3D Printing the American Civil War

With the upcoming release of Warlord Games “Epic Scale” version of Black Power ACW (and the excellent freebies on the front of last months issue of Wargames Illustrated) there has been a renewed interest in ACW, especially the idea of 3D printing ACW forces.

This combined with my recent Christmas day hike of the Manassas National Battlefield Park with my wife has even got me interested (as someone who has never shown an interest in ACW stuff before, being a Kiwi originally, I’ve always focused on the New Zealand Wars, but more about that in a different blog post). I also recently found out that I live next to an old Civil War fort location right here in Alexandria, VA.

I am by no means an expert on ACW stuff, so here is a complete newbies guide (by a newbie) to 3D printing for ACW in 10-15mm and 28mm scales.

15mm and “Epic Scale”

Recently Warlord Games released their new “Epic Scale” range of miniatures, starting with the American Civil War. No these aren’t the old 6mm figures of old (That I was expecting considering Black Powder was written by one of the old writers of Games Workshop’s Epic version of Warhammer 40,000) but instead a custom scale that fits somewhere between 10mm and 15mm (and yes, I know that any model measured in mm isn’t a scale, it’s an Aesthetic, but that’s another discussion entirely) – which according to founder John Stallard in the video below, should be approximately 13.5mm foot to eye. Meaning that they don’t really match up to modern 15mm ACW figures, but might fit in with older 15mm figures.

What options exist for 3D printing ACW?

First, you are going to want to get yourself a Resin 3D printer to print at this scale. FDM simply isn’t going to cut it for anything that isn’t terrain (and even then you might want to consider hollowed out resin for some Terrain I’ve seen so far). Thankfully there are far more (and larger) options than we had a couple of years ago, and entry level resin printers are far cheaper than when I purchased my original Anycubic Photon (now they start at around $200 USD) though many of the principles are the same. I’d also suggest moving on from the Chitubox Slicer that I used to recommend, and take a look at Lychee Slicer, which is fare more intuitive, and tends to produce far better supports with it’s default settings.

Already we are starting to see Kickstarters, Patreons and I’m sure a few options will pop up on Wargaming3D.com soon as well. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer:

Turner Miniatures “Union Asunder” Kickstarter

Anyone who has been 3D printing age of sail models from Wargaming3D should be familiar with Henry Turner. Well, he’s just launched his 4th Kickstarter: “Union Asunder: 3D Printable American Civil War Armies” which I’ve been test printing a bit on my Anycubic Photon at home. Henry intends to have a comprehensive set of ACW STLs allowing you to print armies for your favorite ruleset, whether in single bases or strip bases. While best at approximately 13-15mm, these models have been tested at 10mm and 28mm scale as well (even printing 18mm and 28mm figures using an Ender 3).

Henry has sent me a bunch of the files, so I plan to test print them at 90% myself and will update this blog with my results over the next week or so (so expect more photos to be added).

28mm and 18mm Union Asunder models printed on an Ender 3 FDM Printer from the Turner Miniatures Facebook Group.

Henry has aimed to make these suitable for a wide variety of systems and they are being made on standard circular bases as well as strip bases what looks like around 8 men, which should fit in two rows at 90% size to be compatible with WLG’s models.

Henry Turners Infantry on Strip Bases custom rigged bu Liam Willemsen using the blender files

Because Henry offers the blender files as well in one of the tiers, it makes it easy to edit them, either in different poses or on strip bases like Liam did when test printing (please note strip bases aren’t part of the kickstarter… yet).

Scale comparison with Warlord Games ACW models printed by Liam Willemsens

Theres plenty of action in Henry’s “Turner Miniatures” facebook group which can be found here, including members test printing at different scales, all the way down to 6mm:

Parrot Gun with Gunner printed at 40% (approx 6mm, or what I still refer to as “epic scale”) by Erik Brown.
The same 30LB Parrot Gun printed at 100% (15mm scale)

You can check out the promotional video below.

Stretch Goals include:

  • Custom hat pack
  • Extra clothing for all core poses
  • Infantry Officers
  • Infantry NCOs
  • Ensigns & Flag Bearers
  • Drummers & Buglers
  • Armstrong Guns
  • Napoleon Guns
  • Gatling Guns
  • Skirmishers
  • Lever Action Rifles
  • Carbine Cavalry
  • Revolver Cavalry
  • Charging & Readied Infantry
  • Winter Coats
  • Zouaves
  • Wagons & Artillery Trains
  • Robert E Lee & George Meade
  • John Budford & Jeb Stuart
  • Joseph Hooker & Stonewall Jackson
  • Joshua Chamberlain & George Pickett
  • Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman & PT Beauregard
  • Civilians
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Drummer Boy
  • Scenery Pack
  • USS Monitor
  • CSS Virginia

The Kickstarter is excellent value for money at only 35GBP for the core 15mm set (while you can get a 28mm version for 45GBP or a fully rigged and posable version that is suitable for posing yourself in modeling software like Blender)

Eskice Miniatures “Epic History Battles” Crowdfunding Campaign

Some of you might recognize Eskice Miniatures from their excellent range of 28mm WWII French that were crowdfunded last year (I know Deweycat has been busy printing a force for himself lately). Well, they are back again with another great looking campaign “Epic History Battles: American Civil War“.

They even have a pretty good guide on how to paint their models using Citadel’s contrast series of paints (though it is in French) here:

The “Kickstarter” (yes I know it’s not actually on Kickstarter, but you know what I mean), is very reasonably priced, especially if you back it before January 17, 2021 and includes a wide range of stretch goals including:

  • Zoavue Infantry
  • Scenery
  • Sharpshooters
  • Iron Brigade
  • Federal Militia
  • Casualties
  • Fort Donelson
  • Aerostat
  • Ironclad

It looks like the figures are currently on strips that are designed to be mounted on two rows for bases of 5x2cm (Warlord Games “epic” infantry bases are 6x2cm in comparison). So you might need to do some fiddling with them to get them to fit properly alongside Warlords figures if that’s something that bothers you.

Eskice Miniatures Union and Confederate Infantry on 5 figure strips

This crowdfunding campaign starts at 19 Euro for existing Patreon/Tipeee supporters, and 30 Euro for full crowdfunding backers while Retailers or professional printing licences start at 300 Euro making this an exceptionally good value pack for building armies.

28mm Infantry by Mr3Dprint on Wargaming3D

Mr3DPrint has made a great selection of WWII infantry over the last year or so on Wargaming3D.com. While these models are more expensive they are of an excellent quality and perfect for building out an ACW force at a larger scale. Right now he has 3 different sets:

ACW 28mm Confederate Soldiers by Mr3DPrint on Wargaming3d.com
ACW 28mm Union Infantry with Greatcoats by Mr3DPrint on Wargaming3d.com
ACW 28mm Union Infantry by Mr3Dprint on Wargaming3D.com

What else have we seen?

Theres a small variety of other stuff available, including some great terrain here on Wargaming 3D in 6mm and 28mm scale, as well as some lower quality sculpts on Thingiverses which you can find below:

What about basing?

If you’ve played a lot of historical games, you’ll know that different systems play it fast and loose with basing when it comes to WW2, while earlier eras base sizes become more important. Generally though base sizes don’t matter as long as both players are using the same standards. A quick look at the bases that came with the free models on last months Wargames Illustrated shows the following base sizes:

  • Standard Infantry 60x20mm
  • Artillery 40x30mm
  • Characters on Horseback 20x20mm

These are easy to cut using something like a K40 laster cutter and MDF you can find SVG files here.

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