Model Photo Colour Balancing

1: White background
2: Black background
3: Fluoro green background
4: Fluoro green — no swatches

I've been experimenting for a while with using a colour and tone swatch card in an attempt to get more reliable colour balancing and exposure with the automated controls of my camera.

It can only help so much with strongly coloured backgrounds though; you can see that there's considerable colour contamination from the green background, but that's due to reflection, not the camera's own colour handling.

Of all of them, it seems to be most successful with a black background, though the white background is fine as far as colour goes — it just overwhelms the tones of the model itself. The model on the black background would be more successful still if I used a reflector to get some light into its shadows, and it could do with a touch more exposure too; you can see the greyness of the white swatch compared with that on the white background.

Of the two with the green background, the one with the swatch card in frame is the more accurate colour-wise, though again it could do with a little more exposure. In the other one the camera has blown out the background quite substantially to expose the model better.

The swatch card I've used is just something that I printed on my cheap laser printer, though I've painted over the black and white swatches to get them as clean as possible. You can buy similar cards, properly calibrated for studio photography, but they're not cheap, and all you really need is something close enough. As long as you have a repeatable reference colour/tone set to match against, you have a baseline constant to work from.

Old-Style Pig-Faced Orc


This is a figure that was inspired in style very heavily by the clunky old Minifigs pig-faced orcs of the 1970s. It's not an exact match to those old lead figures, but it's fairly close I think. The hardest things about the sculpting really was keeping its pose as stiff and awkward as the originals, and resisting the urge to add any more detail.

The only point at which I departed from the design of those old figures is in the shield. I used instead the shields as shown in the AD&D Monster Manual.

I rendered it as if it was an old soft plastic figure, the sort of toy you might have once got in a box of cereal. It seemed like an appropriate aesthetic for this thing.

The STL is on Thingiverse at

Soviet Maxim Team c.1939


Here's a 15mm Soviet Maxim machine gun team from about 1939-40, the period of the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland. The troops are wearing the old-style crested helmet and puttees, which dates them: they could also serve as soldiers in the early months of Operation Barbarossa in 1941, before the new uniform changes became general throughout the Soviet armies.

The figures are 3d printed on my Elegoo Mars Pro, and the digital design is by the excellent Propylene Foliescu.

BA-27M (1931)

The figures are 15mm plastic Russians from PSC

Here's the test print of my latest 1:100 (15mm) digital model, a Soviet BA-27M armoured car of 1931. There were still about 120 of them in service when the Germans invaded in 1941, so although it was an interwar design, it also counts as WWII equipment for the Soviets, and captured examples were also taken into German service.

It mounts the same turret as used on the T-18 tank, with a copy of the French Puteaux 37mm gun and a 7.62mm machine-gun.

The STLs are available at

And here it is in a coat of paint. It could probably do with a bit more panel highlighting; that overall 4BO green tends to look a bit bland in small scales.

DMing Hiatus (again)

 I managed to paint myself into an inescapable corner with my AD&D campaign, and burned myself out trying to find some way to wriggle out of it. So, I'm taking a rest from DMing for a time, while I regather my mojo.

My problem is that I tend towards grandiose world-shaking plotlines, and that alway turns out to be too much weight to carry. Especially since my predictions of how any given player will react to a situation always turn out to be wrong. I have tried second-guessing myself, on the assumption that I'll be wrong, so I plan for the other likelihood, whereupon (of course) they'll always choose the original path. Hey-ho.

I think I'd be better scaling things back to a much more localised episodic murderhobo campaign — simple loot-gathering, and maybe some "Seven Samurai" defending-the-peasantry scenarios so that the paladin can get some moral satisfaction.

I'm still left with the problem of how to get out of the current campaign believably, but maybe I'll just ignore believability and do a "with a bound they were free" scene shift and ignore the whole thing.

6mm Napoleonic Experiment


Just out of curiosity, I decided to try printing some 6mm Napoleonics, just to see what the possibilities are. These particular ones are scaled down from some 15mm sculpts I found on Thingiverse.

They're shown here (on the left) in their 1805 stovepipe shakos beside some Heroics & Ros Waterloo British infantry of 1815.

They printed just fine, though they're extremely delicate — almost certainly too delicate for the sort of handling wargaming figures get. However, seeing them next to their metal equivalents shows me that I can afford to make them much more squat and dwarfish, and thus a lot stronger.

Napoleonics in 6mm are very much an "en masse" spectacle, so the look of a whole battalion is much more important than an individual figure. I could get away with quite a lot in terms of figure design and still end up with something that looks quite okay in the ranks.

More 15mm Figure Sculpting


I've been experimenting with a new (to me) method of digitally sculpting 15mm figures in Blender, using a combination of rigging and assembly, and the first finished fruit of my labour is this 8th Army artilleryman, on the left. I've included an old metal Battlefront figure for scale.

That shell he's carrying is about the size for a 7.2" howitzer, which would make him a mighty Hercules of a man, since those things weighed just a tad over 200 pounds each.

I find I'll need to exaggerate surface detail like webbing and facial features quite a lot if I want them to resolve with the printer I have.

In Progress...


In the foreground is the first test print of the 15mm 2pdr portee I recently bashed together. It's just in its primer underpants at the moment, and there's a bunch of stowage to go on yet.

Behind it, a Crusader III (left) and a Crusader I (or maybe II) in Caunter. The appearance of the Crusader in North Africa only overlapped the official existence of the Caunter scheme by a couple of months, but that's enough excuse for me to paint a Cauntered-up Crusader.

I printed the Crusader I in FDM before I got my Mars Pro resin printer, and I thought it was pretty sweet at the time. Hoo boy, the difference in surface quality between that and the resin Crusader III is pretty stark — it doesn't look so egregious here, because they're both out of focus. Still, it will serve perfectly well as a wargaming model.

CMP 2-pounder Portee


I've spent the afternoon bashing together a CMP 2 pounder portee from various sources. The lorry is cut down from one of Bergman's CMP 3-tonners, with new wheels and accoutrements. The 2 pounder and gunner come from 3dBreed, and the rest of the crew are my own sculpts.

Note: because so much of the IP in this model is not my own, the STL will not be available for distribution. Sorry about that.


I've since added the wheels for the 2 pounder, and the two ramps that were used to get the gun on and off the truck.

There was another method of carrying the wheels, that had them in a pair of buckets off the end of the truck bed — I think, judging by the preponderance of photos, that that was the more common arrangement. However, I had room to put them on the bed (secured by wing-nuts) so I did, mainly because it would hugely simplify 3d printing, which is already going to be a bit tricky.

Judging by photos of the thing in action, it should also be piled high with all kinds of tarps and knapsacks and buckets and all manner of tat. That sort of stuff can be added later, via traditional modelling methods, which will give some individuality to different models.

CMP 15cwt

This is an experimental 1:100 (15mm) model of the CMP 15cwt utility truck, a variation of one that I designed some considerable time ago.

At the time I didn't have a resin printer, and I never got very satisfactory results printing the ribs of the tilt frame in FDM. So I did a quick redesign of that model to remove the frame entirely, and put some sockets in the walls of the cargo bed for wire ribs instead. The wire not only gives me a cleaner result, but a much sturdier one to boot — much more likely to survive wargamers' fumble-fingers on the tabletop.

I also designed and printed a bending jig to make sure that they are all the same size and profile.

The jig isn't particularly successful; it worked to a degree, but I think there must be a better way to do it.

I see from photos of the original vehicle that there should be some horizontal spreaders between the ribs. Maybe I'll get around to doing something about them some time.

I used 1mm aluminium tying-off wire for this proof-of-concept model, and it's okay, but some 0.5mm x 1mm brass strip would do a better job I think.

Next day...

I made a matching female part for the jig, so that I can squish the wire between the two, and that works a lot better.

In this photo I've tried a couple of alternative materials for the frame: copper wire (0.95mm) and soft iron florists' wire (0.89mm). I don't know what those measurements equate to in gauge. Both are a little bit heavy; something about 0.7 to 0.8mm would be better. The copper is easier to work with than the iron, mainly because it's polished and therefore slipperier.

Edit: Looks like those measurements turn out to 19 and 20 gauge respectively, for the copper and the iron.

 Coupla days...

Here are the two that I've completed so far, alongside an old Battlefront 15mm pointing-at-the-sky guy.

The stores in the back of the truck in the foreground are some modules I originally designed and printed to go in the back of my Chenillette, plus a rolled-up tarp made from epoxy putty.

Printing Issues (again)


I'm using this model, a 1:100 scale Artilleriewagen, to try to iron out some issues I've been getting with my resin prints.

You can see some diagonal lines running across the turret where something has shifted during printing — I don't know yet what caused that, and some research is in order.

It has happened at least twice, and as a result the profile of the turret has been distorted. Not enough to make it unusable; I've had worse misalignments in cast components from commercial manufacturers, but it's annoying.

It may just be that the various bolts and screws on the platen and rail need tightening, and that's always a good first step. Or it may be that the FEP is getting a bit flaccid.

More successful is the rigidifying of the box-like body of the model.

I like to hollow the models for printing, partly because it means they use up less resin, but mostly because having less contact area on the FEP at any given level makes a suction-created print failure less likely.

Having as much as possible of the non-visible bottom surface cut away gives me maximal access to the interior for washing away uncured resin, which means less chance of warping and cracking problems later. It also gives more access to the innards for the UV curing lights.

However, especially on a boxy model like this, thin walls means a less rigid and strong model. I could keep the walls thicker, but in this instance I've also added some internal bulkheads which provide a great deal of strength to the whole thing, as well as supporting the tabs on which the wheels are set. These bulkheads are 2mm thick, and I could probably halve that in safety.

Something that I find a bit annoying is that because 3d printing takes so long, every time I change a variable to test what's going wrong, it takes another few hours before I can see the results of my change. Hey-ho, I'll just have to learn to reign in my impatience.

BP-44 Armoured Locomotive


The BP-44 was a WWII German armoured locomotive, used to propel mixed AA, anti-tank, artillery and infantry transport trains.

Germany didn't use armoured trains as much as others, such as the Soviet Union, but they did have some. Generally speaking, armoured trains tended to fall out of favour over the course of the war as road or tracked vehicles were more flexible and became ever more potent, and railway tracks were very vulnerable to sabotage and aerial attack.

This is a 1:100 scale model for 15mm gaming. It was designed by a chap called Tolawdjk, and came from Thingiverse.

I hollowed the model in Chitubox to 1mm walls, and it printed fine. However, it does flex very easily under finger pressure, having such large flat panels (curved surfaces being self-reinforcing) and it could probably do with some internal support structures. I've read that Chitubox can create infill structures that don't impede resin escape, but I can't figure out how to do that (I'm using the free version). I think probably the easiest option for me would be to save the hollowed model from Chitubox as STL, import it into Blender to add the support struts and/or bulkheads, cut a great big hole in the floor, and re-export it to STL.

And if you want to field a BP44 armoured train on your wargames table, but you can't be faffed actually modelling one, then you could just grab a bunch of clump foliage flock and dump it along the railway track :)

This was Pz75, surrendered to the Americans at Hagenow in May 1945.

Process Notes

Artilleriewagen 75mm


I've never really seen a decent compromise between ground scale and model scale when representing armoured trains on the tabletop, though this particular German WWII vehicle is less egregious in that respect than most.

It could be connected to a larger train, like a normal flatcar, but it also had its own internal diesel engine and could move independently.

It mounted machine guns on all sides, and a 75mm turret from a Panzer III N.

This 1:100 model doesn't really fit properly on the N-gauge track lengths I have, but never mind.

I printed the hull on my Ender 3, and the turret on my Mars Pro, and it really throws into contrast the difference in quality between the two. I'm not one of those who likes to tinker constantly with their printers to squeeze the absolute maximum from them, and I know the Ender is capable of better, but when it's so much quicker and easier (though a bit more expensive) to get much better quality from the resin printer... well, why bother?

To be fair, the FDM-printed body looks okay at arm's length on the tabletop, so what the heck. I probably won't be printing any more non-terrain models on the Ender 3 again though.


This was called PanzerJager Triebwagen, and "triebwagen" basically just mean "rail car". I'm guessing if you hang about here, you probably already know what "panzerjager" means.

It's also 1:100, the body printed on my Ender 3 and the turrets on my Mars Pro. I've got as far as base-coating it, and I don't know if I'll take it any further than this, not in the immediate future anyway.

The problem with it is that in just about any tabletop wargame's ground scale, this particular car alone would be about 300 or 400 metres long. I think that if I use armoured trains at all, I'll just use them in 1/300 scale rather than 15mm. Apart from anything else, the smaller models will take a whole lot less printing.

Vallejo Inks


I like Vallejo acrylic inks a lot, and I use them often. 

I made this textured colour chart to show me just what they're likely to look like when painted on to a 3d surface. The texture in this case is an acrylic wall filler, sealed with a couple of coats of Vallejo white surface primer.

The glazing medium I used is just a 50/50 mix of Vallejo flow improver and Golden liquid acrylic matte medium. I should probably have done a 1:5 ink to medium panel as well, but I didn't, so there it is. Maybe later.

Red Peril


This is a 28mm 3d print from a sculpt by Propylene Foliescu, part of his Winter War catalogue.

He's a dastardly NKVD man, though in this scale I'm more likely to use him in a TTRPG as an earlier dastardly Cheka officer — I don't really know how much the Cheka and NKVD uniforms differ, but he'll do me for either.

Evil Tree


This model came from a Humble Bundle I got some time ago. It's called Evil Tree, and that's about as much as I know about it.

I printed it on my Ender 3, the first print using Tom Tullis' printer profile for Cura 4.11.

Lurking in the background there is, as usual, Sergeant Measureby, for scale.

Umber Hulk


This is Miguel Zavala's redesigned Umber Hulk, printed on my Mars Pro and painted with Vallejo acrylics.

It's a monster I haven't used much, if at all, in my own campaign, but my favourite character of old, Sir Fnord the Pretty Neat died of them twice, both times by having his head ripped clean off.

German SPG Crewmen

3d printed 15mm crewmen in a 3d printed Marder III M

 Open-topped vehicle models and artillery pieces really do need crew figures, and they're something that has not, historically, been straightforward to come by as a separate item from a 15mm model.

I've used spare figures from PSC kits, figures from infantry sets and some artillerymen from Peter Pig, but I couldn't find my Peter Pig men, and with international mail order being in the parlous state it's in, I instead went for some downloadable STLs from 3dBreed.

They're decent enough figures — quite chunky, but I don't mind that in a 15mm figure — though limited in range. The pre-made supports on the ones I first tried were terrible (I suspect that they were created for their 28mm figures and then everything just shrunk down together) and I had to strip them out and do my own in ChituBox.

Since I was messing about with them in Blender anyway, I took the opportunity to do some head-swapping to give them a bit of variety.

The original figure is 4th from the right in this photo. I cut off his head, made a bunch more heads, and copied them together, so here I have ten slight variations on that one original.

So anyway. The experiment has been a success, and now I will have as many 15mm German artillerymen as I'm ever likely to need.

A Multiplicity of Marders


I don't know where the original model that these are based on came from. I thought it was one of Zachary Kuvalich's old ones, but that turns out not to be the case.

The grey one is more or less in its original form, though I thinned the edges of the armour plates, added studs around the edges of the tracks, and re-did the rivets and canopy attachment handles. The decals are from Battlefront, and they're absolutely terrible — completely out of register.

The yellow one has had some mesh panels and a rail (which I assume is a canopy support) added at the rear of the hull.

STLs are available at

I'm gradually building up a decent collection of Marders, though I'm still missing a few types.

Left to right:
SdKfz 135 Marder I, SdKfz 132 Marder II, SdKfz 139 Marder III, SdKfz 138 Marder III-H

Next up, a Marder III-M. It's another remix of somebody else's model, and once again, I don't know whose.

Building Bridges

Bergman's Valentine bridgelayer

My Covenanter

That talented Mr Bergman has designed a 1:100 scale Valentine bridgelayer, which I am in the process of printing right this instant.

I learn, from the Tank Museum's Tank Chats on Youtube, that the Aussies used the Covenanter hull instead of the Valentine, but they used the exact same bridge and mechanism. It seems to me that it should be fairly easy to kit-bash a Covenanter bridgelayer using some of Bergman's geometry on some of the Covenanter I designed quite a while ago.

I'll have to see if I can dig out some pictures of the Australian bridgelayer, but I suspect they'd have done away with the storage bins on the Covenanter's hull front, in order to ease the attachment of the front components of the bridge extension mechanism.

Craters, and More Craters


Fat Dragon Games has a freebie crater STL from their "World War Tesla" stuff available on DriveThruRPG. I nabbed it and printed some, variously resized in singles as well as merged into doubles and triples.

I'll use them to display barrage aiming points for BG, and they could also be used to indicate artillery-broken ground for WW1 games and the like. Or giant insect burrows for RPG games, for that matter.

Making one or two or three craters using traditional modelling methods is a trivial matter; making one or two or three dozen of them starts to get to be a bit of a chore. With my 3d printer, I can just set it to printing a dozen of them overnight and then forget about them until the morning when they're done, all thanks to the magic of FDM robotics.

d4 that I can pick up


I got tired of trying to pick up frictionless little tetrahedrons whenever I want to throw a bunch of four-sided dice, so I made some that are a bit easier to manipulate.

The shape is basically a squared football based on a distorted 16mm cube, so that they can only come to rest on four of the faces, and they're not much bigger than the six-siders I use.

The resin I use in my 3d printer is pretty soft, so it would probably not be a great idea to throw them around too much on a hard surface, but then again they don't have any hard edges to chip away. I'll just have to see how they last, and after all, I can always print more.

There are much harder-wearing ABS-like printing resins, but I don't have any.

Medium C Hornet again, but bigger


I've redesigned my 1:100 scale model of the Medium C "Hornet" for 1:56 (28mm). That mainly means refining the size of the rivets, adding some detail to the Hotchkiss machine-guns, and a few other bits and pieces.

Renault UE Chenillette (1:100)


The Renault UE Chenillette was a utility vehicle designed for the French army and adopted in the mid 1930s. It was never intended as a fighting vehicle, though it was armoured against small arms — it was intended as a light gun tow, and as a resupply vehicle. The cargo bin on the back could be tipped and unloaded from within, without having to expose the crew to enemy fire. Captured examples were widely used by the Germans in a variety of roles, especially in Russia.

This is a 1:100 scale model intended for 15mm gaming, but it should rescale pretty well up to 28mm scales.

I have included three cargo modules that can be printed separately and be slotted into the cargo bin, or not, as the user desires.

It may be possible to print the 1:100 scale model in FDM, but I have only printed it in resin, so I can make no guarantees there.

The STLs are available from at


I've now also built, and successfully test-printed, the little tracked trailer that was characteristically used with the Chenillette to expand its cargo-carrying capacity.

I've added the STL for the trailer to the zip file on, and at some stage I'll also get around to adding some cargo loads for it as well.

Abandoned Lighthouse

Clickupon to embiggenate

I'm not sure who was the author of this model, nor where it originally came from. It might have been Thingiverse, it might have been from one of the Humble Bundles of STLs I've collected over time. All I know about it is that it's named "Abandoned Lighthouse", and it's scaled for use with 28mm figures.

It prints in several parts: one for the island, one for each floor of the tower (of which there are five), one for the roof, and a couple of light options. The one I've chosen is a simple brazier, the other is a sort of magical egg-light.

The tower sections include some interior detail, and it comes apart so that miniatures can be put inside.

I painted the stonework using the "leopard spot" technique.

First everything is painted in loose splotches of  raw sienna, burnt umber, and a sort of terracotta orange. The paint is quite loose, so it flows around and mingles a bit at the edges of the other colours.

In retrospect, I think yellow ochre would have been a better choice for the lightest tone, and burnt sienna for the middle.

At this point it all looks fairly terrible and gaudy.

Next I overpaint it all with a couple of layers of a black wash.

This tones down all the clown colours and unifies them tonally.

It all looks pretty dark now, but there's a variation in tone underneath the black wash that still shows through.

Then I dry-brushed with a cream colour, and highlight with pure white.

This lightens everything substantially, and brings out the surface detail of the model.

In this photo, I've also made the very first start on some vegetation, but at this point it's more like a bowling lawn than a wild weed patch.