Friday, August 6, 2010

Martian Rocket Test Launch

Last week I gave one of my new Shapeways arrivals a paint job to see how things turned out, volunteering the Martians' rocket (actually an Earth R-Rocket from Pat and Walt's Spaceship Emporium) as it was going to be a pretty simple colour scheme, and would let me test out some of my silver paint.

I applied the paint straight to the WSF (White, Strong, Flexible) surface, which is the default (and cheapest) material the Shapeways products come in. As mentioned in my previous post, it is a rougher surface than metal or resin, but should look ok from standard tabletop distances.

So here's a close-up of the result (prior to sealing):

And another:
I used two different silver paints, and one metallic gunmetal paint (darker rear portion). One silver was used for the body, wings, and nacelles, the other (cheaper) for the middle portion and nacelle fins. From close up things seem a bit "sparkly", rather than a polished metal, partly because I was using craft metallic acryllics, but also because of the bumpiness of the surface.

And then a long distance shot to see what the result is from a gaming distance:
I think things look ok from this distance. I have bought some better metallic paint to try on my next volunteer.

My main lesson was I'm going to prime these, not to help with the surface but to minimize bleeding at the edges, as the material (and all the Shapeways materials, according to reports) absorbs a lot and it is hard to get hard edges on the first or second coats. So letting the primer do the bleeding will save frustration later. At least that's my theory...

Other updates...the current batch of helicopters are done except for the bleeping canopies (and decals). The next batch of helicopters and ground support planes have been prepped and primed - 39 more! F-4B's, Dragonflies, Broncos, Mohawks, Chinooks, Choctaws, UH-1B's (inc. medivac), T-28's, and probably more that I've forgotten. The Chinooks and Choctaws are the bulk of them. Some will be done as the South Vietnamese Air Force, others Marines or US Army as appropriate.

In the meanwhile, I'm taking a break from the canopies ("issue avoidance") for a couple of days to get started on the US ground forces. Last night I finished painting the bases (dirt, fallen trees, shrubs) so I'll begin with faces and hands. My research turned up about a 9:1 ratio of white troops to African-American troops, so roughly 1 soldier per squad will be black. I'll vary it from 0 to 3 to keep things interesting. Then I'll get helmets and uniforms done, then return to the canopies (and get some UH-60 canopies finished that have been in purgatory for a year), then back to the infantry. There, I've said it publicly, so I have to do it.

I also based a bunch of civilian vehicles for 3mm, once I get some sand applied to a second round of LVTP-5's, I'll prime them this weekend if the humidity stays down. My other big prepping project has been a ton of WWI aircraft. So far a bunch have been cleaned, but need to be assembled and mounted.

Then to top things off, this month's splurge was on some 6mm fantasy troops from Microworld Games. I know, I know, what happened to my 2mm fantasy projects? While they're still good, and I'm continuing them, but for more traditional fantasy, where 6mm can do the job too, I've decided to go for the larger scale. I've never been a fan of Games Workshop's practices and sometimes too-gothic tendencies, but their fantasy setting is way cool and in particular the Gotrek and Felix novels are enjoyable (I've read 4 as of about 2a.m. today).

So I ordered some of Microworld's really nice Undead and Orc troops (check out the mammoth skeleton!), enough to get started on some armies. Another thing moving me in this direction is that my rules of choice (Advanced Legendary Battles) seems to have been designed as an alternative to GW, and the army lists are pretty WHFB-esque. So for a change I don't have to mess around with things.

I also picked up one pack of their dino-riding sci-fi line, the raptor-riders. I haven't figured out what to do with them, but they're so damn nice. Ideas for them include a 6mm sci-fi faction (Hammers' Slammers is due out in 6mm so it could fit in there), weird WWII, or VSF/Land Ironclads. Even though they're 6mm, I think if you bronzed up the weapons pods, they might work at 2mm (except of course the pack I ordered, which has riders that would obviously look out of scale...sometimes I don't think things through).


  1. Sounds like you'll have a lot on your future plate! I agree about the Microworld Dinos -they look very intriguing, but as you say, it's hard to know where to fit them if we ever needed an excuse!

    Thanks for the update on the Shapeways models - there is a definite 'granularity' in the surface, isn't there - but again, the designs themselves are hard to resist.

  2. I spray painted some Friday night, and it seemed like the granularity was tempered a bit. Using non-metallic paint should help too.

    One challenge I found was the figures are so light, that spray painting them on their backs (prior to doing most of the priming when they're mounted on nails) rolled them all over the paint box! It was like chasing dust bunnies.