Bulette


This is an old WotC pre-paint, one of the lucky-dip figures they were selling in boxes of about ten assorted minis way back when.

The poor unfortunate about to be gobbled up is a halfling from my D&D game, a character whose name I don't even remember now, who survived only just long enough for me to paint this mini for him, before being garroted and disembowelled by an assassin as a warning to others.



Colour Balance Target

I have a pretty decent camera now, which is held back mainly by my own ignorance and incompetence. It is, in theory, highly configurable in terms of the images it spits out, but 99% of the time I rely on its automatic settings, as they generally do a good enough job for my purposes.

Wrestling with colour balance for photography under lights is something that has always been problematic. I know that its possible to get lights that are tunable — that is, the colour temperature is adjustable, so it's possible to get a reliable simulacrum of daylight from them. However, I can't afford that sort of thing, so I rely heavily on software colour adjustment and standard "cool white" LED lamps.

I put together this little colour and tone target, printed from my CMYK laser printer. It's not nearly good enough for scientific accuracy, but it gives me a repeatable reference to work from, which is an improvement over guessing.

I Like My Maxes Dickered

The 10.5 cm K gepanzerte Selbstfahrlafette ("10.5 gun on armoured self-propelled mount") was a prototype self-propelled gun used by Nazi Germany during World War II. Although it was originally designed as a Schartenbrecher ("bunker buster") for use against the French Maginot Line defences, following the defeat of France it was evaluated for use as a long-range heavy tank destroyer on the Eastern Front, but action reports were not encouraging and no more were built after the first two.

It was colloquially known as Dicker Max ("Fat Max").


This is a 1:100 scale FDM 3d print, from a model by Zac Kavulich. The figures are Battlefront 15mm German early war grenadiers.

Yet Another Robot






This 3d printed robot is a freebie from somebody's Kickstarter. I've printed it at 200% of it original size, which makes it roughly 34mm tall.

Monsters of the Psychedelic Era






These are Topps Monster sticker designs from 1965, the artist being (probably) Basil Wolverton.

I remember these sorts of things cropping up here and there in my youth; they were all part and parcel of the style that produced the Rat Fink hot-rod cartoons and the like.

Somewhere in the AD&D DMG there are some random generation tables for creating demonic critters from the infinite planes of the Abyss. These guys would suit quite well as pictorial resources for the sort of nonsense that results from those tables.












Sorcerer's Tower from Printable Scenery






I thought I'd try my hand at a larger piece of 28mm fantasy scenery, and went for this one: the Sorcerer's Tower from Printable Scenery.

I was unprepared for how large it would be, nor for how long it would take to print. It ended up taking me six days of more or less non-stop printing to get all the major components done (minus doors), and god knows how long it will take to paint it. When I get around to painting it, which might be a while, because I'm well and truly sick of it now.





Stage 1: I decided to print it from top to bottom, on the theory that if I got delayed for any reason, I could still use it as a smaller tower without needing any of the under-bits. As it happened, that wasn't an issue, but the theory was sound I think.




Stage 2: The first stone tower bit. Only the top two pieces are primed in this photo. You can see that I had some printing issues with the balusters around the top balcony; I'm vaguely considering cutting that whole section of the balustrade out and replacing it with a traditionally modelled "crappy DIY" repair of planks and things.




 Stage 3: more tower. It's all sitting on my modeling table. The blobby things around its base are Mushroom Men.





Stage 4: the last of the tower segments is complete.

There's a spiral staircase running right up through the whole height of the tower, which is nice I guess, but it's unlikely ever to be seen much.

The wizard in the doorway (for scale) is an old Grenadier figure; a Julie Guthrie sculpt I think. It came as one of a boxed set of 25mm wizards.




 Stage 5: the ground floor of the house part of the structure.

The figure up on the top balcony is a 28mm (more like 32mm really) monk, from Reaper.





Stage 6: the first floor of the house.





Stage 7: All the major components finished at last.

That main roof section was a 29 hour print, just on its own.

Fungus Folk

This is the test-paint piece, upon which I'll base all the others.
It's fairly quick and simple, so it shouldn't take forever to paint up the whole group.


For certain reasons I'm in the process of printing up a small army of Mushroom People (about a couple of dozen, in the end) and I need to start to consider how to paint them.

Fungi are remarkably diverse when it comes to coloration, but I've decided to stick with that old trope of the amanita muscaria, if for no other reason than that it's immediately identifiable as being mushroomish.
The models are
Mushroom Folk by Fat Dragon Games
— they're cheap. You should definitely buy them.


I intend to end up with a couple of dozen of them; this is just the first lot.


Canoe

Here's a canoe, a free model I got from https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4181962, along with a Reaper monk for scale. It will fit two figures comfortably, three at a squeeze.

I printed it at pretty low rez (0.2mm) for speed, and it looks pretty OK I think. It would be better at a higher resolution of course, but I'm using it as a game token, not as a diorama piece, so this is fine for my purposes.



I imported the STL into Blender and stretched it to make a three-seat and four-seat canoe, one each of which are on the printer at this very moment.

Ram Kangaroo (revisited)

 I painted one of these once before, in the colours I thought it would have appeared in the Italian campaign, but it turned out that the Kangaroo didn't come into service until after that Mud/Black scheme was abandoned. So, here it is again in plain old olive drab.

The figures are Battlefront's old 15mm Mediterranean Brits.

Rear view

The model does have a little bit of interior detail. Not much, but a little.

Bergman SU-76 M Remix




This is a remix I've done of M. Bergman's 1:100 scale SU-76 M model.

All I've done is separate the fighting compartment and gun, to ease the placement and removal of supports, and add track pin and guides detail.

You can get the STLs (free) at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/su-76-m-bergman-remix/










My Printer Ruined My Ruin

This is the Medieval Church Ruin from Printable Scenery. It's a companion piece to a non-ruined medieval church of the same design, and I got it for cheap as part of a bundle. It's modelled for 28mm miniatures, but I've printed it here at 50% for use with 15mm figures — though it's a wee bit small, and 60% would be better.

Alas, my printer's layer-shifting chose this time to reassert itself, so the ruin is even more ruinous than it really should be. It's still usable as piece of wargaming terrain, but a stone structure this wonky would be so unstable that it would come down with a sneeze.

I am working my way through all the possibilities to diagnose the source of the layer-shifting, but it's a long slog. It's one of the most infuriating 3d printer problems, because it can hide itself until exactly the worst possible time, and then spring forth again like the monster in a horror movie that everyone assumes has been destroyed.

I'll probably reprint this model after I've got the printer running smoothly again, assuming I ever do.

Hezrou

This is a model by Schlossbauer on Thingiverse, printed by me on my Ender 3.

It's a Hezrou, which used to be called a Type II Demon back in the ancient AD&D days. It stands about 45mm tall.

I ended up having to slice its base off and print it lying at 45° on its back; I've been having issues with the nozzle knocking into tree supports recently, which is a bit of a pain. It's now based on a 33mm fender washer, which I prefer in any case, as it adds a bit of weight to the plastic model and lowers its centre of gravity.

One of the many, many advantages of 3d printing for gaming miniatures is the ease with which they can be re-scaled. The fully painted one here is printed at 100% of its designed size; the other primed examples are, from left to right, printed at 120%, 80%, and 50%.

It's good to have a bunch of monsters that are obviously the same species, but not all completely identical.

Panzer Grey (yet again)

This is a colour photograph taken by Hitler's personal photographer, Hugo Jaeger, of German troops standing around waiting to parade. It's early in the war; the panzer troops are still in their big black berets, and all the equipment is still painted grey. Interestingly, there are no balkenkreuz or tactical numbers showing on any of the vehicles, but they may very well have been freshly painted specifically for the parade.

Although it's a colour photo (not a colourized black & white photo), that doesn't necessarily mean the colours are accurate. At best, we can look at elements that are in known colours to judge the colour balance and exposure of the image as a whole.

In this case, there's not a lot to choose from. The colour of the German No.1 uniform of the men on horseback is reasonably well known from existing museum pieces, and there's the skin tone of the men. To me the colour balance looks fairly good, though the image as a whole is perhaps a fraction under-exposed.

Jeep (1:100)

"I told you, you should have gone before we set off."
A jeep in 1:100 scale is a teensy tiny little thing.

This one is mostly a model by M. Bergman, I've just added a driver and passenger and printed it on my Ender 3.

The quality is adequate for wargaming purposes, but small items like this, and especially the two crewmen, would be much better printed on a resin printer. I shall have to get one of those one day.

21st Panzer Stuff



Because I have the attention span of a mayfly, I've started a new project: some of the conversions of French AFVs used by the 21st Panzer in Normandy. I haven't seen anything much of these things available digitally — I'm sure there are some models out there, I just haven't found them.

I'm beginning with the 105mm Gesch├╝tzwagen 39H(f), because almost all of it can be re-used for the PaK40 version as well.

I'm starting from Marco Bergman's 1:100 scale Hotchkiss H39 hull, chopping it up and adding new detail to the running gear. The superstructure comes next, and then the two guns.



Later....

Got the basic shell of the superstructure pretty much done, though with quite a bit more work than I expected. Blender's "solidify" modifier seldom creates a shell of consistent thickness, unfortunately, but I haven't found a better way to do this sort of thing. I just have to resign myself to doing a whole lot of manual tweaking afterwards.

Later still....

Very nearly finished now. There are still some bits and pieces to attend to, like the muffler and tools and what-not, but this is just about done. Which is good, because I'm a bit bored with it now.

Ram Kangaroo

This Marco Bergman's 1:100 scale Ram Kangaroo APC, printed on my Ender 3, and painted up for the early part of the Italian campaign. I added some detail to the track edges, but I neglected to add any track guides before charging ahead and printing it.

The paint I used for the Light Mud camouflage colour came out much brighter and yellower in the photo than in real life, though even in real life it should probably be a bit darker and duller. Hey ho. In truth, I'm not sure that any Kangaroos would have been painted in disruptive camo, but they might have.
Note: Now that I've done the very basic research I should have done before, it turns out that the Ram Kangaroo didn't come into service until quite late in 1944, so it should really just be in plain SCC 15 Olive Drab.

A Glitch in the Matrix

Challenger 17pdr tank (M.Bergman)
As I noted in earlier posts, I've started getting layer shifting in my Y axis.

I'm looking at various things to try to diagnose the fault. There doesn't seem to be anything physically obstructing the print head travel, and all the belts and pulleys seem to be clear. Everything moves cleanly under finger pressure.

My current hypothesis is that it's degradation of the SD card I use to print from, since all the models showing this behaviour have been printed from one particular card and a test cube I printed from another didn't suffer from it. I've reformatted the card, and I'm doing a test print from it right now, so in a couple of hours I'll see if that has had any effect. If not, I'll try printing the same file from a new card.


Ram Badger

The Badger was a variant of the Canadian Ram tank. The turret was removed and the turret ring plated over, a small machine-gun turret emplaced there, and the bow machine-gun replaced with the same flamethrower as was mounted on the Wasp.

It was intended as a more heavily armoured replacement for the Universal Carrier-based Wasp flamethrower, which had proven to be dangerously vulnerable on the battlefield, being open-topped and impervious to nothing larger than small arms fire.

The Badger was on strength with the Canadians from 1944, but didn't see active service until 1945.

This is a 1:100 (15mm) 3d printed model, designed by M. Bergman and printed by me on my Ender 3. I've added a bit of extra detail to the tracks.

More Adventures in 3d Printing

I printed this 1:100 Ram Kangaroo last night. It's a Bergman model; I've just added some detail to the edges of the tracks. Overall, I'm not displeased with it.

However.

If you look at the transmission housing at the front of the hull, you will observe a nasty seam. That's a slight layer shift. There are a variety of reasons why this occurs; because this is a one-off shift, it was probably something catching on one of the parts of the printer as the print head was moving, quite likely some filament detritus getting caught in the belt and pulley, or something like that.

I thought the issue was in the X axis, because that's the direction of th shift, so I just spent about twenty minutes checking and cleaning all those components, and satisfied myself that everything is moving freely. Then I started another print of the model.

Now I know that the shift actually happened in the Y axis, because my memory is complete shit, and the model is actually printing 90° to what I had thought it was.

Hopefully it'll be fine. Hopefully.

Gun Barrels

 The most problematic part of any military model, whether it be 3d printed as here, or moulded and cast traditionally in white metal or resin, is almost always the gun barrel. The limitations of materials and processes mean that they're almost always over-scale, and also often quite fragile. White metal is soft and tends to bend at the slightest pressure, while resin or 3d printing plastics are easily warped or broken.

One way around the problem is to replace those gun barrels with new ones made of something a bit sturdier. In the case of the AEC armoured car shown here, the QF 75mm gun was turned down from a steel nail, while the Crusader's 6 pounder was turned from a length of 2mm brass rod. The brass is, of course, a lot easier to turn than the steel, and is generally quite strong enough for gaming purposes; the only reasons I did the 75mm in steel were

  1. I wanted to see if it was practicable with the equipment I have to hand, and
  2. I didn't have the brass rod yesterday.


What I use for this sort of work is a cheap little mini-lathe I bought from BangGood, an online mega-store. It cost me about thirty bucks, so not a lot.

It's really little more than a drill chuck mounted on a little electric motor on an extruded aluminium bed. It's the sort of thing that would be trivial to put together oneself, if one had any electrical engineering skills at all, which I do not. It's not nearly as precise as a proper micro-lathe, as would be used by watchmakers and the like, but it's adequate for this sort of task.

I just use needle files for the shaping. They work fine, and the brass 6 pounder barrel only took five or ten minutes from start to finish. The steel 75mm took a bit longer, because the material is so much harder than brass.

I don't think it would be up to the task of turning very small barrels, such as for 1/285 Tigers, or 1/100 20mm flak, but it's fine for most 15mm jobs, and it's a lot better than my old setup, which was just an electric drill strapped down to a piece of wood.

Bulette

This is an old WotC pre-paint, one of the lucky-dip figures they were selling in boxes of about ten assorted minis way back when. The p...