Hazardous Environment Suit

 

This is the Deep Space Explorer - Commando from Digital Taxidermy.

I've printed it on my Mars Pro.

It's 32mm tall, so a little small for a 28mm sit-in walker unless the pilot was really crammed in there (or maybe was some kind of brain-in-a-jar). It would be quite roomy for a 15mm figure though.

It's an aesthetic that I quite like for space opera. It has the look of an old-timey deep-sea diving suit.

Chess Set

 

I have employed my 3d printers recently to put together a chess set for myself. I'm not a very good chess player, but I do enjoy a game from time to time.

The pieces are assembled from a variety of STLs I've found about the place. The king and queen are scans of archaic Greek statues, a kouros and kore, from the Smithsonian I think. The bishops and knights are files I found on Thingiverse. The rooks were originally also from a Thingiverse file, but I've edited it quite a bit. The pawns are Goblinoid Warriors from Fat Dragon Games. And everything has been put on to decorative bases that I whipped up in Blender. I've glued 32mm (1¼") steel washers underneath to lower the centre of gravity and make them less tippy; I'd like to add some thin felt as well, but we shall see.

The black pieces are in the process of being painted right now. They'll be dark red rather than pure black, so that a bit of the detail can be made out.


Later...

I have an extra pawn for each side, because they were printed in batches of three. So I'm taking those extras and gluing crowns on their heads, so that when a pawn is advanced to queendom, it can be replaced with one of these Uber-pawns.

I made the crown in Blender and printed them on my Mars Pro.


And later still...

Now the black pieces are all painted as well.

I'll give everything two or three spray coats of satin polyurethane to protect the paint from filthy grubby greasy fingers, and I think I might glue some felt to the bottoms of all of them as well.



And oh, bugger...

I made this little side-table some years ago.

I thought that I could just unscrew the top from the carcass, and have it as a free-floating chessboard, which would really have been more convenient for actual chess-playing purposes.

However, it appears that I glued it as well as screwing it together. I guess I thought that would be a good idea at the time. Turns out, that was not a good idea.

So, bugger. I suppose I'll just have to make another board now.

Dice Tower

 

I downloaded bainite's Three Path Dice Tower from Thingiverse. It comes in five parts: three sections for the tower, and the two side stairs, all held together by magnets (though you could just glue it all together I suppose).

In general, I find dice towers more a novelty than a necessity, though they can be handy if you're dealing with massive handfuls of dice. They do take up a bit of space on the game table, and I doubt that I'll use it very much, but what the heck. What's the point of having a 3d printer if you don't use it to make pointless crap for yourself?

The original design has a very shallow parapet, and I was finding that unless a degree of care was taken with putting the dice into it, they had a tendency to skip out. So I whipped up an add-on crenelated parapet to deepen the loading well and glued it on top.



I also remixed the whole top floor of the original model, adding the deeper parapet and larger funnel-mouths at the entry of each chute, so there's less flat space on top for dice to inadvertently rest on.

That's also now on Thingiverse at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5814665



Char 2C update

 

I've updated my 1:100 model of the Char 2C to include a second version of the rear MG turret with a short ventilator stack. Either can be used, as no two of the dozen or so Char 2C that were built were manufactured exactly identically.

https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/char-2c/

OGL Shenanigans


 I don't really know anything about the internal goings-on around Wizards of the Coast's and Hasbro's push to do away with the Open Gaming Licence as it currently exists, and I don't know enough about contract law to know if they have a leg to stand on. However, I am in no way surprised that they're having a go.

A couple of things have to be borne in mind when something like this occurs.

  • First, capitalists are, as a general rule, selfish and greedy, and they don't care about you at all. The only thing about you that is important to them is the amount of your money you're prepared to give them. In most cases, the amount of money that goes into the pockets of a CEO and the other senior officials of a company is directly proportional to the money they get out of you, and capitalists being the way they are, they will prioritize their own wallets over the desires and best interests of their customers.
  • Second, in a public company (i.e. one that has issued shares and has shareholders) the management of that company has a legal requirement to maximise returns to their shareholders, and the shareholders can sue if they feel that those requirements are not being adequately addressed. 

I don't think that the fact that there is nothing unusual or unexpected about this behaviour means that people shouldn't express their outrage at it, but I have little sympathy with those who feel that they've been betrayed by their kindly roleplaying game production company.

I do think that expressions of hurt and outrage are unlikely to be enough to effect any change in WotC's intentions, because capitalists don't care about your hurt feelings. The only thing that will do that is an impact on their bottom line, and that means cancelling subscriptions and refusing to buy their products until they make a firm commitment to keep the current status quo, vis-a-vis the OGL.

There's a (slim) possibility that this might occur, if the public response has sufficient effect on the company's income. However, even if it does in the short term, always remember that a standard corporate tactic in cases like this is to appear to withdraw, wait for the kerfuffle to die down and for people to become complacent again, and then try it all again. Be vigilant.

Mythras

 

Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a roleplaying game called Runequest. It was very popular, probably second only to AD&D at the time. Somewhere I have a copy of Runequest II but I haven't looked at it for years and years.

It went through several iterations, the latest of which is (I believe) Runequest 6. Mythras, as far as I know, is pretty much RQ6 renamed — there may well be some minor differences; I haven't kept up with the changes in Runequest through the ages.

I just ordered a copy of Mythras, though whether I'll ever actually use it to play a game is uncertain. There were elements of the Runequest milieu that I didn't much like, the heavy emphasis on cults and their relationships being one of them, and I think that when played straight, Mythras carries that on. But I don't know for sure to what extent — I shall have to read the system in more detail.


There's a freebie quickstart PDF version available from from DTRPG called Mythras Imperative.

In common with others of its ilk, it's intended to allow you a "try before you buy" experience. It contains enough information to get into character creation, and to run the beginnings of a campaign.

I guess, if you were willing to put in the work yourself, you could use it as the basis to create your own fully-fledged game, but I think that would be a lot of work to save a few dollars on the complete rules.


There's a companion volume called Classic Fantasy which is basically intended to enable those who want to play AD&D with the Mythras mechanics.

I also ordered a copy of that, because I've found in the past that I tend to end up trying to force whatever fantasy game I'm running into a D&D mould. And that's why I've been running an AD&D campaign for the last few years — because I figured that I might as well just use AD&D to play AD&D.

However, something I don't much like about D&D in any of its manifestations is the way that characters fairly rapidly become enormously overpowered. If you want to play a game in which characters can mow their way through armies of mooks without breaking a sweat, and completely ignore the perils of curses or disease or what-not it's fine, but I prefer a less superheroic campaign style. Unless I'm playing a superheroic campaign, of course.

There's a possibility that a Mythras-based AD&D-style campaign might be a solution. Maybe.


Chaosium, the owners of the Runequest brand, appear to have republished the d100 engine used for Runequest and Call of Cthulhu et. al. into a sort of universal, non-genre-specific game they've just called Basic Roleplaying. It looks interesting to me, a lot simpler than games like GURPS or the Hero System, both of which are phenomenally accounting-heavy when it comes to character creation and maintenance.

I nabbed the PDF of it from DTRPG because it was on sale for 99 cents, but I really prefer physical books when it comes to RPG manuals. It's available in hard-copy from Chaosium, but they want to charge an additional $US85 for postage, and though I'd like a copy of my own, I don't want it that much. It doesn't seem to be available in print anywhere else: Amazon lists it, but as usual when they're listing a book they can't actually get but don't want to delist, they show it at a massively inflated price, in this case about $350. Absurd.

Emplacement/Entrenchment Components (15mm)

 

After working on a 3d-printed gun emplacement recently, I realised that for the most part I would have been better off with printed components that I could assemble with traditional modeling methods into emplacements or entrenchments. So I got to work in Blender and whipped up some basic pieces that I can print and work with.

The main revetments are 60mm long by 12mm high, for use with 15mm figures, and they can be pretty easily cut up, either digitally or physically after printing, to create shorter runs if need be. They're fairly period-agnostic; I think they could be appropriate for any cannon-using wargamer from the 1600s onward.

I assembled them into a complete emplacement that would fit most medium guns, and I'd fill out the glacis with foam and plaster and what-not. The 3d printing just takes care of the fiddly bits. The individual components would be more flexible, but the pre-assembled print is less trouble if what you want is a 60mm square.

I think that for entrenchments, a fire-step piece might be useful, though it might just get in the way of placing figures.


The STLs are available at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/emplacement-components-60mm-x-12mm-revetments/

I think it likely that I might add to them over time, as I find new bits that I'd like to have.

Gun Emplacement

 

I think I found this 15mm gun emplacement on Thingiverse. It was some time ago, a couple of years at least, but I've just got around to printing it on my Ender 3.

I doubt very much that 3d printing it saved me any time over modeling it in traditional media, though it did save me a bit of effort by providing the basic forms. I still had to add some ground texture so that the lip of the emplacement didn't look too smooth and regular, and to apply and paint the dirt and vegetation flock.

The gun, a German 10.5cm howitzer, was printed a while ago on my Mars Pro. Somewhere I have some Peter Pig 15mm artillerymen to crew it, but right this moment I have no idea where they are.

The emplacement cavity is 75mm in diameter, the whole thing is 130mm.

Blacksmith's House (28mm, WiP)

 

I have no memory of where this model came from; I suspect it was a Humble Bundle I went for a few years ago. I printed it a year or two ago on my Ender 3, and it's just been sitting around waiting for me to do something with it.

Now I've primed it and glued it to a bit of MDF, and started the groundwork with sawdust and dirt. Where I'll go from here I'm really not sure. It's a bit uninteresting just as it is.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure why I printed this in the first place. I have no real use for it for tabletop gaming. Still, it's something to do from time to time.

Crusader I

 

I thought, since I was doing Crusaderish things anyway, I really ought to do a model of the first of them all, the Crusader I.

In many respects it's very similar visually to the II and III versions, but it does differ in many details. The two pounder uses an internal mantlet, the same as that seen on some A13s and early models of the Valentine. The long-run sand shields are absent, with the Mark I having deep shields only at the rear. Early production vehicles had the wheels covered with flat steel discs, which were usually removed (or not supplied) on later ones. There are differences in the configuration of the exhaust mufflers. And so on.

The Mark I was terribly unreliable, especially in desert conditions. When it was working, it was very speedy and had a hard-hitting gun (for its time), but there would be a pretty good chance on any given day that it wouldn't be working.

The STLs for this model are available at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/a15-crusader-1/






Test Print

I've done a test print and primed it in Vallejo Parched Grass surface primer so that I can actually see what's going on — the raw resin is white and slightly translucent, so it's very difficult to make out any detail on it. Overall I'll call the test print a success, though it's not absolutely perfect by any means.

The commander is a plastic BF figure that I bought a few years ago.

I'm tossing up whether or not to paint it in Caunter — not many of them were, but I have (finally) found some photographic evidence that some were painted in that scheme for Operation Battleaxe. I do like the Caunter scheme aesthetically, but it is a huge pain in the balls to paint, especially in teensy 1:100 scale.


Next Step

Next step(s): panel-shading over the Parched Grass surface primer with Portland Stone, which is pretty pale and bright. By leaving less paint in the hollows, and by painting in each panel separately rather than giving it an even all-over coat, it starts to give the model a bit of volume.

I've also painted in the tyres and tracks in mid-grey and mid-brown respectively. The brown is just the base colour for the tracks; they'll change considerably with weathering layers, and become a lot paler.

I could leave the whole tank overall Portland Stone, or from here I could go on to add the Silver Grey and Slate Grey areas for Caunter. I still haven't finally decided.


And now, finished

I elected in the end not to go for a Caunter scheme, mainly because I just liked the look of the model in the pale Portland Stone. For a change, instead of painting the unit markings, I used some BF decals, and as always when I do that, I kind of regret it. It made life easy, but honestly, BF decals are pretty crap when it comes to colour registration.

Crusader II

 

Continuing with my Crusader fetish, this time it's the Crusader II, also in 1:100 scale for 15mm gaming. This version mounted the 40mm 2 pounder gun, and was originally fitted with a bow machine-gun turret, though these were often removed since they were basically worthless. The commander figure is one from a set I bought some years ago from Battlefront.


Speaking of Battlefront, I found that I'd also bought one of their resin and metal Crusader II models years ago, and completely forgot about it. That's it on the right of this photo. It's broader in the beam than my model, but I've double and triple checked my measurements, and I'm pretty confident that I'm right and they're wrong.


I printed my model some time ago in FDM on my Ender 3, before I got my Mars Pro, and at the time I thought it was an okay wargaming model. I guess it is really, since it does look like what it's supposed to be, but since I started printing models like this in resin my quality expectations have risen quite a bit, and now I hold it in contempt — I probably won't even finish painting it. It's like when you go to drinking proper wine out of bottles instead of el-cheapo plonk out of boxes; it's a bit painful to go back once you get used to it.

Crusader III


This is the British Cruiser Mk.VI A15 Crusader III, the last in the Crusader line. It mounted the excellent 6 pounder gun, replacing the 2 pounder of the Crusader I and II. The 2 pounder had been a very good gun in its day, but by 1942 it was no longer sufficient to deal with the newer German armour. The Crusader III also replaced its old engine with the "Liberty" engine, which solved most of the reliability issues the earlier versions had suffered from.

The model is 1:100 scale for 15mm gaming, and is my own design (you can get the STLs here, or the Crusader II here). This one has been printed in resin on my Mars Pro, but the models have been designed with FDM printing in mind.

The Crusader is one of my favourites of all the British tanks of WWII, for all its shortcomings.



Retro Pig-Faced Orcs

 

About a year ago I sculpted these two retro-styled pig-faced orcs, based on the aesthetics of the ancient Minifigs orcs of the 1970s. And now, at long last, I've got around to painting them.

I've painted them in a very simple "toy soldier" style, and then slathered them in Army Painter Quickshade (oil-based, dark tone).

I originally intended to do a range of different weapons for them as well; the original Minifigs range basically used the same body and just changed the weapons, so that would have been pretty straightforward. Things like archers would need a whole new figure sculpted, though I could reuse a lot of elements quite easily. If I recall correctly, the officer figures just added cloaks and helmet crests, so again, no big deal there.

However, that burst of enthusiasm has passed, and I never got around to doing any of that. Maybe some day.

Note: these are much too large to fit in with the genuine white metal figures of yore; they'd need to be rescaled to about 60% or thereabouts. These ones are designed to scale with massive modern 32mm "heroic" figure sculpts.

Desert Lizard

 

This is the Guy Lizard ACV, a British armoured command vehicle of WWII. It preceded the more famous AEC Dorchester, and was neither as spacious nor as comfortable. Most of them were lost in the retreat from Dunkirk, but a few made it out to the desert. I've painted it in the early-war Caunter scheme.

This is a 1:100 scale (15mm) design of my own, printed on my Mars Pro.

I've printed this before in FDM on my Ender 3, and painted that one as it would have appeared in France in 1940.




Chi-Ha

 

This is a 1:100 (15mm) Chi-Ha Shinhoto, the later version with the long 47mm gun, that I designed a while ago for a commercial client, though I don't believe they've actually produced it (yet).

Since I printed it, a few months ago, both the turret and hull have developed some pretty bad cracking, and I'm not sure why. Both components were printed solid, and it may be that the innards have not cured properly, or else maybe the outer layers were over-cured... but really, I'm just flailing in the dark. It could be any number of things.

Cromwells

 

Here's a troop of 1:100 (15mm) Cromwells, the standard British-made medium tank of the British army after D-Day (though they were outnumbered in British service by the American-made M4 Sherman). By the time they went into active service, they'd had their original 6 pounders reamed out to take the same 75mm shell as the M4, which gave it considerably inferior anti-tank performance but a much better infantry support weapon.

These models were printed some time ago in PLA+ on my Ender 3 FDM printer. The design is from the excellent Mr. Bergman again, and about all I've done to it is add some nubbins around the edges of the tracks to suggest some link detail.

Compared with tanks like the Panther, Tiger II or T-34, the Cromwell looks quite archaic with its boxy shape and prominent rivets, but I think that's why I like it so much.

Long-Term Error

 


I have just realised, after all these years, that I've been painting the 7th Armoured "Desert Rat" jerboa insignia wrong. I've been painting it with its tail curled up around its back, not under its feet.

Fortunately, in 1:100 (15mm) it looks pretty much like a red squiggle inside a white circle, and nobody is very likely to notice unless they look at it through a magnifying glass, but I'll know my secret shame.

The photo is of a PSC 15mm M3 Stuart.

Onitama (again)

 

When I made my original Onitama set, I came to realise that I could have made it considerably more compact if I just used the storage box as the game board.

I 3d printed a small set, suitably sized for travelling, but I designed the box for that before I learned that lesson. So I made a new box/game board for those pieces out of a rimu off-cut. The 3d-printed game pieces have steel washers glued to their bases to give them a bit of weight and a lower centre of gravity.


The box-board is basically just two solid blocks of rimu hinged together, with a cavity carved out of one of them to store the playing pieces and cards.

The dimensions of this one, closed up, are 118x90x45 mm. It'll slip easily into a satchel or jacket pocket.

Comets

 

I wanted to paint some Comets in the peace-time Deep Bronze Green livery that the British painted their tanks and things when not actually being shot at. I did them partly to distinguish them visually from the Cromwells, but mostly because I just wanted to.

I found a couple of bronze green Comets, freshly painted for the 1945 Berlin victory parade, in amongst the Armoured Acorn stuff. There was no top-down view, so I couldn't see if the star was painted on the engine deck or turret top, but I've assumed that since air recognition was no longer an issue it probably would not have been.

These two were printed some time ago in PLA+ on my Ender 3 from a slightly modified Bergman model.

The Tortuous Hell of Social Interaction

 

I absolutely detest being put in the position of having to interact with NPCs when I'm playing in a TTRPG. I'd say that I'm not wholly unintelligent, and I'm capable of the occasional flash of wit in real life, but require me to come up with something to say to an NPC to convince them to go along with the wishes of the party, and my brain just disappears.

I know that some people just absolutely love this sort of thing, and more power to them, but I find it actively unpleasant, and it destroys any enjoyment I may be having in the game at that moment. It may be lame of me, but when it comes to this sort of thing I'd much rather just rely on whatever social skills (or lack thereof) are written down on my character sheet and roll some dice.

When it becomes really irritating to me though is when the games master just ignores the character's supposed abilities. If I have a character with a high charisma, or a whole bunch of levels in skills like persuasion or intimidation or just plain outright fibbing, I expect to be able to get some benefit from those stats. Otherwise, why have them at all?