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Stuff I Wouldn't Do With Purchased Minis

One of the great things about the advent of 3d printing, when it comes to gaming, is that it allows me to take more risks and try stuff I wouldn't do otherwise. Take, for example, experimenting with painting techniques. Maybe I want to see what an unusual color scheme would look like or try doing an odd way of achieving an effect. Factory-made miniatures are expensive. Too expensive for me to risk it. Which, as someone who's not very good at painting minis and needs lots of practice, is one reason I've never gotten into them. I don't feel like I can afford the implied expense of getting better.

Enter 3d printing. With the right files, I can print as many minis as I can like and mess around with them to my heart's content. Mess one up? That's fine. Resin isn't cheap, but it doesn't cost nearly as much as pre-made molded plastic. I can take it as a learning experience and move on.

Which brings me to messing around with some Car Wars minis. I'd been musing on ways to make a car look old and rusty. One way is, of course, to paint the car, then add rusted spots to it with suitable colors of paint. But a friend recently pointed out a different technique which is somewhat truer to life: paint an under-layer first (that's where the rust colors go), then hit the piece with hairspray (which I had left over from when I was using it as an adhesive on my FDM priner), then an over-layer, then remove some of that top layer by wetting and scraping it off with a toothpick or something similar. Assuming you've let all the layers dry sufficiently, that lets you roughly scrape off the top color, leaving the bottom layer visible below. 

What I started with in this experiment is a pair of CW minis I'd done months ago, painted garishly in UV-sensitive paint. Quite hideous and not rusty, but since this was an experiment, the actual color of the under-layer didn't really matter.

Ew, right?

I hit them with a couple of coats of unscented Aqua-Net, available wherever inexpensive hair care products are sold. In the process, I came up with a variation on the idea and pressed a few lengths of thread onto one of the cars and made sure it adhered well.


Ew, but shiny.

Next, a heavy top coat.


I finished by touching up some details like redoing the windows and some weapons. And then it was time for scraping. I used a brush (a q-tip would have done as well) to dampen the areas I wanted to scrape off, then took a toothpick to the red one. For the blue one, I just pulled of the thread. So how did it work?

For a quick and dirty experiment, I think it worked pretty well. On the red car, the under-layer is showing through rough-edged gaps, which is exactly what I'd want if it were paint flaking off of a rusting body underneath. And the lines on the blue one are pretty nicely defined, as I had hoped.

Oh, and since that's still UV-sensitive paint underneath, the exposed areas really pop under blacklight.

This picture is actually a very poor representation of what it really looks like. In a combination of visible and higher UV, the cars more or less maintain their surface colors, but the lines of the under layer stand out with their own glow. And a discovery here is that the UV paint is very sensitive still glowing even if it's covered with a coat of some other paint, as is visible in the windows of the blue car. Gonna have to think of some way of doing something with that on purpose.

So that worked out, and I'm happy to know that I can always crank out more if I get other weird ideas.


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