Driving Electric Beryl

Maker of Things, Alfred Chow recently got into model railways and was looking for a suitable female figure to drive miniature copy of the electric vehicle “Beryl the EV

These were harder to find than he thought, so I offered to help. I’ve done some work with Poser when I was animating back in the early 2000s. But that was a few computers ago and when I looked, I could not find the install CD. So I downloaded DAZStudio and their latest human figures, “Genesis 8”. I experimented with the software and looked for suitable clothes on the content platform Renderosity

For the first version, I used the SallyMae hair, Magnus Boots and Jacket, and the Dark storm pants, from the Genesis 3 Starter Essentials and Genesis Starter Essentials sets. When you apply these to a figure, you need to indicate the version they have come from so they correctly “fit” to the Genesis 8 figures. I also found I needed to parent these to the figure too.

For the pose, there was a “sit down” animation. I was only interested in the final position but this did not seem to cause any issues. The jacket texture was swapped with a yellow plastic.

DazStudio allowed me to export this as an OBJ file, a general purpose 3D model file. When exporting the option to write a material library was turned off as we did not need this for printing. The OBJ file was then imported into the Windows 3D Builder application and “repaired”. I suspect this repair was for those bits of geometry that were overlapping, perhaps the hair and the jacket?

The file was saved as an STL and sent over to Alfred for a test print. The size came out ok but was a little “chesty”. So back to Dazstudio and I found the posing parameters that allowed the figured to be “dialed back” and made a bit less fantasy.

The hair was also problematic printing as it was so fine so we swapped that out for a straw hat from Kalhh and some simpler hair. The positions of the arms and legs were tuned so they would be a better fit for the vehicle. I used the “Imperfections” morphs from “Twisted Metal” which allowed me to age the figure slightly and add some more natural curves.

This was exported as OBJ, repaired, converted to STL and sent off to Alfred for test printing. Alfred is printing at 0.12mm layers and 100% fill using a Creality Ender 2 printer and a matt white PLA filament. As you can see the hair did not print at all and the collar of the jacket was too flimsy to print. If that was needed then the underlying geometry would need to be modified. That could be done with a modelling package such as Blender, Hexagon or Carrara, or possibly with a 3D CAD package.

He used nail boards, micro files and a Dremel with a carbide bit to do some basic smoothing. A scalpel also helps for tidying up he commented. Some CA glue was used to strengthen the brim of the hat, again something could could be fixed in the underlying geometry if desired.

The fit into the cab was not quite right so Alfred used a lighter to soften the PLA and carefully bend the legs. Sue then did an excellent job of painting the figure. You can see the results below along with a 1:32 scale Britains farm figure.

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