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3D Printed Dice Tower

August 17, 2020

I spotted this dice tower when it was featured on Cults a few months ago and absolutely knew that I needed to paint one. Bonus, the file by Kimbolt is free to download! 

I don’t participate in any role playing games, which by my understanding, is what dice towers like these are primarily used for, however this model called to me because I do have a soft spot for dice towers, as well as functional prints that I can customize in general. 

Below, besides including a video and photos, I’ve quickly explained my painting process and materials for anyone who is interested in taking their 3D printing to the next level with painting and embellishing. 

 

First of all, here is the video, because people really seem to prefer videos: 

And now for the wordy bit…

So as with any print, the first step is cleaning it up of any printer related blips or strings. This print actually came out pretty perfectly though, so it required very few adjustments. 

I decided not to glue the roof down until after everything was painted to make it all easier to handle during the painting process but that’s just my personal preference. 

Next prime. ALWAYS PRIME. I used a spray primer this time. Usually I’ll do it with some slightly watered down, cheap acrylic paint, but I decided to give it a go with the spray because I wanted to see if it was any different (all it did was save some time in actuality). I always spray prime my Warhammer minis because obscuring any of their tiny details would be a crime, but for larger things like 3D prints, that’s typically not an issue. 

Always let EVERY layer of paint dry completely before applying the next layer. This is not easy to do, I understand… but if you want the best possible results, you’ve got to be patent. 

After priming I do the blocked in base colors, so that was brown on the roof, the grey on the stones and brown for the ground. Not terribly exciting. 

As I often make a point of mentioning, I DO NOT use fancy paints. Most of the paints I use are cheap hobby acrylics, and I have a fairly limited range of colors as I prefer to mix my own shades. There is a huge misconception with many people that expensive materials will give the best results, but expensive materials can only take you so far. In fact, they will take you nowhere if you don’t know how to use them… technique is the most important part of painting… and experimenting with the cheap stuff is how you master technique. 

Next I started shading the mortar between the bricks to give them more definition which helped when I started to work on individual bricks. I also shaded the crevaces of the individual roof tiles with several layers of watered down black and brown paint. 

Then I started to focus on the roof adding layers of brown to the center column stones and stippling shades of grey on the turret and chimney stones. 

The photo above represents 3 stages of painting from bottom to top. 

This step requires a lot of drying time, but the effect is worth it. When the individual bricks were all done it was time to redefine the shading of the areas between the bricks and clean up the edges. I applied very dark brown/watered down black to the underside of all the little arches as well as the inside of the window arch and the doorway arch because these were the areas where I wanted there to be the most intense shadows. Tidying up and defining the edges of shapes is incredibly important if you want the best possible result in the end. It’s also a massive pain in the backside… those arches drove me crazy but I love the way that they look now. 

When I was satisfied with all of the stones and the shades it was time for highlights. And as you might imagine, given my color palate, the model was looking very dark at this point, but that’s what highlights are for! 

Highlights are applied with a dry brush. This is when you dip a brush (preferably one with a flat edge) in a lighter color paint and then you wipe off most of the paint on a paper towel. Then you apply the nearly dry brush tip to the edges of the model with repetitive, gentle strokes so that each stroke leaves a tiny trace of paint. 

I did this on the edges of all  the lighter stones and then across the faces of some of the darker stones. 

After all of the highlights were in place I applied the sand to the doorway using PVA glue. Once that was dry I shaded it with some watered down dark brown acrylic and let it dry again. Next came the static grass which I applied with PVA and sand as well. 

Next all the bits of pebbles, model bushes, flocking powder, static grass and lichen! A long and tedious process… but absolutely worth the effort. I applied these bits with PVA glue as well as some faster drying acrylic glue (cosmic shimmer). 

The last thing that I did was glue the roof into place, which was very easy since there are clever fitted pegs and recesses built into the print to ensure a perfect fit. 

And that’s just about it! 

Click any of the photos below for a closer look at the completed tower and feel free to contact me with any questions!

 

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