Friday 26 February 2016

Vickers in Paint

 I've painted my 3d-printed Vickers Medium Mk.III, and here it is with some 15mm WW1 Brits from Peter Pig.

The WSF material from Shapeways takes a bit of preparation before it's ready for painting.

The printing process is one of laser sintering in a bed of powdered resin, and when the model is cleaned up the excess powder is blown away with compressed air. That leaves quite a bit of powder still hiding in the various crevices and around detail elements, and that needs to be cleared away or else the paint will solidify it. The ideal tool for this would be a dentist's ultrasonic water pick, but since I don't have one of those, I use various steel modeling probes.

Also, the printed surface is very granular, with a texture like fine sponge. That gives a fine tooth for paint, but it's not ideal for small-scale modeling purposes. It can be smoothed down to a certain extent by burnishing, but it can't feasibly be eliminated entirely.

Hopefully, the cost of higher-resolution printing will come down within the foreseeable future. This plastic is OK, but it's not the best option, and I only entertain it because it's the only material Shapeways offer that I can afford in this scale..

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