Sunday, January 28, 2018

3D Printing my home in Mech Scale 1:285

For something a bit different, I’m going to try to make some simple polygon building models in 1:285 scale to go on the tabletop. In the MechCommander game there’s lots of tiny houses and shops and things scattered about areas, so I thought I’d try making the cabin I live in at life-scale to the mechs 😊 

Hopefully I’ll be able to print something out tomorrow when the weather is more suitable to see if the model works on my printer. The photo below is what it might look like. 

It’s only 4cm long and 13mm tall! It should fit in a single Heroscape hex tile.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

3D Printed Atlas AS7-D painted

Edit: Forgot to mention the scaling. This is in 1:285 (6mm) scale, using the measurements of MechCommander (Atlas: 17 meters tall = exactly 6 cm tall!)

So, I had to do a lot of Blender model editing to make this Mechwarrior Online Atlas printable on my plastic layering printer. I also ended up having to print the hex base, legs/waist, torso/arms/head as three separate pieces, and then glue them together.

The neat thing about being able to edit and equip the chassis in Blender, is that I was able to do something people tend to ignore: I added the two rear-firing medium laser on the Atlas' back. I'm going to do this for all mechs that have rear-firing weapons, so they finally show!

Here's what raw orange plastic looks like once glued together.

Here's with undercoat: blue and cream, then wash everything in black, then paint the flat parts of the panels again in blue / cream, then paint bright light blue on any panels that face upwards.

I use a bright orange paint spot to represent medium lasers.

 And here is an Atlas WITH it's rear-firing weapons actually on there!

Monday, January 22, 2018

3d printed MWO AWS-8Q Awesome

After altering the model numerous times, and reposing numerous times, and playing around with printer settings, I finally got the whole thing to print out as a single model piece on my plastic-layering 3D home printer.

I'm making Classic Battletech variants of mechs by taking the Mechwarrior Online computer game models, and selectively equipping weapons on them. So, this is the AWS-8Q, with three PPCs, a club-arm, and a small laser mounted beside the cockpit.

The other neat thing, is that when 3D printing miniatures, you get to choose what size they are. In the MechCommander (original game) rulebook, and in some other sources, it states that the Awesome is a 16-meter-tall Assault Mech. I'm creating everything at 6mm scale (1:285 scale), so here's a "real scale" 16-meter Awesome and an 11-meter Commando.

For miniatures rules on a tabletop with 3D scenery, it's great fun seeing things in scale. Being 16 meters tall, the Awesome towers over the landscape now. My previous Awesome model from the Battletech Box Set was the same height as a Firestarter (12-meter-tall light mech!). So, I really love that the Assault mech looms over the light mechs now.

Sorry about the blurriness in the photos, I took them indoors, handheld. As always, click on an image for a larger view.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

3d print Mad Cat candle art Lithophane part 1

I just discovered the art of Lithophanes -- a 3mm thick sheet of plastic, which is embossed so that darker parts of an image are thicker/deeper and lighter parts of an image are thinner/shallower.

You can make an open box by 3D printing out four 9cm x 9cm Lithophane panels and gluing them together (without a lid!) and then place a candle such as a tealight inside. The light shines through the panels, but it is shaded -- the thinner parts are bright, and the thicker it gets, the darker it gets. The result is a 'light painting' created from the embossed plastic!

I am going to hopefully tomorrow or the day after (depending on the weather. Can't print on hot days.) print out a test panel that looks sort of like this:

I'm printing at the highest level of detail for my 3D printer, and I print rather slowly to ensure a good print out, so it'll take about 5 to 7 hours per panel to get a good print out of the embossed image.

I grabbed the Mad Cat image from the Battletech boardgame website. They have a bunch of free professional artworks that people can download for stuff like desktops and so on. I'm going to use this one to see if I can create a Battletech Art light box!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

3D Printed MWO Commando COM-2D

For Christmas, my family did something amazing -- they bought me a 3D Home Printer!

It is a PLA printer, which melts plastic and 'paints' the model from the bottom up in paper-thin layers. I'm still getting the hang of using it, but I found out a few neat things on the internet:

1st: The people who make Mechwarrior Online gave permission on the forums for people to 3D print their Battlemech models.

2nd: there is a stickied post by the Admins on the official Battletech board game site, in the Miniatures sections, which says that it is okay to print out your own figures -- as long as you are not sharing them, selling them, or otherwise profiting from them. We have permission to post photos on our own personal blogs, etc, but we do NOT have permission to share and promote imagery of them on the official Battletech board game forums.

So, I will not be sharing any of this with the broader Battletech community on their forums, because people are only to share one-off original sculptures or Iron Wind Metals photos on that site.

However, I am allowed to share what I'm doing here on my personal blog with you readers, and I am allowed to make models for my own personal use.

The Mechwarrior Online models are optimised for displaying inside a computer game. That means many shapes in the models are un-printable unless modified in a 3D modelling program such as Blender, so I am having to do all sorts of edits on these models before I get a working print-out.

I printed the Commando five or six times before I finally ironed out the parts that were causing print errors. Now I have a set of files where I can simply load up the base Commando without any equipment, then 'import' whatever equipment I want to put on it, then export and print out the resulting model.

My first working test is this Commando COM-2D in the photo below. I was able to equip it with its SRM-4, SRM-6 and Medium Laser, but I can re-equip the computer model and print out any variation!

I am printing them out to Life Scale at 1:285 scale (6mm scale). It's amazing how out of scale many of the official figures are, so I'm enjoying printing these figures out to scale with model scenery.

I am working out 'life size' measurements through a range of sources. My favourite source is the original MechCommander computer game manual, which lists a bunch of mechs with actual meter measurements. So, the Commando is 11 meters tall. I was then able to convert that to 1:285 wargaming scale, to get a perfectly sized miniature.

Next up I'm trying to edit the Awesome computer model to get a successful print out of it. It's HUGE when printed out at correct scale! I'm printing it out as I type this, and it's taking hours and hours, so hopefully it will work out -- I've already had 4 goes at printing out the Awesome, each time it stuffed up and I had to edit the model and printer settings. Luckily, once I work out what doesn't work, I can avoid that mistake in the future.

Click on the photo to see a bigger image of my edited COM-2D from Mechwarrior Online.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Battletech Awesome on the Coast

Playing around with some of my holiday photos: insert a miniature (an 80 ton Awesome) into the scene, paint on some dropships taking of...

As always, click for larger view.

pastel sketch Battletech Hornet

One of my hobbies is sketching with pastel pencils. I thought I'd do a quick sketch of a miniature for fun, and picked the tiny Hornet, and added some surroundings.