Wargaming Tradecraft: Happy Seppuku Terrain Stamps Kickstarter - Again!


Happy Seppuku Terrain Stamps Kickstarter - Again!

I wrote about Happy Seppuku Model Works' terrain stamps a few years ago and while there were some bubbles in the molds, they were an excellent way to create detailed bases without requiring any kind of sculpting skill.
This lets you get away from standard boring round bases at nowhere near what it would cost to buy custom sculpted resin ones. I've since had the opportunity to let some friends try these out, who've managed to create some cool things without any prior experience with miniatures.

They're at it again with the 2015 Stampede! (Ends Friday, though, so act fast!) This time they've got a lot more stamps and a number of improvements to their process. Their new stamps are smaller, letting you save space when storing them and are flexible enough to use on 3D terrain features. There's also a wider range of styles now, from jungles to alien hives and wall or roof options.

Happy Seppuku has sent me more stamps to review, which I'll talk about later this week. For now, Stephen took time to answer some questions about his experience with tabletop gaming and the work that goes into his business:

1. Mix Green Stuff
2. Apply to Base
3. Wet to avoid sticking
Your site says tabletop gaming has been a favored hobby for 20 years. What types of games are you into?

RPGs, Wargames, and Boardgames........Which I suppose covers anything for the table. More specifically there are two things that will get me into a game: a good story/world like Crimson Skies or Shadowrun or mechanics in games like Arena Rex or Alien Frontiers where game play works smoothly with out being too simplistic.

You also mention a career in the theater prop industry, did that ever lead to some crazy looking battlefields or dungeons?

Swords and crossbows fall more under what I worked on as a Prop Master, but far as battlefields or dungeons on stage, I guess the closest thing would be working on the Pre-Broadway of "Shrek: the Musical" while at the 5th Avenue Theatre. (Pre-Broadway is when they test the show out in another town prior to actually putting it on Broadway so they can work the kinks out.)

Were you already using stamps or molds when slinging dice with friends?

Slinging dice came first. I didn't get into mold making until theatre, where molds are a staple in the Prop Artisan's arsenal.

How does terrain impact your approach to gaming?

It really falls into that category of games with a good story/world, I may be reading though a games rules/fluff and say "hey I want to make that". I am also very big into making sure if a game has an objective that it looks just as good as my miniatures.

After stamping the primary pattern into the base,
Using a sculpting tool to carve an arcane symbol into the ground.
What originally prompted you to start Happy Seppuku?

The first stamp I made was around 2005. While I was hammering out a bunch of miniatures in the local shop someone asked if I they could have one, then a few more people asked. After that people started asking if I had other solutions for trying to get what they wanted on the table, and asking why I wasn't selling some of the different tools I was making for people. So we opened up shop.

Primed, Highlighted,
Washed, Highlighted
Where do the inspirations for your stamps come from? Are they based on requests, market research or just creating designs that interest you?

They come from various places, first place would be seeing someones miniature and saying "You know what that would look good on", second would be just out in the real world and seeing something and saying "I want that on the table", third would be suggestions from people.

Do you have a favorite stamp or style to sculpt? Why?

There are a couple that might be tied Flagstone is one because of its versatility, Fishscale brick is the first pattern I created because I really wanted the pattern. The forest floor might be beating both once we get it out there, it is one that many people including myself have been wanting for a long time.

Day-Glo Pigment
mixed with
Pouring Medium
Are there any unique uses the community has come up with for your stamps that surprised you?

The first time someone used them for terrain was a surprise. The real surprises I have found are not the ways they get used but the level of creations people make with them, a good example is what James Wappel does with them. Last year when I was at ReaperCon and saw his work up close, if I didn't know he had our stamps I never would have believed the bases used stamps. So I guess it really goes to show how different skill levels use them.

This is your third Kickstarter, so you must be doing something right! What has Kickstarter's biggest impact been on your business?

The biggest impact is directly getting to work with the people that will be using our tools. We know how we want to use our tools, but in reality we are not making them for us, and the feedback we get during the Kickstarter is huge. In the end if we want to keep making things we have to make sure they are what people want to use.

Carefully apply pigmented pouring medium to symbol etching.

One big difference I see with the new stamps are that they're flexible with an added focus on creating terrain. Any other advancements you can hint at for the future?

Miniature on the base.
I think you just gave the biggest hint in the question. We want to get a bit more focus on stamp use for terrain and tying your miniatures and terrain together. We did a little bit of that with our YOUR BOARD dungeon tile moulds, but we want to move on and make it so people can use our stuff to make full tables of terrain, both in and out of the dungeon. There are also some other tools and items outside of the stamping arena that we have had waiting patiently on the shelf.

Can we expect to see any 2-part stamps to create 3-dimensional objects?

This is something we did with the YOUR BOARD Moulds. We will be revisiting them in the future and try and make some of the things even more versatile for general terrain use.

Thanks for taking the time Stephen!

Reminder, the Kickstarter ends Friday night, so don't delay and tune in later this week for a hands on review of Happy Seppuku's newest stamps with a comparison to the old ones.

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