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"Sculpting: A Q&A with Heriberto Valle Martinez"

An Interview by Craig Andrews

heriberto advent
3D Sculpt by Heriberto Valle Martinez

Heriberto Valle Martinez, one of the sculptors for Hysterical Games, answers some questions about himself and his work.

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Q. Before we start with the sculpting questions, tell us a little about yourself; where you're from, what you do for a living?

Hello! Name’s Heriberto Valle, and I’m from Guadalajara, Jalisco, México. I mostly do miniature sculpting for a living and a bit of teaching on the side.

Q. When did you first start sculpting and what led you to start?

I’ve always been interested in sculpting, but I only began to research materials and techniques about 6 years ago out of a love for collectible figurines (mostly from the anime collectibles variant). Eventually, I began to learn 3d graphics, mostly since I focused on freelancing as a video game graphic artist specializing for the then budding mobile gaming industry. 3d modeling eventually led me to 3d sculpting and 3d printing.

Q. Where do you do your sculpting?

Mostly on a workstation I’ve prepared for my job. A pretty competent computer with a monitor + tablet rig at the office.

Q. What materials and tools do you find you use most often?

A CintiQ Hd tablet, which is a pressure sensitive monitor with a pen that I’ve mounted over an hydraulic arm for comfort and adjustments.

Q. A lot of wargamers modify their miniatures; swapping heads, arms, weapons etc. But a lot of people find the idea of even basic modifications a bit daunting do you have any hints or tips to help them ?

Just go ahead and do it. As is the process with many things: Start with something small and simple (a cape comes to mind) and few tools. It is more important to get a feel for the materials and tools, and a muscle memory for the motions of sculpting than to try an attempt a large project that’ll lead you to unsatisfying results. Practice makes perfect and in that same vein: The simple will lead you to the complex in time.

Q. What would you say to them if they are considering a full sculpt?

Start with conversions first. Once you have the want to create a full sculpt, be methodic about it and watch videos and references on the how. All you need is a bit of appropriate putty, (whichever is suitable to you), some thin wire, and simple sculpting tools you can even make yourself. I’d suggest choosing as a theme, something male and monstrous. The female form is always judged more harshly in art (a subconscious thing), and a monster gives you a lot of leeway in making mistakes that will not affect the piece in detrimental ways.

Q. What inspires you and have you a sculptor or a sculpting style that you try to follow?

I’m always inspired by the simple fact that I’m working in an industry that is constantly elevating the bar on quality and variety. That said, I am a big fan of everything motion and stylized, and I have a penchant of the more cartoonish side of miniatures.

Q. Who is your favourite sculptor, past and present?

Many. Right now I’m inspired by the work of Hector Moran, a Mexican living in Vienna, who’s contributed to many companies and projects I admire such as Kingdom Death and many Soda Pop miniatures figures. I am also inspired by the traditional sculpting of Patrick Keith (specially regarding the female form) and the more modern and larger scale work created by Matt Thorup (a.k.a the Redbeard).

Q: Is there a particular range of figures that you would like to work on?

Soda pop miniatures.

Q. What is your favourite race found in miniatures?

Does the fair female form of the human species count?

Q. Can you tell us anything about any sculpting work you may be doing at the moment?

Sure! Right now I’m involved with many amazing projects, and my main collaboration is with Panzerfauste from Hysterical games, a fantasy history wargame with truly astounding models. I’m also about to launch my own miniatures project: Republik.

Not all of my work, but some highlights to be found at: https://www.artstation.com/artist/heribertovalle

Q. Some people listen to the radio whilst sculpting. Do you listen to the radio or have music in the background? If so what is your favourite music to listen to when sculpting?

I am big on listening to audioboks. The fact that I’m consuming a book while working to me creates the perfect combo. Every now and then though, I’m known to tune into Metal of all sorts.

Q. Which do you enjoy the most sculpting, painting or gaming?

Not sure if I would rate one over the other, but I enjoy sculpting most.

Q. When did you first start wargaming and what attracted you to in in the first place?

I first started wargaming about four, or five years ago. What first got to me was the visuals, and the fact that you could collect and paint a highly detailed sculpture at a (debatable) lower price than a larger garage kit or figurine. I bought a W40k starter box, and got to assembling and playing shortly after deciding I wanted in. Regrettably, a quick analysis of rules and prices led me to the conclusion that it wasn’t that good a game to invest on. Luckily, better games (for me) came to the rescue, such as Warmachine and Malifaux.

Q. What is your favourite book and why?

Very hard to name one. Specially since I try (not bragging, it’s just a personal goal) to read at least 60 books a year, and there’s so many novels I honestly can recommend. But as a relevant book, I’d choose “the war of art” by Steven Pressfield. It’s a short book that mainly has to do with work, and has influenced the way I strive for excellency through labor.

Q. Have you ever been inspired to create something only described in written form?

Yes. It did not end well for her. (sorry, had to joke on that one)

Q. Have you any 'other' interests that take up your time and if so what are they?

Well, I’m an equal opportunity geek. I love writing, and have been working on a novel for a while. I love boardgaming and miniature painting just for the sake of it. I love building terrain for wargaming purposes and dioramas. I love comics and manga. I adore all sorts of animation. I enjoy reading books on politics, apologetics, philosophy and science. I like teaching and writing guides and anything “how-to” on my blog, I enjoy a bit of game design on a lot of unpublished experiments, I paint Gundams and giant robots, I love drawing, and just took on role playing. And well, I’ve a wonderful girlfriend with long term plans who’s also involved in the arts, It’s a busy, good life.

Q. Thanks for taking the time out for these questions, do you have any final words for readers of OITW?

Only that I’m honored and incredibly satisfied to work on all these models that I know will be enjoyed by many people maybe I won’t ever get to meet. I hope I can bring hours of enjoyment to their collections and tables.

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Webmaster's Notes

The above interview is an Orcs in the Webbe exclusive and was first published on December 14th 2016 as part of it's 2016 Advent Calendar.

I'd like to thank Tony Harwood for first suggesting this series of sculpting interviews and coming up with most of the questions.