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.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

A Quick Review and More Kings of War

Since the Kings of War tournament for late March was canceled due to the pandemic situation, I had some more time to paint new additions to my Kings of War army. This also involved exploring new unit types.

A while ago, I bought into the pre-order for Oathmark Miniatures' plastic goblin wolf riders. I've always been impressed by the quality of Oathmark's castings, so I jumped at the chance of more classic Tolkienesque goblins rather than cartoonish green goblins.

I bought two boxes of these miniatures, which contain 15 goblin riders each. That's quite a sizable number for use as auxiliary units in my Ogre army.

The box consists of three goblin sprues and 5 wolf sprues. The goblins show the typical high quality casting from Oathmark, and each sprue contains enough arms for the choice of all miniatures being archers, spearmen, or swordsmen.

The close-up above shows the excellent detail of goblin faces.

However, the wolf sprues were not as impressive. Each wolf comes in two halves, but other than the manes and tails, their bodies are almost completely smooth! The lack of fur texture can be a problem during painting. It's very strange that there is such a lack of detail compared to the riders.

I painted up enough for a couple of troop units in Kings of War, with removable individual bases. When painted up, they generally look quite good. However, being spoiled by a lot of the newer plastic kits, I ignored the gaps down the front of the wolves' heads. Newer kits don't usually need greenstuff to cover up gaps like that. After painting them though, the gaps are quite obvious. Maybe I have to use some paint to try to hide them. I'll definitely remember to fill those gaps for the next ones I build.
A close-up shows that they are very nice painted up, despite some of my issues from above.

This is the second unit of them, and I will remember to fill the head gaps next time!

Aside from the goblins, I based up a couple of plastic pre-painted mammoth toys from Michael's, which will function as quick and cheap war mammoths for Ogres.

Monday, March 9, 2020

My Second Kings of War Army

I have been working on a second Kings of War army for a while now, and it consists of Ogres and Goblins. An upcoming tournament later in March has motivated me to finally get them fully painted.
Here's the start of the finished army:
For the bulk of the army, I'm using 1/72 trolls from a company called Dark Alliance. Even though these are made for a much smaller scale, they actually fit quite well against 28mm miniatures, as seen here. The above are a horde of Ogre warriors.

This is a second horde of warriors. The same miniatures are used, just with a different colour scheme.

These less well-protected warriors are used as berserker braves, since they provide a suitably wild look.

Another horde of braves, which I've previously shown on this blog.

I still have a few more other units to finish up for this army, coming up soon.