So, I was annoyed by bitz shops always being out of stock of the weapons I wanted, and decided to 3d print the heat lances I wanted instead. I took some measurements, designed the model in Blender
, and printed it at Shapeways
It came out pretty well:
This was with their Frosted Ultra Detail plastic, which I believe is printed by using a UV laser to cure wax. Aside from being a really cool image, this process seems able to remove the layering which is often seen with the additive manufacturing style of 3d printing. I was pretty impressed with the amount of detail that it holds; I was even able to model a bore in the muzzle, so I wouldn't have to drill out the barrel!
I did make just a couple of minor changes to the traditional heat lance design - most noticeably, I did away with the whipper-snipper grip, in favour of a pistol grip. While I prefer it this way, it also has the advantage that when magnetising, only the right arm needs to be magnetised; the left arm that crooks the weapon can be used for the heat lance as well as the shardcarbine, blaster or whatever.
So, with these in hand, I set about putting them in my models' hands!Working with the material
The Frosted Ultra Detail plastic is quite brittle. While it should be tough enough for gaming use, it means that rather than cutting it with a knife, you are using a knife to snap parts off. Naturally, for me, this meant snapping off the pistol grip (I included it on the off chance I would want to have one on a rack, or carried but not wielded) to replace with a Kabalite rifle holding arm and hand.
I also found that despite their being no mould lines (
), there were still some artifacts from the manufacturing process
. On the bright side, the material responds well to filing, so these should be simple to remove. I didn't remove them, because I was slightly deceived by the translucency of the printed models; in the end however I could see them through the paint. Oh well! They're still more than passable at tabletop standard, and not all of the prints I received had artifacts, but next time I would definitely file them back. Putting it together
I clipped the rifle off a Kabalite arm, taking care to keep the pistol grip intact, and carved away the stock from the arm.
In this case I was a bit too reckless and lost the trigger guard, although I was able to preserve it in some.
Next, cut (snap!) off the pistol grip from the printed heat lance, and after filing the join area flat, glue the weapon to the hand.
I found superglue worked very well to bind the two materials. I suspect poly cement wouldn't bond as well with the Frosted Plastic.
After that, I just had to paint it. I had no problem with paint covering the material, which was a relief, but of course I don't yet know how long it will take to wear off
On the left is a scourge carrying one of my 3d printed heat lances. On the right is the heat lance that comes with the kit:
The manufacturing artifact is some ringing around the barrel and muzzle, which you might not be able to see at this zoom.
Here's a (slightly washed out, sorry) group shot of the deep strike heroes:
Three of the heat lances are 3d printed, the one in the bottom left is the only one from the kit.Conclusion
I was pleasantly surprised at how well these turned out. I feel that this technology really opens doors, especially for those of us who are not particularly good sculptors, but still want to customise our models.
From here, I have a few other ideas for bitz, such as some scopes for my Kabalites splinter rifles to give them a more 'special forces' look, and perhaps some extra pouches and suchlike. I'm also considering some hands making various gestures, like pointing, 'stop', two fingers up, etc. I'm open to ideas!
Finally, if you want some more heat lances, whether for you scourges or because you want to flout footnote 1 and equip your warriors with a proper special weapon, I've made this available to buy at Shapeways. Print your own here