Miniatures made for: Hobby Products - Metal Magic, Spacelords and Demonworld
Games Workshop - test figures
Excalibur - Fantasy and Fearless
Fantasy Production - first DSA, later Armalion
Global Games - Inferno
Rafm - Fantasy
Target Games - Warzone
Reaper - DHL and Warlord
Cell Entertainment - 1999 Game
Wizkids Games - Mageknight
Rackham - not yet released
Freebooter Miniatures - own line
and for miscellaneous PC and Game Software Manufacturers
I was born 1964 in Celle, somewhere in Niedersachsen. Due to the job of my father, my parents and my two younger brothers have moved very often until we were moving to Zierenberg, near Kassel. There I went to school and made my school-leaving exam in 1983. Afterwards nearly two year’s civil service.
I needed a practical training for my art and design study and therefore I was ending up in a photo studio in Kassel as assistant for three years. I studied at the university for two years. But it was too academic and so I have worked at least three years again in a job as photographer.
Since 1992 I have designed the miniatures as a sideline and since 1994 sculpted full-time for Hobby Products in Mülheim. Fate would have it that I have met my life mate on one of my photo travels and she comes from Oberhausen, a neighbouring town of Mülheim. I'm freelance since 2000 and I have no regrets about this step!
Terry Pratchet and Tolkien are my real favourite writers. As I have read their books twice or more, I now am reading mainly SF and fantasy paperbacks as time allows.
In the time of being a little boy, I'm sure you have played with some kind of figures. Could you remember that? What figures were those? Or did you make some with plasticine ?
In a sandbox with cowboys and Indians and Smurfs. My two brothers and I were collecting all sorts of miniatures in those days and surely we have made the plasticine figurines, too. All three of us are very creative.
When did you get your first metal miniature ?
Friends of mine have brought some Citadel miniatures along from a London trip and the brand-new (at that time) Warhammer 2nd edition. These fine sculpted figures have kindled the fire.
When for the first time, did you think about making the sculpting to your full-time job?
W.K.: I guess, around 1989, when I began to convert the figures. At that time the figures were designed not particularly for the different troop types yet and accordingly exactly the figures were missing with the equipment which one needed.
You taught the sculpting yourself. Was that difficult? How long did it take to get the first acceptable results?
It was taking over a year to get the first miniature. With long interruptions and innumerable comebacks, improvements and conversions. On top of this, I have sculpted the figure with old, nearly out dried Fimo (putty that has to be heated to dry). Excalibur Miniatures still has the miniature in the order: a chaos warrior who mashes a goblin. I am still pretty happy about the result.
W.K.: You must pick an easy project/model. Start working and always remember that it possibly won`t turn out what you would like it to and that you will have to put much time and patience into this.
Three practical tips - not only for amateurs:
Mix a part of Fimo Soft with three to five parts Greenstuffs. It will stick but it will be usable after some kneading. Benefit: this mix stays longer workable, despite Fimo hardens and will be very well for large surfaces.
Sculpt from inside to the outside and from bottom to the top. First pre-mould on the wire, then a leg, apply the details on the still soft skin, then the another leg, then the body... Let harden the figure under a lamp between the steps.
Take some 30-45 minutes old green stuff. Roll out the greenstuff, on a piece of a plastic foil. Cut out the parts, for example armour plate or belt, and take off carefully. The side, which has been on the foil, has got smooth surface and very sharp edges now. Stick the stuff on the figur carefully.
How did you get into the miniatures industry? Lucky coincidence or calculated step?
W.K.: After the first miniature has been finished, I have specially designed some figures for GW and Hobby Products and have applied with them.
You have worked for many companies. Is it always the same or are there different experiences?
W.K.: Of course there are different experiences. Firstly because the jobs were different and secondly some companies have a hard time with the business matters. It makes the teamwork very difficult when you must wait for half a year or longer for your payment.
Tell us something about your experience with Games Workshop. Which miniatures did you sculpt for GW?
W.K.: Towards my application, GW has invited me to Nottingham for two weeks. It was unbelievable exciting and inspiring. The people were very nice and helpful. During the stay there I have designed five Miniatures. As far as I know they have not been released yet.
Goblin Schamane, 1997 Excalibur painted by W.Klocke
Warzone Golgotha, 1997 Target Games
Were there any regrets in your career as miniatures designer? The days when you would give up or was it going well?
W.K.: Not really. Certainly there are days when thing aren`t working as they should, but my enthusiasm helps me get over it and helps me moving forward.
Is it a hard lot to be a miniatures-designer? Do you have to work hard? How do your look like your daily routine look like?
W.K.: Due to the fact that model making is still fun, everything is very easy and simple. The only thing that is sometimes difficult is to outwit my lazyness. So I wake up together with my girlfriend every early morning and we go out of home together. I have got the advantage of my own studio - that helps me to overcome my laziness. I sculpt from 8am to 3pm (weiss nicht genau wegen am und pm) . At home I make a little bit office work, like interviews :). At the weekends I mostly do office work.
Often, if hobby is made to job, fun losees on it. Do you feel the same? Didn´t you have enough of Green Stuff in your eyes?
W.K.: Right. A little bit. But there is also the painting of the figures, playing with the figures...
Because of the theme fun, do you play still tabletop?
W.K.: Yes, of course I do. We meet every Thursday for gaming. Mostly GW games. At the moment we are enjoying the Lord of the Rings game. My sinister orc army is steadily growing and soon middle earth will be mine.
You aren´t only a sculptor, but also a very talented painter. Do you still have time to do some paintings?
W.K.: Thanks. Yes, sometimes. I have already painted 7 figures for my LotR Mordor Army and now I am planning a Slaanesh Army. But I don`t think that I will be able to paint more than 10-12 miniatures.... I would like to do something for the Golden Demon painting competition, I have a couple of ideas in my mind. Only time is short.
Your design of the miniatures is unmistakable, you can distinguish between your figures and ones by other designers immediately, particularly your women-models are unique. How would you explain your style in a few words?
W.K.: As a realistic style. I always try to show the body’s anatomy, function wise of the gear and the different materials in a right way. I want to make it like it really works.
Your favourite miniature?
W.K.: Not a certain one. Mostly I am very dissatisfied with the older figures after a certain time. Then I see a fault here and there and would like to make it new! Maybe my next figure would be my absolute favourite one.
Sandra Garrity has called her figures as her "children"? Every artist has got his own relationship to his work. I´m surely that it is similar to you, how would you descripe your relationshiop to your figures?
W.K.: Actual not any. After I made one, the figure disappears from my memory. Often I am very surprised: What, this one is by me?
It will make surely every designer proud, if his figures are painted by the best painter and if they find their place within the top 10 of Coolminiornot or other competitions. But how do you feel seeing your figures (mainly perhaps women-figures) being poorly painted? Would you be sad?
W.K.: No I wouldn’t. The most painters put much effort in this figure and have much fun to paint this and it is absolutely OK for me.
In the interview with D.Heutelbeck at the “Spiel 2000” convention you said that you were influenced by T.Meier, J.Goodwin and the Brothers Perry. Do you still think like this, or are there any new sculpters you really like?
W.K.: I always like to look at miniatures of new designers And mostly there is something new to learn. Especially the Rackham miniatures have influenced my style recently.
The Perry brothers are mainly working on historical miniatures. What do you think about this? Have you ever thought about doing historical miniatures?
W.K.: Yes, I did. I would like to make a 54mm, or bigger middle age historic figure sometime. But I don`t have the time to do so now.
Meanwhile you have got your own company, Freebooter Miniatures.Some years ago you made your own conversions, now you have your very own miniature forge, how does that feel? Do you sometimes think “Man, you madet it!”
W.K.: Well, it isn’t so special. It’s only my work. And Freebooter is still beginning.
How did the name "Freebooter Miniatures" bring about?
W.K.: My mate Franz Sander had the idea, because I didn’t had any ideas.
The miniatures branch grows incessant; nearly every day new companies are raising from the ground. What do you think about this development? Do you feel the competition?
W.K.: I think this is great. It’s very interesting to see all the new stuff. But often there are always the same sculptors who work for the different new companies.
Will this development go on or is the market glutted soon and the companies will shut down again?
W.K.: Often is not much knowledge behind the most projects. Particularly many people haven’t got talent for the business things. And if these people disappear from the scene with their engagement and nice ideas, it will be very pity.
Which of the new acquisition would you call well?
W.K.: IK Warmachine. A good concept, cool miniatures and consisted rules.
Do miniatures designer tend friendship one blow the other or do they sit alone in their ivory towers and make figures? Have you got closely contact to other designers?
W.K.: Of course, I have got real closely contact to Stefan Niehues. But I have got only irregular contact to Sandra Garrity, Bobby Jackson and Jason Wiebe. It’s very difficult because of the distance and I’m very lazy about writing. Here, I have to mention Reaper, because they organize one to two times a meeting by their sculptors in a year. And this is always very nice and stimulating.
In a designer world, which is ruled by miniatures, work, hobbies and everything else, have a person time for being with normal humans and the world outside? Do you watch the news?
W.K.: Surely. Still, if hobby and job are identical, you will thirst after something different. At least sometimes. So I gladly go to meals, play (too) often at the pc, but mainly strategy and roleplaying games and of course I watch the news every day. I don`t take Green Stuff with me, when I am on holidays. There I have real holidays.
For Freebooter I have made a new mercenary and I make almost a snobby imperial noble person. Additional I am working on a dark elf and a special figure for the “Spiel” convention in October. For Reaper I am working on a set of dwarven warriors for warlord at the moment.
What a miniature would you like to make unconditional?
Ideas of two elves flit around my head for Freebooter. I have got very pretty sketches for new Reaper Figures by Tim Talin. I would really like to do these. And next week I will have surely more ideas for figures which I would like to do unconditional.
What are your plans for the future?
W.K.: To sculpt many beautiful figures and improving my skills. Getting Freebooter forward. And having fun doing this.