Lizard, finished

Here's the Guy Lizard ACV I showed in the raw in my last post, now all painted up and ready for service.

It will cost me an extra 12 points to upgrade my BEF FHQ from a staff car to this, but it might be worth it to keep them safe from my wildly erratic mortarmen.

Lizard Guy. I mean, Guy Lizard.

I've put together a digital model of a Guy Lizard ACV in 1:100 scale — estimated from photographs with blokes in them, since I have no concrete dimensions at hand — and I've got it on the printer at this very moment.

Hopefully next time my BEF commander gets bombarded by his own mortar battery, he'll be safe and snug inside an armoured shell. (I can't remember, offhand, what it costs to upgrade from a staff car to the Lizard, but what the hell...)

Because the roof and engine cover have such gently sloping surfaces, I split the model in half to print it vertically rather than sitting on its wheels. This minimises the visible print lines, which can be distressingly obvious when the slope is very gradual, even at very fine layer heights. I'm kind of curious to see how it will turn out, but I'll just have to wait until tomorrow morning to see.


I've put the model up on Shapeways at http://shpws.me/QQLF — whether it will pass their pre-printing checks is anybody's guess, as they're steadily becoming a more and more crappy business, and their site has become next to impossible to use.


Here's my two-part FDM print, fresh off the printer and assembled. I've photographed it alongside an undercoated Dorchester as a scale reference; I suspect the Lizard might be just a tad too large, as the Dorchester was noted for its spaciousness. However, it's not so big that it will look out of place on the table top, and it will do for me.

Thankful For Small Blessings

Shock news! The shonky airbrush supplies company I ordered a Badger Sotar 20-20 from way back in January have finally broken down and sent me an airbrush.

Not the version I actually ordered, mind — I ordered the Fine needle/tip, and they sent me a Medium — but at this point I'm prepared to call it a partial victory and just close the book.

Somehow I don't think I'll be doing business with Midwest Airbrush Supply again any time soon. Maybe this is an indication they're getting their act together, maybe it's because I demanded a refund, or maybe it's just a response to the fact that I was making my displeasure known across a range of internet platforms where airbrushery types hung out. I don't know, and at this point I don't much care.

I do have to say, even though they sent me the wrong version, the Sotar 20-20 is a stunningly fantastic airbrush. I'm almost afraid to use it, it's so gorgeous. The finish on all the parts is beautiful, and the action is the smoothest I've ever felt on an airbrush.

I shall have to put some paint through it and see how it sprays.






I knocked up a stand to fit it in Blender.

The STL can be got at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3205896

Sculptural Supports

I really like the way Cura's auto-generated tree supports form themselves sometimes.

This one looks to me like those gosh-darned Duke Boys stole th' moonshine truck and jumped it over th' crick agin. Or maybe it's a truck being pulled down to hell by some kind of sand-tentacle-elemental critter.

The model is from m_bergman's 1:100 "LRDG Chevrolet" set. The truck is about 65mm long.

Austin Ten Staff Car

I need some more softskins for my 15mm BEF, and while I was looking through what m_bergman has to offer in that line, I found a set of Austins he has designed. There are various Tilly light trucks, a civilian Austin Ten, and this one, the staff car.

So, now my FHQ senior officers have something comfortable to zoom about in. After all, we can't expect them to have to suffer like the common soldiers.

Regrettably, the layer lines on the front windscreen make it look a bit like it has a venetian blind hanging in there, but that won't be all that noticeable when it's on the wargames table.

BEF Matilda II 1940

 Last night I played an early-war game of Battlegroup with Steve Hoare, and realised that I had neglected my 15mm infantry tanks tragically. Therefore, I resolved to print some more Matildas, in this case the 1940 version with the trench-crossing tail installed, and the armoured Vickers gun in the turret.

I modified the model slightly, both to ease printing and to allow for the addition of magnets under the turret. I also chopped off the 2 pounder and left a socket there, for later installation of a new gun turned from a bit of brazing rod. I got some very visible layer lines on the sloping panels of the hull; I'm printing another one up on its end, which should ameliorate that issue a bit. I'll never get rid of them entirely (unless I get a much more expensive resin printer) but if I can mitigate them as far as possible, I will.







Here it is alongside a Battlefront Matilda II
I assembled and painted quite a few years ago.

Later That Day...

This is the hull that I printed standing up on its end. As I hoped, the change in orientation gave me a much cleaner print, and the top surface detail is quite a bit crisper. Printing the sloping panels in this orientation compresses the layer lines, so the diagonals are smoother — there are still layer lines visible, but they'll pretty much disappear under a coat of paint. Another benefit, though less important from an aesthetic point of view, is that there's a lot more detail in the track links. They're not usually all that visible on the wargames table, but it's nice to know it's there if I want to look at it.

The down-side is that it increases the printing time by about an hour, but that's not a huge deal. It means 7½ hours instead of 6½ (plus another hour or so to print the turret).

2 pounder turned from a bit of brazing rod, using a cheap electric drill as an impromptu lathe.

Tiny Terrain



I'm continually impressed by the level of detail my Ender 3 will give me with its stock 0.4mm nozzle.

This is one of the Ulvheim Ruins pieces I got from Thingiverse (didn't record the url, sorry) shrunk down to 20% for use with 6mm games.

The vehicle is my 1:285 model of the 1930s British Burford-Kegresse machine-gun carrier that I had printed in resin by Shapeways, and the 28mm figure is, as usual, Sergeant Measureby, for scale.

Louca Giant #2 — WiP

I'm very tempted to paint him with a singlet tan-line.
I finally got around to printing the second of the pair of Duncan Louca giants I have. (Here's the first one).

It's scaled to 66%, and printed in eSun PLA+ black with Tom Tullis' FDG Ender 3 miniatures profile, but with a layer height of 0.08mm instead of 0.1mm.

I really like this pair of giants; they look very much as I've always imagined D&D hill giants to look: massively strong, but not gym-ripped, and moronically aggressive. Redneck skinhead giants.

Once the primer goes on, all the tiny printing flaws immediately leap out. I'm getting some very minor layer shifting from time to time, and there's one layer that looks under-extruded about half-way up his feet — it makes him look a bit like he's wearing those creepy toe-slippers. However, the print flaws are minor enough that they should pretty much disappear when the paint goes on.

Flame Skull

I printed Miguel Zavala's Flame Skull, and put it on a clear acrylic flight stand. It's shown here with the ever-reliable Sergeant Measureby and his +3 Spear of 5mm Increments.

I struggle a bit with painting flames and hotness, like hot metal or lava, but I'm relatively happy with how this turned out.

I got a bit of stringing amongst the flame spikes, but I can't say that was unexpected.

Turan I (with added rivetty goodness)

This is the version of the Turan I based on the same model as that in the previous post, but with rivets added.

They are monstrously out of scale of course, but nevertheless I do prefer it with rather than without. The rivets on the original vehicle were a fairly prominent feature.

Turan I (15mm)

This is a Hungarian Turan I of WWII in 1:100 scale, from a model by m_bergman. I've added some track pins to give the tracks a bit more visual interest, but otherwise the model is unchanged from his original design. The figure is a 15mm German from Battlefront.

I've also done and printed a version with some rivet detail as well. Whether it's a worth-while addition I'll find out when I get it painted, but I do like a good rivet on my tank.

With rivets, in the raw white PLA+.
One thing I can be sure of is that they will make painting the turret markings more difficult. Ah, the sacrifices one must make for one's art.

Toldi IIa (15mm)

This is the Hungarian Toldi IIa of WWII. Unfortunately I don't have any Hungarian infantry figures, so these Germans will have to do.

The tank was printed on my Ender-3 in PLA+ using an experimental Cura slicer profile, still being fine-tuned.

Fat Dragon Printing


I watched the most recent Fat Dragon 3d printing video, in which the guy (Tom Tulliss) stepped through his Cura settings and explained what each of them does, and why he chose the settings he did.

I'm not quite as ignorant as I was a couple of months ago, but nevertheless I found it quite illuminating. I thought I'd give his Ender 3 miniature-printing profile a try, to see how it compared with my own hodge-podge. I used one of the Fat Dragon skeletons as a test subject, as they print very reliably without supports.

The mini has been given a very light airbrushing with a pale grey primer so that it will photograph, but no other post-processing.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the profile, from what I see here. Improvements over my own profile are slight, but definite enough to encourage me to keep using it. Next I'll try it on a 15mm tank model (the other thing I print a lot) and see how it serves for that purpose.

Regrettably, at the time of writing YouTube has gone doolally, so I can't link directly to the video. I'll try again later.   The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqEWl51s9Rw

Later....

As I said I would, I tried the same profile on a 15mm tank, in this case a Hungarian Toldi II of WWII.

 At first glance, it looks OK. I certainly got much, much less stringing than I do with my own Cura profile.

However, all is not well. Not completely, at any rate.
Shell separation

In several places I got significant separation between the shell walls and top layers.

That may be for a number of reasons; for a start, this is printed at a much lower temperature than the recommended range for eSun PLA+ (195° rather than the 205° to 225° recommended by the manufacturer). Also, I think there's a shell overlap option in Cura that it might be worth looking at, if I can find it again.

I shall have to make a little test model to dial in this stuff, something that takes significantly less than 5½ hours per iteration to print.

Duncan Louca's demons, Part Tres

This is the third of three big-mouth demons from a set by Duncan Louca.

I tried a much more chaotic colour scheme on this one than I did on the first two, and I can't really say that it's a great success. However, inertia will no doubt keep it this way forever now.

Duncan Louca's Demons, Part Deux

This is the second of Duncan Louca's set of three demons with exceptionally large mouths that I've painted.

I like his sculpts a lot.

This has been printed on my Ender 3 at 0.08mm in PLA.

Mr Blobby

Model by Franklin Burger:
https://www.myminifactory.com/object/3d-print-46858
I found this model somewhere on the internet, alone and uncredited, so I have no idea who made it or what it is or anything. People have suggested that it's a Kirby, whatever that is, with a human face pasted on.

I like it, and I'll print about a dozen of them, and make up some stats to use them in my D&D campaign in some way.

The original model was only about 1.5mm tall, so I've rescaled it by 1500% to roughly 20mm.

Sculpting in Blender

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3148420
I'm in the process of teaching myself a little bit about digital sculpting in Blender. This is the latest fruit of my digital loins.

This poor guy got chained up and stuck in a hole for no other reason than that I failed to plan ahead to making a body and limbs for him. I probably could cobble something together by stretching and moulding from its base, but it wouldn't be ideal.

I've put the model on Thingiverse, both as it's seen here, and just as the bust. I strongly suspect that the chained up version would be quite tricky to print successfully; those chain links are bound to be problematic.

Just the bust
Printed on my Ender-3
at 0.08mm layer height
in eSun white PLA+

Airbrush Stand – Complete


Here is my airbrush stand, in all its 3d-printed and wooden glory. The next thing will be to get quick-release hose couplings for them all, though that may be a while away.

Airbrush Stands

The STL for this one, for the Badger 105, is at
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3135372
I have several airbrushes, each of which excels in their own particular realm, but swapping from one to the other is slightly inconvenient.

They're stored safely in a nice rosewood box, which is attractive, but doesn't keep the airbrushes easily to hand.

So, I'm in the process of designing and printing stands for them. Each one has a slightly different geometry, so a one-size-fits-all solution isn't going to work all that well.

This is the first one off the printer, for my Badger 105 Patriot, the workhorse of my stable. I'm just waiting for some replacement parts for it at the moment, but normally it's the brush I go to for just about everything.

So far I have designs for the following:


Badger 200

Badger 200




Here's the stand for the single-action Badger 200.

I don't use this airbrush a great deal, but it's a good example of its type, and quite cheap. It would be a good airbrush for a beginner who's a bit intimidated by double-action brushes.






Here's a stand for the Badger Krome, a truly superb airbrush, though possibly not the best choice for a beginner.

I've enlarged the nose of the stand slightly to fit the ugly rubber cap that is supplied with the airbrush, the only thing about it I don't like.

Badger used to supply very nice nickel-plated brass caps for their airbrushes, which both looked nicer and stayed on better. However, this horrible thing is what we get these days, so I've accommodated it.

The cap can be left on the airbrush, or it can be pushed into the nose of the stand and just act as a soft collar within the stand to further protect the tip of the airbrush when it's not being used.

The STL is available at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3137556

It might also fit the Sotar 20:20, but I don't know for sure because the Sotar 20:20 I ordered and paid for from Midwest Airbrush Supply* more than a year and a half ago never arrived, and they've been pretty much uncontactable about it. (Do you detect just a teensy hint of bitterness?)
* NOTE: I'm not going to link to the bastards because I don't want to inadvertently send any business their way. Fuck them.


This is the last of them, for the moment at least, a stand for the Paasche Talon.

I seldom use this airbrush as I've found it to be something of a disappointment in terms of its build quality. Its trigger and valve tends to stick, and the cup is so large that it obscures the view if I try any close-in work with it. If I use it at all now, it's just for coarse work like broad terrain painting.

The STL for this stand is on Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3141265

Zenithal Priming


There is a miniatures-painting technique that has become quite common these days, called zenithal priming.

It's aim is to provide a priming layer of under-painting with highlights and shadows already in place, and this is achieved quite simply.

The figure is first primed entirely in black, and then a lighter colour, usually pure white, is sprayed down on to it at a slight angle from the vertical. The areas sheltered from the spray remain black, while the upper surfaces become white, with gentle gradations of tone between them. Personally, I prefer to finish with a light over-spray of white at a much lower angle to lighten the bulk of shadows, leaving pure black only in those areas that would be completely shadowed.

The ideal tool for this is, of course, the airbrush, but it can be done with aerosol can paints. The spray cans produce a much coarser spray; the individual droplets of paint are larger, so the resulting under-painting will appear much more granular.

It can also be done entirely by hand with a brush, though of course that is a much more labour-intensive method. It's a technique that is much used by picture painters who want to establish the tonal masses of their composition before they start applying colour.

The technique really shows its value when speed-painting using transparent inks and glazes, but it's also very useful when painting with opaque colours because the tonal variation really accentuates the contours and surface details of a miniature, which makes it easier to plan and predict how paint can be applied.

Lizard, finished

Here's the Guy Lizard ACV I showed in the raw in my last post , now all painted up and ready for service. It will cost me an extra 1...