Bristol Blenheim in the Desert

 

This is yet another of Roman Troyan's 1/200 scale models, up-scaled to 1/144. 

It's the Bristol Blenheim Mk.I, and I've painted it in a colour scheme suitable for North Africa and the Mediterranean.

It was very fast for its day, but alas for the crews, its day passed before WWII kicked off, and with its rather pathetic defensive armament and against much faster enemy fighters, losses of Blenheims were very heavy.



Typhoon, also with paint on

 

I've finished off my 3d printed 1:144 scale Hawker Typhoon, complete with rockets, ready to kick the crap out of anything it can spot in the Falaise Pocket.

It's a bit cleaner than the Tempest... I'll see how I feel about that later on.




Tempest, Now With Added Paint

 

I've painted up my 1:144 Tempest model.

These are the markings, I believe, of the Tempest of Pierre Clostermann, a very famous exponent of the type.

And now, Typhoon



Now I've made another little aeroplane, this time the Hawker Typhoon.

This one is probably more useful as a wargaming model than my earlier Tempest, since it was used much more in a ground-attack role.

I've created the rockets as a separate STL so they can be added or left off at the whim of the user.

The STLS are available at https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/hawker-typhoon-2/

Tempest

 

I've been building a WWII fighter-bomber in 1:144 scale in Blender, the Hawker Tempest, and trying out a method for creating panel lines that seems to be working okay.

I cut a line through the model where I want the panel line to go and then extract that edge as a curve, which I can then adjust to the exact thickness I want, convert it to a mesh, and then boolean out the panel line. It would be nice if I could do the mesh conversion non-destructively, and I think it's possible with geometry nodes, but they are pretty much still a complete mystery to me.

I'm pretty happy with it so far, and now I just have to make some under-wing rockets for it. Though I find, from the small amount of research I've done, that not many Tempests ever used the famous 60 pounder rockets in action — that was more for the Typhoon.

I'd like to do a Typhoon as well, and I think I could probably reuse most of the fuselage geometry. I'd have to redo the wings from scratch of course, and the tail fin (and probably the tail planes) will need reprofiling.


2023-08-26

Test print(s) done, and I've learned some things.

  1. Double check your dimensions. For some reason I designed the thing at 1:122 scale instead of 1:144 — I have no idea how that error crept in.
  2. Tolerances for FDM printing are coarser than you might imagine. The panel lines were right at the edge of the envelope when I originally laid them down, at 0.3mm wide, and when the model scaled down to 1:144, they mostly disappeared in printing. (They'd probably be fine for resin printing).
  3. There's a difference between a scale model and a wargaming model. I could (and should) have made the tail fin, tailplanes and wing trailing edge about 50% thicker. Also, making the wing a true aerofoil profile probably just made life harder for myself without returning much real-life benefit.


Jug

 

Here's another one of Roman Troyan's 1/200 models, up-scaled to 1/144, this time a P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback. I have a bubble-top in the painting queue as well.

I've painted the invasion stripes on the under-surfaces only, so they're not really visible — if you squint hard you might just make out a hint of them on the fuselage.

 I found that the easiest way to paint the national markings was to cut a mask of the general silhouette and spray in the dark blue background, then brush paint in the star and bars — this way I can be sure of getting the general proportions right at least.

Printing Petite Planes

 

Roman Troyan's 1/200 models (PlanePrinter on Patreon) are a treasure trove for people like me who have a desire for models for aerial wargaming, or as air attack models for all-arms games. I like 1/144 as a scale for both these purposes, and his models scale up to 1/144 very well indeed.

This particular model is a P-47 Thunderbolt "Jug", printed on my Ender 3 in PLA+.

There are some issues with FDM printing aircraft though.

They tend to be made up of lots of smooth aerodynamic curves, and to look their best they need to be printed in such a way that minimises the layer lines that are inevitable with any FDM printer.


The best way to achieve this on both the wings and the fuselage is to cant the model at quite a steep angle to the print bed. That's easy enough.

However, though Cura's tree supports do a pretty reasonable job for the most part, there are a couple of things they're not good at:

  1. They don't necessarily accurately preserve the profiles of things like wing tips
  2. They're not very strong until they've built up a bit of their own structure, and this means that elements close to the build plate are more likely to fail. While it's possible to tell the slicer to thicken and strengthen the supports, this also makes them a lot harder to remove cleanly.

For those reasons I've taken to modifying the base STLs in Blender, to provide them with some stronger, more reliable supports for the crucial areas. Adding these support structures does extend the printing time a bit, but on the other hand the print as a whole is less likely to fail, and it's more likely to be properly dimensionally accurate.

The built-in supports have to be clipped away and the nubbins filed smooth; they don't detach the way that slicer supports do. However, that's not usually a huge job, and the lower rate of failure is adequate compensation.

I still use Cura's tree supports in addition to my built-in structures, and because the important bits of the model are elevated off the print bed, I can print on a raft which very much reduces the chances of the print detaching itself from the bed during printing.

Desert Airforce P-40

 


I've made an addition to my 1/144 scale Desert Airforce in the shape of a 3d-printed P-40 Tomahawk or Warhawk or Kittyhawk, depending on who you are. They all look very similar, with minor differences in the size and shape of the radiator housing beneath the nose.

For the most part, the British and Commonwealth pilots knew it as Kittyhawk, and that's what I'll think of it as.

The model is up-scaled from one of Roman Troyan's 1/200 designs. He can be found at https://www.patreon.com/planeprinter. I printed it on my Ender 3 — although it's not as smooth as an injection-moulded or resin-printed piece, it will serve just fine as a wargaming model.

I've done another P-40 before, but this is a better design, in my opinion.

Oh! The Humanity!

 I was looking through my library for something else entirely, and happened across this book that I'd completely forgotten I had — it's called Inside the Hindenburg by Mireille Majoor and Ken Marschal.

It's a relatively thin (32 pages) large format (387x260mm) volume, ISBN 1-86508-327-5, and it's full of incredibly useful cutaway drawings of the Hindenburg airship. The Hindenburg was larger and more luxurious than any previous airship, but it would be useful as an example of those like the R101 and the like.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to get up to roleplaying shenanigans on an airship.