I’ve been bitten by the 3D modeling bug again. It started with me creating this page here on the site. I figured that since I had my high resolution 3D printer and a bunch of 3D models I had already made, I could offer the opportunity to print them for those that wanted them.
So after creating the page, I posted a link to in in the Star Frontiers Facebook group and got quite a number of comments. One from Andy Campbell, which suggested that I make “scenario packs” – basically providing all the minis needed for a given module or scenario from the rules, was very close to something I had noodling around in the back of my head already. The problem was, I only really had the sathar ships and a few of the smaller UPF and pirate vessels like the the Assault Scouts, UPF Frigate, and Corvette.
Plus there are a number of ship designs for which no official miniature was ever released such as the fighters, the UPF Destroyer and Heavy Cruiser, and assault carriers for both sides. There’s no official Sathar Destroyer either but I’ve already made that one. I’d need to make models for those missing ship types if I was going to to pull this off.
Now, I already had plans to create the Sathar Assault Carrier. It was one of my original project when I started this blog. So I think I’ll be getting back to that one shortly. However, to get started I wanted to start on something small, and something there were some art references for. I also wanted to test out how small of a miniature I could reasonably do with my printer.
I had a Sathar Fighter model that I had created several years ago but it was based on a fan created fighter drawing and had just a bit too much resemblance the the rebel logo from Star Wars. I had also played around a while back with the idea of making 3D counters, basically versions of the ship counters that came with the Knight Hawks game but with raised reliefs of the ships on them instead of just being flat. I had made one of the UPF Fighter so I had some experience modelling that one. So that’s where I decided to start.
I made this model based on the image on the counter that came with the game. It has a short stubby rudder and is somewhat atmospheric capable. I didn’t put any detailing on the engine package at the back as shown on the counter but I might go back and do that at some point. However, it’s really small so the detail would be mostly lost anyway in a physical miniature.
I do all my ship modelling at 1/1000 scale so that 1mm on the model equals a meter on the actual ship. Since according to the rules, the fighter is a hull size 1 ship, that means it is only 10m long. The ship ended up being 11m in size as I gave the 10m size to the fuselage and tacked on an extra meter for the engine nozzle at the back.
This model was printed at full size (1/1000th scale). That means that the printed miniature is only 11m long and about the same wide. For the capital ships, I typically print them at 1/3000th scale as that is roughly the scale of the officially release miniatures. However, printing these fighters at that scale would make them absolutely minuscule. It also wouldn’t have printed properly as the wings would have been too thin. As is, they are just a bit larger than the thinnest piece I can print with this printer. This is a little, tiny model and you have to be careful because if you’re not careful, it might just blow away. This is now my UPF Figher MK I miniature.
That one worked. And it only took me about 3 hours to make the model. What’s next?
As I said earlier, I have a model of a sathar fighter that I created based on a fan image (the model and image that inspired it is to the right). This one was designed to be printable on a FDM style printer with 0.1mm layer resolution and it works. But it is a very simple model. And I had always called this my Sathar Fighter MK II model as I knew this shouldn’t be the original. What I wanted was one that matched the silhouette on the counter that came with the game.
For this fighter model, in addition to the game counter (at left), there is this great illustration from page 54 of the Knight Hawks Campaign Book showing this same fighter being pursued by another fighter. So we have some more detail to go on for this one.
This model was going to take some more work. With the bent wings and contoured surface, on the cockpit disk and the wings themselves the modelling was going to be a little more complicated.
Again I went with a 10m length, this time including the engine nozzle in that 10m. Since I’m still modelling in OpenSCAD, I started creating little modules that will allow me to reuse some of the elements I created along the way in other ships if I need them.
This model took me a bit longer. I was getting back into the groove of modeling and so getting faster, but this one was a bit more complicated. In the end, this model took me about four hours to finish but I really like the way it turned out. Here is a couple of view of the model, plus the printed version side-by-side with the UPF fighter.
You can’t see it in the picture, but that detail that I added on the back of the fuselage is just sort-of visible on the printed model. Which means I should go back and add some detail to the UPF fighter as well. As it currently stands, this model is only printable on my SLA printer as the wings are almost exactly one resolution element (0.05mm) thick. In fact, I wasn’t sure it was going to print and was relieved to see that it did. I will probably go back at some point and make the wings a little thicker. If or no other reason, to make them a little stronger.
Compared to other ships
Here’s another comparison image showing the two fighters next to a small assault scout mini (my Swift-class assault scout model printed at 1/2000 scale), and a replica of the officially released UPF frigate mini which is also happens to be at nearly 1/2000th scale. So the two larger ships are roughly to scale with each other but the fighters should be half again as small to be on the same scale.
At the very least, I want to make a second UPF Fighter (Mk II) mini that matches the ship depicted chasing the sathar fighter in the image above. There are also some other fighter-like ships depicted throughout the illustrations in the rules that I might take a crack at.
Also, if you are at all familiar with the rules, you know that these fighters as depicted could not possibly match the stats given for them in the game. These fighters are supposed to be packing three assault rockets, each of which is roughly the same size as the fighter’s entire fuselage. One of these days I’ll make a model that depicts that.
But first, I want to start seriously looking at finishing off the line of ships so I have a model of each ship type. I’m also going to need some space stations. As I’m writing this, I’ve already made my first space station model. I’ll post about that here in the future but if you are following me on Twitter or are a member of the Facebook group, you’ve already seen some pictures of that model.
Getting the models and minis
My Patreon supporters at the Surveyor ($2/month) or higher level will be getting copies of the model files for each of these models (and all future models as well). If you’d like to get them as they are produced, consider signing up to support this work. In the very near future, I’ll also be putting all my model files on-line, probably on DriveThruRPG for everyone to access.
If you’d like to get 3D printed miniatures of any of the models I’ve created, you can check out my Order Miniatures page which gives the details on how to order them and lists the prices.