Sunday, September 23, 2018

Getting back into LOTR

My brother introduced me to the Battle Companies system for the (Lord of the Rings) Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game.

The idea is that you play scenarios with a small group of regular figures, who 'level up' by spending points to upgrade them. They can die, or get lingering wounds, or turn into mighty heroes, etc, as time passes and you play more games. You can also gain new recruits to enhance your forces, but can never go above having 14 figures on your team.

I've been playing Harad against my brother's Dwarves, but am putting together a range of small Battle Company teams of different factions now just for fun.

You can read about our games and see more photos at my brother's blog:

At the moment, I'm putting together some Rohan people. I found some already assembled, partly painted ones for cheap on ebay, then finished the painting, washed, based, etc, so I was able to do these guys faster than usual.

As always, click the picture for a bigger view.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

First Original Character Sculpt: Robin Spellhood

So, I mentioned I'm making a 3D board game. It's a "stealth-fantasy". Sort of like crossing the early Thief PC games with the tile-based style of gaming in early PC RPGs like Ultima V, but in 3D on your tabletop.

The Core Set of the board game is going to be released as a free-to-play game, under a make-it-for-yourself from downloadable content method.

Then I'll be creating ongoing stories, expansion packs, adventures and DLC that I might charge some money for if people want to have ongoing gaming in the Spellhood universe. Otherwise, they can get all the Core Set stuff for free and use it as they please. For example, they could use the 3D Core Set map tiles to create scenes for Dungeons and Dragons or whatever.

The game idea:

Robin is a princess in exile, and heir of the imprisoned King Edward. A tyrant seized the throne, stripped all the nobles of their possessions, and gave it all to his militant henchmen and henchwomen.

Before the King was captured he sent Robin to hide out in the wilderness, and gave her two artefacts from the Royal Vaults that might help her one day stand against the Tyrant: the mysterious Wand of Shadows and the Orb of True Sight.

The Wand grants her magical powers, but drains her of energy each time she uses it. She must rest to restore energy -- but only if safe to do so.

The Orb allows her to see the positions and activities of any person within 100 meters of her, granting her a birds-eye view of the current board game level and the movements of the NPCs, so she can plan her moves and try to get through the mission without anyone ever knowing she had been there.

While the Tyrant sees her as a wretched royal brat who must be eliminated, as she retrieves stolen treasures and returns them to the citizens of the realm, the people call her Robin Spellhood, and place their hope in her one day restoring her father to the Throne and bringing peace again to the land.

So, here's my first go at 3D sculpting a fantasy character of my own!

I created the model using a program called Sculptris, and the aid of 'getting started' free object files by Thingiverse user DutchMogul, then edited it further with some custom posing, sculpting and modelling. You can view, and even download and print her out for yourself if you want, the model on Thingiverse, and read more about its details here:

Robin Spellhood on Thingiverse

Friday, December 29, 2017

Painting my first original 3D fantasy prints!

Today I modelled and printed my first original 3D objects: terracotta brick floor tiles, and stone brick walls.

I'm creating a board game / 3D gamebook sort of game, which mixes Fighting Fantasy style gameplay with moving characters around a 3D miniatures board. I'll talk more about my ideas later. For now, I'm drawing inspiration from 80's PC rpgs: Ultima IV / V / VI, looking at their 2D sprite tile sets, for inspiration on creating 3D fantasy RPG tile sets.

The tiles are 25mm x 25mm, with a 1/2mm wide engraved border around the edge, so that when the tiles are laid out to make a room, you can see embedded 'grid lines' of the movement grid of the tiles.

I modelled the objects in Blender, then printed them up on the 3D printer:
3D Printing fantasy floor and wall tiles

Next, I painted them with:

Floor: Deathclaw Brown, with occassional bricks in Fire Dragon Bright or XV-88

Wall: Administratum Grey

Then I washed them all with Agrax Earthshade.

Then I painted the up-facing parts of the Wall block again in Administratum Grey, and a streak across the top front-face of each brick in the grey as well.

Here's how it worked out:

Base Colours

 Washed, and touched up walls

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Painted 18mm Figures and Furniture

Various details about these objects on my 3D Printing blog:
PJs 3D Printer Blog

Here's 18mm figures from a creator on Thingiverse, who made a free printable game called Pocket Tactics. I'm 3D printing out his collections of figures to use in my fantasy gaming, and also doing furniture and scenery in the same scale.

I love how they've turned out, and am impressed by how much detail home printing can achieve, especially in a small scale like 18mm.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Painted Gnome Wizard and PJ's 3D Printer Blog

First up:
Today I painted the tiny Gnomish wizard lady (with walking stick and opened spell book in hand). So, let's start with a photo! As always, clicking gives the full image.

Second up:
Because I have a collection of themed blogs about my different hobbies (doctor who, star wars, LOTR and fantasy, battletech, scenery making, etc), I decided that I will be posting photos of 3D things I create on the appropriate blogs for that type of model (star wars buildings would be on the star wars blog, etc).

However, for anyone interested in computer 3D modelling, 3D printing, and the painting process, I now have a one-stop, all-themed, "Watch me create stuff" blog called:

PJ's 3D Printer

So: the creation process for anything regardless of genre (dungeon tiles, board game tokens, giant robots, whatever) will be on my dedicated 3D Home Printing blog.

Finished pieces that relate to other blogs will then appear on those specific blogs. So, if I 3D print out some LOTR scenery pieces, there will be photos and stuff here on this Fantasy blog, but if you want to know how I made it, I'll post the 3D creation process on the 3D Printer blog. You don't need to view the 3D Printer blog unless you are interested in the whole range of stuff I get up to, and how I make it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

3D Printed Warriors painted

I base coated, washed, then touched up both of the 3D printed warriors. One is a commander or something, with a short sword and armour, the other has a war hammer. Tomorrow I'll look at painting the other four figures. I'm really happy with the results for home made figures! Keep in mind that while the photo is big on your monitor, the figures are only 3cm (1 1/4") tall -- the horizontal striping of the 3D printing process isn't visible unless you hold the figure up in front of your face.

If your monitor is 24" - 30" this embedded photo below should better show how smooth it looks at a more life size view.

OMG! Christmas: 3D PRINTER !!!

So, at Christmas, my parents pulled out this massive box, and I started unwrapping it, and laughed, because it was a 3D Printer box, and I thought, they've grabbed an empty box at the hardware store to stick my present inside of it. Then I opened the box...

3D Printer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I am entering a total new revolution in my gaming hobbies, where anything I model on my computer screen can be converted into a PHYSICAL 3D MODEL! Scenery, terrain, figures, counters, dice, whatever.

First comes a wall of text as I talk about the 3D printer, but if you scroll down there are photos of the printing, the uncleaned models, the cleaned models, and the spray-primed models.

To get going right away, I tried out three things and they didn't work at all. Total disaster. So, I learned how to use the machine, and then tried again. Instead of taking the time to model my own figures, I used figures from a guy who created free STL files of custom made DnD themed models that people can download for free from Shapeways to print out for personal use at home.

I picked six of them, and printed them all together. That's one of the tips for getting it to work. When you print out just one figure, it is so small that there is only an inch of plastic clinging to the plate of the printer - so as it gets taller, it gets loose, and then comes unstuck and the whole print run is ruined.

By printing five or more figures together, with a 'brim' (wide, flat flashing surrounding each figure, connecting them all as a single 'floor' surface) there's lots of grip, and it sticks to the plate perfectly while printing.

The first amazing thing is that I can make my own 3D models at home!

The second most amazing thing is that they average at 10 cents plastic per figure. Not 10 dollars: 10 CENTS! So, for 60 cents, I've got 6 fantasy miniatures in approx 30mm scale!

The other tip I learned was, SLOW DOWN. By only running my printer at 75% speed instead of 100% speed, it prints smoother, is less prone to accidentally knock something over, and gives the plastic time to cool evenly across the model so it doesn't warp.

I shrunk the figures so they were (on average) 30mm figures instead of 50mm figures, which made some parts of the models too thin, and they snapped while cleaning up. A touch of superglue fixed the shaft of the War Hammer, and the Cleric's morning-star arm (which snapped off while cleaning the model up). I couldn't fix the bow or the top of the wizard's staff, so I left the staff as a 'walking stick'.

When I eventually design my own models, I'll be able to ensure that the minimum thickness levels are met so nothing will break.

The other problem, is that in Australia, it's hot season. It was 24c when I began, but when I reached the humans' waists it had hit 30c, and by the end it was 35c. The manual says not to print beyond 30c because it affects the quality of the print out, and as you can see, from the waist up the models became ensnared in wispy web-like strands of melted plastic, which was hard to clean up. The trick next time is to start printing earlier in the day.

Anyway, here's some photos showing my first successful print run.

By printing them joined together by a flat 'brim' flooring, it ensures the models grip the plate while printing.

It was a hot day, and the models grew a bit messy as they got taller. I'm hoping I can work out good settings and print in better temperatures to have tidier models.

Here's shots of the uncleaned individual figures in raw plastic.

And a group shot, tidied up and put on equal sized bases

And sprayed in a white base coat

Now I'm going to do up the bases and paint the figures, and that will be in my next post, to see how things turn out once the figures are completed! My only disappointment was that cleaning up was hard, and the wizard's staff and the ranger's bow snapped and couldn't be glued back on because the parts were too fragile. So, when I start doing up my own models, I'll ensure that the printer's minimum size guidelines are met for model parts.