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Discussion Starter #281

+++ Procrastination Sub-Routines ∙ Halt +++ Time Allocation ∙ Assessing… +++ … Adjusting Labour Schedule +++ Productivity Sub-Routines ∙ Initializing +++

Yeah, that’s going to work just fine for these counts-as Arc Rifles I bashed up. I think I want to add something on the top of the packs just to balance them a bit more, but I’m happy with the result so far. Overcharged pistols for extra range? Yeah, I think they communicate that and Rule of Cool makes up for any deficiencies.

Back to painting in the near future, but before that I need to get productive! Time to make some more ideas real. I better get used to the rhythmic sounds of Servitor Solus, because it’s going to be running night-and-day in the near future.

GW might tempt me with all that they are up to, and I’ve already broken down and made a small order, but I shall be strong and avert my attention for the time being as I get my butt in gear again. The weather is finally starting to shift, and I think my mood is starting to notice it; the first birds of spring have returned and it’s always a sound that reminds me that I made it through another winter. Urge to create… rising! Damn, I can’t wait to get a much better look at new Chaos kits so I can get a good feel for the design language GW is using on them now. I need more inspiration for how I’m doing to do warped and daemonic components and models. Ooo… it’s such a good time to be bad. *Grins manically with eye wide*
 
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Discussion Starter #282
Two roads diverged in a galaxy, and I

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

∙ (Mostly) Robert Frost



Aww [expletive deleted] that! Here, time has no meaning! I have traveled all the roads! Glory to the Dark Pantheon undivided!


The re-re-re-building of a Black Legion Warband; and this time, I mean it!


∙ A rare visage of the Warmaster will oversee this project. However, I think it is time to move him to a cooler colour pallet. Red is so last millennium, darling… and, no capes!

In the immortal words of Barney, upon toasting his successful completion of astronaut training,


I’m usually not attracted to limited edition products but as a long time Black Legion collector when Abaddon cracked Cadia I couldn’t help but pick up a copy of this signed print to commemorate the event; admittedly, it’s not my favourite rendition of Abaddon but those are the whims of the Warp and at least it can’t become obsolete like a limited edition rulebook. It was actually part of an Adeptus Mechanicus bundle which was an odd combination but I was collecting kits for my Adeptus Mechanicus project that I took up as a break from Chaos, biding my time waiting for GW to give up the goods of this current release, so it was a good fit for me at the time with an eye to future plans.

With the new Warmaster heralding a significant update to the core Chaos line, now is the time to revive my true muse and first passion, and soon, stop repressing the whispers from the Warp with binaric cants… or perhaps, the cants have been corrupted and subverting me all along. As GW keeps opening a Dark door ever wider it compels me to enter and consider the possibilities of a proper Chaos Space Marines and Dark Mechanicus project made real, and I think yes, it is time.


∙ I’m also not usually a sucker for themed dice, but again, the lure of Chaos was too great for me with the Black Legion dice.

But first, as another plug for our sponsors and hobby addiction enablers, a brief review. Despite ordering some, I was skeptical and little worried that the gold might be dull and flat. I’m glad to discover that they are a nice proper rich gold colour and it has a nice swirling pearl-like lustre that has some depth. They’re even quite readable at a glance with the pips, points, skulls, and Horus Eye. Good job on these GW. I’ll also be taking a set and painting groups of five with different coloured faces for doing combined rolls, because hey, why not?

So, with my Mechanicus project rather close to being complete I’ll still be putting the bulk of my hobby time towards getting that finished so I’ve got a table ready army on deck for when I want to actually throw some dice. However, the acquisition of the required personnel, wargear, and supplies has commenced, is ongoing, and I am eagerly awaiting my next dispatch. The only problem is, there’s too much choice! I can’t, for the life of me, settle on a well-rounded list to make as a core army, so I think for now I’m kinda’ liking this ‘pressure list’ that I came up with.

Black Legion Double Battalion – 1,994 points

Battalion Detachment – Bringers of Despair
Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour: Combi-Bolter, Power Axe – Foecleaver
Chaos Sorcerer in Terminator Armour: Combi-Bolter, Force Stave
Chaos Terminators x8: Combi-Bolter x4, Chain Axe x4, Combi-Plasma x3, Reaper Autocannon, Chainfist, Power Fist x3
Chaos Space Marines x5: Chainsword, Combi-Plasma, Reaper Chaincannon
Chaos Space Marines x5: Chainsword, Combi-Plasma, Reaper Chaincannon
Chaos Rhino Transport: Combi-Bolter x2, Havoc Launcher
Chaos Cultists x15

Battalion Detachment – Soulforged Pack
Lord Discordant: Mechatendrils, Chainglaive, Autocannon
Warpsmith: Mechatendrils, Power Axe, Meltagun, Flamer
Chaos Decimator: Siege Claw w. Hellflamer, Decimator Storm Laser
Kytan Ravager: Great Cleaver of Khorne, Kytan Gatling Cannon
Chaos Space Marines x5: Chainsword, Combi-Plasma, Reaper Chaincannon
Chaos Space Marines x5: Chainsword, Combi-Plasma, Reaper Chaincannon
Chaos Rhino Transport: Combi-Bolter x2, Havoc Launcher
Chaos Cultists x15: Autogun


If I drop the Decimator I can swap out the Chaos Lord for Abaddon without changing anything else, so the Warmaster is also a consideration in this list; I wish it could include an Apostle but I don’t want to drop the Warpsmith and/or shave wargear and/or bodies. Still not sure what Warlord Trait/s I’m going to take and if I want to add another relic. Double Battalions gives plenty of CP but it starts to add up when you want to take all the toys.

In classic Chaos form, the idea is to simply cram the entire list down my opponent’s throat. As the Cultists, Marines in Rhinos, Decimator, Kytan and Lord Discordant push into the midfield in the first turn, the Terminators can hopefully find an opening in turn two as the other army is trying to deal with all that. I especially like that the Soulforged Pack will mean that the Kytan needs to be all but killed or it can be boosted back to functional with the Daemonforge Overdrive stratagem. You need to knock off at least 3/4 of its wounds or the stratagem brings it right back to the top bracket. If a Kytan with the Decimator tagging along doesn’t distract, nothing will. Now I gotta’ figure out how to get them across the field with few enough holes in them to get some work done. Each of the Lord Discordant, Decimator, and Kytan are dangerous in their own right so even if just one gets through… I think it will work, but then…

… there’s those wonderful new Havocs, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Obliterators (and I ordered some Ambots to convert – mine will be Dark Mech, damn-it!) and the big bad guy himself Abaddon is begging for some field time (and I have no choice but to paint his glorious model), and Raptors have suddenly become more interesting, and the Apostle is finally more useful, and I've got a formation of three Predators begging for a chance, and a wonderful Land Raider, and I’ve got things like a Sicaran, Spartan, and Fire Raptor sitting in the wings waiting their turn… Yeah, I’ve been getting ready for this for years, and now… I don’t know what collection of chaotic monstrosities I want to create first! It’s a good problem to have, don’t get me wrong, but it’s sure tempting my hobby butterfly syndrome to flare up and I don’t need that right now. I will be resolute! Cultists and Marines first, and while I’m at that I can contemplate the rest in greater depth. The call of Chaos is gaining volume again, and this time there are more voices in the chorus than ever; chanting their siren song of dark prayers and I have little choice but to obey. They have so many wonderfully Dark ideas to share…

As always, comments, questions, general banter and ideas/input for list composition are always welcome. I didn’t even focus on Chaos during 7th edition so it’s been a while since I’ve been thinking about Chaos builds and the game is so different in 8th edition that it’s a bit daunting to get my bearings again. All things Chaos, Mechanicus, and Dark places in-between to arrive in the coming weeks, months, and years, from my personal hobby-bench and from the studio workbench so keep the comm-link active.
 

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Discussion Starter #284


∙ Within the vast armouries of the Warmaster the endless mundane wargear of the Legions must also be maintained with cut, grind, blow, weld, rivet, bolt, and screw; the Warsmith directs the primitive energies of fire, force, friction, and motive force, to the sacred task of administering the many rites of maintenance, placation, and repair in service to the Warmaster’s grand arsenal. One of many small-but-crucial cogs in the great war engine that is the Legion.

I have yet to build any of the other models in the Chaos Marine kit and some Havocs and Terminators just arrived today, so I’m still just taking stock of the kits. That said, I couldn’t help myself, and I dabbled away a little and came up with this personal take on a Warpsmith. I’ve never been a big fan of the ‘cloak of cables’ look that GW has been giving the Warpsmith models so I’m taking cues from the new Lord Discordant who as a better concept of what I’d prefer a Warpsmith to look like. I do still want to add a few more dangling cables and maybe another Mechatendril but nothing as over-the-top as the GW model/s.

So far, the level of detail in the new kits is simply amazing, as per GW’s track record the last several years. I’m going to hold of final judgement until I see just how everything assembles and how much room there is for creativity within the kits and throughout the rest of the release and between the larger line. So far I think the base models are really nice and despite any gripes about bits selection or design choices I think they look very promising. I’m looking forward to dabbling with them more, but I’m trying to force myself to keep it to a slow burn lest I get overwhelmed by too much temptation too quickly. I’ve walked the long road for quite some time now, I know not to rush things… but it can be sooo temping when the lure is this sweet. Truly, I am lost to the whims of Chaos…
 

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Discussion Starter #285


∙ I started the first Warsmith before the new Havocs were in my grubby hands. Once I saw the models an upgrade was in order.

He is a 4W H.Q. Character after all so the larger starting model simply suites him better. I still used a 32mm base to keep him in line with other Power Armour H.Q. models; to me the 40mm bases of the Havocs just seems like an excuse for the new models to go back somewhat to their old lunging poses that are less desirable in my opinion. Since I’m changing the direction of pose I needed to add a small shim of plastic to the foot to alter the tilt of the model. It has a bit of a lean/hunch to compliment the intended bits and it needed to change in order to get the new Meltagun arm to cooperate better with the model. Speaking of the Meltagun arm…

… I am not a fan of the… unique… solution that GW chose for the wrist connections. The little key tabs, while a little useful in some of the by-the-book assemblies, really seem like an unnecessary complexity that will need to be dealt with all the time during the very common kit-bash of swapping weapons between arms. It’s the K.I.S.S. principle of design; Keep It Simple, Stupid. Beyond this minor quibble and a few other small things (oh look, GW’s up to the bits selection shenanigans, again) there’s a lot to like about the new Chaos kits and it’s going to be fun to see just what concoctions can be mixed up.

I like the details in some of the other Havoc models a bit more for a Warsmith build but this one has the pose that best suited the outstretched ‘one-handed Meltagun shot’ bash I had come up with initially and I wanted to keep that. I guess this just means that I need to make another Warsmith (or two) using one of my preferred models. Being the lowest cost Chaos H.Q., I don’t see this as a problem. The entire kit is gorgeous and the extra bulk of the models does a good job of conveying a larger-than-average Character model that would have more Wounds than a rank-and-file Troop. Why not find an excuse (or many) to use the models outside of Havoc squads?


∙ I’ve still got freedom in the left arm and I’m having a hard time picking the stance I want the weapon in. I like them both for different reasons.

It’s a little thing, but it’s always this point where a bash is reaching the final tweaks that can be the most trying and somehow the most rewarding. I like the more casual pose that’s more static and has a, ‘*Sigh* Now I’m going to shoot you’ feel to it, but with the weapon in a more ready posture it gives a ‘First, I’m going to shoot you with this, then…” I’m in the same boat with the head, which I switched to being bare with the small horn; I like it, but I’m worried it’s looking a bit small/sunken in the armour – maybe a thin shim to raise it a tiny bit? But a full helmet deals with it much more readily. Ah well, a few more tweaks and perhaps another gubbins or two and this little diversion will be ready for some primer.


∙ As another little nibble at the Chaos cookie I’ve assembled the first ten Marines for the new-and-improved Warband. Mmm… new Chaos… *Nibble*

I still wish the wastes were ‘ball joints’ or at least if the torsos could be swapped without it being a major chore, even if there was limited flexibility in the range-of-motion. But with ten wonderful unique models to use as a base bashing and converting up lots of variety in a collection won’t be that hard. I know I’m not the only one who was drawn to Chaos for the opportunity to kit-bash and convert models so I’m not intimidated and more encouraged by the quality of the ever-expanding selection of bits-and-pieces to choose from to create with going forward.

Damn, this gunna’ geet guuuud! Keep the comm-link active.
 
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Discussion Starter #286
Mallory: “Krieger!”
Krieger: “Jazz hands!!”
Mallory: “I should have never taken him to see The Wiz.”
Lana: “The Broadway show or the movie?”



Mallory: *Sighs* “Both.”


∙ Jazz hands indeed. After two attempts and a bunch of tweaking, I think I’m finally happy with these Marine hands.

A tiny component that is critical to any handheld bits that I want to produce going forward I avoided doing a set of hands because I knew they would be fiddly. Given the scale, I guess I could have done them cruder to save time and at first, I was going to ignore the detail on the inside since they’ll be used mostly for gripping objects, but then I figured it would be more futureproof if I did it right the first time.


∙ Fully articulated and detailed, now the studio has a Marine hand 3D model that can do a lot of lifting in all manner of future kits. (Pun intended)

∙ These are the two main poses I need right now but I have complete freedom to use them however I need in the future.

The curved palm with the corrugated texture was particularly tricky to get right and was one of the main details that took a few tries to get to a point I was happy with. But I’m glad I stuck to it because now I can use these freely in the future to do any kind of open hand bits that might suit my needs. Now I need to get to work and create some wargear to actually put in the hand. First up, Combi-weapons and Chain Axes… and perhaps something of a daemonic persuasion, or several.


∙ A bunch of one-armed Champions in my Marine squads can attest to my need for Combi-weapons, that’s for sure.

Oh yeah, and I can’t forget the Reaper Chaincannons. Now that I’ve got some squads done and played ‘which marine best fits the heavy weapon bit?’ (hint: some marines are a much better fit than others) I’ve got a few Heavy Bolters ready for an upgrade. I figured since the Heavy Bolter feeds a single line of larger shells into the weapon I’ll do the barrel bits as a larger caliber tri-barreled solution so it better suits the weapon while also providing a unique look. It will be a very simple bit to create so I expect to make a few different versions and I’m tempted to use it as an opportunity to create a few dangling details and/or swags of chain that I can make modular so they can be used in other models for details.

Still juggling a lot so studio progress is still sluggish but as I build a library of key modular bits like this humble hand another entry is ticked off of a long list of assets that will make future projects easier. Now I can make a wide range of bits and never need worry about dealing with the hand. Small steps leading up to something much bigger. Beyond continuing to expand my current line of smaller bits and kits I’m considering what my next larger project will be, so don’t be surprised if something unexpected comes out of The Dark.
 
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Discussion Starter #287

∙ Mild insomnia fueled late night (early morning) teaser image because I'm so pleased with the results so far; first up, the Combi-Flamer.

Still need to do a final few finishing touches with the Flamer but it's almost done. I've also got the Melta attachment in the final polish stage and a few different magazine/ammo-drum styles but I still need to get the Plasma and second Bolter worked out. Keep your comm-link active, more coming soon.
 
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Critique for da CriticGod
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Looking good as always, sir!

I enjoyed your analysis of the new chaos models. I haven't picked any up yet because of the *cough* backlog I'm still working through. I thought they looked great but you discussed some of my concerns, such as the restriction of poses and bits.

I find the interesting trade off is completeness of the sculptor's vision against customizability. In early monopose metal figures, they had far more character, down to the minute details compared to later multipart models. That's even true when thinking of the new computer designed guys. They have more character than the one-size fits all models.

I'm hopeful that the new guys are a balance between those extremes.

And hey, that's why there's a market for your style of add-ons!
 

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Discussion Starter #289

∙ Larger update coming soon, but first another late-night-early-morning teaser screenshot. ‘Say hello to my little friend!’
 

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Those look good!

I think the combi-plasma looks like it needs another shroud vent on either side on the top.

I dig the combi-bolter box mag too. Nice touch.
 

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Discussion Starter #291
More on the combi weapons (still need to make Chaos versions) and feedback to the always welcome suggestions and input in the near future, but first, I couldn’t help but take care of the reasonably straightforward Heavy-Bolter-to-Chaincannon barrel upgrade bits.


∙ To suit the larger caliber of the Heavy Bolter shells I did these rotary barrels larger and lowered the count from the normal six.

Not only do they better suit the Heavy Bolter they’re going to attach to in my opinion, but it also makes them unique and distinct from the official Chaincannon. Since they’re a Chaos only bit I was able to forego doing them ‘clean’ and got down to creating them with Chaos design elements. While they’re not parts that require really complex fits, as with any preliminary 3D build, I won’t have any idea how good the final fit will be until I can get a few printed.

I keep procrastinating reviving Solus because getting parts ready for print takes another round of preparation and I’ve been too distracted with 3D modeling to get it over with. As always, the current juggle of tasks forces me to split my attention, but it won’t be long now before I can preview some of the several 3D models I’ve been showing over the last few weeks. The finishing touches are almost done for the next batch of prints so stay tuned.
 

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Discussion Starter #292
Looking good as always, sir!

I enjoyed your analysis of the new chaos models. I haven't picked any up yet because of the *cough* backlog I'm still working through. I thought they looked great but you discussed some of my concerns, such as the restriction of poses and bits.

I find the interesting trade off is completeness of the sculptor's vision against customizability. In early monopose metal figures, they had far more character, down to the minute details compared to later multipart models. That's even true when thinking of the new computer designed guys. They have more character than the one-size fits all models.

I'm hopeful that the new guys are a balance between those extremes.

And hey, that's why there's a market for your style of add-ons!
While I wish the new kits from GW had more modularity, options in posing, and interchangeability of components, I'm willing to accept the current range of kits and the design philosophy that's going into them. I still think they could accommodate modularity a bit more, but if they're going to offer the amazing quality and a large enough variety in the large squad kits it helps to compensate for the more static posing options. With the detail level where it is, combined with them being made from styrene so they're easy to convert, I'm willing to make it work. After building over 50 Skitarii using the same base ten models, the group of them still don't feel repetitive thanks to them having 10 unique models and lots of detail to help distract. Is there still some frustrating repetition? Yeah, but it mostly gets lost in the variety and quality of the newer kits from GW.

I get why they've done this; they can genuinely make more interesting poses and tighter details in models if they take away some of the flexibility in the assembly. It's a compromise and a calculated balancing act that right now I think they're pulling off because of the aforementioned quality. None of this is any excuse for GW shenanigans of odd omissions and/or limitations in the bits selections in their kits. While I do see the irony in that it does make more room for people like me to fill the gaps, but I really wish GW would not be quite so overt about it, like with the new Chaincannon, which there should have been two of in the new Havoc kit, even if it meant removing one of the other weapons, like say... a Heavy Bolter, perhaps?
 
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Discussion Starter #293
I am the hobby butterfly!

*Subtle leaps from his chair and jumps through a window wearing a home-made butterfly costume… and it does not end well…*


∙ In the midst of writing my next update with no room for this image, so I figured it would make a good sneak peek. Despite a minor fit issue project ‘Kastelan 2.0’ is commencing nicely.

Just look at the subtle curves of the Blaster. *Subtle drools a little bit* It does take a tiny bit of surfacing with some 600 grit soft sanding sticks, but then it's just buttery smooth. Larger update coming shortly. Keep comm-link active.
 
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Discussion Starter #294
Ok, since I’ve procrastinated on writing a proper update now I’ve got comments and feedback from several perspectives and different corners of the interwebs I think it’s better to just ramble a bit about these kits and how they related to my design philosophy. Making quality bits is a balancing act between a few factors and sometimes they force a designer into certain corners.

As a first tangent, it’s been mentioned/questioned a few times over the years if I’ve considered using Shapeways to produce some of my designs. While it can be tempting I won’t being going that route for several reasons. The simple primary factor is control; I’ve spent several years working out the kinks in the entire process and part of what I want to bring to my product offering is that it’s all done in-studio to a very discerning standard. That is the business I want to grow into something larger and I want to keep complete control of the creative, production, and ultimately profit flow.

As an extension of that idea I really don’t like the Polyjet 3D printing process that is used by Shapeways for their high resolution prints. I’ve commented on it in the past since I’ve worked with it a few times (once with Shapeways and several other times as well), and it really is an amazing 3D printing technology but not for the one-off quality I want at this scale. Some people don’t mind it, and if you’re a hobbyist then that’s a fine call to make, but I’m someone who wants to produce at small-to-medium scale and I want the product to be the best quality I can achieve. It really is the extra small scale that just pushes Polyjet to its limits if you demand results like I’m after. The results I was getting from professionally printed components using Polyjet was specifically why I took the time and effort to research and requisition Servitor Solus and even now that I’ve got the high resolution 3D printing I needed to achieve the results I’m aiming for I still spend quite a bit of time tweaking and adjusting my designs to assemble cleanly and fit correctly. Even with the tools and equipment in-house it can take several tries to get parts to fit the model or even each other correctly, so no, I don’t think Shapeways is a good solution for producing most of the kits I’ll be creating. Whatever could be saved in lead times would require too much loss in quality and control to make it worth the trade.


∙ A perfect example how a rather simple component can require a few test prints to ensure the fit is correct. These barrels can be used on different models but they’re specifically designed to fit the new Havoc models.

I’ve used digital calipers to measure the Heavy Bolter in the Havoc kit and tried to model it as precisely as I can manage, and while I’m sure it’s very close I won’t know if I’m completely correct until I’ve got the bits in hand. (Very soon) I model parts with tolerances of 0.1mm to 0.05mm so it doesn’t take much for something to be off and make a fit too tight, loose, misaligned, etc.. Naturally, trying to match straight lines is reasonably easy but as soon as curves are involved it becomes harder; there’s little choice but to model it as close as possible and then make adjustments after the first test prints. In this case, even the little peep-sight-like detail on the front of the Heavy Bolter isn’t complex but I can only make an educated guess at the radius of the curve; same goes for the depth of the notches on the sides at the base which are close but I’m not sure if they’re perfect. They’re just too tricky to measure precisely on the model.


∙ The new combi-weapon bits had to be a balance of several things and they’re a good example to showcase the design thinking I try to employ.

It basically comes down to balancing the practical needs of the design, personal creativity, and the fictional niche I’m trying to fill. Practical issues can be things the end builder will deal with like magnetization and/or how a kit assembles, but it can also be something to accommodate the manufacturing or 3D printing process and that says mostly on the studio side, where, if I design it correctly you don’t know that I made a clever part that casts really well, but you should appreciate the lack of mould lines and bubbles. My personal creativity is just having the idea as a starting point, but it’s also a key consideration in that I need to create a unique and interesting enough design that suits the Warhammer universe but is something new that I’ve created from my mind; I don’t want to directly copy or mimic things made by GW, I want to make original versions of my own ideas that blend right in with the official kits. And that leads neatly into the idea of the niche that I’m aiming to fill and the design language that GW uses for similar objects/wargear or just in the Warhammer universe in general; my professors in college would have referred to it as finding the ‘sympathetic details’ that you aim to draw into a new design, creating something new but with a notable linage.


∙ GW has the side-by-side Combi all buttoned up so I figured I’d go with an over-under configuration; not only do I like the look I came up with but the slimmer profile is also very nice.

I always try to incorporate what I call pseudo-plausibility™ into my designs, which is an intentionally silly verbose way of saying that I try to design details on my models with consideration of how the object would operate and work as a blend of the 40k universe and real world considerations. Yes, these are completely fictional objects that many times are based on science-fantasy but that doesn’t mean vents, grills, hoses, pipes, hydraulics, buttons, switches, fasteners, seamlines, and a million other minor details can’t be given a bit of common sense consideration. That said, I have to be careful not to take it too far or I can start to obsess over trivial details (something I’m far too apt to do, but I’m getting much better) and waste time on them, and/or I can overdetail something in an effort to get it just right and really authentic. When you’re modeling something that’s 50x larger on your computer screen then it will be in real life and it’s meant to be a model and not 100% authentic, it’s very easy to create details that either struggle to be created during the 3D print process or are so small and delicate that they’re lost at the tiny scale they’re produced at. I want them sci-fi, but not too sci-fi, and I want them realistic, but not too realistic. When it doubt, I lean toward making it blend with the Warhammer aesthetic and chuck realism in the corner for later.


∙ Oh, you knew it was going to be magnetized, right? From a practical perspective it was simply easier to incorporate the magnet in the vertical orientation.

I’m still not sure if one pair of the 1.65x1.65mm magnets used here will be enough attraction for my liking, but it’s not hard to add a second set of magnet holes if I want to make it stronger. The hand also might get one more round of tweaking; it’s almost there but even after altering the thumb a bit, I think it needs a little more work to get a better match how the thumb is on an official model. Nothing major and likely not even a big deal considering how small it is and where it’s located. For the test prints, the backs of the hands will also sty flat since that’s what best suits most of the models that are in the GW line, but it wouldn’t be too hard to add a ball-joint or pin feature that could easily be removed if unwanted, so that doesn’t seem out there. If/when I start making more elaborate assemblies I will always try to use ball joints and articulated hinges wherever it makes sense to provide more posing options.

I’m also leaving the left hand off for the first test prints; I know that one-handed versions will likely be very popular but I’m sure some people will want a proper two-handed version. I suspect it’s the one-handed setup and the tall profile that makes these models seem a bit more like pistols, but I can assure you that the lower Bolter is 18mm long which is a tiny bit longer than a Bolter in the new Chaos Marine kit. The larger ammo drums and wider zig-zag feed magazines that hold more shells might also add to the bulk a bit making them seem a bit more pistol like. Whatever is going on, it’s just an optical illusion that I’m sure will vanish once they’re in context and not floating in a white void.


∙ “Missed it… by that much.” ~ Maxwell Smart – Yeah, I was close but the fit is just a bit too tight and it doesn’t quite want to close. Close, only counts, horseshoes, hand grenades, yadda yadda…

So the fit isn’t quite correct here, but it would even be worse in a cast since it’ll shrink more ever-so-slightly. I’ll need to loosen this up considerably to make sure it’s not a problem after all the effort is made to mould and cast it. It’s all good, that’s what test prints are for. Right now I’m still testing the limits of Servitor Solus’ so I’m mostly happy with how well the subtle curves of these parts turned out. A few spots benefited from a light sanding with 600 grit soft sanding stick but that’s hardly a problem when the results are so good. Despite it not quite closing around the arm I couldn’t ask for a better fit and finish.


∙ Solving the minor fit issue will be easy enough but the ammo feed is going to be the final hurdle to get past to complete this kit.

The final tweaks to the head have it looking very nice and printing without any issues, and despite the fit on the arm it still looks pretty good in these photos. The ammo feed is the final piece to this little puzzle that’s going to need to wait until I can make a mould and cast the part in polyurethane. As I’ve discovered, the 3D printed resin can be bent after heating but it still remains rather brittle and prone to breaking very easily as its being shaped.

I do wish I could make the arm just a bit slimmer but the three barrels made to mimic the gauge of the shoulder mounted cannon just doesn’t make that possible. However, in turn the three barrels do give a proper reason why the arms are as thick as they end up being. They’re no larger in width than the original arms so I guess it’s a more effective use of the space. I suspect they’ll grow on me more when they’re not bright red-orange and painted to blend with the model. Even some primer would go a long way.


∙ Long overdue because of various delays and some changes to the design, the armour plates for the Predator are being prepped for mould making.

I simplified the design a bit from the original Predator armour I created so now the armour plates on the weapon systems are interchangeable between each weapon or the stowage/ammo/battery on the turret. It makes them a bit less customized to each mounting location but it really helps to trim down on the number of parts for the kit so it’ll be more straightforward to produce and it suites the lighter nature of this design, I feel.

Once these are casting I’ll be making the clean Mk.2 version for Imperial builders. Now that all the kinks are worked out with regard to fit it will be much more straightforward to get future variations complete and into production. I may also take the time to do the more elegant Mk.4 version because I’d like to see something with some more flowing lines and subtle details, but I’ve been getting a lot of request to get the Land Raider kits back in stock. I will be restocking the current ‘Raider kits one more time but I’m eager to get working on new kits using the new equipment in the studio. I’m already starting the 3Dmodeling of the Land Raider and I’ll also be doing the Sicaran along with it, so expect to see some updates for those in the somewhat near future.

Servitor Solus will be quite busy for the foreseeable future, so expect to see some prints of these combi-weapons in the next few days along with further updates on the Mechanicus components since I still have the other Kastelan arms to do and the Onager bits as well. Stay tuned. Spring is here, and the longer days are bring an upswing in the energy and while I might be too busy to write as often as I’d like, there’s lots in The Works.
 

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Discussion Starter #295
With the Rituals of Support completed once again the appropriate platitudes of activation were transmitted to Servitor Solus and the diligent device was set once more to work. The bright red polymer resin was running low so some final prints including a mix of practical and personal (for now) projects seemed like a fitting end to the first litre that has brought my ideas to this point so far.


∙ When it comes to the Onager components, I guess two out of three isn’t bad. While the results are mostly good, some flaws and mistakes are larger than others.

I completely spaced out somehow, managing to model the reactor upside-down. Um yeah, oops. It’s not hard to move the locking key and fix this blatant mistake, but I can’t believe I even did it in the first place. So silly. It paints a picture in my mind of a servitor performing maintenance, only to be asked by an overseer why they are installing the unit inverted, followed by a loud screech of binaric obscenities as they begin to unscrew restraining bolts to correct it. Even a diligent servant of the Omnissiah can have a bad day.

Other than that overt issue there are a few distorted spots which I didn’t support correctly and, as expected, the fit on the armour panels isn’t quite accurate yet since they’re only an educated guess for this print. Par for the course, these will be simple enough to sort out. I also want to make the gizmo I devised for the weapon system just a tiny bit larger radius so I can have an excuse to make the cog in the center just a bit larger. In the fiction, Lucius forge world is said to have unique Onagers and Ironstriders so I think these bits help take the models in that direction.


∙ I took the opportunity to do my first test prints of the new Combi-weapons I’m working on and the results are mostly positive.

If you look closely you can see a bit of distortion on the magazine and ammo drum. On a bit like these, the 90-degree orientation of these details makes them huge overhangs when I print them in the preferred orientation, pointing straight up. Supports are the usual method of dealing with overhands but these are large ones right in the middle of the part and anything that can be done to avoid and/or minimize supports is preferable since they always leave a defect that needs to be cleaned from the print. Supports are a necessary evil that I need to deal with but always try to avoid. In this case, I tried to tilt the print but it wasn’t enough to avoid pictured distortion.

Other than that, that prints are very hopeful but also illustrate another thing I’m still trying to get the right sense of and that’s the scale of some of the detailing. When I’m 3D modelling the component is so large it’s very easy to create details that are just a bit too small, subtle, or delicate, to really work well when it’s created at real-world scale. There’s a reason why some of the detailing on good models is a bit exaggerated and emphasized when you’re in really close because at the small scale they’re finally created at it’s very easy for the properly scaled details to be completely ‘washed out’. In particular, I like to add bevels and subtle curves in some places and they look great on the screen, but then the bit is printed and the carefully added details are simply lost at the final scale. The hand is also something I suspected would need more work and the thumb in particular needs to be adjusted so it’s a bit more pronounced.

So there’s lost to like with these first prints, but I think another round of tweaking the 3D models will do the designs proper justice. Good design really is often about iteration. Rarely does an idea or concept come into reality perfectly formed and a few iterations is usually to be expected.


∙ While the fit isn’t quite right this component looks great from the top; unfortunately, the bottom shows that Solus is struggling to avoid surface flaws on that side.

At some point in the future I might 3D model more complete weapons, but right now the recent Chaos release offers a few niches that are just begging to be filled with straightforward solutions like this one. Modelling a full Chaincannon, doing it justice, making it blend in aesthetically, making it original, and ensuring it would fit at least reasonably well with current kits, well that’s a whole lot of work that I’m not up to right now. I’m also itching to get working on many other larger projects so getting too distracted with smaller bits and kits isn’t what I want to be doing right now. A little distraction is to be expected and entertained, but I can’t let it get too carried away… for now…

Again, in order to avoid adding support to all sides of the object, I tilted it when I printed it and only added supports to the bottom. It mostly worked, but while some cleanup of support touchpoints is unavoidable the angle ended up causing unexpected surface issues; some shapes at peculiar angles are simply prone to this issue, at least, with is resin. More on that in a moment. So, while I can accept some cleanup, there’s just too much going on here to justify the effort and I’ll need to find a way to further improve the outcome.


∙ As one final act of bulk productivity the last of this resin was used to create a complete set of casting masters for the ‘clean’ Mk.2 version of the Ferratis Rhino/Predator Armour.

With all the kinks for this armour kit work out I wanted to get the more Loyalist-centric Mk.2 version completed. I will return to the Rhino/Predator chassis at some point in the future but for right now I’m happy to have a replacement for the current out-of-production Chaos Predator armour as well as a Loyalist counterpart as a first expansion of the selection. I’m also keen on doing the ‘elegant’ version I showed a while back and I have some interesting ideas on how to tackle mutated and warped details, but those are really elements that can be applied to a wide range of future plans so it’s nothing really exclusive to this kit in particular.


∙ It served the studio well, helping me to being to understand the quirks of Servitor Solus’ machine spirit, but the red Proto resin is dead! Long live the new grey Art resin!

It’s a different colour, it smells distinctly different (not a better smell, but uniquely different and at least less strong/pungent), it has a different thicker viscosity, requires different printer settings, and produces parts with different physical characteristics. Oh, and from everything I’ve seen so far with my limited testing… it’s just better. After a single test print, I seemed to get the settings rather close and got good results that were just a bit too delicate and fragile. So I made some adjustments and gave Solus a proper task to test this new resin…


∙ … and oh my… those are some amazingly good results that, dare I say it, appear to be even better than what was being produced with the red Proto resin.

Now, I suspect part of it is just the fact that the new resin is a nice neutral grey and it’s easier to see good contrast on the parts and they’re much more photogenic, but honestly, something about the surface quality and/or fidelity of the parts just seems to be improved. Even if it is a trick of the colour when it comes to the appearance there seems to be an improvement in the print quality and it’s less prone to the surface flaws like those that were a problem on the bottle of the Chaincannon barrels pictured above. I’ll need to do more prints to know for sure but I’m hoping I’m correct since it could be more reliabel prints in lots of circumstances. The parts are also even stronger and less brittle than the red resin which helps during cleanup and ensure the casting masters will have a good long lifespan. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Unfortunately, it does require a somewhat different setup for the supports for correct printing so any of my older print files that I set up for use with the original red resin won’t be compatible with this new grey resin. Not a huge issue since I don’t have plans to reprint many/most of them for any reason, and not a big enough reason for me to look back because the new Art resin really seems to be worth the effort of adjusting to its unique properties.



∙ Case-and-point, while the red Proto resin did an admirable job creating these Kastelan components the parts made with the new grey Art resin just seems to be that little bit improved.

Again, maybe it’s just the clean grey colour and added contrast, but I don’t know, time will tell. In fact, the colour of the new resin is so close to the grey that I tint my casting polyurethane I’m going to need to be careful not to mix the masters up with casts. In the previous image you can make out a few telltale stubborn spots where the layering of the 3D printing process is unavoidable but the 20-micron layer height makes them very easy to sand away and the rest of the surfaces are freakishly smooth and refined.

I’m not complaining by any stretch, but I’m again impressed by Solus even after being impressed several times in the past. I’m still perfecting the best practices I need to learn in order to avoid printing problems without too much trial-and-error which wastes expensive materials, but I’m only running into small problems that require a bit of tweaking to resolve before I get exactly what I was hoping for. Each project completed opens the door wider to bigger and more ambitious projects as I continue to learn and gain confidence. This bodes very well for future projects, to be sure.

Now, if only, running the business side of the studio with books, numbers, equipment, materials, and stock, was so compelling and didn’t daunt me so much. Ok momentum, time to continue building so I can deal with that next. This is too good a start not to get somewhere. Let’s see what I can make of all this growing potential, shall we?
 
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Discussion Starter #296

∙ I’m sorry that I keep posting similar images of the Kastelan ‘bots, but the new 3D printing resin combined with this design really have me smitten over the last few days.

I took a bit of the time to make a ball-joint for the shoulder mounted Phosphor Blaster. The clunky rectangular one was a strange aspect of the kit that seemed really lazy and it was really easy to replace. After a bit more testing and the feedback I’ve also modeled three lengths/radius ammo feeds for the arm Blasters to help facilitate the fit. I tried once again to heat-bend one of the 3D prints and it simply won’t have anything to do with it, bending at first, but inevitably snapping. Once I’ve got the moulds made I’m sure it’ll get sorted out with polyurethane casts. This kit was more involved but I’m so pleased with the results and the further proof-of-concept for a few things I was testing here (like the ammo feeds) that I’m glad I took the time to work the kinks out and take the design all the way to replacing the whole arm.

Ok, bed ways is right ways. Stay tuned for further updates in the somewhat near future.
 
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Discussion Starter #298

∙ Redesigned and fresh from Servitor Solus the new Chaincannon components are almost ready… as long as I don’t make silly mistakes. But damn, do I love this new resin!

In the top-right corner, you can see where I overlooked adding supports to some of the points on the four-barrel design. Simple enough to fix, but also an obvious mistake I should do better to avoid. Beyond that little oversight, they’re looking wonderful. No, I need to figure out where I’m going to attach the vent and how I’ll make the mould. It’s one thing to get a good test print, but then I need a proper production copy so I can make moulds. Soon, very soon.

They’re rather straightforward bits but they actually taught me a new 3D modelling trick I can use to make parts that Servitor Solus will have an easier time reproducing. In certain spots where there might be an edge with a 90° overhang that would require a support to print properly (and supports are a necessary evil that I’m always trying to minimize) if I can draft the surface (draft = add a slight tilt/slope/angle) from 10° to 15° degrees Solus can produce it without any need of a support. In many cases, the added draft is so subtle and/or just looks like an intended part of the design that there’s no reason not to do it beyond the fact that it does take a bit more work to add it in some spots.

I also tried to print the updated Combi-weapons along with these, but of the 8 parts I tried to print only 2 turned out, and they’re both the base Bolters so none of the actual Combi-weapons turned out. So I removed the Chaincannon barrels from the layout and tried again… and after 2+ hours of printing, I discovered that all of the parts failed to print. So, I’m discovering that while the new grey Art resin produces excellent results it’s just a bit more temperamental to get it to cooperate. If the print takes proper hold it works wonderfully but those first few critical layers seem to have a bit of a technique to ensure they take properly and I’m still zeroing in on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #299
Love your work, personally I think the guns on the robots are a little too big but the sculpts themselves are great
Thanks. My first plan was to try and slim/shrink down the arms because the base kit has lower-arms that seem far too bulky, especially with just the single barrel and small ammo magazine. But, I also wanted to mimic the Phosphor Blaster barrel of the shoulder mounted weapon to better tie it into the rest of the model, and to do it faithfully in the tri-barrel configuration I wanted, it forced the arm to be this large. After trying to slim them down as much as I could (and shortening them up too) I just couldn't shave any more off without thinning some of the walls too much; they're slightly leaner than the originals, but nothing dramatic. Ultimately, considering the original model, I'm just embracing it that they're designed with heavy primal ape-like forearms that hang low. I think it's a fair tradeoff for the overall improvement it makes to the kit, in my opinion.
 
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∙ I’m still having a few issues printing these bits but here’s the Linked Bolter and Melta looking really solid.

Unfortunately, the Flamer simply didn’t print. When it does work (and the success ratio is high) the results are so good that I’m certain that I just need to tweak the print setting and/or be selective where in the build area I place small objects like this. It’s hard to tell if it’s the new resin or the fact that these parts are quite small so they only have a small profile for each layer when they’re printing. Or maybe it’s a bit of both.


∙ Not exactly the best angle to showcase the model as a whole (he looks a little stiff here) here’s a shot of the Plasma in-situ.

There are a few minor issues I want to give one final tweak to and I want to experiment a bit more with placement and orientation when I’m printing; not all spots on the printing bed are equal and the angle/orientation that an object is printed at can have a surprisingly large impact on the final outcome. I think the results speak to the fact that I’ve got the hang of it, but now I want to make sure I’m getting the best possible results. They’re small bits with some fiddly details, so they’re a good candidate for me to really understand how to work with this new resin.

*Subtle squeals like a schoolgirl*

Holy crap, I made that! I can hold it in my grubby little fingers and actually see and touch an idea made solid. UV light and freaking goo combined with computers and a dash of hobby-OCD. Science is amazing!!

Sorry, I’m having one of my… moments.
 
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