Sunday 31 January 2021

Tiny Air Force


In spite of the fact that absolutely none of my friends seem to share my view that WW1 aerial wargaming is great, I do persist in making little aeroplanes for the express purpose of WW1 aerial wargaming.

These are my latest attempts, in a new scale: 1/200, off my new printer. These ones are from STLs I've picked up somewhere, I don't recall where, but I'm designing some of my own as well. Generally, printing has gone pretty straightforwardly, but I'm getting some warping in the leading edges of the starboard top and bottom wings on the Fokker Dr1 (front).

I think the Wings of War/Wings of Glory models are 1/144, which is a good scale for these planes too. I might try one or two in that scale.

Next day...

I've been tinkering with making some 1/200 models of my own. I've been a bit intimidated about modeling aircraft because of all their compound curves, but WW1 aeroplanes are a lot easier in that respect — most of them are just made up of canvas-covered wooden frames.

This one, the Albatros DVa, is one of the curvier planes of the time, but even so its fuselage is a pretty simple shape to create. It had a monocoque fuselage built up from laminated plywood, which made it light and strong. 

The first test print went well, so I think I can call it a success.

I've only stripped off the supports, and I haven't done any other cleaning up, so there are a few nubbins and things that will need to be taken care of.

It should up-scale to 1/144 without any problems, though I wouldn't take it any larger than that as it would start looking very chunky. It would probably print at 1/300 too, though I wouldn't make any promises in that regard.

Friday 29 January 2021

Tank Number One


The very first tank off my Mars Pro — my 1:100 (15mm) M3 Grant. Even at the lowest possible default resolution for that printer (0.05mm), it produces a very nice, clean result. I might even be able to print some 15mm infantry that look like something more than vaguely humanoid blobs.

I dragged out some old Battlefront decals this time, rather than painting the tactical markings on. They're neater, I guess, but I think I really prefer painting them.

A few days later...

I redesigned the turret to include a commander figure poking up out of his hatch, and printed and painted an example.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Witcher Crone Comparison


The coloured version of this Witcher Crone is one that I printed some time ago on my Ender 3 in PLA at 0.08mm. The monochrome one I printed today on the Elegoo Mars Pro in resin at 0.03mm. Both of them have been glued to 22mm steel washers.

I did this comparison just to see what I could expect from printing miniatures in resin. I was expecting, and I got, superior results from the Mars, but one thing that was really brought out to me is what a fantastic FDM printer the Ender 3 is, for the money. Certainly the PLA layer lines are visible in these close-ups, but frankly, on the gaming table they're insignificant.

The resin version from the Mars looks a lot more granular on its surface than it actually is; that's because I've done some zenithal highlighting with the airbrush. I would probably have been better to just use a solid base colour for a comparison shot like this.

The other thing this has shown me is that the extra printing time on the Mars, going from the 0.05mm default to 0.03mm, probably isn't really necessary. The surfaces on the 0.03mm model are certainly very smooth, but frankly, once a coat of paint goes on, I doubt that there'd be much perceptible difference.

New Printer Joy


This arrived on my doorstep yesterday, thrown there by the courier-douche.

"Whatever can it be? " I thought to myself, "It's a box of MYSTERY!"

Maybe not all that mysterious. And fortunately, it was well packed and thus suffered not at all from the brutality of an uncaring courier.

Inside the box was this, an Elegoo Mars Pro DLP resin printer.

The build quality of this printer is superb, all heavy-duty aluminium castings and stuff. It uses a 2k LED screen for exposure, so it's not as fine a resolution as the current crop of 4k models, but on the other hand it was a lot cheaper, and I very much doubt that the lower pixel resolution will matter much for my purposes. The default vertical resolution is 0.05mm, and it will go down to 0.01mm, though apparently there's little visual benefit in going below 0.03mm.

Setup was very easy, following the instructions in the illustrated user manual. It took me a lot longer to clear a space for it in my ridiculously overcrowded workroom.

It doesn't come with any sample resin, which is not that surprising considering the customs implications of mailing chemical liquids about the place, but I had thought ahead and bought 500ml of eSun water-washable resin to be going along with.

Anyway. On to the printing.

The very first print out of it was this pair of chess rooks, a standard printing test file supplied on the USB drive with the printer.

They took about 3½ hours to print, and I have no idea what printing parameters were used because they came pre-sliced. They printed without a hitch, as should be expected, and immediately impressed me with the smoothness of their surfaces and the crispness of their surface detail.

So, on to printing some toys for Fitz!

I put one of my 1:100 scale models through ChituBox (the slicer used with this printer) and started to learn my way around that program. There is much to learn; it is quite different in many ways from Cura, though the principles are basically the same.

"But why, O Fitz," I hear you ask, "why did you print only the hull of the tank, and not also its turret?"

Well, I did try. Twice so far, and I'm on to attempt number three even as I write.

While the hull printed beautifully, the turret components were under-supported and fell off the build-plate.

I tried rebuilding the turret and peg as a single object and rearranging it (tilting it at an angle, like the hull) but the support connections were too weak, and once again it was pulled away from them by suction against the FEP in the resin bath.

Now I'm trying again, with more and beefier supports. We shall see how that goes, but I can foresee that the intricacies of supports are likely to be the thing that will cause me the most grief.

Incidentally, the colour of this resin is called "Skin", but frankly it looks little like any healthy skin I've ever seen on a normal human being. I think perhaps "Jaundice" would be a better name.

Third Time Lucky

Succes at last!

I think, in the end, I may have over-supported the turret this time, but it gave me a successful print so I won't complain.

Saturday 23 January 2021



While I was browsing through the files in my digital object library, I happened upon this model: a Daimler Großtraktor from between the wars, the precursor to the Neubaufahrzeug. 

I have no memory of where I got the file from, nor who actually designed it in the first place.

I have no particular use for one of these things; they never went beyond the prototype stage, and never saw action at all. Still, that's never stopped me in the past. So I've decided to print and paint one.

There's a photograph of a Großtraktor mounted on a ramp as a gate-guard outside some complex or other, during WWII and it was painted in the pre-war 3-colour scheme. That's how I intend to paint this model, once I've got it printed.

It's a different version than the one I have — a Krupp production I think — but never mind. 

Here's my finished print, and it's pretty ropey.

I could find no information on interwar German tactical markings at all, so I made them up based on the sorts of crosses that appeared on German tanks in the last days of WW1.



The "Shrieker" entry from the AD&D Monster Manual 1

Shriekers are an old-school monster that seem to have fallen out of favour with modern D&D players, mainly, I think, because the idea of the Wandering Monster encounter is sneered at and derided as poor DMing practice these days. The only real function of the Shrieker as a monster is to attract wandering monsters, after all.

There's another fungoid monster, the Violet Fungus, which looks just like a Shrieker but which will infect characters with a super-fast flesh rotting disease. The Violet Fungus exists, as far as I can tell, simply to prevent players from charging through a colony of Shriekers as fast as possible so as to avoid any potential wandering monsters.

These Shriekers are printed from a model by Schlossbauer, on Thingiverse. They're printed at 0.1mm layer height in eSun PLA+ on my Ender 3. Sergeant Measureby is, as usual, included for scale.

Thursday 21 January 2021

Tree Support Critter

One of the by-products of 3d printing in FDM can be these organic-looking forms which are generated as support structures for the actual model.

Usually I just discard them, but from time to time I get a piece that I think might be worth turning into something else. This one (I forget which model it came off) I've glued to a steel washer base and painted to represent some some of subterranean fungoid creature, or maybe an underwater coral thing, or maybe just a bit of weird terrain.

As usual, we also have Sergeant Measureby with his Spear of 5mm Increments for scale.

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Alea iacta est (the die is cast)

This is the first attempt at casting a d10 in one of the moulds I bought recently. The resin is a two-part thin clear pouring epoxy, and it's been coloured with acrylic paint.

It rolls okay, but because the resin was not degassed before pouring, or the mould set in a pressure pot to cure, the surfaces are covered in bubbles. Especially the upper surfaces (the 1, 5 and 9 faces — the 1 face is the topmost when the mould is at rest).

Here's the second attempt at casting a d10. This time I tried 'wetting' the mould first, but it had no beneficial effect on bubble formation at all; in fact, the upper surfaces (the 5, 1 and 9 faces) are even worse than on the first one.

I don't think there's much point in trying this again until I can rig up a pressure pot. I really like the colour though. This time it was coloured with brown spirit ink.

Note: although it looks all scungy and mildewy, that doesn't seem to affect the die's functionality at all. It rolls just fine; it just looks like shit.

Tuesday 19 January 2021

AEC Deacon


Here's a couple of prints of my 1:100 (15mm) AEC Deacon model.

The Deacon was a 6 pounder anti-tank gun mounted on an armoured AEC truck chassis. It was used as a SPAT solely in North Africa in 1942-43, but some were later converted for use as unarmed armoured ammunition carriers for use in Italy and Normandy.

The STLs are available for sale at

The one on the left was printed at 0.1mm in eSun PLA+, the one on the right at 0.08mm in PLA. The PLA+ printed much cleaner, though both suffer from a lot of noise in the Z-axis — apparently I need to do something about separating the lead screw from the Z-axis motor. More research is indicated.

Some renders of the model from Blender. Much cleaner.

Wednesday 13 January 2021

DIY Dice


I ordered a set of silicone dice moulds from Bangood, and they just arrived, two weeks earlier than their estimated ETA, which is nice.

The basic set of seven moulds was relatively cheap — they ended up costing me $NZ23.00 after shipping and everything — but still more expensive than just buying a set of dice. There are more extensive sets of moulds available that include some of the weirder die types, like d7 and d16, but I thought I'd start small.

Now I suppose I'd better get myself some casting resin and try them out. Because, apparently, I don't have enough dice.

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Char 2C


I finally got around to painting my 3d printed 1:100 (15mm) Char 2C, and here it is.

The STL is available for sale from my shop on at

1940 French


While I was looking through some drawers for something else, I happened upon this little bunch of 1:100 (15mm) WWII French stuff.

They're mostly 3d printed, except for the Char B2, the Renault FTs, and the Panhard-Schneider half-tracks, which all came from Battlefront.

The thing is, I have no 15mm French infantry at all, and with the international mailing situation being as it is these days, I'm probably not going to be getting any. That means that apart from being used as occasional Allied attachments for my BEF force, they're unlikely to see any use at all. I suppose I could use some of them as Beutepanzer for the Germans, but I don't fancy repainting the ones that I've already put so much work into.

It's a bit of a pity, really.

Sunday 10 January 2021

Baba Yaga's Hut

Baba Yaga is a figure from Slavic folklore, a witch who lived in the forest, sometimes malicious and sometimes benign. She is often described as living in a hut that walks on great chicken legs.

This is a 3d printed 28mm model from Printable Scenery; it costs about thirteen YankeeBucks. I printed it at 0.2mm layer height in eSun PLA on my Ender 3. Altogether, there's probably about 40 hours of printing in it.

The model does have some (minimal) interior detail, and the roof is removable, but I doubt that I'll make use of it. I have magnetized the legs and glued a thin steel sheet to the bottom of the hut, so I can separate it from its legs if need be.

The model comes with STLs for a couple of roof spire decorations as well, but I  think they'd be pretty fragile printed in FDM and I haven't printed either of them.

The figure between the chicken feet, for scale, is the trusty Sergeant Measureby with his Spear of 5mm Increments.