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Treacherous Tides

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Ahoy, me hearties! The Kingdoms of Men and High Elf fleets have continued to expand, and I now have 3 classes of vessel designed, printed and painted for each navy. I’ve settled on 1:900 scale for this project, as it’s a good trade-off between getting some great details and keeping the cost down.

I designed the ships in Blender and had them printed at Shapeways in the high definition plastic that continues to impress me. It’s possible to make out the individual bolts on the elven weapons and I’ve even been able to add little wheels on to the gun carriages on the human vessels.

Considering these miniatures are printed on a high end Envisiontec DLP machine, the cost is very reasonable. It’s still more expensive than I’d like though, so I’ve taken steps to minimise this as much as possible: hollowing out the undersides of the hulls, connecting multiple ships together so they get charged as a single part, and substituting the sea bases for a less expensive FDM material.

The ships are now up for sale in my Shapeways shop. There is even a nifty tool that lets you look at the models in 3D. The next step is to add some flyers! I’m thinking a griffon for the humans and a phoenix for the elves.

I’m looking forward to playing some more Galleys and Galleons with these now!

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Elf warband: Heroes

The rest of the Elf warband! As usual these mighty heroes are available on Shapeways. There is still free shipping on any order containing the original 4 heroes or the skeletons until the 20th.

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To add some variety to the warband, this set contains a heavily armoured Elf Lord, a Blademaster and my first cavalry – a hero riding a white lion.

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One of the reasons I started working in 15 mm scale was because it would allow me to make some slightly larger miniatures without the 3d printing costs becoming too ridiculous. Sadly it’s still more expensive than I’d like, but it would have been unthinkable for me to have made this lion rider at 32 mm!

Sculpting the lion was quite a challenge and I went through a couple of iterations. I know I could still make it better but you have to draw the line somewhere and move on.

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The pose for the Elf Lord was definitely inspired by one of the Stormcast Liberators that I was painting at the time! The challenge here was to make a heavier looking suit of armour that still fit in with the aesthetic of the rest of the warband. I’m quite pleased with how this guy turned out.

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The Blademaster is intended to be very fast and very deadly, but obviously quite vulnerable since he doesn’t put much stock in wearing armour. I made him slightly less muscular than the Warriors of Darkness savages but I think I maybe could have gone a bit further.

That’s the second warband complete now, so I’ll be giving the 15 mm miniatures a rest for a bit. It’s probably time to get back to a slightly larger scale!

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Elf warband: Sorceress and retinue

Shock horror! Gareth has made some elves! Who would have thought it? 😉

More of my increasingly large collection of 15 mm miniatures, this fearsome elven sorceress and her retinue can now be purchased from Shapeways. Until 20th November you can even get free shipping if you buy them with the original four heroes or the skeletons.

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I love the aesthetic of Games Workshop’s High Elves but I didn’t just want to replicate the pointy helmets and scale mail vibe in a different scale, so I’ve come up with a slightly different take. The inspiration is probably still quite obvious though!

This isn’t quite all the elves I’ve sculpted, but some production issues with the more adventurous sculpts mean that this is all I can share for now. I hope to show the rest in a few weeks. Then I’ll finally have two full warbands and the Song of Blades and Heroes adventures can commence!

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It’s challenging to capture the female form with such distorted proportions but I’m fairly pleased with the result here. Part of me wishes I’d had the sorceress floating a bit higher in the air, but concerns about the centre of gravity and the extra cost of using more material made me keep her fairly close to the ground. Not much danger of her falling over when she’s attached to a penny though!

I elected to use liche purple and warlock purple instead of the red spot colour I’ve used on all the other elves to make her seem a bit more otherworldly. A couple of cheeky bits of freehand emphasize her importance. 😉

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Back on familiar ground here with my tried and testing non metallic metal recipes. I’ve elected to go with turquoise (the citadel triad of stegadon scale green, sotek green and temple guard blue) rather than the more traditional blue. And you have to have white cloth somewhere on an elf!

Well, it wouldn’t be a 15 mm post without a gratuitous money shot so I suppose I’d better close with this:

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Small Ox Miniatures: what’s in the box?

Ok, you’ve ordered your exquisitely crafted Small Ox Miniatures from Shapeways, what happens next?

Shapeways will print your order and ship it out to you via UPS. Recently I’ve been getting miniatures in my hand less than a week after placing the order, but it is possible that you’ll have to wait a little longer if there is a lot of demand on the printers.

Inside your (overly large) cardboard box you’ll find plenty of padding, and packages like this:

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The amount of packaging would have you believe we’re dealing with extremely fragile pieces here, but actually the miniatures are made of a reasonably flexible plastic and are quite robust.

Inside the bubble wrap your miniatures will look something like this:

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The price of the miniatures is determined by amount of material they use, but there is also a fixed charge per part. By connecting the miniatures together in this way, the ‘per part’ cost is only incurred once which makes them as inexpensive as possible.*

You can see that due to the thinness of the connecting plastic it has warped a bit, illustrating the flexibility. Doesn’t matter anyway – we don’t want that bit!

Here are super close ups of one of the miniatures:

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You can see that the material is pretty smooth right out of the packet. The front side of the miniatures is smoother and less glossy than the back because of the way the miniatures are oriented during printing.

Shapeways add some supports as part of the printing process. The little nubs you can see mostly on the back and underside of the miniatures are the remnants of these.

To get your miniatures ready for painting, simply cut the connecting plastic with clippers. A sharp scalpel will make short work of the remnants of the supports.

You can paint the miniature as it is, although I would recommend giving it a gentle scrub in warm soapy water before doing so, just in case there is anything on the surface that is going to prevent the paint from sticking.

Because I’m a tad obsessive I like to remove the relatively light print lines with sandpaper. I’ve found that 800 grit is perfect for this, but do be gentle with it! And of course be careful not to accidently remove any details.

After sanding I glue the miniature to a penny with superglue, and we’re ready to get painting!

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The black plastic looks a bit scuffed up after sanding. Don’t worry, this will paint up really nicely!

 

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Like this!

 

 

* On the subject of price, for customers outside the US Shapeways recalculate the price on a monthly basis to reflect the prevailing exchange rate with the dollar. The plunge in the pound over the last few months has been bad news for those of us in the UK!

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Warriors of Darkness

darkwarriors800The first of two small warbands that I’ve created for use in skirmish games like Song of Blades and Heroes, here we have the ultimate bad guys – the warriors of darkness!

As with all my 15 mm miniatures, I’ve made these available for anyone that would like to get hold of them via Shapeways.

A bit of a mixed bag here. The two heavily armoured warriors were sculpted over a year ago with the rest of the warband being more recent. I think it probably shows a bit in the poses!

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I’m really pleased with how the leader of the force, known only as the Relentless, has turned out. I had to go through quite a few iterations before all the details printed nicely but it was worth it in the end. It was great fun painting the demonic shoulder pad and the chipped shiny red armour. The largest chips are sculpted, but I added a few smaller ones with the brush.

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I shared this guy previously, so you can see more of him here. Every good fantasy warband needs a magic user!

dark_elite1dark_elite2The heavily armoured elite. You don’t want to mess with these guys! Again, you can see how well the black high def acrylate captures very fine details – the chainmail loincloths are incredibly tiny.

dark_savage1dark_savage2The lowly savages can’t afford as much armour as their brethren but they make up for it with muscle.

relentless_coinrelentless_stormcastJust a couple of shots to try and give a better idea of the scale of these guys. I’m conscious that they may look a little rough blown up to five times actual size, but they look great in the hand (honest 😉 ). I don’t fancy that stormcast’s chances!

I took some work in progress photos while I was painting one of the savages, so I intend to write a future post documenting that process (I have to finish up the dark sword tutorial first). In the meantime, here are some of the main colours used:

Red armour

Basecoat: khorne red (GW)

Highlight: squig orange (GW):white 1:1, then add more white

Shade: Add black to khorne red

Glaze: Evil sunz scarlet (GW) and khorne red

NMM bronze

Basecoat: dark flesh (GW):vermin brown (GW) 1:1

Highlight: orange brown (VMC):creamy ivory (reaper) 1:1, then add more creamy ivory

Shade: rhinox hide (GW), black

Savage flesh

Basecoat: fair highlight (reaper):rakarth flesh (GW) 2:1

Shade: rakarth:cloudy grey (reaper):rhinox hide (GW) 1:1:1 with a bit of reikland fleshshade (GW) added to the mix

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Highlight: creamy ivory (reaper):white 1:1

 

I’ll leave you with a teaser for the next warband – elves!

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Miniatures available in new material

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Shapeways have made their black hi-def acrylate available to shoppers so I have retired the detail plastics from my shop and replaced them with the new material.

This material is really nice for miniatures, as it’s much less grainy than the detail plastics and captures small details really well. It’s a plastic so it’s nice and easy to work with too (less brittle). There are still some slight print lines visible but they can either be ignored or taken care of with a light going over with 400 or 800 grit sandpaper.

And as a final bonus, it’s about a third cheaper too!

Get yours here.

More 15 mm miniatures coming in the next few weeks…

 

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Savage beasts

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A few more of my own sculpts fresh off the painting table. These were actually sculpted about a year ago but I only just got round to doing something with them.

Quite a range of sizes with this trio as the goblin is only 11 mm to the eyes, whereas the minotaur is a far more imposing 21 mm and is therefore mounted on a 2 pence piece, as befits his status. 😉

One of the many reasons I like this scale is that it gives me the opportunity to create some relatively large beasties without the costs becoming too ridiculous. I definitely intend on doing some more in this vein in the future.

I’m currently sculpting a small elf warband for use in skirmish games like Songs of Blades and Heroes but I think I’m likely to do something similar for the greenskins in the not too distant future, so the orc and goblin are useful concepts for that.

I’m making these available in frosted detail on Shapeways. Recently there have been hints on the forum that the high definition acrylate material will be rolled out for general use fairly soon, which would be really good news.

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Main colours used

Green skin

Base: warpstone glow (GW)

Highlight: scorpion green (GW) with a touch of creamy ivory (reaper), add more creamy ivory

Shade: caliban green (GW), black

Yellow armour

Base: khemri brown (GW), then golden yellow (GW)

Shade: dark flesh (GW)

Highlight: creamy ivory (reaper) with a touch of flash gitz yellow (GW)

Glaze with flash gitz

Minotaur skin

Basecoat: tallarn flesh (GW) and calthan brown (GW) 1:1

Shade: rhinox hide (GW) and black 1:1

Highlight: tallarn flesh, then add in yellowed bone (reaper). Final highlight yellowed bone and white 1:1

Glaze wazdakka red (GW) and liche purple (GW) into recesses

Minotaur armour

Basecoat: black

Highlight: khorne red (GW) and white 2:1, white with a touch of squig orange (GW)

Glaze with khorne red, evil sunz scarlet (GW) and squig orange

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15 mm miniatures available to buy

smalloxminiaturesA few people have asked me about buying the 15 mm miniatures I’ve been showing off recently, so I’ve opened a shop where you can purchase my designs from Shapeways.

Unfortunately it’s not possible for me to offer the miniatures for sale in the black high definition acrylate material, which is a shame as it’s better quality and would be a little cheaper. Currently Shapeways are offering this as a maker only material, but if this changes then I will open up this option.

Of the two materials available, I would recommend ‘frosted extreme detail’ over ‘frosted ultra detail’. My own experiments have shown that there is a noticeable difference in how well details are rendered.

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