Star Wars 3D Printing – At the Court of Emperor Palpatine

The 3D printers have been running hot recently outputing a whole host of Star Wars miniatures. I am concentrating mainly on building an Imperial force at the moment and have turned my attention away from the troops to the top brass.

(I have, as usual, included links to where I have obtained these models, but to make things a bit clearer have also included a useful table at the end of the article summarising what came from where.)

First: the big boss man, Emperor Sheev Palpatine. This model complete with diorama base and guards is from the Patreon of Madox.

Not sure about the bare feet, but otherwise a lovely miniature to print and paint.

It is part of the welcome pack that becomes available when you sign up. The three figures were printed in resin on my AnyCubic Photon, with the base done in filament on my Creality CR-10S FDM printer.

The Royal Guard are highly stylised compared to their on screen counterparts (and the official Legion models). Not that pleased with the paint job on these, but the beauty of 3D printing is that I can just try again following a re-print.

Next up a model from Skull Forge Studios, which I actually purchased and painted a few months ago, but dug out again for this article. Sold as the ‘Authority Grand Duke’, this is my take on Grand Moff Tarkin.

Since I painted up the Grand Moff I have realised that his rank badge isn’t quite right, but hey ho, still looks the part).

Like my other Imperial officers this paint scheme was primarily based on a German Field Grey paint set I have from Andrea Color.

I’ve recently been getting my Star Wars fix, post -Mandalorian by binge watching (for the first time), the animated Rebels series on Disney+. I tried watching ‘The Clone Wars’ a few years ago and couldn’t get into it, but I absolutely loved Rebels. Two of the key Imperial villains in the last two series are Governor Pryce and Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Pryce is based on a female Imperial officer figure available from the Patreon of BigMillerBro, while I found the Thrawn miniature files free to download from Thingiverse.

Thrawn’s all white uniform was made slightly easier through the use of contrast paints. (Interesting the version of this model I downloaded from Thingiverse no longer appears to be on the site; however if you search for ‘Thrawn’ it looks like there are a few alternatives available.)

Next we have two of the Emperor’s advisors who appear briefly in Return of the Jedi. Like Thrawn these were free downloads from Thingiverse (designed by McAnultyMiniatures – well worth checking out – there are even Ewoks!).

Last but not least is the only model I have completed as part of this batch that is not 3D printed. The standing version of Palpatine is the actual Star Wars Legion model (albeit with the base swapped out for a 3D printed base I also purchased from the Madox Gumroad store).

MODELFILE AVAILABLE FROM
Emperor Palpatine Throne Room DioramaMadox 3D Design Patreon
Grand Moff TarkinSkull Forge Studios Gumroad store
Governor PryceBigMillerBro Patreon
Grand Admiral ThrawnThingiverse (free download) – no longer available.
Emperor’s AdvisorsThingiverse (free download)
Emperor PalpatineStar Wars Legion miniature by Fantasy Flight Games – available from you friendly local games store
Scenic basesMadox 3D Design Gumroad store

Imperial Entanglements – Rebuilding my (Star Wars) Legion

A few years ago I got heavily into Star Wars Legion, but then relatively quickly sold the collection I had built up. This was partly due to a lack of gaming opportunities, but primarily because I needed the cash. However recently my Star Wars enthusiasm has been stoked again by the Mandalorian TV series and I have found myself wanting to ‘hobby Star Wars hard’!

Two big things have changed in my world since my last foray into the tabletop of a galaxy far, far away. These things are Games Workshop’s Citadel Contrast Paints and 3D printing. With the former I am no longer averse to painting lots of white Stormtooper armour and the latter (combined with the availability of designs online) means I have a lot more options available in terms of scenery and vehicles.

Base coat – contrast – highlight – Contrast paint actually making white fun!

Game-wise I am yet to decide whether to give Legion itself a try again (this would require investing in a new core set), but what I do know I want to do is give the 7TV version of Star Wars ago.

Published a few years ago and still available (for free) from the Crooked Dice Game Design Studio website this is a ‘programme guide’ of profiles and gadget cards based on the 7TV second edition rules. These profiles are based on the original trilogy and being 7TV I am fully intending to expand on some of these and add in some support the Mandalorian cast and potentially other characters.

So far I have been concentrating on the bad guys. My Stormtroopers are 3D files from Dark Fire Designs (printed in resin on my AnyCubic Photon) and mix in well with a box of Legion Scout Troopers I recently aquired.

A mix of Star Wars Legion plastics (Scouts) and 3D printed models (everything else)

The recipe for painting these guys was to start with a white undercoat (in this case GW Corax White from a can), slap down some contrast Apothecary White, dry brush highlights in Corax again and then fill in the under armour gaps with contrast Black Templar.

Weapons were picked out in a gun metal and given a wash of contrast Basilicum Grey.

Also 3D printed (files from the Patreon of ‘BigMillerBro’ who specialises in Star Wars Legion compatible models) were my Imperial Officers and Navy Troopers. The officers were painted up from a black undercoat using primarily an Andrea Color German Field Grey paint set I have. Not my best work, but a nice addition to the force.

I really enjoyed doing the Navy Troopers – again they were painted up from a black undercoat using primarily dark greys and washes. With both these and the officers I used a gloss Nuln Oil wash from GW for the leather boots and also in the case of the troopers the signature helmets.

Basing? Well I’ve gone in this initial batch for an Endor style base (I have a Scout Walker I am working on – also a 3D print) and I think this goes well with the Scouts.

AT-ST – file from Dark Fire Designs

The good thing about 3D printing and having a quick and easy paint scheme is of course if I want to base some of these guys for other environments I can just batch out a few more. I’d like to do some more with an interior basing scheme (imagine running a game in a Star Destroyer or the Death Star and you get the idea).

I’m also working on a 3D printed Imperial Shuttle – but more on that soon…..

Ironblood’s Creature – The Kraken Awakes

Continuing my Action Force in 28mm scale project and expanding ‘The Enemy’ forces of Baron Ironblood I present my version of ‘The Kraken’.

The Kraken in my vintage Action Force collection.

Kraken was initially a mail away figure in the Palitoy Action Force range and in the Battle Action Force comics was discovered frozen in the Arctic by the evil Baron before being reproduced in his labs as part of his army.

The Kraken data file from the Battle Action Force comic

I designed these in Hero Forge and printed them out on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer. I did three designs in Hero Forge, all based on the ‘Dragon-person’ template.

Digital render of one of the designs from my Hero Forge account

I’ve not attempted to do a ‘screen accurate’ version of the original toy, these are more a homage. However I have tried to replicate some of the key features of the figure. Primarily this meant arming my Krakens with some form of trident and trying to replicate the clothing (which to me always looked like some sort of swimming costume).

The prints in the bare resin.

For two of the designs I added backpacks and to maintain the look armed them with a suitably sci-fi looking blasters.

I’m rather pleased with the results – one of the tridents snapped while I was handling the miniature post-print. Rather than re-print I left as-is and I think it works as a variation on the weapon.

I went for a fairly straightforward paint job using primarily Citadel contrast paints, washes and some basic highlighting.

These guys are going straight into my Red Shadows cast for 7TV. The 7TV 1967 Annual contains an ‘official’ profile for the Kraken and I look forward to bringing one or more of these guys to the gaming table soon. Action Force beware!

By your command – Galactic Centurions and Imperious Leader

Spiralling out of painting up some of the ‘not-Cylon’ models from the recent 7TV Argonauts Kickstarter I found myself (as often happens) searching the internet for other similar models.

Over on Thingiverse I found a free 3D file for a ‘Galactic Centurion’ designed by ‘BigMrTongue’ (aka Mike Tongue). I liked the look of this and it got me thinking about building a Cylon army/cast for 7TV.

Over on Patreon I discovered that Mike has a page and offers a whole load of variations on this design with lots of poses and variations in weaponry. A quick click later I was signed up and downloading.

I printed these all on my AnyCubic Photon resin printer and was really pleased with the results (despite the odd misprint due to my missing some supports). In general I was able to get a lot printed in one go and in the end finished with around 30 models in various poses.

My intention was to speed paint these and so I settled on spray cans and contrast paints as the chosen method. Undercoating in grey, I then basecoated using a ‘Poundland’ silver car spray. This resulted in a very bright finish – a good match for the highly shiny Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica.

Black details were picked out in, well…. black! However using Citadel contrast black allowed me to quickly get these done and had the added bonus of letting the underlying metallic basecoat shine through giving a nice robotic look.

The models included a short ‘skirt’ at the back. While in the original TV series I believe these were also black, I fancied added a bit of colour so these were done using a Contrast Blood Angels red. Again with the very bright silver underneath this ended up looking quite metallic, which was quite pleasing.

I went ‘off-piste’ again in terms of screen accuracy with the weapons, choosing a copper from Vallejo to add additional contrast to the rest of the scheme. This was then dulled down with a Contrast paint wash using Astronomicon Grey (which I have found to be hugely effective as a finish for metallics on many different colours).

The most fiddly bit was left until last – the addition of the famous eye scanner. Just a drop of red in this case.

For some variation (and to indicate an officer class perhaps), I decided to paint a handful of the ‘Centurions’ in a gold livery. I cannot honestly remember if gold Cylons appeared in the original series (I have a feeling they may have been in the re-imagined series later on in the run). These were basecoated using a combination of Humbrol acrylic sprays (these can be easily picked up from model shops and shops such as Boyes and Hobbycraft in the UK and I think are oft overlooked as an option for tabletop gaming hobbyists).

My approach here was to lay down a solid ‘Brass’ base and then to a light top down dusting with ‘Gold’. The remaining steps were as per the standard silver troops.

So what about a leader for these robotic menaces? Well it just so happens that over the past few months I have been providing 3D printing services for a new company called Tangent Miniatures. Tangent produce a lovely range of figures in 28mm scale inspired by popular TV series and films that wonderfully slot into 7TV and complement the range from Crooked Dice. So far Wayne at Tangent has produced galactic hitchikers, space fighter heroes and some dimension hopping adventurers and cops. I have had the pleasure of 3D printing the resin masters for all of these and some ranges that are awaiting release in the new year (January). These include some ‘space heroes’ that would fit in really well as enemies for my Galactic Centurions, and also excitingly a ‘supreme imperious leader’ for the shiny robot men.

I’ve painted up one of the masters for the imperious leader, however I felt like he could use an imposing throne from which to order his legions.

So a couple of coke cans and a dip into the bits box later I have this. While in no way exactly the same of the screen version I think this works really nicely. The base I put on the leader fits exactly into the top of the can and I have not glued this so I can use the figure away from this scenery piece in games.

The paint job on the ‘throne column’ was again kept very simple and achieved entirely through the use of spray cans (the weather being kind to me on enough days to get this completed relatively quickly).

So there we are, a legion of Galactic Centurions and their leader, ready to pursue and hunt down the remaining human fleet.

Hobby 2.0 – 3D printing for tabletop gaming

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’.

2019-04-06 23.01.12
The printer I chose is a Creality CR-10S – a good budget printer with a large print bed

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.

2019-04-07 19.13.37
My very first 3D print – a cobblestone base.  Start small in order to test and tweak settings.

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.

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: