Sunday 25 April 2021

T-26B Model 1933


To go along with the T-35s, T-28s, and the SMK for my Winter War Soviets, I need some smaller, more useful tanks. I have some Zvezda T-26s, but they're a much later model with a snazzy drop-forged turret — the same turret, I think, as was used on the BT-7.

Zvezda 1:100 scale T-26

So I fired up Blender and whipped up this very early version of the T-26, from 1933. It was of all-riveted construction, and the turret-basket was a little tacked-on affair.

By 1940 it had been superseded by newer models, with more welded construction and a turret with an integrated basket.

I discovered, after I was well into the process, that Bergman has already done a 1:100 scale model of this very tank. Oh well, not to worry.

The test-print went well enough, and the model is printable. There are a couple of areas of distortion, but those are due to inadequate supports, not the model's geometry.

I may add some clutter — some tools and the like — but for all intents and purposes, the model is done and I can move on to something else.

Next day:

I've added some tools to the track guards, and an old-style box-shaped jack to the engine deck.

I've had to guess at the size of the jack from pictures, but its dimensions are correct in ratio, so it should be fairly close I think.

Next Next Day

I've added a couple of versions of the later (much more common) turret with an integral turret-bin. In truth, this type of turret would be much more appropriate for my Winter War force.

From memory, I think only about one in ten tanks carried a radio, and troop control was carried out via signal flags. That ratio improved markedly later in WWII, but to begin with the Soviets lagged far behind pretty much every other belligerent nation in that respect.

As of writing, I haven't yet printed these turrets. I suspect that aerial will require quite a delicate touch with the supports.

And now they're printed as well.


On the suggestion of Richard Humble, over at the Facebook 3d Printing For Historical Wargames page, I modified my T-26 model to make this flamethrower variant, the OT-130 (or XT-130, or KhT-130, depending on who you read).

It's a very straightforward conversion. There are a bunch of little details to be modified, but the only major structural change was moving the turret over from the port to the starboard side of the hull.

Coupladays later...

Coupladays later...

The test-print went well.

The STLs for the OT-130 are available online at

The T-26 STLs are at

Wednesday 21 April 2021

Winter War Baddies


I bought this set of STLs for 3d printing 15mm Soviet infantry in the 1936-40 uniform, suitable for the Winter War period. They were designed by a guy who goes by the moniker "just some miniatures" on, and this particular set can be had at

I've always been interested in the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1939-40, because it was a real David vs. Goliath affair, and one in which Goliath ( the Soviets) got their arses royally kicked until their numbers, and international apathy and obstructionism about supporting the Finns, began to make a difference. The Soviets won in the end, after taking horrendous casualties.

My sympathies in that fight were unequivocally with the Finns, who were bullied by the Soviets and shafted by everyone else in Europe (except, as it happens, the Nazis, so it's not that surprising they ended up on their side later on). However, by fielding the Soviets, I get to play with the ridiculous T-35 and T-28 land dreadnoughts, and even the SMK in the Experimental Heavy Tank Company.

The colours of the Soviet uniforms at this period were slightly different to the more familiar post-1940 changes, and about half of the figures are wearing the budenovka, the pointed felt hat worn by the Russians ever since WW1 (and maybe before, I'm not 100% sure).

I've printed these guys on my Mars Pro of course, and I've glued them to 12.5mm (½") steel washers, both to provide some bottom-weight, and also so I can use them with magnetised sabot bases to ease moving the vast numbers of infantry I'll be needing.

Here's the first test paint, and overall I'm not too dissatisfied.

I'll keep experimenting with the colour of the greatcoat though: at the moment the base colour is Vallejo Stone Grey, which I think is a little bit too green.

Wednesday 14 April 2021

GURPS 4e in physical form

NOTE: This review concerns only the physical manifestation of the rules; I make no judgement whatsoever here about the usefulness of the GURPS rules and system for roleplaying games.

The first half of my GURPS 4e order arrived today. 

I ordered the Characters volume from the Book Depository (it hasn't arrived yet) under the impression that I was getting the set of two books. Then I realised that I'd ordered only the one, so I ordered the Campaigns volume from Amazon, and it arrived on my doorstep this morning.

I think this edition is GURPS's first foray into signature-bound hardback publishing. I don't really care one way or another about hardcover/softcover books for roleplaying manuals. As long as the glue used for softcover perfect-binding is adequate to the task so that pages don't start falling out, that's fine by me, though signature binding is always going to be harder wearing if it's done even half-way competently. This appears at first sight to be well bound, but that's not something that is easy to determine until the book has been in use for a while.

As an aside, I recently bought a copy of WotC's 5e Tasha's Cauldron of Everything book, which is the worst of both worlds. It's really just a badly perfect-bound book stuck into hard covers, and the binding is really shit. Anyway. Back to GURPS 4e.

Let me say at the offset that I hate the paper. It's a very bright white, glossy stock. That's no doubt excellent for making the colour illustration pop, but it's hard on the eyes when reading dense blocks of text (of which there is a lot) and it feels kind of nasty to the fingers.

The illustration style is competent enough, though not particularly inspiring. It's in colour throughout, which is another new thing for GURPS. Again, it's not something that I require in a RPG manual; black & white illustration is fine by me as long as it is informative or evocative (or preferably both).

What is useful about the transition to all-colour publishing is that each chapter has its own full-bleed coloured page borders, which (once you get to know which colour refers to what) makes navigating the book much easier. The colours are easily visible even when the book is closed, so you can go straight to the relevant section with an absolute minimum of page-flipping.

I'm not enthralled with the serif typeface choices, but I have to admit that I've seen worse. The impression I get is one of "good enough" conservatism in layout design.

The glossary and index at the back of volume 2 Campaigns covers both volumes, and appears at first glance to be pretty comprehensive. Of course, only extended use will show that for sure.

In the end, what matters is whether or not this hardback full-colour glossy format is a genuine improvement over GURPS's old softcover black & white books. I'm not convinced that the advantages are significant, but I am aware that I am of an older gaming generation and that The Youth these days won't look twice at anything that isn't ALL THE COLOURS, so I guess from a commercial point of view, it's a necessary change.

Saturday 10 April 2021

AD&D2e (revised) P.o.D.


These arrived today for me from DriveThruRPG.

They're print-on-demand softcover copies of AD&D2e (revised), originally published in 1995. When I ordered these, there was no hardcover option offered. However, I don't mind softcover RPG books at all.

The paper stock used for the P.o.D. publication is a bit heavier than that used for the original hardcover printing, and as a result these are fairly hefty books. The print quality is very good; it's not identical to the original, but it's very very close.

The original books were signature bound, and open flatter than the perfect-bound softcover without cracking the spine — it won't take a huge amount of use before the softcovers start looking less than new, but if that matters to you... well, I guess you'd just have to buy two copies, one for use and the other to sit on the shelf looking fresh and unused. It matters to me not one jot.

How durable the glue binding is I don't know, these things are always a bit of a gamble. I have perfect-bound books that have lasted for decades, and others that started falling apart within weeks of purchase.

I've included a comparison image below: the original is on the left, the DriveThruRPG P.o.D. is on the right. As you can see, the text is very crisp and clear, and so are the many (mostly pretty mediocre) colour illustrations peppered throughout the volumes.

Wednesday 7 April 2021

Stand for Paasche HO414


I thought I'd make a stand for this Paasche single-action external-mix airbrush. I seldom use it; it's very limited in its application, being little more than a spray-gun. However, external-mix brushes have the advantage of being able to move thicker paint than internal-mix types, so it's good for spraying varnish or PVA for terrain flocking and stuff like that. It's also good for covering large areas fairly quickly.

The stand is a Flintstones-ish sort of thing, and it's intended to be screwed to a piece of wood or something, though it would probably be adequately stable just on its own.

I actually spent a lot more time creating the digital model of the airbrush than the stand, a lot more time and effort than I really needed for what was really just a measuring maquette. I got a bit distracted though.

The STL is up on Thingiverse at


And fourteen hours later (plus a couple because I slept in), here's the actual physical result.

Saturday 3 April 2021

Char B1(bis) conversion


One of the many conversions of French vehicles, this one was (I think) designated LeFH-18 auf GW B2. It was basically a 105mm howitzer in a hexagonal steel box on top of a Char B1 (bis) chassis, with a few other adjustments like the removal of the hull 75mm and improvements to the driver's sight.

I was going to add some crewmen to this 15mm 3d print, but there's just not room for them in the fighting compartment, so it can go without.

These conversions started out being painted overall panzergrau, then went to overall dunkelgelb. I don't know if there's any direct photographic evidence of them being painted in the three-colour scheme, but I think it likely, and besides, I like it better.

April 6th

I've made a start on another of the Char B1(bis) conversions, this time the Flammpanzer. Fortunately I've only made it as far as the base-coating though, since it looks like I'm going to have to repaint it in overall panzer grey.

The Vickers-Crossley armoured car to the right is on its way to the plain light grey livery that the Brits used for them during the inter-war era. It's too dark at the moment, but it will lighten substantially when I come back in with the airbrush and do a bit of panel-shading.

And here is the Flammpanzer in all its panzergrau glory.

Friday 2 April 2021

Light Tank Mk.VII Tetrarch


The Light Tank Mk.VII, called "Tetrarch" from 1941, was intended by its manufacturer to replace their Mk.VIb and VIc, but its timing , and military conservatism, turned out to be against it.

It was in production by 1938, but before it could be built in numbers, WWII kicked off. The BEF went off to France with their Mk.VI light tanks, and lost them in droves. Partly as a result of this, and partly because the military thinkers decided that reconnaissance could be better handled by cheaper, faster scout cars meant that the army soured on the idea of light tanks and plans for the Tetrarch were scaled right back.

In the end, it stayed in service until 1949, but it saw only very limited action, and it was declared officially obsolete in 1944.

This is a 15mm (1:100) 3d print. I've painted it in Khaki Green #3 and Nobel's Dark Tarmac, which would put it at about the end of '41 or beginning of '42, just before the base colour for British armoured vehicles changed over to SCC2 brown.

Thursday 1 April 2021

3d Printing Miscellany


As happens quite a lot with me, my 3d printing is outstripping my painting.

This is the clutter on my modeling desk at the moment. Apart from the aircraft, everything is 15mm, and everything is 3d printed with the exception of some metal medieval crossbowmen, lurking down the back where they have been literally for years... I really should get them finished.

So, what do we have here?

  1. PaK38 50mm anti-tank gun
  2. leFH18-3 auf GW B2 — A German "beutepanzer" conversion of a French Char B2(bis) into a 150mm self-propelled gun
  3. Kettenkrad with Goliath on trailer
  4. Springer demolitions vehicle
  5. Tetrarch light tank
  6. Goliath
  7. Vickers-Crossley armoured car
  8. Seated WWII British infantry
  9. Albatros DVa (1/200)
  10. Sopwith triplane (1/200)
  11. Fokker Dr1 (1/200)
  12. Very chunky early WWII German infantryman (up-scaled from 6mm)
  13. Westland Whirlwind (1/144, failed print)
  14. SdKfz 251 C ambulance (semi-failed print)
  15. Rolls-Royce armoured car (old FDM print)