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.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Getting Deeper into Cyberpunk

Encouraged by my previous successes printing 28mm characters, I've printed even more, mainly aimed at a sci-fi/cyberpunk setting for use in Hardwired or Stargrave (when that comes out).
Back over Christmas break and around New Years, I took advantage of some sales to buy more STL files. There are quite a few talented artists, both on the free Thingiverse, and on the (mostly) paid MyMiniFactory.
A good source of figures is Titan Forge Miniatures, a store on MyMiniFactory. They have a good range of science fiction, fantasy, and post-apocalyptic figures. The above are their Cyber Force Marines unit. These come with separate torsos, legs, etc., that can be combined into different poses. I have a couple with rifles and one with two pistols above, and there are a lot more possibilities. They are a bit bigger than the Papsikels demo mini from before, being all in power armour. Titan Forge figures also come with useful textured 25mm or 32mm round bases, which I'm using above.

The dog with VR goggles and the cyberpunk "witch hunter" (who may look familiar) are from Papsikel's store on MyMiniFactory. The kid with the boomerang on the right is from Titan Forge's post-apocalyptic range. The witch hunter figure didn't come out as clean as I would have liked, so maybe I'll try another one. The dog came out perfectly since it needed very little support. The kid and the dog can make great NPCs or objectives in games. After all, no adventure is complete without a kid and a dog!

The Titan Forge "wild child" figure seems to be based on the feral kid with a boomerang from "The Road Warrior", although the helmet and hair remind me more of Newt from "Aliens". This miniature was so small and thin that I didn't think it would print on an FDM printer, but it turned out to be serviceable, although not perfect.

For "bounty hunter" type figures, the "sheriff" on the left is from Papsikels, and the thin guy with the "commie alien" type helmet on the right is from Titan Forge. The "sheriff" suffered a bad sanding incident on the front, and I may have to do another print.

For more of a horror flavour, I also bought a "stitchwork golem" from the wonderfully named Rocket Pig Games, also on MyMiniFactory. This is printed at around half size to be more of a human-sized figure, but it can be a giant monster too. I like the design, and it reminds me of the "boogie man" from "A Nightmare Before Christmas".

Don't worry, I have actually been painting miniatures too. In fact, I'm waiting for some recently-sanded bases to dry right now, and I should be able to put up some painted 3D printed figures soon.

Friday, January 8, 2021

New Year and Some More 3D Printing

I wish everyone a Happy New Year, and hopefully this will be a better year than the last one.

I've been playing with my 3D printer some more, and despite my point before about avoiding miniatures with my CR-6SE FDM printer, I tried some Cyberpunk characters for my two favourite scales.

This is the same file from Thingiverse here, by a talented artist with the moniker "Papsikels". His miniatures are done in a very fitting style, bulky enough to print with an FDM printer while still retaining excellent amounts of detail and proper human proportions.

I printed this miniature in two scales, 28mm on the left, and 1/72 scale on the right. Once again, they turned out to be much better than I hoped for an FDM printer.

This is the 28mm miniature next to a Games Workshop model on the left and a Reaper Bones model on the right. It's a good fit for 32mm "heroic" miniatures, which I think I'll use for the soon to be released Stargrave game.

This is the 1/72 scale miniature with respectively, Caesar modern French, Elhiem sci-fi Fed trooper, and Caesar modern special forces (with some mods) miniatures. To be honest, I didn't think this one would come out at this scale, but it turned out fine, but with a lot of excess stringing that I'll have to clean off.
These miniatures have encouraged me to experiment even more. Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Even More 3D Printing

Sorry that I haven't been posting more on my blog, but I've been distracted by my new 3D printer. Earlier this year, there was a Kickstarter from the famous 3D printer manufacturer Creality for their new FDM (i.e. print by extruding plastic filament, rather than by UV-hardening resin) printer, the CR-6SE. Not having an FDM printer, which is suited for larger models and terrain, I bought into the Kickstarter and received my printer a couple of months ago. This is a good supplement to my current resin printer, which can't do any larger models and is rather messy and toxic. An FDM printer is much easier to use, and no cleaning is required.

Creality took some flak for this Kickstarter, since there were quality control problems. However, I think I was lucky, and I haven't had any issues yet.

Here's the printer in all its glory. It has a typical design for an FDM printer, with a print head moving on the X, Y, and Z axes.
I primarily got the machine to print terrain, for example this cobblestone street tile above for fantasy games. However, I did try to see how far I could push the resolution.

I started by comparing the same items being printed from both the CR-6SE and my Sparkmaker, the resin printer. As you can see above, the building tokens for Dropfleet commander provide a good comparison for the resolution and detail for each printer, with the white filament output on the left being from the FDM printer and the clear resin output on the right for the resin printer. I went in not expecting too much from the FDM printer, but it turned out quite good. Of course, the resolution is nowhere near the resin printer, but it's still good enough that I would use the prints as gaming tokens. They are also of course much sturdier than the resin prints.

For a sort of combination application, I also designed some movement trays for Kings of War. The one above is a 120 mm X 80 mm base for large infantry, taking in models with round 40 mm bases. I also printed some earth elementals from Thingiverse to fit in the tray, and they look decent.

Pushing things a bit further with larger models, I printed this cacodemon from the Doom video games, again from Thingiverse. Aside from the support not having dealt well with the thin arms, the print turned out pretty amazing. I think with some post-processing (i.e. sanding, etc.) this can work as a regular game miniature. There's more than enough detail to make it a success for tabletop use.

For my next Kings of War army, which is going to be either Kingdoms of Men or League of Rhordia, I came up with some combination ideas for miniatures, like the 3D printed riding bear above (again from Thingiverse) with a Perry historical knight miniature. Even for miniatures, I think the CR-6SE opens up quite a few possibilities.

With all this experimentation, I ran out of the original spool of white filament from Creality, and I bought some orange coloured filament (eSun PLA+) from Amazon. The new filament looks even better to my eyes for smaller miniatures, like this lizardman warrior from Fat Dragon Games' excellent range of 3D printable miniatures. It might also just be the colour making things look more defined. In general though, I'll leave smaller miniatures to resin for better detail. You can see the stringing in the photo above, which is just one of many issues when printing smaller items with a lot of detail.

In addition to miniatures, I also do more "useful" prints. For example, I've always needed a way to fix my joystick to my office chair to provide stability. Thanks again to Thingiverse, I found a set of support mounts for joysticks. These fix my joystick using plastic "thumb screws", which allow it to get put on and taken off my chair very easily, with good stability when playing games.

All in all, I think this printer was a great purchase and will provide a lot of fun and useful moments.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Yet Another Scale

Last year, I bought into Plastic Soldier Company's pre-order for their Battlegroup Northag ruleset. This is a Cold War Gone Hot game set in the early 1980s, with mainly British and Soviet armour and infantry models to start with. I like the focus on the British, since it gets away from the typical US vs Soviet match up, and it showcases some interesting British equipment like the Chieftain tank and the FV432 APC.
The miniatures for this release are 10mm scale, or 1/144 according to PSC. It's a scale that I hadn't worked with before, but it seems to be a happy medium between the better size but lacking detail of 6mm and the good detail but over-sized models of 15mm. Also, these models are produced using PSC's "Ultracast" system, which seems to be a type of injection molded soft plastic, but with soft, resin-style molds.
Last week, I finally received my pre-order package, for which I'm glad. With all the pandemic stuff going on and hitting the UK especially hard, I was pleasantly surprised that PSC managed this without too long of a delay. So let's take a look at what I have.

I ordered the basic starter set, which consists of the British and Soviet starter armies. In addition, I ordered a Soviet T-80 company and some extra packs of recon vehicles and other odds and ends. The army sets come in cardboard boxes, and the extras are in plastic bags.

The mainstay of the Soviet army starter set is a T-64 company. I really appreciate PSC's dedication to actual history here. Too many games always use the T-72 for the Soviet Army in the Cold War, but the T-64/T-80 series was the main battle tank of the front-line breakthrough units, with the T-72 used as a cheaper tank for second-line and follow-up forces.

This is a close-up of the hull. The details are fine, but the soft plastic nature of the models really comes through, with shallower detail than you would find in metal.

This is a close-up of the turret and track sections. Again, decent detail, but I can't help but think metal would be better. Note that the barrels are also bent, another typical "feature" of soft plastic and resin. I think some hot water will fix that easily though.

The Soviet starter army also comes with a motor rifle company, equipped with BTR-60s. The BTRs are in three sections, the hull, the tires, and the machine gun turret. There are also two BRDM recon vehicle included.

A close-up of the details. Again, nice and serviceable, but nothing extraordinary. Rather like the BTR itself actually. :)

The infantry models are a bit of a mixed bag. Stylistically, you can easily see how the sculpting is similar to PSC's infantry in other scales. However, there's actually a lot of mold lines on these already small models, which will be a problem for cleanup and painting.

The British starter army consists of a Chieftain platoon and a mechanized infantry platoon. The Chieftains, like the Soviet tanks, are broken down into the turret, hull, and track sections. The detail level is similar to the Soviet tanks, with the same bendy barrel issue. PSC has included the Stillbrew turret option, which was an upgrade to the Chieftain to provide it with more armour. You can build either version of the Chieftain tank.
Also, the pack includes two light tanks, which you can build as either a Scimitar (30mm gun) or a Scorpion (76mm gun).

The mechanized infantry platoon contains four FV432 APCs and some British infantry. Both of these have the same characteristics as the Soviet counterparts, for better or worse.

The additional T-80 company is very similar to the T-64 unit. The models are slightly different to reflect the external differences between the two tanks.

The hulls of the T-80s.

The turrets of the T-80s. Again, all the same issues apply as for the T-64s.

I like the subject matter, and I'm really interested in getting into these rules. However, I'm really not blown away by the models. It'll be a while before I get to painting these, due to other projects in the queue, but when I do get to them, I'll have to do some extra work to clean them up and fix them.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Back to Dwarves

After my Ogre army was finished, I went back to doing some additional fantasy miniatures that can be used for multiple games. I also wanted to fill out my Dwarf army with newer, different units.

This undead Ogre is from Reaper miniatures, one of their new Bones Black line. It doesn't really fit into any of my Kings of War armies, but I think it's a very nice miniature, and can be used for various skirmish games like Frostgrave or Rangers of Shadow Deep.

Back to my Dwarf Kings of War army, I thought I needed some more tough units, so I painted a few more earth elementals. There are enough now for another horde.

For some long-range firepower, I converted a couple of sharpshooters, and along with some existing rifles, made two sharpshooter units.

Both of the sharpshooters above are made from a standard EM4 Dwarf and a ridiculously long Games Workshop musket. They do look very impressive as super long range guns though.

Also, I built another organ gun, with a couple of left-over Dwarves, some 40k bits, and a 1/72 scale cannon carriage. This way I can run 3 organ guns if needed in my Dwarf army.

And finally, I converted a standard bearer, just so there is a cheaper alternative to the Dwarf lord I already have.

I have some more ideas about new items for the Dwarf army, and I will be posting them here when I finish. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Completed Ogre Army

For the final few units of my Kings of War Ogre army, I performed some extra conversions, as well as taking some extra care painting the unique characters.

This is a Reaper Bones Ogre Chieftain miniature. I did a bit of conversion with the club to make it into an ax, but otherwise this is the base miniature. It has excellent detail for a Bones miniature and is quite animated. The Chieftain's shield is also very "heavy metal", and gives a sinister vibe. I use this miniature as Grokagamok, a named Ogre warlord character, in Kings of War.

This is also a Reaper Bones miniature, an Ettin, or two-headed Ogre. I use it as an Ogre warlock in my army. I performed a bit of conversion with the left-hand club, adding some skulls to make it into a shamanic staff.

The next character is an army standard bearer. I did a conversion with its weapon, and replaced it with a standard from Games Workshop skeletons.

I also painted an extra horde of standard warriors. Currently, my army list doesn't need this extra unit, but I can use it for a bit more option.

With a few simple conversions, I made this horde of heavy crossbows. They are just some plastic bows and sprues added to standard warriors. Still, I think they are a decent representation of arm-mounted heavy crossbows.

The following is a full group-shot of the entire army so far. This is easily enough for a standard 2250 pt tournament army, with some options to swap around. I can't wait when the current pandemic situation ends, and we can start having games and tournaments again.

I think I will be moving on to another army now, probably back to finishing some extra units for my dwarves.