3D Printing and War Game Modelling

Guest Writer: Bryan Parke

As a child I watched Star Trek and dreamt of the day that the replicator would become a reality; cool stuff materialising right before my eyes. We aren’t in that future utopia just yet, but we are edging closer; and we whilst we don’t have replicators we do have access to 3D printing technology.

3D printers are available on the High Street but the price point makes them a luxury item. Luckily hobbyists and gamers interested in 3D printing have alternatives available to them, including the Shapeways website where all kinds of interesting products can be printed to order.

I am a keen wargamer; both as a player and hobbyist (i.e. building and painting the miniature figures needed to play the afore-mentioned wargames). My latest project is an army of Space Marines for Warhammer 40,000 called the Carcharodons Astra (or Space Sharks; cheesy but pretty cool). Each Space Marine force has their own unique heraldry like knights of old which for the Carcharodons is a white shark on a black background. My free hand painting skills aren’t up to scratch to paint these details, and I thought I’d like to try an alternative to using decals.

I’ve ordered some Shark icons and shoulder pads from the Pop Goes The Monkey store on Shapeways. They arrived recently and I’ve already started playing with them.

First up are the Mako Shark icons:

Mako Sharks

Mako Sharks

There’s a reasonable amount of detail given the small size of the pieces. I attempted to glue an icon to a Space Marine Scout shoulder pad, but alas I think the pad is too small (or the icon too large depending on your point of view), and I snapped the tail at its thin joint trying to position the shark correctly. I won’t bother using these on the scouts in future, but will save them for regular Space Marine shoulder pads and the larger models like the various Primaris Marines.

A second experiment with a regular Space Marine shoulder pad, and a more accurate application of super glue was much more successful:

Shoulder pads with icon on minis

Shoulder pads with icon on minis

 

Up next are the shoulder pads. These come in a variety of styles to match the various Marks of Space Marine Power armour, and I’ve chosen a standard rimmed set (“Gen 7”) which comes as a sprue of 10. It’s made from a frosty plastic, so the detail is a bit tricky to make out:

I applied the usual regime when dealing with new models (wash in warm soapy water, then rinse in cold, leave to dry thoroughly) before priming the inside of one of the pads:

Primed Pad

Primed Pad

You can see the detail a lot more clearly now. And of course, I had to paint it! It took the paint with no problems at all:

Now Painted!

Now Painted!

I’m very pleased with how this has turned out. The final question of course is how does the shoulder pad piece fit to a Space Marine? So here is one I prepared earlier:

Axe Man

Axe Man

Overall I’m very happy with the 3D printed icons and pads; they are fairly easy to work with (I found them easier than working with decals), and look a lot more impressive than any free hand I could attempt! These are a recommended purchase for the budding Space Marine Commander.

Links: Pop Goes the Monkey Shapeways Store: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/

A version of this article originally appeared on Bryan’s blog: https://varchildesvault.blogspot.co.uk/

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