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Monday, May 23, 2016

Bolt Action - Trenchworx 'Tanks of the Western Front' Kickstarter interview

By Casey

Hey guys! It’s Casey here. I recently had the chance to sit down and talk with Nate from Trenchworx about their newest Kickstarter, “Tanks on the Western Front”, but before I get into that, here’s a quick introduction about me and my love affair with Bolt Action.

Shortly after high school I joined the United States Marine Corps as a rifleman and got to see the world. While in the military I was introduced to Warhammer 40,000. I ended up with quite a few miniatures but as you know, life gets in the way and I never really got around to playing an actual game. That left me with a drive to play a miniatures game but I was never able to find the right one. Fast forward to last year - while scrolling through a  friend's Facebook feed, I saw some pics of his Bolt Action Soviets and was instantly hooked. I have always had a intense interest in World War II so after some googling and a few YouTube videos, my first army was on its way. Shortly thereafter I was able to get a demo with the infamous Oscar “Sugary Sweet” Barela. After that I was in hooked. Now a little over a year later, I own half a dozen armies, organize events here in Texas, and still can't wait to throw dice with friends new and old. Enough about me though, on to Nate at Trenchworx and some information about their newest Kickstarter..

Could you tell us about Trenchworx and how it all got started?

Trenchworx grew from our parent company, Worxsimple. Worxsimple is an engineering firm with a specialization in work cells and automation. 3D printing technology was being used to prototype parts for the machines we were building. The FDM printers that we were using for this could produce a good amount of detail but had limited use for the hobby (that didn’t stop us from trying though).

How did you guys go from engineering and fabrication to deciding to do historical vehicles and guns?

In 2013 we acquired a new type of printer with a much higher resolution than the ones we’d previously been using. We wanted to test out its capabilities so I started designing parts to use in my Bolt Action games. These were parts that weren’t previously available (or at least were harder to get). We started off with small things such as alternate turrets and rare equipment, but it didn’t take long before we decided that we needed to build an entire tank. The first full tank we made was the Jagdpanther. For this Kickstarter project, we’re finally releasing the Jagdpanther in resin.

A preview of the Marder III from their current Kickstarter.

From there we’ve pushed ourselves farther and farther. We’ve developed our own processes and practices and have really tried to push the limits of the technology available to us. In the last year or so we’ve picked up a lot of new tech and a lot of incredible clients (did I mention we can print your project for you?). We are now prototyping models for several well know companies in the industry and we’ve done a lot of one-off jobs for startups and personal projects. We’ve even consulted with clients on managing their own Kickstarter projects. It’s always exciting to see the stuff that our clients are sending over to be printed.  This is truly an amazing era for the tabletop wargame industry.

Your last two kickstarters have been widely successful and universally praised. Looking back is there something you would of done differently with each one? Were there any problems or setbacks? (The white metal of the Chi-Ha must of been frustrating!)

There are always setbacks with Kickstarter projects. The metal casting was definitely one of them for us. We went into it with no experience whatsoever in casting metal. At one point we were afraid we might miss our deadline because we couldn’t get a few of the parts to come out right (the Chi-Ha antenna was absolutely one of those parts). We learned a lot from that process.

All in all, I can’t think of anything we would do differently. We set a few goals for ourselves knowing that there would be a steep learning curve. We did it because, as engineers and artists, we like figuring things out. We came into this industry without any experience, just an overwhelming eagerness to learn and push our limits.  We’ve come a long way and we’re still pushing. I hope it shows in the products we’re producing.

​Trenchworx also produce a line of World War One vehicles as well.

The first kickstarter Trenchworx did was WW1 Vehicles and the second was Japanese/Soviet early war vehicles used in Manchuria. Both of these kickstarters offered a wide variety of vehicles not offered anywhere else and that alone garnered the enthusiasm needed to back them. Trenchworx's newest kickstarter is offering vehicles used on the Western Front in World War 2. Since the majority of these vehicles are available elsewhere, why should people back your kickstarter? What incentives are there for them?

When we launched this Kickstarter we prepared ourselves for two potential outcomes; the project would either be unsuccessful due to lack of interest (read, alternate availability), or it would succeed beyond our expectations because a lot of people would take the opportunity to get a bunch of cool models at a discounted price, (with free shipping!). As I’m writing this the project is funded, so I can say there is at least enough interest to have us build the models we’re proposing.

As for why I think people should back the project... because they want to. We know that this project isn’t for everyone. There are only a few models on the list that aren’t currently available from other manufacturers so we’re aware that many people will already have these in their collections.
My take on it is basically that if you’re looking to build a new army or, like me, you enjoy having loads of  models, this is a great way to bulk up. Also, if you’ve never owned a Trenchworx model before, this is a great chance to try us out, (did I mention free shipping?).

​T-34 painted up by our own Patchimus Prime, found here.

Does Trenchworx attend any gaming conventions or have plans to? (Adepticon, HIstoricon, etc.)

We will be attending Historicon this year. We might be hitting up a few others in a limited capacity (ie, without a booth) but I’m not entirely sure which ones right now. One of the downsides to being located in Salt Lake City is that we’re pretty far away from all the good cons.

What historical miniature games do the crew of Trenchworx play?

We play Bolt Action, Flames of War, and Black Powder. We’ve dabbled with most of the games that Osprey has published and we play a ton of non-historical games as well, like Warmachine and Hordes, Wrath of Kings, Beyond the Gates of Antares, Bushido, D&D, even some Warhammer and 40k.

My Trenchworx Soviet tanks from their previous Kickstarter, painted by Nerdherd Wargaming.

What's next for Trenchworx? Any special vehicles that you personally would like to see get made?

Right now the plan is to stick with the European theater. If the stretch goal tanks from the kickstarter project don’t unlock, we’ll eventually get them out. We began designing the vehicles in this Kickstarter project in a smaller scale for one of our clients and all of the stretch goals listed are also models that we’ve agreed to build for them. Once the designs are completed we’ll convert them to 28mm models and get them released to the public.

Beyond that, we're kicking several ideas around, but I can’t make any guarantees. We’d like to branch out to non-historical items at some point. We’re working on our strategy for doing that in a way that won’t alienate our existing supporters. We’ll always do historicals, it’s one of our passions, but we have many other directions that we’d like to explore as well.

People who’ve followed Trenchworx from its inception will know that I’m a Soviet player so my personal pet projects will be in that vein. We get a lot of requests (and I really want one myself) for the monstrous Soviet T-35.  It’s one that I will probably work on in my limited free time, so don’t expect to see it too soon. There are also a lot of logistical problems to producing that tank but like I said earlier, we like to figure stuff out.

Thanks Nate for taking the time out of your day to answer these questions. For anyone on the fence about backing this kickstarter, do not hesitate. I personally backed the last one and not only was it delivered early but the models were top notch. For a more in depth review check out Patch’s review from last year.

Also with just a little over a week left make sure you get in on this Kickstarter before it is to late!

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