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"Shapeways 15mm miniature review" Topic

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Gunner Dunbar16 Jul 2013 3:21 a.m. PST

Hi guys
I had a 15mm Dark Century, Shadow Rifts legion order from shapeways arrive today, (sorry for the poor pics, its night here and it's hard photographing white under poor lighting), these are pre heresy style space marine types, I won't go into the IP issues here, needless to say, there is an issue.
I bought these more to investigate the capabilities of shapeways then for the models, I new from the sample pics that the infantry would be a lot smaller than my own, although I was hoping the vehicles would be usable.
Weight and material – The first thing that surprised me was the weight, I thought these figures would be a more solid resin type consistency, however the material is an extremely light plastic, and the vehicles are hollow with thin walls, the models feel very fragile, however I have not broken any in my handling, I have no idea at this stage if they would stand up to gaming.
Detail – most of the models have three options of material, 1) white strong and flexible 2) ultra detail 3) ultra frosted detail, I chose the cheapest, white strong and flexible, because I knew they would be on the small size, I thought I would use the figures as armatures to build up detail with putty, I should have chosen the frosted ultra detail for the vehicles, the surface is quite rough, not sure how they will paint up, I might try sanding the surface back a little, there are some very bad sculpt lines on the underside of some of the figures, this is not a problem on the vehicles, the infantry have very delicate and detailed weapons, frosted ultra detail would have been better for the weapons etc.
Size – they are quite usable as 15mm power armour figures, standing 18-19mm tall, the main issue for me is the heft of the figures, they are thinner than what I would like, but would be usable for others, the vehicles are in scale with the figures, there are measurements for these on the shapeways shop.
Poses – the poses are all very usable, the jump pack troops are all standing on 1leg, I'm hoping they will be strong enough, they all look fairly natural.
Price – at the present time price will be a real issue with this type of miniature production, 10 figures were between $8.95 USD-$17.50US depending on the material used, I would not buy more of these until the best detailed material was $8.95 USD instead of $17.50 USD, and probably not even then due to the material used, you can get 10 good metal figures for $8 USD, the drop ship was $31.50 USD, again far to expensive for what you get, but I was happy to pay the price for a sample of this type of technology.
Conclusion – due to cost, and fragility, I don't see this type of production being any competition for the current mini manufacturing, I would class them as an interesting oddity, however the technology has uses (as we have already seen) for making masters that will later be caste in a more appropriate material, if you do decide to buy something through shapeways, I would recommend using the better detailed frosted ultra detail, even if it will cost an arm and a leg, can not recommend minis through shapeways, terrain may be a different matter, I have seen 15mm furniture and what not on TMP that looked pretty good.
More pics on my blog.


Tango India Mike16 Jul 2013 3:31 a.m. PST

Interesting. I've always wondered if you could do miniatures for using as masters with Shapeways?
I've heard the WSF sucks up paint as well so hope you get on well painting these.
3d printing is a promising technology for the future of miniatures but I don't think Shapeways are quite there yet.
Tim –

Bran Flayk16 Jul 2013 4:16 a.m. PST

I got some of these last year. Agree about the IP issues, but like the OP wanted to see how they would paint up. From my experience, they don't take washes and drybrushing very well, I had the same material as Gunner Dunbar.

These are how mine came out

Marine Squad 1 by BranFlayk, on Flickr

wminsing16 Jul 2013 4:50 a.m. PST

due to cost, and fragility, I don't see this type of production being any competition for the current mini manufacturing, I would class them as an interesting oddity,

I have to disagree; some applications they work really well; I currently have a bunch of starships from Shapeways and they are reasonably sturdy and were price-comparable. There's definitely a 'sweet spot' in times of volume of the model that makes it work though in terms of cost.


Lion in the Stars16 Jul 2013 7:05 a.m. PST

As far as figure heft goes, I base all my individual 15mm figs on 1/8x3/4" washers for magnetic storage, plenty of heft in the steel.

And I really like the looks of those land speeders.

PJ Parent16 Jul 2013 7:14 a.m. PST

I think we need to find the right applications as this technology matures. I think we can use it for spaceships and robots of various scales right now but not organics.

Lion in the Stars16 Jul 2013 10:34 a.m. PST

@PJ: totally agree. Right now, looks like the best applications are things like slat armor and truss sections, since those can be made in one piece in a 3d printer, rather than lots of flat sections like injection-molded plastic would be.

Gunner Dunbar16 Jul 2013 10:56 p.m. PST

Thanks guys, I also agree, it is better for machines rather than organics at the moment, I imagine in 10 years, 3d printing will give you everything you want, I will stick with traditional manufacturers as long as I can though, theres nothing like a really nice hand sculpted miniature in my opinion.

Part time gamer08 May 2020 10:43 a.m. PST

Realized 7 of @Gunners " 10 years" comment have all but gone.

Question: What are your thoughts "Today" on…
Their 15mm figures, troops, zombies?
10/12mm 144 scale armor anyones bought?

And very curious regrading the "Micro Scale" space ships.
My one 'issue' over all, the Micro scale spaceships. Measurements given are for the overall sprue. So its difficult to get a clear idea; "Just how big is the miniature itself going to be?"

IF anyone has photos on 10/12mm armor (Im considering Pendraken for '67 war'), but w/ currency conversion + S/H, that may get costly.

Also the National Cheese Emporium. Their BSG 'Micro Fleets' look great. But Ive never seen any actual photo's that give a better image of size.
In Short; Just how "Micro" is micro going to be on table.
Any help is appreciated.

Brother Jim08 May 2020 4:47 p.m. PST

I don't have the BSG MicroFleets but I do have some of the NextGen MicroFleets.

The built in hex bases are 12mm from flat to flat.

If you want to know ship model lengths let me know.

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