Third Party-on!

Hello again Hobbyland, Papa-Robin here with a continuation of my musings on third party
producers.

This is something that has played on my mind a lot recently it seems, and has been a hot topic of
conversation at PWD HQ. But don’t worry, this isn’t going to be another discussion on the
moral/ethical use of aftermarket upgrades, or an update on the ongoing drama that Pop Goes the
Monkey is experiencing, but rather I wanted to share my experience using the 3D printing service
offered by Shapeways. Prompted by my previous piece on this subject, I had a proper look through
the offerings on Shapeways, and decided that I should take the plunge and see what all the fuss is
about.

If you aren’t familiar with them, Shapeways is an online vendor who offers a service whereby anyone
can upload a design to the site, you can order items from the archive (which is massive) and they will
3D print out the design and ship it to you. If you haven’t had a look check out the site, it’s
interesting, but one thing is apparent from the Wargaming section. Most of the items are basically
alternative FW/GW parts, exactly the sort of thing that PGtM is currently having removed from his
section, there’s even a specific section for Warhammer 40k, but there’s tons of original and more
‘inspired by’ items which aren’t quite so in-your- face IP bludges.

I didn’t want to pick up any of the Marine bits, primarily as it’s mostly shoulder pads and I prefer
decals, also I’m pretty bored of marines, having played 30k extensively for the last few years. The
other thing that you’ll realise pretty quickly as you browse is that Shapeways is not a cheap
alternative. For example the official Forgeworld Imperial Fist legion shoulder pad upgrade set cost
£11.00 whereas the Pop Goes the Monkey equivalent cost £11.14, it seems odd to me that someone
would pay more for the bootleg. 

For me, third party items should be either/and/or a more cost effective alternative, an option not provided by the official
manufacturer, a unique or alternate aesthetic, or any combination of the above.

I don’t mind paying out for unique items, and as I’ve been concentrating on my Tau (or T’au if you
will) in 8 th edition I decided that some cool stuff for them would be a good idea and what I found
definitely fits into the “unique option not offered by the original manufacturer” bracket.
I love big mechs, as you’ll know if you read my 40k Hall of Fame entry, so I was pretty excited about
the Riptide when it came out and was looking forward to the rumoured Super-Heavy battle suit back
in 7 th edition but when the Stormsurge appeared I was really disappointed by it, with its stumpy no-
arms and weird squat/pooping position, it looked like some sort of robo-chicken straining out an
egg, anyway, I didn’t buy one… Until now!

Just look how awesome that big bartard looks now man! Seriously, look at him!!!
One of the arguments I often see against third party producers is that they take money away from
the original manufacturer, and while I do agree with that in regards to the re-casting market, I feel

that as consumers we can spend our money on whatever we like, no company has the rights to your
cash until you have exchanged it for goods. In this instance, Games Workshop have made money
that they otherwise wouldn’t have as I’d never have bought a Stumpsurge without the conversion
parts. Granted, the money I spent with Shapeways could have been put towards other GW
products, but let’s be honest, if you want anything else from them, spending this extra scratch with
another company isn’t going to stop you getting it, is it? I know that you all hear the call of the
magpie, same as every hobbyist!

Anyway, I think I’m gonna shut up on the topic for now, I’ll write something else next time. Perhaps
something on Unicorns or flying ponies or something like that.

As ever, we’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’ve used Shapeways, or if you think weird armless
chicken-robots are awesome, hit us up in the comments section if you like.
Hobby-love,
Papa-Robin.