For the last year or so we’ve been experimenting with 3D printed models in various shapes and forms. We’ve been playing with different printing materials from different printing houses, different types of mould, different ways of preparing the models before moulding and so on. Some have been successful, such as the ranges of 6mm and 15mm SF desert buildings which have sold so well they’ve funded the experiments of other types of models. Others have been less successful, and have resulted in destruction of some rather expensive masters. Yet more have been previewed here on the blog and then disappeared from sight without further mention. And yes, we know that lots of other companies have pretty much mastered the process and there are mould-making and casting specialists out there that we could have turned to and got them to do everything for us. But we’re nothing if not stubborn, and we have been convinced that we could master the process ourselves and keep everything in-house.
We’ve switched to a new printing company for the high-detail models, and the first batch of prints arrived recently – a mix of 6mm and 15mm vehicles. The quality of the prints was better than we’d had previously, and more importantly the material looked to be much more robust. Last week we previewed some of them, a range of 6mm Indonesian Republic tanks for our Iron Cow range. We’re pretty pleased with these, but on very close inspection the castings are not quite right – some of the surfaces are rough or pitted and some of the detail is not as crisp as we would like, so they aren’t suitable for release quite yet. So we tweaked a few things, and tried another mould, this time of parts for the 15mm scale Neo-Soviet Bizon tank. And here’s the result:
Pleased ? That’s a bit of an understatement … I had a grin like a Cheshire cat all the way home ! On this close-up you can see nice smooth, crisp castings which fit together perfectly.
So we reckon we’re almost there now. This is obviously only a master mould, the parts need to go into production moulds and the hull, which will be made in resin, also needs moulding. But we might see 15mm Neo-Soviets and 6mm Indonesians released this side of Christmas with a bit of luck 🙂