New Photo Backdrop

 

I threw together this generic ETO terrain backdrop for photographing things on. I used a manila card folder, which is why there's a visible crease right down the middle of it. That's an annoyance, but I don't care about it too much — it's not meant to be diorama terrain.

The flocking is, first, dirt out of the garden (put through a coffee grinder to break it up), then three colours of Woodland Scenics foam flock. It's a bit bland though; I think I might have to add something else. The trick will be to make it interesting enough, without becoming so interesting that it overpowers any models I put on it to photograph.

The 15mm Panzer III is from PSC, the 6-Rad is from Battlefront (with a greenstuff flag to disguise crappy casting), and the Kfz 14 is a 3d print with some Command Decision crewmen.

M3 Lee for 3d printing

 

I've added a new hull to my 1:100 scale (15mm) M3 Grant/Lee pack on wargaming3d at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/m3-grant/

It has no sand-shields, and I've removed the canvas cover on the 75mm gun mount. This should make it more suitable for the Grant and Lee as used in Burma.

Kettenkrad (15mm)

 

That talented Mr. Bergman has released a set of STLs for the Kettenkrad (called the Rabbit by the Americans) in 1:100 scale for 3d printing.

The vehicle was a fine and ingenious piece of engineering, but its real usefulness didn't last long during the war — it had very limited load-hauling capability, though it could pull a small trailer, and having the passengers facing backwards proved not to be the best of ideas.

I'm fairly happy with this FDM print, though for things this tiny a resin printer would naturally be better. One day maybe I'll add a driver, but not today.

The figures are 15mm plastic early WWII Germans from PSC.

Thousand Suns

 

This just arrived for me from DriveThruRPG today — the Thousand Suns rulebook by Jame Maliszewski. The POD format is (I think) digest-sized, and softcover — I believe you can also order it as a hardcover, but that would just be the softcover glued into a case binding. It might be a little more hard-wearing, maybe.

It's intended for fairly pulpish science fiction / space opera gaming. There is nothing particularly startling about the system; it's a pretty standard target-number skills-based game, using modified 2d12 rolls as the base mechanism. It is built to be about as simple as it's possible to be though, which is all to the good.

It includes, or is built around, a fairly nebulous milieu of Space Empires for players to rampage through. There are a couple of example alien races detailed, as well as a couple of genetically modified human variants (plus standard humans, or Terrans as they're called in the book) which give players enough to be going on with, and which provide templates for GMs to build their own aliens and things. Likewise, there are examples of spaceships and what-not, again enough to jump right in, and to provide guidance for building one's own.

I haven't yet read it through thoroughly, but it seems to me to be a decent enough space opera game, and simple enough to be able to run off the cuff without too much trouble.


There's a little supplementary material available — a book on starships, a star sector description and accompanying adventure, and there's the first issue of an occasional magazine too, called Imperio with an excellent cover by Russ Nicholson and the usual sort of bits and pieces you'd expect in a RPG system mag. Hopefully more will follow, but it's not really necessary; it would be a pretty simple matter for your average GM to create or adapt the material they want for this system.

I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Red Devils — Finished

 

I've finished my first section of 15mm paras, and I'm satisfied enough with them that I can proceed with confidence to do another couple of sections, and some command and support teams.


I'm making an effort these days to actually record what I'm doing with paints and things, so that I don't have to rely on my fairly crappy memory when I come back to a task weeks (or months, or years) later.

One would think, having been trained in this sort of record-keeping at art school, that it would be second nature. But no, my laziness tends to trump things like utility, and I have to keep a stern eye on myself so that I don't piss off Future-Self too much by my lack of consideration.

Red Devils in 15mm

PSC 15mm British Paratroopers

I recently got some 15mm plastic British WWII paratroopers from PSC. This is the first section off my painting desk.

I haven't ever tried painting the paras' Denison smocks in this scale. I do have a vague memory of painting an Airfix 1/32 scale para, probably some time in the early '70s, but I don't remember if it was any good or not. I suspect not.

I'm reasonably happy with how they've turned out. I might do little bit more with them — maybe a bit of highlighting on the trousers, for example — but apart from a bit of base flocking, this is about it for them.

There are always limitations with hard plastic figures, and compromises to be made for castability from rigid metal moulds. However, I think that PSC have done a pretty decent job with these ones.

Perilous Assumptions

D&D RC

D&D CC

I made a semi-fatal error recently, when I used a monster (three of them, in fact) straight out of the D&D Creature Catalogue, intended for use in BECMI D&D, but used instead in my AD&D game.

It was a critter that I'd used in other editions of the game, so I thought I knew pretty well what to expect from it.

What I discovered is that a BECMI monster type stands a good chance of being considerably more powerful than its AD&D equivalent. That's something I was not expecting.

It could have been worse I suppose; I only ended up killing one PC, but another one was drained away to a mere shadow of his former self.

I will have to be more careful in future.

The Soviet Horde is Getting Out Of Hand

 

When I went to chuck my recently-completed T-70 into its box with all its friends, I suddenly realised that I'd accidentally amassed a fairly respectable amount of early-war Soviet kit.

That's mainly due to poor impulse control: if I see a whole bunch of T-34s on sale for very cheap, I just can't help but grab them, just in case.

The T-35, SMK and T-28 models I did because I'm fond of the ridiculous land-dreadnought designs of the 1930s, and pandering to that fondness got a lot easier when I got myself my 3d printer. The T-35s are from Zvezda, but the others (apart from one very old Battlefront T-28) are all printed.

The trouble I have with turning all this clutter into a usable wargaming army is that I don't much enjoy painting and basing infantry, and the Russians need a lot of infantry.

Then again, I just got a copy of What a Tanker from the Lardies, which is pretty much World of Tanks for the tabletop, so I guess I could start using them for that.

Easy Wood Grain

These are bits from a very old 1/24 scale SPAD XIII that I started detailing, and never got around to finishing.

The plywood shelf below the cockpit coaming is the focus here: it's just a flat piece of plastic card with wood grain painted on.

I base coated it in a sandy tan to begin with, and then laid on some oil paint, thinned with linseed oil. I think, from memory, it was burnt umber, or maybe VanDyck brown.

When I had a reasonably complete, but thin, layer of oil paint, I created the grain by dragging across it with an old ragged stiff brush. You want to do this in one pass if you can; if you go back over an area that has already been done, it will probably just mess it up and you'll have to start again.

You can achieve a similar effect with acrylics, mixed with enough medium to make it translucent, but I found that it tends to dry too fast. It might be more successful if used with a retarder, but I haven't tried.

Oiling Up

This is a 3d-printed 1:100 scale T-70, printed on my Ender 3 from a (slightly changed) model by M. Bergman.

It's the first time I've tried using oil paints for pin-washes and streaking, and I think I like the process. The extended working and cleanup time is a boon, and the solvent (white spirit) wicks quickly and easily along creases and crevices.

The base colour is Vallejo's ModelAir Soviet 4B0 sprayed over black and white pre-shading.

I've only used one oil colour on this — raw umber. I've seen other modellers using spots of several colours for surface streaking, but that tends to be in larger scales (1/48 or 1/35), and this model is very tiny. I think a multi-toned streaking effect would get overdone very, very quickly.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it so far. It could, no doubt, be done better, but that will come with experience. Now, on with all the detail painting.


And all done.

For someone with no intention of building a Soviet wargames army, I sure do have a lot of Soviet kit.

Burford-Kegresse, revisited





I have been redesigning my Burford-Kegresse to make it manageable for home FDM printing.

The Burford-Kegresse was an armoured half-tracked vehicle, used as a machine-gun carrier mounting a pair of .303 Vickers guns on a Scarf ring mount, as shown here, or as an unarmed personnel carrier.


It was in service with the British army from the mid to late 1920s, about the same time as the Birch Gun.

The British didn't use either half-tracks or self-propelled artillery again until WWII.

I've uploaded a couple of versions for 3d printing to wargaming3d.com


Zvezda 1:100 M3 Lee

Battlegroup: Pacific has hove into view over the horizon, and though it will likely be a couple of months before my own copy arrives out here in the back of beyond, I'm planning ahead.

Out in the Far East, the Brits made good use of the M3, which remained competitive there against the Japanese opposition long after it became an obsolescent death-trap against the Germans in North Africa. In the desert, the Grant version was preeminent, but in Burma the Lee was more common (though most often — but not always — with the turret MG cupola removed).

I have digital models of both the Grant and the Lee, and I will print some, but that takes ages. So I picked up this 1:100 (15mm) Zvezda kit of the Lee. It's not bad, for the price (about $9 in NZ).

It all went together without any issues. I had to fill a gap around the turret cupola, and there are a couple of other spots that a perfectionist would probably want to fill, but I suspect they'll be largely invisible after it's been painted.

It lacks the track guards that were often used on British vehicles, and the 75mm gun has the counterweight modelled on the end of the barrel. It would be a simple matter to trim it off, and I don't think the shortening of the barrel would be noticeable, but I think I'll leave it there.

I've never modelled any vehicles for the war in the Far East, so this will be a new painting adventure for me.

Green Devil Face

This is a dungeon dressing piece from Fat Dragon Games, and also a feature of that classic megadeathkill dungeon module, The Tomb of Horrors. I can't remember if it was actually named as such in the module, but I've always known it as the Green Devil Face.

Because I am incredibly slack about tuning and maintaining my 3d printer, I tend to get a lot of stringing and zits on my prints these days, and this is no exception. However, in this instance I don't really mind so much, since it's supposed to be an ancient dungeon thingummy, so a certain amount of cud and cruft is to be expected.

I really should get on to tuning that printer though.

Autoblinda 40/41


I printed and painted these some time ago, but I seem to have neglected to display them to the outside world, so here they are. They're Italian WWII Autoblinda 40 and 41 armoured cars (the AB40 is on the left, with two MG in the turret).

The digital models come from TigerAce1945 on Thingiverse.

Glue For Soft Plastics

1/72 polyethylene cannon — Airfix in front, unknown manufacturer behind.

Selleys AllPlasticFix
The soft polyethylene plastics used by Airfix, Revell, and the like for their 1/72 figure ranges are notoriously terrible to glue. Almost nothing will bond with them, and up until relatively recently the only practical method of gluing pieces in that material together was to effectively encapsulate them with PVA or epoxy or the like.

However, a few years ago this product appeared on the market from Selleys: a two-stage primer and glue system which will attach one piece of polyethylene to another (or to other materials) without needing unsightly globs of gunk everywhere.

It comes with a felt pen primer, which is scrubbed over the area to be cemented, and which prepares the surfaces for the second stage, a clear viscous liquid cement. The joint grabs quite quickly — I usually allow about ten seconds, but depending on circumstance it could be anywhere from 2 to 30 seconds.

Once the glue sets, the join is very strong. I've done head-swaps on 1/72 figures using this stuff, and then shaken the figure violently by its head without getting any separation.

It's not amazingly cheap; here in New Zealand I pay about $NZ12 for a pack, but that's not a great deal more than a good quality cyanoacrylate in the same sort of quantity. It does seem to have a fairly limited shelf life once opened, so it would be a good idea to have your gluing project all set up and ready to go en masse, rather than relying on having the glue remain effective a month or two later.

Paint Rage! Aaaaaaaaagh!


This is something that really gets on my tits. A named colour in two paint ranges by the same manufacturer with entirely different hues.

I'd like to think that I could spray a model in VMA Middlestone, and then if need be, touch it up with VMC Middlestone, and I don't think that's too high a bar to set. This is just shoddy laziness.

Napoleonic British Artillery

Airfix

HaT

I've just been sent some Airfix Royal Horse Artillery by a kindly soul, so that my Napoleonic Brits can have some guns to support them.

Here they are, compared with some HaT Rocket troops, who wore the same Light Dragoon uniforms.
The Airfix figures are smaller than the HaT models: the most upright of them is 25mm from the soles of his boots to the top of his crest, whereas a comparable HaT figure is 27mm. The Airfix figures are better detailed than the HaT, with crisper frogging, and some detail showing on the helmet band and cuffs. The crests of the Airfix helmets are also more 'woolly' looking, whereas the HaT crests are quite smooth.

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.