Category Archives: Shapeways Project

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

The Cod Wars – 6.1

Just a quick note to say Set 3 is now ready for printing…

The Cod Wars 6

Just a few pics of the partially painted sets 1 and 2 together.

Going to Salute this weekend to see the cod wars game run by Dave Manley using some of these models.

British Trawlers and the Lloydsman Tug – These are only partly finished, still a lot of tidying up to do on the paint jobs.

Trawler Fleet Trawler Fleet

The gunboats – I’m particularly happy with how Odiin came out. Odiin,  Aegir Baldur and Tyr below:

Iceland Iceland

A 3rd set containing Exmouth, Baldur again (for use as Ver), Star Aquarius and Star Polaris is on it’s way soon.

HMS Exmouth completed

I’ve put the completed Exmouth model on Shapeways. It’s not publicly visible there but it can be bought.

I’m intending to fully publish it along with one or two other cod war models in the same print. This will reduce the overall cost per model.

If you’re really keen to get this model by itself then the link is below BUT I’ve not done a test print version yet so Shapeways may reject it if there are any parts that don’t meet the material criteria – I’ve done enough of these to think it should print but they usually find something.
If this does happen then I shall correct almost as soon as I get the notification (usually within a few hours)

This link takes you directly to the private sale page (sale price varies according to taxes at your location)

The Cod Wars – Exmouth takes shape

After a few evenings work, the ASW frigate HMS Exmouth is starting to emerge….


The Cod Wars 5

After fixing the file from the last attempt, by making some of the parts thicker, I managed to “break” the model. The stern structures on the trawlers became separate parts so they would have broken off instantly.

The file has now been fixed and it should print this time.

Direct link to Set 2:

I have also produced a set containing just the trawlers if anyone is interested in those.

Direct Link to 1/1250 Trawlers

The Cod Wars 4

Getting there slowly – first attempt at getting set 2 printed failed (as usual). It usually takes a couple of e-mails to the shapeways service desk to encourage them to print small parts.


Painting progress on Tyr…


A bit “blobby” at the moment but should clean up OK.

Those trawlers are a tad small and even more blobby 🙂


The Cod Wars 3

I’ve been promising to add a second set of models to Shapeways. We’re missing the gun boat Odiin and a british stern trawler.

I’ve done a mod to Tyr to make Aegir – slightly different foredeck and two cranes.


Odinn – new model


I had the stern trawler finished a few days ago but a program fault on saving the final model caused me to lose the file . No recent backup and file recovery tools failed to find it (nearly cried).

Getting back in shape with a new model now – slightly quicker this time around.

Stern Trawler

That will do for set 2 (2 gunboats and 3 trawlers). I have had several requests for other models such as Star Aquarius and a few RN frigates, so it looks like this project may continue for some time 🙂

The Cod Wars 2

All going well so far, Shapeways started printing the models.

It took them a week to say that they couldn’t print the models as some parts were too small for the material – you have to follow their material guidelines

I tweaked the model to make some parts larger and about a week later, these arrived:

Baldur – a converted stern trawler:

The Lloydsman – a large ocean going tug.

A few Trawlers

Icelandic Gunboat – Tyr (only one crane, her sister ship Aegir has 2)

All together:

When FUD (Frosted Ultra Detail) models arrive from shapeways they are covered in an oily substance and need cleaning before any paint will stick.

FUD will handle 85C max so I put washing detergent into a pint glass. Quarter filled with cold water and topped up with boiling water.

Each model was dropped in, stirred for a couple of mins then removed, rinsed and left to dry overnight.

There still seemed to be some oil on the surfaces so I had another go. This time I brushed on some “Flash” first then dropped in hot water with detergent as before.

A much better result this time, good clean surfaces.

A coat of humbrol satin varnish was next. I use varnish as it sticks well to the resin, provides a good base for the paint and dries very thin so not much detail is lost.

Painting next…