Thursday 31 December 2020

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.

Monday 28 December 2020

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.

Sunday 27 December 2020

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.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

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.

Tuesday 22 December 2020

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.

Monday 21 December 2020



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.

Saturday 19 December 2020

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.

Saturday 12 December 2020

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.

Friday 11 December 2020

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.

Tuesday 1 December 2020



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.