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Dienstag, 29. Dezember 2020

Showcase: U-Boat


And now for something completely different! 

A few years ago the U-Boat - The Board Game kickstarter ran immensely successfully. It's a co-operative, app-driven boardgame wherein each player takes a specific command post in a German WW2 submarine. They have to work together carrying out missions and generally maneuvering the dangerous waters of the Atlantic.

The 'game board' at the centre of the game is a cardboard U-Boat model.

With the popularity of the boardgame came people 3d-modelling their own versions of that U-Boat to replace the cardboard version. 

This one here is the one which proved the most popular, by a gentleman from Slovakia. He designed and printed it in section, each section connected via strong magnets. Sadly, at least as far as I'm aware, the model is not available any more. It's a beauty and a beast, all in one.

I got this monster handed to me, along with the wish "please paint this nicely and quickly" by a gentleman who is an avid board gamer. So I got to it.

Two main challenges reared their periscopes from the murky waters instantly: 
.) It had been about 20 years since I last worked on a submarine model.
.) It's a 3d print. With a very distinct 3d printing 'texture'.

The first problem I tackled by doing research. Over these few days I learned a LOT, not only about U-Boats, but also about several various types of damage, rust, algae, dirt, and all of that nice weathering stuff we have to represent on our models.

The second problem I researched a little for a while, the various ways of getting rid of this unattractive 3d printed look. Since time was of the essence I went with a way for which I had all tools at hand - spray paint and sand paper. Good coats of spray paint, followed by a good few hours of sanding, then some more spray paint to fill up the little crevices, then sand again, and so on. 

In the end I got at least the outer hull and main pieces somewhat smooth. Of course on the manifold interior details this was impossible and I had to leave them as they came.

Painting the U-Boat was a bit of experimentation by trial and error. Thankfully I've done so much trial and error in the past that by now often my trials lead to fewer errors.

I based the model on U201, due to a snazzy camouflage paint this particular submarine sported. The hull was a pretty basic paintjob with the main challange being getting the weathering and rust to 'look right'. 

Now the interior was a thing all by itself. U-Boat interors were painted mostly in a bright off-white (to help visibility), so I used shadows, dirt and rust to accentuate details. There's a lot of details in there (right down to notepads and coffee cups in the captain's room, loafs of bread in the galley, and so on), but also the printing of them is pretty shallow and limited by the capabilities of the printer. So a mix of 'lots' and 'labour intensive'. Washes or similar approaches were only to be used very sparingly due to the 3d printing texture, and as we know slapping a wash on those will leave you with a less-than-desirable 'scanlines' look, washes unevenly running across those line, etc.

In the end I painted the printed-on plinth in a faux-wooden style, which gives the whole model an extra posh look, I think. I'm very happy with how that effect worked out on first try.

Once the boat itself was done I painted the crewmen which come with the original game. They are scaled for 1/72nd, which is pretty much the scale of the 3d printed model as well, so the chaps are even to scale! (big bases aside). The bases are painted in a away to go with each players' colour. The variety of poses in these figures is pretty impressive. Sharpness of details less so, but after painting all these interior panels I could not be daunted.

All in all, it was quite the adventure painting this one. But seeing it all done and on a water mat and all... it's a pretty nice look, I think. I also got a huge appreciation for the submarine modelling community and the vast amounts of knowledge these people possess. 

Right, I hope you like the model and found my little journey from "it's huge! I got how long to finish it?" to "done!".

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