Printing Issues (again)

 

I'm using this model, a 1:100 scale Artilleriewagen, to try to iron out some issues I've been getting with my resin prints.

You can see some diagonal lines running across the turret where something has shifted during printing — I don't know yet what caused that, and some research is in order.


It has happened at least twice, and as a result the profile of the turret has been distorted. Not enough to make it unusable; I've had worse misalignments in cast components from commercial manufacturers, but it's annoying.

It may just be that the various bolts and screws on the platen and rail need tightening, and that's always a good first step. Or it may be that the FEP is getting a bit flaccid.


More successful is the rigidifying of the box-like body of the model.

I like to hollow the models for printing, partly because it means they use up less resin, but mostly because having less contact area on the FEP at any given level makes a suction-created print failure less likely.

Having as much as possible of the non-visible bottom surface cut away gives me maximal access to the interior for washing away uncured resin, which means less chance of warping and cracking problems later. It also gives more access to the innards for the UV curing lights.

However, especially on a boxy model like this, thin walls means a less rigid and strong model. I could keep the walls thicker, but in this instance I've also added some internal bulkheads which provide a great deal of strength to the whole thing, as well as supporting the tabs on which the wheels are set. These bulkheads are 2mm thick, and I could probably halve that in safety.

Something that I find a bit annoying is that because 3d printing takes so long, every time I change a variable to test what's going wrong, it takes another few hours before I can see the results of my change. Hey-ho, I'll just have to learn to reign in my impatience.

BP-44 Armoured Locomotive

 

The BP-44 was a WWII German armoured locomotive, used to propel mixed AA, anti-tank, artillery and infantry transport trains.

Germany didn't use armoured trains as much as others, such as the Soviet Union, but they did have some. Generally speaking, armoured trains tended to fall out of favour over the course of the war as road or tracked vehicles were more flexible and became ever more potent, and railway tracks were very vulnerable to sabotage and aerial attack.

This is a 1:100 scale model for 15mm gaming. It was designed by a chap called Tolawdjk, and came from Thingiverse.

I hollowed the model in Chitubox to 1mm walls, and it printed fine. However, it does flex very easily under finger pressure, having such large flat panels (curved surfaces being self-reinforcing) and it could probably do with some internal support structures. I've read that Chitubox can create infill structures that don't impede resin escape, but I can't figure out how to do that (I'm using the free version). I think probably the easiest option for me would be to save the hollowed model from Chitubox as STL, import it into Blender to add the support struts and/or bulkheads, cut a great big hole in the floor, and re-export it to STL.


And if you want to field a BP44 armoured train on your wargames table, but you can't be faffed actually modelling one, then you could just grab a bunch of clump foliage flock and dump it along the railway track :)

This was Pz75, surrendered to the Americans at Hagenow in May 1945.

Process Notes


Artilleriewagen 75mm

 

I've never really seen a decent compromise between ground scale and model scale when representing armoured trains on the tabletop, though this particular German WWII vehicle is less egregious in that respect than most.

It could be connected to a larger train, like a normal flatcar, but it also had its own internal diesel engine and could move independently.

It mounted machine guns on all sides, and a 75mm turret from a Panzer III N.

This 1:100 model doesn't really fit properly on the N-gauge track lengths I have, but never mind.

I printed the hull on my Ender 3, and the turret on my Mars Pro, and it really throws into contrast the difference in quality between the two. I'm not one of those who likes to tinker constantly with their printers to squeeze the absolute maximum from them, and I know the Ender is capable of better, but when it's so much quicker and easier (though a bit more expensive) to get much better quality from the resin printer... well, why bother?

To be fair, the FDM-printed body looks okay at arm's length on the tabletop, so what the heck. I probably won't be printing any more non-terrain models on the Ender 3 again though.

Later...


This was called PanzerJager Triebwagen, and "triebwagen" basically just mean "rail car". I'm guessing if you hang about here, you probably already know what "panzerjager" means.

It's also 1:100, the body printed on my Ender 3 and the turrets on my Mars Pro. I've got as far as base-coating it, and I don't know if I'll take it any further than this, not in the immediate future anyway.

The problem with it is that in just about any tabletop wargame's ground scale, this particular car alone would be about 300 or 400 metres long. I think that if I use armoured trains at all, I'll just use them in 1/300 scale rather than 15mm. Apart from anything else, the smaller models will take a whole lot less printing.

Vallejo Inks

 

I like Vallejo acrylic inks a lot, and I use them often. 

I made this textured colour chart to show me just what they're likely to look like when painted on to a 3d surface. The texture in this case is an acrylic wall filler, sealed with a couple of coats of Vallejo white surface primer.

The glazing medium I used is just a 50/50 mix of Vallejo flow improver and Golden liquid acrylic matte medium. I should probably have done a 1:5 ink to medium panel as well, but I didn't, so there it is. Maybe later.

Red Peril

 

This is a 28mm 3d print from a sculpt by Propylene Foliescu, part of his Winter War catalogue.

He's a dastardly NKVD man, though in this scale I'm more likely to use him in a TTRPG as an earlier dastardly Cheka officer — I don't really know how much the Cheka and NKVD uniforms differ, but he'll do me for either.

Evil Tree

 



This model came from a Humble Bundle I got some time ago. It's called Evil Tree, and that's about as much as I know about it.

I printed it on my Ender 3, the first print using Tom Tullis' printer profile for Cura 4.11.

Lurking in the background there is, as usual, Sergeant Measureby, for scale.

Umber Hulk

 

This is Miguel Zavala's redesigned Umber Hulk, printed on my Mars Pro and painted with Vallejo acrylics.

It's a monster I haven't used much, if at all, in my own campaign, but my favourite character of old, Sir Fnord the Pretty Neat died of them twice, both times by having his head ripped clean off.

German SPG Crewmen

3d printed 15mm crewmen in a 3d printed Marder III M

 Open-topped vehicle models and artillery pieces really do need crew figures, and they're something that has not, historically, been straightforward to come by as a separate item from a 15mm model.

I've used spare figures from PSC kits, figures from infantry sets and some artillerymen from Peter Pig, but I couldn't find my Peter Pig men, and with international mail order being in the parlous state it's in, I instead went for some downloadable STLs from 3dBreed.

They're decent enough figures — quite chunky, but I don't mind that in a 15mm figure — though limited in range. The pre-made supports on the ones I first tried were terrible (I suspect that they were created for their 28mm figures and then everything just shrunk down together) and I had to strip them out and do my own in ChituBox.

Since I was messing about with them in Blender anyway, I took the opportunity to do some head-swapping to give them a bit of variety.

The original figure is 4th from the right in this photo. I cut off his head, made a bunch more heads, and copied them together, so here I have ten slight variations on that one original.

So anyway. The experiment has been a success, and now I will have as many 15mm German artillerymen as I'm ever likely to need.

A Multiplicity of Marders

 

I don't know where the original model that these are based on came from. I thought it was one of Zachary Kuvalich's old ones, but that turns out not to be the case.

The grey one is more or less in its original form, though I thinned the edges of the armour plates, added studs around the edges of the racks, and re-did the rivets and canopy attachment handles. The decals are from Battlefront, and they're absolutely terrible — completely out of register.

The yellow one has had some mesh panels and a rail (which I assume is a canopy support) added at the rear of the hull.

STLs are available at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4980259


I'm gradually building up a decent collection of Marders, though I'm still missing a few types.

Left to right:
SdKfz 135 Marder I, SdKfz 132 Marder II, SdKfz 139 Marder III, SdKfz 138 Marder III-H



Next up, a Marder III-M. It's another remix of somebody else's model, and once again, I don't know whose.

Building Bridges

Bergman's Valentine bridgelayer

My Covenanter


That talented Mr Bergman has designed a 1:100 scale Valentine bridgelayer, which I am in the process of printing right this instant.

I learn, from the Tank Museum's Tank Chats on Youtube, that the Aussies used the Covenanter hull instead of the Valentine, but they used the exact same bridge and mechanism. It seems to me that it should be fairly easy to kit-bash a Covenanter bridgelayer using some of Bergman's geometry on some of the Covenanter I designed quite a while ago.

I'll have to see if I can dig out some pictures of the Australian bridgelayer, but I suspect they'd have done away with the storage bins on the Covenanter's hull front, in order to ease the attachment of the front components of the bridge extension mechanism.

Craters, and More Craters

 

Fat Dragon Games has a freebie crater STL from their "World War Tesla" stuff available on DriveThruRPG. I nabbed it and printed some, variously resized in singles as well as merged into doubles and triples.

I'll use them to display barrage aiming points for BG, and they could also be used to indicate artillery-broken ground for WW1 games and the like. Or giant insect burrows for RPG games, for that matter.

Making one or two or three craters using traditional modelling methods is a trivial matter; making one or two or three dozen of them starts to get to be a bit of a chore. With my 3d printer, I can just set it to printing a dozen of them overnight and then forget about them until the morning when they're done, all thanks to the magic of FDM robotics.

d4 that I can pick up

 

I got tired of trying to pick up frictionless little tetrahedrons whenever I want to throw a bunch of four-sided dice, so I made some that are a bit easier to manipulate.

The shape is basically a squared football based on a distorted 16mm cube, so that they can only come to rest on four of the faces, and they're not much bigger than the six-siders I use.

The resin I use in my 3d printer is pretty soft, so it would probably not be a great idea to throw them around too much on a hard surface, but then again they don't have any hard edges to chip away. I'll just have to see how they last, and after all, I can always print more.

There are much harder-wearing ABS-like printing resins, but I don't have any.

Medium C Hornet again, but bigger

 

I've redesigned my 1:100 scale model of the Medium C "Hornet" for 1:56 (28mm). That mainly means refining the size of the rivets, adding some detail to the Hotchkiss machine-guns, and a few other bits and pieces.

Renault UE Chenillette (1:100)

 

The Renault UE Chenillette was a utility vehicle designed for the French army and adopted in the mid 1930s. It was never intended as a fighting vehicle, though it was armoured against small arms — it was intended as a light gun tow, and as a resupply vehicle. The cargo bin on the back could be tipped and unloaded from within, without having to expose the crew to enemy fire. Captured examples were widely used by the Germans in a variety of roles, especially in Russia.

This is a 1:100 scale model intended for 15mm gaming, but it should rescale pretty well up to 28mm scales.




I have included three cargo modules that can be printed separately and be slotted into the cargo bin, or not, as the user desires.




It may be possible to print the 1:100 scale model in FDM, but I have only printed it in resin, so I can make no guarantees there.

The STLs are available from wargaming3d.com at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/renault-ue-chenillette/




Later...

I've now also built, and successfully test-printed, the little tracked trailer that was characteristically used with the Chenillette to expand its cargo-carrying capacity.

I've added the STL for the trailer to the zip file on wargaming3d.com, and at some stage I'll also get around to adding some cargo loads for it as well.

Abandoned Lighthouse

Clickupon to embiggenate

I'm not sure who was the author of this model, nor where it originally came from. It might have been Thingiverse, it might have been from one of the Humble Bundles of STLs I've collected over time. All I know about it is that it's named "Abandoned Lighthouse", and it's scaled for use with 28mm figures.

It prints in several parts: one for the island, one for each floor of the tower (of which there are five), one for the roof, and a couple of light options. The one I've chosen is a simple brazier, the other is a sort of magical egg-light.

The tower sections include some interior detail, and it comes apart so that miniatures can be put inside.




I painted the stonework using the "leopard spot" technique.

First everything is painted in loose splotches of  raw sienna, burnt umber, and a sort of terracotta orange. The paint is quite loose, so it flows around and mingles a bit at the edges of the other colours.

In retrospect, I think yellow ochre would have been a better choice for the lightest tone, and burnt sienna for the middle.

At this point it all looks fairly terrible and gaudy.





Next I overpaint it all with a couple of layers of a black wash.

This tones down all the clown colours and unifies them tonally.

It all looks pretty dark now, but there's a variation in tone underneath the black wash that still shows through.





Then I dry-brushed with a cream colour, and highlight with pure white.

This lightens everything substantially, and brings out the surface detail of the model.

In this photo, I've also made the very first start on some vegetation, but at this point it's more like a bowling lawn than a wild weed patch.



Ballista


This is the ballista model supplied with Printable Scenery's ships.

It's quite a nicely detailed model, and it could do with being printed quite a bit larger — a 200% or even 300% print wouldn't be over the top for a siege engine. 

The figure, as usual, is Sergeant Measureby, present for scale.

Ships from Printable Scenery

 

Our AD&D group are about to take to the high seas, and that being the case, I thought it might be useful to print a couple of ships.

They're both from Printable Scenery; the top one is their fluyt, a small square-rigged merchant ship of Dutch origin, and the bottom is a lateen-rigged dhow, an all-purpose Arabic type used from the North African coast right over to India and beyond. I haven't given them any masts or sails, because they'd just get in the way in their use as gaming terrain. We'll just have to imagine masts and sails. I also haven't given them any cannon, since I don't hold with those sorts of shenanigans in my AD&D games. That's what wizards are for.

They've both been printed on my Ender 3 in eSun PLA. The figures are various 28mm fantasy miniatures; I don't have much in the way of actual sailor-men, though I think I've got a few pirates from the last Reaper Kickstarter I went in for; I shall have to dig them out. 

2021-08-16: And More


And now, some more.

The white-primed ones are, from left to right, a brig, a couple of 8-oar longboats, and a skiff.

I still have a sloop and a frigate to print.



I've tried out some masts on the skiff. They're made from 4mm and 6mm dowels.

Even without any other rigging, some simple masts go a long way to making the boats look more like sailing vessels, and they shouldn't impede the playability of the models to any great extent. Additionally, for those ships that have fighting tops, they'd actually be present on the model rather than having to represent them off to the side or something.

The down-side is that installing the masts is going to be kind of a pain in the arse.




2021-08-19: Sloop

Here we have the sloop, a single-masted vessel, 300mm (about a foot) long, not including the bowsprit.

Nearly done with the actual 3d printing, just the frigate to go. Apart from that, it will all be just messing about with bits of dowel and some rudimentary rigging.




And later that day...

The first two sections of the frigate have completed printing.

It's a rather patchwork affair, as I ran out of the black filament and swapped over to finish off a spool of this light blue: in truth, that wasn't the best idea as that blue is pretty bad filament, and its inter-layer bonding is not great, resulting in a rather weak print. I haven't had great success with any coloured filaments at all apart from white, grey and black.

However, it will probably do okay for this purpose, though I've swapped it out for some grey PLA+ for the stern component.

The stern will take as long to print as these two pieces together; about a day and a half.




2021-08-21: the Brig

In scale, this would be a pretty tiny brig. The crew complement of a Napoleonic brig-of-war was about 130 men, and cramming 130 28mm figures on to this model would be challenging, to say the least.




2021-08-22: the Frigate

Now the frigate is finally finished printing, and a good amount of time it took too. It doesn't look all that much bigger than the little brig beside it, but it is longer, broader, and much taller, and whereas the brig's two components took about a day to print, the frigate's three components took more like two and a half days.

I've got it primed and pretty much ready for painting, but when that will happen I don't know — I'm getting kind of sick of these ships now.

Basilisk

 

The basis of this model is an old sculpt of Miguel Zavala's, that I have taken into Blender and sculpted a bit to add detail. He's actually updated his basilisk model since this one was originally designed, so it wasn't really a necessary job, but it gave me a bit more experience at organic sculpting in Blender, so that's all to the good.

The skin scale texture is a bit more even than I would have liked, and the limbs could have done with some more muscle and skin-fold definition, but never mind. It will do.

The thing's face reminds me of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, though nastier.

Mausoleum #03

 

This is the third in the Printable Scenery Hallowed Mausoleum set. So far I've just printed and primed it, and since I'm going out of town for a week or so, that's as far as it will go for a little while, but I thought I might as well make a start on it.


Bronze.....

...or stone?

This one definitely needs a sarcophagus in it I think. Fortunately I have some that I got in the very first Reaper Bones Kickstarter.

Printable Scenery Ruin

 

This is the front half of a two-part ruin from Printable Scenery, printed on my Ender 3. It's scaled for use with 28mm figures.

I had originally intended it as a vehicle for using my new static grass applicator, but that turned out to be such a useless piece of junk that I reverted to my old favourite, foam flock. There is a bit of static grass on there, but it was applied via the old sprinkle-and-blow method, rather than via this new-fangled static electrickery.


This is the back half. It's a bit less architecturally interesting than the front, but it has its moments.


And here they are, both together.