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Designing and printing the samurai street fish ponds

2023-11-28 by David

Research trips are great fun, and great sources of inspiration! I recently took a trip to a historical samurai town to take plenty of reference photos for the new [...TOP SECRET PROJECT!!...] design I'm working on, and nearby I came across a truly unique feature of old towns, and just had to try and recreate those for the tabletop!


So here's a little explanation and background....


▲ Old Japanese samurai towns quite often had narrow water channels running alongside the streets in residential areas, and these were typically used for drainage from nearby farming and also as a convenient water source in case of fires.

▲ Some of those water channels are very clean and attractive features of the towns, and some tourism boards in historical towns have recently started repopulating the channels with koi carp, as in the photo above. The channels themselves are usually quite shallow (30cm or so), but enough to support large numbers of the colourful fish so popular with tourists.



So before I cracked on with test prints for the main [TOP SECRET] project, I got a little sidetracked with designing some modular sections of these water channels....

▲ Each section features a 25mm-wide shallow water channel, with edging stones on both sides. The water channel is only about 4-5mm deep, but is ideal for a thin layer of clear resin or thick gloss varnish. To make pouring resin a little easier, each section also has a thin 3mm-high lip at each end to contain liquid.


For anybody who would prefer not to have those lips on their water channels, they can be easily removed with a couple of quick cuts and then snapped out using pliers, as in the photo above.

▲ Here's a straight section where the end wall has been removed. Nice and neat!

▲ All of the sections are included with two versions - with and without a low railing. This low bamboo railing has been carefully designed to connect up with adjoining sections, and also to print without additional slicer supports.


You can simply print the file as is, and then cut out the built-in print supports circled in red in the photo above.

▲ Here's a selection of pieces I printed out for my town board. We've got straight sections (120mm long), some other straight sections featuring wider ponds (you can mirror these for more variety!), all 3 sizes of corner section, several wooden bridge pieces, a few end stones, and plenty of fish.


In addition to the individual koi carp models, the set also includes an easy-to-print 25mm circle of fish, which is ideal for showing the fish frenzy you'll sometimes see at feeding time! I even printed some of those circle groups at 35mm size, to be used in the wider pond sections.

▲ This photo shows the sections as they could be used alongside a residential street. The water channels would connect underground between each section, with small bridges over them leading to each house. I chose to print mostly the versions with the bamboo railing, purely for aesthetic reasons.


Don't worry! This layout will make SO much more sense when you see it painted and combined with other terrain!

▲ 3 sizes of corner section are included in the set. The smallest is just a 35mm square of water channel, which can be combined with other 120mm straight or pond sections to fit the corner sections from the Castle Walls set, as shown in the photo above.


These will also fit directly up against building walls such as the 120mm-long shop buildings.

▲ The biggest corner sections of the water channel (100mm) are designed to fit the corner sections from the Stone Walls set, so they can run alongside many types of residential walls.

▲ The middle size of corner section is designed to fit the corner pieces from the canal set, as shown in the photo above. Just in case you didn't already know, these canal pieces can also be used on dry land, as low platforms to lift up buildings, gardens and walkways.


The Samurai Street Fish Ponds set is just about to hit the paint desk, and will be ready for release in a few days! Get ready to enhance your tabletops!


Tags: samurai  printing  assembly 


2023-11-29 (Wed) 6:56AM

Wow, the Street Ponds look great! Terrific idea! Love it!

Brandon Helms
2024-02-10 (Sat) 22:56PM

What do you use to color your water? It looks great.

David (3DAlienWorlds)
2024-02-11 (Sun) 8:28AM

Just clear, uncoloured resin for these.

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