The first inspiration was not so much Warmachine itself, but a fellow wooden soldier builder, James (a.k.a. frater_corvus on the Wargaming on a Budget forum). He wanted to make some figures for the game and I really liked his first effort at a warjack. (You have to be a member of the Wargaming on a forum to see his photos.)
I knew I wanted my figures to be big ... towering ... compared to the 25mm figures I would make to go with these. The picture below shows the basic shoulders, torso, and hips. I wanted the design to be broad-shouldered, more so than the hips, so I used a wider and thicker spool for the shoulders. The heart just serves as a basic shape to attach other elements, but I liked the way that the heart outline conveys a rib cage reducing to a waist.
I knew I wanted a smokestack and I knew just the scrap piece of wood laying around to use, but because it had a flat base and was a rather hard piece of wood I decided to add a base below it. This is a simple 5/8" dowel of softer wood that I sanded to meet the curve of the spool. I drilled a hole through the dowel into the spool allowing me to pin the two parts, and later the smokestack, into a nice line.
If you look at the second picture in the section The Cannon Barrel of my artillery tutorial, you will see where the smokestack came from. It is the bottom piece of the spindle that I cut off for the cannon barrel. Lesson: never throw away any neat looking wood scraps!
As noted in the picture, the smokestack is probably too tall and needs to be cut.
Next are the legs, which are another interesting wood scrap from another project. If you saw my experiment with the Greek in the Trojan War figure, you will note that I started with a clothespin. However, I did not show the original clothespin, but you can see it in a woodcrafter's catalog as MCP400. If you look at the 'legs' of the clothespin you will notice the same shape in the legs below, only turned upside down and reversed.
While waiting for things to dry, I started looking about for a 'head' for my creation. The figure below shows you you can use simple parts and shapes to make the head. A small slice of dowel with some wire mesh or screen glued over will serve as a vox receptacle (mouth), if I can find a piece. Otherwise I will simply paint a grid.
Looking at the legs, I just did not like them stiff and straight.I looked at putting a 1/4" flat plug on the sides to represent a knew joint, but that would not solve that it was straight legged. So, I cut the legs in half and sanded my own knee joint. To be honest, this is the kind of artistic work that I love doing (just not in mass production).
The torso was looking a little spare, so I found another scrap, this time the top of the head of the pawns. I started cutting off the tops so that I could glue the shako to the flat top and get a better join (in addition to avoiding 'scooping out' the spool, like I used to do).
The split sphere gives the torso more body, and the armored belly can hold the clockwork guts of my construct.
The figure below shows you the figure so far, along with a simple 25mm soldier made from a micro-peg and a flat plug. It will definitely tower over the battlefield.
As you can see, I have also shortened the smokestack; I think it looks better. (And no, I did not throw away the top of the smokestack that I cut off...)