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Subject: Tiny Space Miniatures? rss

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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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I've recently purchased Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy, fantastic game! However, its spaceship miniatures leave something to be desired.

The best custom ships I have seen for the game were done by:

Antti Autio
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Gina, Escher gang leader (Necromunda). Don't mess with her or she'll kick your ass.. actually, she's gonna do it anyway!
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He used miniatures from em4 and bashed them together.

I would prefer to try to follow some pre-existing ships designs, most notably those from EVE Online. Making things that are only about half an inch long and detailed at the same time sound almost crazy!

Any suggestions for materials / where to start? How about the clear bases ... I had thought of those cheap two piece wine glasses, but they're probably way too big.
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Rich Shipley
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Those are miniatures and bases from Silent Death. A set of plastic ones came in a boxed edition and you could buy pewter ones separately. I found a pack of two (meant to sell them all, but I missed one). The newer bases are black (the older ones were clear) and are about 1" wide.
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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Hehe yes, I've read the thread. I'm looking for alternative construction methods.
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Robert Wesley
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You almost HAVE to 'devise' & 'construct' your OWN kinds then. I'll suggest 1:700 'scale' aircraft of plastic manufacture, as you could cut apart and reconfigure other 'bits' into varying assortment from them. The individual, or 'Fighters' sort are what you'll want, although portions from 'Bombers' can be handy in some instances, so look into this in the meantime.

You should look into their "Space Cruisers" types in this LINK down toward the bottom of that page: U.S. Toy cool


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Richard Panek
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Vanish wrote:
Hehe yes, I've read the thread. I'm looking for alternative construction methods.


Well you don't get much more alternative than spaghetti spaceships:

http://solipsistgaming.blogspot.com/search/label/scratchbuil...

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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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Panzagl wrote:
Vanish wrote:
Hehe yes, I've read the thread. I'm looking for alternative construction methods.


Well you don't get much more alternative than spaghetti spaceships:

http://solipsistgaming.blogspot.com/search/label/scratchbuil...



That's fantastic!
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Brian Smaka
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Just a note if you are interested. Look at www.shapeways.com there is a huge group of people creating mini spaceships over there. There are a number of shops that sell ships in a variety of sizes. Here are a few links.

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/stc_limited?sg46764%5Brows%5D... (Disclaimer:this is my own shop)whistle

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/admiralducksauce?sg21257%5Bro...

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/irrationaldesigns?sg4370%5Bro...

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/starcorp?sg40518%5Brows%5D=10

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/dreamfoundry?sg42343%5Brows%5...

Anyways, I thought you might like to see more options.
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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Hi Brian, thanks for the links.

I had looked into Shapeways a bit, but most of the ships I had seen looked pretty expensive for their size (and most are about twice as big as Eclipse can handle). The other issue is most of the photos posted are renders and not actual printed items, so it is very hard to tell quality. I will definitely have to consider that option though.

I like your NA Scout model! I see you've got certain sets built as sprues, does that bring the cost per model down? I thought price was entirely based on material used.

A thought that came to me ... could you use shapeways to produce the master and then make a mold off that piece?
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Brian Smaka
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There is a small fee for use of the equipment and any handling so once that is covered, everything is strickly the price for the material used and any markup that designer adds to the model. Since my models are so small, for the individual models you are paying mostly for the handling but the sprues it is mostly material.

I put a 5-10% markup on my own models depending on how much time it took to design it. If you want to work through it, I can design several ships for you if you give me a basic image/theme and size that you would like.

From my own shop, you can see that all of my models are smaller then a US dime. I have never played eclipse but I assume that would be either small enough or too small.

I am glad you like the NC Scout. When, I first made it I wasn't sure that I liked it but after a short while it just grew on me and now I can't really think of how I would improve it.
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I'll think of something witty to put here...
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You could use Lego
Dave J McWeasely
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Mr Weasely has some micro scale stuff in his gallery:
http://boardgamegeek.com/images/user/44654/mrweasely

Or have a browse on flickr
http://www.flickr.com/search/
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A tutorial on how I make my spaceship miniatures.

http://solipsistgaming.blogspot.com/2012/01/spaceship-scratc...

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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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pahoota wrote:
A tutorial on how I make my spaceship miniatures.

http://solipsistgaming.blogspot.com/2012/01/spaceship-scratc...


Thanks pahoota! For Eclipse the LARGEST ship I could handle is about 45mm long. Not sure I could get the detail I am looking for with your method, but I like it nonetheless. Seems fairly inexpensive until you get into the casting part, which technically isn't even necessary I suppose. Maybe I'll try making some dreads for the races first, since they only have two (total of twelve) and they wouldn't even need to look the same.
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No problem. I've done smaller ships but you're right, it's much easier to detail larger ones.

My method costs pennies if you decide not to cast. I rather like the fact that every ship is different and find casting unnecessary (though I do like the feel of a metal miniature and find they paint better).

The best part is the spaghetti master and the polymer clay can be reused indefinitely so you can make a myriad of ships that are different but of a similar outline, since they all share the same master.
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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I broke down and went to the store to get the materials to try pahoota's pasta spaceships. Wow, what a fun method! For $15 I've got enough materials to build about 7 Billion ships, and/or 3 dinners.

I put together a quick test ship last night. My only real problem is the fragility of the water putty. Perhaps I mixed it incorrectly? Maybe it is just due to the size of my model? The height on each half is only 3-5mm? Do you do anything to the ships after removing the halves from the mold? I had one half break just handling it to clean the flash off.

Also, do you ever cast anything into the water putty, like pasta or nails for spikes? Will the water putty bond to pasta? I had an antennae coming off one side of the ship but it was not nearly strong enough.

When you are casting two sides, do you sand the bottoms to get them flat?

I think this will definitely work for the dreads, but time will tell for the smaller models. I may have to look into those plastic ships for the interceptors.

If I can solve the fragility issues, this could definitely be a fun, super cheap way to cast miniatures. Thanks pahoota.
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You need to have the putty to water ratio at about 2.5:1 vice the 3:1 ratio suggested on the can in order to help avoid air bubbles. The problem with this is fragility as you observed.

Here's the solution I found. Only remove one hull half from the polymer clay. And more importantly, after you've poured the putty in the hull half you are going to remove first, make sure you push a piece of plastic window screen into the putty. The screen is cut an appropriate size to fit in the impression and provides enough tensile strength so that if the hull cracks during demolding (it will) it will still stay in one piece. I therefore demold the bottom hull first, since it will remain hidden anyways once the ship is based.

Fill the bottom impression with putty very very carefully so that you won't have any flash to remove. When you fill the top hull impression, only fill it 3/4 of the way. Then after this initial pour has cured, mix up more putty and fill the rest of the impression to overflowing. Then press the demolded bottom hull into the wet putty. After this second cure you'll have a sloppy seam line with a bunch of flash, but the two halves will be joined and give a lot of strength to each other. I've never had a ship break after joining them this way. Since I don't fill the top impression all the way, there's no need to sand anything.

In addition to the window screen I routinely put pieces of plastic in the curing putty jutting outward, in order to make fins and struts. Works great. Just realize that polymer clay has a plasticizer in it to keep it malleable, so if you leave any plastic imbedded in it too long the clay starts eating it. I tried casting with pasta imbedded in the putty and it's hopeless. The pasta absorbs water, warping the noodles' shape and robs the putty of water it needs to cure.

My last tip: when carving off flash, keep a cup of water nearby and dip your knife blade in it, carrying a drop of water to the putty. One thing to understand about water putty is that even after it cures it will absorb water and turn to mud. Makes clean-up easy but can destroy your models. Remember this when painting your ships...prime well and only dry brush!


Let me know if I can help with any other questions.
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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In other words, follow the directions you posted on your blog more religiously (notably the window screen thing and how to combine the halves). I just got too excited to see if this would work at all for me.

Thanks pahoota!
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No problem! I've been tinkering with this for a year and encountered all the same frustrations you did.

Please post pics of your work when done; I'm excited to see someone trying my weird methods.

I edited the above post to answer more of your questions.

Thanks for trying it out!
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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Well, I wanted to see what the painting properties were like and such (cause ya know, I have no experience painting minis so I know exactly what I'm doing whistle).

Here was the first hurried attempt! I've got a lot to learn, and I really need some better brushes and paint. This was just using some things lying around from other projects.



The paint actually hid the cracks, which is nice. In the future I'll definitely take more time making the mold, this one came out so square looking.

edit: It looks pretty decent to my eyes at two plus feet though. Not bad for a first try.
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Hey those are great! Good job. And square isn't necessarily bad. I've found having a few sharp edges in a ship miniature helps give that illusion of a man-made object, as opposed to just a lumpy blob of putty, which is what some of my more "detailed" attempts ended up looking like.
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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My second starship. Fettucini works well for panels. It'll take your eye out though (Ignore the pink on the bottom!)



I tried a different mold twice last night but it just kept crumbling when I tried to remove it from the mold. I think I need to make my ships fatter.

I left two halves to set overnight and got one half out with minimal breakage. When I poured to fill to top half and stick the bottom on, the newly added water putty was almost instantly hard! Not sure what happened there. I added a little more watered down mixture and was able to combine the halves, but it didn't seem right.
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Looking good!

You're right, the smaller you make your ships, the harder this technique is to use. I don't like over-sized miniatures on my game table, but anything under maybe 25mm-30mm is really hard to make via impression molding.

The putty curing fast when you pour it to join the hulls is normal. The already-cured putty in the impression that you pour the new stuff on top of starts absorbing the water from the new putty. So it will cure very fast. I just try to work fast and if my joining effort fails, I pull the hulls apart before the "mud" can cure and scrape it off so I can try again.

Good job on the fettuccine. I use it for siding on buildings. If you look at my blog you'll see this polymer clay/water-putty method works great for making gaming terrain or models like 1/100 scale houses.
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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The obvious solution is to double size the Eclipse hexes ... goo

Oh, and build a new house that could fit it.
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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I got a whole bunch done the other night and took a couple pics of my progress. These pics are from before I got out the file to clean them up. Would love to paint them up, but tonight is game night.



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I like!
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Brian Smaka
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These are pretty cool. How well do they hold up?

Just as a new note I have updated my shapeways site with a total of 34 types of ships. If anyone likes them and would want a customized set let me know and I can put it together quickly.
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