When Prosp&Beyond announced their Props Print&Paint contest I knew I just had to enter. I never participate in miniature painting contests because I lack a lot of skills (mainly the skill of patience) to paint a mini properly, but props, that makes my cookie crumble!
I can only enter 1 prop, so I had to choose and that was really hard for me given that I really like props, and there are a lot of them from the kickstarter and the tribe.
Fortunately I have awesome players and one of them had a great idea: put a genie in the bottle!
In the stash with kickstarter files there is an Efreeti bottle, but I think the genie won't mind if we give him that one to live in. Now the idea was really very simple: make the bottle transparent, stick a genie/efreeti/djinn/something in it and make it pretty! Simple enough right? There were however 2 hurdles.
First of all, the bottle was in one piece. Fortunately there is a hollow version, and I am very handy with my slicer (the software use to prepare 3d files for printing). So I digitally sliced the bottom from the bottle with the idea to print the bottom and the bottle separately. And it looked like that would work nicely.
The second hurdle was a bit more complicated to take;
I do not have a resin printer due to allergies, so I can not use transparent resin and make a real transparent bottle. My printer is an fdm printer, and even with transparent plastic it still is not transparent due to the layers of plastic scattering the light and the infill messing things up even more.
I was aware of a possible workaround: print in vase-mode, which is only 1 plastic layer thick, at a slightly higher temperature, and put glossy varnish on the print (both sides) and then it should be more transparent. Now I wanted to paint the filigrain-lines gold, but I had already discovered that varnish is a really good primer so that should work fine.
So, I digi-cut the bottom from the bottle, sliced the bottle to be printed in vase mode and let the printer run! I used IOP PLA, transparent fluor, which I normally print at 200C in the enclosure, but now at 200C. The print went excellent. Until it reached the top. The top was too steep and I have nasty holes and tears. But: the bottle sides were just perfect! The transparency was better than I expected before the varnish, and with varnish it was great! Well, for PLA-FDM print I mean, it is not window-clear but my guess was that the figure inside would be visible enough.
With this knowledge I went back to the drawingboard slicer, digi-cut both the bottom and the top from the bottle and printed the bottle in vase mode. I printed the bottom and top separately (not in vase mode) in a nice satin-gold filament. I did intend to paint them but gold paint does not always coat properly. So I decided to make my life easier: print in gold, prime in transparent varnish and then paint with gold paint. It still took 2 layers of gold paint to make it a nice non-spotty gold color but that is still better than one of my previous gold-painting experiences.
Next up: find a genie!
I knew the figure would not be extremely visible so tiny details would be pointless. I just wanted the stereotypical grumpy looking genie, preferably with a turban and arms crossed. With all the impressive insanely detailed heroic fighting-pose miniâ€™s out there I kind of expected that I would have to search a lot, but I already found plenty usable genies at my first try. I did consider one very recognizable genie, but then decided I was not making Disney merchandise. So, I got the genie, digi-cut the genie up so I would only have the body from the waist up and printed him at a nice size scale to fit the bottle.
All that was left to do was paint all the parts. The gold for the top and bottom went fine and I added a bit of silver for decoration. Then I discovered the top would not nicely fit the bottle. Because if the vase mode the bottle was only 1 layer thick a a bit flexible. When I tried to fit the top to the bottle it kept warping and annoying me. So I reprinted the top and the stopper at 3% larger than the original size. This fixed that, and with another 2 layers of gold and some nice silver they were done.
The bottle itself was more work. Because I could not use any colored primer (out of fear I would wreck the bottle with it) I could only use my gold. It took 5 layers of that to make it look good. Yes, 5 layers of patienly, slowly and carefully putting small lines of gold paint on little ridges. I have no idea how I, not a patient and carefull person, managed it, or how I kept my sanity, but I did it.
The bottle, bottom, top and stopper look great, even if I say so myself. The paintjob on the genie was great to do, no tiny fidly details. Just the base coats, a drybrush, some gold for the bracelets and a sturdy eyeliner and white for the eyes to make them stand out a bit more. This works great with how visible he is though the bottle. When putting the pieces together I put some tufts of pillow-filling at the bottom inside the bottle, to make it look like little smokey clouds are in there. That too worked out as I hoped, this really is my lucky project now.
Now that it is done I finally got to make pictures. I have been thinking about those since halfway through this project. Because sure, I need a good picture with my prop visible, but some fun needs to be had too! One of my mothers neighbours is an opera singer, or something like that, something theatre-y. Some time ago she gave my mom loads of fake theatre/kitch jewelry, which were for me to use in larp costumes. I decided those would be great to make a treasure-scenery with the bottle. I also still had some purple cloth I could use as a backdrop.
All in all, I think it turned out pretty good and I am rather proud of myself.
Now all that is left to do is submit my pictures for the contest, share them all over my socials and then sit back, have a snack and rub that bottle.