This year I got some naked demon ladies for Christmas from my wife. She found a vendor on Etsy, TheSaltyPrints
, who sells 3D printed sculpts. Apart from the delivery time, approximately 2 month (which was not the vendors fault), I am happy with the quality of the models.
I have as some might remember played around with some 3D printing myself, mostly titan parts and knight interiors. For this I use an Ultimaker 3D printer which is a fairly good printer as far as FDM (filament printer) printers go. I was however never that impressed with the prints as models for hobby painting due to the very visible print lines. These demon prints however I assume are done in a SLA (resin) printer and the level of detail and smoothness far out stripes the other printer. If I am ever to invest in a printer for the hobby it will have to be an SLA version.
There was some lose white powder on some of the models and there were some small parts missing on some were the resin had not cured and had been washed away. Looking at the models from afar they look like any plastic models I have ever bought, smooth and very detailed. If one looks very closely under a bright lamp it is possible to see the layers. Since my go to technique is dry-brushing it was a very interesting thing to try it on these models. The models were not supplied with bases (bases are available) but my wife thought (correctly) that I would want them on the same bases as the rest of my Naked Demon ladies and Demonettes. The problem with that was that I only had spare 28 mm bases and the stance on these models are in some cases quite broad and would be better on a 32 mm or 40 mm base. But I had waited a long time for the models so I just glued them to what I had and got to painting.
The sculpts are very interesting. The poses are very nicely done with believable articulation and musculature. Some of them are a bit hard to interpret though as to what is armor, trousers, bone etc. So I decided to do two test models first to get the color balance done before committing to painting to many models. One thing I noticed directly is that the problem with digital sculptors doing STL files for printing is the ability to think about the painting process. With 3D printing it is easy to sculpt thing that are impossible to paint for the only reason that you can not physically possible get to all the places with a brush. These models were not really in that category but they are leaning towards it. The base body is fine, but the split tail circling the legs can be in the way of properly painting the legs and as they are part of the focus for these models that might be a problem, especially as the model comes as in one piece so there is no option of painting it in parts.
Well, that being said the models were quite pleasurable to paint. After basing them with a hobby spray paint I based them in Fenrisian Grey and gave them a wash of The Fang. At this stage any print lines would have shown up as the darker colors would have gone into the joints, but the color flowed out evenly and I could start the dry-brushing. To build up the skin I started with Fenrisian Grey going to Blue horror and White Scars. After a good rinse under flowing water and subsequent drying I repeated the dry brushing and at the end I did some pinks and purples on the horns. The skin turned out nicely and I can not say that it can be seen that they were printed and not cast. The claws were given the bone treatment and the legs were painted black. The armor I decided to do the same verdigris bronze as on my Keeper of Secrets.
I also had some harpies from Raging Heros that I had stated but not finished. As the paint scheme for these and the "Demons" are the same I decide to finish them in parallel. These have been covered before so I will not say much about them. As sculpts go I think they are better then the "Demons" with more detail in the from of skulls and bones hanging from their belts. If I have understood things right these are also digitally sculpted and then 3D printed to create the master molds for the casting of the models. I can not see any great difference in the quality of the models form a production point of view. Maybe that the Raging Hero Ones suffer a bit from mold lines that are absent from the direct prints.
All in all I must say that I am really impressed with what can be done with 3D printing today but I am a bit afraid of what that will do to the hobby. In principle it is good that any one can produce digital sculpts (and there are a lot of original, beautiful ones out there) and that any one can print it to high quality (or get it printed through a print shop), in principle by passing the production companies. But then there is the grey area that is proxying. I understand that somethings are very generic and models can be used in many ways and that no one company my claim the IP of these. But when sculpts are specifically done to imitate someone elses IP but with a twist it gets tricky. Then there is down right piracy were a design is copied, either as a sculpt or as a 3D scan.
I must say that the Naked Demon Ladies are being marketed as Demonette proxies, and I am not really ok with that. The design elements of the models are reminiscent of the real deal, but I do think they have enough of their own design not be be copies even though they share some design elements.
Well that was a wall of text...