For an ‘Aliens obsessed’ friend I recently completed printing, assembling and painting the iconic Colonial Marines Armoured Personnel Carrier.
There were no shortage of models available to browse and download on Thingiverse. The once I settled on, based on being both pre-scaled and available to print almost in one piece (a big advantage of the large print bed the CR-10S gives me) was this by Iava808.
Overall print time was long! The chassis alone took nearly a day, however the resulting model was well worth it.
Using a base of PSC German Field Grey from a can and a bit of drybrush highlighting followed by a wash of Citadel Athonian Camoshade did the job nicely.
As the nice gentleman said: “Game over man, game over…”.
As previously discussed I have approached this in a module manner. Each of the 2 foot square tiles now has a removable leg support and ‘concrete boot’, the idea being that the four of them can be arranged in any combination to vary the gaming service as required. Each of these component parts of the platform will be themed to a specific ‘function’ of the oil rig and in summary these will be bridge/ops centre/crew quarters, helicopter landing pad, loading crane/storage area and refinery.
It’s the latter two that I have been initially concentrating on.
For the refinery I have used a modular plastic model kit of a ‘Chemical Plant’. Manufactured by Tehnolog in Russia, but sold under licence around the world (in the US by Pegasus Hobbies and the UK by Pocketbond) this kit is out of production but you can still find the odd boxed and version on eBay.
I picked up a complete set a few months ago with the original intention of this being used for a post apocalypse tabletop for 7TV. In the end this fits the bill for ‘the business end’ of the oil rig quite nicely. Fully hard plastic and stuffed full of components, this is really like a lego kit for wargames scenery builders. It does have some instructions and suggestions on how to build, but I really just free formed it with all the pipes, valves and tanks available. This did end up being a bit fiddly, but was a gentle distraction for a couple of hours. In addition to the core bits and pieces from the kit I added in some extra touches from my bits box, including some 40k scenery bits (in red plastic in the photos) and some platform pieces from the Robogear Starter Set (also produced by Tehnolog).
Rather than build this directly onto the platform I found a separate base for this (an old Warhammer movement tray), with addition of some magnets I’ll be able to use this as part of the rig table or just as a standalone piece elsewhere (meaning it may see the apocalypse after all).
For the time being I have kept painting simple, a black undercoat and all over gun metal drybrush. Various ‘tanks’ have been picked out in red, with ‘valves’ painted gold. At some point moving forward I will look to weather this up suitably.
Crane and loading area
For this part of the board I wanted a big structure and rather than try and build something completely from scratch I’ve gone down the MDF kit route. TTCombat do some really good value kits and I’ve gone with their ‘dockside crane’. Again I’m approaching this from a modular view point with the idea being this can be removed from the rig and used as a separate piece on a different board as required.
The build on this was fairly straightforward, with minimal fuss, although the tolerances were very tight and I have had to do some creative trimming to make all the parts fit. This was more down to my lack of care and precision rather than any inherent issue with the kit.
I painted this in quite a basic manner blocking out colours roughly and allowing the subsequent weathering to do a lot of the work for me (masking mistakes and dulling down some of the primary colours). Warning stripes were added using an MDF stencil, again from TTCombat. The stenciled lettering and logos on were ‘painted’ using Gundam paint marker pens.
I wanted to give the crane a look that, although operational, it was no longer cared for or maintained properly. This involved extensive use of rust effects, including dry brushing of Citadel Ryza Rust, a liberal application of some Modelmates Rust Effects and the use of weathering sprays from Plastic Soldier Company. The whole model was then sealed using a liberal all over spray of Testors Dullcote.
I’ve also started to add some colour to the platform tiles themselves. Again I am keeping this quite basic for the time being. A base coat of silver was applied using a cheap (and very smelly) can of paint sourced from Poundland and an brush on of Army Painter Quickshade Dark Tone was then applied. This was again dulled and sealed using Dullcote. There is some further tidy up and weathering to do here, but that is for another time.
I’ve been sitting on the fence when it comes to 3D printing for a couple of years now. This has partly been down to funds, but also in no small part to the time investment required and ease of use of both hardware and software.
However this last Christmas I took the opportunity to pick up a 3D printer for the first time. After a couple of months of sitting in a box I finally got this up and running over the last couple of weeks and have started my journey into what I am calling ‘Hobby 2.0’.
Let’s get things straight from the off, 3D printing at home is by no means a ‘plug and play’ experience yet. Yes, the affordability has put this technology within the reach of most now (in the same way as other new technology over the years has gradually got both more affordable and more powerful over time). The key thing to accept though is that 3D printing at the moment is a hobby in its own right. It requires time and patience and a willingness to fail in order to get better.
There are plenty of great articles and resources out there on the internet for those wanting to get involved for the first time, so the purpose of this article is not to present a detailed guide to getting started, but to offer some advice and share my experiences so far as a tabletop gaming hobbyist trying to get into this new and exciting technology.
Expect most prints to take significantly longer than this!
An early print using the cheap free PLA I got with the printer
More early prints using the cheaper material
After switching to Suntop PLA and upping temperature settings I started getting better results
An early vehicle print – I’ve since learned that I was running too low a ‘nozzle’ temp at the time. Hence the ‘splitting’ of layers. Trial and error has formed a big part of the learning process.
My main takeaways from about a month of 3D printing for tabletop gaming so far are as follows:
Don’t expect miracles (be patient and take stock) – prints will fail and in some cases may not turn out exactly as you planned, but bear in mind just what we are now able to achieve in our own homes!
Expect to do more work after the print is finished – you are not going to get a tabletop ready model straight off the printer. Some clean-up will be required (but then that’s half the fun of being a hobbyist isn’t it?)
It takes a long time – prints can take hours or even days – again, however just consider what we are now able to do in our own front rooms!
Little things can make a big difference, be that ‘bed leveling’, temperature settings or the type and make of filament you are using.
Get a buddy or a guru if you can – I’ve been very lucky to get some great support off a fellow 3D printing gamer via Facebook. Ask questions on forums and social media, watch YouTube videos, read articles, but accept that everyone’s’ experiences and setup can very.
Get on Thingiverse and have a browse! Can’t recommend this site enough for free model files.
In order to process 3D print files (STL) for you printer you will need some ‘slicing’ software. Find some software you like and can get on with. For me Cura has proven ideal, is widely used in the community, is relatively easy to use and has some good features.
So as I say this isn’t a detailed ‘how to’ guide, but I hope it offers some perspective on what to me is a fascinating new aspect to the tabletop hobby.
I’ll be doing plenty of articles moving forward on taking my 3D prints to the tabletop, so stay tuned. You can see some of my efforts so far below: