Sunday 31 May 2020

Iron Age Round House

I've been experimenting with modeling thatch in Blender with an alpha brush, and put together this 15mm Iron Age round-house, as used by the ancient Celts — it's a bit early for my period, but they were still being used occasionally in the early medieval era.

The thatch is a bit too pronounced for my taste, but I don't think it looks too terrible. More practice is needed, obviously.

I've refined the thatch a bit, and added some bark detail to the posts. I'll put it on to print overnight and see how well it does with my 0.4mm nozzle.

Alas, my computer shat itself without warning before I could slice the new version, so I haven't been able to print one. The machine is off at Computer Hospital right now, so hopefully I'll have it back soon.

Thursday 28 May 2020

15mm Peasant Dwelling

I've started to get back into 15mm medieval wargaming, and I've been looking about for some rural medieval buildings that aren't castles, with very limited success. So I've decided to try making some.

This is a very small peasant hut, called a "grübenhaus" in German, but built in very similar fashion all over Europe, and indeed, the world. It was basically a wattle-and-daub thatched tent, and to give the occupants some head-room, it was built over a dugout pit, usually about two or three feet deep — hence the name.

Although this one is very small, and would probably be the hovel of a villein or serf, the same principle was used for considerably larger houses, especially where the soil was dry enough to dig into without oozing damp.

Here's the first test print done, and given a squirt of primer to take off the shine.

I shall have to give the thatch a bit more texture I think, even though I'm not a big fan of the sort of thatch modelling that looks like bundles of sticks rather than straw.

Okay, here's the second test print with a bit of thatch texture added. It's also been printed at a lower resolution than the first, to speed things up a bit.

As I suspected, my 0.4mm nozzle hasn't been able to fully render the texture in the model, but it's perceptibly more textured than the first try, and I think it will probably be good enough for my purpose.

It would be nice to be able to have nice shaggy thatch on my wargames terrain, but quite a bit can be achieved with paint, and in the end they're only wargaming models after all, not diorama pieces.

NOTE: the STL is now available at

This is a larger variant on the same theme, about twice the size of the little hovel in every dimension.

They would have been very dark and stuffy inside, as the only light would come from the open door and the smoke holes at the top of each gable. The peak of the roof would have been high enough to allow for a mezzanine floor for sleeping.

This sort of thing would have been a very common rural family home throughout Europe during the Dark Ages and early Medieval period, up until vertical framed buildings became the norm.

Monday 25 May 2020

"Hail Caesar" Bases

After I'd started printing the movement trays for my Hail Cæsar formations, I started the arduous task of cutting up some 30x30mm MDF bases for individual figures. It's a job that is, to be frank, a pain in the arse.

Then it occurred to me that I could be using my replicator robot to make the bases for me. Duh!

So I whipped up some bases in Blender in the sizes I wanted — 30x30, 30x15, and 15x15 mm. As long as the filament and printer holds out, I now have an endless supply of them. I might see if I can get hold of some olive green filament though, to save on painting.

The bases, as you can see, have a 1.5mm lip and are 3mm thick in total, so they match my old MDF bases. The two knights in the centre of the tray are on one of those old bases. After I've glued the miniature(s) into the base, I fill it out with a generic acrylic filler — I think the stuff I'm using at the moment is called Permafil or something, but all the brands are pretty much the same.

I've made a change in my basing ground cover too. Up until now, I've been using static grass, and it's been okay. However, now I've changed to using three shades of Woodland Scenics fine turf foam flocks: Burnt Grass as the base, and very light sprinkles of Dark Forest, and Autumn Yellow to add a bit of texture. The foam soaks up the glue, and is a lot sturdier than the nylon static grass, and I think it looks better too. I could add a few little clumps of the coarse turf foam as well, for some additional texture, but I'm not sure I can be bothered.

The knights and the two single cavalrymen on the ends have been based with the static grass, while the two groups of two cavalry to either side of the knights are based with foam flock.

Thursday 21 May 2020

Movement Trays

From time to time I like to play with toy soldiers (15mm medieval warriors, from the sadly defunct Tabletop Games in the case of the ones in the photo) and to maintain as much flexibility as possible, with regard to rules systems, I mount them all on 30x30mm square MDF bases (40x40mm for 20mm figures, 20x20mm for 6mm).

However, then pushing them around the tabletop can get a bit tiresome, and it becomes easier if they can be moved en masse.

To which end, I've been tinkering in Blender to make these little movement trays. The sizes and proportions of things can be controlled very precisely in Blender, but for something like these, which need to be tight enough that the individual bases don't rattle around, but loose enough that they're easy to get in and out without sticking, a certain amount of trial and error is necessary to determine the exact degree of slack.

These first ones are all slightly too roomy, so I'll shrink them down by a few millimetres where necessary and print another lot. Once I've determined the optimum spacing, I can just production-line the things in any size or configuration.

Next Day...

I've settled on the exact sizes I want, and I've started a production line to print as many as I'm likely to need. Hail Caesar is fairly accommodating about basing, and you really only need to be able to distinguish between large (at rear), regular, and small units, and there are a couple of other things such as pikes and war-bands needing to be in deeper formations. All pretty straightforward.

I suppose I shall have to paint the trays a grassy green or something, but to be honest I quite like the pale blue.

Owlbearskin Rug

 Just what every high-class establishment needs lying by the fire — an owlbearskin rug.

Printed from the FDG May 2020 newsletter freebie STL. The 28mm figures are from Reaper.

Is it a bird? Is it a bear? It's an Owlbear!

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Red-Headed Step-Dragon

I got this old miniature in amongst a whole bunch of old miniatures for a birthday a wee while ago, and have finally got around to painting it.

I don't know which manufacturer it comes from. Engraved under the base is "H.H.G. 1994", so I can date it at least.

Note: I am informed that it's from Heartbreaker Hobbies & Games, from their Magic: the Gathering line of blister packs.

Monday 18 May 2020

CMP 3 ton Radio/Command Truck

I'm scampering about between modeling projects like a cocaine-addled grasshopper. This time I've headed back over to WWII again.

This is one of Bergman's 1:100 CMP 3 ton models, a radio/command truck, and I've painted it to be suitable for the latter stages of the Italian campaign, or for north-west Europe, post D-Day.

For NW Europe, it should also have the Allied stars applied, and maybe I'll return to it at some stage and add those.

The model is printed on my Ender 3 at 0.08mm in eSun PLA (a charming baby blue colour, for what that's worth). The coloured filament seems to me to be very much more brittle than either the grey or black that I've used before, and its inter-layer adhesion is not as good either.

Saturday 16 May 2020

Centurion AVRE (1:150)

I've got myself something for my 1:150 scale 1983 BAOR, for pushing and pulling and blowing things up: a Centurion AVRE.

It's the 1:100 scale Bergman model, rescaled to 66% and printed on my Ender 3.

My friend Steve is awaiting the arrival of a Creality DLP resin printer, and I'm all agog to see how it performs. I suspect I shall have to end up getting myself something similar, even though resin printers are a lot more expensive to run. The quality of print they're capable of is just much, much better than my trusty FDM machine will ever be able to produce.

Thursday 14 May 2020

M3 Grants (again)

I got a troop of three Grants 3d printed and painted and ready to go, so hoorah. They're intended for a Battlegroup: Torch British desert army from 1942-ish.

The palm trees are a pair of some luridly-coloured plastic ones I got from China a few years ago. I gave them a quick spritz of paint and put them on a base, and here they are. They came in a range of sizes; these are two of the medium-sized ones — the biggest ones would need to be cut down a bit in the trunk to be sized for 15mm stuff.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Grant (1:100)

I've designed a 1:100 scale M3 Grant tank for 3d printing, to give my desert-war Brits a decent gun before their Shermans start arriving.

This is the first test-print off my Ender 3, and by and large it's turned out OK I think.

Below is a comparison between Battlefront's old resin and metal kit (left) and my 3d print (right). As you can see, the Battlefront kit is substantially taller than my model, but I have double-checked my measurements and I'm confident that I'm right and they were wrong.

Thursday 7 May 2020

More 1:150 BAOR

Some more vehicles for my BG:NORTHAG 1:150 Brits are complete.

Above are FV432 APCs, and to the right, a FV104 Samaritan battlefield ambulance.

All are 3d printed in PLA on my Ender 3.

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Command & Control in 1:150 Scale

This is a FV105 Sultan, a British command vehicle based on the CVRT series, modelled in 1:100 scale by loxfil and printed by me in 1:150 scale for my BG:NORTHAG BAOR force.
STLs are available from

I don't have any suitable 10mm infantry command figures for it as yet, and I'll probably wait until we're plague-free and things are more or less back to normal before I try ordering any from overseas.

I've magnetised the base and vehicle, so that the vehicle can be used separately if need be. The base itself is cut down from an old credit card, and flocked with my home-made sawdust and foam flocks.

Friday 1 May 2020

Spotlight Experiment

I thought I'd try a little experiment with photographing miniatures, using a small focusable LED torch hand-held to get a spotlight effect.

I used quite a small aperture (f22) to get a decent depth of field, which meant a very long exposure. Being hand-held, the light wavered about quite a bit, but that was probably a good thing as it softened the edges of the shadows cast behind the mini a bit.

I'm not unhappy with the result. It's crude, but as a proof-of-concept I think it shows promise. A second torch, further away, could be used to add a bit of fill light too, I guess.

I note that this ettin has got a bit dusty. He could do with a wash.
The mini in its little stage

The little LED torch I used