Chieftain AVLB (1:150)

My friend Steve has recently become the proud owner of a Creality resin printer, and one of the things he printed is the hull of this 1:150 scale Chieftain AVLB (bridgelayer). Then he gave it to me, which was very nice of him.

I printed the bridge myself on my Ender 3, after adding some treads to the top surfaces which were missing from the original STL. The bridge is detachable from the hull, and one of these days I'll also print a deployed version of it.

Zvezda Maus (repaint)

I bought this 1:100 scale Maus a while ago, mainly out of nostalgia since it was one of the first things I ever attempted (and failed) to scratch-build when I was a lad. I painted it at first in a wholly spurious splinter pattern, but I found I didn't much like that, so I repainted it.

The decals are from an old Battlefront 1:100 kit, and they're pretty crappy as far as registration goes.

It's highly unlikely that a Maus will ever turn up on my wargames table, except maybe as a trophy objective. Still, you never know.

New Photo Backdrop

I made a new photo backdrop to go in my little 3d printed sweep clips. I wanted something that would provide a bit of textural interest without adding any colour or overwhelming the subject.

I painted it in Krita using some of its watercolour brushes, and then desaturated it completely to remove any colour cast. Unfortunately, I can only print A4 on my laser; if I want anything bigger than that I will have to go to a print bureau and pay an arm and a leg for it.

The model is a Zvezda 1:100 scale Maus that I'm in the process of painting.


P.O.D. reprint on left, original printing on the right.
My Print-on-Demand copy of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia of 1991 has finally arrived from DriveThruRPG, after the first one they shipped disappeared into the postal aether.

It's my favourite iteration of the pre-d20 System D&D, and I'm pretty happy with it overall.

The paper they've used is thicker, whiter, and more matte than the stock used in the original printing, which is more like the thin, flimsy, shiny stuff they used for AD&D2e, and I very much prefer the new paper.

Feel the thickness!
 As a result, the book is about a third again thicker than the original, though the page count is identical.

The covers overhang the page area more too. Whether this is beneficial, or neutral, or problematic, I suppose only time will tell.

The binding is just a perfect glue-binding stuck into hard covers, so it's unlikely to be as long-lasting as the saddle-stitched signature-bound original. On the other hand, it was only about twenty-five yankeebucks, so you can only expect so much.

Incidentally, the sticker price on the back cover of the original was $24.95 U.S., so this reprint is about the same price as the original was back in '91.

Inside, the matte paper is a bit easier on the eyes, I find. The green accent colour used throughout is a lot paler than in the original, but it's still adequate for delineating table rows, which is its main job. The images have been replicated well; they're pretty much all black-&-white line art, so there's nothing particularly tricky there — though they do seem a bit crisper and cleaner than the examples in the companion Creature Catalog volume, which I also bought in P.O.D. (softcover) a couple of years ago. The text is all clean and readable.

In the back of the book there are some full-colour maps; these are all a bit softer and fuzzier than the originals, but not so much that they're not perfectly usable.

All in all, I'd call it good value for money.

Admin Increases

Due to a relatively sudden up-tick in the amount of spam appearing in the comments, I've decided to turn comment moderation on. It's a faff, but since Blogger has no way (that I've found) of blocking persistent spammers from commenting, I'll either have to wear the extra effort or else turn off commenting altogether.

The 91st of Foot (sort of, nearly)

I'm slogging along with my Peninsular War rosbifs, and making heavy going of it too. However, I'm very nearly done with my very first Black Powder battalion, with just the Light Company to finish for the left of the line. Even at this level of painting, they're taking forever — I don't seem to be able to just sit and paint for hour after hour as I used to.

The colours came from the WarFlags site, printed and over-painted, and I chose the 91st simply because their regimental colour matches the facing colour I'd already started painting. I don't actually know anything about the regiment beyond its existence, and to be honest, I don't really care that much. At this point, a generic British formation is all I'm after.
Note: I am informed that the 91st was actually a Scottish regiment, originally the 98th Argyllshire Highlanders, who wore kilts up until about 1809 (?)  Fortunately that's before my chosen period, just. But in any case, hopefully nobody too knowledgeable will look too closely.

These figures are all from a single box of HäT plastic 1/72 figures, which are the only cheap plastic ones I've found that wear the pre-Waterloo stovepipe shako. That's why part of the battalion are standing at shoulder arms, while the rest are marching merrily along — there aren't enough figures of either type in one box to do a whole battalion.

The situation is easier with the Strelets boxes, as each of their sprues are entirely of one type of figure, with a few minor differences so that the bases don't all look like robot-clones marching in lock-step. However, the Strelets sets are all in the later Belgic shako, and there are only half the number of figures per box (at the same price as the HäT box) — roughly enough for one battalion per box, with a few spares. The Strelets plastic feels a bit greasier than HäT's; hopefully after a good scrubbing in detergent the paint won't just fall off them.

I'll add a couple of 95th Riflemen on detachment to the Light Company, in homage to Sharpe, which I'm currently rewatching for the umpteenth time. I haven't yet decided how I'm going to base the Lights; whether to base them individually, and make a sabot for when they're in the line, whether to just put them on a 6-figure base like all the others, or to split the difference and put them on two 3-figure bases.

A bit later...

I decided to base my Light Bobs individually, and make 3d printed three-figure sabots for them.

The plastic figures are mounted on 12.5mm (½ inch) steel washers, and there are 5x1mm magnets inset in the bottom of each socket in the sabot base.

This way I can scatter them individually if they're out in skirmish order, or if I'm feeling lazy I can just leave them in their sabots.

Here are the two sabots alongside the other six-figure bases in a 3d printed half-battalion movement tray. Only the front rank of the Lights are painted as yet; the guys at the back are still in their black primer.

Next morning...

And this battalion is done. Now, on to the next, which I think will be kilted Scots, just to torture myself a bit. I need four battalions of foot for a complete Black Powder army; I expect I will be both ancient and irretrievably insane by the time I finish them all.

I've got a box of Strelets Highlanders in Attack primed with black gesso, ready to be painted. I've painted tartan before (see this old post) but never in this scale, and only on individual figures, not as a production line.

Napoleonics II: The Revengening

These Strelets 1/72 Napoleonic British just arrived on my doorstep this morning, so that's the foot component of my Black Powder Brits taken care of. Still got to get horse and guns, but first things first.

I'm mounting them at six to a 40x40mm base, so each box is roughly one battalion, with a few spares.

In truth, I'm really more interested in the Peninsular War than the 100 Days period, but the only stovepipe-wearing cheap plastic 1/72 Brits I've found are one set from HaT, and though I like them as figures, there are fewer useful poses per box in the HaT set than in the Strelets boxes. I'll just have to live with the embarrassment of presenting grey trousers and Belgic shakos on the field of Talavera.


I had to go into town for another reason, so I stopped by our local model shop and picked up some packs of Italerei Napoleonics.

These are the 95th Rifles, the Greenjackets. They'll need their swords trimmed off all their rifles, as they seldom used them as bayonets.

Here we have the 11th Hussars

And these are the Scots Greys.

That'll see me sorted for cavalry for a while, though I don't have any lancers.

4.5cm PaK (t) auf R-35 (f)

 I whipped this up mostly out of digital bits and pieces I had left over from other Blender projects.

It's a German hodge-podge of a Czech 45mm gun on a French R-35 chassis. The Germans made and used quite a few of these, right up until the war's end. From memory, there were about 135 of them.

The model is designed at 1:100 scale, as is my usual practice, for 15mm gaming. I didn't have any reference for the interior, so it's a bit barren in there — however, once I get a couple of crewmen in there I think it will look okay.


Fighting compartment
I exported the Blender model to two separate STLs, one for the hull and running gear, and another for the fighting compartment.

I find this gives me the easiest print to clean up, and it makes for a relatively easy print to support as I don't have to worry about any tricky supports forming inside the crew compartment.

3d Printer Upgrade — X-axis Belt Tensioner

Some time ago, when I was having issues with layer shifting and was flailing about for a fix, I bought a pair of belt tensioners for my Ender 3. I can't remember exactly where they came from (they came via Amazon), but they were pretty cheap — about ten or fifteen bucks each.

There are designs available on Thingiverse that can be 3d printed, but I prefer things like this to be made of aluminium and steel rather than plastic.

This is the one for the X-axis, and I've only just got around to actually installing it — I resolved my layer shifting issue, so there was no urgent need to change anything else, and I'm generally reluctant to fix things that aren't broken. It was not a big job, but it was pretty fiddly, and they came without any sort of instructions or drawings, so there was a certain amount of trial and error involved in installation.

I've done a small test print, and all seems well, so I suppose now I should go ahead and install the one for the Y-axis. And, looking at the photo, maybe I should give the printer a dust and wipe down from time to time too.

These things aren't strictly necessary for the Ender 3, but the belt rollers that come with the base machine aren't the best and have fairly obviously been designed for cheapness rather than efficiency or ease of use. These ones should, in theory, be less likely to rack the belt to one side or the other, as well as making it easier to maintain a decent tension thanks to the thumbscrew adjustment.


I also bought a Y-axis tensioner, which turned out to be designed for the Ender 3 Pro, which uses a different size of aluminium extrusion. Doh!

It took a bit of modifying, but I got it working.

I printed a pair of spacer blocks, and bought some longer M4 machine screws for the rail anchors.

The roller sits up higher than the original Ender 3 one, which means that the belt gets dragged across the sharp edge of the aluminium extrusion — I fixed that issue by adding a spacer-roller from bits out of my old Meccano set. It's a bit clunky-looking, but it seems to work.

Pz35(t) Artillerie Schlepper (15mm)

The Germans in WWII were very good at modifying obsolete equipment to wring the very last drop of service from them.

The Pz35(t) was a Czech design they nicked when they invaded in March of 1939, though it was already obsolescent by then. It was used as a light reconnaissance tank for a while, and a number of them (in the mid 40s I think, I'm not sure exactly how many) were converted into artillery tractors like this one.

It's not the sort of model that's likely to appear much on the wargames table; they would have been with the heavy artillery quite a long way behind the lines, unless something had gone very wrong. Still, you never know.

This is a 1:100 model by the prolific Mr. Bergman. I've refined the rivet and canvas detail, and added a bit of detail to the tracks. There were multiple issues with the original mesh in the form of non-manifold edges galore, enough to completely choke 3d Builder's and NetFabb's automated repair systems, but fortunately Cura just blithely ignored them and sliced it anyway.


These two photos were taken at the same time, with identical lighting and zoom, and both from a tripod and using the camera's timer to eliminate camera-shake. Both were focused on the same point on the model. The only thing that changed between them was the lens aperture.

On the left, the aperture was f22, on the right, f5.6.

Each of them has their benefits.

The smaller aperture (f22) increases the image's depth of field, so every part of the model is in focus. The background texture is also better defined. The exposure time is long, so a tripod is absolutely necessary.

the larger aperture (f5.6) reduces the depth of field, so the background is significantly out of focus — this has the benefit of separating the model from its background, and the fact that his left hand is also slightly out of focus gives the figure a bit more of a sense of depth. Exposure time was significantly shorter, but still long enough to make tripod use advisable.

The miniature is from Reaper; I think it's a swamp-troll or something.

DM Screen — slow progress

I've been doing a bit more work on my AD&D/OSRIC DM screen, and it's almost ready for prime time. However, I have a great huge gaping hole on sheet #4 that I am entirely without inspiration as what to fill it with.

There's some spare space on sheet #1 as well, but I'm less concerned with that. If there's an emergency need, I'll put something there, otherwise I probably won't bother.


I've about finished, I think. There are still a couple of lacunae, but I can fill them if I really find something useful, or else maybe just with some graphics.

Later again....

I've added an alternative last panel that includes THAC0 (for descending AC) and Attack Bonuses (for ascending AC) in place of the Aerial Agility Class and Unnatural Aging information.

The PDF can be seen here, assuming I've configured the Google Drive link correctly — it's under 2 MB.


As I've mentioned before, I really do not enjoy production-line painting, so I tend to paint models, and often figures too, one at a time.

However, a significant problem with that is that I'm terrible at maintaining consistency in my painting from session to session. These are three 1:100 (15mm) A10 Cruiser Mk.II, each painted at a different time, and each one completely different in appearance to either of the others.

The one on the left is from PSC, the other two are 3d printed.

Floating Cyclops Head Thing

 I had a bit of a hiccup with my computer recently, and since I had to get it fixed anyway, I thought I'd take the opportunity to upgrade its seven or eight year old graphics card. This thing is the result of the first bout of testing of the new card, which has certainly made a huge difference in sculpting performance in Blender — it started out as a cube subdivided and MultiResolutioned to about 6.5 million faces, and the card handled an object of that complexity without blinking.

I had no plan or purpose for this when I started modeling it, and that does show a bit. However, it's now a Thing, and I've 3d printed one and painted it. The spearman is an old Essex figure; his spear is marked in 5mm increments.

The STL can be downloaded (free) from

Cruiser Mk.II A10 (CS)

I recently printed this 1:100 Cruiser Mk.II A10 CS, and had my first go on it using the Vallejo Caunter set.

The issues with the print itself are several, but never mind that. The paints are excellent in terms of colour. My only issue with them is that because they're formulated for airbrushing, they take at least three coats to get solid coverage when applied by regular brush.

I prefer to apply Caunter by brush, because my masking skills aren't that great, and masking is a pain. It might be a different matter if I was working with 1/72 kits (or larger), where I could paint the camo scheme before adding all the lumps and bumps like exhausts and what-not.

I draw the lines of the scheme on to the Portland Stone base coat with a pencil and flexible ruler, and then just colour them in, and I find I can get acceptably straight lines that way.

The Wars of the Roses

Here's a group of 15mm Wars of the Roses men-at-arms I got more than 30 years ago as part of a sample pack from the Tin Soldier Company.

I don't really know anything about the WotR or who was who, so I just picked a couple of banners more or less at random. I don't have any immediate plans for a WotR army, but you never know.

New Blogger is Pretty Shitty

The "New Blogger" may very well be more responsive on mobile devices, as they claim, but it's pretty shitty to compose new posts on with my desktop computer.

They're saying that by late July there'll be no other option, so it looks like Blogger will become largely useless to me. It seems to be pretty much typical of similar platforms, removing flexibility and user agency in favour of a homogenized and restricted user experience, and it sucks.

I guess it's time to start looking for somewhere else to blather.

[EDIT] I've been looking into Wordpress to replace my bloggery needs when Blogger changes irrevocably to the Shit Version of Blogger in a couple of months, but I'm beginning to think I might be better off just biting the bullet and learning something about Drupal. I've been thinking for quite some time that I should convert to some sort of CMS, but I just haven't been arsed to do anything about it.

A13 Cruiser modifications

I've been making some modifications to one of TigerAce1945's Early War set, the A13 Cruiser Mk.IV. I only want it for the North African campaigns, so I've just done the version with sand shields.

The modifications consist mainly of bumping up some detail (rivets, mainly) and adding some fillers so that it will print better on my Ender 3, but I've also added some detail to the tracks.

I split the hull in half, added sockets for alignment pins, and printed it in two pieces.

The two turrets have different styles of mantlet, but are otherwise pretty much the same.

The split in the hull could probably do with a bit of filler, but overall everything printed okay. Not perfectly by any means, but okay.

Centurion AVRE – fascine (1:150)

I printed a pipe fascine for my 1:150 scale Centurion AVRE (digital model by Bergman).

The fascine is attached by magnets, so it can be added or removed at whim.

It's heavy enough that I had to glue a slug of lead under the hull rear to keep it from nosing over under its weight.

Henschel HS 129 (1:144)

Here's a Henschel HS 129 tankbuster that I 3d-printed at 1/144 scale from a file by (I think) Capt_Ahab on Thingiverse. I had to draw in the panel lines, and I used some old Zvezda decals from I don't know what kit.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. It's not as clean as an injection-moulded kit, but on the other hand, it was free.

Chieftain AVLB (1:150)

My friend Steve has recently become the proud owner of a Creality resin printer, and one of the things he printed is the hull of this 1:15...