Before I hack out a lazy article, hastily written and fired out before my self-imposed "5PM on a Friday" deadline, I would like to make something very clear. I am in no way sponsored by this fellow, I just suck at freehanding and wanted someone else to make it easier for me.

So with that in mind, story time!

As you well know (or might not know) my first proper army were the Salamanders chapter of Space Marines. I won my first tournament with them, I love their lore, I love their design and they even convinced me, in a controversial move, to switch my favourite color from blue to green. A long time ago, I sold my old Salamander army, painted in a crummy rush job with lots of ink wash and not a lot of care. I had grown frustrated with my own ineptitude and so made a solemn vow.

When you learn to paint properly, you can come home.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Adrax Agatone is my first finished Salamander miniature in more than a decade. But what about the rank and file? Freehanding flames is all well and good when you have a miniature you wish to look unique - after all, it's one of a kind. But when you have thirty to forty rank-and-file marines you also wish to paint, that can make it complicated.

Enter Pop Goes the Monkey - a 3-D printing 28mm shopfront linked to shapeways. You'll find additional 40-esque components, shoulder pads, vehicle doors and much more. Because whilst it's nice some extremely talented and mild-mannered english chap can freehand an elaborate dragon onto the side of a miniature, the rest of us have to suck it and see.

So with that in mind I ordered myself some "Dragon Flame" shoulder pad Icons:

Oh Baby

My initial concerns were many - after all, 3-D printing is still very much a developing industry. Plastic casting is still very much more detailed and nicer. But technology is slowly catching up.

So after placing an order and waiting for two weeks, I was excited to recieve them this week and take them for a spin. And I am reasonably impressed. They came nicely packaged (though a few had fallen off of the tiny sprue arm that had been printed)

I then immediately glued one to the side of an infiltrator halfway to the proper shade of Salamander Green. They were really easy to get off of the frame they were printed on and mostly the break was clean and didn't leave anything on the badge to clean off.

I did have an issue getting a badge onto the model, because it was tiny. But the curved shape of the badge meant plenty of contact for the superglue. Also lots of contact between my fingers and the superglue. But they are very sturdy - on more than one occasion I had to painstakingly peel a badge off a shoulder pad and not a single one broke.

From front on it's a nice fit, even on the smaller shoulder pad and looks reasonable. But of course, the next thing I had to do was paint it to really see what it looked like:

It was at this point that I had that warm glowy feeling - these chapter badges were a perfect fit for my needs. Painted using Salamander Heraldric colors, they looked the business - and there was plenty of room to affix squad numbering, if required (which there will be). But of course, this is not a complete miniature. I wanted to know what it would look like on a fully complete miniature. Fortunately, I happened to have a squad of those 'mostly' finished:

Happy Salamander Noises

And of course, the obligatory close-up:

Perfect. Just about perfect. They still look a bit odd from the front - they aren't a transfer after all, and do have a profile. But for my needs, they're a slam dunk.

You'll also note the tiny amount of bare white plastic peeking through - this is because of where I added them in the stage of painting. In an ideal world where I didn't muck up my sequencing, they would've got an undercoat and perhaps a few layers of green.

Overall a completely worthwhile purchase. My Salamanders now have proper flame badges and look cool and they weren't that expensive either. A win all around. Hopefully I can have these up in time for Monday, but I wouldn't hold your breath. Because you'll pass out and that's super bad for you.

Catch you next time,

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