STL Review: Isolation Protocol by Corvus Games Terrain

An article by and    Reviews        0

Isolation Protocol from Sector Corvus Terrain. Credit: Mike Bettle-Shaffer

In our Miniature Review series, we look at the wide world of tiny soldiers for cool stuff to share with all of you. This week, Mike and Serotonin are reviewing the Isolation Protocol Kickstarter by Corvus Games Terrain.

Disclaimer: The files printed for this review were provided to Goonhammer.com by Corvus Games Terrain.

Corvus Games Terrain produce files for 3D printed wargaming terrain compatible with systems such as Necromunda, Warhammer 40K, The Walking Dead, Star Wars Legion and whole host of other systems. For this review, we’re taking a closer look at the Isolation Protocol Kickstarter, which has one main backing tier at 40 euros. Don’t fret if you’re reading this after the Kickstarter has ended, because they also run an online shop, selling bundles and a large array of other models.

Typically we include some packaging shots for these reviews, but obviously it’d be a little weird if they were posting us thumb drives with STLs. Corvus Games Terrain sent us over a download link which contained a collection of preview items from the Isolation Protocol Kickstarter. I’ve selected a few to print and paint myself to get a better idea of the detail and ease of use.

Mike’s thoughts

All of Corvus Games Terrain files print support free, which is a really nice bonus and something I always personally look for when paying for models. As a backer of their previous Kickstarter, I was looking forward to getting my hands on these.

To print the Isolation Protocol terrain files, I’ll be using an Ender 3 with a glass bed. I’m happy to share my full printer configuration and for the purposes of this review I printed with a layer height of 0.16mm and 0.20mm and set my infill to 10%. I wanted to try a couple of different layer heights to get an idea for how the detail would be handled. Prints times varied with layer height of course, but using my settings a pair of walls and support pillars took around 13 hours at 0.16mm and 10 hours at 0.20mm.

I had initially planned on just printing some walls and poles but I was impressed enough by the quality that I ended up going for a small structure with a nice variety of walls. I had a couple of small issues with one of the overhangs but this was down to my print settings, as similar overhangs on other areas of the models were fine and the overall level of detail was well matched to the capabilities of a regular FDM printer.

The pieces slot together very easily, and they do mention on the Kickstarter page that there’s a variety of tolerances available for each support post. The standard tolerance is pretty loose and would be great for a board that’s reconfigured frequently and as long as your structures were fully assembled I don’t foresee too many stability issues. You can see in the video below just how easily it all slides together.

I always like to try a new technique or process for my review pieces, as they tend to be one offs. For this one, I base coated everything Vallejo Air Colour Duraluminum and then used Contrast paints to change up the colours of different areas. I usually got hard on my weathering too, but I’ve held off on that for now.

All of this was really fun to paint, and I had a decent sized terrain piece printed and painted in very little time. There’s a huge variety of walls, ruined sections, floor pieces, pillars, roof sections and scatter with every stretch goal unlocked now I’m sure I’ve missed stuff from the list! This is a great value set for getting a dense city or industrial style board together quickly and would work great for creating buildings for systems that use larger structures. I think my only real gripe with the entire thing is it’s all very angular in terms of the foot prints, but this is by design and the whole idea behind the WarLayer system. I think with some scatter, which happens to be included in the Kickstarter, you could have a great looking board with this.

Serotonin’s thoughts

I’m a big fan of Corvus Games Terrain. When I first started 3d printing (relatively recently) I had ideas I would be downloading lots of free STLs to print. Although that has certainly been the case, I’ve ended up paying for quite a few professionally made STLs from companies like Corvus. As a newbie printer, using high quality designed STLs that don’t require supports  and come with recommended print settings has made life much  easier. 

Being a 40K, Necromunda and wannabe Infinity player, with a small suitable terrain collection, I was excited to see what Corvus’ new modular system could offer. The sample files were nicely varied and to compliment what Mike printed, I decided to concentrate on the ruined section. The Kickstarter will be offering around 85 different wall designs with 5 alternative versions in various states of repair, so the potential for a distressed and interesting looking table is high.

I printed my samples using an Ender 5 Pro, printing at 0.20 layer height and 10% infill. Wall panels took from 90 minutes to 3 1/2 hours to print depending on just how ruined they were, while the support poles clocked in around 90 minutes. All pretty reasonable times for knocking out a good number of pieces in a relatively (for 3D printing) short time. However I decided to give the floor tile a go, and that took a much longer 8 hours. As its only a 6 inch square, you are going to need to invest a significant amount of time to fill a 4ft square table.

My initial print  wasn’t hugely successful, and I actually had to take a hammer to a wall section to insert it in to the support. Having seen Mike’s results, I knew it had to be my print settings, so after a couple of small tweaks, the rest of my prints were excellent. I think this is always going to be a caveat when reviewing STLs; print settings can make a huge difference to your results, especially where a degree of accuracy and good tolerances are required.

Like Mike, I had intended on only printing a couple of each piece, but there was something satisfying and strangely addictive in growing the collection and seeing how many varied ways I could fit them together. As you can see from my pictures, the system is very flexible and allows for a  good degree of customisation in terms of layouts.

I didn’t have time to paint mine, partly too busy printing and partly due to indecisiveness. Do I go for the grimdark, beaten up, heavily weathered Hive look or would an Infinity cyberpunk style, in pastels and brighter colours look better? I guess the beauty of 3d printing is why not have both? At around 20g of PLA for each wall section, a kilogram reel of PLA is going to print a table groaning with scenery. Your only limit will be storage!

Like Mike, I think my only concern is that the designs are very ‘square’ in nature which does slightly limit the look of your table. Having said that, the Kickstarter includes as stretch goals walkways, staircases and roof toppers such as overhangs and canopies, which will add much more variety in terms of aesthetics. 

Pros:

  • Support free printing.
  • Loads of variety within the models and unlimited configuration.
  • Compatible with WarLayer 4.0
  • Easy to build large structures quickly

Cons:

  • Very angular, which could feel repetitive.
  • Might need to experiment with a few support pillars to get the right tolerance.

Overall we both really liked this kit, with loads of variety, relatively low print times for terrain and unlimited configuration options it represents great value.

You can back the Kickstarter until the 30th September 2020 here and check out the Corvus Games Terrain shop here.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.