Tuesday 28 February 2023

FDG Lizard Man — Mook-paint test

"Ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille"
A fine figure of a man-lizard

This is a test-paint for some Lizard-men mooks, using one of Fat Dragon Games' Lizardfolk minis, in this case LF02_v1.1.stl. The painting is very fast, using the "slap-chop" method of overpainting a zenithal primer with translucent glazes. The idea is to produce a table-worthy result with the absolute minimum of effort, so that I can produce a whole horde of them without getting too bored. I wasn't really timing myself, but I'd guess that this paint-job took me about ten or twelve minutes.

In theory, Fat Dragon Games' minis can be printed without having to bother with slicer supports, and in general I've found that to be true. In this case though  it could have done with a support under its snout, as my now-elderly Ender 3 printer's inadequate bridging has left it a bit flattened towards the end. Unfortunately I don't have the custom supports add-on installed in Cura any more, and adding general tree supports increases the print time from about an hour and a half to a bit over two hours. That's not too bad for printing a single figure, but it adds up when you're printing a bunch at a time.

I generally like Tom Tullis' (FDG) sculpting style, as the minis' poses tend to be fairly compact and restrained compared with some of the overwrought and rococo poses affected by some other sculptors. In my mind it's like the difference between Classical Greek sculpture and the later Hellenistic style. To me, the restraint in the poses makes them much more useful as gaming pieces, as they tend to take up less room on the tabletop as well as being less fragile.

In the case of this particular figure, if I were sculpting it I would probably have curled its tail more around its legs rather than sticking it straight out the back. It would have given the mini a more snakey appearance than its current crocodilian air, which may be a good or a bad thing depending on your personal taste, but it would have reduced the mini's footprint on the games table. Not that the issue is particularly egregious in this case, and I certainly won't be bothered trying to change it.

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Centaur IV AA


The excellent Mr. Bergman recently released the Centaur IV AA tank, mounting a pair of 20mm Polsten cannon, in 1:100 scale (15mm).

It was not as common in action as the Crusader version, which mounted the heavier 40mm Bofors, but there were a few of them in Normandy. Neither version was much used in its intended role, as the Luftwaffe was not in much evidence in the skies over D-Day and after, but they were very effective at engaging ground targets.

I've shown it here with a few PSC plastic 15mm British paratroops. I haven't yet supplied the vehicle with any crewmen; I'll get around to that one of these days.

Sunday 12 February 2023

3d Printed Stukas


I just got hold of Roman Troyan's new 1:200 scale Ju87B Stuka model, and I've up-scaled it to 1:144 and printed it both on my Mars Pro resin printer (left) and my Ender 3 FDM printer (centre).

The results are shown here alongside a Zvezda 1:144 injection-moulded kit, on the right.

It's a nice model, though in 1:144 the wings are very thick and the panel lines are very prominent. That's not a big deal for me, as I'm producing it for use as a gaming piece, not a diorama model.

It prints at roughly the same speed on both printers, with the Ender 3 being just a little bit faster. The resin model from the Mars Pro has smoother surfaces, especially the underneath — the FDM model's supports left quite a bit of mess there. Again, that's not really a big deal, as on the tabletop the models will really only be seen from above.

What is a big deal is that the resin model is considerably distorted. The wing-tips are perceptibly narrower than they should be, and the wings and tailplanes have both warped. The nose is also considerably distorted. This is an issue I've been getting pretty regularly with my resin prints, but unfortunately I don't know enough about resin printing to be able to make a guess at what's causing it.

I've printed these two Stukas more out of curiosity than necessity; I have another Zvezda model assembled but unpainted, and yet another still in its box. Realistically I'm highly unlikely to need more than one at a time on the wargaming table so the surplus Stukas will probably stay unpainted for quite some time.

The resin print is probably going to go in the bin, because it's rubbish.

Friday 10 February 2023

Basic Roleplaying — Printing & Binding


Since Chaosium want to charge a ridiculous amount of money for postage to New Zealand for a hard copy of Basic Roleplaying (an extra $US85 on top of the fifty bucks or so for the book), I took their 99 cent PDF from DTRPG instead and printed and bound it myself.

It's 400 pages, so quite a job for my elderly Brother laser printer, but I eventually got through it, twenty pages at a time.

I decided to print it myself rather than take it to a printery, because all the printeries want to charge about ten cents per page. However, as it turned out I had to replace two toner colour cartridges in the course of printing, so it would have been cheaper (and a lot less trouble) to have got a professional to do it.

I suppose I would have had to get new toner cartridges eventually anyway, but not quite so soon.

It's a very simple binding: just glued, then drilled and stitched, and glued into card covers. With the stitching, it should be a fairly durable item (I hope). The red outer is just a card slip-cover with a print of the cover art glued in place. The pages are attached to the covers by glued paper strips, but I haven't glued in actual endpapers — someday maybe, but it's not a high priority.

Some considerable time later...

I was poking around on DriveThruRPG and found that they had BRP available by print-on-demand, so I ordered a copy pretty much on a whim. And today (2023-05-17) it finally arrived, with the outer packaging rather the worse for wear.

It looks like the original address label had been pretty well washed away, so in a sense I'm kind of impressed that it got to me at all. Fortunately the contents didn't seem to be badly affected.

So, now I have two copies.

I also find that Chaosium have (or are just about to) release a new edition of BRP, all shiny and in full colour like their other recent releases. Apparently there are a few minor changes in the content, but the main difference is in the presentation. I may or may not get a copy, depending on how much money I have to spare at the time and what sort of mood I'm in.

Thursday 9 February 2023



One of the characters in my AD&D campaign is a female ranger called Taxon, whose weapon of choice is a hammer.

Finding a miniature of a female fighter type wielding a warhammer isn't all that easy. I certainly don't have one amongst my giant stash of unpainted figures, so I made one. Or rather, I converted one.

Reaper Bones 89011
Seelah, Iconic Paladin

This (left) is the miniature I started from. It's one that I got in one of Reaper's early Bones Kickstarters.

I cut off her sword and made the hammer from a bit of brazing rod and some plastic sprue.

It's a club-hammer rather than a warhammer, but that's mainly because the thought of carving a teensy-tiny warhammer made me cringe. It's a hammer, and that'll be enough I hope.

It only occurred to me after I'd done all the work that if I'd looked amongst my cleric figures instead of the fighter types, I could probably have found something that didn't require any messing about at all. Oh well.

Couple of days later...

I've given her a paint job, though I'm not entirely happy with it. My eyesight is really degrading these days, and I don't imagine it will ever get any better.

In the course of painting the figure I realised that she has almost no nose. That indicates to me that it's one of Reaper's early plastic figures; they had issues with quite a few of their miniatures where the plastic didn't properly fill the mould, or maybe the moulds hadn't been made properly.

TDM "Classic Fantasy" — the physical presence


My copy of The Design Mechanic's Classic Fantasy arrived this afternoon. It's a companion volume to Mythras, with the intent of helping people to basically play AD&D with Mythras. I expect it could also be used successfully in conjunction with Runequest 6.

I haven't yet read through it in any depth, but I have some comments to make about the physical production values of the volume. This review will not touch on the content at all.

From the outside, the hardback book looks good. The cover is printed in bright, saturated colours, and it has a pleasing satin finish.

Mine arrived with one corner a bit munched, presumably courtesy of our various postal services, who aren't known for their careful, delicate touch.

The binding is pretty standard for PoD books of this type: it's basically a perfect-bound (i.e. glue, not stitched) book that has been mounted in hard covers. That's not necessarily a terrible thing; such bindings can be quite durable, but there's no real way to tell until it's had some use.

The interior is less impressive than the cover.

The page stock is very light and flimsy-feeling, even lighter than regular printer paper — I'd estimate maybe about 80gsm, and there's quite a lot of show-through between pages. It all looks like it's been printed on toner-saving mode; the blacks are very washed out and grey. In fact there's absolutely no pure black to be seen anywhere inside the covers.

I've shown it here alongside Black Blade's imprint of OSRIC, and the difference in print quality is marked.

Text blocks are laid out in a fairly weak serif font at a somewhat small size, which creates a low-contrast reading environment. That would be less apparent if the printing was better. As it is, large masses of text are quite tiring to read, especially if lighting conditions aren't perfect.

Box-text is even worse, since it's been given a mid-grey background, on which the slightly darker grey of the text sort of disappears.

Interior illustrations are all reasonably competent line art; there's nothing very surprising or original there. I haven't found any that are particularly inspirational, but they're not terrible or amateurish, which is a mercy.

All in all, I'm less than impressed with the production values of this volume.

Some time later...

My copy of Mythras arrived, via DTRPG. To my great relief the production quality is very much better. The paper stock is heavier, and the printing is properly black and white.

I'm (slowly) reading my way through it now. I suspect that if I attempt a campaign at all with this sort of system, I'm more likely to be using BRP as I prefer its more milieu-generic nature.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Spiky Critters


Owing to my terrible lack of organization, I don't remember who sculpted this, nor where I got it, nor what it was called, but I have a vague thought that maybe it was by Schlossbauer, and most likely from Thingiverse.

I printed it in a range of scales, mainly to allow myself a bit of flexibility in how I present it on the roleplaying table. The one on the far left I painted some considerable time ago; the others I just got around to today, which is why they differ in colour.

I'll use it as some trollish sort of monster. Maybe it'll be mum and dad, and the rebellious teen, and a couple of kids. Or maybe it'll be one of those critters that unexpectedly changes size on you just when it's least convenient.

Monday 6 February 2023

Afrika Korps Kubelwagen (15mm)


I have not got around to doing much about Axis infantry for the desert war. I've done a few (very few) Italians, but no Afrika Korps at all until now.

The Kubelwagen is a 1:100 scale model by Bergman, to which I've added some infantry figures of my own design. If I can be bothered, I might do an alternative version with the figures wearing the cloth cap instead of helmets, and maybe some goggles as well.

A bit later...

I've swapped out all the heads for a cap-wearing head from another file.

I'm not sure I'm all that happy with it; maybe a mix of caps and helmets would be better.

Even more later...

Yep, a mix of headgear looks much better, so that the passengers aren't all too samey-samey.

I've refined the Kubelwagen a bit as well. I've replaced the mudguards with some thinner ones and given them a bevel on the outside edge, I've thinned down the upper edge of the body shell, and given the tyres an indication of some tread.

It's coming together.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Hazardous Environment Suit


This is the Deep Space Explorer - Commando from Digital Taxidermy.

I've printed it on my Mars Pro.

It's 32mm tall, so a little small for a 28mm sit-in walker unless the pilot was really crammed in there (or maybe was some kind of brain-in-a-jar). It would be quite roomy for a 15mm figure though.

It's an aesthetic that I quite like for space opera. It has the look of an old-timey deep-sea diving suit.