Friday, October 23, 2020

Finally cleaning supplies have arrived and so has a 3d print!

 It took over six months but I finally got my hands on some more isopropyl alcohol so was able to run a 3d print this week!  I decided to start with my recent Rafm scale Hunter and got some decent results.

I didn't have a fully assembled hunter to compare him to so the above incomplete on will have to do.  I actually used it as a basis for sizing the 3d model (specifically the height to the top of the hips) but obviously I didn't account for the overall bulk.  My previous attempts including changing proportions but I don't think I'll do that this time but rather I'll simply resize it down to about 90-95% when I try again.  I thought the details looked a bit soft on the resin so I decided to prime the fig and retake the picture.

Why try again?  Besides just being too big, I didn't optimally place the parts on the print plate and had several flat surfaces parallel to it.  While that won't cause a complete failure, it did cause two other less serious ones on the shoulders.  Both shoulders have a loss of detail on the part of the model that was facing the build plate as resin collects there without draining.  Fortunately, it's not very visible from the front as the right shoulder has the problem on the back and the left on the top.  Additionally there is an aliasing step error where the shoulder was just barely off of parallel causing portions to print in steps at the layer resolution.  Initially I thought this was an issue called z-axis wobble but, upon looking at the sliced layers, I saw the real culprit.  It's not actually visible to the naked eye on bare resin or even primed in normal light but it could catch and pool washes in the final painting step.

Well, that's it for now.  I'll probably attempt another print run next week as unfortunately their is rain in the forecast for the next couple of days and I won't be able to post-cure my model in the sun.  As always, thanks for reading and feel free to comment below!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Only Digital Bytes to Show...

 for my hobby efforts this past month!  I've been out of resin and running low on alcohol to clean the printed models so I haven't actually printed anything in a while.  I've kept busy though tweaking/converting 3d models for potential future printing though from scifi RPG character models to Star Trek spaceships to Heavy Gear stompy robots.

I restarted tweaking my old HGA Heavy Gear Hunter model yet again.  I had problems with the two prints that I previously attempted and I tweaked the loadout on this version to be a basic Hunter instead.   I previously attempted a multipiece print for my second try but wasn't happy with the results.  After some encouragement from Ashley over at the Paint it Pink blog (link), I decided to try it again and was eventually able to both split the parts and set up a ball and socket connection system between the parts.  

One of the flawed gems of the last console/pc generation was IMO the first Force Unleashed game (the followup was admittedly a rushed cashgrab abomination!).  I really liked the look of the Sith Stalker variant of the character model and never saw an official model/miniature other than a single toy figure in a larger boxed set.  I recently found a decent 3d model likely ripped from the pc game so it definitely needed conversion to a printable tabletop gaming 3d model.  I thickened up various bits to make them sturdier/more likely to print successfully as well as changed the pose as much as I could without any actual knowledge of video game animation.


And finally we have a selection of Star Trek ships that have been converted into something that more resembles a different era.  First up we have a DISCO ship that I've converted into an NX era ship.  The second is another DISCO ship that I've tried to convert into a TMP era Akira class.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Dorritos Class and D-10M 3d Models and Stats!

It's been a while since I updated the blog despite making some minor hobby progress in the meantime.  For some reason, I had an urge to throw together some new Star Trek ships for the FASAverse and worked on both an update to a classic Klingon design as well as a retro-take on the newest official Trek hero ship.  Both ships were created using CaptainMojo's parts kits on thingiverse (link here) so special thanks to him for making them available to fans of the classic game!  For the first time on this blog, I'm including the 3D model STL designs in addition to the stat sheets and tokens for those who want to use either ship on the tabletop.

A new Star Trek cartoon came out in the past month and it included a new hero ship that I thought I'd try to retrotrekify (is that a word?) into the FASAverse.  I haven't watched the show but supposedly the ship is a second line support vessel.  Due to the parts that I used to construct a FASA version with the same overall design asthetic, I decided instead to make this a torpedo destroyer instead.

The second ship is a minor update on one of my two favorite FASA designs, the D-10.  I decided to "fix" the minor quibbles that I had with the design including the overly flat/featureless secondary hull by adding gribbly bits to the bottom and putting a proper impulse deck housing ala the D-7 on the top.  I also enlarged the engines and sloped the top of the hull a bit to give it a bit more variation from the front view. 

In the background and rules, I consider this D-10M to be a dedicated command and support variant of the venerable design meant to lead fast moving and cloaked battle groups.  It lacks both the troops characteristically found on Klingon cruisers and research facilities on modern D-10 models, replacing them instead with additional support and command facilities.  Already fairly cavernous due to the hull design, the removal of those facilities as well as external mounting of the impressively powerful impulse engine allows it to fulfill both those roles.  While the offensive armament is unchanged from the most recent model, defensive capabilities are markedly increased with a more efficient variant of the KWE-3 engines and new KSP shielding as well as the installation of the power hungry KCD cloaking device.

For those interested in playing the ship with the FASA rules, here are the fan stats of this pair of vessels as well as printable tokens for use on a hex grid and the 3d models that I put together from CaptainMojo's parts.  Due to my unpleasant experience on thingiverse with my Winged Hussar models being unceremoniously removed without notice/warning, I've decided to host the files here instead.



Thursday, July 16, 2020

Quick update... Shadowrun Mage Heroclix Repaint

I worked on the second half of the heroclix figure that I used for my Troll character figure.  She started as a Red She-Hulk figure (hence the skin color) that I repainted and added magic effects via 3d printing in clear resin.  Yes, I've accomplished what cheap prepainted miniatures did in 2006!  Hey, it's still a first for me.

I'm happy with the detail and color of the clear resin (that I colored bluish via a wash to less than stellar results).  Somehow the figure didn't seem too dark in tone despite having jet black hair and clothing but now seems like it after I repainted her in dark grey clothes.  I keep debating whether I should strip the paint off completely as it shouldn't damage the resin itself as people have been using acetone to clean resin post printing in the post-Covid rubbing alcohol shortage.  For now, I'll leave her alone but I may revisit this figure at a later date.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Still alive.. and making RPG character models!

It's been a few weeks of silence so I figured it was about time to show signs of (hobby) life here on the blog for the world to see!  While I haven't been a busy bee like Ashley over at the Paint it Pink blog (link), I've done a small bit during the past month.

I finally got around to some easy painting with a redo of some heroclix figs I picked up a while back for RPG characters.  One was initially for the Starfinder campaign that I'm in but I decided to go with my Krogan character instead of this Suli-jann Solarian.  The original fig is the Caiera clix model from the Planet Hulk series that I rebased and repainted relatively quickly.  I'm not entirely happy with the results though (too much wash in the armpit for example) but I've already overcoated the models and don't want to strip them completely to redo it.  The second one was a troll personal assistant character (think half bodyguard/half butler!) for use in Shadowrun.  That one came from a Hulk clix double model that I converted with a troll-like horn and a more appropriately sized 3d printed pistol.  He actually came based alongside a Red She-Hulk model that I can also convert into a Shadowrun character model as well so you may see that sometime on the blog as well.  Hopefully I've improved my eye technique since my Lt. Googely Eyes Hussar model; I really did have to make the eyes tiny in ever shrinking steps despite my gut instinct to get the result above instead of what happened before.  This is just average work and not even my best by far but it's basically a single weekend's worth of effort from start to finish (including drying time!) and more importantly completed work unlike my ever growing 3d printed pile of unpainted shame.  :)

Additionally, I printed out both of the 40k Lieutenants previewed in my last post but the Space Wolf was marred by multiple misprints.  I was testing out a new slicing program that apparently requires more manual supporting of models than I initially expected based on youtube reviews.  The Blood Angel did turn out well but I plan on redoing his loincloth icon as it wasn't extruded enough in the print unfortunately to be much of a visible detail after priming/painting.  I printed him out at a smaller traditional marine scale (32mm) so I may still assemble him and leave the revised version for a possible later full scale 40mm primaris fig.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Too many cooks? More 40k Lieutenants!

While it's only been a few weeks since my last update, it's been a few months since I worked on any 40k 3d model conversions after my initial attempt at a grimdark Winged Hussar was taken down.  I've still been visiting the various websites to see what others are uploading though and something piqued my interest.  There was a recent take on Krom Dragongaze (link) uploaded using the same base model by MrMcAngry (link) that I previously used for a different Blood Angel Lieutenant so I decided to tweak him into something more customized for a potential RPG character. It's not really visible below but the space wolf does have a full wolf pelt on the backside of his cape whereas the blood angel has a full bolter instead of a pistol. I hope to run a print this upcoming weekend with these two models (probably in smaller true 28mm scale rather than 40mm for primaris) so will update the thread with actual model pics if I do.  I don't plan on uploading either though to any website.

Edit:  Since initially posting, I've tweaked the model a bit more.  I shrunk the head a bit so that it would actually fit inside a helmet and also reduced the size of the axe blades a bit.  I'm a bit unsure about the latter as I've found that weapons that look "right" on a 3d model tend to be too fragile and undersized when actually printed but I'll see if that holds true this time.  Additionally, I made the pelt on his cape significantly larger as it looked like he decorated his armor with an adolescent wolf's pelt instead of a more fearsome adult's.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Quarantine Kitchen Sink Update

Hello to everyone and I hope all are doing as well as possible during this pandemic.  It's been a while since I last updated the blog and initially I hoped that the extra time would lead to increased hobby progress.  Unfortunately, that hasn't panned out and the only project I've accomplished is growing my first beard.  :)

I haven't been totally comatose though so I decided to post a kitchen sink update instead of boring folks with multiple smaller ones.  My most recent project, my digital Winged Hussar (link here) was unfortunately C&D'ed by GW as apparently they claim ownership of all future grimdark space Poles.  Shortly after uploading, it disappeared from my account and it took me over a month to get a response from Thingiverse letting me know that GW had claimed my model and forced its removal.  Strangely, many of the component parts are still there as are thousands of other 40k models so I have no idea why they targeted it (along with a couple dozen others for DMCA takedown) as they included no justification.  I have to say that it put a damper on me continuing that project.  I had initially wanted to convert one of the new official Master Lazarus models to a Winged Hussar but the idea of giving them $40 plus shipping/tax is much less likely now.  I completed another conversion parts set that will likely never be uploaded and Lt. Googely Eyes will have to do for now if I ever need an RPG figure.

CBS All Access offered everyone a free month so I was able to catch up on two seasons of nuTrek.   I'd previously written up a very lengthy review of Season One of Discovery (linked here) so I wasn't particularly optimistic given that the same folks were still involved in running the show(s) and that reviews written since weren't particularly flattering.  I will neither be verbose nor include any spoilers so no worries if you haven't watched either of the recent seasons.

Picard was, as expected, a major disappointment.  Admittedly, like with the movie JJverse, they did set the expectations early on with the star stating that it would NOT be like TNG and that it would, more recently, focus on real world hot button issues like President Trump's election and the Brexit vote.  Sadly, those descriptions of the direction of the show were spot on and it was a complete mess except for one (possibly overly nostalgic) episode.  If you're a long time fan who pines for an optimistic view of the future that Star Trek used to be known for, look elsewhere.  Heck, the TNG Mirror Universe comics are probably a more optimistic and hopeful depiction of Star Trek than this show.   As for Discovery Season 2, it was a definite improvement and approaches "OK" with some actual exploration and an ensemble cast doing trekky things before it devolves yet again into a CGI schlockfest of action you can't make out while Michael Burnham saves the universe.  While I don't have any hope for Season 3 of Discovery, the Pike/Spock/Number One dynamic was a definite improvement (albeit still flawed) and the recent announcement of another spinoff show focused on them might prove the adage correct about the third time being the charm.

On the home 3d modelling and printing front, I've mainly focused on random RPG characters for the Starfinder campaign that I'm playing in.  I've done up multiple versions of the Krogan that I'm playing as well as a flying space monkey in armor (based on Overwatch's Winston), a small round alien mechanic/gunner (based a Mass Effect Volus with 40k bits), and a skittercommando (a Starfinder iconic race).  I haven't actually painted up any models yet as my campaign has gone virtual (and intermittent) but I do hope to at least finish a Krogan this month.

And, finally, I did finish cutting up and printing out the various parts for my 3d Heavy Gear models with some mixed results.  I resized and reproportioned both the Hunter and the Grizzly but I can't help but disagree with my initial assessment that something closer to the official models would be an improvement.  Judging them on their individual merits, I think the "chunkier" versions are better.  Overall, I also think that the Hunter XMG is better suited to home 3d printing than the Grizzly and will likely at some point paint that one up to match my army colors.

Well, that's my bimonthly update for now!  Thanks for reading and I hope to have some more progress to post at the end of the month.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Winged Hussars arrive... in 3D!

It's been a while since I worked on my custom Winged Hussars chapter but I finally got around to the project but this time on the virtual hobby desk with a 3d model for the chapter.  I practiced first with both samurai and Ultramarine 3d models I've already posted here and now I've made a Winged Hussar variant using the same pose inspired by the Amulius model.

I made a custom shouder pad using the hussar symbol of the Polish 1st Armoured Division that served with the British in World War 2 (link here) as well as a Polish eagle converted into a double headed 40k style Imperial Aquila for his shin.  Hopefully that along with the actual wings on the back and a suitably slavic moustache will give the model enough visual flare on the tabletop.  If you're interested in downloading the model for free and printing it out yourself, feel free to check it on thingiverse here: 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Goldilocks and the Three Gears

I thankfully had both (relatively) warm and dry weather over the weekend and was able to print out a round of Heavy Gears.  I resized the various proportions and printed out both the Panda/Grizzly and Hunter XMG as multipiece models.  While the former turned out well, the latter had a misprint and needs another round of printing.  I was able to assemble the heavy support gear and decided to build it up as a Destroyer Grizzly armed with a heavy bazooka.

On center left is the original versin and on the right is the resized one.  While it's not evident from my photography, the detail is crisper than the original and, more importantly, crisper than it appears on screen.  It's still not equal to the traditionally cast metal minis from the official line but an improvement over the original.  I'm not entirely sure I've gotten the resin settings exactly dialed in and might attempt some test cube prints if I can find something useful.

I have to admit though that I'm not entirely happy with the new proportions as they now appear too thin which is surprising since I only shrunk the model on the XY plane by about 5% according to the statistics.  Much like the blog post title hints at, I might need to print out a third with proportions in between to get it just right since I'll be doing a third run regardless for the printer.  With that model, I'll also try out a different weapon loadout as well with the traditional panda minigun instead. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Courage and Honour! Ultramarine Primaris Captain 3d Model

For some inexplicable reason, I revisted my idea for remixing (i.e. digitally converting) a 40k primaris Ultramarine captain this weekend instead of working on my recent Heavy Gear models or painting my Rising Son 3d printed marines (link).  In between faffing about (since I'm using proper British spelling/nomenclature this post!) and watching series 2 of Altered Carbon, I combined over a dozen different files from thingiverse to make this 3d model.

Hopefully he is suitably ornate to represent an officer of his fine chapter!  I haven't played the game regularly since 5th edition (it's currently 8th) so I can't comment as to whether his loadout is optimal on the tabletop.  Regardless, he's armed with a relic chainsword, bolt rifle, bolt pistol, and iron halo.  If anyone prints it out or has any ideas on how to improve him visually, feel free to comment below. 

Edit:  I've added a second variant to the model at the same link as above that I'd like to call the Lion of Ultramar for obvious reasons.  :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A Pyrrhic 3d Print? My first Heavy Gear attempt

As mentioned in the last post, I attempted to accentuate the details on the model that weren't likely to print successfully like rivets and thin armor plates.  When zoomed in, the 3d models look pretty good!

These were an absolute pain to support properly but eventually after a few hours I was ready to print despite multiple crashes of the slicing program.  The print didn't have any obvious failures but it looks like both the depth of details and the overall scale aren't dialed in yet.

The print was done at 50 micron layer height with anti-aliasing enabled which normally turn out better than shown above.  The smaller Hunter XMG looks to have crisper corners but both could use some improvement in that regard as well as further thickening of details when possible.  Additionally, they're a bit bigger than I expected compared with the official models.  The hunter is simply too big but the grizzly is a bit too wide (though the height is good).  

As you can see in the unassembled picture, I did have an issue with weak joints on the models with a limb fracture on each while attempting to remove the supports.  Admittedly I could have been more gentle but there were a TON of supports to remove and I had to pull off areas of light supports as a group when possible.  The supports under the groin and butt plate were so thick that they were effectively a solid scaffold a few millimeters away from the surface of the model instead of a series of vertical trunks.  I've never had fractures like that in the past using the same technique so I definitely think the modular nature of the models (as opposed to models that are one piece) contributed to the weakness. On the plus side, I do think that the overall look of the models is good and will fit in with the other HG figs I have both in the Blitz scale shown above as well as the older RAFM scale that I've covered previously.

To cut down on the density (but not total number!) of supports needed, I've separated the models into a trio of parts each(engine, upper torso, lower limbs).  I've also done a third round of thickening of details like the rivets, hip armor plates, and antennae so that they'll be more stable and obvious.  Finally, I'm adjusting the individual dimensions/proportions of the models overall to better resemble those of the official models.  I hope to have positive things to report with my next round of printing this weekend!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Introducing my custom Heavy Gear Panda and Hunter XMG!

Recently, I was toying around with 3d modelling when I decided to try and extract the 3d models from the Heavy Gear Assault game.  Unlike last time, I was successful after an update of the programs used to accomplish it!  After looking through the models and animations, I settled on their Hunter and Grizzly models.  Both look significantly different from the original RPG and tabletop versions but luckily had "advanced" updates in the fluff that they could represent.

The Hunter was the simplest as it had a prebuilt model in the files so I started with that one.  I went through and removed various bits and bobs that are unlikely to print at such a small scale (whether Blitz or Rafm) as well as thickening up things that need to stay but have similar issues.  I added some extra details to make it more like the XMG like the head comm vanes and the shoulder armor ram plates (from Lego bricks!) as well as virtually kitbashing the MAC and rocket pod.  I also replaced the in game riot shield with another from thingiverse instead.

The grizzly was more difficult in that it needed to be preassembled from individual parts due to the in game armor damage and customization systems.  I went through the same process with this model to instead turn it into a Panda upgrade.  More parts were free-floating and  disconnected in this model so hopefully it will print ok when that time comes.  With the Panda, I needed a very heavy autocannon (think 40k assault gun or scifi chaingun) and I kitbashed one from a Titanfall weapon and the ingame gun.  I was hoping to give it a more angular look since it's a northern gear but hopefully it's still obvious enough as to what it is.  Similarly, I assembled from various parts the larger rocket pod and put it on the shoulder as it couldn't fit in back with the heavy mortar.  I also cobbled together tracks for the feet as they were missing (maybe they're a texture image file in game?).

Surprisingly, the pc game has both gears built on pretty much the same height skeletons so I decreased the size of the Hunter XMG by 15% to give me what turns out to be RPG artwork accurate relative heights between them (thanks Alberorius!).  With Ashley's help with RAFM measurements, I'll compare them to the RAFM physical models as well as the Blitz scale ones.  After a few more cleanup inspections, I'll be trying to print them out hopefully this weekend.  Wish me luck!

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Surprise Heavy Gear Fandom Retrospective!

Recently I've been working on posing and tweaking a Hunter 3d model from the defunct and incomplete Heavy Gear Assault game and the effort has surprisingly made me nostalgic again for the IP.   I've been both constructive (with my Heavy Gear Flash! house rules) and critical in the past on the blog but never really explained why I became interested in the game initially and still am despite their efforts to the contrary.

When the game came out in 1994, my only real experience in gaming was basically limited to a small handful of games.  The Rifts and Robotech rpgs by Palladium books were my gateway into the hobby and on the minis side I mainly played a very niche hand typed and bound historical/fantasy ruleset called Spear and Shield along with the FASA Star Trek ship combat game.  I had some minor experience with other big name systems like D&D 2nd edition, Gurps, and Warhammer (both FB and 40k) but they were typically one time experiences like demos that didn't catch my permanent interest.  I was familiar though with Dream Pod 9 from their work on Palladium's Macross 2 RPG supplements as well as their Mecha Press magazine.  I really liked their overall style and modern (for its time) art filled desktop publishing layout which was a huge break from the simple typed hand layout with the occasional single piece of art per column or page style that was the baseline in 1980's RPGs.

In the spring of 1994, I started seeing advertisements for a clearly VOTOM inspired RPG and miniatures game called Heavy Gear by the same company.  Being a fan of VOTOMS (or more specifically the Scope Dog designs), I was really excited for it.  Better yet, it was premiering that year at GenCon and I was already planning on going to the convention for the first time!  I signed up for multiple sessions of the game and enjoyed them all.  The RAFM lead miniatures used were both affordable and a great representation of the consistently great art by Ghislain Barbe.  The RPG and tactical rules were a single purpose built ground up coherent system that was a breath of fresh air from the typical core D&D style fantasy systems with scifi elements crudely bolted on that I was used to.   It really was the perfect combination for a cashed strapped part time employed student gamer who was into mech-based anime as well as both tabletop and RPG games!  I was hooked that weekend and picked up every book for several years and most minis for my chosen faction (the North) as well as a smattering for the South.
It may not seem special nowadays but it really did feel revolutionary at the time for me compared with what I was used to.  Something as simple as the paratrooper gears (like the Hunter Commando above) excited me to no end.  I'd look at the miniature and see cool things like roll bars, padding, and air brakes that made a design I already liked different but varied!  When I looked at the rules, they actually reflected those changes in a coherent way both in the miniatures and RPG game via rules like the airdroppable and rugged movement system perks that were developed long BEFORE they were needed.  This wasn't just another throwaway line in a random piece of equipment but rather something practical that seamlessly meshed both with the backstory and mechanics.  It was clear that alot of effort went into building all this way before the first product came out and it showed.  It's been that initial love of the game and the world that has kept me periodically coming back in for over 25 years.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

State of the Blog Address (2019 in Review)

I have to say that this year passed by quickly!  It's basically a blog tradition that I go over what I did and didn't accomplish over the past 12 months and this year is yet again a bit of a mixed bag.  I'm the traditional hobby front, 2019 wasn't unfortunately much different than the prior year.  I managed to finish what I thought would be my final Winged Hussar (link here) as well as four figs for basically the same rpg character idea.  Why so many?  Well, the character changed as well as my ideas of how to portray him.   The first fig (link here) was printed on shapeways for a previous defunct campaign attempt whereas the others were done at home on my only big hobby project purchase, the Elegoo Mars 3d printer.

I had previously thought I was done with my hussar project but the upcoming release of Master Lazarus for 40k as well as a free 3d model from Artel W might convince me to dip my toes back into that pool later this year.  In the meantime, I've taken a stab at samurai inspired space marines instead with some success (link here) that I have yet to paint as well as a Space Wolf that at least I finished (link here).

Too big...too small...just right!

On the Star Trek front, I made a few entries to my SHIELD UP! house rules section.  While I didn't end up revising my Fasa STSTCS ship manual, I revised the existing D-15 FASA ship (link here) as well as added the Atlas dreadnought to my STA house rules (link here).  I also decided to test out a theory regarding whether you could noticeably improve prepainted heroclix minis with a quick wash and/or drybrush (link here).    Finally, I  came up with some more nuanced rules for playing STA in the Enterprise/NX era of trek (link here).  In that same update, I previewed a 3d version of my old NXL ship design which later got a test print or two (link here) but I never did more with them.  It's not alot but I suppose an optimistic way to look at it would be that I put out at least quarterly trek updates if averaged out for the year.  I don't have any ambitious plans for the trek side of the hobby but I do hope to revisit printing my NXL design now that I'm more experienced with supporting prints as well as coming out with a short Klingon D-7 update for FASA.  I generally need a direct motivation for my hobby work and the lack of any real chance of playing anything trek related locally unfortunately hampers that.
 Cactus Trek!

Ending the recap on a positive note, I was finally able to find a relatively stable rpg group this past year.  While I'm not enamored particularly with the ruleset (review link), it works for me as a player and we've been managing a monthly game since the summer.  It's because of that campaign that I've been focused more on my Krogan miniatures than the others.  I'd love it if we were playing longer than the 3-4 hours per session we average as well as playing every two weeks as originally planned instead of monthly but it's a good group of easy going players and I'm glad to have them.  With that, my yearly TL;DR hobby therapy session post is over and I wish everyone a happy 2020!
Another upcoming Krogan RPG character mini!