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Building Critical Hit’s Assistant — Major Spoilers — Comic Book Reviews, News, Previews, and Podcasts

Building Critical Hit's Assistant — Major Spoilers — Comic Book Reviews, News, Previews, and Podcasts

James Bricknell has been a fan of Important Hit for a very long time, and actually enjoys Randus Duthane (performed by DnDBrian). James took it upon himself to construct a mannequin of Radnus’ robotic, The Assistant, and it turned out actually nice!

Take the bounce for a rundown of the construct course of.

About 7 years in the past I used to be working for a supply agency on the south coast of England. I labored 10-12 hours a day, in my supply van, simply driving about, and it was uninteresting, very uninteresting.

That’s when I discovered Important Hit for the primary time. I used to be in search of a podcast about Dungeons and Dragons — I hadn’t been capable of play for a few years and was jonesing for successful — and the providing from Main Spoilers appeared in my search.

From that day on I used to be hooked. I consumed the again catalog at an unimaginable fee — 6-Eight episodes a day relying on size — and began to type a real attachment to the characters and the story they have been dwelling.

Six years later and I nonetheless really feel that connection. The distinction is I reside in Southern California and I get to put in writing for a dwelling, so I’ve far more time on my arms!

Like Stephen, I’m an enormous fan of 3D printing and I personal a number of totally different machines. I needed to discover ways to design in 3D as nicely, not simply print, so I began occupied with what would make a great design.

One of many first issues that got here to my thoughts was Randus’ Assistant. It appeared easy sufficient in my thoughts, a couple of semi-circles, some holes, and a few legs. Must be straightforward proper? Yeah, not a lot.


All of my design work was finished on Fusion 360. In case you are considering of stepping into 3D design you must undoubtedly test it out. It’s free for anybody, so long as you don’t make greater than $100,000 utilizing it.

Like most designs, this one began with a drawing or two. I obtained some assist from different Randus followers and I lastly landed on what you’ll be able to see above. The image on the left is fairly near the ultimate design.

I began working in Fusion 360 to create the form I needed. It was quite a bit more durable to create natural shapes than I assumed, issues like bumps and dents have been actually robust.

In my thoughts, the assistant is tons of, if not hundreds of years previous, and alongside the best way — although it’s product of Exilarchy metallic — it has picked up some fairly critical bangs. I needed the design to mirror that and I lastly achieved the natural shapes seen under.

The ring itself is pretty easy as a result of Fusion 360 depends on sketches. All you need to do is draw a second sketch then use the rotate device to create the ring.

The assistant’s head was a lot more durable. You must use a device referred to as Sculpt to tug the circle into form. As soon as I figured it out although I purposely distorted the form to get the dents you see right here. I went even additional with the underside, distorting the form much more.

Including the rivets was additionally an gratifying problem. I didn’t do nearly as good a job on them as I needed, one thing I solely came upon after I printed the piece. The rivets are literally off to at least one aspect, so a few of them sunk into the ring whereas those on the opposite aspect have been too far out. This makes them look small on the left and large on the appropriate.

I made a decision to go away it, primarily as a result of it was my first try and I needed the entire mannequin to point out that. It isn’t knowledgeable piece, it’s a labor of affection and I nonetheless assume it seems to be superior and I’m hoping Brian will too.

I actually obtained to go all out on the sketches when making the legs. I had to ensure they mirrored the spidery nature of the assistant, they usually needed to be mechanical. I’m not ashamed to say that the film Wild Wild West got here to the rescue. That loopy steampunk spider on the finish was precisely what I had in thoughts once I was designing.

I additionally had to ensure they have been the appropriate measurement. They needed to be lengthy sufficient horizontally to succeed in out previous the assistant’s shell, but in addition excessive sufficient vertically to carry his butt of the ground.

I did somewhat math — too little because it seems, however extra on that later — and managed to get them the fitting size and peak. Every thing was arising Milhouse.

I’ve to confess, I cheated a bit on the assistant’s eye. I knew what I needed — an iris that opened and closed — and I additionally knew that it was properly past my technical scope at the moment. I turned to thingiverse.com for assist and located this superb iris for steampunk goggles and I knew that was the suitable one. Randus undoubtedly has iris goggles proper?

In the long run, the iris modified so much, and I feel I might have designed the entire thing, as it’s now,  from scratch, however I’m proud of the end result.

And that’s it. The assistant was, on digital paper no less than, a actuality! It took numerous effort and time and assist from three totally different Fb teams, however I lastly had all of it able to print.


In case you don’t know, 3D printing takes some time. If you would like the prints to look good, you want small layers, printed slowly. I used zero.16mm layer peak at 50mm/s to print all the elements for the assistant they usually got here out very nicely. All in all of the printed elements took about 50 hours of steady printing to complete.

So I lastly had every thing prepared. All of the design was carried out and all of the information have been prepared to enter my printer. I used Simplify3D to slice all the information, and although, as an organization, it has dropped the ball recently, the software program nonetheless slices one of the best helps I’ve seen.

My printer of selection for issues which might be essential is the Prusa Mk3. It’s simply one of the best printer you should purchase for beneath $1000 and provides me persistently implausible prints all day. In case you are desirous about figuring out extra take a look at my evaluate over at Home windows Central.

I used a whole roll of Prusament to construct the assistant as nicely. It wanted lots of help to ensure the curves stayed curvey, the truth is, the help weighed greater than the ultimate elements!

Fortunately there’s an industrial composter near the place I stay. PLA plastic is biodegradable and the composter takes my leftovers and failed prints for me. In six months it can have rotted right down to nothing. Win-Win!

When you 3D print one thing you actually get to see the place the problems are, and the assistant was no exception. I discussed earlier that the rivets have been misplaced, and even at zero.16mm layer peak, you possibly can see how deep these strains have been across the dents in its physique.

Oh, keep in mind the leg drawback I discussed earlier? Seems, I measured the size and the peak appropriately however not the width. The legs have been printed in halves, and when they’re put collectively they’re simply too huge for the slots made for them.

I needed to reduce away on the slots within the assistant’s butt to make them match. All the ugly work is, luckily, contained in the physique of the assistant so that you gained’t ever see it, nevertheless it goes to point out you the issues that may happen.

The final problem I had within the print was the dimensions of the underside half. Inexplicably it was about 2mm too massive. As an alternative of reprinting it — I had simply run out of filament in any case — I elected to make use of scorching water to unravel the difficulty.

PLA goes delicate at very low temperatures, round 60 levels Celsius (140 levels Fahrenheit) so in the event you soak the mannequin in scorching water you will get it to deform. I used this technique to mould the highest half of the underside piece so it might match into the ring.

This had the added bonus of creating the entire form extra natural, including a sense that Randus had used a hammer and anvil to repair it sooner or later.


Sanding and Portray

3D plastic isn’t so simple as simply portray. There are such a lot of steps alongside the best way if you’d like the ultimate product to appear to be something aside from plastic. I used a whole lot of instruments to get this finished and there have been loads of steps. Let’s rush by way of them.

Be ready to sand for hours. For those who actually need to make plastic appear to be metallic you must take away each layer line you’ll be able to. I went again and listened to your complete 5e marketing campaign from Essential Hit whereas hand sanding each piece. Utilizing an influence sander on PLA is all the time dicey. You would simply roll a 1 and soften the plastic as an alternative of sanding it. All the time greatest to do it by hand.

I began off with a 100 grit paper to chop away a lot of the dangerous layers, then steadily moved as much as 160, 220, then lastly, 400. I might have gone additional however the 5e marketing campaign completed and I used to be drained. (City be with you)


I handle to get the layer strains right down to a good degree then used 3M acryl spot putty to clean out the remaining. Watch out if you’ll use it, it burns the pores and skin so put on nitrile gloves in the event you can. You’ll be inhaling mud and paint as properly, so put on a ventilator if attainable.

As soon as I had it sanded and spot crammed, I hit the entire thing with Primer Filler — it took a whole can to cowl every little thing — and as soon as it was dry, began once more. You need to spray each half with at the very least two good coats of primer filler, and sand between every coat too.


Right here is the place every part slows down. You must take your time with portray. It’s straightforward to get excited, in any case, you’re almost on the finish now, however dashing the paint job is a catastrophe. I’m the worst painter on the earth and even I let every coat dry for a minimum of 12 hours earlier than happening to the subsequent.

Every particular person half wants a number of skinny coats of paint. In case you are critical about portray then don’t do what I did. I used rattle-can paints — the type you spray your automotive with — and whereas they appear good, they’re too thick to actually do the high-quality element I wanted. In the event you can, purchase a paint gun and compressor to actually do a correct job.

I began off with a layer of black gloss. This can be a trick I picked up from Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame. Utilizing black gloss beneath metallic paint makes the paint extra lustrous, and should you do miss spots it simply seems to be weathered, not horrible.

I used masking tape to cowl up the gold ring then reduce circles out for the rivets to be sprayed. In hindsight I ought to have sprayed the entire ring brass, then coated up the rivets and sprayed the entire thing gold. I feel that may have given a greater look. Ah nicely, we reside and study.

I used considered one of my favourite portray methods on the legs. A paint referred to as Rub ‘N Buff was utilized to the circles on the legs to supply a strong gold with its personal distinctive texture. As soon as it was utilized and left to dry, you’ll be able to buff it with a material to make it actually shine. I really like Rub ‘n Buff.


I forgot to print an element! As I stated earlier the Iris wasn’t actually working for me, it was an ideal piece of engineering however didn’t really feel in line with the world of Essential Hit. All the Exilarchy felt, to me no less than, to be technomancy — know-how with a great deal of superior magic thrown in — and I needed the assistant to mirror that.

In the long run, I used a clear inexperienced filament I had laying round to make a multifaceted eye. It additionally jogs my memory of a d20, and in my head, it’s all the time 20 aspect up, so no less than Brian can get a important hit when he appears at this.

Now that I had the iris I picked up some small, battery-powered LED’s to slot in the entrance. I figured this might give it a mushy inexperienced glow that Brian can activate and off at his pleasure. Whereas I used to be out shopping for issues some lengthy wing nuts caught my eye. The best way Trelle made cooing noises on the assistant made me assume he was cute and these little “ears” assist with that impact.


Thanks once more to Adam Savage, I noticed the assistant wouldn’t make sense if it was actually clear. The world of Important Hit, like virtually all fantasy settings, is fairly soiled. Smoke from chimneys, bonfires, and Ket randomly setting the world on hearth goes to trigger a number of soot within the air. The assistant is sure to get fairly soiled even when Randus tries to buff him up, so I needed the mannequin to mirror that.

The simplest solution to obtain a very good weathering impact is acrylic paints. Utilizing Burnt Umber, and good previous black, I gave each piece, besides the inexperienced lens, a wash of shade. Virtually instantly I wiped it off as greatest I might. The paint that’s left behind finds its approach into the scratches and dents I couldn’t buff out.

With a barely damp material, I then cleaned the seen areas, as you’d in actual life. This provides the impact of dust accumulating within the corners the place your rag can’t attain. In fact, the assistant shall be soiled, it’s received to be onerous to wash him with just one arm!

Lastly, it was time to place him collectively. I assembled the final items, together with gluing the leg halves into place. I then used zip ties to create pressure between the legs in order that he didn’t relaxation on his backside the entire time, as an alternative who seems poised, able to swap out any weapon Randus wants.

Lastly, I bolted on his new ears and fed a bit calculator paper by means of the slot on the again. Rodrigo talked about that the Assistant makes use of ticker tape to speak to Randus so this was the closest factor I might discover.


And there we’ve it, a real labor of affection, of many loves actually.

I like to be artistic. Writing, 3D design, and 3D printing, all of them feed my want to only “make stuff”. I don’t get to play D&D anymore, so I want that artistic outlet.

I really like Important Hit too. The gang is like pals you by no means get to see, however they’re all the time there to cheer you up. As soon as every week perhaps, or, when you’re like me, every single day, they fill your ears with journey, laughter and typically, even unhappiness.

I’m proud to be a patron of this superb present, and I’m fortunate I could make one thing as cool as this assistant to point out these advantageous individuals how a lot I respect them.

P.s; Randus is the perfect.

Unboxing the Assistant

DnDBrian unboxes “the assistant” constructed by James Bricknell (@keridel on Twitter). Take a look at the construct article right here http://majorspoilers.com/2019/05/31/building-critical-hits-assistant/


Thanks James! You possibly can comply with James on Twitter @Keridel to see extra of his work.

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