Interview With a Professional Modeler, Part 2

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Welcome back to part two of my interview with Darren “Spaceman Spiff” Teigen. This time we’re getting into the hows and whys of some of what he does, the virtues of 3D printing machines, and some links modeling hobbyists might find useful.

Ron: Your work is professional quality. Has anyone approached you online or in person regarding making professional miniature displays, perhaps for a museum or marketing campaign? I know new buildings and equipment often have models made to impress prospective investors.

DT: Jon Paulson of Paulson Games has contacted me about some work. I don’t want to give out too much info yet because this project is still in the early stages. I have indirectly helped a lot of the garage kit builders by posting pics of my work on their minis. A well-painted mini is a powerful selling tool!

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Star Wars and BattleTech and Aliens, oh my.

Ron: Do you think the influx of 3D printing makes your hobby easier or does it potentially cheapen it by lessening the need for talent in manual model making?

DT: I totally embrace it! I have seen what it is capable of, having just recently finished a “Halo” Hornet that I purchased off of Shapeways.com, a site entirely dedicated to creating and selling 3-D designs. I have to say there is certainly a talent to both aspects of sculpting, whether it be in clay or a software program. 3-D printing is still a bit young, but I am excited to see just how good it will get. I have definitely got to try it myself to see if it is easier or quicker than hand sculpting. I don’t see a down side for making things easier, but cheap could be a problem.

Ron: Do you ever find some part in a drawer somewhere and think that would have so much better instead of what you used?

DT: Yes. There are times when I will completely re-do a mini because I found a better part that I did not have or did not find when I first built the mini. Lately, I have also been sculpting my own parts if I do not have exactly what I am looking for.

Ron: I’m a bit of an amateur modeler and kitbasher myself with an eye on both Ebay and Hobby Link Japan. What mistakes do you most frequently see amateurs making when building or customizing miniatures?

DT: The biggest mistake would be just gluing a bunch of crap on to a mini and calling it good. A really good modification should look like it belongs there, not just glued there. Also, over-looking minor details such as trimming flash (mold lines) or a gun barrel with no hole in the end can totally ruin the end result.

Ron: Some modelers actually make their own ‘Mechs. Jon Paulson and artist Anthony Scroggins are making a whole miniature-based wargame based on original designs. Do you think some markets are ready for the sudden influx of talent thanks to 3d printing technology as well as more manually talented artists like yourself?

DT: I hope so! The market needs new and bold designs. This could be a new Renaissance for table-top wargames. Market aside, I need fresh ‘Mechs and vehicles for my own collection, too!

Darrin, I have a feeling all of our collections are going to swell like the mighty Nile during the wet season.

Bargained well, and done.

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