Well, ladies and gents, Gambody lived to see this happening – one of our models entering Gen Con MHE painting competition and taking Silver. If you haven’t heard about the Gen Con yet, here are just some facts about it.
Gen Con is being held since 1968. It first started as a small gathering for war gaming enthusiasts in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Now, Gen Con counts thousands of participants from all over the world. In 2017, it celebrated its 50th anniversary. On average, it is being attended by visitors from all US states and provinces of Canada and about 64 foreign countries. It’s become a massive event for all those who are involved in everything that is gaming.
This year, Kevin Witt entered Gen Con MHE painting event with Timber Wolf 3D printing miniature. He bought the STL files from our marketplace (you can find them here), printed the model, nicely painted it and decided to try his luck.
Kevin is a small town family physician in rural Indiana, USA. He enjoys running and martial arts. He’s been a miniature gamer since he was old enough to read. He’s been into Battletech for ~25 years, as well as other games like Halo Ground Command, Batman Miniatures Game, and Infinity.
Q. How did you get started with 3D printing?
A. One of my college professors, Dr. Lon Porter, got into it and he was showing me his set up and some of the things he was able to print in his lab. That visit in his lab piqued my interest!
Q. What do you like the most in 3D printing?
A. The ability to customize and build anything! The possibilities for models, terrain, miniatures….they seem endless!
Q. Why did you choose to print Timber Wolf BattleMech?
A. The Timber Wolf is a long standing icon in the Battletech universe. It’s been my personal favorite Mech since I was very young. It’s very cool to have my favorite ‘Mech as a large display piece!
Q. What printer and material did you use to print this item?
A. Since I don’t own a 3D printer, I used third party 3D printing service that printed it for me. They used a 3D Systems Vanguard HS and printed the figure in Carbon SLS.
Q. What materials have you used to paint the miniature?
A. I primed the miniature with Grey automotive primer and then sanded it with 420 grit sand paper. I did this three different times. Then I primed it with my Badger Sotar 20/20 airbrush with Vallejo Black Primer. The orange was built up with Repear Pheonix Red, Scale 75 Orange, GW Fire Dragon Orange, GW Yriel Yellow, and Vallejo Cold White. The tan legs was a mix of Vallejo Chocolate Brown and Vallejo Sunny Skin tone, with highlights of Sunny Skintone and white.These were done in layers and highlights with my airbrush. I use glazing and wet brush blending techniques with paintbrushes to shade and highlight the orange and tan. Then the rest of the details (stripes, weapons, metallic, cockpit, etc.) were all painted by hand. The base was built off of some craft store wood and super sculpy with various Vallejo pigments, Army Painter grass tufts, Army Paint snow, and craft store water effects.
Q. How long did it take you to paint it?
A. I started the project in 06/2017. I worked on it off and on until Gen Con 08/17/2017. So, approximately 2 and half months.
Q. How did you actually decide to enter Timber Wolf in Gen Con MHE painting competition? Was that a decision of the moment or one that you’d been planned for a long time?
A. I was looking for an entry that would stand out. Typically Games Workshop models dominate the large vehicle/ordnance category. So when I was planning an entry I really wanted something unique that would stand out.
Q. How many entries were there in this competition?
A. In the entire Gen Con event there were probably over 200 entries.
Q. How many categories did the competition consist of and how many can one enter?
A. There was single figure, diorama, unit, ordnance (large vehicle), monster, and a sculpting category. There was also a themed category about environmental awareness. You could enter 2 entries per category.
Q. Why was it that you chose to enter Timber Wolf in “Ordnance” category?
A. The Timber Wolf fit the criteria of a large vehicle and I knew it would stand out. As far as I know, it was the only 3D printed model in the competition.
Q. What type of 3D models did your competitors enter?
A. To my knowledge, there were not any other 3D printed models.
Q. Could you please summarize the main steps (stages) that you went through to grab the Silver prize for the model?
A. I tried to meticulously prepare the figure. I primed the model before assembly and then sanded down to get as smooth a finish as possible. I did this process 3 times. Then I assembled the torso parts, the arm parts, and the legs (I left them all separate). And then I painted the entire model. There are work in progress pictures on my Facebook page @TheWayofTheBrush. The model was painted with both airbrush and a regular paint brush in various stages. I used really thin layers of paint. The overall process took me almost 3 months from starting the prep work to finishing the model. For large figures like this it’s better to go in slow steps and paint the model unassembled so that you don’t miss any angles or surfaces.
Q. In your own humble opinion, how do you think what made you stand out from the crowd?
A. Being a large 3D printed Timber Wolf certainly helped! The model itself was unique and not similar to anything else in the competition. Plus I picked a pretty unique paint scheme and tried to use contrasting colors in shading and in the base to help make the orange “pop.” I didn’t get gold, so I certainly have a lot of work to do for next year!
Q. Are you going to 3D print and paint something else?
A. Of course! I’d love to try a Mechwarrior Online Black Knight, King Crab, or Dire Wolf. I’ve also seen some of the large scale superhero stuff….those Ninja Turtles that are getting previewed now look like they’d be A LOT of fun!
Q. If you decide to print and paint this Mech again, what would you change?
A. I might change the pose of the Mech, or leave it so it’s poseable (this one is glued down). I’d also maybe add more freehand logos or numbers and weathering next time! I usually paint 6-28 mm miniatures. Other than some GW Tau vehicles, this is the biggest thing I’ve painted so far. It took a lot of time, but was a lot of fun! Painting this miniature was a challenging and rewarding experience. Hopefully I’ll be doing it again soon!
Q. And finally, what are your recommendations for the guys who take 3D printing and painting miniatures seriously?
A. 3D printing a model allows for a lot of unique ways to enter a painting competition, but it certainly requires a lot of prep work to get the model to look on par with your competition. Novelty only gets you so far, as the judges are critiquing your model based on its overall appearance and finish. As far as I know I didn’t get points for being “unique” that would have trumped a poorly prepped model.
As you can see, 3D printing opens a lot of opportunities. But it is up to you whether you accept them or disregard them!