Thursday, 30 May 2019

Dr. Aphra

Maligning the galaxy’s favourite, but oh so rogue, Archaeologist as a mercenary, might be considered unjust, but when none other than Lord Vader hires you to assist with acquiring his own droid army, following the disastrous battle of Yavin, then it is surely a difficult epithet to dislodge?
For those that are perhaps unfamiliar with the good Doctor’s work, Aphra is an expanded universe character that shares a time line with Darth Vader and was introduced through Marvel Comic’s Darth Vader publications.  I am quite a recent convert to the Expanded Universe, I used to like my Star Wars unadulterated, as pure as the driven snow on the ice fields of Hoth, if you will, but have found Dr. Aphra to be one of the more entertaining additions.  Ably assisted by two homicidal droids, BT-1 and 0-0-0, Dr. Aphra has an unnerving habit of being in all the wrong places with all the wrong people, at always the wrong time.  In short, Aphra’s exploits are often hugely entertaining, if a little bit silly.
  The droids, BT-1 and 0-0-0, are plastic sculpts from Imperial Assault by ‘Fantasy Flight Games’, and were relatively straightforward, lots of metallic paint and washes, but that in itself can often present its own challenges.  Dr. Aphra, however, was a completely different experience.  She is a custom print from Skull Forge Studios, released under the alias Professor Moxi,  and I had mine 3D Printed by those good people at 'Shapeways' in the Netherlands.

Now from the start, let’s be clear about this, having one’s armies printed in this matter is economically unviable at this point.  The individual pieces are breathtakingly expensive, but I have long been curious as to process and it is interesting to see just how far this technology has come and just what it is already capable of. 

The availability of software means that creative chaps can produce truly unique or previously unavailable items that can then be delivered to your door.  A word of warning though, as what started as a curious investigation has soon developed into a fully fledge obsession, with new ‘must have’ designs appearing all the time!
Some of the more reasonably priced elements that can be found on eBay have the tell tale lines as each layer of printed material is built up.  Shapeways however are using the latest industry standard machines and with their grand prix ‘smoothest fine detail’ can produce prints that are really starting to hold their own against cast versions.
Back to my entry and given that Aphra has been scaled for the more heroic Star Wars: Legion in mind there was quite a height discrepancy between Aphra and her loyal bodyguards. At present, I have resorted to doubling up the droids bases to try and sell the illusion, not perfect, but I am quite forgiving when it comes to such matters. 

When it came to painting Dr. Aphra, I simply resorted to the comic book colours, but couldn’t bring myself to attempt the circuit board tattoo that she sports. There was very little difference painting a 3D print as opposed to cast sculpt and so expect more impulse buys I the near future.

43 comments:

  1. Looks just great Micheal! I have a 3d printer and quite happy with it when I get a chance to use it.

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Christopher, I am really started to get tempted by the whole process.

      Delete
  2. Very cool.
    Might need to have another look on shapeways . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Mike, it can get very expensive, very quickly!

      Delete
  3. Those are nice Michael especially the droids!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Fran, really pleased with the two little chaps, lots of washes.

      Delete
  4. Corking work, Michael. I too have visited "Shapeways" and despite the cost, have been very happy with the items received.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Simon. I got carried away last time I was there, so not been back for a while, all very tempting.

      Delete
  5. Very nicely done Michael!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love Love Love Dr. Aphra, and I have looked at that figure on Shapeways more times than I can count. Never bought it though, because she is so darn tall! I wish for a 30mm figure to match my extensive WotC collection, but of course that will never happen...

    So I can vicariously enjoy yours then, which I do. Circuit board or no, you have certainly painted her very well. BT-1 and 000 are well done also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, it is a cracking piece and her hunched pose does help with the scale issues. That said, she would still be too big alongside a WotC model. I am sure there must be a clever soul that could rescale the original file?

      Delete
  7. Great Looking fig...I really like the metal effects on the droids. The artwork on the Marvel Comic has quite a 2000 AD look to it. Whose the Artist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really like the artwork, apparently done by Kev Walker & Marc Deering, great fun, very silly!

      Delete
  8. Excellent work on Dr. Aphra miniature, and these droids turned out very good too!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very nice painting, the metals on the droids look great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Dan, lots of washes on the droids seemed to do the trick.

      Delete
  10. Fabulous brushwork Michael, and thanks for introducing me to Dr. Aphra and her droids - I considered the 'new' movies to be "expanded universe", which shows how narrow minded I've been regarding Star Wars.
    Nice insight to how 3D printing is progressing too. The last time I looked, the layering and general surface quality were very poor, but this mini looks excellent :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are more than welcome, the Dr. Aphra crossover is a lot of fun and 'The Works' were selling the Vader novels at a knock down price recently, well worth a look. As for the 3D printing, I was really impressed with these prints, but they are very expensive at the moment.

      Delete
  11. Excellent painting on all 3.

    As the Dr is 3D printed can't they just scale her down a bit for slightly smaller scales?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you and I was thinking the same thing, but not knowledgeable enough at the moment. My thought was that if you buy the file you should be able to adapt it?

      Delete
  12. The exploits of Aphra and her psychopathic droid companions are super fun to read and your own renditions are absolutely spot on mate! Am surprised though that Fantasy Flight didn't release an official sculpt for Aphra herself to go with the droids?
    I am still managing to resist all the amazing Star Wars miniatures lines out there, but goodness it's getting more and more difficult to maintain this resolve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Dai, it did seem like a strange omission. I am afraid my resolve has completely crumbled, but I am enjoying it all nonetheless.

      Delete
  13. Nice work Michael I think the bases look fine.๐Ÿ˜€

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Matt. I decided to go for clear bases to give me more options.

      Delete
  14. Tremendous work Michael! Really love the metallics on the robots. Regarding 3D printing I can only advise you to get yourself a resin (LA) printer like the Anycubic Photon for your miniature needs. I have one and the results are stunning and also economically interesting... that is if you forget the money you invested into the machine obviously.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meant SLA printer ๐Ÿ˜…

      Delete
    2. Thank you Nick and thank you for the tip, I may have to come back to you if I go down this route. Is the software fairly compatible with Mac and PC?

      Delete
    3. The Photon comes with a windows version of the Slicer but you can just as well download an iOs version from their website. That‘s what I did before I came across Chitubox (also available for Win and iOs), which imho is the by far better tool. I won‘t say it‘s childs play to get (and keep) the thing running but it certainly is well worth the money and time spent.

      Delete
  15. Custom sculpts are a slippery slope (my He-Man collection is getting out of hand) and pricey. I haven’t explored the world if 3D printing yet as I need to sell a kidney first.

    Your work is stunning, as always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kieron and yes, there are very addictive. I can see this becoming a bit of a problem soon! ๐Ÿ˜„

      Delete
  16. I wasn't aware there's a Shapeways in the Netherlands, last time I ordered something I had to pay for it coming from the US.
    It's a beautiful mini, dynamic and almost flawless.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I like Dr Aphra too, I'm sad they haven't got her in Imperial Assault.

    ReplyDelete
  18. An unusual subject and one I've never heard of, but a beuatiful rendition.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Superb work on all of these minis Michael.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...