3dprinting videogames airbrushing painting

CCA Flanker from Battlezone Series

Another year, another update to my 'Battlezone Project' that you can read about here. Since I started this project a few years ago 3D printing has come a long way. I've sinced upgraded from the Photon printer I started with to higher spec, more detailed printers that have been released since. Instead of adding more ships to the collection, I wanted to take a step back and look at what I could achieve now wth advances in the field of consumer resin printing.

Here's my third revision of the CCA Flanker from the Battlezone game:

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The new version of the flanker is slightly larger than my existing series and matches the recent 'Grizzly' reprint I did. This bigger size corresponds with me taking the models and adding much more detail than before. In the Redux version of Battlezone, the models are a much higher resolution than the original game's meshes, but they still use something called normal maps to add extra detail. In video-games development, you can think of a normal map as an extra texture that tells the game about extra bumps, dips, edges and features on a 3D model without having that 3D data having to exist. It's much quicker to render and it looks near identical to a higher-res model, but saves on memory and framerate. It's also useless for 3D printing as the printer software can't understand or 'decode' this normal data.

With this new range of Battlezone prints I decided to take some time modifying the meshes. There were already little issues here and there that needed to be adjusted for prints, but my main goal was to recreate all this normal map data on the actual 3D mesh. Here's a look at how the original mesh (on the left, exported straight from the Battlezone game) looks and how my new improved one on the right compare:

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You can see that I've transferred pretty much all of the detail from the Redux version's texture/normal map into the mesh. This meant that the newer 3D printer was able to recreate these details for me to paint up and detail. Here's a look at how the new version of the Flanker compares in size and detail to my original print from back in 2019:

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I'm really happy with how the new version came out. I airbrushed all the details in and then hit it with a wash and some drybrushing. There's a touch of warping on the inside of the wings (visible above) from the supports. I think a slightly higher exposure, or more supports could defintely improve this if I was to print it again.

I used metal pins in the wings so that they can be attached/detached. I still haven't quite dialed in the right drill bit size for this yet, as they're a little loose. I think if I give the pins a coat of sealant, it'll probably thicken them up just enough to add the resistance needed to stop the wings from flopping down.

Ingredients

For my future reference, and in case you're interested, here's the Ingredients used for the parts and paints of this build:

  • Resin: Phrozen 3D Printer Water-Washable Rapid 405nm Black Resin,
  • 3D model: Modified in-game model from Battlezone Redux,
  • CCA beige: Humbrol 'Desert Tan' acrylic spray primer,
  • Dark Blue: Vallejo Air - 1 part 'Dark Green', 3 part 'Sombre Grey' 1 part 'black',
  • Lighter Blue (stripes)Vallejo Air - 'Sombre Grey',
  • Black & white: Vallejo Air 'Dead White' & 'Black',
  • Metal: Vallejo Air 'Gunmetal',
  • Black wash: Vallejo 'Black wash',
  • Weathering: Tamaya 'Rust wash'
  • 3D models for printing: You can find the STLs over on this Thingiverse page if you want to try printing this yourself.
  • Stencils for airbrushing:
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    Wing stripes and Stars. Smaller star is used on the front, middle stars for wings and large star for the fin.

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The Battlezone Project

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Who I am

I'm Blake and I like to tinker with things and make stuff. When I'm not programming or developing random systems, I'm playing with electronics, doodling bits of art, 3D modelling or sculpting and painting things or nerding out watching sci-fi or horror TV.

From 2001 I worked in the games industry, eventually specialising in tools to aid in the development of video games and their engines. In 2011 I left the industry and teamed up with a few other talented composers to utilise my knowledge to help build the company 'Spitfire Audio'.

I also periodically compose soundtracks for video-games and have worked on titles such as The Stanley Parable and Portal Knights. You've probably also heard my music in random TV commercials at some point.

What I'm using to create

I use various bits and bobs to craft my shiz.

  • Phrozen Sonic Mighty 4k & Mini 4k
  • Phrozen Aqua Resin Grey 4k
  • Anycubic Photon LCD resin printer,
  • Vallejo Model Color, Game Air, various sets,
  • Iwata Eclipse HP-CS & Studio Smart Jet Pro Compressor,
  • Random cheapo airbrushes for base coats.

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