Sunday, May 27, 2012

Update May 24, 2012 (open to requests)

Well I’ve been whining about my hard drive for a month now and I guess I couldn’t flog that dead horse forever.  I’ve reached a point where I feel comfortable saying I’ve recovered everything I could.  Anything else I need to recover will have to be done as needed, generally though scratch build.
So at this point I’m reopening my requests policy.  Some readers might not have heard this so I’ll restate it here. I welcome requests.  I accept requests in all their myriad of forms.  The caveat with requests is an understanding that I am not a professional.  Just like wargaming is my hobby, so too is my 3d modeling.  While I can generally respond quickly getting to the actual modeling can be difficult so I ask for patience.  I do not claim to be an expert, nor do I claim to be perfect.  I will endeavor to be as honest as possible regarding my skill and the cost of items before I start. I cannot guarantee models will be perfect the first try but I will do my best to do so. At this time I don’t charge to design a model, this may change but presently there are no fees.  I do add a small charge to the printing cost of the model and will keep the item available in my shapeway’s store so it can be purchased by others.  This markup fee is used to offset the cost of ordering test models.  I also reserve the right to make derivative works based on a model I create from requests.  To request something you can message me here on my blog or through private messaging on shapeways. 

Presently the only requests I know I can’t fill are vehicles, the cost to print them is prohibitive.  If shapeways or another service ever makes this reasonable I will be happy to do so.  Presently however my landraider design would cost about 500 dollars American to print (about 200 after shelling).  I will also caution requestors about requests for iconography that is the intellectual property of games workshop or their subsidiaries.  While I may still make such icons I will not directly reproduce their icons in their entirety.  There will be differences.  That being said I welcome such designs when GW has not produced products to fill the needs of fans such as chapters and iconography that is only used in print and not in models.  My advice when requesting is to be as direct as possible.  Tell me what you want give me examples if possible.  I won’t tell GW or hold anything against you but I will tell you if it isn’t possible.
I look forward to any requests I get and working with people on new projects.

That being said let’s see what I’ve been working on.
So I’ve had some requests already which have sort of captured my imagination.  Firstly I got a request for one of my favorite armies fluff wise.  I personally have a lot of armies but there has always been something about the Tau that entertained me.  At least on paper.   The current rule book makes them pretty hard to play but their backstory still inspires me.  For The Greater Good!
Well Jimjimjimmyjim, a friend on shapeways, has requested a special stealth suit model.  The Tau stealthsuits are a fun variant power armor with cloaking capabilities.  Jim wants a suit printed in FD/FUD to take advantage of the material’s transparent properties.  The goal is to make a clear model so it appears cloaked on the table top.  Awesome idea.  In the past I’ve seen this done by recasting GW figures in clear resin, but that difficult and time consuming process requires a lot more skill and resources than 3d printing.

So Jim requested I build a Tau stealth suit model based on the XV25 stealthsuit chassis. This is the 3rd complete figure I’ve designed and the first non-human figure.  The overall figure is up sampled from a model for fallout 3. This got me a basic pose to use. However the detail in the fallout model was marginal so all armor plates have been scratch built along with the arms, legs, and head.  A little less than 25% of the original model remains. The model was modularized to allow for more pose ability than the GW model.  I’m looking to make 2 to 3 leg and arm poses for the XV25.  I’m presently building alternate head and legs to convert the XV25 into the weaker XV15 stealth suit.  Weapon options will include the standard burst cannon and fusion blaster.  Once weapons are completed the model will be available as a single figure  to start followed by a sprue of 3 once designs have been test printed.
XV25 model, in progess.

Not long after getting the stealth suit I got challenged again by JTSexton to do more xenos bits.  This time it was for those vilest of alien raiders, the Dark Eldar.  The Dark Eldar are among the few 40k armies I don’t have.  Well, I used to have.  When the new codex was released I sold off my Dark Eldar models.  Not as a comment on the new codex but because it was a choice of spending countless dollars and hours upgrading my very old army list or find the models a home so they could see play.  I chose to get them homes.  JT is building a Harlequin themed Dark Eldar army.  Harlequins haven’t had their own codex in a decade but I see no reason not to give them some love and a Harlequin themed DE list sounds fantastic.
Now JT had several requests for the army but as I see it they all revolve around one thing, the icon of the laughing god.  Cegorach is the core difference between Harlequins and both Eldar or Dark Eldar.  A long time ago GW made a Harlequin jet bike canopy for their plastic Eldar jetbikes but no such item was developed for the beautiful new DE jetbikes.  So JT’s biggest project is the harlequin canopy.  From this initial icon I can then scale and modify the icon to make custom Harlequin helms and so on.

I started this project in a digital clay modeling software called Sculptris.  Sculptris is free and lets me start with a human face model and let me distort it like I would real clay sculptures.  From here I export into sketchup and modify the model by mirroring the design for uniformity.  Using measurements JT got me from the DE jetbike canopy I then scaled and distorted the mask shape I had made. I’ve subdivided and scalped the edges of the face to make the canopy less organic.  Next I’ll introduce the blades and modify the underside to mount on the existing jetbike chassis.

The face used as the basis for this design will then be reused as a mask to make a harlequin jetbike rider helm.  Also on the docket for this project is a series of thin chain blades for the elder and a harlequin’s kiss because the weapon just entertains me.
Cegorach Face Icon, Jetbike canopy in progress.

Just in this past week I’ve also got requests for a master crafted bolt pistol based off my current bolt pistol designs,  a preheresy chain axe, Storm Raven shoulder pads, and Red Scorpions Shoulder pads.  As I said if you want to add to my workload drop me a line here on my blog or on

What’s in my personal cue?  Well expect me to focus more on single projects so that I complete entire concepts to avoid loss due to hdd problems.  The first is minor revisions to the Scythes of the emperor line including the revised arms I’ve promised.  Also I intend to complete my Golden Legion figures I’ve been working on for forever.  Further down the road another custom chapter, the Emperor’s Tide, including aquatic space marine equipment hehehehe.  And eventually my first custom race for 40k, the Auspicis of Mu… And along the way with all this I’m going to work on some new ranged weapons and some melee weapons so stay tuned…

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Recovery Update...

Ok, so its been a bit over a week since I lost my hard drive.  I've managed to recover a handful of files. Most importantly I recovered some older master files for my female star marines.  They were the most daunting thing to have to rebuild.  The older masters are missing a lot of revisions from the feet and neck line but are otherwise fairly well intact. I'll have to do a lot of work if I decide to make new poses but it will make revisions easier having something to start with.

Also recovered were the masters for most of my older weapons.  This includes the originals for my powerfists, swords, and glaive designs.  Unfortunately the last revisions of both of these is lost.  However all of these designs were already uploaded to shapeways.  In theory to reproduce them I can just download the STL from shapeways.  The time consuming issue is that I use a lot of modular parts.  Without the master files I have to reproduce these parts before I can make new models in the same line.  For example, the Glaive designs I recently uploaded all used the same handle.  This handle was a uniform element I designed once and then copied into each model.  If I want to make a new type of glaive or other pole arm that uses the same handle I'll need to either duplicate the handle or recover the handle from an existing model.  Obviously recovering the part from a model is much easier for simple models like weapons. For complex models this doesn't work very well.  For instance, my female marine's leg armor is a single piece of the leg model. It rests like a pant leg over my posable female model.  Because the leg armor clips over the base model's leg it becomes difficult to seperate the geometry of the two.  This is made even harder because the leg models have thousands of polygons compared to the few hundred on the weapon handle.

So basically what this means is that a lot of my simplier models are recoverable though it will take some time.  The more complex models are not recoverable. I'll have to redo them mostly from scratch.

Using this method I've already rebuild my shoulder pad template.  I had previously loaned copies of my shoulders masters to another shapeways designer and he was kind enough to return copies of the originals.  I still had to make some scratch changes but was able to make a new master file to work with. I've already uploaded some shoulder pads using this new master. I'm also well on my way to rebuilding my arm template.  I unfortunately lost all of the mark 2 arm masters along with my mark 1 template for the artificer arms.  The basic arms though I was able to recover.  Using modified versions of the basic arms I've been able to rebuild a basic master of male and female arms.  Once a master containing all the essential arm parts is complete I'll be able to pose the arm and generate sprues from a variety of poses.  Along with the mark 2 arm sprues I lost I had been working on new powerfist designs.  I fully intend to use the new sprues to create my next generation power fists.  So with luck and time I'll be able to complete some of the new fists as well.

Unfortunately there are a lot of items I can't recover.  My upgrade sprues are almost entirely lost.  I had been working on them off and on for ages now.  Because I hadn't finished I had never uploaded them which meant my only copy was on my computer when the hard drive failed.  The only upgrade I can salvage for sure is the crusader upgrade which is still poorly scaled.  I'm still digging through backups to try and find my death cult assassin upgrade sprues, I already uploaded the weapons at least.  My Adeptus Arbites upgrade was nothing more than a shotgun and a head but the head is lost not so i'll have to start that one over too.

Along with the lost of my upgrade sprues my new bolter models are gone.  I'm not particularly worried about the classic bolters I had already uploaded.  I can recover them from the models on shapeways. However I'd like very much to have a copy of my advanced bolter designs. I had intended to make a storm bolter design to go with the set and probably a heavy bolter.  Unfortunately they are gone.  As with my legs scenario the advanced bolter is a pretty complex design I might not be able to recover.  Only time will tell.

The worst official loss is my exo armored terminator.  I've been able to recover an unfinished torso version that I scrapped a long time ago.  However the current incarnation of the model is lost.  I will have to pull it down from shapeways to work with it.  Unfortunately the shelled model on shapeways is to complex to salvage individual pieces.  As such I won't be able to make new leg poses for the model without scratch building the leg template again.  This is a daunting task that i'm not up for at the moment.  I'll instead stick to recovering the easier models at this juncture. 

My hope is to have the worst of the losses replaced and back on track to take requests by the end of May. Until then I'm not going to be revising models.  I do intend to adopt a workflow that uploads models sooner. this loss has reminded me of the importance of backups. As such expect to see a lot more models in the experimental category on my store.  Most of these will be kept there for a while in order to iron out bugs and prepare them for a final release. Hopefully between this and the new external hard drive I bought I wan't loose any more precious master files.  Time will tell.

For those interested checkout the new World Eater (Planet Devouerer) shoulder pads I put up.  they turned out nicely for the work I had done on them.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

So monday night I had a hard drive failure on my laptop where I do most of my work. I'm still trying to take stock of what has been lost but it appears I've lost aproximately 3gb of models.  This includes the master models for my female marines, most of my new weapon sets, the jet bike, my half finished upgrade sets and pretty much anything I uploaded after febuary of 2012.  The biggest loss at this time is the female marines which had been revised heavily since my last backup.  Also of important note is the revised master files for my arm sprues. I had mostly finished revising them into seperate varients and now those master files are lost.  Conservitively I am guessing this will put my modeling back several months... sad face...