Wednesday, February 13, 2013

First Shapeways Order - Success

I've been intrigued by the potential of 3D printing for a while now, so I thought I would take a chance and order some items for gaming from Shapeways. If you don't know what Shapeways is (, it's basically a conduit for designers to have their products printed. People out there with more talent than me come up with the designs, house them in "shops" on the Shapeways site. Then when folks like me place an order, Shapeways prints and ships it, with both designer and Shapeways getting a cut of my money. Oh, and there are various print material options, from plastic to metal. The metal can get pricey, though, which sort of offsets the practicality, IMO. Great idea. Wish I had thought of it!

Overall, I was impressed with the service and the quality of what I received. Despite their light weight, all are remarkably sturdy and I foresee no problems using them in gaming. Best of all, they come in one piece - no assembly of fiddly biplanes! Anyway, here's a list of what I ordered, with comments:

The complete order

Ki-30 Anns



Queen Elizabeth class BBs
  • 1/285 Vildebeests from seller mpenneock: These are nothing short of spectacular. Can't say they will get used much, but I have some early Far East WWII scenarios in mind. I got two of them. The detail is great - I ordered them in "white strong & flexible." The radial engine is clear, and there is even a torpedo hanging from the bottom!
  • 1/300 Ki-30 Ann from seller Dragoman: While a bit "rougher" than the Vildebeests, this is still a nice model of a rare aircraft and will fit in nicely with my China plans. A real bargain, as well - I intended to order three aircraft, instead I got three sprues of three aircraft each!
  • 1/288 SPAD XIII from seller kampflieger - These are in frosted detail, I think, and very nice indeed. Very tiny! I'm debating about getting into WWI, so this was more of an experiment. I may end up going with a larger scale, but we'll see.
  • 1/4800 Queen Elizabeth class BB from seller tinythingajigs - Matt_atknson has a great line of 1/4800 vessels that match up well with the CinC ones I have. There are three ships in this set, and all have distinctive traits. Very well done. Curiously, I also tried to order a Dunkerque class French ship, but Shapeways responded that it could not be printed as designed. May try that again...

In the end, I can see these being very useful indeed, and recommend you give them a look. There is a lot of neat stuff on there once you start poking around, including a lot of obscure stuff that may or may not ever get done in metal.

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