Monday, 25 February 2013

The Second Attempt

Being rather pleased with my first attempt, I decided to try for a second set of fighters. I have a collection of 4 different fleets for Firestorm:Armada and I thought I'd try and make some suitable fighter models for them as well. After all, I hate paper tokens.

The next set would be the Aquans -- an alien race of sea creatures whose ship designs are reminiscent of Earth's fish. The original designs always reminded me of the Mon Calamari ships from Star Wars. I'm certain that's where the original designers borrowed their ideas. Here's a few painted ones from my collection.

I wanted my fighters to match the style, so I searched for some pictures of fish and started doing doodles. Lots and lots of doodles. I used similar motifs: a smooth hull, pod-like weapons, and little thrusters on the ends of sticks. After a while I came up with these:

The assault craft was based loosely on a lamprey, and the interceptor looks a bit like a goldfish. The fighter definitely "squidy" and the other two look more like sea rays or a trilobite. Again the 3D printing went fairly well. I made a few modifications after the first run. The Assault craft was beefed-up to look like the image above; the original was more of a tapered tube.
Here's some painted examples:

I was surprised, these fighters were even more popular than the previous "reptilian" designs. I had even more requests for copies of these. Now, if you were following along, you'll know that I made these with mostly myself in mind. I never intended to go into miniature sales. However, the forum comments were very encouraging, and I thought other people might enjoy them as much as I do. What the heck, I'll see if I can distribute them somehow.

The last thing I wanted to do was start mass-producing these things. I knew I wasn't going to get rich selling space fighters, but I sure didn't want to loose money! I didn't really want to open a store with stock and packaging. I already have an architectural model business to run. But how was I going to provide them? I had worked out some pricing for 3D printing these on my machine, but the overall cost/fighter was a bit high, and I needed to run sets of 40-50 to make it worthwhile. One fellow was brave enough to make an order and it shipped without any issues, but there weren't any other takers. If I was going to make these available I needed to make smaller sets for a lower price. Eventually I solved the problem, but I'll explain that in a following post...

You can have some of these 3D printed for yourself from Shapeways. You'll find them listed as the "Aquatic" fighters in my shop.

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