Thursday 30 July 2020

Chieftain AVLB (1:150)

My friend Steve has recently become the proud owner of a Creality resin printer, and one of the things he printed is the hull of this 1:150 scale Chieftain AVLB (bridgelayer). Then he gave it to me, which was very nice of him.

I printed the bridge myself on my Ender 3, after adding some treads to the top surfaces which were missing from the original STL. The bridge is detachable from the hull, and one of these days I'll also print a deployed version of it.

Monday 27 July 2020

Zvezda Maus (repaint)

I bought this 1:100 scale Maus a while ago, mainly out of nostalgia since it was one of the first things I ever attempted (and failed) to scratch-build when I was a lad. I painted it at first in a wholly spurious splinter pattern, but I found I didn't much like that, so I repainted it.

The decals are from an old Battlefront 1:100 kit, and they're pretty crappy as far as registration goes.

It's highly unlikely that a Maus will ever turn up on my wargames table, except maybe as a trophy objective. Still, you never know.

Sunday 26 July 2020

New Photo Backdrop

I made a new photo backdrop to go in my little 3d printed sweep clips. I wanted something that would provide a bit of textural interest without adding any colour or overwhelming the subject.

I painted it in Krita using some of its watercolour brushes, and then desaturated it completely to remove any colour cast. Unfortunately, I can only print A4 on my laser; if I want anything bigger than that I will have to go to a print bureau and pay an arm and a leg for it.

The model is a Zvezda 1:100 scale Maus that I'm in the process of painting.

Friday 24 July 2020


P.O.D. reprint on left, original printing on the right.
My Print-on-Demand copy of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia of 1991 has finally arrived from DriveThruRPG, after the first one they shipped disappeared into the postal aether.

It's my favourite iteration of the pre-d20 System D&D, and I'm pretty happy with it overall.

The paper they've used is thicker, whiter, and more matte than the stock used in the original printing, which is more like the thin, flimsy, shiny stuff they used for AD&D2e, and I very much prefer the new paper.

Feel the thickness!
 As a result, the book is about a third again thicker than the original, though the page count is identical.

The covers overhang the page area more too. Whether this is beneficial, or neutral, or problematic, I suppose only time will tell.

The binding is just a perfect glue-binding stuck into hard covers, so it's unlikely to be as long-lasting as the saddle-stitched signature-bound original. On the other hand, it was only about twenty-five yankeebucks, so you can only expect so much.

Incidentally, the sticker price on the back cover of the original was $24.95 U.S., so this reprint is about the same price as the original was back in '91.

Inside, the matte paper is a bit easier on the eyes, I find. The green accent colour used throughout is a lot paler than in the original, but it's still adequate for delineating table rows, which is its main job. The images have been replicated well; they're pretty much all black-&-white line art, so there's nothing particularly tricky there — though they do seem a bit crisper and cleaner than the examples in the companion Creature Catalog volume, which I also bought in P.O.D. (softcover) a couple of years ago. The text is all clean and readable.

In the back of the book there are some full-colour maps; these are all a bit softer and fuzzier than the originals, but not so much that they're not perfectly usable.

All in all, I'd call it good value for money.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Admin Increases

Due to a relatively sudden up-tick in the amount of spam appearing in the comments, I've decided to turn comment moderation on. It's a faff, but since Blogger has no way (that I've found) of blocking persistent spammers from commenting, I'll either have to wear the extra effort or else turn off commenting altogether.

Monday 20 July 2020

The 91st of Foot (sort of, nearly)

I'm slogging along with my Peninsular War rosbifs, and making heavy going of it too. However, I'm very nearly done with my very first Black Powder battalion, with just the Light Company to finish for the left of the line. Even at this level of painting, they're taking forever — I don't seem to be able to just sit and paint for hour after hour as I used to.

The colours came from the WarFlags site, printed and over-painted, and I chose the 91st simply because their regimental colour matches the facing colour I'd already started painting. I don't actually know anything about the regiment beyond its existence, and to be honest, I don't really care that much. At this point, a generic British formation is all I'm after.
Note: I am informed that the 91st was actually a Scottish regiment, originally the 98th Argyllshire Highlanders, who wore kilts up until about 1809 (?)  Fortunately that's before my chosen period, just. But in any case, hopefully nobody too knowledgeable will look too closely.

These figures are all from a single box of HäT plastic 1/72 figures, which are the only cheap plastic ones I've found that wear the pre-Waterloo stovepipe shako. That's why part of the battalion are standing at shoulder arms, while the rest are marching merrily along — there aren't enough figures of either type in one box to do a whole battalion.

The situation is easier with the Strelets boxes, as each of their sprues are entirely of one type of figure, with a few minor differences so that the bases don't all look like robot-clones marching in lock-step. However, the Strelets sets are all in the later Belgic shako, and there are only half the number of figures per box (at the same price as the HäT box) — roughly enough for one battalion per box, with a few spares. The Strelets plastic feels a bit greasier than HäT's; hopefully after a good scrubbing in detergent the paint won't just fall off them.

I'll add a couple of 95th Riflemen on detachment to the Light Company, in homage to Sharpe, which I'm currently rewatching for the umpteenth time. I haven't yet decided how I'm going to base the Lights; whether to base them individually, and make a sabot for when they're in the line, whether to just put them on a 6-figure base like all the others, or to split the difference and put them on two 3-figure bases.

A bit later...

I decided to base my Light Bobs individually, and make 3d printed three-figure sabots for them.

The plastic figures are mounted on 12.5mm (½ inch) steel washers, and there are 5x1mm magnets inset in the bottom of each socket in the sabot base.

This way I can scatter them individually if they're out in skirmish order, or if I'm feeling lazy I can just leave them in their sabots.

Here are the two sabots alongside the other six-figure bases in a 3d printed half-battalion movement tray. Only the front rank of the Lights are painted as yet; the guys at the back are still in their black primer.

Next morning...

And this battalion is done. Now, on to the next, which I think will be kilted Scots, just to torture myself a bit. I need four battalions of foot for a complete Black Powder army; I expect I will be both ancient and irretrievably insane by the time I finish them all.

I've got a box of Strelets Highlanders in Attack primed with black gesso, ready to be painted. I've painted tartan before (see this old post) but never in this scale, and only on individual figures, not as a production line.

Thursday 16 July 2020

Napoleonics II: The Revengening

These Strelets 1/72 Napoleonic British just arrived on my doorstep this morning, so that's the foot component of my Black Powder Brits taken care of. Still got to get horse and guns, but first things first.

I'm mounting them at six to a 40x40mm base, so each box is roughly one battalion, with a few spares.

In truth, I'm really more interested in the Peninsular War than the 100 Days period, but the only stovepipe-wearing cheap plastic 1/72 Brits I've found are one set from HaT, and though I like them as figures, there are fewer useful poses per box in the HaT set than in the Strelets boxes. I'll just have to live with the embarrassment of presenting grey trousers and Belgic shakos on the field of Talavera.


I had to go into town for another reason, so I stopped by our local model shop and picked up some packs of Italerei Napoleonics.

These are the 95th Rifles, the Greenjackets. They'll need their swords trimmed off all their rifles, as they seldom used them as bayonets.

Here we have the 11th Hussars

And these are the Scots Greys.

That'll see me sorted for cavalry for a while, though I don't have any lancers.

Thursday 9 July 2020

4.5cm PaK (t) auf R-35 (f)

 I whipped this up mostly out of digital bits and pieces I had left over from other Blender projects.

It's a German hodge-podge of a Czech 45mm gun on a French R-35 chassis. The Germans made and used quite a few of these, right up until the war's end. From memory, there were about 135 of them.

The model is designed at 1:100 scale, as is my usual practice, for 15mm gaming. I didn't have any reference for the interior, so it's a bit barren in there — however, once I get a couple of crewmen in there I think it will look okay.


Fighting compartment
I exported the Blender model to two separate STLs, one for the hull and running gear, and another for the fighting compartment.

I find this gives me the easiest print to clean up, and it makes for a relatively easy print to support as I don't have to worry about any tricky supports forming inside the crew compartment.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

3d Printer Upgrade — X-axis Belt Tensioner

Some time ago, when I was having issues with layer shifting and was flailing about for a fix, I bought a pair of belt tensioners for my Ender 3. I can't remember exactly where they came from (they came via Amazon), but they were pretty cheap — about ten or fifteen bucks each.

There are designs available on Thingiverse that can be 3d printed, but I prefer things like this to be made of aluminium and steel rather than plastic.

This is the one for the X-axis, and I've only just got around to actually installing it — I resolved my layer shifting issue, so there was no urgent need to change anything else, and I'm generally reluctant to fix things that aren't broken. It was not a big job, but it was pretty fiddly, and they came without any sort of instructions or drawings, so there was a certain amount of trial and error involved in installation.

I've done a small test print, and all seems well, so I suppose now I should go ahead and install the one for the Y-axis. And, looking at the photo, maybe I should give the printer a dust and wipe down from time to time too.

These things aren't strictly necessary for the Ender 3, but the belt rollers that come with the base machine aren't the best and have fairly obviously been designed for cheapness rather than efficiency or ease of use. These ones should, in theory, be less likely to rack the belt to one side or the other, as well as making it easier to maintain a decent tension thanks to the thumbscrew adjustment.


I also bought a Y-axis tensioner, which turned out to be designed for the Ender 3 Pro, which uses a different size of aluminium extrusion. Doh!

It took a bit of modifying, but I got it working.

I printed a pair of spacer blocks, and bought some longer M4 machine screws for the rail anchors.

The roller sits up higher than the original Ender 3 one, which means that the belt gets dragged across the sharp edge of the aluminium extrusion — I fixed that issue by adding a spacer-roller from bits out of my old Meccano set. It's a bit clunky-looking, but it seems to work.