Mausoleum #03

 

This is the third in the Printable Scenery Hallowed Mausoleum set. So far I've just printed and primed it, and since I'm going out of town for a week or so, that's as far as it will go for a little while, but I thought I might as well make a start on it.


Bronze.....

...or stone?

This one definitely needs a sarcophagus in it I think. Fortunately I have some that I got in the very first Reaper Bones Kickstarter.

Printable Scenery Ruin

 

This is the front half of a two-part ruin from Printable Scenery, printed on my Ender 3. It's scaled for use with 28mm figures.

I had originally intended it as a vehicle for using my new static grass applicator, but that turned out to be such a useless piece of junk that I reverted to my old favourite, foam flock. There is a bit of static grass on there, but it was applied via the old sprinkle-and-blow method, rather than via this new-fangled static electrickery.


This is the back half. It's a bit less architecturally interesting than the front, but it has its moments.


And here they are, both together.

Photo Stage Paddock

 


From time to time I have an urge to photograph my models on a more naturalistic background than a plain white, grey or black background. So I threw this little photo stage together.

It's on a 180mm circle of heavy card that I had lying around that I had cut for some other, now long forgotten, project. I painted it with blotchy mud-brown acrylics, and then went to town with various grades and colours of foam flock, and a few tufts and patches of static grass. There's some actual dead leaves on there too, fairly thoroughly pulverized in a small blender I keep in my workshop for that sort of thing.

The 28mm Sergeant Measureby is there, as usual, for scale.

Mail-Order Junk

 

This static grass applicator arrived for me from China via Bangood today.

It is absolute shit. Not only does it not work very well, it doesn't seem to work at all. The power source is just a couple of AA batteries, and even if everything else was top-notch (it's not), they just don't generate enough current to do the job.

D-, Would not recommend.

Another 3d Printed Ruin

 

This ruin, again from Printable Scenery, was printed in two parts, and took about three days of printing all up. You can see a big gap between the front and back sections; I haven't yet decided whether or not I'll fill it or leave the model in two pieces.

There are quite a few stringing boogers remaining, and normally I'd scrape them all off, but in this case I intend to use them as the basis for some creeping ivy on the walls and pillars.

Unlike the mausoleum I completed recently, this model is going to have a whole heapin' helpin' of grass and moss added after the painting of the stonework is complete. That's going to be a while away though, because I want to mainly use static grass, and I'm waiting for a static applicator to arrive from Canada — and that's probably a month or six weeks away, under current conditions.


A couple of days later...




I've applied some limited colour to the ruins with various washes and glazes, and until the vegetation goes on, that's about all the colour there will be.

As well as some grasses and bushes around the base, I want to add some mosses and things growing on the stones of the ruins themselves. I find this tends to seat the structure within the scene, rather than making it look like it's just been plonked down on to a scenic base.

Several days later...


I've made a beginning on applying some vegetation to the ruin.

At the moment, the glue is still quite wet, and I'll let it dry out completely before I go any further as the colours will change a bit, and I want to be able to see just what is going on.

I'll probably have to knock back some of the more lurid colours by spraying a filter over them, but we shall see.

Most of the ground cover is foam flock. The mossy patches are static grass, and the bushes are lichen of some sort.

Power Grid Resources

 

Power Grid is probably our most-played boardgame. I have a bunch of expansions for it, and it constantly results in surprising and exciting play — no game is exactly like any other. It's immensely replayable.

Today I made a tray out of plywood to organise the resource tokens, which until now have been kept in another little rimu box I made, but which was inconvenient to get the tokens out of. This should be easier.

In truth, it's bigger than it really needs to be, but not by much. The yellow tokens (garbage) are the problematic ones; they're a lot bulkier than any of the others, and there are a lot of them, so they take up more space.

I have a plan for a magnetic lid. I'll probably do that tomorrow.

Mausoleum

 

Here's another terrain piece from Printable Scenery, this time a ruinous mausoleum. It's one of a pack of three (one of which is in two parts).

I have not yet decided whether to leave the mound bare and stoney, or to put some grass flock on it. I'm leaning towards leaving it though; I think it adds to the Gothic atmosphere of the thing.

I printed it on my Ender 3; it took about 28 hours I think.

As usual, Sergeant Measureby is there with his Spear of 5mm Increments, for scale.

Ocker Eyetie

 

For certain reasons I had to do a test-print in resin of my 1:100 Fiat M13/40 model today.

I already have sufficient of them for my Italians, printed in FDM on my Ender 3, and I'm quite satisfied with those prints as wargaming models.

Therefore, I thought I'd paint this one up as one of those captured by the Australians, like this one here.

The vehicle in this photo looks quite dark, and I'm not sure if that's because it was still in its original olive green, or if it's painted in the red-brown used as one of their disruptive camo colours.


I worked out an easy way of painting those Aussie kangaroos in a series of simple geometric shapes, but I never actually put it to the test in real life.

Now's my chance to put my money where my mouth is.

Skeleton Crew

 


The skeletons are printed from a digital model by Tom Tullis at Fat Dragon Games. The necromancer is a miniature from Reaper.

Strength

 

I've heard murmerings, from time to time, about how "unrealistic" the minimum required strengths listed in AD&D for using various weapons are.

The two-handed sword, for example, is commonly brought up as an example. In real life, they tend to weigh somewhere in the region of seven to ten pounds, though their listed encumbrance value (from memory) is 25 pounds.

Let's ignore the encumbrance value for the moment, since as well as its raw weight that's also supposed to take into account the fact that a two-handed sword is a big, awkward thing to carry around all the time. The minimum strength required just to use a two-handed sword without penalty is (again, from memory) 15.

"15 STR needed just to swing an eight pound sword?" I hear them cry. "Ludicrous! I can swing an eight pound wood axe easily, and I'm puny!"

What these carpers and moaners fail to take into account is that the strength required is not just to lift and swing the sword, but to do that again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again.  And again. And do that while ducking and dodging and maneuvering for advantage. And do it with enough muscle to be able to steer the thing with enough finesse to ever be able to hit anything, or to defend yourself from being hit. Exhaustion can set in surprisingly quickly, even when using a much lighter weapon than a two-handed flamberge.

Fighting is tiring, is the point, and swords get very heavy very fast.

British WWII 7.2" Howitzer (1:100)

 

I've been tinkering away at designing a 1:100 scale digital model of Britain's standard heavy gun of WWII, the 7.2" howitzer. It was derived from the WWI vintage 8" howitzer, with a new barrel to cater to heavier charges and new, better ammunition. It used huge chocks in an attempt to keep the gun roughly in place after firing; even so, it was not unknown for the most powerful charges to send the gun right up and over its chocks, presumably to the loud swearing (and peril) of the crew.


This model shows it on its original carriage. It was later put on the four-wheel split-trail carriage of the US 155mm "Long Tom", which was better able to handle the massive recoil generated by the gun's most powerful charges.

The STLs for the gun and its chocks can be found at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/british-7-2-howitzer/

Figures are Battlefront 15mm Mediterranean British infantry.





I finally got around to printing the huge chocks this thing used to keep it from bounding all over the landscape, and put it on a small base made from an off-cut of an old credit card.

Green Red Horde

 

Quite some time ago, I designed a 1:100 scale model of the Soviet T27 tankette (based on the Carden-Loyd Mk.VI) and uploaded it to Shapeways. Unfortunately, Shapeways 3d printing is still pretty expensive, so though I did get a sample printed, I never went ahead with the numbers that would be required for these little cockroaches.

Of course, now that I have a resin printer of my own, all that has changed. I've printed 21 of them so far, which is enough for between four and seven platoons, depending on how much I want to pay for them in Battlegroup: Barbarossa (it's 25 points for a three-tankette platoon, and an extra 10 points for up to two more).

The thing is, they're pretty pointless on a Barbarossa-era battlefield. They're unreliable, their narrow tracks bog easily, the armour is minimal, and they're armed with just a single 7.62mm machine-gun. They'd been declared obsolete by about 1935, and though there were still some around by 1941 they were relegated to towing light anti-tank guns like the 37mm and 45mm.

They were more common in the Winter War of '39-40, but even then they weren't front-line vehicles, and they didn't deal at all well with the snow.

Still, I've got them now.

A Couple of New Old Models

 I've been gradually working my way through the models I originally designed for printing by Shapeways to make them more suitable for home printing on FDM machines. These are about the last of those old models, I think.


The Peerless armoured car, designed in 1919 to replace vehicles worn out in WW1 service. It was heavy, and its off-road performance was pretty poor, but it was tough and it saw quite a lot of service with the British army, and with other forces as well. It was used a lot in Ireland.

There were still some in British service at the beginning of WWII.

The STLs are available at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/peerless-armoured-car/

Test print



The Soviet Komintern heavy tractor was based on the chassis and running gear of the extremely unsatisfactory interwar T-24 medium tank, which, among other failings, had a habit of spontaneously bursting into flames.

The Komintern was much more successful, and spawned a much-used lineage of similar vehicles that saw a great deal of service throughout WWII. It was primarily an artillery tractor, but was also used as a personnel carrier and as a recovery vehicle.

The STLs are available at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/komintern-heavy-tractor-15mm/ and include models with or without the canvas tilt.

Delusions of Grandeur, Maybe

 

I was looking through the Battlegroup: Barbarossa book, to see what extra use I could get out of my Winter War Soviets.

A BT-7 company needs seventeen tanks. That's a lot of printing and painting, and I don't know if I can really be bothered. If I print two more, sans aerial, I'll have enough for two platoons.

Each tank takes a little under four hours to print, so theoretically I could produce six per day, but honestly that's a highly unlikely production rate. Two or three is more my speed, mainly because washing, clearing supports, and and curing is a real pain in the arse.

BT-7 remix (15mm)

 

I figured, since I'd already done a bunch of work on the hull for the BT-42, that I might as well re-use all that labour for a BT-7, also remixed from Zac Kuvalich's original work.

Apart from the extra track detail, the main improvement I've made to the hull is in the engine grill.

I don't know enough about Soviet and Finnish stuff to know just how similar the Finnish BT-42 was to its source vehicle, the BT-7. But ignorance, as they say, is bliss, and it will do well enough for me until I find out otherwise.


Next Day...

Right, so here's the first test print. Overall I'm not dissatisfied.

The only real issue was that I neglected to create locating lugs/sockets when I separated the running gear for ease of printing, and I glued the tracks on wonky. Then I broke them, trying to move them into the right position — it's not too apparent from this side, but the other side is a bit worse.

Never mind, I've adjusted the STLs and I've got another test print under way.

I've sprayed the model with Vallejo Soviet 4BO surface primer, and given it a gentle dry-brush with VMC Green Grey to delineate the surface detail. The transparent red resin I'm printing with at the moment is terrible to photograph, though it is admittedly quite pretty.


Later that day...

Test print number two complete, and all issues are dealt with.

The running gear components now fit into place easily and positively; no more guesswork.


Next day...

Naturally, errors were made.

It turns out that the squared cut-off track guards were just a Finnish thing, so I had to do a bit of juggling with another of Zac's files to get them back to the bulbous Soviet style.

I also had to re-do the tracks. The track links I modelled on the BT-42, though taken from a photograph of a surviving vehicle, are more appropriate for a BT-2 or BT-5. The links on a BT-7 were about 20% shorter. It's possible, even likely, that the surviving museum BT-42 was cobbled together from several vehicles, using the tracks from an older tank.

Several days later...


Print successful.

This is printed in a Frankenstein mixture of resins: the very last drops of transparent red left in the vat, the last dregs of some opaque tan resin, and some transparent green to take the vat level up to a safe depth. They're all the same type of water-washable resin though, and all from eSun, so they're perfectly intermixable.

The only issue is that the inert fillers in the opaque resin mean that you have to be very diligent about washing the print, and it's a good idea to blow off any water with compressed air before curing — I didn't do that this time, which is why I got that white crufty buildup in some of the seams. The transparent resins are much more forgiving in this respect, and in using them I've got a bit lazy.


Compare with this one, in exactly the same resin, that I blow-dried with my airbrush before curing.

You could use canned compressed air  I guess, if you don't have access to an airbrush; I have no idea what those cost as I've never used it for anything.

BT-42 (15mm)

 

I've done as much painting as I intend to on my 3d-printed 15mm BT-42.

I have no doubt it should have more markings than just the hakaristi on the turret sides — I've seen a photo of one with a fairly large serial number on the hull rear, for a start — but I don't think I'll bother with them unless and until it nags at me too much.




Next day...

Well, it nagged at me too much, as I might have guessed it would.

I gave it its serial number, and I also changed the national markings to the drop-highlight style.



WWII Finnish Colours

 

Vallejo Modelcolor recommendations from IPMS Finland
I've just printed a Finnish BT-42 SPG, for no particular reason except that I'm fond of tanks that look kind of dorky, and the BT-42 is one of the dorkiest of them all.

Fresh off the printer

I know very little about the Finns in WWII, especially in the Continuation War, but I do know that they adopted a three-colour camouflage scheme for their AFVs. It was a pretty standard group of colours — a sandy yellowish, a green, and a brown — but they were subtly different than the colours used by the Germans or Soviets.

IPMS Finland recommend these Vallejo colour mixes, and I'm willing to trust that they know what they're talking about.

They will certainly need to be lightened a tad for use on 1:100 scale vehicles, and I'll have to do that by eye. I'll use the mixes as shown as the base colours, and then highlight with tints of each, which should lighten the scheme overall. 


Several days later...

I've finally got on to doing the base coat on this model.

I was originally going to use blu-tak masks and airbrush it, but in the end it was less trouble just to brush-paint it. The finish is less even, but once the weathering goes on, and at tabletop distances, I doubt very much that it will be noticeable.

The markings are going to be a little bit problematic. I have no decals for the Finnish hakaristi (swastika), and no way of getting any very soon, so it's going to have to be paint. Getting nice clean, sharp lines and corners in this size will be a bit of a challenge.

OT-130 — The Paintening Concludes

 



The OT-130 was a flamethrower variant of the Soviet T-26B light tank.

Painting complete. The tank and infantryman are both 15mm (1:100 scale), and both were 3d printed on my Elegoo Mars Pro in eSun water-washable resin.

For a blow-by-blow work-in-progress post on the painting of this thing, go here.

OT-130 — the Paintening Proceeds

 

The time has come to start decorating my 15mm 3d printed OT-130 (or XT-130, or KhT-130). I was originally going to paint it in winter white, but as it turns out, the Soviets didn't feel the need to indulge in anything as cowardly or effeminate as camouflage when they decided to try to kick the shit out of the Finns, so generic Russian green it is.


Plain green is pretty boring, so I'm bashing the crap out of the paintwork. There's probably a lot more damage than would be very likely, but I think it helps to create a bit of an impression of how shoddy was the construction of these early T-26 variants. Apparently the armour plates were often so poorly fitted that the crew could see light leaking in around them, and bullet fragments finding their way in through the seams was a real danger.

This model is the first one that has presented me with the issue of uncured resin inside pooling and melting away at the shell — I clearly didn't wash out the turret as well as I had thought, and the turret peg was starting to come away from the body. I pulled it right off and hit the innards with a UV torch, and then superglued it back in place; that should take care of the problem this time.


I've now made a little snake-neck UV LED curing wand that is small enough to poke into a 4mm hole, so hopefully this will be adequate to ameliorating the issue in future.

The information I have from the internet suggests that a minute or two with this should cure the resin  left on the inside surfaces sufficiently. I don't know how long a 9v battery will last, running one of these LEDs. They're fairly expensive, compared with AA batteries, so if the lifetime is too short I may be better off spending a bit more on a 9v power supply and switch.



I've decided to try a new (to me) experimental method of painting the tracks. It's pretty straightforward.

1)   I painted the entire track run in a mid grey, in this case, VMC Medium Sea Grey. I think pretty much any grey would do, though if it's too dark you'd lose a bit of the colour variation the next step gives.

2)   Next, I gave it a couple of coats of fairly thin Vallejo Game Effects Dry Rust. I like the grainy texture this stuff leaves.

3)   Last, I gave the tracks a dry-brush of VMC Oily Steel. This catches the light and pops out the highlights a bit, while being quite neutral in tone so the brown of the Dry Rust still predominates.

It's not too different from my usual track-painting method, which is to start with a medium brown, splosh on a couple of washes, and dry-brush. I don't know that there's much to choose between them, though I do prefer the texture of the Dry Rust.



The next step is oil-washing. The wash in this case is just raw umber oil paint in white spirit — turpentine can be used, but I find white spirit evaporates faster, and is less likely to leave any oily residue. 

I prefer using an oil-based wash to an acrylic one, as I find it wicks along creases better, and it's more manageable — excess colour can be taken back off just with a clean brush, slightly moistened with white spirit. However, if I'm in a hurry I'll still use Citadel and/or Vallejo acrylic washes, as they dry quickly and I can race ahead to the next stage. A white spirit wash needs to sit for half an hour or an hour before proceeding, and leaving it to dry overnight is better, especially if you intend to do any more spirit-based pin-washes.

The white spirit evaporates long before the oil paint is dry, and  when the spirit is almost all gone, I can come back in with a brush and do a bit of streaking of the still-soft paint — you can see it very clearly on the glacis.



Paint chipping is my next stage. This is, no doubt, a familiar process to most AFV modellers these days. It's a weathering step that comes and goes in fashion; for a while it seemed like every AFV model represented a machine that had been forty years in the field without access to a paint shop, but people are being a bit more restrained nowadays.


I use a bit of torn foam to apply the "chips" in a semi-random fashion, and I like to glue the bit of foam to the end of a matchstick, to keep my sausage-fingers out of the way. You can do it in a much more controlled way by using a small pointed paintbrush, but that takes a long time and I'm generally too impatient.

My favourite colour for this is Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark Rust, but any dark brown will do. I've seen dark grey used as well, but I prefer brown to represent oxidized metal.

The key here is not to mash the paint-loaded foam hard against the model, or else you end up with big blotches of paint instead of small, discrete patches of chips.

The main focus is on the corners of the model, and areas of high wear, such as where the crew climb in and out of the machine.


After the chips have been applied, I take another step and add highlights to the edges of the chip patches with a light colour. This can be a tint of the vehicle's base paint colour, or a neutral light grey, or in this case I've used VMC German Camo Beige, which is the same colour I used for the initial dry-brushing to bring out the model's surface detail. This gives the chips a bit of three-dimensionality.

You don't have to hit every single speck and chip, but it's a good idea to get all the large areas, and it's best to confine the effect mostly to the lower edges of the chip area, where the broken paint edge would catch the light. I use a lot of thinner in my paint, and a very small pointed brush, but even so, in this small scale I find it very difficult to get an effect that is both subtle and visible.

You can also do this with a sponge, to get chips that have scratched the surface of the paint, but not penetrated right through to the bare metal. I've skipped that on this model.

Something else I haven't done on this model, but which can look good: go in on large areas of high-traffic chipping with a sharp HB pencil, and scribble into the brown-painted areas only. This will give them a metallic sheen, looking more like areas that are being constantly abraded. You don't need (or want) to entirely cover the brown with graphite; you just need enough there to give it a metallic glint.

As with any weathering technique, it's easy to go overboard with this.

T-26B Model 1933

 

To go along with the T-35s, T-28s, and the SMK for my Winter War Soviets, I need some smaller, more useful tanks. I have some Zvezda T-26s, but they're a much later model with a snazzy drop-forged turret — the same turret, I think, as was used on the BT-7.

Zvezda 1:100 scale T-26

So I fired up Blender and whipped up this very early version of the T-26, from 1933. It was of all-riveted construction, and the turret-basket was a little tacked-on affair.

By 1940 it had been superseded by newer models, with more welded construction and a turret with an integrated basket.

I discovered, after I was well into the process, that Bergman has already done a 1:100 scale model of this very tank. Oh well, not to worry.


The test-print went well enough, and the model is printable. There are a couple of areas of distortion, but those are due to inadequate supports, not the model's geometry.

I may add some clutter — some tools and the like — but for all intents and purposes, the model is done and I can move on to something else.

Next day:

I've added some tools to the track guards, and an old-style box-shaped jack to the engine deck.

I've had to guess at the size of the jack from pictures, but its dimensions are correct in ratio, so it should be fairly close I think.


Next Next Day

I've added a couple of versions of the later (much more common) turret with an integral turret-bin. In truth, this type of turret would be much more appropriate for my Winter War force.

From memory, I think only about one in ten tanks carried a radio, and troop control was carried out via signal flags. That ratio improved markedly later in WWII, but to begin with the Soviets lagged far behind pretty much every other belligerent nation in that respect.

As of writing, I haven't yet printed these turrets. I suspect that aerial will require quite a delicate touch with the supports.


And now they're printed as well.

Addendum


On the suggestion of Richard Humble, over at the Facebook 3d Printing For Historical Wargames page, I modified my T-26 model to make this flamethrower variant, the OT-130 (or XT-130, or KhT-130, depending on who you read).

It's a very straightforward conversion. There are a bunch of little details to be modified, but the only major structural change was moving the turret over from the port to the starboard side of the hull.

Coupladays later...

Coupladays later...

The test-print went well.

The STLs for the OT-130 are available online at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/ot-130-xt-130-kht-130/

The T-26 STLs are at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/t-26-model-1933-early/