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"Is 3D printing affecting sales of established companies?" Topic

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Personal logo Mister Tibbles Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2023 9:06 a.m. PST

It seems as if 3D printing is exploding in miniature gaming, especially in smaller scales. But everything seems to be available in stl files in every scale, from infantry to 1/56 armor and air. Last year I played in a large 8 player 28mm sci-fi skirmish game where all the miniatures, buildings, and scenery were 3D printed.

Is this affecting sales from established miniature manufacturers, positively or negatively?

(I'm in other model hobbies where it just isn't seen much at all for numerous reasons.)

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2023 9:28 a.m. PST

One of the issues with 3D printed resin miniatures is their brittleness: drop them two feet onto a hard surface, and they will likely break off at the ankles. There is a more pliable, less brittle, resin formula which can be used, but the cost is prohibitively expensive, which takes them out of competition with commercial miniatures, in my book. Nearly every resin 3D printed miniature I've purchased has broken off at the ankles, when dropped during painting. I've sworn off the brittle resin miniatures because of this.

Reaper Bones, and other makers' metal miniatures are far less prone to this issue, by far, and their prices make them far more attractive to me, as a consumer. I love both metal, and Reaper Bones, miniatures. I also injection molded plastic miniatures: extremely low price per figure, compared to all other types; they paint up well; they have some fantastic troop types, but they are also more limited in offerings compared to Bones and metal.

What 3D printed resin miniatures have that attracts me, is the variety of poses available. It was only after they started breaking on me, that I realized they were not worth the price due to their fragility. I love the figures, but I hate their brittleness.

When/if the cost of the more rubbery resins drops, it will be a game changer, in the marketplace. Until then, commercial figure makers have little to worry about, IMO. Cheers!

Something Wicked20 Jun 2023 10:05 a.m. PST

The cost depends on whether you're printing your own miniatures, or buying them printed by someone else.

The brittleness is a problem, but a 60/40 mix of ordinary to flexible resin is a fix. TH72 flexible is £42.00 GBP a litre on Amazon, and Elegoo ABS £33.00 GBP So £75.00 GBP for two litres.

Considering how many miniatures you can print from a litre, that is not expensive.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Jun 2023 10:16 a.m. PST

Some manufacturers are now 3D printing their inventory. Baueda, for example, is printing their 1:48 WW2 figs and their new 15mm Biblicals….

But yes, for sure. I have numerous customers who see a cool product and then print it for pennies rather than buy it from me….

Martin Rapier20 Jun 2023 10:26 a.m. PST

I'm not going to print stuff myself but I'm happy to buy 3D print vehicles from reputable printing companies instead of from my usual sources. The quality and variety is just so much better. I think traditional metal vehicle manufacturers are doomed tbh.

Striker20 Jun 2023 10:44 a.m. PST

I've been buying 3d printed minis but from smaller sellers like on Etsy, I don't have a printer and won't be getting one. The pull for me is the "established companies" don't make what I want, especially moderns. I can also find cheaper vehicles in "28mm size" (1/48 for me) at 1/2 the cost, assuming anyone makes one. The 1-man band operators are filling voids that others don't address.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2023 11:19 a.m. PST

I only buy 3d printed figures that I cannot source elsewhere.
Love what I have, but they are expensive!

aedwards20 Jun 2023 1:48 p.m. PST

I have mixed results:

For single miniatures, like your typical D&D model, you are better off buying them printed on Etsy than doing it yourself. Mind you, buying on Etsy only works after you've identified a few reliable vendors with good quality. It costs about as much to buy pre-printed on Etsy as it does to buy the STL files directly, with the added benefit of not wasting 20-30 minutes (or more) of my time printing.

Sci-fi and fantasy armies, especially compared to GW prices, you can come out very far ahead if you are careful about controlling your costs. You are spoiled for choice in competing lines. You frequently run into problems with these ranges being TOO stylized or overdone with detail and are not necessarily compatible from range to range. Heavy stylization makes mono-pose or bi-pose ranges stand out that much worse if you attempt to build an army.

Historical models are much more sparse when it comes to equivalent looking models – for every Piano Wargames or Wargames Atlantic Digital there are dozens of "ropey-to-worse" options, and again you are frequently left with incomplete ranges or sparsely populated poses or loadouts.

(Note this is more human/person oriented, armor/vehicles are much easier to sculpt and look decent.)

If you want "3D printing" then go for it I guess, aside from the selection of STL files, most of the rest of the problems are solvable but require effort. I rarely have difficulty with models breaking, in the sprint time at low humidity levels with plant based resin and the correct curing time, but that is a lot of variables to keep straight and recompute every time a weather front moves through.

Having said all that, now that I've got my printing station more or less ironed out, I'm set to just let the printer be a tool and focus more on painting. At least until this winter. And there is a lot of fascinating stuff out there to print and paint.

rustymusket20 Jun 2023 2:02 p.m. PST

I have purchased 3D printed terrain pieces, but not figs.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian20 Jun 2023 2:05 p.m. PST

Having 'taken the plunge' a couple observations.

I game in 15mm. For the forseeable future that means infantry is metal. Resin printing can handle this, however it is a bit more involved as there are some 'nasty' aspects to the chemicals involved in printing and cleaning the prints. For now I can order several hundred 15mm with less issues and they might arrive sooner :)

I use FDM for 15mm vehicles. Generally, I'm printing 10 or less of any single make/type. My FDm printer is not as high a resloution as the resin but for my 'current' purposes they are 'good enough'. I find that the prints are easier for me than building plastic kits (looking at you, Battlefront and PSC).

But I have a fairly large collection. If I were completely starting over, I might have printed all of my WW-II and Cold War tanks

Todd63620 Jun 2023 2:39 p.m. PST

Mantic Games is selling their Armada line as stl files. For $10 USD/mth you get 2 base fleets, some terrain, and some miniatures from their other lines. If you can't beat the 3D craze, join em.

Andy Maloney20 Jun 2023 3:36 p.m. PST

LOL… So, most of this anti 3D printer Stuff is what I heard when I was a kid, back then the move was from lead to the tin/tin alloys and then from tin to hard plastic and now companies selling their versions of resin or hard plastic. I now have two printers (3rd 12k on the way) and mix resin as needed to allow for more flexibility/detail depending on the model. And bases??? I can print these for free or use mdf which I preferer… "come on man"!
I print models from 6mm to 28mm (vehicles and figures) and can resize a good model to whatever size I want and print as many as I want, some models are free and some cost a few US dollars and somehow at the ripe old age of 55 I can still find plenty of time to paint and game as I please.

jgawne20 Jun 2023 3:54 p.m. PST

I started both resin and FDM printing this year. It is somewhat addictive to play with this stuff. Yes, it is not for everyone, but I have gotten amazing results. You can spin scale up and down – which is both great and maddening. I had tried casting my own lead, but it just wasn't for me. But 3D printing is a hobby in itself and you either enjoy it or not. As the technology gets better, more people will get into it, and it will eat into the market. It used to be people turned their nose up at plastic figures, now they are mainstream.

So yeah, it has affected my purchases from "regular" figure makers.

Albus Malum20 Jun 2023 9:05 p.m. PST

So I print for both my 15mm fantasy wargaming and 28mm Dnd . I have been printing the last couple months with Sunlu ABS resin an its quite a bit cheaper, and I think easier to print with then the Tenacious/Siraya 10% mix I had been using, and I think on top, its maybe even better durability wise. Sunlu has also will be having its new Tough resin on the market, as well as a nylon resin. I have a bottle of the nylon but have not printed with it, but I imagine it will be very durable.

Unfortunately I probably pay to much money for STLs by supporting to many patreons, and my pile of unpainted miniatures is building up fast, especially since I had buy a new 8k machine when my old Epax x1 died.

Currently Im going thru the Dnd Monster manual (ist edition) and printing up encounter groups of all sorts of things in the number that the book calls for, ie if it calls for 3-30 stirges, I have them covered ( well only painted up about 10 so far, and bats and fire beetles. Need a violet fungi? got them, as well as the rust monster – got it. I have also been printing with my fdm printer lots of dungeon tiles ( and I have been magnetizing them, so they are easy to put together.

Really changed the way Im starting to play Dnd, man I wish this was all available when it was a kid back in the late 70's.

Any one printing needs to check out the Sunlu resin.

So to the question, does it affect purchases from Mini Manufacturers? I think so, I still recommend buying metal miniatures for Dnd Player Characters, or Reaper BONES for over all durablitity, however, I think soon, 3d printed is going to be just as durable as say a Reaper Bones. How about my purchases from GW? well, I have never bought any GW miniatures other then one box of stuff I got at a garage sale, so no, no effect there from me. I still buy 15mm fantasy miniatures, although, its slowed down, mostly because I have bought most of what I want, and have more then I will ever get painted.

If You have not bought a 3d Printer yet JUST DO IT!!!!!!

Personally, I want GW out of business, as well as I want Disney out of Business, and Pfizer, and WellsFargo and now even HASBRO-WIZARDS of the COAST. I want them all ( and many many more) out of business, as they all have disdain for their customer base, Oh ya, I want BlackRock out of Business, Really hate those guys, but for miniature manufacturers, I will settle for GW going out of business.


Oh and for those who purchase 3d printed miniatures, just buy your own printer if there is any way you can make it happen. that way if you drop and break you favorit miniature, you just put a drop of resin on where it broke, cure it and your off, OR, you print another miniature for 15 cent each!!!!



Prince Rupert of the Rhine20 Jun 2023 10:40 p.m. PST

I'm not interested in 3D printing seems like another big sink on my hobby time if I have to make the miniatures myself it's just a hassle I don't need or want. I'm still happily buying metal and giving my money to the old guard of companies who saw us through the 80s,90s and early 00s.

I guess eventually the golden generation of miniature sculptors like the Perry's, Copplestone, Sims, Hicks and others will hangup the sculpting tools and putty and the next generation ( who are already here) will just digitally sculpt everything and, if I'm still going, I will buy 3D printed miniatures in resin or plastic because that's what will be on offer. I'm not adverse to that but I'd rather pay someone to do the work so I don't have print my own.

billclo21 Jun 2023 2:48 a.m. PST

"I've been buying 3d printed minis but from smaller sellers like on Etsy, I don't have a printer and won't be getting one. The pull for me is the "established companies" don't make what I want, especially moderns. I can also find cheaper vehicles in "28mm size" (1/48 for me) at 1/2 the cost, assuming anyone makes one. The 1-man band operators are filling voids that others don't address."

Yes. My son and I are working with 28mm scale Halo skirmish rules (homebrewed) and nobody commercially sells minis in that scale, except for an awesome artist on Etsy (to be fair, he donates the STLs to the Halo community as well).

We also occasonally use another guy we know to print them out for cheap. Nobody commercially sells them, so 3d printing is the only way to get what we want.

My son also is learning to modify existing STLs, and wants his own printer but we have no place to set it up, unfortunately.

Altar Boy21 Jun 2023 3:20 a.m. PST

Honestly, My Mini Factory is like being a kid in a candy store.

Any problem is that most models are made to be GW proxies so you can't swing a dead cat and not hit fantasy or Sci fi models.

Popular Historicals get some coverage but I'm not sure I could print up an army of Nikephorian Byzantines.

3D printing should be good for low volume demand but you can't amortize the sculptor's cost over a large quantity so maybe we just need to find really good 3rd World / Chinese sculptors

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Jun 2023 5:43 a.m. PST

15mm minis are tough to print and very fiddly to trim and cure. I print and sell 12mm and 15mm armor as well as 28 to 54 mm minis and have a decent sized little business. I like the side job as I can do it from home. I feel there is a market for it but it will be a long time before it every replaces lead.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2023 5:43 a.m. PST

I buy a few things that aren't in metal. I will also buy printed terrain and buildings.

UshCha21 Jun 2023 8:01 a.m. PST

Whats metal? Long since given it up, heavy, chips pint, damages if dropped, usually massiveness out of scale (circus freaks). Turrets fall off soon as look at them. To me worthless.

However I am no figure painter and I play mostly at 1/144 so detailed figures are a farce, not possible unless the detail is out of scale then they look daft against the vehicle and anyway who can see detail on a figure 12mm tall 3ft away, certainly not me.

I almost exclusively use an FDM printer but mostly for vehicles and basic line infantry prone because they store far better and are fine gaming pieces. The high precision of even FDM printers mean the turrets can turn easily but are locked to the hull so its difficult/near impossible for them to fall off accidentally, for me a major step forward. I do buy some resin, often we have commissioned the file ourselves as need arrises ( AGL's SFMG, Some ATGW's where a prone figure may not cut it). Not broken one yet.

I reject the notion that 3D printing is a hobby in itself. An FDM printer is close on Bomb proof. The only work done on my latest was due to me trying to be clever and failing my fault entirely I cross threaded a nozzle. I chose a mindless fix but it did cost.

Not sure I ever bought many figures from established companies: well not in the last 10 years anyway, they failed to make stuff I wanted and what I had has been scrapped just not up to FDM standard. So probably not

However I am not a modeler or a painter by inclination I "colour" at best. So resin does nothing for me except at very small sizes. A 1/144 scale MG42 team will not print effectively on an FDM printer as they are not fully prone, so I get them printed commercially at places like either Shapeways or Only Games. Shapeways may now be classes as an established company its over 10 years, old and still going. so perhaps I have bought from an established company.

Striker21 Jun 2023 8:19 a.m. PST

+1 Prince. Having a printer for me is just a dumb idea. I have enough junk to finish now without making my own to add to the pile of unpainted minis. At least buying them makes me pause, even if for a little bit, to think whether or not I want to spend money and get more toys.

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Jun 2023 9:02 a.m. PST

Five years ago, 3D printers were close to 1000 dollars for just the most basic simple ones, and resin ones were even more uber expensive.
Today a person can by a beginning 3D printer for less than 200 dollars, and learn the basics of it before moving on to something else.
Technology is advancing and making things cheaper, and the prints over time are actually becoming better.
Resin seems to be the new "hot thing", but for me, the issues have been:
1: Cost of the entire setup.
2: Space to put the setup.
3: Time to learn the setup.

Plus the fact that I don't want to deal with the potential health issues with resins and what they can do to you.

So for right now, until that is fixed and we get to the point of click and print, I won't be seeing myself owning a 3D printer anytime soon.

DeRuyter Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2023 10:34 a.m. PST

@Andy Maloney – spot on.

LOL… So, most of this anti 3D printer Stuff is what I heard when I was a kid, back then the move was from lead to the tin/tin alloys and then from tin to hard plastic and now companies selling their versions of resin or hard plastic. I now have two printers (3rd 12k on the way) and mix resin as needed to allow for more flexibility/detail depending on the model. And bases??? I can print these for free or use mdf which I preferer… "come on man"!
I print models from 6mm to 28mm (vehicles and figures) and can resize a good model to whatever size I want and print as many as I want, some models are free and some cost a few US dollars and somehow at the ripe old age of 55 I can still find plenty of time to paint and game as I please.

The flexibility is the key, you print what you need. Rescale if necessary. Plenty of historical sculpts available on My Mini Factory or Wargaming 3d. Some for free. Need 1/300 scale ships for a certain WWII naval game look no further. You need 3 but plastic ones come in packs of 2 for 50 USD, no problem print three for a fraction of the price. Now there are some expensive files like Reconquista Minis, however once you pay 20 USD for the files you can print as many units as you want. As for the cost of the resin, yes, I mix in the more expensive flexible resin and even then, the cost is minimal – .50 cents for 8 28mm foot figures for example.

The most valid criticism is that it still is a "hobby within a hobby" requiring a learning curve for set up and printing. Technology is advancing through making it easier to print.

UshCha21 Jun 2023 11:41 a.m. PST

DeRuyter -1 FDM printiung is now mindless, load and print. Resin printers sounds like they are not there yet. I don't have one so cannot be definitive, but FDM is simple. A Prusa like mine I3+S if you bought it built would be bomb proof. I built mine from a kit and its bomb proof except the out of print sensor that I have never used as to me its pointless anyway and I,cant be bothered to fix it. With a built one even that would work. No setting up except to look at a line of plastic and see if it looks like the picture, adjust 1 knob till its done. Then print faultlessly for the next 2 years. I cant say longer than 2 years as I have only had it a bit longer than that and done nothing to it yet.

It can be a hobby in of itself like painting figures, but it does not have to be, like painting is not part of my hobby.

Plus the figure mountain no longer exists. Metal dumped (inferior product) and all you collect is STL files that take up negligible room. You only print what you need immediately. The rest waits till its needed.

Khazi Kwarteng21 Jun 2023 9:45 p.m. PST

I have 10mm British desert Ww2'figures printed from someone on eBay. They are superior, unbelievable detail compared to metal , no errors. He prints them at 9mm to match scale of existing figures.
Small armour is once again neater and better printed but you have to use quality resin which is not cheap

BrockLanders22 Jun 2023 2:51 a.m. PST

Last year I bought about 400 6mm buildings for a new WW2 project. They were from numerous manufacturers made from various materials. The 3D printed ones were the worst of the bunch by far. Very fragile, striation marks, random globs of material affixed to them, weird divots and stringy remains here and there. The only good thing I can say about them is they were relatively cheap and some of the 3D printed buildings are not made in 6mm by anyone else (Real life Stalingrad buildings) The best of the bunch by far were the ones from Timecast, especially the grain elevator. I'm sure the quality/durability will improve over time but I'm not impressed with the current products.

Master Caster22 Jun 2023 7:13 a.m. PST

I will strive to keep my remarks confined to the starting root question: the answer from my business perspective is both yes, and no. Some of the items in my production series have most definitely suffered with lower sales and I'm positive the reason is the upsurge in 3D printing – now it seems available to more and more individuals as each month ticks by.
On the other hand, I have embraced 3D printing in some key aspects of my own production practices. So, that has increased my sales and exposure on the up side of the question. I do not do the computer graphics or scanning, nor do I do the 3D printing – I don't own a 3D printer. I contract out to experts and reputable folks that have taken that plunge way ahead of me.
I absolutely do not agree with those here that disparage ‘metal'. Simply put, this great hobby would NOT be where it is today without a lot of our ‘toys' being produced in metal. I don't want to start a new thread but let me suffice it to say our wargaming figure armies got off the ground with dimestore plastics, Marx and Airfix.
If we did not expand out with metal castings all our present day armies would be plastic and appear on the gaming table with nicely painted tunics but with chipped paint weapons and ankles (apparently a weakness of some soft 3D prints as well – ah me!).
Our own discussion files here on TMP go far to answer the main question too. Today's opening entry on Hobby News has Askari Figures going 3D but they will also stay with casting in metal as you read into their article. Both the ‘Mold Making and Casting' and ‘Sculpting' groups are WAY WAY down in submissions.(I hope my colleague from Viking Forge had a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation). But let me not give all the advantage to the 3Ders here for we have all read – or experienced – many horror stories in other threads about that new technology as well.
Bottom line I'm sorry to say is that today's older' companies in the trade will most definitely see their bottom lines whittled away slowly but surely by 3D aspects IF they do not embrace and adapt their production systems accordingly and adopt new ideas and practices where 3D processes can improve their talents and product offerings. Maybe as an old dog they (we) can't learn new tricks, but we CAN hire and pay newer dogs.
On the down side of 3D – and speaking as an old fart who has enjoyed immensely my 55+ years of creating things, mold making and casting in both metal and resins – I fear greatly that in the very long run of 3D adoption practices the process will ultimately do great damage to the copyright and intellectual laws and practices we know of today. 3D is already blurring the lines in that regard. A blind man could see it. If I am correct in my supposition, eventually it will stifle creativity, scholarship (study & research) and put a serious crimp in entrepreneurial endeavors.
In summation, I am content and happy to be a senior, semi-retired, one-man band owner/operator and hope to be found someday dead on the floor in my workshop with a ladle in my hand (somebody turn off the metal melting pot please). But I most humbly admit the 3D process and resulting creations from that multi-faceted process are simply amazing. The overall techniques and technology of the 3D process I've seen first hand are the first real exciting things I've seen in this hobby and in the manufacturing world in a very long time. Newbies to the hobby who wish to make it part of their careers and lives are in for a very promising – and possibly financially rewarding experience.
OK, I lied. Instead I'll end with a thought. If you 3Ders out there can develop a way to form your 3D material around a wire of sorts armature, you would go far to solve the chipped paint weapons and ankles challenge…..
Now somebody come on and tell us somebody is already doing that – or not.
Toby Barrett

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2023 1:17 p.m. PST

Thank you, Toby, for one of the most reasoned and reasonable posts I've ever seen on the subject (or in general).

Personal logo Mister Tibbles Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2023 1:46 p.m. PST

This has been a good discussion on the topic.

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2023 5:57 p.m. PST

I get all my 3D printed figures from Old Glory 25's

monk2002uk22 Jun 2023 9:50 p.m. PST

I can't remember the last time that I purchased any metal figures, vehicles, or ships. 3D printing has completely transformed what I do for gaming. If this experience translates into a much larger proportion of the gaming community then it is bound to have an impact.

For example, my upcoming project is a large demo game of the combined battles of Suvla Bay and Sari Bair. The Suvla Bay sector needed two divisions of British infantry in tropical uniforms. The figures have all been 3D printed, in a whole range of different poses.

What is even more interesting, at least for me, is the ability to create models in 3D. Far from reducing creativity and historical research, the process has required investigation of historical accounts to verify which Royal Navy vessels were on station to support the landings. The Beetles were specialised landing craft but I already had a supply of these from PT Dockyards. Three monitors were present from the M29 class. I found detailed plans and translated these into a 3D sculpt. Three models are now in the process of being painted. HMS Manica was another discovery. She was a converted cargo ship, carrying a Drachen balloon for aerial observation. I designed two versions, based on various photographs and sketches online. One has the balloon just lifting off from the hold and the other has an empty hold with a separate balloon. It has been great to learn these new skills in my late 60s.

The capacity to create 3D files has already had an impact on the market in two ways. As noted, there are numerous sources of STL or equivalent files. Many sculptors charge for these. The threat to their businesses is the ability for others to create files and if, like myself, money is no object then these can be made available for free on the likes of Thingiverse. A huge range of armoured vehicles is available free-of-charge for personal use, for example. Some new businesses have emerged to charge for printing such models. And some manufacturers, such as Heroics & Ros and TimeCast, are adding these technologies to their metal/resin casting processes.

The chipped paint weapons and ankles challenge is an interesting one. Mention has been made of flexible resins. I printed two sets of 3D miniatures for Dungeon Bowl (not copies of WH originals) for my 8-year old grandson in flexible resin. One set includes Skaven-style rats with long tails. The flexible resin has been perfect. My grandson can knock, drop, even throw the figures without them breaking. An added bonus is that the different style of manufacture attracts a lot of attention at tournaments, which my grandson enjoys.

Flexible resins can struggle with the weak ankles problem, The other set of figures for my grandson included zombies with bones exposed at the ankles. These are significantly thinner than legs and could pose a challenge if the figure is repeatedly bent backwards and forwards, pivoting on the ankles. But I can always print another one…

Multi-colour and non-resin printing are already a reality. These options are very expensive at the moment but the costs will come down. Multi-colour is very interesting, as it requires not only the ability to model in 3D but to 'paint' the figures. Block colours are quite easy but shading, etc requires a different kind of artistic talent. The ability to print fully 'painted' single or multiple figures on stands to at wargaming quality if not better at an affordable price will be the next big transformational leap in this fascinating gaming world of ours.

Then there is the whole different sphere of photogrammetry, with the ability to generate superbly detailed 3D models of actual physical objects (including models sculpted manually, not digitally). But that is another story.

Now I need to get back to basing the British infantry for the Suvla Bay landings. I used a laser-printer to cut the ultra thin plywood and to print the unit labels on the bases. ;-)

Loving being part of this change process…


Striker23 Jun 2023 11:44 a.m. PST

Question: Is there 3d scanning tech that can scan a mini, get it into STL form, and allow a person to print it? I could see a problem of pirated figures happening. Buy 1 from company X then print however many you want. Even if personal use that company takes a hit. And if someone has put the money into a printer how likely are they to get use out of it by printing up those figures for free, or cost of material?

PotbellyMinis23 Jun 2023 11:49 a.m. PST

I'm old enough to remember the horrible blobs that were 1/300 scale tanks in the early 80s. As kids were were fascinated by them. These days I'm printing models with much, much higher detail in resin and they're pretty popular. I guess it's really just part of the transition to new materials, and the main thing I keep in mind is that my business has a shelf-life of the time it takes a gamer to discover 3D prints, to the day they buy their own printer.

But yeah, some of the sculptors make some really brittle models, but no worse than the first generation of Victrix plastics. We all remember those spearless wonders, aeh? I think that's more a reflection of sculptors not understanding how resilient the models need to be, and I'm watching that change in real time as new sculpting companies come online. We're also experimenting with different mixes of resin and getting some good results with flexibility and resilience.

But time will tell

PotbellyMinis23 Jun 2023 11:50 a.m. PST

Striker, I know Triguard Minis are working with scanning to see if they can modernise their range.

The scanning is… not great. Even with relatively recent tech.

UshCha23 Jun 2023 1:47 p.m. PST

Master Caster has a view that is not coincident with mine but I am not a figure painter or collector. I did dabble in Ancients 15mm in metal Minifigs were notoriously brittle so I have no love of them. Airfix were far more durable than metal but yes they could chip paint, like metal, but actually kept there shape unlike metal.

Metal was perhaps a necessary evil at the time but, for me to whom a figure is primarily a playing piece, metal holds no ancient afterglow, it has no sentimental pull for me. However I am a Philistine, resin really does nothing for me except for some very small figures that won't print in FDM. FDM stuff in general is bombproof unlike metal. Its loss will not be mourned by me.

Additionally 3D printing lets me be in control of my scenery, It makes "mass production" possible in a way that had crafted cannot. I have not the time or inclination to make dozens of a similar models, that time eats into playing time. 3D prints, a few hours on the drawing board and you have models of your dreams en masse. its in the style I want, functional, not compromised by over enthusiastic artists who allow art to dominate over practicality and don't get me started on the incompetence of metal sculptures who had little or no understanding of scale and scale creep, utter incompetence.

3D printing allows reality to come back. Existing manufactures join or get out, your days of imposing often less than competent scale miniatures is over.

In addition nobody has highlighted that freed from the tryany of injection molding and casting you can have more realistic poses. In an early attempt I tryed to use a Plastic model as copy for the pose, no infringement in copyright. Anyway it was impossible. Even I could not get into that pose, it was actually for me physically impossible. There are no constraints on the 3D nature of sculptures in 3D printing. It is as they say a plan with now drawbacks.

monk2002uk23 Jun 2023 9:44 p.m. PST

Hi, Striker. Yes, there is such a technology that is widely available. If you check out 'photogrammetry' then you can see videos of the process using iPhones for example.


Personal logo jensutkremp Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2023 5:07 a.m. PST

scanning such small figures only with highend unpayable scanners. With other scan solutions you have too much cleanup, so you can sculpt self, if you can.
And why scan an existing figure to printout. For my taste there are so much figure stl files, that are much better as existing ranges in metal or plastic, so pirates are senseless. The design of figures for resinprinting is so much better, due they have no restricions viewing on molddesign for casting.

So, scan senseless, the market of talented sculptors is full of ranges…

monk2002uk24 Jun 2023 5:27 a.m. PST

You can scan 6mm figures with an iPhone and produce accurate reproductions. The process does not have to be used to print figures. This was really helpful during Covid lockdown because the STL models were provided with colliders and then used on virtual tabletop games. It is another way in which digital sculpts can provide new opportunities for gamers who cannot get together physically.


billclo28 Jun 2023 2:40 a.m. PST

quote: "I just received 7 28mm 3D printed Sioux mounted Indians.
The horses' feet were to scale. That is, very thin. They had no bases.
That means that I have to glue these extremely fragile horses' legs to a base.
The detail is nice, but the figures themselves feel rather sticky.

That is the last time I shall buy 3D printed figures."

I have seen that with rifle barrels for figures that we provided the .stl files to the person printing them for us. We ended up having him reprint them with non-scale but significantly thicker barrels so they don't break so easily. I would prefer to see them even thicker, but they'd look really retarded, so we had to compromise.

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jun 2023 4:07 a.m. PST

"The detail is nice, but the figures themselves feel rather sticky."

If you haven't started painting them yet lace them in a bowl or cooking tray that is clear glass or plastic. Cover them in woter and set in the sun for 10 minutes or so and then take them out and let them dry in the sun.

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