Evolution of a Blog

This blog has evolved as I have as a maker. It starts at the beginning of my journey where I began to re-tread my tires in the useful lore of micro electronics and the open-source software that can drive them. While building solutions around micro-electronics are still an occasional topic my more recent focus has been on the 3D Printing side of making.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Painting Tanks - Side by Side - Final Final

I am declaring these tanks to be done for the purposes of this side by side series of articles.  I do need to add a figure to the Battlefront model and I also want to install the 3D Printed model into a diorama I am trying to finish.

All of the observations that I made from step to step of the process are captured at the end of this page.  So what tank wins?  I like the feel of the Battlefront model and I did like the way the paint felt going on to it.   The Battlefront model is also a lot more detailed than the 3D print but as 3D printable models mature more and more detail will inevitably be added.

The Tiger II might not be the best example to use for a side by side comparison.  I think there are other printed tanks that show better agains their cast or injected molded brethren.  If I were a gamer and building an army that needed Tiger II's I might well get the Battlefront models for these iconic beasts.  On the other hand if I needed T-34's the 3D printed version would be more than just fine as would a Panther for that matter (but maybe not a Jagdpanther because of the sloped top).  Trucks and support vehicles seem like a no brainer.

In any case I would want to print my tanks at the best possible resolution that time allows.  No less than 100 microns and ideally maybe 80.  Beyond that I think that the time needed for the print is getting silly.  Super ideally, with a 250 micron nozzle rather than a more standard 400 micron.  I think that I would also want to hollow the bases out and stick some weights in!

Finally, a note about print lines.  They will exist in 3D Prints into the fore seeable future given the nature of current printing technologies.  There is no denying those lines when you are painting a model but from 18 inches away, and depending on the model, they start to become invisible and the two things that you notice about the model are the quality of your painting workmanship ... and the details of the model itself.  I think it is these details that make the Tiger II model stand out from the more austere 3D Print.  Those details, however, are not missing because they can not be printed but rather because of the time it takes to design them into the source model.  I wonder if as more and more people start to get into 3D printing whether these tank models, which are in the public domain, will start to evolve?

Final Images Side by Side - Click on a Image for Larger Version

Summary of Side by Side Observations

3D Printed Model
Battleground Model
Significantly fewer details but the ones that are there are very crisp
Lots and lots of details to the point of almost too many as there is only so small that one can paint!
Painting Details
The larger more crisp details help with the painting, but,
The paint just seems to go on to the Battlefront model which I assume is due the the more dense materials.
I think that 3D Models, like the one that I printed here, will start to evolve as users make their own modifications to them
Just as modd'ing the design for a 3D Printed tank requires some skills, so does modifying a model such as the one above.  Possible but not easy!
Painting Primer and Base Coat
Extruded plastic has a very difference feel than does metal and resin castings.  Not unpleasantly different but different.
When I declared myself done with the base coat it was a uniform shade of Panther Yellow of the same tone as the 3D Print.  Between then and when this picture was taken the color changed a little.  Not sure what gives!
None required
Took some time.
It is light!  This could easily be remedied using some lead weights or something in the hull and maybe even bottom of the turret though this will require some additional work.
Not light!  Feels like a tank.
One of these tanks is not...
...scaled right!
A lot of work goes into cleaning up the support material.  I find that the higher the resolution the harder the cleanup job.
Fair amount of cleanup here as well especially for the parts from the sprue.  Also need to wash parts in prep for painting.
None required
Additional work is required but having these add on parts adds depth and detail to the model.  Figuring out where things go and how they fit was a little harder than I expected.  That is my excuse for installing the barrel off by 90 degrees

Previous Posts in the Painting Tanks thread:

Painting Tanks - Side by Side - Complete ... but for Final Touches
Painting Tanks - Side by Side - Camouflage On and Detailing Underway
Side by Side - Primed, Base Coated, and Ready for Camo
Side by Side - Ready to Start Painting
Side by Side - 3D Print vs Battlefront Model
First Blood