I recently had a conversation with Steve Stodden of Mad Robot Miniatures. They are a pretty new company, but they already have one of my favorite 15mm sci-fi units, the Tachyon Mercenary Corps, and more cool stuff to come.
Chuck Platt: I like to start with a bit of background. How did you end up in the wargaming hobby?
Steve Stodden: I was a gamer, into D&D and Traveler, as a kid and into my teens so I always had an exposure to it in some regard. I got back into the hobby about 7 years ago when I discovered Warhammer 40K and was hooked again. I’ve learned to appreciate the hobby much more in my adult years and I have the disposable income to enjoy it.
CP: So, where does the Mad Robot name come from?
SS: Originally it was an idea for a robot character I was writing into a piece of Star Wars fan fiction. This lone Jedi Knight lived in a backwater part of the galaxy and he was surrounded by a cast of characters, including a robot that suffered from emotional stress and a lack of self confidence. These days, it has come to represent the irony of how I tend to approach things, very methodical but always tainted with a hint of lunacy. In the end, it represents how I try to keep things from getting too serious, I like to have fun with the things I am passionate about.
CP: The Tachyon Mercenary Corps are the first release in your 15mm sci-fi line. What is the inspiration or backstory behind them?
SS: The TMC is an “army for hire”Â. When planets or civilizations cannot defend themselves, or when they have need of an advanced military presence, the TMC will step in and provide a full range of military capabilities, as long as the price is right. They are loyal to the highest bidder and are known as one of the elite military units in the galaxy. From a design perspective, it gives me some flexibility in what I create and offer. Often, a range/line will have similar design elements and looks, it will include troops, support, vehicles, etc. The TMC lets me create unique ideas that would not necessarily warrant a full line and present them under a single banner.
CP: I see a definite pulp influence in the Tachyon Mercenaries. What influences do you draw from?
SS: I have always been a huge fan of the “humans vs. aliens”Â theme, so prevalent in movies these days. It works so well into so many stories and settings. I also find inspiration in a lot of science fiction that I read, as well as some television. I remember waking up early before school so I could watch Star Blazers and then tuning in on the weekend to watch old episodes of Flash Gordon, starring the legendary Buster Crab. The other place I find inspiration is from communicating with other gamers on message boards and forums. They never have a problem with telling you what they want.
CP: Your newest product is the Harook. Can you tell me a bit about the miniatures and how they fit into the Mad Robot line?
SS: The Harook came into being after a discussion I had with a bunch of gamers on a message board. I was asking about what they were looking for in the 15mm world and we went back and forth until I was inspired with a certain direction. I contacted my concept artist and we came up with the Harook. As I hope all of our releases will, the Harook represent everything Mad Robot stands for. We are striving to bring to market something new and imaginative. We want people to look at our figures and think of ways to use them that we never considered.
CP: What games do people tend to use your miniatures with?
SS: There are numerous rule sets for 15mm and 28mm figures. Most of our releases right now fit into a science fiction them, but we are hoping to have some things available in other genres before the end of the year. There may even be a special Halloween announcement…
CP: Where do you see Mad Robot heading in the coming months? Years?
SS: Being a relatively new company, I have learned a great deal about how things work in this business and I believe patience is the key to success. We intend support our initial lines and make sure they are supplemented as our customers demand. From there, my goal is to involve many creative people and produce miniatures, in multiple scales, that capture the imaginations of hobbyists and gamers from all over the planet.
CP: I like to give the floor over to the interviewee for the last question. Why should someone consider buying miniatures from Mad Robot?
We offer new and inventive minis most folks have never seen before. We are constantly asking for ideas from our customers, they are the way we stay current on what’s hot and what’s not. I promise to always come down on the side of my customers and I will always strive to deliver them the best, most imaginative figures I can.