Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Some Painted 3D Printed Fantasy

I've painted up some of my bigger 3D printed miniatures, just to see how badly the infamous FDM print lines will show up. The results have been a lot better than I expected, especially when I did some surface preparation before painting.

On the left is one of my 3D printed earth elementals that I showcased in a previous post. On the right is a D&D pre-primed miniature I had painted some time ago. For this particular earth elemental, I used Future floor wax on the surface to "fill" the print lines, then used white gesso to prime. After that, it was painting as usual. I think it turned out very well, and the print lines are not visible to any table-top level scrutiny.

I've painted up all four of my 3D printed earth elementals, including the one from above. These are all free files from Thingiverse, and are ultimately the same design posed in different ways. This is one of the strengths of 3D printing, where you can design and alter models to customize them.
For the other three earth elementals, I used a technique described by a user on the Miniatures Page, where you use varnish to fill in the print lines before priming. I'm not sure I see that much difference in print lines compared to the Future method, but they did require fewer coats.

The backs of these miniatures are also quite free of print lines, after the pre-paint treatment.

I'll be using these earth elementals as a another horde in Kings of War, probably still for my dwarf army. They are definitely serviceable compared to my other earth elemental miniatures.

I also printed and painted a generic fantasy minotaur, also free from Thingiverse. The design is pretty no-frills, but good enough after the varnish surface treatment and a quick paintjob.

Here it is compared to a Warhammer Fantasy figure. He's a pretty big guy, and I'll probably use him in smaller scale fantasy games like Frostgrave.

Now that I'm more confident about the quality of these miniatures, I'll be getting onto some more complicated models and the smaller cyberpunk characters I displayed before.


  1. I will be curious to see how the varnish works on miniatures that actually do have a lot of detail...will those details also get filled in with this process.

  2. It depends on how big the details are compared to the print lines. E.g. if the print lines are at 0.08mm, the details have to be bigger than that to not get covered up the same way.
    I'll be doing some smaller miniatures right away to test that out.