re easier to imagine in our heads.
A) - Actually……… I think a few people on TLA have got the wrong end of the stick! I was using ramrod (not my arm!!?) to ram home a charge (a 10 oz bag of gun powder) when a burning ember from the previous charge dropped from the vent hole (where it was hiding!) onto the charge and set of the powder bag. Although full gun drill was being carried out at the time this was a chance in a million .The ramrod acted as a cannon ball which was unfortunate as my hand was still grasping it firmly at the time! This happened during a late medieval event at Crecy, France not an English Civil War event. Hope this clears things up. -Michael
Q) – I understand that there are currently 12 ranges, Age of Wars - Samurai Armies, American War of Independence, Agincourt to Orleans, Border Reivers, English Civil War, Napoleonic Brunswick, Napoleonic Dutch/Belgians, Napoleonic Peninsular 40mm, Scots of Civil War, The Crusades, The Crusades - Muslim Armies and Limited Edition prints. Where did the inspiration for these ranges come from?
A) – Ah! There’s a Sudan range now too! A general passion for Military History is our main drive really. Often a good book on the subject or evocative images of the period will get the juices going!
Q) – Some of the new models from your range are wounded fellas, would you like to see GW ask you to sculpt wounded people for LotR? - I would like this as they provide great features in Dioramas and Battle scenes – it’s been done in 40K and a little bit in LotR with Boromir.
A) – You're right it would be good addition. We both like having dead and wounded figures on the table top!
Q) – Can you tell us a little bit about why you sculpt them, is it for a game, do you have rules?
A) – As we’ve said we have a passion for Military History and love to recreate it .There are hundreds of Historical rules on the market which cover the periods we make. Together with Jervis Johnson and Rick Priestly, we set up Warhammer Historical and collaborated on the first 4 books with them. We try and fit in a historical game when ever we can.
Q) - Limited edition prints, they are amazing paintings - what qualifications have you got and where did you study Art and Sculpting?
A) – Thanks, glad you like them. We have no qualifications (apart from A level art) for art or sculpting. Our Mum and Dad are both very good with their hands which seems to have passed on to us.
Q) - Meeting Peter Jackson, if that wasn’t enough you get to sculpt a whole range for him, how did you feel?
A) – It was fantastic meeting Peter and discovering he had the same interests as us. We actually met him first at the Paris premiere of the TTT. Via a conversation with Richard Taylor we discovered Peter needed a range of WW1 54mm figures made (it was a scale that the Weta designers weren’t familiar with). We immediately replied that we could do something about that. Straight after receiving our first 2 sculpts a very surprised an exited Richard phoned us up and the offer of an amazing trip to NZ was confirmed.
This is one of my favourite models that the Perry Twins made for Peter Jackson!
| TLA - |
Q) - Do you visit The Last Alliance?
A) – Yes, fairly regularly
Q) – TLA have just released dice as a fund-raiser (and they are brilliant), do you think that GW should promote LotR websites more and maybe even fund them?
A) – I don’t think we can really comment on this as we aren’t spokesmen for GW.
Q) - I think that the game designers are finally listening to us, as we have asked for Plastic Easterlings and Mounted versions of Models and we are finally getting them, would you second this?
A) – GW always listen to the wants of customers (acting when they can) but the intention was always to go back over the ranges and to fill in gaps and cover the LotR world when time permits.
Q) – Have you secretly joined TLA?
A) – No….really we haven’t! But we are voyeurs of TLA.
| The Swan Knights of Dol Amroth !!!|
Q) - They remind me of Marmite you either love it or hate it, I think this does apply as lots of people hate them or love them. Do you love or hate the Marmite Knights of Dol Amroth – Or are you an in-betweenie?
A) – It would, I’m afraid, be very unprofessional to comment on a colleague’s work……………personally we prefer Bovril!
| Battle Games in Middle Earth and White Dwarf and Supplements - |
Q) - Do you read White Dwarf?
A) –Yes, we get a free one every month.
Q) – Did you sculpt any of the special edition Minis for BGiME?
A) –Yes, we did some of them but others were done by the rest of the GW team or converted from ours , Brian Nelson’s.
Q) - Do you think that BGiME has been a good thing for LotR?
A) – Yes of course, it’s encouraging a lot of new people into the hobby.
Q) - Do you know who came up with the idea of supplements?
A) –It was a foregone conclusion that GW wanted to expand the range outside the film which the Tolkien Ents. Licence has allowed us to do.
Q) - Have you enjoyed working on the Supplements more then the Films because you have almost total control over the miniature from sketches to the finished model?
A) – Both have been equally rewarding.
Q) - How long before the Supplement is released do you start work on it?
A) – a Year to 18 months……
Q) – I didn’t know where to put this. But did you by any chance sculpt the Limited Edition Gimli on dead Uruk-hai?
A) – Yes, I did- Michael
| Working together - |
Q) - What would you say are the Pros and Cons of working together?
A) – We bounce ideas off each other and have the same interests.
Q) – Have you ever had any major disagreements?
A) – No not really, only when we were much younger.
Q) – What parts do each of you do when designing a model?
A) – We always work on our own models apart and only occasionally combine on plastic projects.
Q) – You also worked with Mr Morley when sculpting the SotS Box set, what was that like?
A) – Golfimbul was the only figure Gary made for SotS and he had moved to America by then so it actually had no impact on us at all.
- It says it on the SotS boxset that it was sculpted by Alan, Michael and Gary - probably a mistake by GW!
Q) – Do you get things done quicker working as a pair?
A) – No faster than two fast people working together on the same project !
| Battle of the Five Armies and the Hobbit - |
Q) – What are your views on the new Battle of the 5 Armies?
A) – It looks and is a great game the figures are particularly attractive.
Q) – Do you think that Mark Harrison is better suited to 10mm rather then 25/8mm, have you ever sculpted any 10mm models?
A) –We think he’s a brilliant sculptor at both scales.
Q) – Peter Jackson has announced that he will start to make the Hobbit Film in approximately 2008/9, are you excited about this?
A) – If and when it happens obviously we will be very excited!
Q) – Would you like to get the chance to visit PJ and the LotR team in New Zealand again, what was it like last time?
A) – We’ve seen a fair bit of Peter since our first meeting. Actually we’ve only just returned from NZ where we visited Peter, Richard and the Weta team yet again. It was great to watch Peter at work on the film set again and play with his toys (WW1 1-1 tank, and aircraft) at the Blenheim Air Show.
| The Trilogy - |
Q) -What was your reaction when you were asked to sculpt for the Lord of the Rings range?
A) – Excitement! It was fresh new project and very prestigious project. It was also that we could work on more true-to-life proportioned figures which is what we prefer.
Q) – Who is your favourite character from the films/books?
A) – I don’t know…I suppose Gandalf….not sure- Alan
A) - You can’t choose ‘a’ favourite character there’s too many ….although the Ring-wraiths are great!-Michael
Q) – What is your favourite film in the trilogy?
A) – The one we’re in! He, he. Actually it is. The Extended Version of RotK.
The reason why Alessio on the left is grinning and we're not is that the photographer told us to look grim, Alessio thought he said grin! - Alan
| Mumakil – |
Q) - First of all how long did it take to finish the Mumakil?
A) – It took about 3 months while Michael worked on the Haradrim plastic crew -Alan
Q) - Where did you start with the sculpting?
A) –Well I did have a lot of digital scans from Weta to go by, but fortunately as we had just returned from NZ (the first time) when I was due to start it, I had up to date enough info to go on. Funnily enough Weta hadn’t finalised details such as the Tusk Armaments and the Mahout when we left which is why they didn’t appear in the kit.-Alan
Q) - It is the biggest GW miniature ever, were you excited or scared when you found out the task ahead?
A) – I asked to make it when it came up on the schedule so I was excited more than anything. Luckily it didn’t have to be made ‘3 up’ as we were trying out a new moulding process (although the random shrinkage was a potential risk).I just heard recently that there was over 25000 sold…so it was worth it in the end!-Alan
Q) - Why did you decide to sculpt the dead Rohan warrior as yourselves, Brian Nelson and Alessio Cavatore?
A) – I thought it would be rude not to as we appear in the extended version of RotK in those particular poses. We’re surrounding Merry’s cloak when Pippin finds it after Pelennor Fields…..blink and you’ll miss us!-Alan
| Mumakil to Meriadoc – The Scouring of the Shire|
Q) - Did you use any of the material from the film such as the vision in Galadriel’s mirror and the 4 mounted Hobbits at the end of RotK?
A) – Yes, we used stills of the Actors in the clothing they appear in at the end and just put swords in their hands.
Q) – What is your favourite model form the Scouring of the Shire Supplement? Mine would have to be Fatty Bolger!
A) –I was happy the way Worm came out. He and Sharky were potential problems as we couldn’t show their faces as (obviously) they don’t appear like that in the film but they’re still the same characters. Dave Gallagher came up with a great concept for Worm, with his face nearly covered, which I used in it’s entirety.- Alan
A) - Fatty was constantly on and off the schedule so I decided to go ahead and make him anyway as I liked the character and could envisage what he looked like -Michael
Q) - Were you happy sculpting, I think 23 different Hobbits in the end?
A) –Yes, they were fun to make, we were up for making more!
Q) – Did you have any more evil models planned, maybe a Ruffian Chieftain?
A) – No plans yet but you never know………..
| Looking ahead - |
Q) – A few bits of information have found their ways into our hands recently these are - Plastic Easterlings, Plastic elves, Shadows of the East Supplement and Mirkwood Supplement - can you confirm any of it and have you been working on it or are working on any of the above mentioned?
A)– Yes, we can confirm Shadows of the East and Mirkwood….and you can assume the Major Troop types will be in Plastic. We have been and are heavily involved in all this.
Q) - Games Workshop have announced that their methods on making plastic miniatures is vastly improving, meaning higher detailed plastic miniatures, great news for the hobby! – would you agree with any of that?
A) – Yes, plastic moulding technically is constantly improving i.e.The recently installed Digital Pattern Cutting is speeding up the process as well as capturing more detail. The sculptors have always pushed the boundaries of plastic tooling and luckily the ‘plastic people’ like a challenge and always rise to them.
Q) - The Mines of Moria Starter Boxed set has been officially confirmed, meaning a Plastic Fellowship and Cave Troll are on the way as well as a new set of rules! – can you give us any more information on the Plastic Fellowship, can you give us any ideas of the new poses etc?
A) –Well, not really as GW want to keep something of the surprise element but we can reveal there is a frying pan involved!
I certainly found the Q&A very interesting, I hope that you have enjoyed reading this and that you now know about the Perry Twins.
Thank you to Alan and Michael Perry for taking part, I also hope that you enjoyed the Q&A, remember you can visit their Web-site at www.perry-miniatures.com/
Remember if you liked this article, dont forget to vote!
Chris Pritchard (samwisethebrave)
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