Using a Drybrush Texture Palette

why use a drybrush texture palette

Level-up your Miniature Painting with a Drybrush Texture Palette

When it comes to miniature painting and scenery or terrain painting, achieving the perfect drybrushed effect can significantly enhance the detail and realism of your models. While many hobbyists traditionally use paper towels for drybrushing, a drybrush texture palette offers superior and more consistent results. Let’s explore why you might consider this essential tool, what you can use as a dry palette, and the best technique for drybrushing.

texture palettes animated
An example of a texture palette set with storage rack

Why Use a Texture Palette for Dry Brushing?

Consistency and Control – A drybrush texture palette provides a consistent and controlled surface for removing excess paint from your brush. You can even get specifically themed texture palettes to match your project, for example when painting fantasy themed scenery you could use a texture palette with stone walls or brick-work on it . Unlike paper towels, which can vary in texture and absorbency, a texture palette ensures uniformity, helping you achieve more predictable and high-quality results.

Durability – Paper towels tear, become moist easily and degrade quickly, often necessitating frequent replacements. In contrast, a drybrush texture palette is made from durable materials designed to withstand repeated use. This durability makes it a more reliable tool, saving you money and time in the long run.

Texture Simulation – One of the key advantages of a drybrush texture palette is its ability to mimic the textures you might encounter on miniatures or terrain, such as rough stone or wood. Practicing on a similar texture helps you better control the final effect on your model, ensuring a more natural and realistic finish.

Paint Conservation – Traditional paper towels can absorb a lot of paint, leading to unnecessary wastage. A texture palette allows for better control of paint removal, meaning you conserve more paint. This efficiency is particularly beneficial when working with expensive or limited-edition colors.

Reduced Lint – Paper towels can leave behind fibers or lint, which may stick to your miniatures or terrain, compromising the final look. A texture palette eliminates this issue, providing a cleaner finish without unwanted debris.

Ease of Cleaning A drybrush texture palette is easier to clean and reuse. Paint can often be wiped off or washed away, making it a more convenient and cost-effective solution compared to continuously using and disposing of paper towels.

What Can I Use as a Dry Palette?

When looking for a suitable dry palette, several options can serve as effective substitutes but we’ve found that 3D printed texture palettes are the most cost-effective and durable solutions.

3D Printed texture palettes stl
3D printed Texture Palettes – Multiple designs available!

    What is the Best Technique for Dry Brushing?

    Mastering the technique of drybrushing can take your painting skills to new levels without the scratchy inconsistency of rushed or poor technique. You can bring out intricate details and create realistic effects with basic improvements. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the best drybrushing technique:

    1. Load the Brush: Dip your brush lightly into the paint. It’s essential to use a minimal amount of paint for drybrushing.
    2. Remove Excess Paint: Wipe off most of the paint onto your drybrush texture palette until only a small amount remains on the bristles. The goal is to have the brush appear almost dry.
    3. Apply the Paint: Gently brush over the raised surfaces of your miniature or terrain piece. Use light, quick strokes to gradually build up the color. The technique works best when applied in layers.
    4. Layering and Blending: Start with darker shades and progress to lighter ones to achieve depth and highlight the details.
    5. Clean the Brush: After each use, clean your brush thoroughly to maintain its shape and functionality.

    Where to buy Texture Palette STL files?

    Saucermen Studios have a range of 3D printable accessories such as STL files for texture palettes. Check out the range below:

    Conclusion

    Switching from traditional paper towels to a drybrush texture palette can significantly improve your miniature and terrain painting results. By providing consistency, durability, and better control, a texture palette helps you achieve more realistic and detailed effects. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced painter, integrating this tool into your workflow can make a noticeable difference in your work.

    So, why use a texture palette for dry brushing? It’s simple – for superior results, better control, and a cleaner finish. Consider exploring different materials to find what works best for you and elevate your painting technique to new heights. Happy painting!

    Scrap Terrain Setup for Expendable Employees

    expendable employees 3d print terrain

    We recently learned of ‘Expendable Employees‘, a game from Alexei Vella. It’s a rule-light, cooperative miniature skirmish game where 1-4 players assume the roles of employees sent by a company to scavenge dangerous exoplanets.

    Collecting Scrap for the Good of the Company…

    Upon reading the fluff, our Spaceship Graveyard terrain immediately sprung to mind for a table set-up! Each game is played on a 2×2′ to 3×4′ table with only 4-6 pieces of terrain, so we opted for our Fuselage Wreckage Set as these are chunky, break up line-of-sight easy to paint and help give a three dimensional perspective to the table!

    What is Expendable Employees?

    The gameplay involves several key elements:

    1. Mission Setup: Players generate an exoplanet and deploy their space hauler on one board edge. They then send their employee miniatures on missions to retrieve scattered scrap before darkness envelops the board​​.
    2. Objective: The primary goal is to collect as much scrap as possible while maintaining a profit quota. The bigger the pile of scrap, the higher the profit, but it also increases the risk of encountering hostile entities​​.
    3. Challenges: Players face various threats including scrap-possessive entities, unpredictable environmental conditions, and encroaching darkness. They must navigate these threats to survive and complete their mission​​.

    Gameplay Mechanics:

    • Scrap Collection: Scrap is dropped onto the battlefield by holding and releasing a handful of D4 dice from two feet above the table, simulating scrap falling from orbit​​.
    • Entities and Hazards: Entities that can attack players may spawn from shadows and other hazards must be navigated​​.
    • Rules and Role-Playing: The game has a lightweight ruleset, which includes humorous disclaimers from “The Company” about the dangers faced by employees​.

    Miniatures Agnostic

    The game allows for any suitable miniatures to be used, although it offers STL files for 3D printing custom miniatures​.

    Overall, “Expendable Employees” combines elements of resource collection, survival, and cooperative strategy in a setting reminiscent of popular cooperative video games. Check out this game on Kickstarter now!

    3D printable terrain that may suite game?

    Top Star Wars legion terrain sets

    top star wars legion terrain sets

    Step into a galaxy far, far away with our guide to the top Star Wars Legion terrain sets! Whether you’re planning epic battles on the desert sands of Tatooine or skirmishes among the towering skyscrapers of Coruscant, the right terrain can bring your tabletop battles to life. In this guide, we’ll explore the most immersive terrain sets available for Star Wars Legion players, helping you create dynamic and captivating gaming environments that capture the essence of the Star Wars universe. From detailed miniature buildings to rugged battlefield terrain, get ready to enhance your gaming experience and command your troops in style!

    Desert Settlement Bundle

    If you want to build Tatooine or Mos Eisley for your next terrain project, this bundle has everything you need! Many of the building have removable sections such as rooftops and walls and a ton of variety for various sized buildings, each with a cracked desert mud wall texture. There’s even modular walls and stairs! Get the desert settlement bundle here!

    Intergalactic Assault (Playable Interiors)

    When you want to play INSIDE a Star Destroyer or Imperial base, the Intergalactic Assault: Modular Walls set is definitely the way to go! It has iconic wall design and interchangable sections, so you’ll have a different layout every game! Consoles, doors and junctions are easy to swap out so you can plan the perfect missionin the Star Wars universe. There’s even a large variety of upgrades and expansions available as it’s compatible with all the Assault Series Terrain from Saucermen Studios. Get the Intergalactic: Modular Walls set here.

    intergalactic assault star destroyer walls starwars terrain

    Zectonium Prison Mines

    This industrial, sci-fi terrain set offers an eye-watering amount of modular options. the interchangeable walls, corners, walkways, platforms and piping allow you to build an off-world rig as tall or as sprawling as you need. Get the Zectonium Prison Mines set here.

    Flatline City

    Futuristic Citybuilding has never been easier than using the Flatline City terrain series. There’s hundreds of modular building options to choose from to match your theme and a series of scatter terrain too! Get the Flatline City Bundle here.

    3D printable terrain

    Embrace the power of the Force and unleash your creativity with 3D printable terrain for Star Wars Legion. While pre-made terrain sets offer convenience, the beauty of 3D printing lies in its unparalleled versatility and customization options. With 3D printable terrain, you have the freedom to design and print an endless array of unique and personalized terrain pieces, perfectly tailored to your gaming needs and preferences. Whether you’re seeking to recreate iconic Star Wars locations or craft entirely new battlegrounds, 3D printing empowers you to bring your vision to life with stunning detail and precision. Say goodbye to limitations and hello to limitless possibilities as you embark on your journey to create the ultimate Star Wars Legion gaming experience.

    What size terrain is Star Wars Legion?

    Star Wars Legion is usually played on a 3×3 foot table for small skirmish games, but 6×3′ games are often played for larger battles.

    When it comes to Star Wars Legion, terrain size matters for creating an immersive gaming experience. Most players stick to terrain pieces compatible with the 28mm scale of the game’s miniatures. From small scatter terrain like crates to larger structures such as buildings, these pieces provide both cover and strategic depth. Modular terrain systems are popular for their versatility, allowing players to craft diverse battlefield layouts for each game. Choosing terrain that aligns with the 28mm scale ensures seamless integration with your Star Wars Legion battles. You can also use terrain with playable interiors for something different.

    Will infinity terrain work for star wars legion?

    Yes, there is a slight size difference between Ininity and Star Wars Legion miniatures but considering they are both in a world of aliens, monsters and other non-terrestrial creatures the terrain can be interchangeable between games. If using the same terrain across both game systems is your goal, select scenery that thematically appropriate for both. EG, sci-fi cities, desert settlements, alien worlds and industrial facilities, etc.

    Hero-Stand Display Plinths & Dioramas now LIVE on Kickstarter

    3d printable display plinth kickstarter

    If you’re a miniature enthusiast, collector, or painter, you probably know the struggle of finding the perfect way to showcase or photograph your prized minis – Now you can display your minis in all their glory! Our new range of Hero-Stand Display Plinths, is a modular system designed to bring your characters to life in captivating displays tailored to your needs. Mix and match sections such as bases, columns, floor inserts and walls to create your perfect display backdrop.

    BACK THE KICKSTARTER HERE

    These 3D-printable plinths are the ultimate solution for creating impressive dioramas and showcasing your miniatures in all their glory. With a wide range of interchangeable walls, columns, bases, and flooring options, the possibilities are endless.

    display plinth for miniatures

    Imagine constructing your own unique display, perfectly sized and shaped to complement your miniatures. The core set includes over 100 modular sections in various diameter sizes, ranging from 60mm to 120mm, with more unlocked through stretch goals. But the customization doesn’t stop there – choose from multiple themes, including several new fantasy options unlocked as stretch goals. We’ve even unlocked round, square and squad sized plinths!

    Hundreds of stretch goals unlocked!

    All backers will receive 340+ STL files which includes the Core Set and tons of extra bonus sets. See what’s been unlocked below.

    Display Plinths Stretch Goal UNLOCKS 17 stretch goals

    Lots more to be unlocked – See them here!

    Insert lighting & atmospheric effects

    One of the standout features of these plinths is the ability to incorporate lighting and atmospheric effects. The base and columns are hollow, allowing you to place lights or other elements inside, which can then shine through certain flooring options, creating a truly immersive display.

    And the best part? These plinths are designed for easy assembly and printing. The components fit together seamlessly without clips, and they can be printed without supports on both FDM and resin printers. While glue isn’t necessary, you can use it for permanent builds if desired.

    Photography Backdrops for miniatures

    Our Hero-Stand Display Plinths aren’t just for displaying your miniatures—they also double as versatile photography backdrops! With their customizable design and modular construction, these plinths provide the perfect setting for capturing stunning photos of your miniatures in action.

    Simply arrange your miniatures on the plinth to create dynamic scenes, then adjust the interchangeable walls, columns, bases, and flooring to suit your desired backdrop. Whether you’re recreating epic battles, crafting immersive dioramas, or showcasing individual characters, our plinths offer endless possibilities for creative photography.

    With the option to add lights or other atmospheric effects inside the hollow bases and columns, you can enhance your photos with dramatic lighting and ambiance. Plus, our detailed instructions ensure easy assembly, so you can focus on capturing the perfect shot.

    BACK THE KICKSTARTER HERE

    Miniature display stands

    Whether you’re a proud hobbyist, display painter, miniature collector, or simply someone who appreciates the art of dioramas, Hero-Stand Display Plinths offer a truly unique and customizable way to showcase your passion.

    3D printable display plinth and dioramas scaled

    Don’t miss out on this opportunity to take your miniature displays to new heights. Follow Saucermen Studios’ projects, subscribe to their newsletter, and explore the commercial license options available for those interested in printing and selling these designs.

    Elevate your miniatures and bring them to life with Hero-Stand Display Plinths – the ultimate modular display system for miniature enthusiasts.

    Printed examples of the modular display plinths & dioramas

    Monnu Bains Display Plinth
    Examples printed by Monnu Bains

    Want a commercial licence for this set?

    If you want to print and sell models from this Kickstarter, you need to back the campaign and set-up a Commercial Licence Subscription (paid monthly or annually). This single Commercial Licence also allows you to print and sell ANY Saucermen Studios models you have purchased from us.

    Get your Commercial Licence here

    In summary – by obtaining a single Commercial Licence, you are permitted to print and sell 3D printed copies of ANY Saucermen Studios models you have purchased from us, including our Kickstarters.  More information here.

    D&D STL Files to Bring your Games to Life!

    dungeons dragons dnd stl files scenery

    Are you looking to take your Dungeons & Dragons games to a whole new level of immersion? 3D printable terrain and printed scenery is the way to go, especially when combined with battle maps and D&D miniatures! With highly detailed STL files, you can create your own customized 3D printable dungeons, buildings, ruins, and more right from your desktop 3D printer.

    Benefits of 3D Printed D&D Terrain

    With digital 3D models (STL files), you have the freedom to modify, resize, or remix the terrain pieces to perfectly suit your campaign setting – This is easily done in a slicer. Something like a modular dungeon walls set such as the Dungeon Assault bundle can enable you to quickly set-up maps on the fly.

    Reusable and Durable Carefully designed and printed in tough materials like PLA plastic, resin, or PETG, your 3D printed terrain will last through many adventures. Simply store the pieces and reassemble them as needed.

    Insane Detail 3D printing allows for an incredible level of intricate detail that is hard to achieve with traditional model making. Surfaces can render amazing stone textures, ornate parts, towering arches and more.

    D&D Scenery

    Even a collection of smaller, themed scenery is a good idea for DMs to have on hand for specific events or random encounters.

    Which 3D Printer for Star Wars Legion Terrain?

    which 3d printer for star wars legion terrain

    3D printing has revolutionized the way tabletop gamers can acquire detailed, affordable terrain for their games. With a wide range of 3D printers available in the market, it can be challenging to determine which one is best suited for printing Star Wars Legion terrain specifically. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the top 3D printer options and provide recommendations to help you make an informed decision. Hopefully, you’ll soon be on your way to cranking out tons of incredible and varied terrain!

    Why 3D Print Star Wars Legion Terrain?

    Star Wars Legion is a miniature wargame that immerses players in the iconic Star Wars universe. To truly elevate the gaming experience, having detailed and thematic terrain is essential. 3D printing offers a cost-effective solution to create highly detailed and customizable terrain pieces that bring your battlefields to life. Compared to buying expensive off the shelf terrain or low detail MDF scenery, you can 3D print your own Tattooine Battlefield, Star Destroyer internals, impressive galactic cities or even jaw-dropping spaceship wreckage.

    Here are some key advantages of 3D printing Star Wars Legion terrain:

    1. Affordability: Once you’ve invested in a 3D printer, the cost of printing terrain is significantly lower compared to purchasing pre-made terrain sets.
    2. Customization: With access to a vast library of digital 3D model files (STL files), you can print terrain pieces tailored to your specific needs, whether it’s recreating iconic Star Wars locations or creating unique custom designs.
    3. Detail and Quality: Modern 3D printers are capable of producing terrain with incredible detail, capturing the intricate elements of Star Wars environments.
    4. Reproducibility: If you need multiple copies of a particular terrain piece, simply print as many as you require, eliminating the need for costly duplicates.

    Get more 3D printable Star Wars Legion terrain inspiration here

    Choosing the Right 3D Printer for Star Wars Legion Terrain

    When selecting a 3D printer for printing Star Wars Legion terrain, consider the following factors:

    1. Print Volume: Ensure the printer has a sufficiently large build area to accommodate the terrain pieces you plan to print.
    2. Print Resolution: Higher print resolution translates to finer details and smoother surfaces on your terrain pieces.
    3. Print Speed: Faster print speeds can be beneficial if you plan to print larger terrain sets or multiple copies.
    4. Ease of Use: Consider printers with user-friendly features like auto-leveling beds, intuitive software, and robust online communities for support.
    5. Filament Compatibility: Some printers may be limited to specific filament types, while others offer greater flexibility.

    Top 3D Printer Recommendations for Star Wars Legion Terrain

    1. Creality Ender 3 V2 (cheap): As one of the most popular entry-level 3D printers, the Ender 3 V2 offers an excellent balance of performance and affordability. With a print volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm, it can handle most terrain pieces. Its large online community and extensive up-gradability make it a great choice for beginners.
    2. Prusa i3 MK3S+ (pricey): Known for its exceptional print quality and reliability, the Prusa i3 MK3S+ is a premium option for those seeking top-notch results. With a print volume of 250 x 210 x 210 mm and advanced features like automatic bed leveling and filament sensors, it delivers a seamless printing experience.
    3. Bambu Labs P1S: All Bambu Labs machines have exceptional quality and mind-blowingly fast print times, however they are on the top end of prices.

    Where to Find Star Wars Legion Terrain STL Files?

    Once you’ve chosen your 3D printer, you’ll need access to high-quality Star Wars Legion terrain STL files. Saucermen Studios offers a wide range terrain suited for Star Wars Legion terrain games.

    Whether you’re a seasoned 3D printing enthusiast or a newcomer to the hobby, investing in the right 3D printer can unlock a world of possibilities for your Star Wars Legion gaming experience. With careful consideration of your needs and the printer’s capabilities, you’ll be well on your way to creating stunning, personalized terrain that will elevate your tabletop battles to new heights.

    What Infill for 3D Printed Miniature Terrain?

    What Infill for 3D Printed Miniature Terrain

    Creating intricate and durable miniature terrain for tabletop gaming requires careful consideration of various factors, including infill density. Infill refers to the internal structure of a 3D printed object, determining its strength, weight, and material usage. In this guide, we’ll delve into the importance of infill for 3D printed miniature terrain and explore the best practices for optimizing infill settings to achieve optimal results.

    Quick Answer for ‘What Infill for 3D Printed Miniature Terrain?’

    For most terrain printed in PLA on an FDM printer, using standard settings, we typically recommend 5-10% infill. If there’s not a single, large flat top or roof, you can even go as low as 4% infill.

    What is infill for 3D printing?

    Infill for 3D printing is essential for creating durable yet lightweight structures, particularly for crafting wargaming terrain. It refers to the internal structure of a printed object, determining its strength and weight. When sending your terrain STL file to your 3D printer, you can adjust infill patterns and densities to tailor terrain pieces to specific needs, balancing sturdiness with printing time and material usage. There are several 3d printing infill patterns you can choose from.

    Understanding Infill Density

    Infill density dictates the amount of material used to fill the interior of a 3D printed object. Higher infill densities result in denser and more robust prints, while lower densities reduce material usage and printing time. When it comes to printing miniature terrain, striking a balance between strength and efficiency is key. While terrain pieces do not typically require the same level of structural integrity as functional parts, adequate infill is still essential to ensure durability and longevity on the gaming table.

    Factors to Consider

    Several factors should be taken into account when determining the appropriate infill density for 3D printed miniature terrain. The scale and complexity of the terrain piece, as well as its intended use, will influence the optimal infill setting. For larger or more intricate structures that may undergo frequent handling or support heavy miniatures, higher infill densities may be necessary to prevent warping or deformation over time. Conversely, smaller or less critical terrain features may suffice with lower infill densities to conserve filament and reduce printing time without sacrificing quality.

    Using OpenLock Clips?

    If you’re using OpenLock Clips and have sockets included as part of your print, you want to use at least 10% infill or have thicker wall layers. this is because the clips or adjoining parts will need a stronger structural integrity.

    Optimizing Infill Settings

    Achieving the perfect balance between strength, weight, and material usage requires careful experimentation with infill settings. Most slicing software allows users to adjust infill density as a percentage, typically ranging from 0% (completely hollow) to 100% (solid). For miniature terrain, infill densities between 5-10% are fairly standard and 20-30% are commonly used amongst hobbyists for more durable prints, providing sufficient support while minimizing material consumption. Additionally, selecting infill patterns such as honeycomb or gyroid can further enhance structural integrity and reduce the risk of de-lamination or splitting.

    Master Infill to take your 3D prints to the next level

    Check out this handy video below which further expands on different ways to level-up your infill game.

    How to 3D Print Terrain on a Budget

    3D print terrain on a budget

    In the world of tabletop wargaming, creating immersive battlefields with intricate terrain can enhance the gaming experience tenfold. While pre-made terrain sets are available, they often come with a hefty price tag. However, with the advent of 3D printing technology, gamers now have a cost-effective way to craft their own customized terrain.

    In this guide, we’ll explore various strategies to 3D print terrain on a budget, allowing gamers to create stunning landscapes without breaking the bank.

    Is cheaper to buy or 3d print gaming terrain?

    Without a doubt, it is far more cost-effective to 3D print your terrain than buy pre-made sets. While purchasing terrain sets may seem convenient, especially for those without access to a 3D printer, the upfront cost can be prohibitive. Additionally, many commercially available terrain sets lack customization options, forcing gamers to settle for generic designs that may not suit their specific needs.

    By contrast, 3D printing offers unparalleled flexibility and affordability. With a modest investment in a 3D printer and filament, tabletop gamers gain the ability to create an endless array of terrain pieces tailored to their exact specifications. Whether it’s scaling up existing designs, remixing elements from different files, or crafting entirely original structures, 3D printing empowers tabletop gaming hobbyists to unleash their creativity without breaking the bank. Furthermore, the ongoing cost of printing terrain is minimal compared to continually purchasing pre-made sets, making 3D printing the superior choice for budget-conscious gamers seeking maximum value for their money.

    Can i 3d print terrain for warhammer?

    Absolutely! 3D printing terrain for Warhammer and other tabletop wargames is not only feasible but also highly advantageous. While traditional methods of crafting terrain using foam, cardboard, or resin can yield impressive results, 3D printing offers unparalleled flexibility, precision, and cost-effectiveness. Check out some3D printable Grim Dark Terrain here.

    Grab a collection of free STL files

    One of the best ways to start 3D printing terrain on a budget is by downloading a few free STL files available on websites such as Saucermen Studios. These are great to get you started but more cohesive terrain projects with a wider modular functionality will be from paid 3D printable sets.

    Buy STL terrain bundles

    While free STL files are plentiful, many tabletop gamers prefer more curated collections or specific themes for their terrain. In such cases, purchasing STL terrain bundles can be a cost-effective option as they usually have bundle pricing and discounts over purchasing each STL file individually.

    Choosing the right printer for 3D printing your terrain

    Investing in the right 3D printer is crucial for terrain enthusiasts looking to maximize their budget. When selecting a printer, consider factors such as print quality, build volume, and price. Entry-level printers like the Creality Ender 3 or the Anycubic Photon offer excellent value for beginners, providing reliable performance at an affordable cost. It’s worth noting the difference between resin and FDM printers, but you can see more about that here. In summary, you’ll want a FDM printer for most printable terrain projects.

    Getting the best printer settings

    Optimizing printer settings is essential for achieving high-quality prints while minimizing material usage. Experimenting with parameters such as layer height, infill density, and print speed can significantly impact print quality and efficiency. By fine-tuning these settings, you can produce detailed terrain pieces while conserving filament and reducing printing time. See our recommended print settings for terrain here.

    Use the Printed objects as additive components

    To further stretch your budget, consider using 3D-printed terrain as additive components in conjunction with traditional crafting materials. Incorporating printed structures such as greebles with foam, cardboard, or modeling clay can add depth and complexity to your tabletop landscapes without requiring large quantities of filament.

    Avoid simple mistakes to avoid wastage

    To prevent unnecessary waste of filament and time, be mindful of common 3D printing pitfalls. Check your printer’s calibration regularly to ensure accurate prints, and carefully monitor the printing process to catch any errors early on. Additionally, optimizing print orientation and support structures can help minimize material usage and reduce the likelihood of failed prints.

    Power saving

    For cost-conscious hobbyists, optimizing energy usage during the printing process can lead to significant savings over time. If possible, schedule print jobs during off-peak hours or when electricity rates are lower. For those with solar power, running printers during daylight hours can take advantage of renewable energy sources and reduce reliance on the grid.

    By following these budget-friendly strategies, tabletop wargamers can harness the power of 3D printing to create stunning terrain while keeping costs to a minimum. Whether you’re building epic battlefields for fantasy skirmishes or recreating historical battlegrounds, 3D printing offers endless possibilities for crafting immersive gaming environments without breaking the bank. With a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, wargamers can bring their tabletop adventures to life without sacrificing quality or affordability.

    BeamDown: Frequently Asked Questions

    BeamDown FAQ

    What is BeamDown?

    BeamDown is a browser based terrain building platform that allows users to create custom 3D printable terrain, specifically used for tabletop wargaming and RPG games. Depending on the sets a user has access to, they can access up to 2,000 construction assets designed by Saucermen Studios. These assets can be combined in the free-form or quick-frames (templates) tool-sets to create custom terrain that is saved and exported as STL files.

    See more about BeamDown here.

    Does BeamDown have any subscription or Export Limits?

    No, You can build as much as you like, save your projects and export it without any additional costs or limits.

    How can I get access to BeamDown?

    We’re working on a separate asset store for BeamDown but currently it’s only available as a bundle purchase on the website (Grid City + Sci-fi Building Generator) or as a Kickstarter Add-on. Buy BeamDown here.

    What can I export from BeamDown?

    Currently BeamDown exports STL files that are best suited to FDM printing.

    What experience do I need to use BeamDown?

    BeamDown does all of the heavy lifting for you, so you don’t need any previous experience in 3D modelling or design. The tools and interface have been designed to be incredibly easy to use. See examples of BeamDown being used here.

    Whats the difference between a BeamDown set and Stand-alone/Kickstarter sets such as Zectonium or Grid City?

    Where a set is available as both a stand-alone/Kickstarter set (such as Zectonium or Grid City) and a corresponding BeamDown set, it is important to understand that although they are compatible in their modular set-up, they are both aesthetically different products. BeamDown does not include the pre-built models from the standalone Set.

    Many of the features or components appearing in the pre-built STL buildings may not be available or have the same aesthetic in BeamDown, it has an alternative library of components. Eg. the Grid City standalone Kickstarter STLS could not be made exactly the same in the BeamDown version of Grid City, however you can design and export compatible buildings that can be combined with the standalone SLT sets – They would just have different visual features such as different windows, alternative greebles, etc.

    BeamDown does not include any of the stretch goals or scatter terrain from the standalone sets or Kickstarters, only the main building, structures and/or walkways from their relevant Core Sets. 

    What are the building methods used in BeamDown?

    BeamDown uses two different building methods, these are specific to the set:

    • Free-Form Builder – Drag components from the pallet onto the work area, mount features and snap components together.
    • Quick Frames – Build off pre-defined templates of specific sizes and add auto-filtering components. Snap rooftops and building sections together.

    Can I sell or share the designs I create in BeamDown?

    No, BeamDown grants you a PERSONAL use licence. Saucermen Studios retain all of the intellectual property, so you cannot share, modify or sell the STL files or printed exports from BeamDown. If you wish to sell physical 3D PRINTED copies of the exported models from BeamDown, you must have an active commercial licence subscription.

    What sets have been made for BeamDown

    The sets that have been designed for BeamDown are:

    • Sci-fi Building Generator – A Free-form building system based on a 1 inch grid system.
    • Grid City – A template building system that is based on 3 inch buildings in various configurations. It is compatible with the Grid City Core Set.
    • Zectonium Prison Mines – A template system that creates custom structures compatible with the Zectonium Mines Core Set.
    • Deserts Houses – A template system that creates custom desert, sci-fi buildings in various configurations.
    • Modern Buildings – A template system that creates custom modern, urban buildings in various configurations.
    • Bits Box – A collection of useful bits such as doors, reference miniatures, etc

    Can I import STL Files into BeamDown?

    No, currently you cannot import any STL files or your own assets into the software.

    Where does BeamDown save my projects?

    BeamDown saves your projects to our cloud-based server. Each user has their own, private storage area. We will eventually enable project sharing across the BeamDown community.

    Skirmish games to try in 2024

    skirmish games to try

    There’s so many skirmish games on offer as an alternative to big battle games that have formed the foundation of so many tabletop gaming journeys.

    Alternatives to Warhammer 40,000

    Well established in the tabletop gaming world is 40K. It’s enjoyed by many but can be expensive bloated and take a long time to finish each game. If you’ve been looking for some smaller alternatives with sleeker game-play and cheaper investments, it could be time to explore some of the skirmish games on offer!


    What’s great about skirmish games?

    • Small model count
    • More terrain interaction
    • Often more tactical
    • Alternating movement & actions
    • Cheaper buy-ins to get started

    Here’s some recommendations for Skirmish games to try in 2024


    Infinity by Corvus Belli

    Infinity is a game that keeps you engaged throughout. The rule-set is sophisticated and lends itself to cinematic game-play. It has steep but rewarding learning curve and eases you in with the basic ‘Code One’ system. It’s set in the far future of humanity with soldiers, A.I, aliens, robots and hackers. The army builder and rules for Infinity are all also free!

    Grid City Infinity Terrain

    Terrain for Infinity

    Infinity is usually played on a 4×4′ table with tightly packed terrain that offers lots of cover. Interconnected sci-fi buildings, ladders and walkways are a key feature, as is a fair amount of scatter such as crates, vehicles, walls, barriers and cyberpunk style advertising.

    See more Infinity terrain tips & ideas here


    Stargrave by Osprey Publishing

    You control a spaceship crew using any miniatures you like and focus on simple, yet sturdy gameplay that is packed with narrative opportunities. The core rules get you started with single games or an ongoing campaign, whilst the plethora of additional resources deliver a range of extended gameplay opportunities.

    Terrain for Stargrave

    Stargrave is fairly open in terms of terrain options as it’s based on any number of alien planets, space stations and even starships. You could set your game on a barren, alien world or an old world, low tech settlement or super-advanced tech-based civilisation.

    See more Stargrave terrain tips & ideas here


    Star Wars Legion by Fantasy Flight Games

    Star Wars Legion can be played as small skirmish games or epic battles set around any of your favourite Star Wars moment. It definitely scratches the itch for all Star Wars fans and uses a nice proprietary dice and card system for activation, skills and combat mechanics.

    Terrain for Starwars Legion

    Star Wars Legion tables are typically 3×3′ or 6×3′ and heavily influenced by the Star Wars universe.

    See more Star Wars Legion terrain tips & ideas here


    Marvel Crisis Protocol by Atomic Mass Games

    Using bigger minis but an easy to grasp game mechanic, you’ll control a team of your favourite X-Men characters to complete objectives and gather power to unleash your super powers. The system uses unique dice and character cards to keep everything flowing.

    Terrain for Marvel Crisis Protocol

    Set in the near future or modern day Marvel Universe, most games play on a 3×3′ table with modern, urban structures. You’ll also see scatter that superheros can throw such as dumpsters, cars, lampposts and even small street vendors. Scenery is categorised into sizes which represent how hard it is to throw, so it’s good to have a mix from tiny to extremely huge terrain.

    See more about MCP terrain here


    Starwars Shatterpoint by Atomic Mass Games

    Set after Attack of the Clones, Shatterpoint is similar to Marvel Crisis Protocol in many ways as you control a small group of heroes / villains in the Star Wars Universe.

    Terrain for Starwars Shatterpoint

    Shatterpoint is slightly larger than most wargames, at 40mm, you’ll need larger scaled terrain that matches your preferred setting in the Star Wars universe. Multi-level buildings with walkways and line of sight blocking terrain are essential.


    Necromunda by Games Workshop

    Although the rules can be cumbersome, the lore and core mechanics of Necromunda are definitely something to enjoy in this action packed game. You’ll use a special set of D6 and templates to control a gang that evolves over time as you play. Games are quick, fun and usually have some great and memorable moments.

    Necrmunda Terrain Ideas

    Terrain for Necromunda

    Necromunda is rich in Grim-dark theme and set somewhere in the depths of an imperium hive world. On any of these ancient gothic inspired battlegrounds, you’ll find gangs fighting for survival amongst the muck, rust and toxic waste. The infrastructure is decaying and raw. Industrial piping, heavy and corroded bulkheads are key features along side the leaking filth, goo and blood.

    See more Necromunda terrain tips & ideas here


    Killteam by Games Workshop

    As a quick alternative to 40K, Killteam pits two groups of combat specialists from the armies you know and love against each other. Models that are usually constrained to squads are now represented as characters who operate independently, but as part of the Kill Team.

    Terrain for Killteam

    Killteam is set in the Warhammer universe but played on smaller tables, usually 30×22″. Games can be set in any environment related to the Grim-dark setting and usually feature industrial or military settings unless you prefer ruined battlefields or xenos (alien) world’s. Pipes, landing pads, industrial platforms, ruined walls and supply depots are quite common.


    Deadzone by Mantic Games

    Set on any number of colonies or alien worlds, Deadzone is a unique skirmish game that places your battles in containment zones of the Warpath universe.

    Terrain for Deadzone

    Deadzone is unique in that it uses a 2×2′ table, split into eight by eight 3″ grids. As a result, terrain is usually built around 3″ cube layouts. You’ll often see industrial settings, military structures or scientific facilities.


    Judge Dredd Miniatures Game by Warlord Games

    A fun skirmish game that explores the narrative fights and missions of the classic Judge Dredd comic books. Gangs vs lawmen or bizarre aliens are the focus of this skirmish game that uses a clever system of dice, character cards and tokens for activations.

    Terrain for Judge Dredd

    Set in Mega City One, this bustling and painfully overcrowded metropolis (The Big Meg) is packed full of comic book charm – Think of any stories from the 2000AD comics. Futuristic, but rundown buildings are a must, then supplemented with walls, vehicles and other scatter terrain.


    One Page Rules by OnePage Rules

    If you’re after a snappy rule-set that’s easy to learn and flows well, One Page Rules offers a basic mini-agnostic set of rules that expands into less-bloated alternatives to some popular games. Their games include Age of Fantasy, Grimdark Future, Firefight, Regiments and more!

    Terrain for One Page Rules

    One page rules is a very open system and all about your choice of setting and enjoyment. Terrain options are entirely up to you but should typically include a range of line of sight blocking scenery in a theme of your choice!


    Cyberpunk: Combat Zone by Monster Fight Club


    This fast-paced, smart and easy to play system uses colour coding for movement, range and actions. The characters, weapons, hacking programs and scenarios are all represented by cards which streamlines gameplay and let’s you focus on the action. One of the core mechanics is the [Re]Action system which allows gang members to respond to damage and really shake up the dynamic of the game.

    Terrain for Cyberpunk Combat Zone

    Set in the Combat Zones of 2045 of the Cyberpunk timeline, this setting is the battlefield for numerous gangs, each striving to establish dominance and maintain ground. The theme is ultimately “Hi Tech, Low Life”, so you’ll find dystopian, futuristic buildings, battle damaged structures, rubbish, sprawl, abandoned warehouses, barricades, ruins, supplies and sci-fi vehicles.

    See more Cyberpunk terrain tips & ideas here


    Mars: Code Aurora by Samy Maronnier and Hugo “Minus” Nivesse – Available via Northstar

    Recently translated into English, this mini-agnostic skirmish game is set on Mars after colonisation attempts went bad. The rules are easy to grasp and feature elements reminiscent to Infinity.

    Terrain for Mars: Code Aurora


    Set on Mars, you’ll want plenty of industrial and space-based habitats and infrastructure. As a mini-agnostic game, you’re open to choose what works for you!