Sunday 28 June 2020

Pz35(t) Artillerie Schlepper (15mm)

The Germans in WWII were very good at modifying obsolete equipment to wring the very last drop of service from them.

The Pz35(t) was a Czech design they nicked when they invaded in March of 1939, though it was already obsolescent by then. It was used as a light reconnaissance tank for a while, and a number of them (in the mid 40s I think, I'm not sure exactly how many) were converted into artillery tractors like this one.

It's not the sort of model that's likely to appear much on the wargames table; they would have been with the heavy artillery quite a long way behind the lines, unless something had gone very wrong. Still, you never know.

This is a 1:100 model by the prolific Mr. Bergman. I've refined the rivet and canvas detail, and added a bit of detail to the tracks. There were multiple issues with the original mesh in the form of non-manifold edges galore, enough to completely choke 3d Builder's and NetFabb's automated repair systems, but fortunately Cura just blithely ignored them and sliced it anyway.

Saturday 27 June 2020


These two photos were taken at the same time, with identical lighting and zoom, and both from a tripod and using the camera's timer to eliminate camera-shake. Both were focused on the same point on the model. The only thing that changed between them was the lens aperture.

On the left, the aperture was f22, on the right, f5.6.

Each of them has their benefits.

The smaller aperture (f22) increases the image's depth of field, so every part of the model is in focus. The background texture is also better defined. The exposure time is long, so a tripod is absolutely necessary.

the larger aperture (f5.6) reduces the depth of field, so the background is significantly out of focus — this has the benefit of separating the model from its background, and the fact that his left hand is also slightly out of focus gives the figure a bit more of a sense of depth. Exposure time was significantly shorter, but still long enough to make tripod use advisable.

The miniature is from Reaper; I think it's a swamp-troll or something.

Friday 26 June 2020

DM Screen — slow progress

I've been doing a bit more work on my AD&D/OSRIC DM screen, and it's almost ready for prime time. However, I have a great huge gaping hole on sheet #4 that I am entirely without inspiration as what to fill it with.

There's some spare space on sheet #1 as well, but I'm less concerned with that. If there's an emergency need, I'll put something there, otherwise I probably won't bother.


I've about finished, I think. There are still a couple of lacunae, but I can fill them if I really find something useful, or else maybe just with some graphics.

Later again....

I've added an alternative last panel that includes THAC0 (for descending AC) and Attack Bonuses (for ascending AC) in place of the Aerial Agility Class and Unnatural Aging information.

The PDF can be seen here, assuming I've configured the Google Drive link correctly — it's under 2 MB.

Wednesday 24 June 2020


As I've mentioned before, I really do not enjoy production-line painting, so I tend to paint models, and often figures too, one at a time.

However, a significant problem with that is that I'm terrible at maintaining consistency in my painting from session to session. These are three 1:100 (15mm) A10 Cruiser Mk.II, each painted at a different time, and each one completely different in appearance to either of the others.

The one on the left is from PSC, the other two are 3d printed.

Saturday 20 June 2020

Floating Cyclops Head Thing

 I had a bit of a hiccup with my computer recently, and since I had to get it fixed anyway, I thought I'd take the opportunity to upgrade its seven or eight year old graphics card. This thing is the result of the first bout of testing of the new card, which has certainly made a huge difference in sculpting performance in Blender — it started out as a cube subdivided and MultiResolutioned to about 6.5 million faces, and the card handled an object of that complexity without blinking.

I had no plan or purpose for this when I started modeling it, and that does show a bit. However, it's now a Thing, and I've 3d printed one and painted it. The spearman is an old Essex figure; his spear is marked in 5mm increments.

The STL can be downloaded (free) from

Thursday 18 June 2020

Cruiser Mk.II A10 (CS)

I recently printed this 1:100 Cruiser Mk.II A10 CS, and had my first go on it using the Vallejo Caunter set.

The issues with the print itself are several, but never mind that. The paints are excellent in terms of colour. My only issue with them is that because they're formulated for airbrushing, they take at least three coats to get solid coverage when applied by regular brush.

I prefer to apply Caunter by brush, because my masking skills aren't that great, and masking is a pain. It might be a different matter if I was working with 1/72 kits (or larger), where I could paint the camo scheme before adding all the lumps and bumps like exhausts and what-not.

I draw the lines of the scheme on to the Portland Stone base coat with a pencil and flexible ruler, and then just colour them in, and I find I can get acceptably straight lines that way.

Wednesday 17 June 2020

The Wars of the Roses

Here's a group of 15mm Wars of the Roses men-at-arms I got more than 30 years ago as part of a sample pack from the Tin Soldier Company.

I don't really know anything about the WotR or who was who, so I just picked a couple of banners more or less at random. I don't have any immediate plans for a WotR army, but you never know.

Sunday 14 June 2020

New Blogger is Pretty Shitty

The "New Blogger" may very well be more responsive on mobile devices, as they claim, but it's pretty shitty to compose new posts on with my desktop computer.

They're saying that by late July there'll be no other option, so it looks like Blogger will become largely useless to me. It seems to be pretty much typical of similar platforms, removing flexibility and user agency in favour of a homogenized and restricted user experience, and it sucks.

I guess it's time to start looking for somewhere else to blather.

[EDIT] I've been looking into Wordpress to replace my bloggery needs when Blogger changes irrevocably to the Shit Version of Blogger in a couple of months, but I'm beginning to think I might be better off just biting the bullet and learning something about Drupal. I've been thinking for quite some time that I should convert to some sort of CMS, but I just haven't been arsed to do anything about it.

A13 Cruiser modifications

I've been making some modifications to one of TigerAce1945's Early War set, the A13 Cruiser Mk.IV. I only want it for the North African campaigns, so I've just done the version with sand shields.

The modifications consist mainly of bumping up some detail (rivets, mainly) and adding some fillers so that it will print better on my Ender 3, but I've also added some detail to the tracks.

I split the hull in half, added sockets for alignment pins, and printed it in two pieces.

The two turrets have different styles of mantlet, but are otherwise pretty much the same.

The split in the hull could probably do with a bit of filler, but overall everything printed okay. Not perfectly by any means, but okay.

Saturday 13 June 2020

Centurion AVRE – fascine (1:150)

I printed a pipe fascine for my 1:150 scale Centurion AVRE (digital model by Bergman).

The fascine is attached by magnets, so it can be added or removed at whim.

It's heavy enough that I had to glue a slug of lead under the hull rear to keep it from nosing over under its weight.

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Henschel HS 129 (1:144)

Here's a Henschel HS 129 tankbuster that I 3d-printed at 1/144 scale from a file by (I think) Capt_Ahab on Thingiverse. I had to draw in the panel lines, and I used some old Zvezda decals from I don't know what kit.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. It's not as clean as an injection-moulded kit, but on the other hand, it was free.

Thursday 4 June 2020

Comment Spam

I'm not very good at keeping up with comments on this blog — the theme I'm currently using doesn't show them in the timeline view, but only if the post is opened in its own page. However, from time to time I do remember that comments might exist, and I read them.

Sorry if you've said something profound and interesting that I haven't replied to; it's not that I'm ignoring you, it's rather that I probably haven't realised that your comment exists.

Lately, I've noticed a sharp uptick in the number of comments that are just more or less thinly disguised spam, so I've been going through and marking all the offenders. It's a pain, but perhaps if I remember that I have to do that, it might encourage me to remember to read (and reply to) the proper comments more regularly as well.

Figure Holders for Painting

I've tried all sorts of methods of holding figures for painting, from the simplest (bottle caps and blutak) to the fancy (3d-printed handle and adjustable gripping socket), and they all work well enough. However, at each end of the scale they have their issues: the bottle caps are small, don't offer much gripping surface, and are easily knocked over, while the fancy 3d-printed handle is quite bulky, and takes a very, very long time to print, which is fine if you just want one or two, but I'd want at least a dozen.

I've finally settled on this system: short lengths of 25mm beech dowel (bits of a broomstick, in fact) with a nail driven into an end, and a steel washer epoxied around the nail head. I can whip these up very quickly.

The individual stands are reasonably stable, and if need be, more weight can be added by gluing lead or steel slugs to the bottom. The 16mm washers on top are broad enough to support a decent blob of blutak, for attaching figures with non-ferrous bases, but more often I mount my figures on steel washers, so I just put a 10x1mm magnet on the holder and attach the figure to that.

When I'm painting a group of figures, the individual stands tend to just cluster about on my painting table, but the wooden tray for them is useful to keep everything organised if need be.

Monday 1 June 2020

Peasant Hovel Upgrade

Hovel, along with some very angry peasants.
I remodeled the thatch on my little peasant hovel in Blender using a new alpha brush, and got a far superior (and faster) result than the original. Then I split the STL in half fore and aft, and printed it so that the layer lines followed the fall of the thatch. The overall end result is much, much better than the original.

Regrettably, my desktop computer shat itself without warning, so until I get it fixed ($$$) I won't be able to update the online files. Hopefully that won't be too far away, because I'm currently having to use a couple of very inferior machines to access the internet at all, and working in Blender or the like is completely out of the question.