Wednesday 19 June 2024

Crocodile

 


When I was working on some Churchills recently, I realised that although I have a couple of examples of the Funnies (fascine, bridgelayer, AVRE) I didn't have a Crocodile. 

So I went hunting, and found that WindhamGraves had produced a nice 1:100 STL and placed it online on Thingiverse, so I nabbed it. He includes the actual Crocodile hull, but I decided to just print the trailer so that I can attach it to the back of any old Churchill to indicate that it's a flamethrower.

Bonus: I can also attach it to the back of one of my Sherman V and voila! I have a Sherman Crocodile as well.

The tank in this picture is a PSC plastic Churchill VII.

Edit: When I based this trailer, I canted it forward so that its beam would fit beneath the petrol tank on the back of the tank hull. In retrospect, I think that was an error of judgement. I could rebase this one, but all in all I think it would be easier just to print and paint another one.

Monday 17 June 2024

Churchill NA75 - finished



 I've finally finished off one of my 3d printed 1:100 scale Churchill NA75 with some oil washes and a properly painted commander.

The other two are essentially the same except that they have different figures in their turrets.

I've painted them in SCC 2 Service Brown, for the Italian campaign. The NA in the name stands for North Africa, because that's where they were originally conceived and designed, using 75mm M3 guns taken from wrecked Shermans, and about 200 were eventually converted. However, I don't think they actually saw service until Italy.





Saturday 8 June 2024

Matilda 1 Update

 

An update to my 15mm Matilda 1 A11 at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/a11-matilda-1/

I’ve added files for separate hull and running gear, which should make printing a bit easier. There are two different track modules, one with link detail right round, and one with the bottom track detail flattened out, again to ease printing. The track modules are for the port side only, and will need to be mirrored in your slicer.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Churchill NA75 — under way at last

 

Here's a project I started quite some time ago, and then just left to gather dust on my painting desk -- a troop of 15mm Churchill NA75 for Italy.

I printed the models from a design by the prolific Mr Bergman, and opened up the top hatch and added some commanders. One of them I built in Blender and 3d printed, the other two are plastics from Battlefront.

The primer coat is a useful dark brown I mixed up from Vallejo surface primers German Red Brown and US Olive Drab. It makes a good base colour for almost anything.


I've panel-shaded that base dark brown with VMA 71.035 Camo Pale Brown, which makes a decent match for SCC2 Service Brown.

It's good to have these under way, after neglecting them for so long.


I've added some basic markings, and given them a light dry-brush to begin to bring out the detail.


Interestingly, the period photographs I've seen of this vehicle from Italy show minimal markings, at least from the front. There's this famous picture of one advancing through an Italian town, and about the only marking that can be clearly seen is the T number on the hull front; I can't make out any tactical markings at all, though that might just be a contrast issue — there might be something on the turret sides, but it's quite indistinct.

I've included the tactical markings simply because I think that British tanks look a bit naked without them.


2024-06-10

I've started the weathering by spraying and sponging on some light dust and mud — these tanks are not going to be excessively filthy — but I'm a bit stumped about how I'm going to handle the tracks. They're not very detailed, so there's only so far it's worth going.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Matilda 1 (15mm)

 



I've finally finished my 1:100 (15mm) A11 Matilda 1.

I abandoned it for a long time, but came back to finish it over the last couple of days.

It's online now at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/a11-matilda-1/

Friday 24 May 2024

Air/Rafts

 

I found an STL for a 1977 Traveller version of an Air/Raft on Thingiverse, so I re-scaled it to more or less 15mm to fit with my elderly RAFM Traveller minis and printed a couple. The one on the left is resin from my Mars Pro, the barely distinguishable black one on the right is FDM from my Ender 3.

The blue one at the back is one that I clobbered together ages ago from a Hot Wheels toy.

The resin version took about 50% longer to print than the FDM one, but comes out smoother. The FDM print is fine, but the supports in under the dashboard are a bit of a nightmare to remove, and if I was going to do it again I'd probably fill in that space since it's not really necessary for a gaming model.

When Marc Millar invented this thing back in '77, I assume that either (a) he was envisaging some kind of force field to protect the passengers, or (b) he had never sat in an open-topped vehicle traveling at 250 kp/h.

Also, why the slash in Air/Raft? I've always found that incomprehensibly dumb, and if the slash character was closer to the hyphen on the keyboard I'd assume it was just a typo.

Thursday 23 May 2024

PHB Statue Remix

 

Some years ago, when he was just starting out on his mission to sculpt everything D&D, Miguel Zavala did a model of the demon statue from the front cover of the AD&D Player's Handbook.

Compared with his more recent work, the modeling was pretty low-rez, but the shapes were basically sound.

I took that old, old STL and remixed it, smoothing out the faceting and giving the surfaces a bit of stone texture. I also separated the brazier bowl and flames to their own objects.

I haven't printed this one yet. I think I'll probably have to make the surface texture a lot more exaggerated to get it to show up in an FDM print.

I printed and painted the original version of this model back in 2018, and put up a post about it then.


Wednesday 8 May 2024

Interwar Micros

I've been revisiting a bunch of my interwar vehicle models, rescaling them to 1:285 for micro gaming, and I've put them up on wargaming3d.com in packs of six to eight models.

This first one is British: a Birch Gun SPG, a Peerless armoured car, a Lanchester Mk.II, a Burford-Kegresse half-track MG carrier/APC, a Lancia armoured lorry, and a Carden-Loyd Carrier Mk.VI.

It's available at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/british-interwar-micro-pack-other/


The next one is also British, but it's tanks this time.

There's the A1E1 Independent, the Vickers Medium C, The Vickers Medium Mk.III, The Vickers Medium Mk.II and II*, and the Medium Mk.II Hornet.

It's at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/british-interwar-micro-pack-other/


 The third is a bunch of Soviets.

This is the Komintern heavy tractor, the T24 medium tank, the Austin-Kegresse half-track armoured car, the Garford-Putilov SPG lorry, the Benz-Mgebrov armoured car, the T27 tankette, the SU18 SPG, and the T18 light tank.

You can get this pack from https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/interwar-soviet-micro-pack/





Tuesday 7 May 2024

Flowify - Blender add-on


I've recently been introduced to the Flowify add-on for Blender, by Artisans of Vaul on Youtube. It's an add-on designed to ease the process of applying geometry to the surface of another mesh, and it truly is excellent at that task.

It's quite possible to do this using only native Blender, but its is a job that can be a bit excruciating and time-consuming, and being able to have all of the hard work done for me behind the scenes is just great.

It's one of the more expensive add-ons I've installed at fifteen yankeebucks, but I think it's well worth the money.

Artisans of Vaul just put out a video on how to use Flowify to create a name plate for a miniature base, so I whipped one up for the figure of my puny but beauteous barbarian, Aedan Comarren that I created in HeroForge.


Later that day...

I printed the base and glued to it the mini of Aedan that I'd printed and painted some time ago.

I learned from this that for lettering in this scale, I'd be best off using a very regular font such as Futura, and it would probably be best in all caps.

Friday 26 April 2024

More (Mostly Pointless) Messing About

 

I thought I would try an experiment: I re-scaled one of Bergman's 1:100 Char B-I (bis) models to 1:200 and printed it on my Mars Pro. It's the yellow one in the middle.

The one at the back is a 1:100 Flames of War model from Battlefront that I painted many years ago, and the teensy one in front is (I think) from GHQ, or possibly C-in-C, which would make it 1:285, also painted many years ago.

The re-scaled model printed pretty well, and should paint up fine.

I'm attracted by the compactness of 1:200 as a wargaming scale, but I am very very heavily invested in 15mm (and 6mm, though I seldom even look at them these days due to my increasingly crappy eyesight) and building a couple of armies in a whole new scale would be a considerable effort — I'd have to do a whole lot of new terrain as well. And I'd have to do at least two armies, because I know nobody local who plays in 1:200.

Not that I actually do any wargaming these days anyway — my gaming is pretty much purely theoretical since COVID Times put a stop to it. I probably should make more of an effort to get down to the club once in a while.


A bit later on...

I've got it painted up now.

It does take a bit less painting than a 1:100 scale model, but not all that much less really.

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Steampunk in GURPS-ish Style

 

Quite a few years ago, I printed a PDF of GURPS Steampunk, as I had some idea about running a late Victorian 1890s campaign involving an alien invasion, weird scientification, and the rescue of Queen Victoria. I did run that campaign, but I used the Hero System, not GURPS.

Until now, that printout has just been sitting in a rather bulky plastic sheet display book, and since I have the capability, I thought I might as well turn it into a proper book.

The bookcloth is some stuff that I made a few days ago; some printed cotton impregnated with a paste/acrylic medium mix. It works pretty well.

I used Affinity Photo to cobble together a vaguely Steampunky illustration for the front cover, using bits and pieces snarfed off the internet. I laminated the result and glued it in place, along with a spine title cartouche.

I used a retro poster on heavyish matte paper for the endpapers. The illustrations have nothing whatever to do with the book's subject matter, but they're bold and colourful, which is mainly what I wanted.


The pages were edge-glued in a double-fan, but I also drilled and cross-stitched the spine for extra strength. That means the book will never lay completely flat, but since I'll probably never be using it as a reference book at the games table, I don't care too much about that.

It doesn't show in this photo, but the original printout was single-sided, so each printed spread is followed by a blank one. That means that the book is twice as thick as it really needs to be. I suppose I could have reprinted it double-sided, but I really couldn't be bothered.


The cover boards have an issue: the piece of 2mm grey board that I cut them from had its grain running the wrong way. That means that with all the moisture from the gluing, they bow horizontally instead of vertically, making the book look distinctly tubby.

The condition has been somewhat ameliorated as it dries properly, and with ruthless pressing, but it will never be permanently 100% flat — it's likely to show itself again with changes in ambient humidity. However, since it's unlikely to spend very much time out of the bookshelf, I doubt that it's going to be a major problem.

Thursday 18 April 2024

Replacement Star Hero Books

 


The two Star Hero books I ordered to replace two that I thought I'd lost (but had merely misplaced) arrived this morning.

I got the shipping notice from Hero Games on March 30th, so transit time was about three weeks — not the fastest I've had, but very very far from being the slowest. The actual order confirmation was a couple of weeks before then, so I suppose that was the PoD production lead time.

Together they cost me about twenty YankeeBucks, plus about the same for shipping from the US.

So, now I have two copies of each. Hey-ho.

And Now, This...


This arrived too.

It's a manual of guns for those who like to fetishize them in their roleplaying.

Personally, I don't care enough about guns to really need all this information: my information requirements generally boil down to whether a gun is a Big Gun or a Little Gun, and whether it goes dakka-dakka-dakka or just dak dak dak.

However, the whim took me, so now I own it.

Friday 12 April 2024

Playing With Dollies In Space

 

I've given the party in my revived Space Opera campaign a Far Trader, since I like my players to have more or less unfettered access to a ship. It makes my own life as a GM much easier. There's so much that can go wrong with a spaceship.

To that end, I found some deck plans for the Empress Marava class Far Trader (from Traveller) on the internet, and recreated them as a vector file in CorelDraw. I rescaled it so that it can be used with the old 15mm Traveller minis I have, and printed it out on tiled pages.

I don't know how much use we'll get out of them — I may just have to arrange a hijacking or two, or maybe an invasion by some kind of inimical Space Baddies.

In this photo it just shows the lower deck; there's another sheet for the upper deck as well.

I'll probably get them laminated at some stage, when I have a little bit of spare cash.

ADDENDUM

I've been fiddling around with the old Star Hero campaign pages on my website, removing purely Hero System relevant stuff and converting other stuff where and when I can. There's a campaign diary there too, for those who may be interested in reading about somebody else's roleplaying games.

You can find it all at https://mojobob.com/roleplay/hero/sci-fi/terranempire/campaign_notes/campaignindex.html

ADDENDUMDUM

Here's a comparison of some 3d and 2d minis for gaming purposes.

The 32mm mini on the left is from Reaper, while the paper mini to its right is from OkumArts.

The little paper mini is another one from OkumArts that I've recoloured and resized to roughly 15mm, while the 15mm 3d mini on the right is an old Traveller figure from RAFM.

The 3d minis are better, there's no doubt about it. But the paper minis are perfectly adequate for TTRPG purposes, and they're much, much less trouble to prepare and store.

NOTE: OkumArts paper minis, unlike most that I've seen, have both front and back sides illustrated. That's important for games in which facing might be relevant.

Monday 1 April 2024

Renewal

 

Many, many years ago, about the turn of the century, I dismantled a couple of RPG sourcebooks because I thought it would be a good idea to put them in a 3-ring binder. Sheer madness.

Anyway, zoom forward to the present and I have rescued them and re-bound them. Their covers are somewhat more restrained than they used to be, and also they're now hardbacks instead of the softcovers they once were.

I thought I'd lost them, maybe loaned them to somebody and never got them back, and since I wanted to use them for an upcoming BRP space opera campaign, I ordered replacements from Hero Games' webstore, where they have them for cheap — twenty yankeebucks for the pair of them (PoD plus PDF), and about the same for postage. Naturally, the instant I ordered those, I found the originals.

So now I'll have two copies of each. Hey-ho.



Friday 29 March 2024

Tiger II

 


I got around to painting the 1:100 scale Bergman Tiger II model I'd been mucking about with in Blender and printed on my elderly Ender 3 in eSun PLA+.

The number decal (from Skytrex, I think) on the starboard side didn't stick properly and came away on my finger; I had to kind of glue it back in position, and there's quite a bit of silvering as a result. I'll probably have to go in and paint over as much of the carrier film as I can manage.


Below is this 3d printed Tiger alongside an injection-moulded Zvezda kit of the same scale. I think it stands up pretty well, especially considering that it's a FDM print.



Sunday 24 March 2024

M-Space Binding

 

Because I wasn't expecting my copy of M-Space to arrive for a while yet, and because I'm starting a space opera campaign fairly shortly, for which I wanted to use the rules, I printed a copy from the PDF and bound it.

Because of the unusual format of the layout, the finished book, when the signatures are printed on my A4 laser printer, is only about 148mm square. I've found it to be an unexpectedly comfortable size for a RPG book — it takes up very little room, and doesn't get in the way on the table, while still being pretty readable. The page count could have been dropped quite a bit with a traditional page dimension I think (and by leaving out the huge black toner-eating full-page illustrations that I think are there mainly for padding) but the 240 pages of this one are a manageable size.


I just used the heavy brown manila paper from supermarket bags for the covering, over 1mm grey board (2mm would have been better). I screwed up the paper first and then ironed it out flat again, to get the crumpled surface texture — I think that if I'd also given it an acrylic glaze over the top it would probably look quite leathery. Maybe I'll try that another time.

The rather light 1mm grey board warped quite a bit under glueing. I'll just live with that I think.

The actual publisher's copy arrived unexpectedly early, so I have that now, but this one will be very handy I think, for slipping into a bag or pocket.

Saturday 23 March 2024

Tiger II Remix

 


More as an exercise than because I actually need one, I set about remixing the turret of one of Bergman's 15mm (1:100 scale) Tiger II models to minimise the problem of layer lines when printing in FDM.

I split it up to be printed in individual components so that the slightly sloping plates at fore and aft of the turret roof can be printed vertically, and the gun's strength can be maximized by printing it horizontally.

It worked well enough, though assembly was a bit of a faff and the individual components could do with some refinement.


Then, since I had a turret printed, I thought I might as well do a hull to go with it. I refined the detail on the engine deck, and added link detail to the tracks. Again, it was split fore and aft to print vertically, and it turned out okay.

My old Ender 3 is showing its age, and there's a bit of clean-up to be done, but I think it has produced a model more than adequate for tabletop use. I would probably print future models in resin, which would both be faster and give me better surfaces.

This is not the only model in Bergman's Tiger II set, and I went on and detailed those others as well. When, or if, I get around to actually printing them, who can say.



Sunday 17 March 2024

Preparing Paper

I am in the throes of preparation for reviving the mouldering corpse of my old space opera campaign. When it was last active, some considerable time ago, I was using the Hero System 5th Edition to run it. I did like the Hero System in many ways, but it was not the simplest game to run or to play in.

This time I'm planning on using Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying d100 system, though the milieu will remain the Star Hero Terran Empire. I have a d100 sci-fi game, based on the Mythras Imperative rules, called M-Space that I will pull all the character generation and equipment and what-not out of, since all the definition work has already been done there.

Rather than spending hours and hours painting 3-dimensional miniatures for the game, I'm once again making use of Okum Arts paper minis, which are great and cheap and pre-coloured. The pile to the left are all robots; the rest are various humanoids. I'm printing them on some 150gsm inkjet paper, so when folded and glued they make quite a stiff and sturdy miniature, still easily cut out with a little pair of decoupage scissors. Plain 80-90gsm printer paper is usable, but the resulting minis are still very thin even after being folded and glued, so they need card reinforcing strips applied along their bottom edge so that they don't fall out of the standee bases.

I've shown these before — these are some of them that I made for Call of Cthulhu, in 3d-printed bases that I designed in Blender and printed on my Ender 3.

I prefer black bases, but at the time I printed these I only had grey filament. Now I have some black PLA+, so I'm printing a bunch more. Because why not, after all?

Monday 11 March 2024

Critter

 

I cannot remember who sculpted this, nor what it was called, nor whether it's supposed to be a specific monster or just a generically monstery critter. It stands (or squats) 40mm to the tip of its muzzle.

I printed it quite some time ago, and just got around to painting it.


FDG Ranger

 

This is one of the support-free FRPG minis produced by Fat Dragon Games, in this case a ranger.

I like them as gaming pieces because their poses tend to be quite restrained. I'm not fond of the sorts of fantasy minis that are presented in hugely animated leaping-slashing-bellowing poses; they're exhausting to look at.

These FDG minis have the additional benefit that they can be reliably and successfully printed on a FDM printer.

That's maybe not as important as it once was, now that decent resin printers are affordable, and the resins available are tougher, but I still appreciate it. Plus, the new generation of FDM printers appear to be capable of detail and smoothness comparable with entry-level resin printers, while being much cheaper to run.

My old Ender 3 is not, alas, that good. Still good enough for tabletop work though.

Sunday 10 March 2024

Binding BRP

 

More adventures in bookbinding.

Some time ago I got a copy of Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying when the PDF was on sale at DriveThreRPG for 99c.

I printed it full-size and bound it in a fan-glue binding (the green one). The BRP Quick-Start rules were free, so I did them too (the floral cover, on the left). Both of those bindings have been around for a year or so, and since then I've also bought a PoD paperback edition of the rules.

Recently I thought I'd like a copy in a more compact form, so I printed the Big Yellow Book in A5 signatures, and stitched and bound it into a Little Big Crimson Yellow Book, on the right.

Now Chaosium have released a shiny new edition of BRP, with an editable RTF text block available under the ORC. However, even without any illustrations, and with all the text at 10pt, an A5 production of that comes to somewhere around 700-800 pages, so it might be a while before I get up the gumption to lay that all out and print it in signatures.

Thursday 7 March 2024

Very Old Wizards

 These are all very old 25mm figures that I painted some time in the late 1980s, mostly using Maimeri gouache acrylics. They all came, as far as I can recall, from two three-figure sets from Ral Partha, and I think they were designed by Tom Meier and/or Julie Guthrie.