Monday, 10 December 2012

Print your wagon

My recently completed Stirland Halberdiers were painted without the inclusion of any unit fillers. 42 models, no filler. This was not because I didn't want to include a filler, but rather because I had only vague plans in terms of what I wanted to put in there, and the schedule of Duelling Paintbrushes didn't give me time to fiddle. Many of my Krakenberg (purple and white) units will include customised Ogre unit fillers, however I didn't want to continue that theme through to forces included from other provinces. It's meant to help reinforce the difference between the Krakenberg forces and those used by the rest of the Empire. Instead I figured I would go with an older plan I had - to include carts and wagons of various types in the units, being protected by the soldiers. These would then also give me the chance to stage scenarios involving the defence of caravans and the like, which I liked the sound of.

So then, I would need wagons. Games Workshop have at various times produced a number of different carts and carriages, however they're all pretty difficult to come by now, and prohibitively expensive. Nothing else jumped out at me as a cheap and viable solution, so instead I decided to give Pete's 3D Printer another try (or rather, to get Pete to give the machine a try. I stay back at a safe distance and wait for the magic to happen). This wondrous contraption makes things out of practically nothing, and we've already used it to make a few Wolfygryph bases and the plinth for my War Altar. The wagons would be a more ambitious project, and rather exciting.

The first step was to try to plan the thing out in Sketchup, designing each individual component I would need. I had a rough idea of how large I wanted it to be, and some Google image searches gave me a reference point. So I did my best to put the plan into action.
My Sketchup 3D wagon model, in a state of confusion and disrepair

Ultimately the printer required each component in a separate file from my end, so this model ended up being delivered in 7 different files (some of which had to be printed multiple times, like the large and small wheels). I tried to design the thing within the parameters Pete specified - things couldn't have big overhangs in the air, as the printer really wanted contact points with the ground. The axles got tabs on the ends in order to meet this requirement. I had half an eye on modification when I was planning the thing. The sides were made in such a way that they could be attached properly vertically, or on an angle to give the wagon sloping sides. I also figure it would take little effort to cut or alter the thing to make a 2-wheel version.

Anyway, once I had settled on a design and Pete had a look at it and proclaimed that it might work, it was off to the printer. Then I excitedly took delivery of the various bits and hurried home to try to make a complete wagon. Here is what I ended up with.
Pete waves his plastic magic wand and turns my picture into a real-life thing!
Egad, where did this wagon come from??
I had to use superglue to assemble the components, as the plastic Pete uses doesn't agree with plastic cement. That's not really a problem - it just flies in the face of my natural tendency to use plastic cement wherever possible. Who knew there was more than one type of plastic in the world? Crazy talk.
The view from the top. Note that there are no grooves showing the separate wooden planks on the wagon bed. I might add those with a knife or Dremel.
The front wall of the wagon started life as the same component as the ones on the sides. However, I figured with a bit of cutting I could make it work. I put that wall properly vertical and cut away angles so that it would meet up OK with the other sides. I think it worked OK. In most cases I used my Dremel to cut up the components, as this plastic is remarkably resilient until you hit it with something that generates enough friction to melt it. The Dremel makes light work of it.
Here you can see the front wall a bit. It fits well enough - it's only a rustic sort of contraption anyway.
I originally tried drilling holes into the wheels for the axles, however there were a couple of problems. First, I failed to get the holes in the centre of the wheel, so things were a bit wonky. Second, I left the axles too long, and it make the wagon even wider than it needed to be. In the end I came back and cut the wheels off, trimmed the axles, and reattached everything by drilling a hole right through the wheel and into the axle to allow pinning. I might go back and remove the nail heads of the pins - I'm undecided yet as to whether that's important.

The final product is very large - bigger than I imagined. Of course, as this is effectively a prototype, I'm pretty happy that it works at all. The design can always be refined. As it is, this wagon and its horse will end up taking up the space of 18 models (6 x 3) in my Halberdiers. This happens to be perfect to push the unit's total footprint out to 60 models. But it was in no way planned that way. Certainly not! <looks shifty>
The base, which should be big enough for the wagon, horse and a couple of models on the ground. Needs some putty work, this base.
I think for the next attempt, I will resize the chassis a bit to give it a slightly more compact feel. I will probably also adjust the tracings that the horse hooks up to in order to make them better fit the steed, as well as possibly making them removable so the horse can be based separately and removed from the wagon so that I don't have such a large filler with no way of breaking it up. I'll probably add some grooves to the base to represent the separate wood planks used to assemble the wagon, too. But these are all refinements. The basic concept worked.

I think this thing will work well enough to be used as-is. My plan is to make it a surgeon's cart, and have wounded soldiers inside, a surgeon, and a couple of orderlies guarding it. In effect it should be a little diorama. I like the idea, so now we just need to see if I can pull it off convincingly. Then I can start coming up with other ideas for other units - supply wagons, etc.

1 comment:

  1. That looks really cool!

    I have no experience in 3D modelling or printing, but I wouldn't have thought it would be too hard to add planking texture to the bed and wheels.

    Looking forward to seeing it completed!