Monthly Archives: July 2013

Shapeways Model Aircraft – Using 3D Crafter

I thought I’d show a little of what I’m up to at the moment – preparing a 3D model for exporting to Shapeways.

I had a request to produce a 1/350th scale model of an RAF RE8

I usually build at 1/144th scale then resize the models to the correct scale later.

I start by creating an inverted bounding box within 3D crafter of the correct dimensions (in mm) for the model.
On each of the interior faces I apply a cropped image from a 3 view drawing of the model.

Inside the box I start building the fuselage starting with the fuselasge cross section and extruding and scaling multiple times until the shape looks something like the real thing.

This is a slight over simplification as this took me several hours of tweeking.

I then used a couple of scaled cylinder objects to chop out the cockpits for the pilot and observer (using a boolean subtraction)


After a bit more tweeking I then added a few parts – this gets easier after making a few other models as I can just drop them in from a library of parts. The tail, 4 bladed prop and undercarriage all came from an SE5 model with a bit of resizing.


I then add the engine details and a few other stock items (guns etc)

Next I create a smooth wing cross section and apply multiple extrudes with Y (vertical) axis scaling on alternate extrudes – luckily I have a script to help me so this only takes a few seconds. This gives the ribbed canvas effect on the wings (with a little bit of extra smoothing)

Add some dihedral, a few more struts and chop out the ailerons and we’re almost there – should be finished this week some time…


Shapeways Model Aircraft

It’s not just ships I’ve been making for the past year. I’ve produced more model aircraft on Shapeways than ships.

Now I’ve reached approximately 100 printable models I thought it was time to showcase a few of the aircraft.

They are mostly scaled at 1/144th for use with the Wings or War/Wings or Glory game (1/200th for some of the WW2 models). Most of the rules and player cards can also be downloaded from that site too. A few are also scaled to 1/288 and 1/350 – the latter for the In Clouds of Glory game, the rules are free to download from that site.

1/144th scale is also used by 15mm wargamers (normally 1/100th scale for ground vehicles)

I started with the IAR 39 a Romanian biplane, for a friend to use with 15mm eastern front wargames.

674x501_708823_613586_1350635621This came out quite nicely printed using the White Strong Flexible material from shapeways, ideal for handling by wargamers.

Here it is painted, home made decals applied and varnished. Approximately 9cm wing span at 1/144 scale.


From there it just took off (so to speak). With the help of scanned 1/72 scale plans from my dad’s old book “Aircraft of the 1914 – 1918 war” By Thetford and Riding – published in 1954 I set about making a few more WW1 types:

674x501_1176219_1098879_1372279174 674x501_1156048_1074572_1371313030 674x501_1052947_990925_1368042382 674x501_1132702_1057244_1370643591 674x501_1146408_1067049_1371021889

Here are one or two of those printed in WSF material and Frosted Detail material (which is more brittle but shows more of the model details…

IMG_1040 IMG_1989 IMG_1999