Posts Tagged ‘Saucermen Studios’


The sweetest imperfection

May 15, 2022

Wow, really hasn’t been an active year for blogging, has it? While DotL has been very quiet, I’ve been busy with hobby stuff – and I’ll hopefully eventually post about it.

Much of this year’s gaming has been Five Parsecs from Home, a solo game that I’m happy to recommend, which I have been printing and painting models and scenery for. However, this is more of an editorial style post than a regular From the painting desk one. Why is this? Because I’m doing something profoundly different!

By “profoundly different” I don’t mean a new technique or a fancy new tool, but a fundamentally different approach to what I usually do. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to miniatures stuff (and various other minor things in life). Very small things can bug me far too much. An irritating mote of dust stuck to a miniature’s varnish. A slightly off painted eye. A mould line that I didn’t clean up neatly enough. Support marks on prints. A slightly different colour tone on two miniatures’ bases when they should be the same…you get the idea.

In general I don’t mind this, it’s just who I am after all, but it can cause some practical issues now and then, such as when you’re in need of a table full of new terrain. Sticking to my usual working habits, a table full of scifi terrain would probably take me months, and even that would involve compromises. That’s really not good for actually getting a game in – a couple of months is plenty of time for a budding project to run out of steam and result in half-finished reminders of that one cool idea you had.

Solution? Live with these minor imperfections. This is obviously nothing groundbreaking, and I’m sure it’s something every miniaturist thinks about at some stage. Sometimes you’ve done something as well as you can no matter if you’re happy with it or not, sometimes you just want to finish something so you can do something else that’s more inspiring or interesting. I’ve done this in the past too, and obviously I don’t put 110% into everything I do, sometimes I just want stuff that’s finished. This time, however, I’ve been doing it to a different extent than usual.

With this scifi scenery, I went for terrain that looks good on the table. I wanted it to look nice for gaming, but it does not have to stand up to close scrutiny or close-up photos – which this post will feature to illustrate a point. What this means in practice is that I printed at a much higher layer height than usual (0.2mm compared to my usual 0.12mm), only bothered to do minimal clean-up, and no imperfections such as failed or rough bits have been fixed. As I don’t want to bin things that can be used, these are basically stuff that I’d normally label “test prints” and give away for someone who can stand them being a bit crappy, or spend a lot of time fixing them with putties, sanding, and things like that.

The same goes for painting. These models have been hit with spray primers (one of which completely malfunctioned, covering the model and my spray booth in dry paint powder – no matter, still used the model), lathered in quickly made washes, and given a couple of coats of drybrushing using large brushes and craft store paints. Some very basic detailing and weathering, and that’s it, done!

You can click on the photos below to enlarge them.

Wrong printer settings resulted in funky random lines on the surface. Also, the windows are just blotches of paint.

Layer line central! Printers aren’t good at shapes like the pipes here.

These buildings have detachable roofs…

…that warped horribly after painting.

My printer had a rough day with this file, resulting in some gnarly texture and print artifacts.

Spray can malfunction left the inside gritty and chalky. I decided not to do anything to it, as I don’t usually play inside buildings anyway.

At first this felt horrible, but as it was a very conscious experiment, I decided to plough through and just live with it. What do you know, at some point I started to be more and more happy about them! Are they perfect? No! Do they need to be? Also no! Placed on they table they look really nice actually, and of course everything is subjective – I would’ve died for terrain this cool as a kid! This isn’t an “oh, woe is me, my super high standards are simply unbearable” kind of thing, but more an issue of my own personal flaws features and idiosyncracies and dealing with them in a healthy and beneficial way. I know this may not seem like a big thing, but believe me, it is!

Local planetery enforcers about to get destroyed by a genestealer. Doesn’t look at all bad to me.

I’m sure most of us have feelings of inadequacy at one point or another in this hobby: with the internet full of amazingly skilled people, while inspiring, it can also be disheartening at times. Learning to let go of excessive perfectionism or self-criticism that needlessly holds back hobby enjoyment is, I think, a great way of getting more out of our toys. For me, it meant putting together a bunch of very adequate terrain in a fraction of the time it usually would’ve taken, which means more time left for other things, more terrain to actually use in games, and more joy from completing things. Most of all, it allowed me to enjoy this awesome hobby even more than before. Importantly, this isn’t a “you should do this as well” post. Lavish attention on your models to your heart’s content if that is what makes you happy!

As an interesting final note, I started this post months ago but haven’t gotten around to finishing it. After digging the models out of storage, I found myself thinking that they actually look pretty nice and much better than I remembered. This made me happy – it seems there’s been an actual shift in how I view these things now, so…go me, I guess?

The hut in the first few pictures is a micro hab unit by Saucermen Studios, available for free on Thingiverse.

The buildings with the detachable roofs are stackable buildings by Rocketship Games, also available for free on Thingiverse

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