Seaside Chess Set – Revisited

In 2013, not long after I got my first 3D printer, I immediately wanted to make a chess set, but not a typical chess set. Not the typical turned-on-a-lathe set of columns, but something unique. I think I must have recently been to a seaside and visited some lighthouses or something, because those structures were solidly in my head, and I had a great idea for a chess set.

However the result was ultimately disappointing. While the concept of having two-colored structural beams as the body looked Ok, printing it with my 3D printer (an FDM Printer using reels of ABS filament) did not achieve quite the effect I wanted. I wanted heft, some weight, and these printers print very light. I could weigh down the bases with washers or nuts, but ultimately, the printer didn’t give me the resolution I wanted. So this set went unattended for many years.

That said, I did do a solid set with solid walls for Afinia two years later, or for a competition or something. I forget why, but I did that, which was more or less an adaptation of this set, with a brick base now, and an octagonal solid building structure, but the heads were the same.

Even here from the render I took of the pieces laid out in the modeling program, you could see my intent for the board. This version was made in 2015.

When I got a resin printer, an Anycubic Photon, I finally had something that could not only print these pieces in a much higher resolution, and also solid resin is heavier than hollow plastic.

I did, however, have to remodel everything as solid, since they were originally made to be printed in multiple pieces and assembled. And unbenownst to me, there were some errors in the models.

I printed them in a semi-transparent blue and red. And they came out far better than expected.

A blurry photo. Here you see the Bishop, King, Queen and Pawns.

Closer detail of some:

King and Queen

Eight pointed crown indicating she can move in 8 directions. Tall, pointed crown. The King has the same crown, but is smaller, and has the typical Cross on top.


A diagonal cut in the head indicates the Bishop can move in diagonal directions.


Bent pipe is intended to give a similar impression as the more standard horse head, indicating that this piece moves in an L shape direction. Note the valve wheel. This is a repeated theme. The Bishop and Rook also have this detail.


The Rook has a four-part parapet at the top. Also, as I said, the valve wheel sits atop the piece.

Note the slightly pebbled finish. This isn’t the resin printing, it was the satin clear-coat overspray.

The wheel is inside the mostly hollow head of the Bishop too. It is hard to see, but if you ever look closely in there, you will see the value wheel.

The Board

It took me a long time to consider how to make a chess board. This was going to be for my daughter-in-law, who, with my daughter, got into playing chess a while ago. They live in a small apartment and I didn’t want to burden them with a large heavy chess board. Sadly, it still had to be large, but didn’t have to be heavy.

I am not a wood-worker, so I didn’t really want to make one out of wood. Nor ABS plastic. That would look cheap. I went to my local hardware store and was seriously considering square wall tiles in two tones of blue, or blue and white, but man, those tiles are heavy.

Then I remembered a plastic wall sheet I had used last year to cover a hole in a wall put there by people repairing a crack in our basement. It was just less than 1cm thick, and plenty large to cut a board from, and it also had a grainy surface, I assume meant to look a bit like wood grain, but might also work well as water waves.

And in order to get a more natural wave idea across, I opted not to cut the board with the grain. Instead I angled the board to an angle that made for a natural flow of water on an angle across the surface. So I cut and sanded the edges smooth. The plastic cut rather easily with a carpet knife.

Then I used fine art acrylic paints, which I had used previously on some paintings I did for myself. I started with shallow water, a turquoise, and gradated it roughly out to a dark, deep water on the opposite corner.

Then I painted some wave differentiation:

A bit rough for now, but more or less what I wanted. Then I painted in breakers:

And I was done. Then I spray-painted the underside with a satin teal.

Once all this dried, I covered the entire board with blue masking tape, measured out the squares, and penciled them in.

Then I cut those lines, and peeled alternating pieces of the tape:

Once I had all the pieces peeled:

I sprayed the open pieces with a light spray of the same teal I used on the underside.

Overall, this came out exactly as I had hoped.


Yeah, I made a few OOPSIES here and there:

A Box

Then I needed a box to keep the pieces in. I found one at Michaels, and used foam-core and white glue to make dividers, to keep the pieces from bashing around inside. Resin doesn’t like that, even though, I had spray-painted all of the pieces with a satin clear-coat to prevent scraping and marking that happens with cured resin parts.

I just rendered a view of the pieces, and added text on a label and put it on the box lid.

And inside:


Yeah, I was pretty happy with how this came out.


Space: 1889-inspired Ship

This is not a 3D model (not yet). It’s a ship I created in 1997 based on a ship from the Steampunk RGP game: Space: 1889.

At one point, Fine Scale Modeler featured a beautifully constructed model from the game, similar to the one shown below (not my model!)

But at the time I was envisioning my own world where air whales floated around like dirigibles, and I thought this was a nice base for an air whaler ship, which I then modeled in 3D in Lightwave, and rendered out as a fairly poor GIF file which I still have.

Keep in mind, this was 1997.

The wires spanning the two boom arms were to carry the weight of the slaughtered air whale, which would of course no longer be able to support its own weight in atmosphere.

Star Trek Discovery Phaser

The night I went to Rhode Island to visit the Regular Joes to watch them do their podcast, I was not really expecting Jason Isaacs (Captain Lorca) to pop by and sit with us for a half-hour or so going into great detail about his new show “Star Trek: Discovery”, but it was amazing.

You really need to hear this interview, and you can do so by catching The Regular Joes Podcast, Episode 214 – Rhode Island Comic Con 2017.

During that evening, Tod Pleasant talked about how he was currently printing the new Discovery Phaser, after having downloaded it from Thingiverse.

When I went home, I downloaded it and printed it.

Not satisfied with the solid black model, I immediately began cutting it up into pieces for full-color printing, and without going into detail, here are some pics of my final product:

The original model was in four pieces, which I originally printed in black, with a silver nozzle. The new version prints in five colors, and 31 pieces.

I use magnets to attach the nozzle and the Phaser I hand unit to the main unit. This way the nozzle can spin.

I use translucent blue for the setting indicator ring, which I can also print in translucent red if I want to set it to KILL!

A slot in front for the emitter, and a magnet at the back, allow the Phaser I hand unit to come out and snap back in easily.

As you can see, the middle one is set to Kill.

I also made an appropriate display base, with the new Insignia with pips.

The Phaser I hand unit has a translucent emitter the same color as the setting. Eventually I want to add more functionality here, to allow the targeting sight screen to flip up.

I made five, one for me, and one for each of the Regular Joes.

NECA Blade Runner K’s Spinner Diorama

Since the Blade Runner 2049 movie came out, I am a bit surprised at the general lack of merchandise for what had promised to be a huge hit. Sadly, it flailed at box office, but is a gorgeous piece of cinema. I’ve seen it thrice and now it will go to video where I hope it finds its true audience, like the original did.

But NECA did create two vehicles from the film, both are K’s Peugeot spinner, in two different scales. In this article, I focus on the smaller one, which is to scale with standard Hot Wheels cars (1:64) and the ERTL Spinners from the 1980s.

In a previous article I talked about how I converted the ERTL Deckard Ground car from a brown hunk with a logo on top to a fairly accurate model of the real deal (using reference photos for color and detail).

Two weeks ago I took a model railroad figure (I bought a lot of them in bulk some years back for this purpose) and since they are too large for the scale, I cut the legs down (which also usefully made the suit jacket seem longer) and made a K figure, painted it up, and glued it to a CanDo Tank Display Case.

Here are the results, shown next to my previously-mentioned Deckard Ground Car reno, and the Hot Wheels Syd Mead Limo 1000 concept car.

The spinner is quite nice, but the one complaint I have is that it has no visible interior. While cars this size have no great detail inside usually, it is at least desirable to show an interior. This would have been nice. Rather, NECA saw fit to paint on a fake reflective blue wash that is supposed to fake glare. It fails. But the rest of the vehicle is quite nice, and even has a springy rear wheel, which was a nice and unnecessary touch.

Here, I show the three side-by-side-by-side, backed by one of my most prized possessions, a copy of the Blade Runner Sketchbook gifted to me while I was in college by my friend Todd Wareham, who I’m sure never knew how valuable a gift it would become. This book is a rare gem.

Note that I did not do anything to the car itself, but the figure is entirely customized from a set of 1:50 (too large) figures I bought several years ago for customization. I have used other figures to stand in for Simon Templar for the white Volvo P180 Matchbox released a few years ago.

This is the figure before I cut down the legs:

Then I primed it and painted it with craft paints.

Sorry for the blurry picture. I think putting it on a snowy base was a prime idea.

Each display base comes with a plastic box cover but I left them off for visibility.


Selling My 3D Prints – The Downside

I sell my 3D prints in various ways.

I have an ETSY shop called MoonbaseBeta to sell my Space 1999 Dinky Eagle pods, which are pods that never existed on the market, but many collectors want because they did appear on the show. These, I 3D print at home, assemble, and ship. Start to finish, it’s all me.

I have a Shapeways shop called FourthD in which I sell things for various collectors. Models for Space 1999 Dinky Eagles, for example, to replace parts or augment their collection with new parts that never existed on the market, like new pods, moon buggies to scale, etc. Plus some GI Joe scaled ray guns and pistols, etc. Shapeways does all the work. They print, they ship, all I do is upload my models and make them available to people.

On Shapeways, they print the model for their cost and profit. Then I get to add a bit for myself as markup which is how I make money. I usually charge anywhere between a few dimes to a few bucks, depending on how much of a percentage that is of the total price.

Yesterday I noticed one model up there I had left up for people to see and buy inadvertently during a mass editing session. But hey, fair game, the model was there, and someone ordered it. I got 0% markup. No harm no foul. I really didn’t care about that sale. So I edited the file to add a $1.28 markup fee.

Then this morning I saw this Correspondence on my Shapeways shop site, and here was my response.

I ask you: am I being unreasonable???


CSS HADFIELD – Canadian Space Station Hadfield Model

In the 1958 the Space Race was heating up. Model kits reflected this optimism and The Lindberg Line introduced the U.S. Space Station model kit.

The standard inflated-tire design was evident here, which showed itself in a lot of space station concept ideas. This could even be seen in a dual form in “2001: A Space Odyssey”, the 1968 Kubrick film.

I coveted this kit as a kid, but never got it. I managed to get a few other rocket model kits from the same line but never this space station.

Until recently when Lindberg released a dual reproduction kit of the Space Base (now called) and the Explorer Rocket. I snapped it up, and it sat on my shelf unbuilt for a few years.

I just recently finished it. Here it is, painted to my ability, which is … not terrible, but hardly expert.

The decals that were supposed to go on were on this sheet (though this sheet has decals for both the station and the rocket models.)

When I saw the American flag, which is for the Explorer Rocket, I thought: “Hey, why not make this a Canadian Space Station?” After all, Canada is deeply involved in the space program, and recently I recall Col. Chris Hadfield’s real stay on the International Space Station beginning with his launch on Dec 19, 2012. Memorably, he played “A Space Oddity” by Bowie for a YouTube video while up there.

So I thought I would commemorate this achievement by Canadian Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield by naming this station the Canadian Space Station Hadfield, with serial number CSS 12192012, the date Col. Hadfield launched towards the International Space Station. (Stupidly, I used the Empirical date notation of month, day, year, rather than the Canadian SI standard of day, month, year, but oh well…)

And you will note, the Hadfield Shuttle 1 and 2 are also labeled now.

This now proudly hangs upside down on a string in my 3D printing room, above my desk alongside a four-foot-long Discovery from 2001.

New Shapeways Dinky Eagle Restoration Project!

Announcing the first wave of my new Dinky Space 1999 Eagle Restoration/Repair Project!

I restored a Dinky a few months ago. I ordered some side attitude jets on eBay and they were very nice. But I was thinking I could make my own, and make them available on Shapeways. And for that matter, any part I wanted to restore, I could make myself and print it at Shapeways.

As of today, since my package of test prints has returned, and I have pushed all of the parts onto a Dinky Eagle I’m about to restore, I thought it would be a good time to announce to the collecting community that these are now purchasable on My Shapeways Store.



(Click to be taken directly to the Shapeways item)

I started with the Attitude jets. Mine are modeled in the same way as the originals, except the rocket bells are not half-cylinders, they are fully round.

They come on a tree as a four-pack. You need only buy one item to get all four.

They are availble in white, red, yellow, silver, frosted, and raw aluminum.



(Click to be taken directly to the Shapeways item)

The original Dinky Retro Jets are paired with a connecting object that has no basis in reality. I decided to make these retro jets individual, which is far more accurate.

They are available in white, red, yellow, silver, frosted, polished nickel steel, and raw aluminum. (I LOVE the polished nickel steel!)



(Click to be taken directly to the Shapeways item)

Also, I was thinking about how short and stubby the Dinky Eagle’s legs were, and how they were lacking fundamental detail. I opted to lengthen the legs to a more correct height, and add detail to the foot, and the hinged “heel” at the back.

They are available in white, metallic silver plastic, frosted plastic, stainless steel and polished nickel steel. Stainless Steel is my favorite of these. Frosted Ultra Detail seems a bit brittle and might break easier in play. The Strong & Flexible might take some doing to break.



(Click to be taken directly to the Shapeways item)

Since this all really started with this Eagle I’m restoring having only 3 legs, I first modeled a leg after the original. These are also available. I have no pics but the connecting points are identical, so I am confident they will work fine.

No pics, since I have not yet printed one for myself.



Here are the prototypes I received today. There are other variations of each. See details on the individual items’ pages.


Future items I hope to include

  • Replacement spine in Strong & Flexible White Polished (other colors and materials may not work.)
  • Enhanced Spine that replaces the existing trough on the Dinky, and adds greebling underneath where it will screw onto the Eagle. Probably only in metals, which will be prohibitively expensive for most, but nice to have anyway.
  • Replacement Engine Tanks, more accurately modeled
  • Replacement Main Engine Bells with Baffles.
  • Landing Legs for Passenger Pod
  • Replacement Nuclear Canister

Space 1999 Konami Scale Landing Pad Display Base

I recently added a new item to my Moonbase Beta ETSY Store: A Konami Scaled Landing Pad Display Base. The display base is rather large in comparison to the Eagle, but it is only a bit undersized, and looks really awesome when done.

I liked it enough to make a kit out of it that was nice enough that I would be willing to sell it as a kit so people could make their own very affordable Konami display. It would take some work on their end, but not anything really difficult. This was a very fast project.

As I had the 3D parts already designed for a smaller base I had made for Konamis (which I sell on Shapeways as a series of separate parts) scaling them up, adapting them to work at this scale, was not that hard.

(NOTE: This kit does not include the Long Building. I figured no one would be able to display it anywhere, and if you want to add that, it shouldn’t be very hard with some foam-core or matte board and a sharp X-Acto knife.)

I separated out the parts so the rim is made up of 9 – 10 (depending on the diameter you use) separate pieces which have a slot for the foam-core base, and the House could fit on my printer in two parts, and the docking tube could extend/retract. I also made lights for the landing pad.


The Kit Includes

The kit features all of the 3D printed parts needed:

  • 10 Rim Pieces – (two variants so you can break up the design)
  • House Rear Section
  • House Front Section (with slot for docking tube)
  • Docking Tube (extendable)
  • Window Inserts
  • Landing Lights – You get way more than enough


The Kit Does NOT Include

This is what the user has to provide:

  • Black (or painted) foam core board – one circle measuring 28cm or 11″ in diameter
  • Red paper (or white paper) printed with the cross design – one cross with each segment measuring 2 3/4″ or 7.5cm. (I searched the internet and found a few interesting landing pad designs which I printed on red paper which worked beautifully!)
  • Crazy Glue to glue the two house halves together. Also to glue the windows in. You can also glue the rim edges together if you like, though they stay fairly nicely in place by friction, which allows you the bonus of breaking the display down and storing it easily. Crazy Glue can also be used for the lights, but I recommend White Glue for that job.
  • Konami Eagles!!! I presume you have at least one of these if you’re buying this kit.



1) Cut a 28cm (or 11″) diameter circle from black foam core (or any other color painted black). I used Dollar Tree black foam core.

You will note it doesn’t have to be a perfect for the final result to look great!

2) Red Landing Cross. I took red paper and overprinted a gray pattern on it that I found on the internet. Without getting specific, search here and you will find some.

Print it as large on an 8.5 x 11″ sheet as you can. The Cross width (per section) is 7cm (2 3/4″). The whole cross can fit on one sheet.

3) Glue the two halves of the House together:

4) Slot in the Rim Edges. (Depending on your exact diameter, there may be a gap, but that goes under the house out of sight.) I include enough pieces to fit a base somewhat larger than I suggest. 9 pieces will fit mine, with a gap. I provide 10 pieces just in case.

5) Add Lights – This is the tricky part. Don’t worry, I include way more lights than you need. I start at one inner corner and put down the first light. Then I  add a light on one outer corner so the distance is the same from the corner to the light. Do this all around the landing cross.

  • Add Lights To All Corners, so they are the same distance from each corner, outer and inner:

  • Add a light to each mid-length between each corner light:

(Repeat all around the cross.)

  • Add a light in between each middle light and its corner:

(Repeat all around the cross)

This is a great method because it’s far easier to find a mid-point between two things than try to line up 5 of something with perfect spacing. DIVIDE AND CONQUER!

6) Glue in the windows (or if you like, use black cardboard. Whatever works for you.)

That’s really it. You’re done. And when you’re done it should look something like this:

(Forgive my rough quick placement of the rim pieces… I really banged this project out in an hour once the parts were printed.)


  • Cut the cross out of the foam-core for a sunken landing cross