Saturday, October 6, 2018

Sci-fi Soldiers with Custom 3D Printed Heads

Pew Pew!

Sure, you may be tempted by that new Star Wars Legion game, or your eye may wander to the freshly released Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team, but friends, custom sci-fi figures are where it's at!

It's so simple! Follow my easy step by step instructions, and you too could have a unique set of space soldiers from a sci-fi property of your own design:
  1. Fall in love with a set of multi-part plastic figures, like Dreamforge's Eisenkern space Nazis.
  2. Wait for them to go out of production for a few years, and then pay through the nose to pick up a single box of figures.
  3. Get disgusted with the preponderance of REAL LIFE NAZIS who seem to be crawling out from under their rocks and decide you need to de-Nazi-fy your spacemen by replacing their Stahlhelm inspired helmets with alternate sculpts.
  4. Learn Zbrush and sculpt a digital head for your sci-fi troopers.
  5. 3D print them, assemble everything and then paint them up!
'troopers on industrial grating bases for guarding bases and breaching bulkheads of captured blockade runners.

'troopers in field gear. They get extra shoulder pauldrons for better protection against hooded little scavenger goblins.

Once you are done you may realize your sci-fi troopers need somebody to fight, so go through the whole process again, but this time cobble together some sci-fi palace guards from Mantic bodies, Fireforge crusader cloaks and some more Zbrush sculpted heads.

These heads were proof of concept. I'll need to enlarge and accentuate their features a bit for the next print, but I was surprised out how much detail the 3D prints picked up from the digital model.

It's a snap! And in only 6 to 12 months you too could have a few dozen figures ready for tabletop wargaming! 

You may also want to pick up some figures from a Kickstarter like Colony 87 to round out your force with leaders or VIPs to guard.

The Colony 87 and Astropolis Kickstarter figures are so much better than my humble efforts. Tons of character, and a joy to paint!

Sarcasm aside, I'm pretty happy with the way everything turned out. I considered 3D printing the heads and then casting them in resin, but the cost of printing them was much lower than trying cast everything up myself. I'm thinking of jumping back into Zbrush to add some bodies to the heads I sculpted and then possibly getting the complete figures cast in metal.

I've been messing around with my own set of wargaming rules and wanted some figures that would be a clear break from existing properties, but still hint at well known tropes to make it easier for my game buddies to get into the game. 

I've got a ways to go with testing and writing the rules, but it will be nice to be able to playtest with figures that are better representations of what I'm going for than the Space Orks, British Desert Commandos and Wooden Cubes that have been filling in up till now.