Fiat 3000

I put together a 15mm (1:100 scale) 3d model of the Italian Fiat 3000 of 1920-21, their version of the ubiquitous Renault FT.

It's available on Shapeways at http://shpws.me/QvY3 (15mm/1:100) or at http://shpws.me/Qwfm (28mm/1:56)

I've made it available in their cheaper white nylon material as well as the high definition resins, but to be honest I'm not completely sure that it will print successfully in that stuff.

Coupla days....

The figure is a 15mm WW1 British officer from Peter Pig, included for scale.

Here's one I printed on my own FDM printer. It's been cleaned up a bit and primed, but I see it needs more attention yet, now that there's a coat of paint on it. It would be better printed in resin on a SLA or DLP printer, but I don't have access to one of those, and am unlikely to any time soon.

FDM prints like this take a fair bit of cleaning up. Not just the printing supports, but the printer nozzle leaves a little spike of plastic off every single one of the rivets (or similar detail) on the top surfaces, and they each need to be individually trimmed back. There are little wisps of filament stringing as well. In ABS, they could be dealt with by a quick brush-over with a brush damped in acetone, but the solvent for PLA is considerably nastier (and harder to get hold of).

DragonLock Skeletons

Left to right: 0.04, 0.08, 0.16 mm
This is the DragonLock newsletter freebie skeleton STL  that I printed the other day in 0.04 mm, 0.08 mm, and 0.16 mm layer heights to see how the difference in quality affected them as playing pieces.

They've been painted very quickly, with just a black primer and white zenithal shading, followed by coloured ink glazes and an Agrax Earthshade wash. I picked out some of the bone highlights to finish. I wasn't keeping track of time, but I guess each one took about ten or twelve minutes to complete, not counting drying times.

Unsurprisingly, the finest layer heights suited the glaze and wash paint method the best, but even the coarsest will do fine as one of a large group of mooks — at tabletop distances, the difference in detail is insignificant, to my eyes at least. Though having said that, my eyesight is pretty shit.

Note: the wiggly points of the bardiches are not intentional, but the result of inadequate cooling of the filament.

MicroVickers

This is a model I printed a little while ago when I was learning my way around what to expect from my Ender-3, now all painted up and ready for the wargames table. It's a model I originally designed to be SLA-printed by Shapeways, modified to print better on my own FDM machine.

It's is a British Vickers Medium Mk.II, the standard workhorse tank of the British army from the mid 1920s through to the mid 1930s.

The model has been printed in PLA at 0.08mm, and I modified the model to remove the gun and leave a dimple to indicate where I should bore a hole for a brass pin. Printing wires in this size is seldom very successful I've found, and using a piece of brass is much cleaner and easier in the long run. The paints are all Vallejo acrylics.

The model quality is surprisingly good; I wasn't really expecting anything much more than a vaguely Vickers-shaped blob, but the detail the printer has rendered is quite acceptable in a wargaming piece.

Flail Snail

 The Flail Snail is one of the goofier monsters to be created for D&D. I think it came from the Fiend Folio, though I'm not 100% sure and I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

Here's a 3d-printed model of it, along with Scaley the Filthy Bartender (from Reaper) for scale.

The model was made by Miguel Zavala, and printed by me at 0.08mm layer height in PLA. I've tried to represent the iridescent shell by spraying random blobs of transparent inks over a silver base coat, and then applying liberal coats of gloss varnish; I think it turned out OK. The colour scheme is taken, more or less, from the D&D 5e illustration.






Layer Height Test

From left to right: 0.16mm, 0.08mm, 0.04mm
This is the monthly Dragonlock newsletter freebie from Fat Dragon, printed three times at different quality levels. The total height of the figure from the bottom of the base to the top of the bardiche is 43mm, the figure itself from sole to crown is about 33mm. I chose it for this test because it prints reliably without supports, so there's a minimum of fussing about in the slicer.

They've all been printed through Cura on my Ender-3, using the SiePie Small Minis profile, altered in each case only to print at 0.16mm, 0.08mm, and 0.04mm layer heights. The miniatures are printed in PLA, and apart from removing the brim, they've had no post-processing of any kind.

At first glance there's really not too much visible difference, especially at tabletop distance. However, the close-ups below show up the improvement in quality with smaller layer heights — though at the cost of greatly increased printing times. If you're wanting a whole army of unimportant mooks, then exquisite detail probably isn't going to be that important, while a character figure might justify spending half a day to print.

0.16mm, 1 hour 11 minutes to print

0.08mm, 2 hours 25 minutes

0.04mm, 4 hours 30 minutes.

Dolls' House Furniture

When I got my printer, in a fit of enthusiasm, I got quite a bit of DragonLock stuff. More than I really need for my usual gaming purposes, it turns out, as I'm not really interested in using a dungeon tile construction system.

What I'm much more likely to use though are tabletop mapping props like these furniture pieces from their Village Furnishings (?) set. There's a bunch more in that set, more beds, tables, chairs, kegs, benches and so forth, revolving around setting up in and tavern scenes it seems to me. They're all very chunky, which is beneficial for gaming pieces as they're very sturdy and easy to paint, and generally speaking they'll print without the need for supports.

As well as fantasy roleplaying, they're handy for small-scale skirmish games like the "Three Musketeers" swashbuckling game that I've forgotten the name of, where figures are very likely to be leaping over tables and swinging on chandeliers and so forth.

These are all printed at 0.2mm layer height, which is fine for my purposes — I don't really need incredibly fine detail for this sort of thing.

Next Day

Here are some more pieces from the same DragonLock range: a couple of single beds, a bookshelf, and a table.

I painted the bed on the right a bit filthy, maybe the sort of bed one might encounter in a cheap and disreputable inn, the sort of place one might meet a Mysterious Hooded Stranger. As one does.

15mm terrain: Stone Wall Sections

15mm Peter Pig WW1 British officer shown for scale

These sort of things are one of the reasons I got a 3d printer. They're tabletop terrain pieces for roleplaying games and wargames. These ones came from Terrain4Print on Thingiverse, and I've scaled them down to 60% for use with my 15mm war-dollies.

These four I did as a test to see how they'd scale; the original .STL files had them at about 20mm tall. They printed just fine at 0.2mm, about an hour and a half for the four pieces, and I'm also using Blender to remix some additional corners, bends and what-not.

If I wanted hundreds of them, I'd probably print one set at as high a resolution as I could manage, and mould them in silicon rubber for resin casting. However, that's not terribly likely, and I can just set up a bunch of them to print at once overnight if I foresee a need for some more. Having the printer means that I have an effectively limitless supply, as long as I don't mind the time it takes to actually make them.

RPG Tabletop Terrain — More Doors

I made some more doorways for use with 28mm miniatures. They're available for download from Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/MojoBob/designs

These are the raw , unpainted prints at 0.2mm layer height in grey PLA. I've included a couple of 28mm figures for scale.

Arched doorway front (or back)

Arched doorway back (or front)

Grilled cell door outside

Grilled cell door inside

RPG Tabletop Terrain — Tent

Figure is a 28mm fighter from Reaper, provided for scale.
I found this tent model on Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2623169 by Ecaroth. It didn't need any supports, which is nice.

This is one situation where the printing layer lines aren't a problem when it comes to dry-brushing and washing. They make the structure look more like coarse, heavy canvas, which is ideal. This time.

Tabletop RPG Terrain - Door

I've included a Reaper 28mm wizard figure, for scale.
 Useful markers for tabletop FRPG games with miniatures, possibly more so than any other dungeonish terrain pieces, are doors. Doors of all sorts.

I made this one in Blender and printed it on my Ender 3 at 0.12mm layer height in grey PLA. I've seen quite a few models with hinged, openable doors, but I find them to be of limited usefulness in gaming, and they're always a lot fiddlier to print and assemble than a simple one-piece marker that does essentially the same job.

I've uploaded the .STL file to Thingiverse, for free download for anyone who wants to print as many of them as they want.

I realised after I started printing it that I'd forgotten to include the latch on the "inside" side of the door — I've updated the .STL since then. Having printed it, I think it might be better printed tipped over on its side. The print lines would then be running in the same direction as the grain of the door planking, and I'd get smoother lines on the hinge-straps.


Here it is, all painted up. I learned from this that the creases between the blocks could do with being deeper — they're visible, but not visible enough on their own when painted with a stoney texture. I had to do some manual edge-highlighting and crease-washing to get them to stand out.

In the raw PLA plastic

I like the way Cura's tree supports look sometimes.
On one side they look like some kind of disgusting giant caddis-fly larva,
and on the other they look more like a tentacle or something.

A few hours later...

I whipped up a metal door version of the same module, also on Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2983980

I haven't printed it myself yet. It's very late, and I'm going to bed.


Here's the metal door, painted up, and with my trusty Reaper Filthy Bartender for scale.





Tabletop RPG Terrain - Stairs

Although I seldom actually make use of it for one reason or another, I am quite fond of scatter terrain for use with miniatures in tabletop FRP games. Part of the reason is that it can be a bit expensive, and it seems a frivolous use of my gaming dollar to spend it on what is effectively doll's-house furniture.

However, now that I have a 3d printer and access to Thingiverse, I can make my own bits and bobs quite easily.

This is one such bit or bob, a spiral stair marker.

If it was in an actual castle, it would most likely turn in the opposite direction, with the intent of impeding a climbing intruder's weapon hand, while allowing the defenders more freedom of attack. However, if you assume the standard and traditional D&D "dungeon" format, then the attackers might be more likely to be going downwards, so this orientation would be more correct.

Anyway.

I've included a Reaper 28mm figure for scale.

It was printed on my Ender 3 FDM printer in PLA at 0.12mm layer height, and took about 2½ hours.

SMK (15mm)

This is my 3d-printed 1:100 scale model of the SMK, a Soviet prototype heavy tank, produced as a proposed replacement for the T-35.

One SMK was tested in action during the Winter War with the Finns; it was disabled by a mine. The SMK was passed over in favour of the KV-1.

The model was printed on my Ender-3 at 0.08mm layer height in PLA. Overall I'm reasonably happy with it, but the guns are a bit out of scale for ease of printability, and it could have done with a bit more sanding on the turrets. The .STL file came from TigerAce1945 on Thingiverse.





Land Dreadnaughts



I've long had a fondness for the ridiculous multi-turreted land-dreadnaughts that came briefly into fashion in the late 1920s and 1930s. The Soviets were the only ones to actually try using them in action, as far as I know, with their T-35 and T-28. The British A1E1 Independent never made it out of the prototype stage. The Germans built six Neubaufahrzeug of slightly different conformation,, but the nearest they came to seeing action was being sent to Norway in 1940, largely as a propaganda exercise.

I've just printed two types of Neubaufahrzeug in 1:100 scale (15mm) on my 3d printer, and this is the first one I've finished painting.




And here's the next






And just because I can, I printed myself a SMK. It's shown here next to a Zvezda KV-1 for scale; it's not quite as monstrous as a T-35, but it's a sizeable beast.


I've removed the raft and supports, but haven't done any other cleaning up as yet. I'm not precisely sure how long it took to print; Cura predicted about 12½ hours, so I'd guess about 15 hours. It was finished when I got up this morning, which is nice.

Neubaufahrzeug

Neubaufahrzeug Type A

Neubaufahrzeug Type B
I got this model from TigerAce1945 on Thingiverse, from his Test Print Factory collection.

The Neubaufahrzeug was Germany's first attempt at a heavy tank after Hitler came to power. It wasn't considered a success, and only five were made.

It printed pretty well. I sliced it in Cura, using its experimental "tree" supports, which came away very easily.

The antenna on the Type A is a bit rough, but that's not completely unexpected — the loop could have done with more closely-spaced supports than Cura's automatic generation gave me; it would probably be best to import the turret STL into Blender and rebuild it with dedicated support structures in place. The struts are quite delicate pipe structures printed at a fairly steep angle, so the stair-stepping is a bit visible, even printed at 0.08mm layer height; I don't know that there's a lot I could do about that, considering the limitations of my printer. I could try printing it a 0.04mm, but it would be a long print, and I'm not sure it would be worth the effort.

The track-guards are another tricky printing area. The whole guard slopes slightly down towards the rear of the hull at maybe 3°, and so rather than a smooth length of plastic, I got a series of longish plateaus as each layer was printed.

I'll do as much cleaning up with sandpaper and scrapers as I can, and see how it goes. There's not a lot of fine surface detail to worry about, so a spray with sandable filling primer will probably take care of any remaining striations.

Zvezda Sturmtiger (15mm)

This is another 1:100 scale Zvezda snap-together kit, the SturmMörser Tiger, or Sturmtiger.

In the photographs I looked at of the Sturmtiger, none of them appeared to have any unit markings or vehicle numbers, which made life a lot easier for me.

This is my first attempt at the 1944 "ambush pattern" camouflage scheme. I'm not entirely dissatisfied with the result, but I feel it could be better — I just can't quite put my finger on just what's wrong.





Zvezda Tiger II (15mm)

I picked up a couple of these Zvezda Art of Tactic snap-together kits the other day, not because I have any immediate use for them, but because I had a sudden fancy to play around with German late-war three-colour camouflage patterns.

It's a nice little kit, and pretty straightforward to put together. The track detail is the only thing that really lets it down, but I can live with that in a wargaming model.





Operation Unfathomable

This just arrived for me from DriveThruRPG, the softcover POD book by Jason Sholtis of his long-running Swords & Wizardry FRPG campaign.

I got it primarily because I really like Jason Sholtis' artwork. I seldom used pre-packaged adventure settings or modules; I never really feel they're very satisfactory. However, this book is full of the sort of weird shit that does appeal to me, and I will, no doubt, loot and pillage it until it's been completely strip-mined and left crouching by the side of the road, huddled and despairing.

Two-page title spread
I bought the PDF when it was first released, and liked it so much that when they sent out an email with a discount code for the hard copy for PDF buyers, I thought "I'll have that", and so I did.

I do not regret it one whit.

Fiat 3000

I put together a 15mm (1:100 scale) 3d model of the Italian Fiat 3000 of 1920-21, their version of the ubiquitous Renault FT. It's a...