Interview with Ben Mowbray from 2nd Dynasty – Starship IV Chimera
The Starship IV Kickstarter has a bit over a week to go. It features a huge, 3′ long Space transport that features multiple levels that can be configured in different ways for your needs. It’s blown through 19 stretch goals adding more options to the Starship and some new options to previous Kickstarters. I can see so many uses for this in so many games. From wargame centerpieces to RPG gaming props that players explore or own. This Kickstarter and the previous one add so many terrific options.
- What miniatures games/RPGs do you play?
- At the moment, we are about to start Shadow of the Beanstalk, but recently we’ve been playing lots of 5e. Sadly, not so much sci-fi of late!
- How long have you owned a 3D Printer and been making terrain?
- I started in 2017, and my first Kickstarter and terrain pieces was the same year.
- What printers do you use to print terrain?
- I started out on a Flashforge Creator Pro, but moved on to two Prusa i3 Mk3s, which give better results and I love the magnetic springboard.
- This is your fourth Kickstarter. What did you learn in the previous ones that helps with this new one?
- The most important lesson is that that it is worth taking the time (and money) to do things right. Market research, consumer feedback, printed prototyping, professional painting, lighting and photography. Professional quality creates a trust with backers and inspires loyalty down the line. I try to put on a good show, make a product of high quality, and have found that my past backers are right there again the next time around, ready to make a massive day 1 impact.
- What got you interested in modeling 3D Terrain for print? What was your first model?
- I was inspired by Printable Scenery’s success on the fantasy market. Being an avid gamer, with a ton of fantasy minis, I wanted to look into it, but also saw that there was hardly anyone doing science-fiction. However, one of my first printed models was an evil tree mini to represent Wintersplinter, a boss in Curse of Strahd, a famous D&D 5e module.
- Do you have a favorite model you have created?
- The scout ship is still my favourite design to date. It is very much me, through and through.
- How long have you been working on the Starship IV?
- Full time since the middle of summer, although I had it down on paper in concept form a while before then.
- What is your workflow for creating pieces for this Kickstarter?
- It’s complicated. The creative process doesn’t come easy for me, but listening to the right kind of music helps get into the flow. I started with a basic internal layout this time, and built a shell around it, and then divided it up into modular parts. It’s an iterative process, my scenes are a total mess.
- What software do you use for your modeling?
- Autodesk Maya, professional modelling and animation software. It’s expensive, and there are easier ways to get the job done, but it’s what I know and prefer. I test render using Redshift GPU rendering.
- How did you come up with this idea?
- Well, the last Kickstarter with full ships was wildly successful for me. I put out surveys to my backers to get feedback on what kind of ship they wanted to see next, and the Chimera was born!
- Have you been envisioning The Dragon’s Rest vehicles fitting into the chimera all along?
- Yes; I am active on Ian’s discord, and love his designs. Although to be fair, the rover just barely fits at this scale, and I had tried some other combinations of the DR vehicles pack before settling on a little buggy.
- What are people looking at doing with this starship? I could see it being used in RPGs as a base, or target. But with its size, it could easily be used as a set piece, objective and so much more.
- The beauty of the Chimera is scalability. You can expand it, contract it, lengthen it, shorten it, heighten it, widen it, add side engines, additional decks, etc. But on top of that, it’s been designed with tabletop in mind. You can lift off each deck and lay it out on the table to be able to play, with or without the hull. Special locks help slot it into place, and its own weight holds it together. As with all my models, I am trying to make something that is versatile and replayable. By making a generic hauler that can be modified into a blockade runner, sloop or Q-ship, hopefully it can be reused in various scenarios.
Ben Mowbray from 2nd Dynasty is the master of modular, epic sized space ships that can be used in so many ways. This is the 4th starship he has created. With all the features and gameplay possibilities this one gives you, you can’t let Starship IV Kickstarter pass you by.