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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bolt Action - Professor Aruba and the Magic of 3D Printing

(Prof Aruba's back with another lesson for you, this time to give you a taste of the simpler side of 3D printing, as well as his take on one-shot flamethrowers in Bolt Action. Enjoy! - Judson)

Welcome students to my special symposium on 3D printing as it relates to gaming, specifically to the world of Bolt Action. As many of you may know, recently some of our fellow BARbarians have gotten access to this marvelous technology. For those of you who haven’t seen In the Line of Fire, 3D printing is, according to Wikipedia: “Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. 3D printing is also considered distinct from traditional machiningtechniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling (subtractive processes).”

So what does that mean for us BARbarians here at WWPD University? Well, recently I had the opportunity to work with the renowned Rabid Monkey on the forums. I’m sure you guys have seen the amazing work he is doing with the 3D printer he has access to. While talking with him and gushing about the marvelous possibilities of a 3D printer, and of course, the access to it that would allow him to make things for war gaming, we brain stormed some ideas. At this time he is considering going in a more order based direction, but as of now he is just doing it for fun. However that should not stop you from asking if he will print stuff for you. The idea we settled on for a test of the process would be the rare and elusive Eintossflammenwerfer 46.

For those of you who pay close attention to the Bolt Action Radio podcast, you may remember that I talked about these in episode 12. For those of you who are not my parents, and thusly don’t recall word for word what I said, the Eintossflammenwarfer is a single shot infantry flame thrower. In Armies of Germany, the standard German two-man infantry flame thrower team can replace their one-man version, potentially substituting a multi-shot flame thrower for two single-shot flame throwers. For those historians out there like myself, I initially wrote them off as being one of those “if the war had gone on longer” weapons that Germany has in spades. However, one day while I was trolling the internet for neat World War Two related things, I stumbled across the history of this weapon. It was actually designed during the Mid-War, and by 1944 was in the field, sent to small units for deployment. These were mainly fallschrimjager units who found the need for many light weight flame throwers.

(-1 awesome point for reusing this image, albeit one seriously radical image.) - J
Well, I thought to myself, if I can plausibly justify it to myself historically, I might as well give them a try. I’m a fan of flame throwers in Bolt Action. I think the synergy of the rules supports them well. The lack of anyone using them comes directly from the fact that no manufacturer makes them. Here is where Rabid Monkey stepped in. After a few weeks of mocking them up, I found a small unassuming letter in the mail. I dashed home like a kid on Christmas morning, and lo and behold, I quickly assembled them onto my models, all in the name of an article for I assure you. (Not to mention crushing your opponents with the power of your one-shotters. - Judson)

Here is a shot of them, pre-paint. I will say that I believe these would have fit better on plastic models, but since Warlord doesn’t make plastic fallschrimjagers, I made due with metal. I think, if you really consider the fact that they were disposable weapons, the size is actually spot on. His product were meticulously designed by someone who obviously cares deeply about the project, and I would place money down that he would take such care with any project that he does (and I can see it in the projects he works on for his own stuff as well). Should he go into the business of making customized stuff for people, you can rest assured that it will be top shelf stuff.

So what does this mean for Bolt Action and war gaming in general? Well I for one know that there are lots of gaps in almost all historical war games. It is easier to print rules than it is to develop models, and with each passing book, the gap gets wider. I mean we are only four books past Armies of Germany and we are just getting early war Germans and pioneers. While that’s the reality of running a business, I think the best alternative to trying to scratch build your own stuff is to find people with 3D printers and a passion for war gaming. I know RM and I have pitched around several really appealing ideas to the average war gamer ranging from custom turrets for Warlord Games tanks, to a sprue of STG44s with the Vampir night vision system. You know, the little things! Really the sky is the limit for this technology and I know if he goes in the direction of starting a business I’ll be first in line to get some cool conversions done. I’m thinking I could use a T-34 with a German cupola, or even an M1 Garand with a rifle grenade on it. Why don’t you hop on the forums and sound off?

(Another reason to hop on the forums and check it out, Rabid Monkey has been much more ambitious than a couple simple German one-shot flamethrowers. Check out his tread and turret work! - Judson)

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