Baking Soda Air-Dry Clay Recipe


For later reference:

Baking Soda Air-Drying Modeling Clay

  1. Pour 2 cups Baking Soda and 1 cup of Cornstarch into a saucepan.
  2. Add 1¼ cups cold water and keep mixing.
  3. Add food coloring if desired.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is the consistency of mashed potatoes (about 10-15 mins).

Also called "cold porcelain". Makes a soft white modeling clay that takes impressed detail well, very suitable for terrain rollers. The clay can be coloured when made, and takes acrylic paint well. It will take a day or two to harden.

OSRIC Player's Guide(s)


Back in 2017, my friend Steve gave me a copy of the OSRIC Player's Guide, which extracted and republished the bits of the OSRIC rules that a player needed to have access to. Character generation, equipment, spell lists and so forth. It was excellent, and a bit less cumbrous than using the Big Book at the table.

For some reason, and I don't know what that reason was, it was withdrawn from publication and was no longer available.

Just this year, a new version of the Player's Guide has been published, with new art and layout, though I think the content is essentially the same. It looks okay, and the text is presented in a large enough font that if one wanted to make an A5 copy from the PDF, (and I might), it would probably be quite legible. Some of the table text might get a bit small though.

The spell descriptions in the first were presented alphabetically, but all lumped in together regardless of class, whereas in the new version they are arranged alphabetically but by class. I don't mind either method really — I just hate having to know what level a spell is before I can find it in the book. I haven't looked at the rest of the content in any detail.

The old Player's Guide was a hardback; the new one I just got is a softcover, and I got it via Amazon. It may well end up being available from other retailers such as DriveThru RPG, but I don't know what the timeline for that is. I don't object to buying via Amazon except that they don't accept PayPal, which I prefer to use for buying toys and tools and stuff from foreign parts.

Napoleon (meh)


Well, Napoleon was not great. Joachim Phoenix was great, as was Vanessa Kirby playing Josephine, but Napoleon as a whole was not.

The timeline was scattered, to say the least, and the pacing overall was pretty poor. It seems that Bonaparte just sort of kind of accidentally became emperor, and entirely without any agency of his own.

The war in the Peninsula was not mentioned at all. Not once. In spite of five French marshals — or was it six? — being defeated there by Wellesley.

Apparently Napoleonic battlefield tactics consisted mostly of disordered mobs of men running at each other.

No French attack columns at all, and not until near the very end of the film did we see some British troops forming square and then dropping back into line. Though to be fair, the aerial shots of those manoeuvres did look pretty good.

And although never even hinted at in any history I've ever read, it seems that Boney charged with the cavalry at Waterloo just before the Prussians arrived.

Also, the riflemen at Waterloo with telescopic sights on their Baker rifles made me snort air through my nose. Let us also not forget the complete misinterpretation of the nature of Napoleonic mortars.

I'm aware of the need for the massaging of events for dramatic effect in cinema, but this was a lot less massage and a lot more kitten-in-a-blender.

Ridley Scott may or may not have had the services of a military historian when blocking out his battle scenes, but if he did, it was not somebody who knew anything much about Napoleonic warfare. Or if they did, he ignored them.

Come to think of it, didn't he also give us D-Day landing craft in Robin Hood?

Space Opera Revisited

Some years ago — quite a few years, now — I ran a space opera campaign using the Hero System Star Hero rules.

I put my house rules and some other campaign information, including some session journals, on my website at (There was another that I'd done previously, also using the Hero System, set in a slightly modified version of Jack Vance's Gaean Reach.)

Terran Empire cover

It was nominally run in the Terran Empire milieu, though in fact not a lot of that background ever made it into the foreground of the game. I think there were some hints of covert Vorgon interference in Terran space, and the party did a salvage job on a drifting Hzeel freighter, but that was bout it.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed that campaign, and the main reason it folded (apart from my usual mayfly attention span) was because I was getting pretty sick of the Hero System's constant pernickety accounting. I had a character generation app that helped a lot, but even so...

It occurs to me now that the generic nature of the Chaosium Basic Roleplaying System, along with the simplicity of its basic mechanisms, might suit me a bit better. I don't know the system very thoroughly, but one way to amend that might be to build a whole heap of stuff in it, and one way to do that might be to convert my old campaign to it.

So I thought I'd give it a go. Why not?

There is a pretty comprehensive BRP sci-fi horror game already in existence, New Horizon, but it is pretty massive, about a thousand pages just in the two volumes of its core rules, and I don't know that I have the endurance required to absorb that much milieu information when I already have a milieu that I'm somewhat familiar with.


 I’m away from home at the moment, and will be for an indeterminate length of time. It’s family stuff.

That means, of course, that I don’t have access to my workroom for any of the things I normally do to engage my interest and fill my time. I’m very, very bored.



Next 1:144 scale tiny-aeroplane project is a Soviet Ilyushin IL-2 "Sturmovik" ground attack aircraft. That's the grey one in the foreground.

This is yet another of Roman Troyan's 1:200 models up-scaled to 1:144. I've printed it on my Mars Pro, using the new spirit-based resin, which seems to be behaving much, much better than the water-washable stuff.

Regrettably, I've got it printed just in time for me to have to leave home for an indeterminate length of time — probably about a month, though that's entirely dependent on circumstance. So it will be a while before I'll be able to finish it.

A Bit Later On...

Well, by neglecting other tasks, I got the Sturmovik painted. Those other tasks were probably unimportant anyway.

Maybe later I'll revisit it and paint some numbers on it.

Polikarpov I-153 (1:144)


This is a model I've been working on in Blender, the Soviet Polikarpov I-153 fighter, in 1:144 scale.

It has no detail at all on the under-surfaces; the way I use aircraft models on the tabletop, they're never seen from underneath, so it would be wasted effort.

I thought I might be able to reuse some of the geometry to make an I-16 monoplane, but having looked at some drawings of that plane it looks like the differences are too great for that to work out. I'd have to do so much work modifying the current fuselage that I'd be better off just starting again from scratch.

To tell the truth, I'm not quite sure how or why I ended up making this, since I have no immediate need for it in my own gaming. However, I do have a bit of a yen to do something with the Soviet-Finnish Winter War of 1939-40, and it would be appropriate for that conflict on both sides.

And here we have the printed model.

I've changed the resin I'm using from water-washable stuff, which has been enormously troublesome, to some spirit-based resin from the same manufacturer, which seems to be much better in spite of the added hassle in cleanup.

Esun Water-Washable Resin


A while ago I bought a bottle of white Esun water-washable 3d printing resin. It isn't the most expensive resin available by any means, but it's not cheap. And it's absolutely terrible.

This 1:144 model, in the process of being painted (I don't know yet if I'll bother finishing it) is pretty typical of the results I get from this particular resin. Delamination cracks appear at regular intervals. Deformations abound, and the fit of separate components cannot be guaranteed — in fact, they can almost be guaranteed not to fit. And once cured, it is pathetically brittle and fragile.

I don't know enough about 3d printing resins to be able to usefully diagnose the likely problem(s), but I have had much better results in the past with other of Esun's water-washable stuff, especially the translucent resins, so I suspect it may be an issue with overloading of the opaque pigment used to colour it.

I am so mean that I've persisted with it so far instead of dumping it, but today frustration has finally outweighed my stinginess, and out it goes to cure in the sun and be discarded.

Gloster Gladiator (1:144)


I've painted this Gladiator in the Dark Earth/Dark Green livery it would have borne for home service at the beginning of World War II. I don't know if Gladiators were painted the half-and-half black and white on their undersides* that other fighters wore; but since, as a tabletop gaming model, it will almost never be seen from underneath I haven't worried about it at all.

[ * They were, apparently ]

It's been printed in FDM on my Ender 3, and the surface detail on the fuselage ribbing is pretty rugged. I think I could probably get better results by rearranging its orientation on the print bed and printing it in a single piece, though that would mean a bit of pre-supporting of the STL in Blender for the sake of reliability. I may or may not ever get around to doing that. That should also help with the crappy printing of the undercarriage.


I learned that the Gladiator followed the standard Fighter Command practice for their lower planes, which was to have the port wing painted white and the starboard black. So I went ahead and painted it as such.

I believe it was supposed to facilitate IFF from the ground, which it doubtless did, but it also made the aircraft stand out like sore thumbs to opposing fighters and enemy AA gunners, and the practice did not last for very long once combat began in earnest.

The model is hanging off one of my magnetic perspex flight stands.

Later still (several days later)

Another Gladiator, this time painted up for use in the desert or Mediterranean.

This was printed as a kit, and it printed absolutely terribly, mainly due (I think) to the resin I was using. It developed a multitude of cracks, and the dimensional instability of the resin means that none of the components fitted well together. Add to that its brittle fragility, and you don't end up with a good model in any way.

I was in two minds about whether or not to even bother finishing its paint job, but I have. It will do as a gaming marker, but that's about it. I did another much better one-piece FDM print that will most likely end up replacing this one.

I've been playing around with Photoshop's Generative Fill tool, which makes getting rid of things like flight stands an absolute breeze. And just to keep him company, I've added a happy little Falco to the picture. The backdrop is an aerial desert scene I found somewhere on the internet and printed on my fairly crappy inkjet.

Another Chess Set


I made another chess set.

This one is super-simplified and geometric; it would be an easy thing to make in wood, and I might do that one of these days.

This is a test print, and you may notice that the pieces have a black band around their bases — that's because I ran out of black filament, and had to change over to my last remaining roll which is grey.

Bristol Bulldog


Yet another of Roman Troyan's aircraft models up-scaled to 1/144, this time an interwar Bristol Bulldog, the standard fighter of the RAF in the early 1930s, alongside the Hawker Fury. It was replaced (briefly) by the Gloster Gauntlet in 1937, before the monoplane fighters (the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire) came along in numbers.

I printed it in two halves on my Ender 3, and the surface finish on the fuselage isn't very good; I think if I changed the print orientation and did it in a single piece I could get better results.

The model doesn't have a pilot figure, and I think it really does need one. I shall have to do something about that.

Martel Tankette


This is a niche product if ever there was one — the 1925 wooden prototype of the tiny one-man British Martel tankette.

The model is designed at 1:100 scale (15mm).

The STL is available at

P-47d Thunderbolt


Another of Roman Troyan's 1/200 aeroplanes, up-scaled to 1/144.

I did not especially enjoy painting this one, mainly because of the metallic paint. The surface of the FDM print isn't smooth enough to get the best out of it, and once cured, the surface of the paint is quite slick, causing adhesion issues with overlying layers.

However, it's finished now.

Bristol Blenheim in the Desert


This is yet another of Roman Troyan's 1/200 scale models, up-scaled to 1/144. 

It's the Bristol Blenheim Mk.I, and I've painted it in a colour scheme suitable for North Africa and the Mediterranean.

It was very fast for its day, but alas for the crews, its day passed before WWII kicked off, and with its rather pathetic defensive armament and against much faster enemy fighters, losses of Blenheims were very heavy.

Typhoon, also with paint on


I've finished off my 3d printed 1:144 scale Hawker Typhoon, complete with rockets, ready to kick the crap out of anything it can spot in the Falaise Pocket.

It's a bit cleaner than the Tempest... I'll see how I feel about that later on.

Tempest, Now With Added Paint


I've painted up my 1:144 Tempest model.

These are the markings, I believe, of the Tempest of Pierre Clostermann, a very famous exponent of the type.

And now, Typhoon

Now I've made another little aeroplane, this time the Hawker Typhoon.

This one is probably more useful as a wargaming model than my earlier Tempest, since it was used much more in a ground-attack role.

I've created the rockets as a separate STL so they can be added or left off at the whim of the user.

The STLS are available at



I've been building a WWII fighter-bomber in 1:144 scale in Blender, the Hawker Tempest, and trying out a method for creating panel lines that seems to be working okay.

I cut a line through the model where I want the panel line to go and then extract that edge as a curve, which I can then adjust to the exact thickness I want, convert it to a mesh, and then boolean out the panel line. It would be nice if I could do the mesh conversion non-destructively, and I think it's possible with geometry nodes, but they are pretty much still a complete mystery to me.

I'm pretty happy with it so far, and now I just have to make some under-wing rockets for it. Though I find, from the small amount of research I've done, that not many Tempests ever used the famous 60 pounder rockets in action — that was more for the Typhoon.

I'd like to do a Typhoon as well, and I think I could probably reuse most of the fuselage geometry. I'd have to redo the wings from scratch of course, and the tail fin (and probably the tail planes) will need reprofiling.


Test print(s) done, and I've learned some things.

  1. Double check your dimensions. For some reason I designed the thing at 1:122 scale instead of 1:144 — I have no idea how that error crept in.
  2. Tolerances for FDM printing are coarser than you might imagine. The panel lines were right at the edge of the envelope when I originally laid them down, at 0.3mm wide, and when the model scaled down to 1:144, they mostly disappeared in printing. (They'd probably be fine for resin printing).
  3. There's a difference between a scale model and a wargaming model. I could (and should) have made the tail fin, tailplanes and wing trailing edge about 50% thicker. Also, making the wing a true aerofoil profile probably just made life harder for myself without returning much real-life benefit.



Here's another one of Roman Troyan's 1/200 models, up-scaled to 1/144, this time a P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback. I have a bubble-top in the painting queue as well.

I've painted the invasion stripes on the under-surfaces only, so they're not really visible — if you squint hard you might just make out a hint of them on the fuselage.

 I found that the easiest way to paint the national markings was to cut a mask of the general silhouette and spray in the dark blue background, then brush paint in the star and bars — this way I can be sure of getting the general proportions right at least.

Printing Petite Planes


Roman Troyan's 1/200 models (PlanePrinter on Patreon) are a treasure trove for people like me who have a desire for models for aerial wargaming, or as air attack models for all-arms games. I like 1/144 as a scale for both these purposes, and his models scale up to 1/144 very well indeed.

This particular model is a P-47 Thunderbolt "Jug", printed on my Ender 3 in PLA+.

There are some issues with FDM printing aircraft though.

They tend to be made up of lots of smooth aerodynamic curves, and to look their best they need to be printed in such a way that minimises the layer lines that are inevitable with any FDM printer.

The best way to achieve this on both the wings and the fuselage is to cant the model at quite a steep angle to the print bed. That's easy enough.

However, though Cura's tree supports do a pretty reasonable job for the most part, there are a couple of things they're not good at:

  1. They don't necessarily accurately preserve the profiles of things like wing tips
  2. They're not very strong until they've built up a bit of their own structure, and this means that elements close to the build plate are more likely to fail. While it's possible to tell the slicer to thicken and strengthen the supports, this also makes them a lot harder to remove cleanly.

For those reasons I've taken to modifying the base STLs in Blender, to provide them with some stronger, more reliable supports for the crucial areas. Adding these support structures does extend the printing time a bit, but on the other hand the print as a whole is less likely to fail, and it's more likely to be properly dimensionally accurate.

The built-in supports have to be clipped away and the nubbins filed smooth; they don't detach the way that slicer supports do. However, that's not usually a huge job, and the lower rate of failure is adequate compensation.

I still use Cura's tree supports in addition to my built-in structures, and because the important bits of the model are elevated off the print bed, I can print on a raft which very much reduces the chances of the print detaching itself from the bed during printing.