Medium C "Hornet"

The Medium C, nicknamed "Hornet", was designed towards the end of WW1, intended as a replacement for the Medium A "Whippet". It was much superior in every respect to the Whippet, but it was too late to see action in WW1. It remained in British army service until the mid-1920s.

I've made this model available before on Shapeways, but now it's available as a STL for home printing from my shop on Wargaming3d at

The model shown here has been printed horizontally, sitting on its tracks, in eSun PLA+ at a layer height of 0.08mm. It is 1:100 scale for 15mm gaming, but it can easily be scaled up or down in your slicer for other scales.

Brute Squad Base

 I designed and printed a 90mm x 60mm sabot base for my 15mm Brute Squad (they're actually 10mm Warmaster ogres I got on sale from a cheap bin).

The figures are based on 16mm (5/8") washers and the sockets are sized to accommodate those, and the base includes square cavities for two 5mm or 6mm dice at the back to keep track of casualties or morale or whatever. These are intended for my fantasy variant of Hail Caesar.

The STL is available free for download from Thingiverse at

See the dice?

Painted, flocked and finished.

Here it is with the Brute Squad in place. I epoxied some stones on either side, to make it easier to pick up and move around, and a few more scattered about just for the look of the thing.

The figures stay in place reasonably well as long as you don't fling the base about, but I've put a little blob of BluTak under each one, which holds them quite firmly in place while still allowing them to be removed and replaced at will.


The Bishop was a British attempt at a self-propelled gun, mounting the excellent 25 pounder gun-howitzer on the chassis of a Valentine tank in a big steel box. It was not entirely successful; the gun couldn't reach its full elevation, so range was impaired, and the very high silhouette made it very difficult to conceal in the desert. Very little ready ammunition could be stored in the vehicle itself, so it towed an artillery limber for its immediate use.

This is one of Bergman's 1:100 scale (15mm) models which I printed some time ago, but have just now got around to painting.

It's not likely that I'll actually use the limber on the wargames table; there's no benefit to it under the Battlegroup rules, and it would necessitate basing the whole shebang, which I prefer not to do with vehicles.

A15 Crusader in 15mm

I've uploaded some STLs for WWII British cruiser tanks for the desert war in North Africa to Wargaming3d

The Crusader II, with and without the MG sub-turret

... and the Crusader III

The models have been created at 1:100 scale for 15mm gaming, but I think they should scale up easily enough. Scaling down might be more problematic, as the 2pdr gun is a very slender item already. For 1:150 or smaller, I would probably just replace it with a short length of wire.

Test Prints and Things

The Crusader II test print was printed horizontally, with the tracks and the base of the turret right on the print-bed. As expected, the very gently sloping upper panels all show a lot of layer lines, but a bit of scraping and judicious painting will minimize those. At tabletop distances, I very much doubt they'd be noticeable in any case.

The Crusader III I split up, fore and aft, both the hull and turret, to print vertically.

This certainly ameliorates the issues with layer lines on the upper panels, though there is a bit of post-print assembly necessary.

The only real issue with this method is that the 6 pounder gun barrel, when printed vertically, was very fragile indeed, and it broke off almost immediately. I replaced it with a new one made from a length of bronze brazing rod. I've done this a lot with metal/resin models, so it's no big deal.

I've since modified the split-turret STL to remove the gun entirely, and to replace it with a socket. That should make adding a metal gun barrel a very simple matter in future.

British WWII Desert Colours

Left: a Bishop 25 pdr SPG in 71-143 Light Stone
Right: an A9 Cruiser Mk.I in 71-288 Portland Stone
Vallejo have introduced a couple of colours to their ModelAir range that I will find very useful for my early WWII British desert stuff:

  • 71-288 BSC 64 Portland Stone — the basic arid-country colour for pre-war and very early war vehicles, and the background colour for the "Caunter" scheme, and
  • 71-143 UK Light Stone — a darker shade, but similar in hue, that overlapped with and then replaced Portland Stone.

Up until now I've been using 71-075 Sand (Ivory) as a stand-in for Portland Stone, but as you can see in the swatches below, it's a much more creamy-yellow colour. 71-288 looks a lot more like how I remember the ancient and venerable Humbrol 8th Army Desert Yellow that I used to use in my far-off youth.

I have no idea how long these colours have been available from Vallejo, but I only just found them. I haven't found any explicitly Silver Grey or Slate Grey colours, so I'll just have to carry on using my equivalents for painting Caunter.

The Bigger They Are....

Huge, but silly
 I've uploaded my 1:100 scale (15mm) model of the monstrous, but somewhat ridiculous Char 2C to my shop on Wargaming3d.

When they went into production, these things were the biggest, heaviest, and on paper at least, the most powerful tanks in the world. About a dozen were eventually built, and they were sent into action against the Germans in 1940, but none of them actually made it into battle.

Does my bum look big from this angle?

Brand New for 1926, the A1E1 Independent from Vickers!

I'm building my 15mm A1E1 Independent (a British experimental tank from the 1920s-30s). I'm quite fond of these old rivet-studded land dreadnaughts.

The STL is available at


I printed the turrets and hull separately, as I wanted to use line supports and a support roof for the turrets, and tree supports for the hull.

The hull has been split into two pieces, fore and aft, and printed vertically. I find this tends to give me the cleanest detail in the running gear, and on sloping panels which would have very pronounced layer lines if printed horizontally.

Here the two parts of the hull have been cleaned up (I'm getting a fair amount of stringing at the moment.)

The turret has had a magnet glued into the base of its turret plug, and a nail head is glued into the bottom of the socket. This allows the turret to rotate freely, but it won't just fall out if I turn the model over.

The MG sub-turrets will just be glued in place; it's not really important for game purposes that they be able to rotate.

I'm keeping some of the tree supports (to the right of the photo) and I'll turn them into dungeon terrain pieces.


Assembled and primed, now all that's needed is the final paint job.

I replaced the exhaust pipes with lengths of wire, as I broke one of them off when cleaning up the print. The down-side to printing the hull vertically is that elements like these, which would be quite strong if laid down horizontally, become a bit fragile.


I've used Vallejo ModelAir 70013 Yellow Olive to represent the British peacetime military Deep Bronze Green.

I've tried it before and not been that happy with it, but I realised that's because I sprayed a matte-coat over the top. The peacetime vehicles were always finished in a satin or high gloss finish, for smartness rather than concealment, so I've given this one a satin finish as well. It makes a much better Deep Bronze Green this way.

It's been given a very light dry-brushing with a much lighter yellow green of my own recipe, and it's been pin-washed with Nuln Oil. There are no markings (as yet); the original vehicle has none except for serial numbers and the like. 



Record Keeping

 I have never been good at keeping track of process notes. It was a requirement at art school, and I did it fairly well there, but then I got out of the habit again. It's something that I've seen recommended again and again, but for one reason or another (mainly laziness, if I'm being honest) I just haven't done it.

Now I'm making a conscious effort to be more organised in that respect, so that I don't have to reinvent the wheel every time I do something. My memory isn't terrible, but neither is it perfect, and having the specifics of a project written down is always handy if there's any chance at all that I might want to repeat it some time in the future.

I've used a wire-bound A5 sketchbook with decent heavyish cartridge paper pages that will take paint and glue without too much show-through. I really don't like wire-binding, but it does have the advantage that the book stays flat when it's open, and if I need to get rid of a page I can just tear it out without affecting the rest of the binding. The A5 size is convenient; the pages are large enough to fit a decent amount of information, but the book doesn't take up too much room when it's open for reference.

3d Printing All Over The Show

Now that my printer's back in action, I've been expanding my 15mm WWII catalogue a bit, though without any particular care about a consistent theme.

In the foreground, and up on the wooden block, are a pair of German sIG-33 150mm infantry guns. The grey vehicles are Italian Autoblinda AB-41 armoured cars, and on a painting stand at the back is a spare turret to turn one of them into an AB-40. And the khaki-green thing on the other painting stand is another Bren carrier.

The quality I've been getting from the printer has dropped off a bit, and I need to do a bit of maintenance on it. I'll put on a new nozzle for a start, and check the Bowden tube — that may need renewing too. If they don't take care of the issue, perhaps a spacer on the extruder spring might be in order, but first things first.

Firing Arc Protractor

This might be of use to somebody, if you have access to a 3d printer: it's a simple protractor for determining if a target is within your firing arc.

BEF Bren Carrier

Here's a 3d-printed 15mm (1:100) Bren Carrier. This is one of the predecessors to the Universal Carrier, which removed the need for several dedicated vehicles for specific roles.

The original model was designed by M. Bergman; I've added rivet and track detail, and a couple of reasonably detailed crewmen. It's an acceptable print in FDM for a wargaming model, but it would be a lot better if printed in resin on a DLP or SLA printer. I don't have access to one of those, so what I've got is what I've got.

I'll probably print a couple more at some stage, because why not, but I actually already have enough metal Universal Carriers to equip a full battalion, so they're not really strictly necessary for my wargaming needs.

New Zealand Pattern Wheeled Carrier

This was a New Zealand assembled version of the Indian pattern carrier. It differed from the original Indian vehicle by being welded rather than riveted, and it had larger wheels. It shared with its progenitor the flaws of being under-powered, and having quite poor off-road performance, and the New Zealand carrier didn't see overseas service at all until the Korean War, when it was employed as an artillery observation vehicle.

The Indian pattern, on the other hand, saw service in North Africa and in the Far East, and I have painted this one up as one of those in the desert theatre, in a camouflage pattern from about 1942-43.

The model is a 1:100 scale (15mm) 3d print, designed by M. Bergman and printed by me on my Ender 3.

Flak 36

Since my 3d printer crapped out, I've been painting some of the stuff I'd already printed and then put aside, in this case because it's really not a very good print.

The crew are 15mm German artillerymen from Peter Pig, and they too aren't the best. Peter Pig produce a wide array of figures, but their faces do all look like they've come straight out of Munch's The Scream, and in this case, they would be better suited to a smaller, lower gun than the 88. However, they're what I've got, so they're what I've used.

The base is 3mm MDF with a variety of home-made sawdust and foam flocks.


I made this to try out the technique of impressing surface detail into foam-core, and I have to say that overall it was a doddle.

Getting the card off one side so I could score the foam itself wasn't completely straightforward though; I clearly don't have the same foam-core as the guy whose online tutorial I was following. Nevertheless, once I did manage to slice it away, impressing detail into the surface of the foam with a pencil was easy-peasy.

The cobblestones are enormous for the scale, they're more like flagstones. However, I doubt that I'll be losing any sleep over that. I'm not sure that the foam would be the ideal material for replicating in-scale cobbles in any case.

All the models are 15mm. The well and Kubelwagen are 3d printed, the ambulance is a scratch-build, and the armoured car is from Battlefront.

Exactly what I'll do with this little square I don't know, but I guess if I whack a few buildings around its perimeter I'll have an instant village.

Cheap Plastic Crap

I was idly browsing around AliExpress one day, looking for Cheap Plastic Crap that might be useful to me for wargames terrain, and happened upon this. It's not a spectacular example of the modelmaker's art, but I think it should paint up adequately well for use on the wargames table.

It's a railway station of indeterminate scale, but it looks to be roughly OK for 15mm, and they cost about a buck apiece. I bought two of them.

The base piece has a couple of AA battery slots (but no terminals or anything), and there are piercings in it for what I suspect would be a speaker, so I assume that it was intended to be some kind of musical toy. It didn't come with any of that, which is good as I'd just have to rip it all out and throw it away in any case.

The roof is secured by two pegs rising from the body piece's ceiling, and with a little bit of hacking and chopping I should be able to make the interior accessible so that I can put troops inside. I will have to chop away all the protrusions rising up from the base, of course.

Grey Tiger

This is an earlyish version of the Tiger 1, the PzKfw VI, before the changeover to the dunkelgelb base colour that occurred in February, 1943.

This is how the Tigers would have appeared soon after their appearance in Russia in 1942. The very first examples did not have the turret storage bin, but they were quickly fitted to all of them, and I've included it on this one for no other reason that that I think it looks better.

The model is 1:100 scale (15mm), from PSC. It's a very straightforward build, and the sprues provide parts for vehicles from early, mid, or late production.

Top view

Here it is, for comparison, with the old Battlefront resin/metal casting. I like the weight of the old models, but I like the price of the newer plastic ones much more.

I was surprised to learn that US Army testing showed that the Tiger's 88mm L56 was incapable of penetrating the upper glacis of the Sherman's hull front at any range. However, it had no trouble at all punching through the transmission housing or the turret front at over a thousand metres, so I guess that was small comfort.

The poor old 75mm Shermans, on the other hand, couldn't do squat to the Tiger's frontal armour even right at muzzle-point, and had to get to within 100 metres to have any hope of a side penetration.

Dorchester ACV (15mm)

This is the British "Dorchester" ACV (Armoured Command Vehicle) in 1:100 (15mm) scale. It's painted in the early WWII "Caunter" disruptive camouflage pattern.

I printed this some time ago, but just got around to painting it. It's not the best print in the world, but it will do its job as a wargaming toy. It should have aerials sticking out all over the place, but I've found they just get in the way when it comes to storage, and they're very prone to damage, so I don't bother with them any more.

The infantry are old 15mm Battlefront 8th Army figures — the first 15mm WWII figures I ever owned, in fact.

Painting Caunter with Vallejo colours

The British early desert war Caunter pattern is an attractive one on the wargames table, but it is truly a pain in the arse to paint. All of the borders between the colours have to be dead straight, or else it looks like pants.

I've tried masking and spraying it, but on these little rivet-covered models that is extremely troublesome, and the easiest method I've found is just to use a long-haired lettering brush to outline the areas of colour, and then to just colour them in with a regular #1 round brush.

There is, apparently, a very good Caunter set of acrylics available from a manufacturer whose name escapes me right now, but I don't have access to those.
NOTE: Vallejo also now produces a Caunter set of ModelAir paints, which I'm trying to get my hands on

The paints I do have access to are Vallejo. My local model shop keeps good stocks of them, and I can generally be confident of getting the colours I want. In truth, the ready availability of Vallejo paints has made me pretty lazy about mixing up my own colours.

The model shown above, a PSC 1:100 (15mm) A9 cruiser, is painted in a combination of the two colour sets I've laid out here in my modelling notebook.

The base colour (Portland Stone) is VMC 847 Dark Sand,  which is a little too dark on its own, so I've highlighted and panel-toned it with VGC 034 Bone White.
NOTE: Vallejo now produces more accurate ModelAir mixes for Portland Stone (71.288) and Light Stone (71.143).

The middle tone (Silver Grey) is VMC 844 Stone Grey. VMC 886 Grey Green is OK, but it looks a bit too dark to my eye on its own. I've tried painting it in 886 and then lightening it with 844, but there didn't seem to be much, if any benefit over going straight to 844. In fact, the best colour I've come up with so far is a 50/50 mix of 886 and 844.

The darkest tone (Slate Grey) is VMC 830 German Field Grey. If you want a faded effect on a well-used vehicle, a 50/50 mix of 830 and 886 works well.

The keen-eyed amongst you will have noticed that there is not a blue paint to be seen anywhere. The idea that Caunter included a blue seems to have been propagated from a an erroneous scheme devised in the 1960s — apparently the Silver Grey could fade to what appeared to be a bluish shade in certain lights, but it certainly didn't start out that way.

Weathering Brushes

These are a few of the types of brushes I use for weathering my models. They're types that will be very familiar to picture painters, but they may not be quite as well known to modellers.

From left to right:

  1. First is just a #5 round synthetic that I have used for general-purpose dry brushing for well over a decade, maybe two. As you can see, it's had a very hard life. Nothing very special here; everybody has a brush like this hanging around.
  2. Next is a brush style called a dagger. It is flat, with a curved, pointed edge. This is an excellent style of brush for very controlled dry-brushing, as it can be oriented to apply the paint in a broad or narrow strip, with a relatively hard edge, or by leaning the brush right over so the point isn't in full contact, with a very soft edge. It's a good shape for getting right up against or under a ledge without contaminating the other surface. For wet-painting, a dagger can achieve a very fluid, calligraphic line.
  3. Third is a filbert. Again, it's a flat brush but with a rounded edge; this allows you to blend in dry-brushed strokes with each other a bit better than with a regular chisel-edged brush, but it's still broad enough to cover a wide area. Or, by turning the brush 90°, you can dry-brush in a relatively narrow band. It makes it a very flexible brush for this sort of thing.
  4. Last is a fan. These come in both soft and stiff types; this one is quite a coarse hog-bristle fan. I use it for creating a generalised streaking effect.

Apart from the last brush (the fan), these are all synthetics. Although they've improved immeasurably over the last couple of decades, synthetic brushes still aren't generally as good as natural hairs such as sable when it comes to detail painting. However, I prefer synthetics for weathering, as the bristles tend to be fine and springy, and the fact that they don't hold paint as well is less important. Also, and this is a factor not to be taken lightly, they are cheap. Weathering brushes take a real hammering, and using a fifty dollar brush for it is the sort of thing you'd only do if you had all the money in the world, and no conscience.

Stuff New and Old on Wargaming3d

I've begun putting STL files up for sale on Wargaming3d, a newish site catering to the burgeoning home 3d printing wargaming market.

Most of my models were originally designed with Shapeways printing processes in mind, and most often that means they have to be fairly substantially redesigned to better suit home 3d printing, either in FDM or resin. It's a slow process, but I'm gradually getting there.

The catalogue is growing, if slowly. The most recent additions are these:

Loyd Carrier Mk.VI

These were the direct ancestors of the WWII carrier family. They were obsolete and worn out by the war, but a number of them were temporarily brought back into service after Dunkirk.

Bren Carrier No.2 Mk.1

This is one of the early versions of the carrier, used before they were all combined into the later Universal Carrier.

This model is a remix of one by M. Bergman. I have just added and refined details of rivets, tracks, gun and crew.

Beaverette "Beaverbug"

The Beaverette was an improvised armoured car thrown together in a terrific rush in 1940. This is a later version, armed with twin Vickers "K" guns, mostly used for airfield defence and the like.

A1E1 Independent

This British leviathan never made it out of prototype, but it was very influential on Soviet and German tank design in the Interwar period.

Fiat-Ansaldo M13/40 Medium Tank

This was the most common Italian medium tank of WWII. It was developed further, but by the time Italy surrendered, it and its descendents were thoroughly obsolete.

Long Journey Into Night (with toy soldiers)

Way back in the distant past, in the very early 1970s, when I first started wargaming with actual rules (rather than just playing with my toy soldiers and knocking them down with a remarkably lethal spring-loaded Britains howitzer), we used Airfix plastic figures and model tanks. Mostly tanks, to be honest, because those little HO/OO scale figures were fiddly and tended to fall over a lot. Basing infantry was, as yet, in the future. Also, to our foetal brains, tanks just seemed so much cooler.

Since pretty much all of our research into WWII came from Commando comics, our games tended not to lean very far in the way of historical verisimilitude. In fact, they had a lot more in common with World of Tanks, with vehicles from all nationalities and eras banged together in a mish-mash.

We had a lot of fun.

.....-----+++++<< O >>+++++-----.....

Advertisement from the Feb. 1979 issue.
Note that the price of the models had
already risen to 13p each, and they
got more expensive fast.
A bit later on, when I was at high school, I discovered from my Military Modeling magazines, that I could get tanks and things in 1/300 scale from Heroics & Ros in the UK.

They were cheap — from memory, one tank cost 6p, which was about 15 cents in New Zealandish money — but ordering stuff from overseas at the time was something of a trial. I had to go to a bank and apply for an international money order, send off my order to the UK, and then wait anywhere up to six months for it to arrive by sea freight. Six months is a long time to wait, especially for a 13 year old boy.

Infantry in 1/300 were even less manageable than before, so again we concentrated entirely on tanks and guns. I forget which rules we used, and the little typewritten A5 booklet has long since gone the way of all flesh, but the author clearly agreed with us on that point, since I don't recall infantry even being mentioned in the rules at all. I suppose they might have been; if they were, we ignored them.

I built up quite a substantial collection of 1/300 models, but eventually, when I left home and started having to pay my own living expenses, they got sold off to pay the rent. I hope they went to a good home.

.....-----+++++<< O >>+++++-----.....

The 1st Edition of Flames of War
As time went on, and I got a bit more disposable income, I started rebuilding my micro-scale collection, but at some time — about the turn of the Millenium, I think — Flames of War came on to the scene, and 15mm WWII gaming became enormously popular, almost overnight it seemed.

It interested me for two reasons:

  1. Because it was the first WWII rule set I'd encountered that appeared to make a real effort to reflect the actual tactics and doctrines of the various combatants, and to make those tactics gameable, and
  2. Because 1:100/15mm scale seemed like an ideal tabletop scale, large enough to be worth spending time modelling, but compact enough to store easily and to look reasonably "right" on the wargames table.

It was soon published in its 2nd edition, and though some distinct improvements were made, it introduced other issues that seemed to me to move it away from a "play the period" game to more of an "exploit the rules loopholes" sort of exercise. At least, that's how it seemed locally; I don't know about gaming groups anywhere else. People started indulging in the GW "super-army" syndrome, and it became no fun at all to play, for me at least.

At the same time, the company (Battlefront) shifted their operations from Auckland to Malaysia, and pretty much forgot all about their New Zealand market. They don't even offer a $NZ currency option on their online store (or at least, they didn't when last I looked). They've become increasingly problematic to deal with, and I just don't bother with them any more.

It's now, as of writing, Flames of War is up to its 4th edition, and it seems to have continued its downward slide into a WWII-flavoured game, rather than any kind of WWII simulation.

.....-----+++++<< O >>+++++-----.....

Right now, my WWII wargaming systems of choice are Chain of Command for small platoon-level infantry actions, and Battlegroup for larger combined-arms games up to about battalion level. I don't have a great deal of interest in regimental or army-sized games as tabletop wargames; I think they're better suited to board games like those from SPI. But if I did, Spearhead and Fist Full of TOWs seem like worthwhile candidates. (FFoT can also be played as a 1:1 tactical game very successfully).

I still have a large collection of 6mm models, but my eyesight isn't that great these days, so I seldom use them. I should probably sell them off, but whenever I've sold off model collections in the past, I've always regretted it. Now I think I'll just leave them to be somebody else's problem after I'm dead.

My 15mm WWII and Interwar vehicle collection has expanded quite a bit since I got a 3d printer, though regrettably it's not really capable of creating decent 15mm infantry. Also, it's busted right at this moment, which is very frustrating.

If, for some reason, I had to start all over again, from scratch, I think my scale of choice would be 1:200. It has the benefit of being large enough to easily see detail and to distinguish different vehicles and guns from each other, but small enough that a reasonable army could be stored in a shoe-box. It's also small enough that it can be played on quite a small table, just by converting all inch measurements into centimetres. It has, in the past, suffered from a lack of model availability, and what was available seemed to me to be rather over-priced, but now that I could create my own models on the 3d printer, those issues are no longer relevant.

We're still having a lot of fun.

Medium C "Hornet"

The Medium C, nicknamed "Hornet", was designed towards the end of WW1, intended as a replacement for the Medium A...