I recently released a Magic: The Gathering Snake Token into the wild, but many iterations of the model got left on the scrap heap before the final slithered off the build platform.
Here’s one that made it all the way to the light tent before I realized the many problems it had. Sometimes you don’t see all the problems until you really dig into a macro photograph.
- overhang: violations of the 45° rule. Not terrible on this one.
- scrubbing: the model’s too thin here. ABS or a cooling fan might help.
- nickeling: not enough geometry to make a smooth curve in the body
- schmutz: really should have filed this off before painting.
I can forgive a little bit of overhang on a model. Sooner or later some 3d printer manufacturer’s going to lick that problem for us. Scrubbing is a technical issue too, and schmutz removal is a time-honored pre-photography process that I was just too lazy or preoccupied to do on this model.
It is the nickeling that I shan’t abide.
I come to 3D modelling from a video games background, where realtime constraints force model efficiency. When I was a lad with an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time, we designed characters with 150 triangles and we liked it that way.
So every now and then I forget that I’m not living in 1997 anymore and I can be a little more luxurious with the poly count. It still feels dirty though.
So Ms. Cobra went back into the Forge, got subdivided again, re-posed, edited, tweaked, and was reborn as the final product you saw a day or two ago.
Snake tokens in Magic: The Gathering are generated by many cards, including but not limited to ye olde Snake Pit, Endless Swarm, and of course many of the Orochi cards. Much MTG Snake card art eschews long and slithery reptiles in favor of four-armed humanoid ophidians, but for this 3d token I decided to go all Rikki Tikki Tavi and model a cobra instead.
My original plan was to save myself some time by unrwapping the Ouroboros and giving her a cobra cowl, but the more I studied the anatomy connecting the hood to the head the more I realized that wasn’t going to work. After a few false starts I just ditched the original head and started fresh.
There are two versions of this snake in the archive. snake_resin was designed specifically for the mUVe1 resin-based printer and has an inconspicuous resin drain inside the 正 that lurks in the model’s base. It’ll still print on a filament printer though. snake_fdm patches the hole for use on filament deposition printers like the Replicator or Printrbot series.
The model in this photo is printed on a Replicator1 at .1mm layer height with black PLA (205°) and then spray-painted green. Usually I’m printing at .18mm, but I recently got my HBP bed leveled so nicely I thought I’d try printing at highter resolution. If you’ve got yourself a HBP, set it to 60°, folks. For great justice.
As always, you can grab this model for free from the Miniatures section of The Forge. Like the MTG rat pack, I could in theory pose this cobra a half-dozen ways, so #staytuned: there may be another MTG snake token or two slithering your way in the near future.