Today is the day for you to get to know the story of the 100% national miniature trademark, the Miniaturas do JP. João Pedro, the man behind all the genius of the miniatures, he has a degree in History and a passion for Art. With this combination, he started this excellent work more than ten years ago (professionally, four years). Oh, he does everything in the company, which means Miniaturas do JP is truly João Pedro’s. The company belongs to only one person. João Pedro takes care of customer service, billing, and the entire process of developing a miniature.
The brand specializes in historical figures, both from around the world and from Brazil. They have already created numerous miniatures, including those of Dom Pedro II, José Bonifácio, Cabo Adão, Voluntário da Pátria, Maria Quitéria, and others.
This journey may be interpreted by some people as a rather uninteresting niche with no potential for a bright future. João Pedro had to face people with this type of thinking. Just a few years of the existence, the brand already has many satisfied customers, and we at Brazilian History are one of them. We share this interview with history enthusiasts who seek to learn more about the brand that began after JP’s childhood dissatisfaction with his toy soldiers, which unfortunately only came in a single color.
“I just couldn’t find anything from our culture… And Brazil is such a rich, vast, and, above all, full of history country!” – João Pedro
How did you start becoming interested in creating miniatures of historical figures?
I’ve always enjoyed playing with plastic toy soldiers; my thing was never soccer or cars, it was soldiers, tanks, etc. However, they were in single colors (blue, green, beige, etc.), and the colorful ones were from foreign collections and more expensive. I used to imagine what these colorful toy soldiers would be like, or even like the movie “The Indian in the Cupboard,” where they came to life and interacted with me! As I grew up, I gradually saved up money to buy materials and assembly kits. Over ten years ago, I set up my workbench in the corner of my room on top of a cardboard tube, and slowly brought the figures to life, which until then were from foreign brands.
In summary, what materials and techniques do you use to create your miniatures?
I produce them in my studio using 3D printing with resin. The painting is 100% manual with acrylic paints. I try to use materials that are readily available and from national brands as much as possible.
Are there specific historical figures that inspire you the most to create miniatures?
I’m a fan and admirer of Alexander the Great. His ability to do so much with so little and in a versatile way inspires and motivates me. I also have Dom Pedro II as an icon, as he was an admirer of the arts and loved his country and our culture.
How do you research and prepare to create miniatures of historical figures?
Not always a figure was portrayed accurately in paintings, for example. That’s why I delve into various sources to reconcile and cross-reference relevant information. In addition to reading extensively on the subject, I like to analyze paintings, photographs (depending on the era), replicas of weapons and armor, and even the work of other trustworthy artists to inspire me and arrive at a consensus for creation.
Can you share with us the process of creating a miniature, from conception to completion?
I begin with researching the clothing, accessories, and appearance of the figure. I gather all possible references. Then, these are shared with the 3D modeler to start the modeling process. In the meantime, there may be adjustments to the figure, additions of details, etc. The modeling can take from one to two months, depending on complexity. This is the only process done outside the studio, with national professionals.
With the 3D model in hand, I prepare it in software and adjust how it will be printed by the machine. Sometimes this process fails, and I have to readjust and start the printing from scratch. After printing, the model is washed to remove excess liquid resin, cured under ultraviolet light, and that’s when the preparation for painting comes in: sandpaper of various grits, a micro grinder, adhesives, and putty. I let everything dry thoroughly to finally apply primer with an airbrush, and then the model is left to dry for 24 hours. This process is time-consuming, and I like to do it meticulously to ensure the figure has the longest possible durability and the best finish.
Finally, we have the painting! I prefer acrylic paints due to their flexibility and ease of use for various techniques. I also prefer to use more brushes than an airbrush, as it gives me more control over the painting. Remember those references I gathered for modeling? I bring them back to the workbench, study the applied colors, the techniques to replicate different materials on the figure (leather, metal, skin, fur, etc.), and also for inspiration. With the piece ready, I apply a layer of varnish and let it dry for approximately 24 hours before shipping or exhibiting. In the end, to create a model from scratch, we have a production time of thirty to ninety days. After its release, the production time for sale ranges from fifteen to thirty days.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when starting your miniature creation business?
The main challenge was to bring the project of national figures from concept to visibility with the public. When presenting my project to modelers, companies in the industry, and potential sponsors, I was often ignored and not taken seriously. One even responded, “What does Brazil have that’s interesting enough to be portrayed in miniatures?”
So, I gathered my own resources, gradually set up the studio, always with the philosophy of having the entire production chain done in Brazil. That includes modeling, design, supplies, and, of course, painting! Another challenging aspect is balancing the artistic side with studio administration. This involves managing inventory, institutional materials, cash flow, customer service – in essence, it’s a business like any other, but with me handling all these responsibilities. It’s not an easy task, but I had unwavering support from family, friends, and customers who always trusted in my work.
How do you market your miniatures? Where can customers find them?
I started selling through Instagram, and I still use the platform as a tool for promoting my work, which is essential: @miniaturasdojp. However, to purchase a figure, it’s done through the website: www.miniaturasdojp.com.br. There, you can buy various models, including national personalities, with multiple payment and shipping options!
Which historical figures are the most popular among your customers?
The most popular figures are those from the time of the Brazilian Empire and the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, as well as busts from various historical periods.
Have you received custom orders for miniatures of historical figures? Have you had any particularly unusual requests?
I constantly receive requests for custom historical figures. I always make it clear that the costs and production time are higher because these figures are not part of the catalog available on the website, and they are exclusive projects for the customer.
As for unusual requests, I’ve received quite a few! Many people believe that because I work with 3D printing, I can create any piece, but I like to emphasize that I only work with historical personalities.
How do you decide which historical figures to include in your product line?
The selection of figures occurs through two fronts: one is the list I created since I started the project, taking into account personalities from Brazil that we have affection and admiration for, and the other is through recurring customer requests. When a historical personality is frequently requested on social media, I assess its feasibility and make an early release.
Have you had the opportunity to collaborate with museums or institutions on exhibitions or related projects?
In 2022, I had the honor of having my work exhibited in the Mascarenhas de Morais room at the 21st GAC – Monte Bastione Group. The barracks is a historic center and has this room with objects related to the FEB’s actions in Italy, and it’s where the famous Cabo Adão served. Therefore, I gifted them with a 30cm statue of him to be permanently displayed. I will also be present at the reopening of the Military Police Museum of the State of São Paulo on December 9th and 10th with my works. Starting in 2024, the brand will expand further in promoting projects in various institutions.
What are the most rewarding aspects of creating miniatures of historical figures?
It’s about immortalizing and valuing our culture and making collectors have it at home. I’m very happy when they reach out to me and, after receiving the figures, send photos of how they are displayed in their collections.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a similar business?
Keep your feet on the ground, always. No matter how good your ideas, talent, and resources are, always think in a centered and long-term manner.
What historical figure miniatures from Brazil are the most requested by your customers?
The most requested figures are Dom Pedro II (whether in bust, majestic attire, or admiral uniform), the Volunteer of the Fatherland and the Cabo Adão, famous for the phrase on cannon ammunition, “The Snake Is Smoking…”. I admit that these are models that Brazilians identify with and have great affection for the cultural significance they carry.
What are the plans for the future of the Miniaturas do JP brand? What would you like to announce as a new development to your followers?
In the future, I want to strengthen the promotion of my work with institutions, meaning places that value our culture and our history. As for the release of figurines, stay tuned because we will have the first imperial couple of Brazil! Stay tuned!
Did you enjoy the interview and want to support the Miniaturas do JP? You can support the project by clicking here. We appreciate João Pedro’s willingness to participate in the interview and wish him success on his journey!
Matheus is an entrepreneur at Araujo Media, where he serves as CEO and Creative Director. He shares analyses on his personal blog "matheusaraujo.me" and is currently pursuing a degree in Advertising and Propaganda. Moreover, he has a passion for history, particularly that of Brazil, which led him to become the founder and editor of the Brazilian History portal.