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It is impressive when your favourite hobby can send you to the 26th century where meeting the Firefly-class ship is something ordinary. Gregory Belland already “travelled in time” and 3D printed a beautiful Firefly Serenity ship model. The talented hobbyist from California, USA, shared his tips on painting this remarkable spaceship and answered Gambody’s questions regarding his 3D print.

We believe that Gregory’s painting guide can inspire you to create your version of a 3D printed Serenity spaceship, which will look fantastic and very impressive in your collection of fictional spacecraft replicas.

Firefly Ship

If you watched the Firefly TV series, you should remember a transport vessel named Serenity. This Firefly-class ship indeed resembles a lightning bug. Its shape and the great story behind it made this small spaceship one of the most recognized ships among fictional sci-fi machines.

Firefly ship
Maker: Gregory Belland

Even though the Serenity ship lacks the weapons and is not meant for fighting, it is a beautifully designed transport with a great crew onboard in the Firefly TV series. You can download Firefly ship STL files for 3D printing on Gambody – Premium 3D printing marketplace. This fantastic vessel model was designed by William Adams, who depicted every detail of the famous sci-fi spacecraft.

And you can easily 3D print the Serenity ship model for your collection of spacecraft and follow the advice and tips shared by Gambody enthusiast Gregory Belland on how to paint 3D prints. Gregory’s Firefly Serenity model turned out so impressive that it can be a great example to anyone who wishes to recreate a life-like version of the famous fictional ship on a 3D printer.

Serenity ship 3D print

Serenity Ship

Before we get into the details of painting 3D prints, it is interesting to learn more about the 3D printed Firefly Serenity ship model size, 3D printer used to make it, printing time, assembling process, type of filament, etc. The maker of the beautiful Firefly spaceship was kind to answer our questions.

1. Gregory, we are very impressed with your 3D printed Firefly ship. Thank you for sharing an incredible painting 3D printed parts guide in Gambody Facebook group. Was it fun to work on this project? What did you like the most about it?

This project was delightful to do. I love the attention to detail, especially with the size. I’ve always liked Serenity ship. There are several files that I have found, but none of them was even close to what Gambody offers.

Painting 3D printed parts of Serenity ship
Serenity shuttle miniature. Maker: Gregory Belland

2. You mentioned that the Serenity spaceship was 3D printed on Formlabs Form 2 3D printer. Did you use the DLP/SLA/SLS 1.0 version STL files offered on Gambody marketplace without any changes? Or did you scale down the project?

Yes, I did use Serenity ship model SLA files without any changes.

However, I did scale down the shuttle, which I purchased separately to fit into this model.

Spaceship painting
Serenity shuttle model. Maker: Gregory Belland

And even after scaling down, the details were incredible. I understand based on my response that you put a scaled-down version of a Serenity shuttle for use. I will have to download that.

Serenity shuttle 3D model platform
Serenity shuttle stand. Maker: Gregory Belland

If you also wish to recreate a shuttle miniature model, carried by Serenity spaceship, you can download Serenity shuttle 3D model STL files for 3D printing and do a fantastic project in addition to replicating the famous Firefly-class vessel.

3. Is it your idea to work with transparent 3D printing material to light sections while painting? Or did you learn about this method somewhere?  

I prefer working in clear resin. The Formlabs resin allows me to print down to 25 microns. It allows me to light up sections if I wish to, but also at 25 microns I get prints clear enough. With an additional coating of clear spray, you can make the object look like it’s made out of glass or is transparent enough to use as windows.

Firefly spaceship 3D printing in clear resin
Maker: Gregory Belland

The Formlabs clear resin does not need to be UV set. It only needs to be given an IPA wash after 3D printing, and it is good to go.

4. How much clear resin did you use for 3D printing Firefly spaceship?

I used 353.1 MLS of clear resin to 3D print the Firefly Serenity ship model.

5. What is the size of your Serenity ship model?

It is approximately eight and a half inches long.

Serenity ship model
Maker: Gregory Belland

6. How many hours did it take you to 3D print the Serenity spaceship?

It took approximately 55.33 hours to bring the Firefly Serenity ship to life. The reason I say “approximately” is that I know in many situations the actual printing time exceeds the time that the 3D printer says it’s going to take to print.  

7. You experienced some challenges while doing the project. Did you find a way to replace the broken antennas?

In replacing the antennas, I took that portion of the Firefly ship and sliced it so that just the antennas were printing. I printed them, and now I have antennas for days of replacement.

Firefly painting
Maker: Gregory Belland

8. How did you manage to put the tiny windows in place? And overall, how easy or difficult the Firefly Serenity model assembly was?

I have to tell you I ended up printing several sets of windows because in trying to put them in place, I would drop one and not be able to find it. I ended up slowly manoeuvring them into place and then using a small drop of a fine super glue on edge to wick in and hold it in place.

Firefly Serenity model assembly
Maker: Gregory Belland

I then used a Pigma Micron.005 felt tip pen to cover up anything on the edges. Several of the main body sections were a very tight fit so I ended up sanding them a little bit so I wouldn’t have to force the pieces in.

What I liked about the Firefly Serenity ship model is that the rear sections, when putting together, naturally hid, so there were no lines that you had to fill in. The front part was on a natural break that looks like it belonged to the vessel. I was able to build the front part and then leave it off while I finish the back part so I wouldn’t stress the antennas or try to work around the solar panels.

9. Where will you display your 3D printed Serenity spaceship?

I have an inner display case underneath my TV. It sits at eye level, and I often look at it. It would be nice if the Firefly show came back on, but I have a memory of it in this 3D printed model.

Thank you for the excellent work and attention to detail that you put into this as always it shows how good of a job you guys do.

How to paint 3D prints Firefly ships
Maker: Gregory Belland

If you are also working or planning to make Serenity 3D model on your printer, it is time to discover some incredible tips on how to paint 3D prints and, in particular, details on spaceship painting.

Firefly Painting

Gregory is exceptionally talented at painting 3D printed parts of a spaceship and other models. His numerous projects shared in Gambody Facebook group look stunning, and his Serenity ship is also eye-pleasing. Its silver metallic colour looks perfect.

Painting 3D prints in metallic colour
Maker: Gregory Belland

Gregory shared his guide on painting 3D printed parts with other enthusiasts. For Firefly painting, he used two primary paints, Krylon Premium Metallic Original Chrome and Citadel Shade Nuln Oil.

Serenity spaceship painting with Citadel Shade paint
Maker: Gregory Belland

Krylon Chrome works as a base coat in spaceship painting. Its metallic colour turns out stunning, and it looks natural and gleaming.

Firefly class ship painting with Krylon metallic paint
Maker: Gregory Belland

As for the Nuln Oil, it is a suitable material for building colour over the base because Citadel Shade works excellent as a wash or as a tint. It helps to bring out the details and darken some parts down a bit while painting 3D prints.

Gregory loves to 3D print models and figurines in clear resin. Using transparent material helps this talented man to later light sections and leave some areas unpainted (for the windows, transparent-like parts). Thus, the middle section of the Serenity ship model was 3D printed in clear filament and painted with pure Krylon Chrome.

For the front part of the Firefly ship, the maker used paints along with the Citadel wash named Shades. To bring out the details and age some parts during the spaceship painting procedure, Gregory used the Shade called Nuln Oil.

Painting Firefly Serenity ship into silver
Maker: Gregory Belland

Many of the parts, such as pipes and panels, look extremely shiny and very impressive. The silvery Firefly Serenity ship seems to be ready to take off and start fantastic adventures in outer space.


Do you have plans to 3D print the Serenity ship model and pay tribute to the Firefly TV series? Anyways, work on your masterpiece, paint it following Gregory’s tips or your secrets on painting 3D prints, and share the photos of your masterpiece in Gambody community on Facebook to inspire other enthusiasts for new deeds.

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