Publishing Thingiverse Models

Now that I’ve designed a few bits and pieces in Fusion 360, I’ve decided to publish them all under my Thingiverse account. I’ve benefited hugely from the free war game terrain folks have published on Thingiverse, so felt like I should try and give something back to the community there.

Under that account you’ll find my original designs for:

28mm Arcade Cabinets for scatter terrain.
28mm Kitset Shipping Containers.
28mm Industrial Walkways and Ramps.
– A collection of generic War Game tokens I’ve made to use in a bunch of games like Gaslands, This is Not a Test and Rogue Stars.

Several of these projects are still ongoing and may have additional content added to them occasionally. Additionally any new designs I create for 28mm war gaming are likely to end up here too. Hopefully somebody finds them useful! Comment with a link if you do, because I’d love to see the designs in use.

Printed Platforms and Ladders

I’m continuing work on my post apocalyptic table for This is Not a Test. I’m trying to improve the vertical possibilities of the table by adding some height and climbing surfaces to game over. TnT’s rules are fairly brutal, requiring a lot of game time to make unaided climbs – so I’m also printing and painting lots of simple ladders to make getting vertical easier.

I’ve created a set of 3D printed platforms, that can be printed with legs or with angle brackets. Both variations are shown in the photos. The platforms with legs are the right height to rest against the large number of shipping containers I’ve already assembled and painted. They’re the diving board looking platforms on the right of the photo. The platforms without legs have 45 degree pieces that help them to rest on free standing terrain, and they’re shown on the left between the tanks.

The platforms work with a clip system that involves a some work with a needle file to get a good fit. I deliberately left them a little tight so there’s a friction fit between the pieces before I glued them. The design was inspired by some similar pieces I found on Thingiverse, that were bit lacking in surface design for my tastes, and somewhat tricky to print on the Anet A8. My designs are simplified for ease of printing, and only require light rafting for the joining pieces. They’re also available on Thingiverse here.

The tanks and some of the other terrain is constructed from very old Urban War ‘Hexagon’ kits. These are still available from a few places online.

Painted 28mm Arcade Machines

Update: The STL files are available on Thingiverse.

I designed and printed a handful of these 28mm scale Arcade Machines late 2017. During the Xmas break, I’ve cleared five of these fun little terrain pieces off my paint station.

I considered finding official cabinet art and trying to scale it down, but I suspect the cabinet sides are too small, and the wrong shape for real cabinet art. Instead I’ve tried to paint some simple art inspired by classic video games in general. Missile Command and Space Invaders are fairly obvious inspirations, then I had to have a mushroom cloud somewhere since they are for a post apocalyptic table. ‘Killer Bees’ was inspired by some WWII nose art, and ‘Punch’ is a nod to the real ‘Punch Out’ cabinet.

These pieces are designed to be simple scatter terrain I can throw around my This is Not a Test table for some amusing scenery and light cover. Here’s a few of them added to one of my earlier Mantic Red Brick terrain builds.

There’s a couple more finishing touches I need to do on them. The ‘Thermo’ piece has had gloss varnish applied to the screen, which I’ll do to the rest of the cabinets too. I also need to paint the bottom of each cabinet black or dark brown, so they can be thrown over on their sides for cover.

Container Office and More Barriers

I’m still assembling and painting post-apocalyptic terrain for This is Not a Test. I’m hoping to get a TnT campaign started at TCOW, my local gaming club in 2018. For that I’ll need enough portable terrain to cover a 4′ x 4′ table, and now my 3D printer is fully operational again I’ve started cranking out more terrain parts.

First up was a few extra pieces to add to a shipping container to turn it into every working man’s nightmare: the on site porta-office! That’s the first one I have assembled and painted in the photo above. These parts were created to add some more variety to the containers.

I’ve also thrown together a couple more barriers from 3D printed test pieces and some of my original designs – metal lockers and the venerable IBM 729 Tape Drive. Originally I had planned to build a more traditional junk yard, but as time goes on I find my terrain slowly turning it into some kind of electronic cargo cultist’s lair. Perhaps the post apocalyptic occupants worship the great old gods of Tesla and Turing.

I’ve also printed and painted up a few pieces from this small, but well formed forward command post terrain set on Thingiverse. I’ve got a few barriers from this set ready to varnish, and the forward command panel makes a nice bit of scatter terrain. I may also get around to printing a couple of copies of the command post too.

Barriers from 3D Printed Parts

It’s been a month since I last posted, and in that month I have been continuously 3D printing all sorts of terrain pieces on my Anet A8. I’ve had some technical issues with the printer too – the extruder heating element failed ($2 to replace) and my control board appears to have suffered some damage as the hot bed temperature is reading wildly incorrect values (despite the hot bed sensor operating as expected) – so I have another board on the way ($32 to replace). That means I’m limited to printing smaller PLA items on a cold bed. However that’s still ideal for 28mm terrain pieces.

I’ve been cranking out pieces from Thingiverse, as well as some of Kim’s Kreative Scenery designs, and a bunch of my own stuff too. I’ve burned through at least 1.5kg of filament and now have an old shoebox full of various small parts. So it was time to start gluing them together and painting them up!

It turns out to be very easy to make barriers from a mix of barrels, drums and corrugated plastic-card scraps. That’s handy because I need a bunch of barriers for a This is Not a Test table I’m making steady progress on. Also, because I generally print on ‘rafts’ I tend to have a lot of spare pieces of mesh plastic laying around. It seemed a shame to just throw these away, so I’ve been cutting them up to use as wire fencing, and with the additional of a simple printed bed-frame they also make horrible old mesh bed frames. You can see several of these above on the two barriers I’ve painted and varnished.

The barriers are also pretty good fun to paint as you can throw around graffiti for some light detailing. I have several more on the go and plan to try and crank out at least a half dozen of them for the table. I’m also working on a bunch of scatter cover terrain in the form of 1980’s style ‘spacies’ machines. You can see the first one painted up in the background.

Painted 3D Printed 28mm Shipping Containers

Goodness, 3D printing is fun. I’ve been spending so much time printing parts, teaching myself Autodesk Fusion 360 and tinkering around with my Anet A8 printer that I have struggled to paint anything recently. However I have managed to finish the first batch of my 3D printed 28mm shipping containers.

Here’s a bunch of them stacked together with some of my earlier hand molded terrain and painted figures for This is Not a Test. The container ends are 3D printed, the doors and other details – while the main bodies are just made from hobby shop plastic card.

They were primed with Army Painter colour primer, either Dragon Red or Skeleton Bone. Fortunately 3D printed PLA filament primes just fine with Army Painter spray cans, and it also glues together well with normal polyester cement. The containers were then painted with a variety of cheap student acrylic paints, crudely highlighted, stippled with grey paint applied with a scrap of foam, and then brown washed with a variety of products.

Initially I started washing with cheap liquid shoe polish, but the polish ends up looking a bit heavy and patchy once it dries. The yellow shipping container above is an example of this. After a few containers I changed from shoe polish to my old standby: satin ‘Kauri’ pre-stained floor varnish. This provides a smoother finish, and has the advantage of being a reasonably good sealant for the paint job. The disadvantage is it takes about 12 hours to fully dry and requires Turpentine to clean up. The rest of the containers were treated with this, followed by a dusting of Army Painter spray varnish to dull the shine down.

These containers are the first piece of 3D printed terrain I’ve painted using my normal quick and dirty techniques. The 3D printing process does leave some light texturing on the parts, but once they’re painted and on the gaming table you don’t notice that at all. This second photo shows the finished containers a little better. For comparison the rust coloured container on the bottom left is one of my earlier hand built prototypes. It’s made from the same plastic card as the rest, but the doors were painfully hand assembled from plastic rod and stamped greenstuff handles. The 3D printed doors next to it look crisper, and have more detail, and are a breeze to print once designed.

If you discount the time spent designing the parts, these containers are very fast to assemble and get on the table. It takes roughly an hour and a half to 3D print the ends of each container, around 15 minutes to cut and assemble the plasticard, and around 30 minutes of painting time. You can batch assemble and paint them too of course while fresh ones are printing. It took me around a week of hobby time to hand make three containers, and about the same amount of time to 3D print and assemble three times as many containers. I’ve got another six on the paint table as well, which will give me a reasonably good collection for an abandoned shipping yard.

Cost wise they’re also ridiculously cheap. Assuming you have a 3D printer (the Anet A8 is $200 NZD), the hobby store corrugated plastic card is considerably more expensive than the power, or 3D filament used to print the container ends.

The only disadvantage these 3D printed containers may have is that they’re super light. My prototype containers were built around children’s wooden blocks so have a good heft to them. The 3D printed containers are hollow, bottomless, and probably don’t weight more than 80 grams each painted. I may resort to a little blu tack quietly applied to the bottom corners before I game over them.

I’m considering selling the STL design files for a few bucks to download. Would anybody be interested?

Anet A8 3D Printer and Creating Terrain

Kim from Kreative Scenery recently picked up an Anet A8 3D printer from GearBest.com and was getting very good results from it while printing 15mm terrain. At around $200 NZD the Anet A8 is a steal, so I ordered one as well. That’s my Anet A8 in the photo, assembled a couple of weeks ago, and with various printed parts added to the stock kit.

As a change from browsing Thingiverse for parts to print, I’ve also been learning to use Autodesk Fusion 360 to create original designs. Amongst the CAD and 3D modelling programs I’ve tried in the past I think Fusion 360 is by far the most powerful, and intuitive. Something about the way the project timeline and the browser feature work make it an ideal tool. I think it may be because the UI feels like an IDE such as Visual Studio. I also find the way you sketch things in different planes and then render them into 3D objects using a variety of simple extrusion operations really clicks with me.

My first completed, original design is a pair of simple frames that can be combined with cheap corrugated plastic-card into an almost instant 28mm scale shipping container. One frame holds a set of closed doors, and the other is a simple holder for an additional piece of plastic-card. I designed this because I want to build a post apocalyptic factory table for This is Not a Test. These frames were also easy to create in Fusion 360 and print reasonably quickly – so I won’t bother casting or molding them. Plus 3D printing allows you to use undercuts and back cuts that one sided molding won’t allow. For example the frames have a 1mm trench on the back that the plastic-card slots into for gluing.

Here’s the container quickly dry fitted, and next to an earlier container I laboriously built by hand around a kid’s wooden block. Mr Zippo is for scale. The painted container is one of a set of three I spent something like a week of hobby time building and painting. Thanks to the 3D printed parts I cranked out three more assembled containers in an evening this week, and they’re already more detailed and better looking than my hand made effort. I glue them together and then add a little more 3mm plastic trim around the edges for reinforcing. If you ignore the printing time, they take about 10 minutes to assemble and finish. The other advantage of just using the frames is I can vary the container length simply by using different lengths of plastic card. They’re pretty stable out to a 10-12″ long container. Being little more than hollow plastic boxes they’re ridiculously light weight so stack very nicely. The frames are designed with 2mm holes in the top and bottom, so could be joined together with plastic rod or pill magnets.

I plan to vary my original design to create an empty frame and a pair of free standing doors that will slot into holes, like a Lego door. That’ll give me the ability to model some open containers as well. I also plan to create an alternate end to represent a ‘reefer’ or refrigerated container. I’m then going to print and assemble around another ten containers and call that done. They’ll probably get bulk painted with a couple of cheap spray cans.

Even with this simple project I can see an almost endless possibly of custom war gaming terrain opening up. The only thing holding me back is finding time to design and print everything I want!

Test of Honour: North Star Painted Ronin

I’ve been playing a bit of Warlord’s Test of Honour recently at TCOW. It’s a fun little Japanese skirmish game that comes with a bunch of plastic figures in the box.

The box set is a great deal, but to be honest the plastic figures are all pretty similar. They’re fine for rank and file Ashigaru who are dressed largely in a uniform, but for the heroic character figures the Samurai plastics didn’t really grab me. Fortunately there’s a bunch of figure manufacturers that do historical Japanese. Perry Miniatures Samurai caught my eye initially, but they tend to sell large packs of similar figures, clearly for bigger systems than Test of Honour.

Instead I went for North Star’s metal figures for Ospreys’ “Ronin” game. I wanted a more characterful bunch of Ronin so grabbed the ‘Ronin Buntai’ box.

They’re well cast metal figures that only required the usual amount of filing and removal of flash to tidy up. They come with a set of separate scabbards for their weapons which are slightly to small to hold the weapons themselves, but you don’t really notice that on the finished figure. As they’re metal I also had some fun filing down the swords a little to give them a little edge.

They were painted up pretty quickly, and I had fun experimenting with different colours and light patterning to represent Japanese textiles. They also mix nicely with the plastic Warlord figures and the single Warlord metal I have from their Ronin box, which is pictured here.

I do still plan to paint up some rank and file Ashigaru to fill out their ranks with Spearmen, Archers and Teppo matchlocks, just to give me some extra options when building warbands. The Ronin look great on the table, and are a colourful bunch of figures both visually and according to the Test of Honour rules.

Test of Honour: Painted Scratch Build Village

I’ve painted the start of my scratch built Japanese village for Warlord’s Test of Honour. After some experimenting, the paint scheme I went with was a mix of cheap ‘dark umber’ student paint lightened with gesso, watered down and applied with hog bristle brushes. The stiffer brushes cover quickly and help work the paint into the balsa detailing. Once dry it was all dry-brushed a couple of lighter shades to pick up the balsa grain. After another round of drying everything was washed down with a 50/50 mix of water and liquid black shoe polish – again to help pick out the natural balsa grain. The paint scheme was to try and make the wood look sun faded and generally weathered.

The tree/rock pieces are an attempt at making some simple LOS blocking terrain. They’re MDF bases with chucks of garden bag limestone epoxied to them and detailed with some ancient model railroad plastic trees I’ve had in my garage for years. Originally I planned to try and make trees with foliage, but the material that came with the kit was so awful I’ve left them barren and autumnal looking. That also inspired me to throw around some of the leaves I’ve been cutting with my Greenstuff World leaf punch. That’s the little splashes of colour you can see on the building roofs. They’re glued down with PVA and add some nice detail to the roofs, while also hiding a few of the dress-makers pins used to hold the plastic tiling down.

I’m happy with the end result, and have the start of a good set of Japanese terrain to run Test of Honour games over. I need a few more larger pieces and some kind of 3′ x 3′ gaming mat to put it all on. The plan is to go with a quick and dirty drop-cloth and caulk style mat in a similar shade to the ground pieces I’ve already made. This is meant to be a fishing village so I’m going for a sort of gray volcanic sand look for the ground. I also need some more detail pieces like old fishing boats and maybe nets of some kind. Simple fishing boats should be pretty easy to scratch build out of balsa.

Now I have to get cracking on some Samurai and Ashigaru soldiers. Unfortunately the Warlord plastics aren’t really to my tastes – they’re quite low detail and a little unpleasant to paint. I’ll probably end up using the rank and file Ashigaru archers and spearmen, but have recently ordered some metal North Star ‘Ronin’ figures for my Samurai/Ronin heroes.

Test of Honour: Scratch Built Village

I recently played in a demo game of Warlord’s new Test of Honour Samurai game at TCOW (my local wargaming club). I enjoyed it enough to pick up the reasonably priced starter box from Mighty Ape. Warlord have a YouTube video un-boxing the starter set, which shows you everything you get in the full box.

The set includes several cardboard template buildings which you can get you playing the game right after assembling a few figures. However after years of watching Akira Kurosawa classics like ‘Seven Samurai’, ‘Rashomon’ and ‘Yojimbo’ something possessed me to dig out my scrap foam board and balsa wood from the garage and start scratch building. The photos show what I’ve built so far, in a week of evenings.

The first goal was to simply replace the cardboard template buildings with something equivalent in footprint. This means I’ve built a richer man’s two story house with a tiled roof, a small shrine building, and a simpler single level dwelling with a traditional wooden roof held down by stones. The buildings are meant to be clad in exposed wood, based on some turn of the century photos of Japanese houses. I don’t have any materials handy to make anything that looks like a sliding door, so opted for simpler doors and windows.

The larger plan is to build enough terrain for a 3′ x 3′ poor, coastal fishing village that has been infested with no good Ronin that a local Samurai needs to clear out. The next challenge is going to be coming up with a suitable paint scheme to represent weather faded wood.