Friday, November 27, 2020

To Boldly Go

Shortly after purchasing my Elegoo Mars Pro resin 3D printer I set about trying to teach myself how to use Autodesk's Fusion 360. There is a free version allowed for non-commercial work or you can pay a monthly or annual subscription for commercial use. 

I've created a playlist of some of the videos I found most useful in creating this project on my new Youtube channel here:

For my first project I decided on brining my favorite Matt Dixon painting "To Boldly Go" to life. 

Once designed in Fusion 360 I exported the model to Chitubox to be sliced for my printer. A few prints of the smaller parts failed and I had to adjust my supports a couple of times before I was able to produce satisfying results.

Using Matt Dixon's painting as a canvas in Fusion 360 I created several sketches which were extruded into the shapes which comprise the robot and his rocket ship. A surprising amount of 3D information can be determined from a 2D painting.

Still there were details I had to take creative liberty with. The interior of the cockpit for example isn't visible in the painting. I designed some gauges and vents for the dash, a diamond plate tread for the floor, the seat, and the legs and feet of the robot.


I modeled all of this to be printed in several pieces

The antenna was printed as part of the head but proved to be quite delicate and I've had to reattach it at least 4 times. In the above photo the lifting arm is shown in place, it is a separate piece.

I did purchase clear resin for printing the windscreen but ultimately decided on cutting it out of clear plastic packaging. 

I noticed a few issues with the design, such as the tolerances being too tight and some cutaways that were missing. I made the corrections in Fusion 360 and reprinted the model in a much large scale. 


This larger version I packed away for later and proceeded to paint and assemble the smaller version. I began in my usual method of joining subassemblies and painting base colors. These were all quite bright but would be toned down later during the weathering process.

For the base I scaled the original painting on my computer screen until it matched the model in my hand. I then traced the background on a piece of paper which I cut out as a template. Using that, I made the base from stacked plywood and 1/8" MDF which was glued together, coated in wood filler, sanded, and then textured with plaster. 

The name plate was also designed in Fusion 360 and printed with the Elegoo Mars. I printed it in various scales between 30-45mm in height so that I could pick the one I found most appealing. This was my second go at the name plate. In my first attempt I noticed all too late that I had misspelled 'Boldly"! Oops. 

The power cord was made from a bit of wire and the plug was made out of scratch polystyrene tube and sheet. I used the same sheet material to make the power plate on the wall which I changed from UK to NA standard. The base and the model were painted with Army Painter and Vallejo acrylics, weathered separately with acrylic washes, and then the model was glued down to the base. Lastly I placed a few pieces of sand with tweezers and painted them to match.




If I had it to do over again I would change a couple of things. First I wouldn't use metallic paints to paint the robot. No matter how much I tried to tone it down it is still too vivid for my liking. I think the rest of the model could be toned down a tad more too. I might also like to try my hand at making some custom decals. If I do I'll probably just hire out the work but it would be nice to have a set of waterslide decals. Since I already have a second print of this model I guess I'll have the opportunity to set those issues right.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Paint Water Do Not Drink

I've had an awful lot of time on my hands as of late and found myself feeling creative. Late at night after everyone has gone to sleep I've been working on various graphic designs and coming up with some hobby solutions in hopes of expanding my Etsy shop and putting together a few products for future model shows.

My first offering is a mug for washing your brushes in which I hope will help to avoid the dreaded confusion many of us have endured. 

On a long enough timeline every hobbyist has the moment that they put the dreaded dirty paint water to their lips. The lucky ones realize their error before it is too late, other's aren't so fortunate. Don't make that mistake, or if you already have, don't make it again with this stylish hazard striped dedicated dirty paint water mug. The warning "PAINT WATER DO NOT DRINK" is emblazoned around the mug in high contrast and 4 different languages, English, Spanish, German, and French.

I have many additional graphics in the works and an accessory or two geared toward the model makers out there.

Monday, September 21, 2020

10 Youtube Channels for Makers

 Adam Savage's Tested

Adam Savage is a man who needs no introduction. Most famous as a Mythbuster, Adam spent a number of years working as a model maker for Industrial Light and Magic building models and props for Star Wars, Galaxy Quest, and Steven Spielberg's A.I. just to name a few. Since Mythbusters came to an end Adam has been pouring his heart and soul into Tested, his online love letter to making.

Crafsman (Steady Craftin)

The Crafsman Steady Craftin is a maker channel which provides tutorials on a number of mediums and techniques. The Crafsman tackles topics such as mold making, resin casting, injection molding, and even how to make your own rub-on transfers. The Crafsman's relaxed attitude and unique delivery make this one of my favorite channels to watch, regardless of what topic he is covering.


Clickspring is one of those channels I can just sit back and relax to. Chris produces home machine shop project videos in which he demonstrates precision making with metal where order of operation is key. Many of Chris's videos are tool making videos in preparation for a larger project.

Evan and Katelyn are a husband and wife team who make a variety of projects together. Often exploratory, their videos cover the how to's and often how not to's of each project they tackle. Topics vary from furniture and home improvement to 3D printing, mold making, and resin... lots of resin.

Dark, eerie, multi-talented and always inspiring, Christine McConnell is a jack of all trades and she applies her talents to making all manner of things with a vintage and macabre flare. The skills she demonstrates and projects she tackles may inspire you to make your space your own.

At Punished Props Academy Bill and Brittany Doran build replica props and costumes from nerd culture. The videos are detailed and they produce patterns, 3D files and even 3 books you can purchase to help you on your making journey.

I Like to Make Stuff covers a variety of making topics and techniques with a lean toward woodworking and electronics. Bob's videos are often practical projects that you may want to take on yourself. If you do you'll be glad to know that these videos are highly detailed and often supported with available files for download.

Probably best described as a "Don't Try This at Home" channel. Colin engineers crazy inventions which, considering he's in the UK often seem unwise, if not flat out illegal. Fire, explosives, blades, and horsepower all come together in frightening fashion. 

In each episode David takes you through his process to make what ever it is he's making that time around. Most frequently wood working, David also delves into other topics such as welding, forging, and silk screening just to name a few.

Michael is the king of improvisation. A metal worker, Michael makes the insane weapons of pop culture come to life. In each lengthy video Michael takes you through his process as he uses a limited number of tools to make detailed, precise, incarnations of outlandish weaponry. 

I'm sure I'm leaving out plenty of excellent makers. For a selection of modelers on you tube check out my other post of 5 International Youtube channels for some additional viewing pleasure. If you know of some youtube makers who should be mentioned here please add them to the comments below.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

SOLD - Gorkamorka - Ork Boyz, NIB on Ebay


I've had these boxes of Gorkamorka kicking around in my stash since the late 90s. I always intended to use these for conversions, and I did use one box for that purpose, but these 3 remain untouched. Will you be the good home they need? The auction starts at the price of flat-rate shipping + $0.99.

Update: Wow did that turn out to be a popular item! I hadn't expected so much interest in such an old property. Added a little to the hobby fund with that sale.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Imperial Knight Titan Live on Etsy!

 Now available for sale on Etsy!

The Imperial Knight Titan pictured above is now available for purchase on Etsy. Take a peek at the shop. Other items available include expansion brackets for your Detolf display cabinet and various terrain pieces for your games of 40k.

Monday, September 14, 2020

5 International Youtube Channels Modelers Can't Miss!

Model building is an international hobby and perhaps the best expression of this is the wealth of channels dedicated to the hobby available on Youtube. The following channels are (in no particular order) some of my favorites related to modeling from the international community.

 Laser Creation-World

Laser Creation-World is a German modeling channel specializing in dioramas with a focus on scratch builds and customization. Building, painting, and weathering are all demonstrated against the backdrop of relaxing music while instructions appear on screen in both English and German. 

Black Magic Craft

Black Magic Craft is a Canadian modeling channel for tabletop gamers. Jeremy's videos primarily consist of terrain building tutorials but also cover miniature painting all while maintaining a budget friendly environment. What I appreciate most about this channel is Jeremy's transparent approach. Throughout each build he shares his successes as well as his failures and the steps he took to overcome those happy little accidents.

Luke Towan (Boulder Creek Railroad)

Boulder Creek Railroad is an Australian channel which produces outstanding tutorials on building realistic scenery and dioramas. Luke covers everything from assembling laser cut kits to building trees from scratch to fully realized dioramas.


PLASMO (Plastic Models) is a Czech English language channel focused on model building and dioramas. Videos are step by step and include information regarding the specific products shown.


Hailing from the Netherlands, Paepercuts is a hobby channel focused on creating realist scenery terrain, diorama building, and miniature painting tutorials. A number of the tutorials involve dinosaur and animal dioramas but there are a few Games Workshop miniatures featured as well.

Bard's Craft
Okay so this is number 6 but I couldn't help myself. Finland is the home of this Youtube channel which specializes in terrain, buildings, and custom miniatures for Dungeons & Dragons as well as other tabletop games.

The above channels not only provide hours of hobby entertainment but nearly limitless techniques, skill sets, materials, and product suggestions you can integrate into your hobby repertoire.

Know of any great international Youtube channels that aren't listed here? Please link to them in the comments.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Etsy Store Goes Live

Seen here used to display a customer's massive Warhammer 40k collection

The Artist of War Etsy store is live. The first product featured is the Detolf Expansion Bracket. A 3D printed resin bracket complete with hardware which, when combined with a shelf material of your choice, will allow you to add extra shelves to your IKEA Detolf Display Cabinet.

In the future I plan on selling garage kits, STL files for 3D printing, painted models/armies, and additional wargame solutions.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

3D Printing: Detolf Brackets

To display my completed models I have a Detolf display cabinet from Ikea. The shelf is great and beloved by the modeling and collecting communities but it has one flaw, a like of adjustable and additional shelves.

A search of Google, Etsy, and Thingiverse will yield several third party solutions to this problem. No that I have a 3D printer I set about making myself some mounting brackets to suspend some additional shelves. Those available on Thingiverse were designed with filament printers in mind and the models are single piece designs which work with pressure tension which is too much for a typical resin print to handle without failing. Additionally, the prints and products I found online required custom cut glass to match that of the existing shelves. I wanted to work with something readily available and off the shelf. Home Depot carries 11x14 inch glass panes which would fit nicely inside the cabinet.

So I went about designing my custom mounts as two piece resin prints. They are meant to be printed directly on the print bed without any added supports. They are held in place using two M3 hex nuts and  two M3-14 machine screws. A felt pad provides cushion for the glass which can be anywhere in size from that of the original shelves to a minimum of 11x14 inches.


It took me three iterations before I settled on this design. I'm quite happy with it. It prints and functions exactly as I intended and now I have all the space I need in my cabinet. You can download the file at Thingiverse. If you use it please post a make. I'd love to see it in action in your cabinet.

You can see some of v2.0 in the below photo. As time permits I will be replacing these with v3.0 which, in comparison, has better clearance for the hardware, prints without cleanup, has vertical support, and captures the nuts for easy assembly. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

3D Printer

I've finally done it. I've joined the world of home 3D printing. I had held off on purchasing a 3D printer for two reasons. 1, the cost, and 2, the resolution. Over time both of those factors have diminished and with the release of the Elegoo Mars, and Elegoo Mars Pro I could no longer help myself.

Prior to making my purchase I watched what seemed like and endless series of YouTube videos trying to learn about the technology and which printer would work best for my needs. Ultimately I wanted something easy to use, with high resolution, and a low price point to print model parts and miniatures with. With resolution as low as 1/100th of a millimetre and a sub $300 price tag I was sold on the Elegoo Mars. I went with the Pro versions. I can honestly say I'm not sure what I got for the extra money aside from having the USB port in the front (I just wish the power switch was as accessible).

When my printer arrived I was shocked at how small yet sturdy it was. This thing feels solid. It was packed extremely well and worked right out of the box. The directions guide you through a quick calibration followed by a print of the standard Rook model. The model was pre-sliced on a thumb drive which comes pre-loaded with several models. The first print was perfect and I was ready to start printing my own files.

.STL files must first be sliced into layers using a slicing software. The thumb drive packaged with the Elegoo Mars comes loaded with Chitubox. This is an easy to use piece of software. It has default setting you can use to support your model or you can design custom supports. It also allows you to hollow out the model and place drain holes to reduce the amount of resin used. My favorite feature is that, based upon the information you input, Chitubox will calculate the cost of the model (in resin). This would be very helpful in calculating materials cost if one were interested in selling 3D prints.

My first print of an original model was a total failure. Not because of the printer but because of my lack of understanding of my modeling software. I've been using Google Sketchup to design 3D models for sometime but I've only ever printed them with Shapeways. I was able to narrow my issue down to faces. In Google Sketchup a face has one side designated as interior and on side as exterior. I had multiple interior faces facing the exterior causing the model to fall apart when exported into the .stl format. So if you have issues with Sketchup models printing make sure to check your faces.

One of my first large and successful prints was a Robotech RDF ARMD Missile Destroyer from Thingiverse. I printed this for one of my local model club members. I wasn't entirely happy with the first print so I tried again. Ultimately I gave him both and he was very pleased. By the end of that same day he had them painted and sent me pictures of them incorporated into his project.

After all of his work I think it came out quite well. A bit of prep and paint made a world of difference.

For my next project I made some plaques for my display bases. I gave my Nordhoff Rangers a much needed upgrade! I love how the plaque came out although if I had to do it over again I would make the base thicker. Resin can be brittle and this snapped after I took it off the build plate. It cleaned up well though and I can't notice the crack now.

The cleaning process of rinsing the parts in isopropyl alcohol and then curing them under a UV lamp or outdoors was getting tedious and had mixed results. When I saw reviews for the Anycubic wash and cure station I decided to take the plunge. I've been using it with Simple Green to clean my prints. I follow that with a wash in warm soapy water and a cure in the Anycubic. I plan on trying it with denatured alcohol or iso in the future when those are more easily available.

Going forward I have several projects planed and will be posting them here in the near future. I'm really excited about what this new tool will bring to my modeling.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Stuffed Fables

Stuffed Fables is a table top board game from Plaid Hat Games. The game was gift for my wife. As it came with several miniatures, painting those was another part of my gift to her.

Flops, Lionel, Lumpy, Stitch, Theadora, and Piggle

I began by priming all the models black, followed by a downward airbrushing of grey at 45 degrees, and finished with a top down highlight of white. Each model was then painted in Vallejo acrylics with a glaze medium. Shadows were added using various washes from Vallejo, Army Painter, and Citadel. Finally highlights were added using one or two lighter shades of the base colors.

I wanted these to be very vivid so I only applied an overall wash to a couple of the baddies and the metal monsters. The more vibrant characters only received washes in the creases.

After each figure was painted it received a final coat of clear matte varnish to help bring the paint together and to provide some protection from handling during game play.


Dark Hearts


The Snatcher



These were fun to paint and I think the finished product will provide a much more vibrant gaming experience than the plain grey game pieces.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Skaven Army

While I've never played Warhammer or AOS I did purchase and complete a Skaven Army. It consists of:

All the models were painted with Vallejo Acrylics and Army Painter washes. I used various weathering solutions to add the patina and rust.

I used extra parts from the Start Collecting! Skaven Pestilens box set to make my Grey Seer. It was really quite simple as all I did was take the Grey Seer and bell from the Screaming Bell option and cut the bell flush with a base.

All the writing on the scrolls and banners was completed using a .2mm Pigma Micron pen from Sakura in the Archival Ink color which is a kind of dark brown.

The movement trays are castings of 3D prints I purchased from Mack the Maker at Etsy. Check out his shop at for these and many other movement trays.

I added a gloss varnish to the pile of slime on the Plagueclaw to add to the funk.

Overall I really had a fun time building this army. It even picked up an award at the local hobby show and the Plague furnace picked up an award at the model show in Las Vegas. One of these days I may even play a game of Warhammer!