I’m a modeller, you know what I mean

May 12, 2020

…when I do my little turn on the catwalk!

With that earworm out of the way, man, time flies by in this weird age. I was sure it was maybe two weeks since my last post, and it turns out it was nearly a month ago! Back on the hobby horse (tee-hee) I say.

Anyway, my involvement with 3d printing stuff goes ever deeper. First I bought a printer, then another. Now I’ve started creating my own models, and I’m super enthusiastic about it!

If you’re a super long time follower of the blog (basically, “if you’re Cheetor“), you’ll know that 15 years back I dabbled in sculpting and even had some minis cast and produced. However, I didn’t really have the patience to get good at it, so it just sort of fell away. Skip forward 15 years, and I’ve found the joy of sculpting again, although this time in a whole new medium.

In the past few weeks I have been learning Zbrush with the kind aid of a friend of mine, the amazingly talented Mati Zander (check out his Shapeways shop for some awesome sculpts). Zbrush is a super powerful professional tool, but let’s just say that the UI isn’t the most intuitive… I’m so happy that I’ve had someone to help me. Anyway, I’ve obviously started simple, creating pieces mainly for my own use in the pirate project. Barrels, crates, that sort of thing. It’s been bumpy at times, but the experience of learning a completely new skill is exhilarating. There’s also something profoundly magical about being able to create something out of nothing and eventually have it in your hand as a physical object! It’s things like this that remind me that we’re very much living in what used to be squarely in the realm of science fiction.

Below are some of the pieces I’ve made:

Click for a larger version

This barrel was my second finished piece. One of the first things I’ve learned is that detail for printing needs to be exaggerated or it will be lost in the printing process. Something that looks wonderful on your screen may turn out soft and featureless once printed. Speaking of which…

Click for a larger version

This bag/canvas basket was my first creation. It looks super nifty on-screen, but most of that lovely surface texture or those stitches don’t really print all that well. It does look decent printed, but it was a good learning experience.

A third piece is another barrel, this one filled with lemons – to ward off scurvy, obviously. I made both the barrel and the lemons. If you pay attention, you can see that this is actually the same barrel as the first one, just with added studs and lemons, and stretched to a new, taller shape.

Click for a larger version

I’ve also painted a couple of the pieces! Shown below are two barrels, printed on the FDM printer. The beauty of pieces like this is obviously that they can be resized to create variation. I’m beyond happy to say that to my eye they look very professional – I wouldn’t mind buying these somewhere. In fact, and not to gloat too much, they’re much nicer than some pieces I’ve actually paid for. They also afford the all-important easy wins, a painted piece is a painted piece.

Click for a larger version

Here are some pieces painted on the resin printer. It allows for much higher quality, and is very useful for the lemons for example. They’ve been glued to a thin sheet of plastic to make a group, and I’ve adjusted the colours to bring out some of the detail.

Click for a larger version

Should you want to print your own, you can download the two barrels from Thingiverse. If you do, then please post some photos once you eventually make and paint them, I’d be thrilled!

As a final note, any ideas on what I should try sculpting? I’m happy to get ideas and suggestions, as it’s all practice at this point.


  1. Mate, these are looking great! I am in awe of folks who just get stuck in with this sort of thing

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Alex! I’d been thinking about it for a while, and it kind of follows naturally from printing the stuff 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, just wow. I love that you threw yourself into a new medium and pulled it off so well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Eric! I’m still learning, so really appreciate the encouragement 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. They look really good

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice work! I love a bit of 3D design and printing. I recently sold my Form 2 and I’m looking at getting a Anycubic Photon S, heard good things about them. What FDM printer do you use?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! I have a Lotmaxx SC-10, and I’ve been very happy with it. You can check out a review at https://youtu.be/hrYUJ_Ulf_c – that’s what sold me on it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Cool I’ll check it out. I’ve got a Cubicon Single Plus. Excellent machine!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Awesome work on the sculpting. I do think it is amazing what people can do. I really just press print or dabble a bit in 3D builder. Kudos mate..I take my hat off to you. How easy is z brush to use?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Zbrush has quite a bit of a learning curve, mostly because of the unintuitive UI. However, there are tons of excellent beginner tutorials available, and you can download the unlimited trial version of Zbrush and use it for a month or so. I suggest you give it a go if it interests you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Impressive barrels Mikko.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree, those painted barrels came out looking good.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Those are ace, and the quality of the finished pieces is really high. Always impresses me to see people take the step from painting and converting to designing their own stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Wudugast! Learning new stuff is fun, and as I don’t quite know how I should develop painting-wise, this is a good alternative 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Niiice!
    I’ve downloaded the barrel and follow you on Thingiverse now. I look forward to see what else you create

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s great to hear! I’ve been following your blog for years, and it’s been one of my main inspirations for 3D printing – thanks for that (and the comment)! I’ll add one more sentence just so that there isn’t an exclamation point after everything I say.


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