Wargaming Tradecraft: Review - HC SVNT Dracones 3D Printed Miniatures


Review - HC SVNT Dracones 3D Printed Miniatures

I've had the opportunity to review another company offering custom designed 3D printed miniatures and again, impressed at how the technology is coming along. You can either watch my full review on YouTube or keep reading for a text version.

* Full disclosure, they provided a free miniature for review purposes.

HC SVNT DRACONES is a company with both an RPG and Custom Miniatures. Their unique offering is that they're about the only company out there offering a wide range of anthropomorphic miniatures and body parts.

Distribution is through Imagine 3D Miniatures, who offer a range of custom miniature services. Printing is done through a company called Shapeways, the same company my Arc Pucks are sold through.

I'm going to do this review in 2 steps. First, the building interface. Second, the model I received in the mail.

* BONUS - They've just launched another Kickstarter if this is something that intrigues you!

Review - Swapping Body Parts

HC SVNT DRACONES offers users a simple interface where they can customize various aspects of their anthropomorphic figure quickly and easily. The interface on the left displays a live view of your character as you're building it, with the ability to rotate and zoom to see it from all angles.

You can see from the picture above that the head section offers a lot of choices, whether you want to create a bird, reptile, dog, cat, mouse and more. Since you don't get to repose the character once you're done, you get multiple choices for the body parts themselves. For example, when choosing a head there are a couple pages, half looking left, the other half looking right.

 When you're picking a body, there's a few styles of clothes, the option to add wings or a fin and whether you want the character male or female. Clothes are standard for both sexes, making the woman choices tasteful.

Aside from wings, there aren't a lot of anthro choices for the arms - just wings, no claws, paws, etc. The modern setting comes through here as you choose between guns and swords with a sci-fi appearance.

There are just a few choices for the legs, but enough to convey some different bone-structures depending on the species of your character. It's even conceivable that there are paws in some of the boots.

Finally, you get a lot of choices of tails to really flesh out the species that you're creating. I think here and the head options probably give you the widest range of anthropomorphic customization options. In fact, you can purchase these parts individually on their website if you'd like to build your own figure.

It's worth noting that pricing is based on the volume of your figure, so as you add larger details like wings, the price will go up.

I've ended up creating a character I like. There's a definite "flying-lizard" thing going on here and I think it should be fun to paint. This is what I'll order and keep reading to see how it turned out.

Review - The Product

The figure came in and my first impression is that it looks quite nice overall. There's plenty of detail in the scales and the feathers and it looks like something I'm going to enjoy painting.

In a size comparison, it's comparable to other brands that I'm used to.

I did notice quickly that the figure doesn't stand up on it's own. I had to find a base to glue him to in order to prevent him from tipping over. I asked Pierce Fraser about it, the developer, who had this to say:

"That reduced based size is actually a courtesy. 3-D bases are printed out of the same high detail material as the model itself. A standard base size for that model would add three dollars to its purchase price in materials alone at the least, more if it's larger. Considering how many people like to make custom bases anyway, we elected to go small in order to save the customer money."

We all hate mold lines and 3D printed figures don't have any. When printing with high quality methods like this, you also avoid visible layers.

Overall, detail from the model to the figure printed quite well. I've found a few printing issues however. The first are little nubs that are easily sliced off the surface and certainly stand out more than subtle mold lines. The second is subtle rippling in some of the surfaces - most which disappear after priming and painting, some which show through.

Only the finest items didn't print too well, such as details around the eyes and as the scales got much smaller on top of his head. This isn't unique to HC SVNT DRACONES though, I've run in to this before with this printing technology.

I ran in to a few detail problems. The most noticeable were the wings. They could use some more form where they blend in to the figure's arms. Looking back at the 3D model, this appears to be how it was designed.

Looking at the model once it's primed though, it looks good. The material is firm and the surface is comparable to the average figure we'd paint, rather than being super smooth and trickier to paint on like a cheaper plastic such as Reaper minis.

I wanted to show a couple work-in-progress photos. I'm not doing any complicated painting and using thin layers and washes to demonstrate how paint looks on the printed surface.

The first one shows beginning layers. Going for a parrot look on the wings I've painted Games Workshop red, yellow and blue right on. For the lizard skin I used Privateer Press green wash and the armour is a GW camo green wash.

In the second photo, I've washed the wings and added some black washing to the skin and armour.
To get to the final photos below, I finish up with metallic gold in the eyes, some near colour highlights and a beige dry-brush for the underbelly followed by a hint of orange wash in the shadows of the beige spots. I finish up with some static grass on the base and a quick airbrush of Liquitex matte varnish.

My overall impression is that the final product is nice, though for the lack of customization options that a service like Hero Forge offers, the price is a little high. However - customization comes with a price and while the genre might not be for everyone, HC SVNT DRACONES offers what's probably the widest selection of anthropomorphic miniatures you can find, which are customizable as a bonus. The flaws I highlighted in the printing process weren't unique to HSD and I talked about them when I Reviewed Hero Forge as well. This is definitely a company to watch and see what offerings they have in the future.

My suggestion is visit their store and play with the options - it doesn't cost anything to build a character or save a screenshot for later if you decide to order it.

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