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Monday, 28 January 2019

Cruel Seas - 3D Printing

One of the things about Warlord Games Cruel Seas that has impressed me is the amount of items that have become available for 3D Printing to support the game.

Double-sided Sticky Tape
A really good source of these is the "Cruel Seas - The Dock Office" Facebook group. It was here that I found my first 3D print - a three dimensional rendering of the cardboard freighter included as a template with the starter set.

Lifting prints - blue tape coming away from the bed.
Now I have a Wanhoa i3 hobby printer which has a very small (12x12cm) print bed. Most of the larger cargo vessels are much bigger than this and I'm afraid my technical prowess does not stretch to cutting up 3D designs to make them fit!

Trying printing with the parts orientated the other way...still lifted
Enter TheGreg1980 who has very kindly done just that! His  freighter model that can be found at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3345466, is cut into 3 pieces which will all fit on my bed at the same time! 

Third time lucky....about 5-6 hours to print.
I still suffer from the problem of prints lifting from my print bed as they build up, layer-by-layer. I started to use blue masking tape on the bed, followed by a liberal coating of Pritt Stick glue. This worked OK with smaller prints but not so well with anything larger.

MDF base added and florist wire masts
This time I had a brainwave and decided I'd try double-sided sticky tape on top of the blue masking tape!!

 Sea textured with acrylic paste
This worked OK - the print stuck rigidly to the tape - but the tackiness of the masking tape wasn't sufficient to keep that stuck to the bed. The upshot of this was lifting parts again.

Sides repaired with Milliput (before sanding)
I'm going to experiment with another hi-tack masking tape + the double-sided tape, next time.

Gaps filled and sanded
My first go at printing failed when the power lead mysteriously fell out of the rear of the printer and the printing stopped after about two hours.

Matt White primed
My next effort was going fine until I accidentally selected the wrong control and drove the heated nozzle into the finished rear hull with disastrous consequences.

Finally third time lucky I had a print I could use - albeit one which had lifted during printing.

Starting with the deck details
I straightened the hull parts as best I could using hot/cold water and decided the best way to assemble the model would be to mount it on mdf so I could ensure alignment and more easily fill any gaps.

I found two pieces of scrap mdf from another model, that glued together would make an ideal base. I then stuck the two hull halves onto the mdf using a "No More Nails" grab type adhesive, which had the advantage of filling most of the gaps around the hull base.

Finishing with hull etc.
Once thoroughly dry, I filled the remaining gaps and tidied up the sides of the ship with a little Milliput. Then textured the base using artists acrylic paste applied with a pointed pallet knife. This really is effective at simulating waves etc. The masts were added from florist's wire super-glued into the pre-printed holes and the bridge was super-glued to the superstructure on the rear hull.

I primed the vessel with matt white spray before painting the details with Vallejo Acrylics.


  • The main deck - Dark Grey
  • Rear Deck - Khaki Grey
  • Windows - Sky Blue
  • Lifeboat - Leather Brown
  • Funnel Black with a Red stripe
  • Hold Doors - White
  • Hull and remaining superstructures - Light Grey
  • Overall highlighting - matt white dry brush


The rust streak effects were made using a mixture of Flesh Wash + Orange Brown.

Sea painted with Blue Wash 
The sea was painted over with Army Painter Blue Wash and once dry, dry-brushed twice with Matt White to pick out the wave tips.

Hi-lights, weathering (Rust) and waves added to finished model
A quick coat of spray matt varnish to tie all the finishes together an she is ready for the table.

Ready to go!
A perfect replacement for the cardboard template, and a proper target for my torpedoes!




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