Monday, 29 February 2016

3D Printing Wargames Scenery with PrintableScenery.com

I have been very busy recently and haven't had much time to build any new scratch-built Frostgrave terrain. However, I did back printablescenery.com with their Winterdale Kickstarter campaign to produce a range of wargaming scenery that people can 3D print themselves.

With the campaign I have got enough files to produce just about anything that a I would need for a fantasy wargames table, including a fully expandable castle, village buildings including a blacksmiths forge and an inn, and plenty of other scatter scenery, such as walls, a bridge, stockades and gnarly trees.

We have had two 3D printers in the workshop for 3 or 4 years now and they have run very well, although the driver software for them is not the most versatile. I am building a new 3D printer, but that will not be finished for a while yet, so I used the workshop machines to do some test builds on the printablescenery.com models.

I thought I would start simple and do some of their dry stone walls but unfortunately our 3D printers (2 x Up Plus One) can be a bit a picky with the files they will run and although the walls looked OK, we couldn't get them to print. I have had a look at the wall sections in the driver for my new printer and they look fine, so it would appear that I am just going to have to wait for those...

Next up I decided that I would again keep things fairly small and use the files for the Bridge Cottage. To keep things even simpler I didn't build the lower stone section and just used it as a simple one storey building.

The first parts that I printed were the two halves of the roof. The files that printablescenery.com supply are laid out in the best orientation to allow 3D printing without printing supports. However, the Up Plus One cannot be set to print without supports, so we have printed them in a different orientation. The roof sections were printed the way they are seen in the photos, as this gave the minimal level of necessary support.


The roof sections went very well and gave a very substantial build.



I must say, I think that the wall thickness on the roof sections is possibly a little excessive. They do want to be strong enough for repeated handling, but these pieces are literally strong enough to stand on!


As you can see from these photos there are a few "stringy bits" on the roof tiles. These were not too bad, and would not take long to clean up with a craft knife. 

 

I spent 10 or 15 minutes cleaning up the two sides of the roof and the painted on a quick coat of solvent (dichloromethane, or liquid plastic cement), which finished off the roof nicely.


Next up was the ground floor walls. Once again, not being able to turn off the support meant that the model was left covered in a layer of support all around, both inside and out. \This did take me a while to clean up, but once removed the build was very nice. The part is designed with a grill in the place of the door, so that it does not need support material (...), I cut this out once printed.


Finally I printed the floor and the front door.


Once the parts had been cleaned up I put the thing together, just to see how it looked, I think you will agree, the it looks pretty good!


Although the 3D printed floor gave a reasonable wooden effect, I decided to laser cut a piece of thin plywood with a wood grain.


As you can see by these two pictures, it doesn't make a lot of difference, but I was happier with the laser cut floor.


The floor that I 3D printed  didn't go to waste. I glued it to the base of the roof section and it worked really well for locating the roof on to the top of the walls below. For future reference, I plan to magnetize the roof so that it sits nicely on top of the walls.


The two parts of the roof fitted really well and only left a small seem. I filled this with knifing putty. This is very similar to modelling putty, but is a lot cheaper.


Once dry and sanded the seem was virtually invisible.


Now, as this was theoretically the first floor, and there should have been a stone section below it, I had to add a door step, which I did with a piece balsa wood. Finally i spent a bit of time over the weekend painting it.


I am extremely pleased with the results and will be moving on to printing some more of the range over the next few months.




I didn't spend too much time painting the internal detail, after all, it will rarely be seen. However it is nice to know that it is there, if I do need to use it!


PrintableScenery.com are running a follow up Indiegogo campaign, to expand the range with some extra pieces, and also give people who missed the Kickstarter a chance to pick it up. Check out the new campaign HERE.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Frostgrave Scenery Project - Magic Circles (Teleport Discs)

This is the shortest post yet and the simplest for me to make.

The scenario in the main rulebook calls for 4 two inch diameter discs to act as teleport points around the table. I had planned to make these up and laser cut them, however, I came across this blog article in which J P Price had already created some really nice artwork to print out.

I took his artwork and set it up for laser cutting and also added a couple of layers steps up to the disc. I engraved the discs both as raster graphics and also did a vector graphics version.


The discs on the left are raster graphics, the laser engraves in the same way that a printer prints an image, going backwards and forwards over the entire area. The right hand discs were converted to vector graphics, in these the laser follows the lines.

I have given them both a blast of undercoat and then dry brushed and washed them to bring out the stone effect.. I may well add some faded paintwork and will also add some snow to finish them off.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Frostgrave Scenery Project - Trees

After a couple of rather long projects I have a couple of quicker ones to show.

First up we have some trees.

I bought a couple of bags of wintery trees from an Ebay dealer in China. The trees are supplied with the snow already on them, but just pieces of wire coming out of the trunk. For the two packs they cost around £16.

To base them I cut and sanded some random shapes out of some scraps of 6mm MDF. The edges are sanded down to the table level with the plan that they will look like snow drifts once complete.

I drilled 2mm holes where the trees were to be placed and glued them in with PVA woodglue.


Once the trees were firmly stuck in place I moved on to finishing the bases. Normally I would add sand at this point, but as they were snow covered I skipped this stage. I simply applied a nice thick coat of white emulsion paint and while the paint was still wet I sprinkled Woodland Scenics Soft Flake Snow over them.



I will give them all a spray coat of matt varnish to hold the foliage and snow in place.

A nice simple little project that took very little time at all...

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Frostgrave Scenery Project - The Mausoleum Part 05

Sanded and painted the basic building.

I went for a darker grey than I had first planned, but I think this adds to the somber tone that will suit Frostgrave...



The actual tomb will be left un-fixed, so that the building will be able to be used for other games. It's lack of windows could be a problem but that can be put down to various things (a banks security, a cold house etc.).



Once the paint on the building had set I moved on to the woodwork. The support for the small steps at the back of the building was built from balsa-wood.


Some strip spruce for the steps.


The doors were cut from balsa-wood.


Once in place I painted them a faded brown to give a enough of a feeling of old wood, without looking too rotten.



I am happy with the building as being finished now and just need to add some sand to the base, and possibly a few dead plants. I will do this when I have a few other items to do. So I am calling this job finished.


Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Frostgrave Scenery Project - The Mausoleum Part 04

The I finish off the construction of the Mausoleum I have decided that I need a little more decoration on in. In particular, the pediment needs something to make it stand out.

I hunted around on Google for a few photos of pediments. Found one or two that I liked and adjusted the dimensions to fit my building. I played around with the contrast, to hopefully make the figures stand out a little, and then laser cut them. As you can see from the following photo, the results are mixed. The figures look OK, but they are still very two dimensional.


I ran the file again, doing the engraving twice and also cutting out around the edge of the figures. I am much happier with this so I went ahead and glued it in place.


Once that was done I gave the whole roof a coating of thinned down tiling grout, as I had done with the rest of the building.


Next step, give the whole thing a very light sanding.

Then it is on to the painting!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Frostgrave Scenery Project - The Mausoleum Part 3

Time to fit the 3D printed columns to he front of the building. These add the character that this build really needed.


As this is quite a small building there is not much room on the base. I have tried to leave enough room for a figure to fit in behind the columns (line of site being so import...), however, if any of use the lipped bases I doubt they will fit in there.


I settled in to build the roof last night. Unfortunately my phone was charging, so I couldn't take any "in progress" shots. It wasn't a complex build though st these photos should be pretty self explanatory. Firstly, I cut a plate of foamcore the size of the whole roof. I then stuck the piece I had removed from the top of the building to the plate, so that it will locate the roof and make it easy to remove.


I cut three triangular pieces to give the shape and support of the roof.
Then I stuck the two sides of the roof in place.


To hide all the edges I simply cut 5mm strips of grey card and glued them over the edges. I then took a thin dowel and stuck that on the apex, just to add a little more detail.


I am looking for something ornamental to add to the pediment (the triangular bit in the roof), as I feel it is a little plain at the moment.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Winterdale - 3D Printable Fantasy Scenery!

I have just come across the Winterdale Kickstarter campaign.

The rewards for the campaign will be downloadable files that can be printed off as many times as you like and assembled to produce various different building.

It sounds like a great way to assemble sturdy characterful scenery, assuming you have access to a 3D printer of course! These seem like a perfect solution for Frostgrave players.

The basic reward is a versatile cottage or fantasy house and bridge.


Second up is a tower and three trees.


The third level reward are components for a city or castle wall.


Finally the castle upgrade gives a gatehouse, draw bridge and more bits and bobs to finish off the castle.


There are several very interesting stretch goals, but to my mind the goals have been set very high and my not be achievable, although I hope they they are as I am a backer...

Check out the campaign here!
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