There are many reasons I enjoy being a DM, and one of them is creating game terrain for the table. I don’t limit myself to any one method–I use cardboard, chipboard, foam, wood, and my 3D printer. I don’t strive for perfection, either; as long as a piece of terrain does the job and gives my players a sense of space and a chance to develop some strategy, I’m satisfied. If the terrain looks good, however, that’s just a bonus. And I’m finding that my 3D printer is the tool that often provides me the best way to add details and polish to a finished model.
You’ve heard the phrase “there’s never been a better time to be alive?” Well, I’ll counter that with “there’s never been a better time to be a game terrain maker.” In addition to the dozens and dozens of YouTube channels devoted to terrain creation, the number of individuals and companies creating 3D models for printing in plastic seems to increase weekly. I’m always on the lookout for new terrain for the various games I play, and 3D models (available as STL files) make my life even easier. Whether for RPGs or wargames–science fiction or fantasy, historical or “other”–there are 3D models out there for every setting.
I’m planning a large review of 3D model products in mid to late November in anticipation of the many gamers who might be getting a 3D printer on the upcoming Black Friday or Christmas or maybe a New Year’s gift for themselves. I’ll be printing and painting and offering my thoughts and advice, so be on the lookout for that in the near future. In the meantime, I’ll try and keep you informed on any new Kickstarters related to gaming terrain… and I’ve got one ready for you to check out right now.
It’s called Necroplex, and it’s a science fiction themed set of 3D printable components that may remind you a lot of LEGO and/or K’nex. Unlike many 3D printable models that consist of complete structures (such as a guard tower or a vehicle), Necroplex offers smaller pieces that you print and assemble in combination with other materials. Specifically, you’ll be using inexpensive materials such as foam core, dowels, and PVC pipe. Using these items along with the 3D printed parts, you can create some amazing structures such as the ones in the images below.
The ability to create towers, stairs, bunkers, pipes/conduit, and machinery by just clicking pieces together and forming them around dowels or foam core, for example… an incredible idea! I’ve seen some very complex Warhammer dioramas at a few local gaming stores here in Atlanta, and I can tell you that what I’m seeing so far with the Necroplex components is on par or even better than some of that handmade terrain. What’s even better is that the product will continue to grow as new parts are released as monthly add-ons.
There are five different backer levels, with the Forge Master ($30) and Gang Leader ($45) levels providing the bulk of the components. The Forge Master will get you the City Pack (over 65 components) and Forge Pack (over 50 components) plus any stretch goals that are released, and the Gang Leader provides everything from the Forge Master level plus the Pack Level (two faction-specific sets of pieces) plus a 1-year subscription to the Monthly Add-ons. There’s a special Printer’s License level that will also allow 15 backers to sell their creations (but not the 3D files themselves) and parts packs… a great way to possibly recoup the cost of a new 3D printer!
If you’re not ready to pull the trigger yet, you can download a collection called the Necroplex Starter Kit over on Thingiverse.com for free. The Necroplex Kickstarter has already reached its required funding level, and three stretch goals have been reached (at the time I’m writing this post), but don’t way too long… this KS is on a fast track with less than 20 days left.
If your a DM/GM or a wargamer and own a 3D printer or have access to one, the Necroplex components look to be a great solution for quickly building terrain that you can customize and paint to suit your needs.
Note: I was a Day 1 backer after watching the video. I’m printing out a bunch this weekend and will update this post next week with my results.