Peerless Armoured Car (15mm)

 This is my 3d-printed model of the Peerless armoured car of 1919.

This one is printed in WSF, so the surface texture is very grainy. Now that Shapeways have dropped the price of their FUD and FXD resin prints, I doubt that I'll often bother with WSF any more. The FUD is still more expensive, but the improvement in print quality is worth a couple of dollars extra I think.

It'a available from http://shpws.me/MIvy
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Grand Panjandrum (15mm)

One of these chaps is likely to get himself run over.
This is my 3d-printed 15mm (1:100 scale) model of the experimental Grand Panjandrum.

It's presented in the Bolt Action Operation Sealion supplement as an actual operational weapon, though the original never made it anywhere near the fighting owing to being ludicrously inept and uncontrollable.

You can get one of your own at http://shpws.me/OzSb

I Fear Change

I started idly messing around with my Blogger theme, and rapidly realised two things:

  • I really should have backed up my old layout before I started, and
  • Not all themes give you access to the tools you've become accustomed to using for the last decade and more.
The current crop of available themes appear to be heavily oriented towards mobile users, which is not all that surprising I suppose. But it inevitably seems to mean stripping away most of the functionality of the desktop-oriented version, which frankly is a huge pain in the arse.

The most inconvenient change: I can no longer create a new post, or edit an existing post, right from my blog. Now I have to go to the Blogger dashboard and do it all from there.

Bah, humbug.

NOTE:
I've since changed it back to a less cool and snazzy theme that does actually include the tools I want. Take THAT, hipster UI designers!

Zvezda Opel Blitz (15mm)


These are the 1:100 scale Opel Blitz medium trucks from Zvezda. They're cheap and simple, and within certain limits they're reasonably good gaming pieces.

The main issue, visually, is that the planking of the cargo compartment isn't etched, so I've had to draw it on these two with a technical pen. The canopy is OK as far as it goes, but as usual with injection-moulded pieces there's no detail on any of the sides.

I think I may have gone a bit overboard with the chipping and rusting. I got a bit carried away.

Opel Blitz Ambulance (15mm)

 The ambulance conversion fro the Zvezda 1:100 scale model of the Opel Blitz is complete. Or complete-ish. I still haven't found a satisfactory way to add ropes to secure the load on the stowage rack without making them look like they're just lying there, and I don't think there is a way without actually carving the front tarpaulin to make it appear that the ropes are pressing into it. I'll probably end up just leaving it, unless it niggles at me too badly.

Its been an enjoyable project, and good to get back to some almost ground-up modelling after all these years. And now my little toy soldiers have some medical back-up.... though I note, now that this is done, that I still don't have any medics or stretcher bearers.

That grid on the back is a set of foot-steps

The view from above

Opel Blitz ambulance conversion (15mm)

I'm in the process of building some Zvezda 1:100 scale Opel Blitz trucks, and my easily-distracted mind turned to thoughts of other variants even before I'd finished the stock-standard kits. One conversion that would suit 3d printing would be a set of tracks to turn the truck into the half-tracked Maultier variant, but the one I've started working on immediately is an "office" body to turn the standard truck into an ambulance.

I haven't done any plastic card conversion work in decades, so I'm pretty rusty.

I'm building up the shell of the body around the existing kit's truck bed, because that gives me a square base of the right size, and more importantly, because it already has all the mounting points and what-not moulded in place. The plastic card I'm using for the walls is about 1mm thick, so  after the vertical slats have been sanded off and the card walls glued on, any increase in dimension is negligible.

The curved roof was a bit of a problem, because I couldn't find an easy way to evenly and precisely bend the card I have available.

In the end I laminated some light cardboard around a tin can of the right diameter, cut it to size, and then slathered it all in liquid cyanoacrylate to make it sandable — the superglue works a bit like resin in fibreglass.

The door and window frames stand proud on the original vehicle, so I cut them out of paper and glued them down with PVA. Looking at them now, I could have cut them a bit thinner, but it's a bit late now unless I strip them right back and start again.... which I'm becoming more and more tempted to do.

Now I've got the framing applied on the other side — I cut these ones to about half the thickness of the other side, and I think they do look better, though it makes the paper a little bit harder to handle. This sort of thing would be ideal for a laser cutter, or for photo-etching.

With all the surface detailing done, I gave the whole thing a squirt with white primer. This really brings out all the flaws. In general I'm not too displeased, but there are definitely some areas that need attention.

Did I say all the surface detailing? I just realised that I hadn't applied the door hinges. Bugger.

Now the module is mounted on a chassis, and it would be quite usable on the tabletop in this form (assuming I'd finished the painting, of course).

However, for completeness' sake, there are a couple more bits and pieces to be added.

There should be a stowage shelf just above the cab, which would be full of all sorts of clutter, and there should be a set of footsteps that fold up against the rear doors when in transit. They'll be next.

OK, here we have our front stowage shelf with some bits and pieces from PSC's German Stowage & Tank Commanders set.

There really should be some ropes and things holding everything in place, or else it would all go straight over the bonnet the first time they put on the brakes. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to go about that.

"Ferdinand" tank-destroyer (15mm)

 Here's another model I bought because I like its goofiness, rather than because I have any immediate wargaming use for it.

It's the "Ferdinand" 88mm tank destroyer, later slightly modified and renamed "Elefant" in 1:100 scale (15mm) by Zvezda.

When I bought this, I forgot that I'd already ordered one from PSC, so now I have another one waiting in the wings in case I should ever need to actually field them.

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Mud FX

Mud and general filth on model AFVs has always been problematic for me. I usually go little further than adding a bit of dust and grime with paint, because it goes against the grain to cover up all the model's lovely detail.

However, sometime some really enhanced filthiness is called for.

This is a bit of experimental tinkering, using my old Airfix Mk.1 as a test-bed. I thought, what better to use to represent mud than actual mud? So, I went and scooped out a bit from the front lawn.

It's been thoroughly dried and baked to kill off any spores or anything living in there, and then pulverized in a cheap little coffee grinder I bought for exactly that sort of job. It could be ground even finer with a mortar and pestle, but I wanted to keep it slightly clumpy; to represent churned-up grass you could mix in some chopped-strand flock as well.

I mixed it into a loose, muddy slurry using Vallejo acrylic thinner (NOT the airbrush thinner), which is basically just a thin matte acrylic medium as far as I can tell. This binds the "mud" into a fairly tough, water-resistant layer when it dries. Then it was brushed over the tracks and dabbed around the bottom edges of the hull with a ragged old hog-bristle brush. The randomly clumpy consistency of the slurry, and the fact that it's ground much more coarsely than paint pigments are, keeps it from just looking like paint when it dries.

When it goes on wet, the "mud" is a dark brown, but it dries to the opaque colour you see in the dish here. Damp mud is darker in colour than dry, so I sloshed on a layer of my Magic Wash to darken it up again on the hull sides — I left the mud on the tracks untouched, because I wanted to see the difference. When that had dried, I dabbed on a little more of the dirt/thinner slurry further up the hull sides, where the mud would have dried a bit. You could probably do it in reverse — dab on the wash only where you want the damp mud — but the advantage of adding "dry" mud over the top is that it increases the textural effect of the dirt slurry.

Overall, I'm reasonably happy with the outcome, but it would have to be used judiciously I think. It certainly looks like dirt, which is unsurprising because it is dirt. But as I expected, it absolutely swallows any kind of fine detail, and the acrylic thinner is tough enough that it's not really feasible to remove. Possibly, using something like gum arabic as a binder would be a better idea; it could then be modified after it dried with a wet brush or cloth to thin it out or remove it, and then it could be set in place with the thinner only when one was completely satisfied with the effect.

Zvezda StuG IIIB (1:100)

 Here's the 1:100 scale StuG IIIB from Zvezda, coming to me via PSC.

This is the first time I've used a product that is new to me, Vallejo ModelEffects Dry Rust, which is a dark brown, somewhat granular formula. You can paint it on as a liquid, in which case it dries to a somewhat blotchy paint-like finish, or you can let it dry out a bit and apply it as more of a paste, in which case it dries to a crumbly finish and oxidizes to a range of rusty colours.

I've used it here for all the chipping effects, as well as on and around the exhausts and the hull sides in behind the running gear. It's gone on to the tracks too, over a coat of Vallejo ModelColor Oily Steel, and then been slightly burnished off with a stiff brush.

I like the way it works, and I think I'll be using it a lot. I assume that there's a companion "new rust" version as well; I'll be looking out for it.

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Zvezda Maus (1:100)

This battle station is now the ultimate power in the universe!
A bunch of Zvezda stuff arrived for me from PSC today, and among them is this model of the ludicrously huge Maus super-heavy tank. The original vehicle was never painted in this three-colour splinter scheme as far as I'm aware, but then it also never made it into production, so I don't feel bound by historical precedent when it comes to paint schemes.

I've read rumours of one of them getting into combat against the Soviets in Germany in 1945, but I don't know how much credence to put in such stories. The Soviets certainly did capture one; I think it's now at Kubinka.

I have very little gaming use for the Maus, since it only existed at the opposite end of World War II that I'm mainly interested in, but I have a nostalgic affection for it from back when I first started wargaming as a kid. It was the first tank I ever tried (unsuccessfully) to scratch-build.

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Bones III — the Beginninging

My Bones III Kickstarter fulfillment arrived a couple of days ago, and I've been happily sorting through them. I've engaged in all three Reaper kickstarters so far, but I doubt that I'll do another — it's not that they're not a good deal, but there's always a very, very long wait for them to arrive, and they've all been very heavy on the character figures, of which I really do have an ample supply. I mainly want the monsters, and it's simpler just to buy them individually when they eventually appear in the shop.

I chose this one to start the painting with, mainly because it would be very quick and easy to do, and in fact it only took about twenty minutes. It probably would have taken longer if I'd actually removed any of the mould lines, which I kind of forgot about in my enthusiasm.

I don't know what its SKU is; I couldn't find it with a (fairly brief) search on the Reaper site.

Reaper Harpy

I thought it had been too long since I painted a fantasy figure, so I reached into my Big Bag O' Monsters and this was the one that came out.

It's Reaper's 77041 Harpy by Julie Guthrie. As usual for me these days, it's one of their plastic Bones miniatures, and if you want one it will cost you the princely sum of about three of those Yankee dollars.

Censored!
(for linking to sites that FEAR THE BOOB)

PanzerJäger 1 conversion

 Here's my conversion of the Minairons 1:100 (15mm) Panzer 1A into a PanzerJäger 1 47mm SPAT. The whole superstructure is a single 3d-printed unit; all I had to do was cut through the existing upper hull to create a cavity, a simple task as the Minairons plastic is quite soft.

There's no crew as yet. I have some Peter Pig German artillerymen on the way, which I hope will do the job.

The fighting compartment and gun conversion piece is available for sale at http://shpws.me/OMkj.

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I've created a sprue of three of this model and uploaded it to Shapeways.

It can be bought at http://shpws.me/OPHQ for only a little more than the cost of a single piece, since most of the cost of most prints (in the sizes I'm working in) consists mostly of Shapeways' handling fees rather than the print resin itself.


New 3d-printed stuff

 I just received my latest order from Shapeways, which is always a little bit exciting to me because you never quite know how your digital designs will really look in the flesh.




To the right is a 1:100 (15mm) WWII German 105mm howitzer. This is the first model I've printed as a kit, for later assembly (you can see it in its unassembled, unprimed form at the bottom of the picture).

There are two reasons for that:

  1. To save on space in the printer, which also saves money when printing.
  2. To get a cleaner print. Diagonal surfaces tend to show visible stepping from the print layers, and if everything can be laid out horizontally or vertically, those printing artifacts can be minimized.

I haven't made this model available for sale, mainly because it would still be cheaper for people to buy cast metal and/or resin models. However, it's a successful experiment for me, and it means I have a couple of field guns to put on the table.
 This one is the Carden-Loyd Machine-Gun Carrier of the 1930s, printed in FUD resin, again in 1:100 scale.

It looks rather speckly in this photo; that's because I've given it a dusting of pale grey over black primer, so that you can see what's going on. The raw resin is translucent, and virtually impossible to photograph effectively.

It's available at http://shpws.me/OkRX
 Here's the British Medium C "Hornet" in 1:100 scale, a WW1 tank design that didn't quite make it into production in time for the fighting.

This one is printed in WSF nylon, so its surfaces are rougher than the FUD resin examples. The detail is still quite adequate for use on the game table though.

This one is available at http://shpws.me/OHlc
Here's a bit of a novelty item, the British experimental Grand Panjandrum in 1:100 scale, printed in WSF.

This thing was developed for D-Day as a remote-controlled demolitions device, but it proved to be farcically (and dangerously) uncontrollable and never made it into production. However, it appears as a "what-if" weapon on the Bolt Action Operation Sealion supplement. so I made it for that.

You can get it at http://shpws.me/OzSb
 Here's the piece I've most been looking forward to getting. It's a fighting compartment and gun module for a PanzerJäger 1, designed to fit on to the Minairons 1:100 scale plastic Panzer 1 model.

That Minairons model is actually of the Panzer 1A, and as far as I know, the PzJg 1 was only ever mounted on the Panzer 1B chassis, but frankly they don't look different enough to me to worry about, and I know of nobody who makes a plastic Pz1B.

It's printed in FUD resin, and I haven't bothered to make it available at all in WSF because of WSF's rough surface texture, and because the printing tolerances are too fine for that material.

You can get it at http://shpws.me/OMkj
The view into the fighting compartment,
showing the gun breech and radio

Here it is sitting in place on the Minairons kit body
(still on the sprue). It does need a tiny bit of sanding
at the back to sit perfectly, but I'm pretty happy with it.

More Bones (because I didn't have enough)

 Arrived at long, long, looooooooong last, my Reaper Bones Kickstarter III. It's been so long since I paid for this that I'd pretty much forgotten all about it until I got the shipping notice about three weeks ago.

It took that long to get from Sydney to Christchurch. For the geographically challenged, that's NOT VERY BLOODY FAR. However, it appears that the reason it took so long is because it was kicked along the road all the way.

The only expansion set I went for this time is this one, shown above — the Mythos set. It looks pretty useful, though its thunder has been stolen somewhat by the release of games like Cthulhu Wars in the interim, which includes a bajillion creepy Lovecraftian critter miniatures and what-not that are just as good in quality.

Nevertheless, the Investigators, and especially the pack camel (which is really good, I could do with about a dozen of them) will be very handy figures that I expect will get a lot of use; they'd suit any number of Steampunk/Call of Cthulhu/Pulp Action sorts of games. I'm sure I can find a use for Shub-Niggurath as well. And I still have Cthulhu himself hanging around somewhere, from way back in the first Kickstarter days.

The composition of the resin they've used for Bones figures appears to have changed. There's the colour, for a start — they're not all just bright blinding white. The miniatures feel a bit stiffer and slicker too. Bones has always been pretty good at resolving detail (apart from some notable early exceptions), but this formula seems, at first sight at least, to be better than the old one.

Peerless Armoured Car (15mm)

 This is my 3d-printed model of the Peerless armoured car  of 1919. This one is printed in WSF, so the surface texture is very grainy. N...