Wednesday 26 April 2023

Horsa, complete


I've finished my 1:144 scale Horsa glider, and I've photographed it here with some PSC 15mm plastic Red Devils.

It's clearly too small in scale against the figures — probably closer in size to a Waco/Hadrian — but it won't look too out of place on a 15mm wargames table. A full scale model would take up a lot of room, and would be absolutely enormous compared with almost any game's ground scale.

I did not enjoy painting the fuselage side roundels at all. The wings and tailplanes really got in the way.

Tuesday 25 April 2023

A different Horsa, but still 1:144 and still WiP


I'm making some progress on my simplified 1:144 remix of WindhamGraves Airspeed Horsa model. This was printed on my Ender 3 at 0.1mm layer height; it took about ten hours to print. The STL can be had at

This is about it for all the masking and airbrushing; from here on in it will all be freehand painting I think.

I had to bore a hole under the nose for some weights so that it would sit forward on its undercarriage, but in my most recent version of the STL I've provided a cavity in the nose that you can just glue a weight into.

The red and blue of the roundels turned out a lot brighter than I'd expected, so they'll have to be knocked back a bit to better represent the low-visibility markings used on these gliders.

Also, the invasion stripes were apparently just slapped on with brushes and rollers, so a bit of imprecise hand-painting wouldn't actually be all that unrealistic. However, when I've actually tried that sort of thing, it just ends up looking like crappy modeling.

Friday 21 April 2023

Airspeed Horsa (1:144, WiP)


I've just finished printing the Airspeed Horsa model by WindhamGraves from Thingiverse, and now I'm into the assembly phase. He describes it as "easy print", and it certainly printed easily, but I can't say the same for assembly :)

With reference to the one-piece STL he provides, along with some pictures from here and there, I'm slowly working out which bit should go where (I think). The undercarriage is going to be interesting.

The interior rib detail is pretty nice, and some of it will be visible when everything is finished (I'm doing a 'landed' version). There are no seats, but that's really no big deal. I'll be modeling it with the tail detached, which would make it more likely that it was a cargo flight in any case. Bergman includes some airborne jeeps with his Waco models, so perhaps I'll include one of those in the vignette — though maybe not, since a 1:144 scale jeep (to fit with the glider model) would look comically tiny alongside the 15mm figures and vehicles I use.

I've re-scaled it to 1:144 to fit in with all my other WWII wargaming aircraft. The original model was designed at 1:100.

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Sun Shield


I've never seen any wargaming  rules covering its use, but I've designed a model of a M3 Grant wearing a "Sun Shield" truck disguise, because why ever not?

It can be found at

I've wanted a Sun Shield model for the longest time, and now I have one :)

Maybe I'll do one for a Crusader now. Maybe.

In other 3d printing news, I just got this little (very little) ultrasonic bath. It's very basic, with no timers or anything, and the bath itself is just big enough to accommodate my 15mm tank models. There's nothing to adjust; just fill it with your chosen solvent (water for me) and hit the button, and it buzzes away for three minutes.

I thought I'd rinsed out my Sun Shield model pretty well, but I was surprised to see what clouds of uncured resin came streaming away from it with a couple of sessions in the bath. I'd be interested to see how it works with isopropyl or meths.

Apparently you can avoid having to fill the whole bath with solvent by putting your model in a small zip-lock bag with isopropyl or whatever, and put all of that in water in the bath. The water transmits the ultrasonic pulses through the plastic membrane and into the iso. It sounds worth trying out.

Monday 17 April 2023

End of an Era


Here it is then. Probably the very last book I'll ever get from The Book Depository.

With their enormous range and free world-wide delivery (not really free, but factored into the book price so it seemed invisible), plus the fact that they took PayPal, has been my go-to book supplier ever since I found out that they existed. They were bought out by Amazon some years ago, and now Amazon has decided to shut them down. Amazon does not accept PayPal.

They must have been working on pretty thin margins, as they were not only much more convenient than local booksellers, but also (usually) quite a bit cheaper. They're still taking and fulfilling orders until April 26th, but I don't think it likely that I'll find anything I desperately want until then, as I'm very much an impulse buyer when it comes to books.

Farewell, BookDepository. You'll be missed. Sorry you got stomped by the big bully on the block.

Sunday 16 April 2023

Vickers Infantry Tank No.2


I printed Roman Vasyliev's model of the Vickers Infantry Tank No.2, rescaled to 1:100.

With a crew of five*, it must have been pretty cramped in there. I've photographed it alongside a Valentine, also in 1:100 scale, and the Valentine was not a notoriously roomy vehicle even with a crew of four.

*Note: I've also seen stats which claim a crew of two, which seems a lot more likely considering the layout of the interior.

I'm coming to truly loathe the eSun water-washable resin I'm having to use. Nothing I do seems to stop it from opening gaping cracks. If I could easily get hold of something else, I surely would, although I don't have a ventilation system set up right now to cater to some of the stinkier resins out there..

I've attempted to disguise the horrible cracking on the port side by slathering on masses of caked-on muck. It's not ideal, but at least it covers it up to a degree.

My collection of British interwar medium tanks proceeds. I'm continuing with it more out of habit than anything else, as the chances of actually doing any interwar era wargaming seem to be becoming vanishingly small.

Thursday 13 April 2023

Impromptu Photo Stage


Sometimes it's not practical to use a tripod for photographing miniatures, but hand-held photography, especially indoors, is seldom acceptably free from hand-shake blur.

A convenient alternative can be small bean-bags, like the ones shown here.

These ones are just made up from scraps of fabric and filled with rice; they're good, but a little bit heavy for carrying around in your bag all day. They could be made lighter by using barley or some similar grain. Popping corn kernels would probably work well.

I would not recommend using inflatable plastic bags, as they're slippery and tend to wobble, and it's quite possible that your precious camera might slip off them and crash to the floor, to the sound of cries of dismay.

I'd still recommend using a timer to avoid any inadvertent movement of the camera. The photos can later be cropped to get rid of any extraneous clutter.

Using this technique along with a simple hand-held reflector to help fill in shadows, and you can get pretty acceptable low-angle model photos.

The model is an old Airfix 1/72 scale WW1 German Hannover Cl-III

Later on... a thought

There was some stuff we used to use back in my museum days as an inert filler for resin moulding called Vermiculite. It's a very light mineral substance that is, I think, created by heating, a bit like popcorn.

I think it would make an ideal filler for bean-bags, because being so light, it won't weigh you down if you have a couple of them in your camera bag. And unlike rice or grain, it won't go mouldy if it should get damp.

It's used, among other things, as loose-fill insulation. And I think it can be got from gardening supplies shops too.

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Black & White


I've been considering perhaps painting my Pulp / Call of Cthulhu minis in this black & white monochrome fashion, harking back to the black & white movies of yore. It has the advantage that it's very quick and easy.

One issue with the idea is that any scatter terrain or mapping graphics I use with them should also have to be monochrome, or else they'll just look like unpainted minis.

Monday 3 April 2023

Runequest III vs. Mythras


I found my old copy of Runequest. This is the English softcover version of the third edition, produced by Games Workshop back in the day. The day, in this case, being 1989.

I was interested to note just how little of it there is compared with Mythras, which is essentially the latest edition of Runequest. Once upon a time, 96 pages was deemed to be plenty to present a one-book roleplaying system, including monster stats and what-not. Mythras weighs in at 304 pages for essentially the same purpose.

I make no moral judgement one way or the other, though I do suggest that maybe a large hardback costing more than a hundred bucks isn't necessarily as essential to the function of a RPG reference book as publishers these days seem to imagine.

Saturday 1 April 2023

Paper Minis from Okum Arts


Since I have the glimmerings of a Call of Cthulhu campaign beginning to form in my fevered brain, I thought it would be useful to have some miniatures for the tabletop.

I have a few of Reaper's Mythos figures, that I got in one of their Kickstarters some years ago. I have fourteen of them in all that would be suitable for Investigators, but there are only four female characters, and two of those are skinny little things in Victorian dress. I'd like to be able to pad out that lineup, but when I recently went to buy half a dozen figures from Reaper for about thirty yankeebucks, the cheapest shipping option they offered was about ninety dollars — three times the cost of the figures. So, bugger that.

Another option is to find or buy STLs for appropriate minis, and print them myself, and I may still do that, as I do prefer three-dimensional miniatures, for player-characters at least. But there is another option.

Okum Arts sells printable PDFs on DriveThru-RPG of quite a large variety of double-sided 2d paper figures, some of which I've shown here alongside a few of the 3d Reaper minis. They're pretty cheap, generally only a couple of dollars per set, and they're quick and easy to prepare. The few I've shown here are a bunch of cultists and a single down-at-heel Investigator, but there are a lot more, including a set of Mythos monsters, and some Pulp staples like gangsters, G-men, and Rocketeers. There are sets of steampunkish Victorians as well, designed for a game called Contraption, about which I know absolutely nothing.

They're in a fairly simple, colourful, cartoonish style that is well suited to this use. More detail would be mostly wasted and would tend to just confuse the image at tabletop scale. The PDFs are mostly layered, so that various colour and other options can be enabled or disabled before printing. They're the right size to work alongside 3d minis. I've printed out some standee-stands for them (STL available on Thingiverse at but they could be quite easily glued to card bases.

These are just printed on paper, as my Brother laser printer is incapable of handling anything heavier. However, they'd be better printed on light card, which would make them a bit sturdier as well as making them stay in their bases a bit more securely.


I have, in the past, laminated fold-up paper minis like these on card to make them thicker and stiffer.

But that's a bit of a faff; it makes it difficult to align the front and back images, and it makes the figures harder to cut out.

For these ones I've just stuck a thin strip of black card along the base tab, front and back, with double-sided tape.

That keeps the paper mini firmly in its' standee-stand, and all I have to cut out is a double layer of printer paper.

They're perhaps not as sturdy as card minis would be, but what the heck, if they get damaged beyond the point of usability it's a matter of five minutes to print, glue, and cut out a whole new one. And unless the user is particularly ham-fisted, these paper figures are likely to last pretty well.