Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On the Invention of the Boltgun

Those who are new to warhammer 40k may not recognize the significance of the iconic design of the now ubiquitous bolter.  The icon of space marine supremacy it is a standing testament to imperial weapon design.  Though the Ork Shoota and the Eldar Shuriken Catapult have been with us almost as long none has captured the futuristic essence of Warhammer 40k as well as the Boltgun. 

Within the 40k mythos Bolters are said to be relatively rare.  The fact that the entirety of the Adeptus Astartes and Adeptus Sororitas are equipped with these weapons is meant to imply the eliteness of their individual combat prowess over the more common Imperal Lasgun.   The boltgun’s Strength 4 power is often used as the “average” for Warhammer 40k in the same manner in which a 44 Magnum is the “average” weapon for action movies. Though its background is intended to be incredibly rare its implementation is comically saturated in game.
The term “Bolt Gun” first appeared in Laserburn by Bryan Ansell.  Games workshop began using the term boltgun before the rogue trader days as part of their promotion of the “dark future” line of products. The term has stuck since then with the addition of expanded terminology such as its colloquial name “Bolter” and its pistol and heavy variants.  The exact source of the boltgun as developed by the design team is unknown.  Indeed, I personally experienced some confusion among gamers as to whether the Boltgun was indeed a cased rocket ammunition weapon or a pneumatic metal slug projector.  This confusion from my days gaming in the 80s rested largely with my exposure to metal workers who referred to their pneumatic drivers as boltguns on occasion.  Games Workshop has since defined the Boltgun in a much clearer sense making its intended lineage much clearer. 
Early models which could be considered “space marines” often wielded boltguns with a squared off body made of a single print plate (like below).   This highbred somewhere between a Mac10 and AK47 was a significant aspect of the culture at the time.  Both weapons were key playing pieces in 1980s warfare from escalating gang violence to constant warmongering in Africa they were icons in the news regularly. 

Later designs would evolve further along the path towards modern boltgun we recognize today.  They kept their blocky shape but added technical details which we see in modern weapons such as multipart construction.  The intent of the design is clearly meant to convey both durability and power by making the weapon design bulky and oversized.  Like a head and a half bastard sword in the hands of a barbarian the weapon is intended to be intimidating on sight and add extra gravitas to the wielders awe inspiring presence.

Perhaps more intriguing is the source of the actual weapon idea.  Bob Naismith sculpted the original weapons but the idea for a “boltgun” pre-existed games workshop for 20 plus years.  The essence of the boltgun is a weapon that fires rockets instead of traditional bullets.  This is an idea that began to be envisaged following WW2.  Scientists experimenting with jet proportion following the war theorized the idea of miniaturized missile weapons.  The race to develop rockets that could deliver payloads overseas grew at pace with the tensions of the cold war.  As jet engines began transition to commercial activities in the late 50s the military began experimenting with micro missile design that could take advantage of smaller and smaller jet propulsion systems.  The result was the Gyrojet family of weapons patented and perfected in the early 60s and produced commercially throughout the following decade.

Gyrojet weapons used a 50 caliber caseless rocket round that was stabilized by an internal gyro system.  These dumb rounds had greater range than conventional bullets of similar caliber with considerably less recoil. Early hopes for the weapons included delivering specialized payloads such as explosive rounds.  As well as extra atmospheric operation in the event of conflict in space.  They proved unreliable for military use due to the precise nature of rocket fuel mixtures under various conditions.  However their space age design became quite popular with the public keeping them in production long after military funding had been withdrawn.
Gyrojet rifles were particularly popularized in science fiction.  Many TV shows depicted weaponry with elements of gyrojets.  Weapons from 60s and 70s tv shows often have conspicuous thermal vents and seem to fire caseless rounds propelled by gouts of smoke.  Many popular movies including those in the James Bond series used gyrojet weapons as set props.  Unfortunately the real world intervened with technology.

Running tests on gyrojet weapons proved they reacted poorly to changes of climate and altitude.  The burn potential of rocket fuel varies based on a variety of factors, including temperature and air pressure.  Weapons tested in humid climates proved to be the nail in the coffin however.   Extreme humidity can dampen the firing capabilities of the weapons making it impossible or at least impractical to deploy to the Vietnam conflict.  The result meant that any hope of future military funding was over.  Weapon manufactures scaled back production and the gyrojet faded from lethal weapon to a collectors item.

Of course modern technology could revive the design.  At the time of their development rocket and missile technology was in its relative infancy.  Modern missiles and bombs are much more sophisticated and the science of rocket fuel has come a long way in 30 years.  The military has already developed impressive smart bullets and fire control systems capable of deploying explosive rounds that explode after penetrating walls.  Weapons such as the OICW could greatly benefit from gyrojet’s low recoil and lighter weight construction.
Where is this going? Well I’d like to introduce my new gyrojet series. Astute individuals will recognize the design as an expansion on a one off design I had made some months ago.  The original model was lost but I’ve spent the last three weeks working on reconstructing and modularizing the design. Developing a selection of variants including rifles, pistols, and heavy weapons. 

More than a simple redesign of basic weaponry the chassis of these weapons will become the basis for my future weapons.  I’ve begun ideation of weapon variants to include plasma weapons, lasers, meson particle beams, flame throwers, grenade launchers, linear accelerator rifles, and machine cannons.  I’ll be creating hand held weapons first followed by turret, sponson, and pintle mounted variants.
I’d like to say this is a fast process but it is not.  I’m carefully selecting what design elements I choose to develop and utilize from existing sources such as modern and historical weapon designs.  The first sets will appear shortly with subsequent designs appearing as I have time.
As I have time? Yeah well, I’m making this too…

I’m not done yet, but I’m not down and out either.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Daleks and Disappointment

I live with so much disappointment in life.  It’s so tragic.  I was inspired last week and revived my long abandoned Dalek designs.  This was mostly out of apprehension over my other designs removal but also in anticipation.

The new season of Doctor Who started this weekend and I was very excited that I’d see “the most Dalek’s ever seen on screen at once”.  It’s not by the way. They lied about that.  Advertisers do that I suppose.  There are more daleks on screen in "the parting of ways" (I counted by the way) than in this episode but I suppose there is less variety of Daleks in that episode so whatever...

"Asylum of the Daleks".  I had hoped the return of this iconic villain would herald some deep change in the show.  Something to pull it out of its spiral of boring poorly paced writing and move it back towards the epicness that it once had. 

Don’t get me wrong I’m not a hater, I like the 2005 revival and the original run equally.  I’ve watched Doctor Who since I was a kid.  It is a cherished memory.  The 2005 doctor who breathed life into that memory.  Looking back at the original the subtext and nuance I remember from my childhood don’t exist.  It was campy, badly funded, and generally made little sense even within a single episode.  But I loved it.  The new series took everything that was horrible about the old doctor who and proved it was amazing.  It rewrote the whoniverse so that it was epic and massive and both new and old at the same time.

Then Davies left and Moffat took over.  Some people like Moffat I hear.  Understand, I have zero problem with the Matt Smith as the doctor.  I don’t get a boner over Karen Gillian but I think she makes a splendid companion.  And even what’s his name I always forget is much more tolerable than most male sidekicks that the doctor has had.  But Moffat… Moffat.. Moffat… Moffat!

There is a reason his name is used as a title for evil Imperial commanders in the Star Wars movies.  Some people sing his praises.  I think he is a little kid that’s been given his say and should be slapped upside the head.

See Moffat knows how to do seriously big scenes… sort of…  He also knows how to make characters act… kind of well…  Moffat also knows how to manage a big overarching plot… kinda in the last 5 minutes…

See Moffat is sort of like George Lucas but more tolerable of a human being.  He’s got this addiction to flash in the pan scenes.  For instance! Asylum of the Daleks opens with the Doctor meeting someone on the surface of Scaro.  Scaro… The Dalek homeworld which was destroyed in like episode 3 of the original series.  The red irradiated planet shown which should have been white and petrified according to its original incarnation, if not just totally blown up.  Less aggravating than a planet that was blown up not having blown up, but just as stupid, is how this episode pans across a burnt city scape and up the decaying form of a giant fucking Dalek.  So Daleks built giant Dalek shaped skyscrapers on their desolate not blown up Dalek home world. What's the point of an eye stalk on a skyscraper? Was it pretty pictures, sure.  But was it fucking necessary??? I argue not.  part of the excitement of Doctor Who is you don't know what they hell is happening till it happens.  In the episode "Dalek" you get that a dalek will be in the show but it doesn't start out that way.  And even for 5 minutes you wonder how the beaten half dead dalek is gonna factor in and then bam dalek murder fest happens.  That's how the Daleks should be handled.  From scene one of "Asylum of the Daleks" it seemed pretty obvious the goal was to make my eyes bleed daleks. Its a slap in the face saying, "Oh hey did you know daleks were gonna be in this episode" it insults the viewers in my opinion. Epic scenes are great but come the fuck on they should be epic for the sake of the plot not epic cause you want to blow your CG budget for the year.

And then there is of course the whole, lets make daleks out of people.  And they say it, you make Daleks by subtracting love.... Let me say that again in case your mind is boggled. "By subtracting love".  Subtracting love… Love… FUCKING LOVE!!! How about subtract love and then add 3 million years of radiation and genetic mutation, cloning, geneingeering, eugenics, galactic and inter-temporal war, and of course add a fucking hover tank.  FUCKING LOVE MY ASS!  Why do daleks have to… sigh.  And that is the thing, he knows how to make a pretty picture but misses all the subtext and emotion of pretty much everything.  Saying something like "that how you become like a dalek they remove your emotions, make you cold, make you alone, make you hate everything that isn't you.  So hold on to what matters because love beats hate any day, Amy."  See what I did there.  Its punchy, it builds on itself a bit.  It makes you feel the punch line. And it implies the exact same concept.  Its like moffat thinks we are all 2 year olds when it comes to dialog.

I'd like to say I gave the episode a fair shake.  Maybe I didn't.  Maybe I'm glorifying Davies run on the show but so much more could be done with the concepts at play.  For instance when I read the title of the episode… “Asylum of the Daleks”… I thought, "Well the Dalek race has been through the wringer lately maybe they gave up".  I figured, maybe the new paradigm Daleks, you know the smarty Daleks people hate that Moffat introduced earlier, are magically smarter than the old Daleks.  Maybe they finally realize they lost the timewar and maybe even the general war on everything, if so just maybe they would ask the Doctor to stop the time war.  Imagine that.  A group of Daleks actually asking the doctor to change the course of history so their race doesn’t get wiped out over and over again.  And the doctor would have a chance to save his people before they resurrect Rassilon and go all apeshit nuts on the universe.  How would that be for an opening episode? The entire season could be the doctor trying to rewrite the history of the Daleks to save them from the time war and vicariously insure the timelords never get involved and thus both races are saved.  But he could be thwarted at every turn by the psylence (or however you spell that) or whatever the fuck they were called.  Only in the end to find out that the psylense are agents of the timelords or something awesome where Rassilon is trying to stop the Doctor from Timelocking the Time War.  That would be wicked cool.  Talk about an epic over arching plot... and the puzzle... "Silence will fall when the question is answered."  We all know the question is "Doctor Who?" its retardedly obvious, or maybe i'm just gullible.  It could be as simple as a password to control the Moment and unlock the Time War.   

But of course that’s not what happens.

And I knew that going in.  I went online and looked up some reviews based on the previews.  And I learned the Asylum of the Daleks was really about an Asylum of the classical sense.  The Dalek’s version of Arkam. (yes I say that picturing a Dalek Joker). And from that I though, "ok that would be cool too".  Dalek Sek went insane and had prophetic visions.  They implied the Psyche Daleks in the old series were insane or would go it eventually due to their emotions.  I could see the Daleks making an Asylum to send their crazies too.  Like Sek the crazy daleks would be of use to the "normal" Daleks at some point so they might not kill them just imprison them.  And if the crazies got loose what would they do to the norms that imprisoned them?  I mean that was a cool idea too.   The Doctor kidnapped by the Daleks to go kill a Psychic Kaled mutant that has taken over the asylum and is systematically destroying the Dalek empire.  SO the doctor gets sent to the Asylum and has to fight his way through insane kaled mutants, weird brain-squid tentacle monsters attacking them. That's what the daleks are really, the travel machines are just mechanical tanks they live in. The inmate daleks could have cobbled together  travel machines built from spare parts with strange weapons improvised from whatever they could find.  And at the end a show down with a colossal mutant kaled that would demand to know whether the Doctor really believed saving the normal Daleks was "Right".  But again that’s not what we get. Oh no.  We get dusty time war era daleks in a sewer system.  Why the fuck would you send someone to a mental hospital in a hover tank??? At least take the fucking gun away.  So many missed opportunism.

And lets talk about zombies.  Specifically dalek nanite controlled zombie humans.  WHAT THE FUCK!.  Really? We can’t get away from zombies in popular culture did we really need Doctor Who and the Zombies?  Shit really? I hate the idea of reanimated corpses in general, its physically impossible. Its a trope for the week minded to frighten people. "Oh how do you kill them they're already dead???" If they can't fucking die what's the fucking point of trying to kill them build a fucking wall.  But in doctor who did we really need zombies? A show were no one caries guns and they run around scared a gratuitously large amount already, are zombies really needed? I say not.  Not to mention that’s not Dalek MO.  They make mutant slaves or stick mind control chips in your brain.  They don’t turn you into zombies. That’s more a cyberman thing and even then it would be kinda stupid.  Just fucking stupid.  Not to mention if Daleks had that kind of technology why not just shoot every fucking planet with a nanobomb to zombify everyone. Either the Daleks are fucking idiots or Moffat is and I choose Moffat.

I'm digressing way off my chosen rant but I can't stop now.  So lets touch base on one of my real pet peeves.  The Parliament of the Daleks.  Apparently Daleks now follow a republic system of government.  See and I thought they were a military dictatorship and that’s why they had ranks like Supreme and Emperor but apparently they get to elect pretty much every bronze suited dude into their representative government. So what they are a constitutional monarchy now? Projecting much Britannia?  But wait there's more apparently the Daleks have a psychic network of sorts!  I don’t remember this, they've mentioned Dalek psychic abilities in past episodes so it could be in the old series but I don’t recall it. What this means is that apparently you can delete memories from the Daleks if you can “hack” their psychic network.  They aren't individuals they are worker fucking bees now.  Each Kaled mutant in his personal hover tank is nothing more than a data processor for a dumb terminal hooked to the emperor server. Fuck...  You know, when you think about it, a psychic network makes a parliament useless right? I mean if everyone can share thoughts instantly full on democracy can be done at the speed of thought.  And if the Dalek's had a psychic network why are they always surprised when the Doctor shows up after one of their guards has gone missing?  

The point is they are a military dictator ship!  They live to kill everything but themselves where’s the debate?  They would have built the bridge to nowhere in record fucking time and then exterminated everything at the other end of the god damned bridge.  They are fucking daleks!.

And now to the heart of Moffat’s failure.  See the girl behind the curtain of crazy dalek number one is the future doctors companion.  You know once they dump the dead weight of Amy and Rory’s failing attempts to have a life.  So Amy and Rory just want a regular old life in no where’s vile England.  Amy and Rory's personal life has been a great selling point of the new series. It feels real... sometimes... you know when Amy isn't randomly trying to rape the Doctor or when they aren't magically divorcing in the first five minutes of an episode with NO exposition.  I get it, time travel show.  What's been 6 months off air for us is like 5 years for the girl who waited and the nurse who waited longer.  Fucking understand that, but maybe something should be hinted at, like a fight scene every so often.  Maybe some bickering about shit in the christmas episode something.    Karen and Arthur are good actors and their stage direction when acting has been good but the gaps between their moments and sometimes lack of a consistent connectedness to each other has been problematic. To the point that when Rory says "The unspoken fact of our relationship is that I love you more than you love me!" is obvious blatant fact not just an insulting attack he made on Amy's character in the heat of passion.  Perhaps it's intended to feel that way and Amy would be better described as "the girl who settled" rather than the "girl who waited." Speaking as a man who had crushes on female friends in college I recognize this type of relationship can be very real, the problem is that the jarring manner in which their relationship is treated on screen feels like their lack of a proper loving relationship is more the product of the writers ignoring them for portions of the show than the intended friction of always question if you're good enough.  this is bad character writing and generally poor pacing not bad acting as such.

Ultimately we need something more exciting in a companion going forward than Amy's desire to be a normal house wife, or maybe Rory's desire to be a normal house wife.  Karen Gillian’s attractive and all but she doesn’t really add awesome sauce to the show.  Her character has become a long string of wishy washy good by and hot and horny hello scenes directed between the two men in her life.  Ultimately entertaining but slowing to the show's pace.  After the first 10 minutes when I figured out the chick they need to rescue was a Dalek I thought awesome! Dalek Companion!.  That’s right! I said it.  Moffat’s greatest mistake was turning his back on this idea.  DALEK FUCKING COMPANION… not a Dalek doing that to a companion… err sorry bad images. No a Dalek as a companion.  Better even, a deranged Dalek that thinks she’s human, as a companion.  How awesome would that be.  Super genius to keep up with the doctor. Teeth to frighten enemies.  Deranged paranoia to keep the doctor on edge.  And of course a tragic back story with lots of plot hooks to draw out over the course of a season.  Of course that would be possible only if Moffat was a good producer.  And if you aren’t sold on the idea, picture this… Dalek painted Hello Kitty pink wearing the 4th doctor’s scarf!  BAM perfect.  Keep the chick who is gonna play the dalek as she is.  Keep her trapped in a little apartment inside her crazy little Dalek brain just have her sassy attitude follow the doctor around in a fragging tank!  Moffat I hate you…  I hate you because you don't think like this.

I love Daleks though.  I love how repeatedly people make fun of them as wheelie bins but they still manage to terrify and surprise us. They are fantastic and typify the amazing ideas that Doctor Who brings to life. I guess the stupid weeping angels are the new thing now.  Supposedly they’ll be in this new series someplace. Deranged statue aliens, great.  They are just a different type of villains I guess. They are villains like hungry wolves are villains to those who are slow and made of meat.  Daleks are villains to everything that doesn't want to be shot which is pretty much everyone. I hope the Weeping Angels eat Moffat.  Their temporal digestion dissolving his past present and future until he never existed would be justice.  Then maybe Davies would have had another season before he moved on and Who could have found a real successor after that.

Any Who… I’ve uploaded Steven’s relatives.  In my Shapeways gallery you’ll find a variety of new Dalek models.  The formidable Special Weapons Dalek.  The commanding Dalek Supreme.  The agile Spider Dalek.  The colossal Dalek Strider.  And of course the imposing Dalek Emperor.  Note standard, special, supreme and spider daleks should stand approximately 33 mm tall when assembled.  Strider and Emperor dalek should stand approximately 80mm tall.  Each sprue builds one wargame scale Dalek with a group of weapon options.  Due to changes in scaling and design elements new Dalek model parts are not compatible with old Dalek models.  Arms and parts are generally interchangeable between models of same size.  Special Weapon options can be exchanged with neck weapons on the strider or emperor’s arms.  Strider’s heavy weapon is unique in size. Models have been shelled for printing in Frosted Detail.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Update... 9-6-12

Ok, so as I said yesterday I've been given more infringement notice from Games Workshop. The good news is that Shapeways was able to alter my shop title without trouble. I won't have to delete the shop and reupload everything. I will still be removing the female marine parts tomorrow night. I don't think they infringe GW's property rights but have no resources to fight a legal battle here.

What will this mean? Well my shop's url is identical since it was just "www.shapeways.com/shops/dynath" anyway. I think the search function might hiccup a bit but mostly it will work the same. The shop name is not an issue as long as I don't have to delete everything. Removing the female marines is mostly a non-issue as well. While it will mean my melee weapons and a couple of vehicles are all that will be in my gallery i'll be able to recover.
Games Workshop's issue is the use of design elements that corispond to the 40k armor mark details which I can't deny. While I thought believe the design details were covered under patent law which would make their use public domain I don't have the money for a lawyer to back me up on that. At the same time, I built one set of female marines. I can build another. And this time I'll do it better. Don't get me wrong. I love the designs I made but I wasn't satisfied. And this gives me encouragement to try again and make something more unique.

Warhammer 40k has a certain aesthetic and I think I captured that quite well with my female designs. However, was it really a good design? I’d argue no. the 40k design heavily adopts the art style of early 80s rock culture and though it has been polished and revised repeatedly it is still the rough equivalent of an early 80s iron man armor. Though superficial detail has been added to their designs in order to give sculpted joints the appearance of some flexibility the reality is that the armor is as impractical in appearance as it is dated in design. The 90s update to space marines did a lot to standardize the details but it didn’t really change anything on a fundamental level. They are still clunky and backwards designs that are laughable to imagine on the battle field.

I like the 40k armor designs but I must say it doesn’t look good on girls. The legs and arms are generic enough to be fine but the torsos are potatoes and impossible to really feminize without major aesthetic issues. You either end up with bullet trap cleavage or the appearance of an asexual life form. There is a fine line you can dance like I did but I don’t believe it’s worth it now. At least not in this medium.
All those who sculpt miniatures in green stuff with the skill to make a mold in your basement I envy you. Because Games Workshop can’t come into your home and stop you and it’s easy enough to share with your friends without having the motives in your heart questioned. For me, without green stuff or molding skills, Shapeways was a god send. But now I understand something about the creative process that I didn’t before.

You see I have the right and the ability to be creative. I can make something, poor my heart and soul into an art or craft and produce something fabulous. As a painter I can paint a canvas and no one will accuse me of violating IP (for the most part). I can hang it and sell it at auction without an issue and for the most part so long as I don’t claim it’s a Van Gogh no one will sue me. In drawing, in painting, in sculpture, in all art the act of loving something so much that you dedicate your life to creating something is invaluable and I thought protected. However intellectual property law isn’t about protecting that. IP law is about protecting the profits of someone else’s creation. No corporation creates anything. Not Games Workshop, not Microsoft, not Lockheed Martin, none of them. The don’t create they make. The people that work for them create. There ideas are then “protected” by IP laws and the company MAKES and SELLS them. I won’t say I created shoulder pads. But I did put enough love and care into shoulder pads to build something of value. Something more than just a thing that was made to be sold.

Every commission I receive asks me how much and I tell them the same thing, nothing. I build what you wanted because I love the hobby and I love designing something someone will use. So I add a dollar or two onto the cost of printing something to cover the actual money I spend testing products. I don’t even break even really, but I don’t care because I want to create something for others. I never felt I could sell the things I was making for a profit. I always thought micro transactions, selling thousands of shoulder pads and breaking even, was enough. And for me it is. For the corporation that is Games Workshop? I’ve railed before about their pricing scheme. I’ve told friends how horrible I feel their business practices are. I even said I hate their legal team threatening people. And with all that, is it enough? Is the money you make only to spend on protecting the money you make enough? I know a lot of people who would say no. However I’d venture none of the people who say that have the type of money Games Workshop’s CEO does, or the money Games Workshop’s investors do.

Games Workshop isn’t human. It’s not a person. It’s made up of people. It’s a transformers gestalt, made of mashing a thousand noddinghamtrons into a single savage beast. Moral arguments, social and ethical examinations don’t work on it. Like a hand gun shooting Devastator it has no effect. My artistic endeavors are like ants to Games Workshop. The security program that operates its minimal point defense system notice me but that’s all. And part of me is fine with that. I’d rather not have to join with a bunch of people to become Superion in order to keep making models.

The point is I don’t have any traction in this fight. I can argue till I’m blue in the face that I actually made something unique and different but no one will hear me. Instead I’ll get stepped on and that’s not right. But it’s how it is. IP laws are out of control and don’t do what they are meant to do. Tomorrow if I uploaded a totally unique model of a space warrior in mechanical armor and Games Workshop saw it and said I like that do a model like that. The truth is since Games Workshop can actually afford a bunch of lawyers and an epic design team they would win. Even if they produced a blog that explicitly stated they designed their products off mine they would still win in court. Entirely because I can’t afford to go to court and am generally honest enough to admit my faults.

So what does this mean? Well unlike Games Workshop I am not a corporation. I can’t fulfill myself with money. So I instead have to fulfill myself with those things I can. And for me that is my art, my 3d design amongst that. If I make a female marine model that doesn’t look like Games Workshop’s models it won’t sell terribly well. But I won’t be making it for that. I’ll be doing it in the hopes that someone will find it and like it and that will be enough. I hope…

Anyway if you have a request please email me and I'll try to respond. I ask you to be cautious about suggesting Intellectual Property of others. But i'm still willing to listen to your ideas. I'll probably be updating more than usual to day so bare with me. I have some blog posts i'd written that I want to actually put out there.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Further Games Workshop infringement claims.

My laptop crashed when I was writing this. My poor laptop has an issue where it just shuts down randomly, it needs a new motherboard and is out of warranty. So if this post seems a bit disjointed that’s why.

This afternoon I received a new infringement notice from Games Workshop. This time there infringement claim has specifically addressed specific items in my inventory. I'm thankful that they are actually addressing the reality of what I've uploaded for printing as opposed to the vague notion that they own everything under the sun.

Unfortunately they have specifically pointed out the "design" of armor marks again. Initially I had believed their previous statements in this regard covered the issue of the shoulder pad elements and Aquila trade mark. Sadly this time they specifically point to the female star marine parts in arms, legs, torsos, helms, and backpacks. I disagree on this. My understanding is that the models are covered under patent law and thus design elements aren't an issue but I can't afford to argue this point. If there was any question of whether I would have to redesign the female marines this answers it. It frustrates me because I'm reasonably sure that legally the female variants are different enough that even when sharing design elements they fall into fair use. However I can't deny that my intent with the models was to make them LOOK like their male counter parts that inspired them. As such denying they should be removed feels unethical to me.

No matter what I want that clear. I knew games workshop owns the rights to warhammer. However my intent was never to undermine them to the extent that they clearly believe I have. I was of the mind that Games Workshop was not producing certain products that I and others wanted. Either those products were not being produced at all or they had been produced and games workshop decided not to support them any longer and as a result abandoned them. Likewise I feel that Games Workshop's control over the likenesses, icons, and color schemes of space marine chapters is both legally and ethically dubious as many if not all of these designs should belong to their original creators not Games Workshop. I'm not sure why but these factors more than anything else have left my conscience clean on the matter. I didn't set out to deprive Games Workshop of funds. I set out to provide the gaming public with products games workshop doesn't. I don't want to get rich stealing sales from Games Workshop. I want to give back to the hobby I love in a way that Games Workshop just isn't doing. Ethically I don't see a problem with producing shoulder pads for customers who want them. Nor female marines. Nor out of print models. Nor guns. etc. Basically it encourages people to buy more actual products from Games Workshop. If I was out to steal sales I’d design a nearly identical product like Anvil Industry's steam knights designs. But of course I wanted to fill a hole in GW's product line that Games Workshop doesn't appreciate me filling. Sigh.  That’s all I can really say, just … SIGH…

Games Workshop has also made a claim regarding my “Space Undead Insects” while this design is intended to be a replacement for their scarab models it does not look like their scarab models.  It was intended to not look like their scarab models because their scarab designs are stupid.  I chose to instead make the insect like robot be insect like not… stupid.  Official scarabs are flat with no legs, no mandibles, not real bug like qualities.  My scarabs are more bug like with proper legs and mandibles.  The only thing remotely like an official scarab is the spinal column and single eye, and if they own that then robot skeletons the world over are infringing and I don’t believe that. I’m not going to push it until they take me to court though. I’ll simply listen to their feedback and change the fucking model.  If they think they own a cyclopean insect I’ll give it two eyes. If they think they own skeletal spinal columns on robots, I’ll make it fucking tubing.  They can’t own everything. Robot insects are real things that people at MIT are making right now. IP ends somewhere and if GW won’t define it for me I’ll test the waters until I find the edge myself.

Lastly and most troublingly is their statement of trademark on the term 40k.  Now, in fairness they can’t claim a registered trademark unless they’ve actually registered a trademark.  Copyrights are pretty much open ended but trademarks are documented.  While I would think I could argue the trademark based on the capitalization of the letter “K” denoting the difference between the proper trademark and the numeric abbreviation I don’t have the money or legal counsel to deal with this.  It’s easier to remove the “40k” moniker. Or it would be if I could change my shop name myself.  I’ve contacted Shapeways but I’m not sure I can adjust my shop name at all without deleting it and restarting a new one.  A process that deletes everything in my shop some of which I don’t have backups of yet.  Even this blog has GW’s “trademarked” “40k” moniker as part of its URL.  I’m sure I’ll get a notice about that too.  But I can change that.  Blogspot can let me change the URL with a single click.  Not a problem.  Shapeways could be an issue.  Hopefully I hear back quickly so I can fix this.

I seriously hate Games Workshop at the moment.  I feel simultaneously like I’m being threatened and patronized.  Like a puppy that has yipped to loudly I’m not sure if GW has come over to pet me soothingly or beat me with a stick.  I can’t see the harm my site name would have on the 40k brand but at the same time I know I could theoretically do some kind of damage to it vaguely somehow that I don't understand. I could make products they don’t want me to make and end up hurting their reputation if people think they made them. I can't see how anyone would mistake my products for theirs but whatever.  At the same time even knowing that Games Workshop could be harmed I feel that chance is minimal and can’t help but imagine that they know I may have to delete me shop in order to change its name and are just being obtuse as a result.

It’s easy to imagine the CEO of GW sitting in a Nottingham tower laughing like king john.  I doubt my particular situation has even been brought before him.  But the image is still there.  Perhaps I demonize Games Workshop because I’m not skilled enough or creative enough to create an equally powerful empire of miniatures.  But it saddens me none-the-less to be attacked for trying to support a hobby I love.  I’d not be surprised if this is all in my imagination.  That the GW corporation is just an emotionless machine, it responds to my particular issues as nothing more than a bump a car runs over in the road.  No malice, no particular disgruntlement, simply the bored curiosity of an office worker tired of his job.  Perhaps the thin veneer of politeness is simply my in ability to comprehend the depth of their sincerity.  Or perhaps it is the last vestiges of imperial condescension directed at an individual that is perceived as inferior. 

I don’t know.  But I wonder if deleting my shop would not be the best for all parties. I noticed a lot of shops I once visited are not updated anymore. A large group of people who design miniatures on Shapeways don’t sell them to the public.  Perhaps I was to brazen to actually SELL something I designed.  Obviously Games Workshop would argue that they designed these things and I stole them by copying them.  I suppose the question is then what’s the point in trying to support the hobby when the creator of the hobby claims ownership over everything within it including that which it doesn't actively create? 

EDIT: I added the footer from the Games Workshop legal teams emails. The statement of “confidential” is bullshit. Intellectual Property is a matter of PUBLIC record. If it wasn’t there would be no ability to enforce it. I have not signed a confidentiality agreement nor a nondisclosure agreement.  As such you can’t stop my legal right to talk about the claims placed before me.  I will say that the claims of Games Workshop as they apply to me can’t be construed as legal advice for the legal affairs of any individuals as the Claims are the views of Games Workshop and don’t constitute the actual law as interpreted by a Judge.  I will continue to post the emails I recieve from Games Workshop on this issue as a matter of public record and free speech.



My response to Games Workshop (8 - 20 -12)

Dear Mr, Nanson

Like yourself I appreciate diligence regarding this matter. I am a simple hobbiest and take the interests of Games Workshop in this matter with great seriousness.

I want to assure you I am already complying with the requests of Games Workshop. I have already removed a number of products and will continue to remove additional products going forward. Unfortunately there is no automated or batch removal function in Shapeways which means I have to manually edit each item to delete it from my account. This process takes time and I appriciate your patience.

I’m sorry that my request for clarification was interpreted as a request for legal advice. I honestly assumed that when Games Workshop was deciding I was infringing they would have made a list of specific infringements for me to correct. As I understand the legal process the individual with a claim of infringement is responsible for defining that claim. My only intention was to insure I addressed all of Games Workshop’s claims of infringement. I didn’t mean to be requesting your legal expertise, only the specifics of the infringement. Regardless I’m working to comply with your requests so I see no need to consult legal counsel at this time. And besides I have no doubt that Games Workshop’s claims have merit or its legal councils wouldn’t pursue them.

That having been said, I will endeavor to remove items based on the “shoulder pad”, “logos” (I assume this is directed at Chapter logos) and “Aquila” design that Games Workshop claims as their intellectual property. I’m saddened by the loss of these designs particularly because Games Workshop has not made comparable products based on the Intellectual Property they claim. I do however understand the need for licensing and intellectual property as a whole and will comply.

I agree it is my responsibility to ensure my items don’t infringe intellectual property laws and I will do better to comply in the future. Up to and including seeking legal advice regarding my hobby if needs be. However, in spite of not having legal counsel I am aware of the current litigation between Games Workshop and Chapter House Studios. While I will comply with your wishes now I feel that I need to inform you that if the court decides you are not the Intellectual Property holder of any or all of these designs I will continue with my distribution of any public domain items at that time, which would be my right if that is found to be the case.

I will do my best to have the offending items offline within the time allotted. I will also attempt better judgment regarding what items and requests to fulfill in the course of my hobby so that I don’t violate games workshops Intellectual Property again.

Dynath Kajira

Games Workshop Legal Notice (9-5-12)

Hi Dynath

Thank you for your continued cooperation in this matter and for removing several designs from your store. I appreciate you making the changes.

There are some remaining infringements in the store which I must ask you to remove as soon as possible.

There are some models which bear the Aquila registered trademark e.g. http://www.shapeways.com/model/325301/m7b1-star-marine-armor-torso-x5.htmlamong others.

There are a number of helmets, legs, arms, backpacks etc which combine to create your ‘Star Marines’. These parts, and their combined complete models, copy a significant part of Games Workshop’s Space Marine design. This includes various ‘marks’ of Space Marine armour and variants such as the ‘Techmarine’ and ‘Apothecary’.

There is also a set of Necron scarabs available.

Finally, I must inform you that ‘40K’ is a registered trademark belonging to Games Workshop Limited. Please remove it from your store name ‘Dynath40k’.

Please remove any remaining infringing auctions in the next 14 days and drop me an email when you have completed the removals.

I look forward to your notice.

We reserve all rights.

Kind regards


Tom Nanson
IP Assistant
Group Legal Department
Games Workshop Group PLC

My response to Games Workshop (9-5-12)

Dear Mr. Nanson,

Thank you for again taking the time to address this issue Mr. Nanson. Firstly let me say I am grateful that this time specific infringements have been identified so that they may be addressed, as opposed to broad statements of infringement.

Thank you for calling the Aquilla to mind, I had uploaded the models over a year ago and as a result it had slipped my mind they had an Aquilla on the chest of several models. I would ask if it was viable to remove the Aquilla and list the revised torsos but your next infringement claim lists quite literally all parts of a figure so there is no point. My understanding is that the design of your parts falls under patent law which dictates that the individual expression of a specific item is protected not its design elements. As such using elements of a similar nature such as cabling or plating of a similar design on a different expression, IE the difference between male and female designs, would be publicly viable. The printing of backpacks, shoulder pads, and armor designs by other companies such as Scibor, MaxMini, etc. I thought bore this out. Regardless as I have neither the legal resources to argue my point nor the inclination to challenge the makers of 40k regarding their patents of their miniatures I’m forced to comply.

The robotic insects on my list are significantly different from the legless, mandibleless scarab design produced by games workshop. While I don’t desire to fight I’m not convinced you own the trademark on“insects”. I would be happy to discuss the specifics of this “infringement”but as a whole the design is significantly different than your established designs to the point that if the name wasn’t “space undead insects” most viewers would not consider them analogous to the GW Scarab product.

Lastly the trademark “40k” I was actually unaware of this trademark. I had avoided the full “40,000” and “Warhammer” but didn’t realize the abbreviation was trademarked. I’m at a loss as to how to edit my store name however. I will have to contact customer support at Shapeways to adjust this. If they can’t do that I suppose the only thing I can do is delete my store entirely and start a new one.

I thank you for calling these infringement claims to my attention. I’ll work on removing the “star marine” product line and altering my shop name, however would like specific clarification regarding what aspect of a robotic insect you have copyrighten, trademarked, etc.


Dynath Kajira

Footer for Games Workshops Email Included for completeness (9-5-12)

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