Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Visualising Judge Dredd: Dream, Design, Print

As a kid reading 2000AD, I was enthralled by the zarjaz ideas that the writers invented.  As an adult, I see that many of the stories took contemporary issues and explored them to their logical extremes.

Take sugar for example, in the 70s & 80s as kids we would think nothing of downing a litre of Vimto followed by handfuls of popping candy to see if our mouths exploded.  In the Dredd universe it is the most addictive substance in the galaxy and more illegal than narcotics.

I have used this classic Sci-Fi narrative approach extensively when creating the backdrop to my Mega City One adventures (it works particularly well for crazes).  Take a common or garden thing and amp it to the max.  However, I can sometimes be guilty of not describing what is in my head in enough detail that players can formulate effective plans.  A physical representation such as miniatures would be ideal and is now a real possibility thanks to budget 3D Printers.

From Friday Night Dream, through Design and Print to Table

Last Friday saw me throw a new challenge at the PCs in the form of Fast Incredibly Destructive Giant Ironclad Tank (FIDGIT) Spinners.  These heavily armoured combat vehicles are being transported through Sector 55 to the Omni Dome where they will take part in a demolition derby with the last vehicle running crowned the winner. 

The description I gave to my players was a classic UFO festooned with rotating rings of blades and spikes.  The vehicle runs on three wheels like a dodgem car giving it an incredibly small turning circle. 

Design in Sketchup

I've been using Sketchup for quite a while and it has to be one of the easiest 3D modelling packages around, the best thing is that it is free.  The design was simple, a relatively easy taks to design in sketchup as it is essentially a series of circles which are lathed to create the cones and a dome.  Wheels and blades are simple shapes etruded with the push/pull tool.
A FIDGIT Spinner

Export, Slice and Print  

I use an old copy of Sketchup on my venerable 08 iMac but the latest version of Sketchup Free is a web based tool.  It is a trivial task to port from one to the other and export as an .STL file and import into my slicer Cura 3.1.  This then gets sent to the 3D Printer (in my case a knock-off Prusa Mk3) which converts raw PLA filament into a finished FIDGIT Spinner in 1 hour and 25 minutes.

A couple of 3d Printed Spinners and a 5th Element Taxi
with Laserburn Lawmen and GZG 15 mm Sci-Fi minis for scale
As you can imagine the potentil is tantalizingly infinite and it is now quite literally possible to go from imagination to reality in time for next weeks game.


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