My First Proper Dice

 


These were the first dice I ever bought for playing AD&D with, back in 1981. The red ones came with a yellow crayon to rub into the numbers; I don't remember what colour the yellow ones came with as I coloured them with a Rotring pen instead.

The green-numbered yellow d4, the red d10, and one of the red d12s aren't my originals. I don't know what happened to my original d10, nor where this one came from.

They've stayed in reasonably good condition, considering the shitty soft plastic they're made from. That's mostly because as soon as I could (still in 1981) I got myself some harder, sharper, much more expensive Gamescience dice to use, and put these ones aside.


That d20 is actually a d10 — it's marked 0 to 9 twice, and it's always been my favourite style of d20. I marked one set in black and the other in red, using the reds as 11 to 20; I once had a second one as well, and I have no idea where it has got to. I didn't bother buying an expensive Gamescience d6, since they were so readily available just about anywhere.

I used these dice for years and years before I started expanding my dice collection, which is now reaching the point of being a bit excessive.

10mm BAOR 3d Prints

 


A while ago, before PSC had got around to releasing its 10mm NORTHAG stuff, I thought I'd 3d print some for myself. At that time I only had my Ender 3 printer, and though the resulting prints were okay for game pieces, they weren't fantastic.

Recently I got myself an Elegoo Mars Pro resin printer, so I thought I'd print some more to see how they'd look. I'm pretty happy with they way they turned out, in the end.

I doubt that I'll proceed with this project though. Now that infantry are readily available from PSC and elsewhere, and the amount of infantry I'm liable to need for a game means that the cost isn't too exorbitant, there doesn't seem to be all that much point in DIY stuff.

For comparison, here's a fire-team I printed in PLA
on my Ender 3 FDM machine.

Bebilith (WiP)

 

The Bebilith is a gigantic spider-demon-thing that first appeared, I think, in AD&D2e Planescape.

The Pathfinder SRD definition of the creature can be found at https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/bebilith/

Resin in red, PLA in black.

Schlossbauer, on Thingiverse, has his own version of a Bebilith, which I have downloaded and have attempted a couple of times to print, both in resin and in PLA, with very limited success with the limbs of the thing. It's not a model that is well adapted to FDM printing. However, now that I'm beginning to get to grips with resin printing, I've given it another go, more successfully this time.

Schlossbauer's model in 3d Builder

The model is too large for the build volume of my Mars Pro, and rather than scale it down, I decided to cut it up in Blender. I printed it in three batches: the body, the six legs, and the two scythe-claws.

This had the advantage of making supporting the elements quite a bit easier. However, assembly was made slightly — though only slightly — tricky because I had to match the right leg to the right socket. Fortunately I'd had the foresight to make each plug and socket a slightly different shape, so it was only a question of matching the shapes.

One last leg to fit, and then the scythe-claws

One interesting thing about resin printing is that it turns out to be a bit less dimensionally precise than the prints I get from my Ender 3. I had to file the plugs a bit to get them to seat properly in their sockets; fortunately the resin is very soft, so it was easy enough to do.

I glued it together with ordinary superglue.

The softness of the resin will make basing this model a necessity. The attachment points of the legs and claws will inevitably break if given even slightly rough handling.

Once the claws are finished printing, in an hour or so, I can get them fitted, put the thing on a base, and then get on to painting it.


And here, a couple of hours later (after going out for some more superglue) it is. I've sprayed it with a coat of Vallejo IDF Grey surface primer so that I can see what's going on — the translucent resin is very tricky to the eye. The seams where the limbs have been joined are very apparent; they'll need to be filled.

Fleshwalker (revisited)

 

This is a miniature I've printed and painted before, Duncan Louca's Fleshwalker.

Last time, I printed it at 50% of its designed size; this time I've done it full-size, and I've gone for a blueish colour scheme rather than the browns I used last time. It's very big.

I've mounted it on three big 50mm steel washers, not because it needed to be based for stability, but rather to give it a bit of weight and to shift its centre of gravity right down.

The blue skin is only modestly successful, and all the boils and sores have ended up looking more like internal molten magma or something rather than pus-filled lesions. Never mind.

As always, Sergeant Measureby is present for scale, with his Spear of 5mm Increments.

Tubby Mech

 

This is one of the 18mm Wayfarer Tactics* figures collected on Thingiverse by DutchMogul. I assume that it's meant to be a huge tank-like mech rather than, say, a person-sized high-gee hostile environment suit, since it's actually about 45mm tall (not including the base).

I've printed this one at full size, but my sci-fi/space opera RPG mini collection is mostly old 15mm Traveller figures, and I'll print some more at about 20mm tall to represent the aforementioned hostile environment suit.

* Apparently there's a thing called Pocket Tactics that this range is derived from, about which I know absolutely nothing.


 Here it is, painted up, and shown alongside a Reaper 32mm sci-fi mini.

I've based it on a 32mm steel fender washer, to give it a bit of weight and shift its centre of gravity down.


These ones have been rescaled for use with my old 15mm FASA Traveller minis, and example of which is the tubby cop on his radio in the centre. They're 24mm tall, not including the bases.


I painted them all in rainbow colours to make them easily distinguishable on the tabletop.

Hanomag Ambulance (15mm)

 

Zachary Kavulich did a whole bunch of SdKfz 251 half-tracks, which I grabbed some time ago, but never did anything with because I was fully stocked with 1:100 Zvezda SdKfz 251-C models.

What I didn't have any of, however, was the SdKfz 251/8, the ambulance variant, and when I nabbed the files Zachary also didn't include it. He may have added it since then; he's done a lot of updating of this and that.

Anyway, I took his base 251/1 and removed all the interior detail, all of the interior in fact — it's now completely solid. I added the canopy and some studs around the track edges, adjusted the angle of the nose plate to better match George Bradford's drawings, and put some reinforcing in behind the wheels, which were a bit fragile on their skinny little axles.


The first print was a bit of a dead loss. The skate partially separated from the build plate, so the nose of the vehicle was kind of squished and the whole front was a bit bent. You can see how oval the wheels turned out.

It's not a complete loss though. I can use it in a little first aid post mini-diorama with a tarpaulin or a bunch of zeltbahn as an impromptu awning/tent covering up the nose.

It may have been the fault of the resin; I was using the very last dregs of a bottle that had been sitting around for a while. However, more likely it was an imperfectly levelled build plate, so I relevelled it and tried again with some new resin. The new print turned out just fine.

Supports off and cured

Fresh from the printer

This is eSun's translucent red water-washable resin.

It's really not ideal for modelling, as its translucence makes it very difficult to see what's going on. It's mighty purty though; it makes the model look like a boiled lolly.

So, now I have yet another battlefield ambulance. I seem to have been on a bit of an ambulance binge lately; I'm not sure why.

Later that day....


I've got my wonky Hanomag painted up, and my non-wonky Hanomag primed and ready for painting. Unlike the Maultier, on this one I painted all the red crosses freehand, and to be honest it was probably less hassle than masking and airbrushing.

Yet More AD&D

 

Quite some time ago (2012, in fact) I happened upon these in a second-hand bookshop.

I'm not a great fan of AD&D2e, as I found it mostly rather bland and uninteresting, with little that could be described as an improvement on AD&D1e. So I almost left them there, but in the end I didn't, and so now I own them.

This is the 1995 republication of AD&D2e, with new layout and illustration. There's also a little bit of new material, or at least, I've encountered some material in the DMG (which I'm reading at the moment) that I don't recall seeing in the 1989 edition. I haven't penetrated all that far into it as yet, but it's better than I remembered.

The layout is, in my opinion, an improvement over the 1989 version, and all the colour illustration certainly makes it more, well, colourful. For the most part, that's as much praise as I'm willing to give it: most of the illustrations are pretty pedestrian. There are some good pictures in there from talented illustrators, but most of them appear to have been done by very mediocre talents.

15mm Germans — Comparison

 

Bottom image has been mirrored, just to keep the
examples in the same relative position
Some time ago, I found a set of digitally modeled early WWII German infantry. Alas, I can no longer tell you who it was who originally sculpted them, but the chances are they came from Thingiverse. I didn't, at the time, have a printer capable of doing them justice, but now I have. So I gave one a test print.

They were originally intended as 6mm models, so compared with the Battlefront (metal) and PSC (injection-moulded plastic) examples, it looks very obese and dwarfish. Also, it could do with being reduced in size by maybe 5%. However, as a proof of concept, it stands up very well. I could, if I so chose, print myself whole armies in 15mm scale.

I have no need at all for 15mm German grenadiers; I have more BF and PSC figures than I'm ever likely to need. However, it bodes well for the production of figure types that would be uneconomic for a commercial manufacturer to produce. All that would be required is the motivation to actually sculpt the blasted things.

Burrowing Worm (Blender Sculpting)

 

I've been doodling again in Blender's sculpting mode, making this toothy grabby burrowing worm thing.

I was originally going to also sculpt a scenic terrain base, showing it bursting up out of the earth, but then I realised that it would be a lot quicker and easier just to model one by traditional means.


As usual, Sergeant Measureby is present to provide a sense of scale.

His spear is marked in 5mm graduations.


Here it is, all painted up. Still no scenic base as yet.

Funnel Filter

Along with my new Mars Pro printer came a set of small paper and mesh filter funnels, for use when emptying the printer's resin reservoir back into its bottle so you don't get any floating semi-cured bits in there.

These filters aren't expensive (though they're certainly not free) and they can be washed for reuse once or twice before they become too bedraggled, but I wanted something a bit more permanent so that I wouldn't have to keep reordering them.

Fortunately, I have my trusty old Ender 3 to help me. I whipped up this insert to use with a little plastic funnel.

I use the ring to clamp a piece of tulle (a very fine-meshed synthetic fabric) against the insert, and then put both of them into the funnel, secured with some clips. A couple of layers of sheer stocking pieces works well too; I use that a lot for filtering paint for my airbrushes.

The clips I've used here as a proof-of-concept are a bit over the top for the task; I have some small binder clips that I'll use instead.

The whole thing is easily disassembled for cleaning, or to replace the mesh if need be.



What Did You Do In The Great War, Daddy?

 


I printed some of Bergman's 1/200 scale WW1 tanks (Mk. IVs) for no particular reason but to see what they'd look like in that scale.

I have a fair amount of H&R WW1 stuff in 1/300, but I have never ever actually played a WW1 game. In fact, I don't even know any rules for the period except for Great War Spearhead — and of those rules, I know of their existence, and that's about it.

No, wait, I tell a lie. I do own the Battlefront Great War giveaway; I think I got it with an issue of Wargames Illustrated. However, I'm so much not a fan of the way Flames of War has developed that I've barely even looked at it. Perhaps I should, just to be sure.


They paint up quite nicely I think. Having painted this one, I'll probably just leave the rest until I have some genuine use for them.

Opel Maultier Ambulance (WiP)

 


This is the resin test print I did yesterday of the Opel Maultier ambulance model. Now it's made its way on to the paint bench.


First it was primed white, and Vallejo VMA Red sprayed where I wanted the red crosses to be. I cut crosses from Tamiya masking tape, applied them in position, and then oversprayed the areas with VMA White.

You can see how much overspray there was from the red; the whole model looks quite pink. I could have been more targeted in my red spraying, but I wasn't 100% sure of where the crosses would extend, and better safe than sorry I thought.


More Tamiya masking tape, this time to protect the areas I wanted to stay white.

I like the Tamiya masking tape a lot, but it's not perfect with areas like this that have a bit of surface detail to accommodate. It will conform to a certain extent, but it's not as malleable as I would like. I haven't yet found a better alternative; blu-tak makes a useful conformable mask, but it's not great for geometric precision.


Next, I've oversprayed everything with VMA Grey-Violet, which is my favourite base colour for Panzer Grey. You can see the shortcomings of the masking tape here — I'll go back over the model before I proceed any further and tidy up various bits and pieces by brush.


Tyres and tracks are now painted in VMC German Grey; the tracks' colour will change quite considerably as weathering filth goes on, so this is just a general base coat at this stage.

All windows in black, highlighted with Prussian Blue. I'm not good at making solid windows look glassy.

First layer of filth goes on now.

Everything was lightly dry-brushed with a pale grey to accentuate the highlights, and then a general coat of Citadel Agrax Earthshade wash was sploshed all over everything. The upper white panels were sponged a bit while the wash was still a bit wet, and the side panels were brushed vertically with a largish ragged old brush to create vertical streaking.

There's nothing inside the back of the ambulance; it would be impossible to paint any printed-in detail.

I'm pondering creating some stretcher-rack modules that could be painted separately and then be glued in place, but I haven't made a start on anything yet. I have no pictorial reference for the interior layout of the ambulance body, so I'd really just be making it up.


At this stage, I've done a little more sponging with Nuln Oil wash, and added a bit of chipping about the cab and mudguards with a dark black-brown.

The bodies of these vehicles were made of plywood, not metal, so chipping and rusting isn't really appropriate there. I could do a bit on the metal fittings (door and window frames, lifting lugs) but it's not really worth the effort.

The red crosses and white discs were painted straight across the glass of the windows, and had a tendency to flake off, so I've chipped it quite a bit there.


Getting near to the end now, and I've airbrushed a bit of dust around the lower edges of the body and on to the running-boards and steps.

I used a medium earthy brown for this, but you can go quite a bit lighter: a well-thinned sand ochre can look pretty good.

And now it's about done. I've added some Vallejo European Dust wash over the wheels and running gear, which doesn't leap out but it does add another useful layer of dirt.


Opel Maultier Variants (15mm)

 



I've been messing about in Blender, making a bunch of variants of 15mm Opel Maultiers.

The two on the right are ambulances, one closed up and the other with the back doors open and the steps down. Third from the right is an office/radio body. The others are fairly self-explanatory I think.

They're based on Bergman's Maultier model. I've just refined it a bit and added some stuff that I already had lying around in my design folders.


And here's another one, reusing some seated German infantry I originally put together as passengers for a SdKfz 7.

I had to put them through 3d Builder's Simplify operation to get the STL down to a reasonable size, but it imposed no real visible penalty, while dropping the file size from 95MB to about 11.


I did a test print of the ambulance variant with the open back doors and steps down. Taking into account my inexperience with resin printing in general, it printed okay, so I don't foresee any issues with any of the others either.

The STLs can be downloaded from my page on Thingiverse.

Panzer 35(t) — finished, probably

 

This is the troop of 1:100 (15mm) Panzer 35(t) that I printed on my new Mars Pro in the last couple of days. They're probably finished, unless I'm overcome with enthusiasm to paint on some more markings, which is fairly unlikely.

These three took a little bit under six hours altogether to print, and probably about the same again to prepare and paint. Their turrets are connected to the hulls by the magic of magnetism.

They're pretty rubbish on the wargames table, even in 1940-41 games, but I like them for their rivets. These rivets are a lot more prominent than they were on the real-life vehicles; they benefit much from artistic licence.

Cheapest Lighting Improvement Ever


 Not everybody has access to a fancy lighting setup, and flash photography, especially camera-mounted flash, seldom gives you the best results.

However, even if you're forced to resort to using room lights alone, you can improve the results considerably by using one or more simple reflectors.

In this photo, I'm just using a sheet of printer paper that I've folded in half so that it stands up. A more effective reflector could easily be contrived, but this was the easiest thing I had to hand.



And here's the result. I've done no post-processing at all of this photo, because I wanted to show it just as it came out of the camera.

It could have been further improved by adding a second reflector in front of the tank, to fill in those dark shadows.


Compare the previous photo with this one, where no reflector was used at all. There's very little detail to be seen on the vertical hull side.



Naturally, you'd still need to be using a tripod to avoid camera-shake. Even with studio lights that would be a necessity for decent photographs.

Also, it can be very useful to have the help of an assistant to hold the reflector(s) in exactly the right place(s) for best results, while you, the Sublime Artiste, make your composition through the camera's viewfinder.

If the pure white reflector (or part of it, at least) is included in the shot, it can be used as the white target for my easy colour correction system as described in another post. Once the colours have been properly balanced, all that clutter can be cropped away.

Backlog

 





I seem to be developing a wee bit of a backlog in my 1:100 and 1:150 painting progress.

Maybe I should stop printing things for a while....? Nah, that's crazy talk.

Things Are Never As They Seem

 

Oh boy! A huge chest, no doubt filled with treasures beyond your wildest imagining!


No, of course it isn't. Why would it be?

Naturally it's some sort of hideous monster who wants to eat your face.

This is a pair of models by (I think) Schlossbauer (though I could be wrong) on Thingiverse. It's not a great print; I hadn't really got the hang of how to reliably support woogly things like this and ended up with quite a few imperfections. I couldn't be bothered re-doing it though.

The Mimic is a D&D monster that has been around for at least as long as the AD&D Monster Manual in 1976, and maybe longer. In that book, it's described as a creature that morphs into the form of a chest or something to lure adventurers within reach of its chompy maw and bashy pseudopods. I prefer to think of it as a creature like a hermit crab, which seeks out a chest (or wardrobe, or whatever) and adopts it as a kind of shell, perhaps moving from one to another as it increases in size.


This is another Mimic, this time from Reaper. It hews much closer to the description as given in the Monster Manual, and it has its own charm.