Thursday, 28 July 2011

3d modelling- Help or Hindrance

If you have followed my blog or been on or regularly, you will undoubtedly recognise this vehicle.  Well below is my original sketched drawing and a 3d Mockup done on Googles freeware Sketch up.

Previously I have failed to see the benefit of 3d modelling to the scratch builder. So many times I have seen great hobbyists design a wondrously detailed project and rendered it in glorious 3d, only for the actual model never to get made. 
It was often my opinion that instead of spending all that time slaving in front of a computer monitor that these great hobbyists could be sitting in a polystyrene cement fume fuelled orgy of plasticard, hammering out the real thing.

Recently however, I have become increasingly interested in open source software. There are some brilliant free packages out there. My personal favourites include Paint.Net, audition and even BattleScribe free roster software. 

Only a week ago I rediscovered Google sketchup and I have to say, after trying it out, I think its rather brilliant. Compared to my original pencil and paper drawings, it has given me an exact scale copy which I can spin around, Measure exactly and tweak and shape the design in an instant.

 My original drawings for my Hoplite Sentinel

A Practice on Google Sketchup

There are limitations of coarse...Detail takes quite a bit of time. Im sure this will speed up as I get used to the package, but for the moment at least the front light alone took me about 30mins to figure out and get right.
I have yet found a way where I can break apart and stick the pieces back together, something that as a scratchbuilder would be infinately useful. 
And finally (as with real scratchbuilding) Curves are difficult to get right.

That said, as a basic and (relatively) easy to use package, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. In uture I think I will producing basic rough designs using this package. 

Heres a few more pictures of the design. Still some details to work on...


  1. I often use Sketch up for my work, and I think for someone like yourself, who obviously makes a lot of scratch built items, it would definatley be worth creating a library of parts.

    Effectively, you can draw up components... such as a track link (or the track sections you get nowadays), the rhino head lamp, all your weapons and any other piece made by GW.

    This library of bits can then be stored in sketch up - so that when you go to mock up a new model you can instantly access a whole range of different pieces.

    You can start this off bit by bit of course - drawing up a component as you want to use it and saving it for future use.

    What's more is that you can upload your library to the google warehouse free, so that other hobbyists can access it - and you can download their own saved blocks...

    Can you imagine having a complete library of components free to access so that you know exactly what you will need in order to make your conversion!?!

  2. i never understood the use of programs like this. i do a lot of scratchbuilding but i have never once planned out my work. i do often think about a build for weeks or months before i start so i have a pretty good idea of what i want something to look like and what parts i want to use.
    if i tried to draw something i think i would lose the freedom of creativity that i have when building because i would feel too tied to the plans.

  3. Intresting to get both sides of the arguement. I can understand the feeling of creative restriction, however, I feel as a starting point its a helpful way to visualise and mark it all out.
    I didnt know that I could upload and download components. Thats good to know. Thanks Oink!


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