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Car Wars Printable Minis

I'm old enough to be a player of Car Wars from Steve Jackson Games from the Pocket Box days. Old enough, even, that I've got a copy of Sunday Drivers (clearly a superior title), not Crash City. But it became much too complicated a game to keep playing after a while, or rather my ability to take the time to deal with complexity declined markedly. But I've been delighted by the new, much faster edition of Car Wars which came out not too long ago.

My one problem with the game is that instead of tiny cardboard counters, it uses Matchbox/Hot Wheels-scaled, that's actually not a problem. That's excellent. They look great and make the game more fun to play. The problem lurks inside of that. They're great minis and they invite painting. Indeed, SJ Games as a series of videos about painting car minis on their Youtube channel. The problem, then, is that I want to paint my car minis, but I suck at painting minis. Like, I'm the worst at it. And while I'd love to practice my painting (I sometimes like to paint minis and miniature terrain during long, dull work meetings the way other people doodle in the margins), the manufactured minis cost way too much for me to experiment with. 

And so SJ Games came to the rescue again with their CARnage Kickstarter, selling files for 3d printing your own Car Wars minis. Now I can print off as many cars as I like to practice painting and leave my original cars in pristine condition. Huzzah! So far, they've printed very nicely for me. I had some failures, but that was an issue on my end with the magnetic build plate not playing nicely.

So how do my initial experiments at painting cars look? They suck!

I mean, the minis themselves are great, but the paint jobs are terrible. But that's OK. These are supposed to be a learning experience. Lessons learned here:

  • I've been using craft store acrylics. They've been fine when I've used them on 3d printed terrain, but at this scale they're too thick by themselves and don't behave well when thinned out. I need to move to paint formulated more specifically for minis. I've got a limited supply of that somewhere, but I need to find it. Also, maybe work with/improvise a wet palate.
  • I need to use finer brushes for most jobs. Again, have them, but need to find them.
  • The color-shift metallic paints I have are much too thick, and the day-glow neon paints are just weird, both too thick and too thin at the same time, so maybe I put those aside for now.

I also need to experiment with the printable weapons and accessories which can be glued onto suitably scaled toy cars.

That said, the neon paints under UV light are kinda cool.


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