Vickers-Crossley (1:100)


Here's my latest 3d printing project in progress, a Vickers-Crossley armoured car in 1:100 scale (designed by Zachary Kavulich) alongside a 1921 Rolls Royce (background) that I've been using as a painting test model for a while now.

The Vickers-Crossley is one of the most difficult models I've tried to print. This is version four, and it's still kind of a mess — I'm coming to the conclusion that it's just too much for my poor old Ender 3. I might see if my friend Steve can get something better out of his resin printer.

Some time later...

I got it painted, though it's not a great job.

I should go back over it and clean up the panels a bit. This one looks like it's just been dragged out of a peat bog.

Grenadier Beholder


I don't remember exactly when I bought this miniature, but it would most likely have been some time in the mid-1980s.

It's a Beholder, from Grenadier — my favourite miniature manufactory then, and still one of my favourites of all time. Apparently this sculpt is now being cast and sold by Mirliton. It's kind of goofy, but then the Beholder is kind of a goofy concept for a monster.

It's also a lot smaller than the original Monster Manual description, but that was par for the course in the days of metal casting — big, bulky critters were (and are) expensive to cast in white metal. Much bigger ones are now available in plastic or resin from companies like Reaper or Wizards of the Coast, and they have their own charm, but they tend not to be quite as cartoonish as this elderly chap, and they've gone completely in the other direction in terms of size; some of them would be maybe twenty feet or more in diameter in scale.

I was reminded of its existence by someone on the D&D Miniatures Facebook page, so I thought I'd get some decent photos of it, because why not.

Subterranean Magic Pools


Magic pools are a staple of Old School dungeoneering. If you drink from one, will it heal all your wounds? Give you the power to speak to animals? Make you swell up like a balloon and die, blackened and stinking? It's always a gamble.

These are some more of the subterranean scenery pieces I've clubbed together from FDG DragonLock tiles, along with a very old 25mm Grenadier miniature from a box set of wizards.

Panzer 1F (15mm)


The Panzer 1F had almost nothing in common with earlier versions of the Panzer 1 except that it was small and armed with two machine guns (MG34 in this case, rather than the MG13 of earlier models).

It was intended as a very heavily armoured infantry support assault tank. Few were made; the concept was fine as far as it went, but by that time an infantry support tank needed more firepower than a pair of machine guns could provide. Some did see action on the Leningrad front.

This little 1:100 scale (15mm) model is only 43mm front to back, and was printed on my Ender 3 from a model by TigerAce1945 (Zachary Kavulich).

It's really pushing the edges of the envelope for my now elderly Ender 3 with its 0.4mm nozzle. I really am going to have to get a resin printer one of these days.

Early Xmas Prezzie of Randomness


These just arrived for me from Amazon, a week earlier than they promised, which is nice. An early Xmas prezzie to myself.

Now, when I want to find out what stuff our murderhobos can loot from a ship's captain's cabin, and what the name is of the cabin-boy now bleeding out on the cabin threshold for the crime of getting in their way, I can find out with the roll of a die or two. Huzzah.



The other day I was introduced to a cute little two-player game called Quantik. I liked it so much that I decided to make myself a set.

The rules are amazingly simple:

  1. Each turn the players will put one of their pieces on the game board.
  2. It's forbidden to put a shape in a line, a column or an area on which this same form has already been placed by the opponent. We can only double a shape if we have played the previous one ourself.
  3. The first player who places the fourth different form in a row, column or zone wins the game immediately, no matter who owns the other pieces of that winning move.
The fancy-schmancy 3d board and geometric pieces are really not necessary; the game could be easily played on a piece of paper marked out in a 4x4 grid, with the quadrants delineated somehow. Then all you need is two distinct sets of two lots of four distinct things — say, a coin, a bottle-top, a jelly-bean, and a hex-nut.

Anyway, now I've got my set printed, and I just have to paint one or both sets of pieces so that we can tell which ones belong to which player. Or maybe I'll just print one more set in a different filament colour — that might be better.


Fancy-schmancy! I printed another set of pieces in black, and then another game board with a filament colour change at the point where the raised quadrants started printing.

I would have liked to change back when the upper knobs started, so they'd be black on blue, but instead of sitting there watching the print like a hawk to interrupt it at precisely the right time, I went to bed and slept.

More Battlemat Scenery Bits


As I've mentioned before, I've been experimenting with cutting some FDG DragonLock cavern bits off their tile bases, and also with mashing some of them into new forms. Now I've got some off the printer and painted up.

Behind and to the left of the portly friar is one that I've cut a crack through; smaller than the FDG "Small Entrance" wall. The friar himself probably couldn't fit through it, but his companion could probably squeeze past. And kobolds or goblins certainly could swarm through it, if they chose.

The stalagmites in the left foreground have just been stretched out a bit to make an intermediate size between the little ones from FDG, and the giant stalagmite column.

Lastly, I've mashed three wall sections together to make an alcove with a crack at the back. Blender's Boolean operations have improved enormously with recent updates, so this sort of thing is easy-peasy now.

The pieces are quite stable, free-standing, but I've added magnets underneath so they stick to a steel sheet underneath my wet/dry-erase battle-mat in case any clumsy clot inadvertently knocks the table.

Dungeon Sticks


I've just started printing some tabletop mapping components, designed by a chap called Ecaroth on Thingiverse, and named by him Dungeon Sticks.

They're basically interlinking half-height wall segments. Each piece has a male or female connector, or both: the particular ones shown here use an octagonal star socket and peg, so once assembled they are more or less locked in place (though there is still a little play). There are other versions that just use round pegs and holes, but they're more easily disturbed.

I like them better than full-blown decorative tile systems for three main reasons:

  1. First, because the half-height walls makes it easier for people seated around the table to see what's going on, and
  2. Second, because they're quicker and easier to put together in the heat of the moment, and they require minimal preparation.
  3. Third, because they're more generic than diorama tiles, they interfere less with the "theatre of the mind" that I think is so important a feature of tabletop roleplaying. The more detail that is presented on a tabletop scene, the more that it colours the imaginations of the participants, and the more precisely accurate it has to be, not to mislead.

No doubt I'll eventually get around to painting these, but I'm in no particular hurry. They are, after all, just a glorified substitute for dry-erase marker lines on my battle-map, and being blue doesn't really affect their functionality at all.

Ecaroth has created them in several styles as well as these stone walls — there are a couple of natural cavern styles, as well as a space opera-ish set of 'Space Station' walls. Also, he's provided a bare template set that one could create one's own custom designs with, which will come in handy if I should find a desperate need for something I can't jury-rig with the existing components.

They are taking a while to print though. A set of ten medium-length wall segments will be on the printer for about fifteen hours, so they're not the sorts of things I can dash out in a panic just before the game session starts.

I experimented with shrinking some of the "Space Station" components down for use with my old 15mm RAFM Traveller figures, but with only limited success.

These were printed at 60% scaling, and they'd really need to go down to 50% to be in scale with the figures. However, even at 60% the tolerances get too close; now that these pieces have been locked together, they're definitely not coming apart, and some of the walls in the door pieces are so thin that they're barely printing at all.

I think they'd probably be more useful for 15mm if I edited them to accommodate little magnets in their base, and just use them free-standing on a metal whiteboard.

Later on...

The Dungeonsticks are fine, as far as they go, but they do have their limitations. Having to accommodate the post and socket at each end means that they're not really truly modular; two "2" pieces aren't the same length as a "4" piece.

So, I've decided to just go with free-standing pieces that I've cut down from Fat Dragon's Dragonlock tiles. I cut away the tile base in Windows 3d Builder, deleted any free-floating remainders, and added sockets for 3x3mm magnets.

Larger magnets would provide a stronger attraction to the whiteboard (or whatever), but I have a whole lot of the 3mm magnets, and they stick well enough that the pieces won't fall over if the table is inadvertently bumped.

These sorts of scenery bits will be a lot more flexible than any sort of interlocking system, and I can create them from any tile system without having to worry about conforming to any particular connector type.

Sherman VC Firefly


The Sherman Firefly was a stopgap — though a pretty successful stopgap — 17 pounder gun tank. The gun was powerful enough to take on anything the Germans had to oppose it, assuming that it could hit anything: issues with the APDS ammunition meant that accuracy was compromised beyond about 500 yards, issues that were not fully addressed until after the end of WWII.
Note: those accuracy issues didn't exist with APCBC ammunition, which was still more than adequate against German armour at the time.

I don't know what the VC stands for, though I expect it would be easy enough to find out.

Note: It turns out that the V is the Roman numeral 5 (for Sherman V) and C designated the 17pdr gun.

This is a 1:100 (15mm) 3d printed model, from a digital design by TigerAce1945 (Zachary Kuvalich). I tinkered with the file a bit before printing it, but not a lot: I added some track detail and split the hull in half, added some magnetization sockets, and some built-in supports to get the gun to print reliably.



I've ended up careering from one end of WWII to the other, and now I'm making some Commonwealth forces for 1945.

The Cromwell is a kit from PSC, the Challenger and Comet are both 3d prints. The 17pdr and 77mm gun barrels are a bit chonky (for the sake of printing reliability), but they'll do me for the tabletop.

I'm still a bit in awe at the possibilities opened up by 3d printing, even with my relatively crude FDM prints. Kit-bashing together a Challenger in 1:100 scale would have been a pretty hefty job back in the day, when 15mm WWII gaming was getting off the ground.

Next day:

In the early 1950s, the up and coming tank in the British army was the Centurion 3. However, the supply of 20 pounder guns far outstripped the production of Centurions, which were coming along rather more slowly than had been hoped.

There was, however, a plentiful supply of Cromwell VII available. Their guns were clearly inadequate against the current crop of Soviet tanks, so they were given 20 pounders in a relatively lightly armoured turret, to be used as a stopgap until the Centurion 3 arrived in numbers.

It was called the Charioteer. It didn't last long in British service, but it was sold on around the world, especially the Middle East, and it was still in service there until 1980.

I printed this one mainly because it was there, and it overlaps with the Comet as an early Cold War tank.

PSC 15mm plastic kit on the left, the rest are 3d printed

Later still:

Because they were rather more common than the Comets in 1945, I did a bunch of 15mm Cromwells (and there's that Challenger on the right for a bit of 17pdr punch).

The one to the left of the photo is a PSC kit, the rest are all 3d printed.

I've discovered that Vallejo's US Olive Green surface primer is as close as makes no never mind to their Russian Uniform, which is my base colour of choice for later-war British kit. That's handy, because it cuts out a whole painting step; I can start tittivating straight up from the primer coat.

Fairly terrible print
I also added a Firefly to the mix, because why not?

But alas, that print is pretty terrible. I'll have to replace that gun at the very least, and it will need quite a bit of filler here and there. In fact, I'll just remodel the turret and add some built-in supports for the gun barrel, which should help a bit.

Turret edited for printing reliability

Mind you, I've had worse resin models in the past, and it's not nearly as bad as that terrible plastic Sherman kit that BF put out for their intro box set a few years ago.

SCP 3199


This little charmer is another 3d printed model, designed by Schlossbauer, and called by him SCP 3199. I don't know the significance of that name.

I printed it at 200% of the designed size, as I wanted a giant-sized monster. I ended up having to print the hands and forearms separately and add them after the fact, as the tree supports for the all-in-one model failed a bit and the hands turned out very poorly.

The base was printed as a plain disc; I just added some bits of gravel, and some superglue and baking soda.

As always, it's printed on my Ender 3. I used Tom Tullis' minis profile for Cura 4.8, which (apart from the supports) seems to have worked just fine.

Giant Trapdoor Spider


This gigantic trapdoor spider is 3d printed from a model by Schlossbauer, on Thingiverse. It's printed in eSun PLA+ on my Ender 3. I printed it scaled at at 150%, because I like my giant bugs to be really big.

The wizard is a very, very old mini, from a company called Asgard I think, and sold in the late 1970s. I got it from a friend and repainted it. The other mini is one of WotC's "iconic" character minis, from when they first published D&D3e. I think it's a class called a Loremaster; I can't remember the character name.

Marsh Dwellers Environment


Marsh Arabs, southern Iraq. Almost wiped out by that Grade A rotter, Saddam.

This will, without doubt, make its way into my FRPGing as an environment perfectly suited to piss off and frustrate my players.

As a side note, the two character abilities I prefer to keep out of my FRPGs are flying and seeing in the dark. Both of those things immediately reduce, or even remove, the feeling of danger in moving around a potentially hostile environment.

Unless it's actually the focus of the game, the FRPG trope I detest the most is that of a bunch of demigod-like super-people rampaging through a world of hapless, defenceless peons.

Heavy Flesh


This charming little chap is by a guy called Schlossbauer on Thingiverse, and he calls it Heavy Flesh. It recalls to mind an AD&D monster of some sort, from Monster Manual II I think, but I can't quite place it.

The spearman, for scale, is as usual Sergeant Measureby with his Spear of 5mm Increments.

The Flesh was printed in eSun PLA+ at 0.08mm on my Ender 3.

PSC 15mm Cromwell


I got this PSC 15mm (1:100) Cromwell as a freebie some time ago, I think for renewing my Wargames Illustrated subscription. (I've since given them the flick, having become fed up with repeatedly not getting my monthly magazine, and also with seeing less and less in it that I was actually interested in).

It's a decent enough little kit, and it comes with an exhaust diversion duct and s Culin hedge-cutter, neither of which I've included. The sprue also includes fore and aft track guards, which I've also left off.

The trickiest bit of assembly is the turret, which has no definite location pins and needs to have its plates held in place while they're being cemented. Also, some of the locating lugs on the one-piece running gear components are much too long, and had to be trimmed off before the element was glued in place.

I was originally going to get some decals for it, but in the end the cost of postage put me off, and I just painted on the markings. As it turns out, hardly any Cromwells actually had the Allied star painted on the turret sides, so I might as well have saved myself the effort there.

American T-28 (not to be confused with the Soviet T-28)


TigerAce1945 (on Thingiverse) did an American T-28 super-heavy assault tank in 1:100 scale, and I thought I might as well print one or two (only two were ever completed). Just because it never actually made it to the real-life Siegfried Line doesn't mean it can't make it to mine.

It can keep my Tortoises company.

I did these Tortoises a couple of years ago, in 2018.

One of them had its layer-lines sanded smooth, the other didn't — I wanted to see if it was worth the trouble. It wasn't, really.

The unsanded one is on the left.

And here it is, finished.

I decided to print and attach the outrigger track modules as well, which the original vehicle needed to allow mobility anywhere off roads. These supplementary tracks actually supported about 75% of the total weight of the vehicle.

I've never really understood why the T-28 is always referred to as a super-heavy tank. Surely it's a self-propelled gun.

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

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



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

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.