Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I'll post something gaming related later...
Monday, March 26, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
This has become a big project to me, mostly because I really want it to work out. I love the metal model and as such I'm sort of obsessed with making my plastic version just as cool. My first version is currently visible on shapeways but I haven't made it purchasable because it won't print properly. It has manifold errors I still need to sort out. This model is also my experiment for shelling models. I've thinned the model to 0.35mm so it is as cheap as possible in Frosted Ultra Detail (FUD).
For the next step in the design I have chosen to modularize the model. I've cut the head, torso, shoulders, arms, and legs apart. This will allow me to make the model possible. As you can see in the image of the torso below the model has a fairly high polygon count. I have one set of legs designed and might design another eventually though not right away. The basic legs will be the standard stand at read design. Its got a rounded waist so it can be looking up or down and so I can do walking legs later if I want. The model has a strut that comes up and meets the belt at the waist, because of this the pivot joint for the strut is modeled on both the waist and legs to make a two part joint. Some sanding may be required to mesh the two because of this but it will look better in the end. In order to make the model separated at the waist I had to add a stomach plate. This plate will mount across the joint between the torso and legs but I added some surface detail to the mounting point so it could remain open if you so desired.
The head is a separate sphere so you can pose it looking where you want. The arms it uses are the same size as my standard marine arms however I've designed a new "heavy armor" arm. I'll likely include a heavy armor arm with storm bolter and a heavy armored powerfist with the design once finished. That will give the standard compliment of weapons as a normal terminator model. Part of what has taken so long with this model is that it spurred me to redesign my arms and powerfist ranges resulting in not just a cleaner shelled design but also new poses and designs. I'll talk more on that later though.
The shoulders are a unique design made for this particular model. The shoulders are high hunched things with a hydraulic cable running down them. In order to minimize cost of the shoulder it is hollowed out in much the same way the traditional shoulder pads are but its so large it can't seat on the top of the arm. As a result I had to add an arm mounting bracket inside the shoulder. The same could be accomplished with a dollop of green stuff on the mounting joint. The shoulder pad's width is 11.5mm. Some of you might recall the horrible sizing error that Red pointed out to me recently. The "Heroic" scale shoulder pads are close to matching this width and don't look out of place on the model. In particular I think they'd look at home in a heresy era army where cobbled together armor was not uncommon.
Exo Armor Torso
Exo Armor Shoulders
Exo Armor Legs
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Even before he was interred in the golden throne the emperor saw all. In his plans for mankind he paved the path for mankind's future through the stars. His vanguard was intended to the Primarchs. Humanity 2.0, but like humanity some proved unworthy. Some died to see the Emperor's vision protected while others made an even greater sacrifice for mankind's destiny. The Primarchs were never intended to be nothing but warriors to fight and die for the Emperor. They were intended to be the first of a new, better human race. Prototypes for a humanity which would rule the cosmos as the best the galaxy had to offer. In the annals of history two of those great warriors have been expunged from all records. The masses have been lead to believe that the turmoil of the age or perhaps an even greater betrayal than their fallen bothers has led to this. The truth is only known to a select few, among them their fellow Primarchs and the most senior of the high lords. The truth, it was not the greatest of betrayals but the greatest of sacrifices that erased these great warriors.
Following the death of the betrayer and the ascension of the Emperor humanity was in chaos and only decisive action could save it. The Primarchs debated amongst themselves what to do but eventually agreed that for the safety of humanity the numbers of their fighting forces must be limited. As a first step the great legions were vivisected into smaller chapters not to exceed 1000 soldiers strong. They were restructured to serve no single lord so that if one should fall to temptation the rest would not follow. But the two lost Primarchs revealed a fatal flaw in the Emperor's initial plan. They and their legions were female, and decimated though they were, they alone granted the Emperor's new breed of mankind the chance to expand out of control.
Some amongst the Primarch's raged against the proposal. Their sisters, like them, had sacrificed so much and seen firsthand the sorrow of the Emperor's ascension. For their part the battle sisters of the forgotten legions accepted their fate and volunteered willingly. They could not allow humanity to collapse into darkness out of fear of their own protectors. And so they choose one last sacrifice. Knowing they would die the best amongst them hurled themselves after the traitors they had fought and vanished into hell itself. Those few left behind hunted down all who had seen their faces, all who knew their identity. Their very existence became a secret to be taken to the grave. And then when all record and memory had been extinguished they too journeyed into hell.
Though the Primarchs and their surviving warriors would know the truth they too would speak no more. Some would take this knowledge to their graves. Others would follow their most courageous sisters into hell. But none would speak of those who were to be forgotten. And so the fading of memory would claim them that none should know they ever existed.
But the Emperor's plans are never so easily forgotten. The technology to create the sisters was too precious to simply destroy. Instead it was sealed away. Likewise the genetic legacy of the forgotten Primarchs was equally important and was preserved in secret. It was planned that one day the Emperor's vision must come to fruition and when it did the blood of the forgotten Primarchs would be necessary. Recently some amongst the high lords have come to believe those days are coming. As the darkest of days approaches mankind needs beacons of light. And so the Ordo Carnificum, the order of execution, was formed to execute the Emperor's grand vision. Numbered among the Carnificum's ranks is the Scythes of the Emperor, a chapter resurrected from the blood of those long forgotten Primarchs. Given task to execute the Emperor's will they strike deep into the corruption that rots the Empire and none may see their faces and live.
Monday, March 19, 2012
My intention is to use this blog to support my hobby. Most importantly to share my projects as i work on them for shapeways.
Now if you haven't found me through my shapeways store you might not know anything about what my projects are. So let me explain that a bit. I'm an avid 40k player who makes 3d printed parts for miniatures games. I have a shop on the 3d printing site Shapeways. the URL for my shop is http://www.shapeways.com/shops/dynath. In order to understand what I'm doing I should speak to my motivation a bit.
About a year and a half ago I got really depressed after an arguement with a freind in my local flags. I was lamenting because I wanted to make a unit of female marines but couldn't find enough of the female eldar guardian torso's to convert them. This other guy yelled at me because Qoute "there are no female marines!" End Qoute. He wasn't even involved in the original conversation but as some problem gamers do he just invited him self to join the conversion conversation. He was so vehemant about it that it galvinized me to turn what was going to be a small project to make 5 female warriors into something greater. Almost a week later a friend purchased an out of production space marine terminator in exo armor as a birthday gift. the model which has a fairly substantial rarity is amongst my favorit and I began hatching a plot to reproduce it since I could never actually find another copy. Eventually these two ideas converged to make a unified whole.
For my female marines I started sketching ideas. These weren't sketches of how to use female guardians to make a male marine look female. Instead they were studies of the core armor marks that make space marines distinct and how a female varient of each armor would look compared to its male counter part. I have a background in art you see and this type of study is the first sign that i'm obsessed with a project. I spent roughly 40 bucks on eldar and dark eldar female bits and milliput. I began trying my hand at sculpting a mark 6 torso out of female eldar gibblets.
My exo armor terminator sat on my shelf for a good 3 months while I sculpted my female torsos. It taunted me. Looking down on my paint bench. It was the first copy of the model i'd ever seen in person. I wanted so badly to paint it but what if I messed it up. And even more it just looked small next to my 40k space marines and particularly tiny next to modern terminators. Finally I decided to attempt something I shouldn't advocate to anyone, duplicating the model. Enitially I considered trying to make a mold of the model. But two part molds are hard to make, even of old lead models that are pretty much flat. But the real issue was it wouldn't solve my scale problem.
My female torso's were only suitable for use as plague victims. While I have won some awards for my sculptures in the past the tiny scale of the torsos defeated my sausage fingers. I was forced to re-evaluate my project. For about a week I was frustrated that I couldn't do my project but then I found shapeways through a freind. My good freind The Nefarious Mr. Crow found shapeways when he bought a custom phone case from a seller. He pointed me to the site and discussed the possibility of having miniatures 3d printed.
It first struck me that the 3d printing idea would work best with the exo terminator. I figured companies scan objects in 3d all the time. I had a physical object if I could scan it, I could scale it and have it printed larger. By trade I'm a Librarian, I spend my time getting paid to help with research. As such a few jaunts into the internet turned up David Laser scanner. Its a software that uses normal webcams and line lasers on spacially calibrated backgrounds to scan images. A small ebay order and i was ready to test my theories.
The 3d printing idea didn't seem plausable for the female marines because I had no tangable product to scan. But at the same time I also knew that if I could scan something I'd have to edit it eventually. So I also started researching 3d design programs. I tested a lot of different softwares. Mostly the free ones or software that had a free trial. The worst I worked with was Blender. I kept adding menus on the screen and couldn't get a model made. It has a great features on paper but the learning curve was beyond me. Eventually I fell back to the old stand by, google. I expected Google Sketchup to be minimalist and not worth the powder to blow it to hell. And at first that held true. Then I discovered plugins. Plugins made the free google sketchup work like a breeze. I made my first model, a sword, in about 4 hours and was off like a shot there after.
I spend weeks trying to perfect laser scanning. the problem is that to scan an object of an size you need precision. A hand held laser pointer isn't the way to go to get precision. My point clouds came out as blobs without any resemblance to the figure. I played with it tweeking settings trying different lasers, even borrowed freind's webcams. But to no avail. Now I know maker bots have been building laser scanners for a long time but there came a point where you have to debate the project's cost. I wanted to try something new and maybe save some money. Instead I was wasting time and the only way to get it to work might be to spend 80 bucks on a 3d scanner kit. As cool as the idea to scan my freinds and print heads for my space marine army was it wasn't 80 bucks cool. I couldn't even garentee a good 3d scan if I did by the kit because after all, I was the reason the hand scan thing wasn't working. So after a month or so I was forced to call the duplication project quits. I had failed and my exo armor terminator would remain alone for the time being.
On the other hand I had already made a sword in sketchup and figured out how to export it and then upload it to shapeways. I really didn't know how to make complex shapes so I stuck to the easy stuff. I made a staff that I thought was pretty shnazy. It was just a rod with bigger rods on either end with some other rings for detailing. I made a power axe and then a power sword. And kept making things just to figure out how to do it. And each time I'd toss it onto shapeways and maybe order a copy. Eventually I came to powerfists and played around and made my first really original design. It took me a long time to make and I kept the template so I could pose it as I wanted. At the time I uploaded it to shapeways I thought, "hey, I can finally outfit a whole unit with powerfists". Of course the rules of 40k don't allow that but who cares, I was excited. I could make my armies match and save some money as I went.
Over time i dreamed of my exo armor's eventual return. I played in sketchup and made a mockup of the figure. Unfortunately the mockup was a bunch of spheres and cylinders that didn't really look like the model I wanted. I played with laser scanning a couple more times. there's an app for iPhone that laser scans. It just turns out a wierd backdrop and a whole where the model should be. And then theres this webservice that you upload multiple pictures to and it makes a composite 3d model from it. that just made a big brown nebula like thing that didn't work as a point cloud. Eventually I made a Dalek in sketchup. It took me countless hours of watching tutorials to do. It was sort of a bridge from geometric models into more organic designs.
The female marines started as geometric designs which I exported into a software called Sculptris. Sculptris is a digital clay modeling software with that wonderful free price tag. It crashed a lot and had its problems but it allowed me to smooth the cylinders into arms and legs. Once I had a body form I posed it and imported it back into sketchup. Then I added the more geometric metal plates onto the body parts. Occasionally i'd find a piece would be lacking and run out to 3d model sites and find something I wanted to incorporate. That would lead me to beating my head against it until I figured out how to reproduce shapes and forms. Finally I had something that resembled my goal and was able to upload to shapeways.
By the time I finished my first printable female body parts I was getting requests from a variety of people regarding bits they wanted. I hadn't really intended to make custom bits beyond those I got the urge to make. But really what's the point of a hobby like this if you can't share it. So I made a few custom weapons. And that lead to custom shoulder pads. And that's occupied my time for a long while. Eventually I recieved an email politely requesting me to reproduce a model. Impressively enough the model was non-other than the exo armored terminator I had been trying to produce for ages.
Female marines took more effort than I imagined possible. The first revision was some 4 armor marks in 5 possitions. With seperate torso and legs that was 24 models. The of course I started revision two and had 3 or 4 people asking if I'd make mark 2, 3, and 4 armor as well. Inspired by people's drive to see my work done I obliged. Not just adding the MK2, 3, and 4 armor but adding 5 new poses. Some 40 models. But I needed all the support designs too I couldn't just make female bodies. I had to do arms, heads, backpacks and so on. I had this entire background writen for a female chapter so I needed shoulder pads and special weapons, and cool new toys to assemble and play with. You know, the sort of stuff this entire hobby is about.
As I close in on doing 3d modeling for almost 2 years I'm coming close to finishing my exo armor. I built a basic body which I've made progressively more detailed. The design has been cut appart and modularized to make it posable. I eaven took the time to learn how to hollow the model out making it lower priced and easier to produce. I've become a huge fan of the shapeways process and hope the projects I make entertain those who by them. For my part my project list grows more than it shrinks. When I finished my marines I was already considering what the next step would be in that line. this has become a hobby of its own with all the same appeal as wargaming or miniatures assembly and painting. And its a hobby I proudly support.