DragonLock Skeletons

Left to right: 0.04, 0.08, 0.16 mm
This is the DragonLock newsletter freebie skeleton STL  that I printed the other day in 0.04 mm, 0.08 mm, and 0.16 mm layer heights to see how the difference in quality affected them as playing pieces.

They've been painted very quickly, with just a black primer and white zenithal shading, followed by coloured ink glazes and an Agrax Earthshade wash. I picked out some of the bone highlights to finish. I wasn't keeping track of time, but I guess each one took about ten or twelve minutes to complete, not counting drying times.

Unsurprisingly, the finest layer heights suited the glaze and wash paint method the best, but even the coarsest will do fine as one of a large group of mooks — at tabletop distances, the difference in detail is insignificant, to my eyes at least. Though having said that, my eyesight is pretty shit.

Note: the wiggly points of the bardiches are not intentional, but the result of inadequate cooling of the filament.


This is a model I printed a little while ago when I was learning my way around what to expect from my Ender-3, now all painted up and ready for the wargames table. It's a model I originally designed to be SLA-printed by Shapeways, modified to print better on my own FDM machine.

It's is a British Vickers Medium Mk.II, the standard workhorse tank of the British army from the mid 1920s through to the mid 1930s.

The model has been printed in PLA at 0.08mm, and I modified the model to remove the gun and leave a dimple to indicate where I should bore a hole for a brass pin. Printing wires in this size is seldom very successful I've found, and using a piece of brass is much cleaner and easier in the long run. The paints are all Vallejo acrylics.

The model quality is surprisingly good; I wasn't really expecting anything much more than a vaguely Vickers-shaped blob, but the detail the printer has rendered is quite acceptable in a wargaming piece.

Flail Snail

 The Flail Snail is one of the goofier monsters to be created for D&D. I think it came from the Fiend Folio, though I'm not 100% sure and I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

Here's a 3d-printed model of it, along with Scaley the Filthy Bartender (from Reaper) for scale.

The model was made by Miguel Zavala, and printed by me at 0.08mm layer height in PLA. I've tried to represent the iridescent shell by spraying random blobs of transparent inks over a silver base coat, and then applying liberal coats of gloss varnish; I think it turned out OK. The colour scheme is taken, more or less, from the D&D 5e illustration.

Layer Height Test

From left to right: 0.16mm, 0.08mm, 0.04mm
This is the monthly Dragonlock newsletter freebie from Fat Dragon, printed three times at different quality levels. The total height of the figure from the bottom of the base to the top of the bardiche is 43mm, the figure itself from sole to crown is about 33mm. I chose it for this test because it prints reliably without supports, so there's a minimum of fussing about in the slicer.

They've all been printed through Cura on my Ender-3, using the SiePie Small Minis profile, altered in each case only to print at 0.16mm, 0.08mm, and 0.04mm layer heights. The miniatures are printed in PLA, and apart from removing the brim, they've had no post-processing of any kind.

At first glance there's really not too much visible difference, especially at tabletop distance. However, the close-ups below show up the improvement in quality with smaller layer heights — though at the cost of greatly increased printing times. If you're wanting a whole army of unimportant mooks, then exquisite detail probably isn't going to be that important, while a character figure might justify spending half a day to print.

0.16mm, 1 hour 11 minutes to print

0.08mm, 2 hours 25 minutes

0.04mm, 4 hours 30 minutes.

Dolls' House Furniture

When I got my printer, in a fit of enthusiasm, I got quite a bit of DragonLock stuff. More than I really need for my usual gaming purposes, it turns out, as I'm not really interested in using a dungeon tile construction system.

What I'm much more likely to use though are tabletop mapping props like these furniture pieces from their Village Furnishings (?) set. There's a bunch more in that set, more beds, tables, chairs, kegs, benches and so forth, revolving around setting up in and tavern scenes it seems to me. They're all very chunky, which is beneficial for gaming pieces as they're very sturdy and easy to paint, and generally speaking they'll print without the need for supports.

As well as fantasy roleplaying, they're handy for small-scale skirmish games like the "Three Musketeers" swashbuckling game that I've forgotten the name of, where figures are very likely to be leaping over tables and swinging on chandeliers and so forth.

These are all printed at 0.2mm layer height, which is fine for my purposes — I don't really need incredibly fine detail for this sort of thing.

Next Day

Here are some more pieces from the same DragonLock range: a couple of single beds, a bookshelf, and a table.

I painted the bed on the right a bit filthy, maybe the sort of bed one might encounter in a cheap and disreputable inn, the sort of place one might meet a Mysterious Hooded Stranger. As one does.

15mm terrain: Stone Wall Sections

15mm Peter Pig WW1 British officer shown for scale

These sort of things are one of the reasons I got a 3d printer. They're tabletop terrain pieces for roleplaying games and wargames. These ones came from Terrain4Print on Thingiverse, and I've scaled them down to 60% for use with my 15mm war-dollies.

These four I did as a test to see how they'd scale; the original .STL files had them at about 20mm tall. They printed just fine at 0.2mm, about an hour and a half for the four pieces, and I'm also using Blender to remix some additional corners, bends and what-not.

If I wanted hundreds of them, I'd probably print one set at as high a resolution as I could manage, and mould them in silicon rubber for resin casting. However, that's not terribly likely, and I can just set up a bunch of them to print at once overnight if I foresee a need for some more. Having the printer means that I have an effectively limitless supply, as long as I don't mind the time it takes to actually make them.

RPG Tabletop Terrain — More Doors

I made some more doorways for use with 28mm miniatures. They're available for download from Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/MojoBob/designs

These are the raw , unpainted prints at 0.2mm layer height in grey PLA. I've included a couple of 28mm figures for scale.

Arched doorway front (or back)

Arched doorway back (or front)

Grilled cell door outside

Grilled cell door inside

RPG Tabletop Terrain — Tent

Figure is a 28mm fighter from Reaper, provided for scale.
I found this tent model on Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2623169 by Ecaroth. It didn't need any supports, which is nice.

This is one situation where the printing layer lines aren't a problem when it comes to dry-brushing and washing. They make the structure look more like coarse, heavy canvas, which is ideal. This time.

DragonLock Skeletons

Left to right: 0.04, 0.08, 0.16 mm This is the DragonLock newsletter freebie skeleton STL  that I printed the other day in 0.04 mm, 0.08...