This is one of my recent projects. Those that follow or collect WotC War at Sea know that it is not likely that another set will be done by WotC. As a results the fans have taken the game into their own hands and produced a set of 72 card s(Team Poseidon) which includes many units WotC never got around to. Another set of 72 cards (Team Neptune) is due out this summer. You can find out more information on the cards at the foruMINI a site dedicated to Axis and Allies Naval, Land and Air Minis games.
The original intent for models was to use proxies or scratch built models. Now with the advent of 3D printing gamers are now designing highly detailed units in the unique 1/1800 scale as well as other war gaming scales and offering them for sale through a company called Shapeways which does 3D print on demand.
Now instead of War at Sea being a CMG players can order the hard to find or overly pricey ones through Shapeways. The only catch is you have to paint them yourself.
I had postponed trying Shapeways for several months, but finally decided to test the waters with USS Texas and IJN Hiryu after seeing the results from others.
Models as they arrived:
I ordered in White Strong Flexible (WSF) material which is the least expensive. Based on reading others reports I was expecting them to be a bit grainy which they were, but not as bad as others had made it seem.
To "smooth" them out I first washed them. Dried them completely. Then applied several coats of clear coat to seal them as WSF can be a very absorbent material.
Once satisfied I primed them using Testor's fine spray primer.
I then painted the model as I would an other. I have to say I am very pleased with the results as it fits in very well with my collection of WotC models.