Monday, 15 October 2012


WW2 Warwell produced by automated 3D printing

Is this the way forward for model railway kit production? After browsing the website of Shapeways, I found the range of Wild Boar Models, a specialist in 4mm scale military railway vehicle kits, previewed a few months back in Model Rail magazine. After choosing the wagon I wanted, the transaction is made and then the CAD files are sent to an automated factory in Eindhoven where the model is 'printed' in 3D and dispatched by first class mail. 

It's a bit rough and ready, with the acrylic needing quite a bit of work to smooth-out the marks from the laser cutting process. Extra details like builders plates, load shackle loops, brake gear and bogies have to be sourced separately and I doubt the plastic buffers will last long, so they'll have to go. Would it have been easier to scratchbuild? And is it superior to the (rather nice) Genesis Kits whitemetal kit of the same wagon? Well, I'll have to finish this 'kit' off before I make up my mind.

It's worth a look at the Shapeways site. It's certainly an interesting concept and quite a few MR readers have mentioned it in the past. As long as you can design it, they can make it. So it opens up a lot of possibilities to modellers...

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