Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shapeways Models!

After some failures and fixups, I finally received the 3D prints of my models from Shapeways.

First up are the simple missiles.  There wasn't much detail on these, but the nozzles on the back turned out to be acceptable.  In any case, they're for making markers, and now I've got 40 of the suckers.

I used the "white detail" material for the two 1/1000 scale VentureStar shuttles, and they turned out okay, with around the same amount of "grain" as the transparent detail material from the previous Shapeways posts.  The wings and tail-fins are bent a bit though, but I can probably use the hot/cold water method to straighten them.
The backs of the VentureStar models turned out okay, and the linear aerospike engines have the right shape.  The detail on the engines (separate segments of curved outer shells) are rather shallow though.  Maybe I should remember to make detail more exaggerated so they show up better in miniature.
For one of the shuttles, I put a hole on the bottom to accept the 1/8 inch rare earth magnets I use to fix models to stands.  The hole also offered an opportunity to hollow out the model to save money on materials.  This one turned out to be around 20% cheaper than the solid model.

These two are around 39 mm long, which is surprisingly large if you are used to "fleet scale" ship miniatures like me.  The real VentureStar was supposed to have been around 38.6 m long.

I also printed some 1/3000 scale VentureStars.  These guys are tiny, at around 13 mm long.  To make sure they printed well, I ordered them using the "frosted ultra detail" material, which cost more but allowed thinner detail to be rendered.  Here you can see the size comparison between them and their bigger cousins.

The FUD material actually does seem to offer a higher resolution.  As you can see in the picture above, the grains are much shallower, even though these models are tiny.

Overall, these are nice looking models, and a good first try for me.  The VentureStars don't have a lot of detail, so they were a good fit for my early modeling attempts.

The only real problem here is that Shapeways recently raised their prices, and their use of UPS as the only shipping option exposes me to the "Brokerage Fees of Democles" penalty.  I'm debating whether to keep on using them, but they are the only game in town, at least so far.  No other 3D printing service caters to small miniature makers like they do, and the ones that do print miniatures tend to be for prototyping.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Getting ready for another DBA campaign with the local group, I managed to finish my long-planned Parthian DBA army last week.  All of the miniatures are from HaT.  They are decent enough, but not as detailed and crisp as Caesar or Zvezda.

I didn't make all of the possible troop type combinations for this list, but there's enough to get several good combinations.
These are the main striking power of this army, the cataphracts.  The DBA 2.2 list actually allows five stands total, but I only painted four here, including the general.
 A close up of the general stand, with a standard bearer and drummer.
The horse archers, the backbone of this army.  The list actually allows 10 stands of them, but I only have 8 here.  In DBA, light horse are very hard to handle, and it really doesn't pay to have too many of them.
A close up of a horse archer stand.
Another horse archer stand showing the famous "Parthian shot", where the horsemen shoot their bows behind them.
The DBA list allows foot troops too, with a total of two psiloi and one auxilia.  However, I only have one of each.  The other psiloi cuts into a cataphract stand, and I don't want too many horse archers.

Here's the entire army.  I've been lucky playing with it so far, but an army with this many light horse has serious control issues.  Oh well, it'll be a challenge in the campaign.