Thursday, 28 February 2013

One Step Closer to the New Era of Wargame Scenery

       As we've been stupidly busy as of late with Sci-Fi figures, (It's a lot more stressful then it sounds - Promise!) we haven't had as much time to tell you all about our latest project. Remember in my first blog where I talked about those hard plastic building kits. (Right at the end. After the dinosaur and all the introductions.) Well if not he's a link. Even if it is shamelessly put in for a few more viewings!

      Anyway, we're now in a position to offer a glimmer of what we're going to offer as our first product. Which, as you'll be pleased to find out is a building kit! Now we're not stupid. We know there are lots of these available to the war-gamer. So, why bother entering the most saturated Wargame scenery market?Because we're going to do it differently! 
     Now! We know when you buy a regular model building kit for wargame scenery that there are a lot of negatives:

1) They're all different! So I'm playing Warhammer, my Dwarven army has just beaten the Dark Elves senseless. Matthew gets his Chaos Space Marines out for one last battle. This time on the 40k. Well imagine a system where your nice Medieval buildings can be swapped for something more gothic and present day in a matter of seconds!

2) They're expensive. We've all been in that situation where you desperately want something but can't have it. Hell. We'd all be battling in our epic castles with thousands of soldiers otherwise. But what happens if someone with enough experience in the plastic manufacturing market made them. The prices could halve.

3) They're not detailed. We understand that buildings designed by resin can look good but lack detail and structure and are a bit basic. Imagine if they were designed as one CAD model instead of by hand. There could be so much detail you wouldn't know where to start looking!

4) They're not easy to store and carry. Because not everyone has an epic gaming table in a dazzling games room. (or works in Games Workshop...)

5) They can't be changed.... Or can they?.. 

Here's the question we've aimed to answer. Why can't a medieval house not quickly be changed into something bigger and better. Imagine using the roof from one with the sides of another - imagine buying just a few new bits to make a whole new building range. Cheaper, more efficient and so much easier to take to your gaming club on a Friday night. Soon you can stop imagining. Welcome to a new era of wargaming. To be unveiled soon...

And while I'm here. He's a picture of our new 3D printer!

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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Producing a 3D Printed Searchlight

   Hello again! Just a quick update and an interesting example of how we make our models! 
   At the back end of last week we put the 3D printer to its biggest test yet in creating a 28mm British WW2 90cm searchlight. The product contains moving parts straight off the printer. This means we can design it in a certain way so that we can play with the base and the lamp. The initial design was drawn up from the image below and made into CAD ready to be printed. 

  The searchlight comes straight out of the printer without any need to be assembled. It's buried deep within a support material with an aroma of marzipan. We peel chunks of the material off to reveal the initial shape of the searchlight. The next step is to take it into a jet wash. This involves us juggling it with massive gloves in front of a rapid stream of water. Afterwards, the support material has all pretty much disintegrated. However, we still place our products into an acid bath just to make sure we have the cleanest plastics possible!

 Like the actual searchlight the lamp rotates and the base swivels. This means that it can be brought right into the thick of games. (Or if not, it's something to play with while your opponent takes too long to plan his move!) The finished searchlight is below in two poses. A picture before and after Chris finished playing with it! The yellow glow is brought upon by the support material and is a feature of 3D printed plastics after they've first been produce. This comes clear after a few hours under a strong light. 

We're still working on our wargame buildings at the minute. However, we just couldn't wait to show this little beauty off. It proves that we can make one-off showcase prints for a wargamers special occasion. Plus imagaine what an artist could do with it before it ends up on your table! 

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Monday, 25 February 2013

The Next Generation of Wargame Scenery. Brought to you by 3D Printing.

 So I'm sitting here on a Friday afternoon in Leyburn. A local newspaper is in the office taking snaps of the 3D printer. Is it that much of a big deal? The printer is an Objet30 Pro. At times, it can reach an incredible 14 micron resolution and it is a fascinating piece of software well capable of producing plastic molds in such detail that until a few years ago, the concept seemed unimaginable. 
  You see, to a former Warhammer Space Marine collector (all be it a fair few years ago...) it's a dream come true. For years, I tried to create designs made of polystyrene and cardboard using knives and glue only to eventually come out with a design that looked like it had been mauled by a dog. Truth be told, I was never really the arty kid at school. I could calculate, read, run, cook and maybe come up with one or two cracking jokes (well I thought they were). But art just wasn't one of my things. I tried to improve but I just lacked the talent and know-how to make products that some of the Games Workshop guys could. This was probably due to the fact I had the delicacy of a baby elephant and lacked that flair that some gamers can muster out of nothing.  Don't get me wrong! Some companies and artists make some of the most imaginative and attractive scenery imaginable, however nothing which I could afford was ever really up to the standard I wanted. I flirted with a few companies' resin models but there was no market that offered serious value for the hard-working paperboy! Eventually, I settled for a grass mat and an open field with one or two trees. It worked but that's about all it. There was potential for so much more!
 This brings me back to the Objet30 Pro. It's a large piece of machinery that can print out models designed by 3D CAD software on computers. Look at the dinosaur above. Notice how the teeth are built and the skin is textured. We wish we could show you more. But due to customer confidentiality (it sucks, we know) this is all we can show. Now imagine that form of detail on your walls, houses and fortifications! The idea gives you goosebumps and this is why we're the first company trying to push the use of our printer into the wargame market. The printer is so good it can detail almost anything into the plastic. Details that can range from grooves in the wood to tiny pieces of armour. From what I've heard it can even replicate bullet damage so the early signs are very promising indeed. So them stats got me thinking. Maybe finally, seven years too late we can build that dream gaming board as well as helping the world build their own dream gaming boards at the same time . We aim to produce a cheaper building kits and small one-off objects for the gamer. I know that the market isn't a cheap one to fish in but I have been assured we can do it for half the price of some of the better designers.. 
  So, I'll be updating this blog regularly to show my insight into the projects here at Tabletop Workshop to the wargamer and keep you updated on my projects and ambitions, whether it's from designing North American Star Forts to World War 2 Searchlights. I'll also update you of products we're working on including our new hard building kits. These offer the war-gamer a new, cheaper way to collect a wide variety of buildings and is an idea which we're very excited about.  More news as it comes!

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