If you’ve ever played a tabletop war game like Warhammer or Warmachine, then you’ll know the pain of having to place your nicely painted army on a table with spray painted water bottles and buildings made of cereal boxes used as terrain. Without a doubt, terrain simply makes miniature war games more fun; unfortunately quality terrain isn’t exactly inexpensive. But when you’ve already sunk the equivalent of a college education into your figures, buying that quality terrain is hard to justify. Of course inexpensive terrain and scenery can be made on the cheap, but making it is often quite time consuming. So for most of us, it’s usually just easier to use an old shoe box as a bunker and call it a day.
I’ve been saying for years that 3D printing will completely change the game when it comes to miniature wargaming. There are already services where custom figures can be designed and 3D printed, entirely 3D printed war miniature games and there has recently been an uptick on wargaming terrain 3D models showing up on places like Thingiverse. But eventually it isn’t going to be independent designers, startups and gamers making their own pieces and sharing them for free — larger, established companies are going to start selling 3D printable products that gamers can make on their own 3D printer at home. So far they haven’t seen the potential yet, but I believe that it’s only a matter of time before they come around.
The success of a small, independent startup like Thunder Chrome is bound to have an impact on the industry as a whole, and the larger companies better pay attention. The company was started by two Spanish wargamers, David Martínez and Matías Parragués, who just wanted to make awesome tabletop terrain and scenery that won’t also slaughter your wallet. They are launching their first product through Kickstarter, a set of modular and 3D printable post-apocalyptic-themed scenery called Thunder Chrome.
The scale of the terrain is ideal for 28mm sized models, but could also easily be used for 32mm scale. The Thunder Chrome scenery is a set of modular buildings, shacks, watchtowers and walkways that can be combined in a ton of different ways, so each game can be totally unique. The parts were designed with special connectors that allow them all to be assembled, almost like LEGO blocks. The walls, roofs and floors are all interchangeable, and can be stacked up to make multi-level buildings, giant watchtowers or small single-story shacks. The pieces can be glued together and painted as a single piece of terrain, or they can be left separate and individually painted so the entire setup can change for each game.
Martínez and Parragués make no effort to hide the fact that their designs are heavily inspired by the Mad Max universe created by George Miller, but the scenery is still generic enough that it could be used for almost any horror or science fiction miniature game. The buildings include details like slats of wood, metal grates, asbestos sheets and planks of wood tied together with the ad hoc aesthetic of any great dystopian wasteland town built from the ruins of modern society. Because backers are buying the STL files, not 3D printed pieces, they can print off as many as they want and build entire towns that their armies or battlegroups need to navigate through.
In addition to the basic modular buildings and walkways, Martínez and Parragués have also created a few larger, more unique terrain pieces called “Memorables.” The various Memorables models are deluxe, or centerpiece buildings that will be much larger and have a lot more character. They will have parts that allow them to be connected to the rest of the buildings, but they will be unique unto themselves. The Memorables will look like old, broken down auto shops, large wrecked and crumbling buildings and even eventually a pastiche of the massive Thunderdome from the third Mad Max film.
The Thunder Chrome campaign is offering four levels of backing. There is the standard “here is a dollar” reward that thanks supporters, and grants them the option of buying add-ons from the shop when it opens up. For €20, backers will get three modular buildings, including their roofs and floors and the Memorable Hot Rod Garage, a one-story building with a removable roof. For €40, backers will get everything from the previous level plus a full set of catwalks, guardrails and supports, not to mention the two-story, abandoned Emilius Theater Memorable. And finally, for €60 backers will get everything from the previous levels plus three more modular buildings, a second set of catwalks, guardrails and supports made just for them and a huge, three-story Memorable that has yet to be revealed.
Here is the Thunder Chrome Kickstarter video:
Martínez and Parragués are looking for funds to kickstart their design and testing operation, and are only asking for a modest €500 (about $568 USD), and as of the time of editing have reached their goal. Stretch goals will start to appear as funding keeps coming in, starting at €1,000. The money will fund their efforts to finalize the designs for the full set of terrain and fund several tests to make sure that the models are 3D printable on virtually any 3D printer. They also have tons of stretch goals lined up, so backers could be looking at a set with enough 3D printable files to build an entire town. The campaigns expected delivery dates are June to July 2016. You can see all of the preliminary designs, pledge rewards and stretch goals over on their Kickstarter campaign, and you can keep track on their progress on their Facebook page. Discuss in the 3D Printable Post-Apocalyptic Game forum over at 3DPB.com.