Slowvember!

Whereas I expected to not paint anything this month (in which case the title would have been NOvember), I’ve managed to surprise myself and get some vehicles finished (but not too many, hence the title Slowvember)!

Last month I bought my first vehicles from Butlers Printed Models here in the UK. In the past I’d read some mixed reviews about these models on the internet but, given that BPM produce an extensive range of vehicles, I found a couple that I couldn’t get anywhere else so I went ahead and bought them. I’m really pleased that I did! This post is also a bit different for me since I’ve chosen to go through the complete modelling/painting process with these models rather than just show the finished items.

The models I bought (all 20mm scale) were a Japanese Type 93 armoured car and two Bantam Blitz Buggies (which I’d describe as early pre-production jeeps), the latter for my 1942 Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) troops. I’m sure I’ve seen a resin model of the Type 93 before in this scale, but never the Blitz Buggies. KNIL forces did use jeeps in early 1942 and I was pretty certain I’d seen photos of them using the very early versions, so that was good enough for me! The Type 93 had solid-rubber-tyred wheels that could also be fitted with steel rims to allow it to run on railways and it was fitted with screw jacks at the front and rear to enable the wheels to be changed and the transition from road to rail to be made (BPM produce versions with both road and rail wheels fitted and I chose the road version).

The photo above shows them as they came out of the box. The Type 93 has a separate small turret. The models usually come with the support structures needed to facilitate the printing process still in place, but BPM had kindly cleaned these bits off one of the jeeps for me. They have a link to a video on their site which shows you how to remove and clean up the supports using pliers and files – I was a bit unsure about this, but in fact it was easy to remove them and the strength and toughness of the material makes it quite resilient (I was concerned I might snap off wheels and axles but these cleaned up without any problems).

The picture above shows the Type 93 with its supports removed and piled up next to it!

The picture above shows the same for the jeep that still needed cleaning up. I used a scalpel and fine files to clean up any little rough bits after removing the supports, but there wasn’t much to clean up at all! The picture below shows them after cleaning up – the only item I added was some plastic rod to make the machine gun in the Type 93’s turret a bit more noticeable.

Overall the finish of the models was good, with print lines being barely visible (and even then only very close up). Since the models are printed in 0.1mm horizontal layers, surfaces that aren’t purely horizontal or vertical can have a “staircase” appearance, but this is only more noticeable on surfaces at very shallow angles to the horizontal – the jeeps show none of this and the Type 93 displays it on the rear sloped roof and parts of the bonnet only. Overall I was quite impressed with the finish!

Next phase was to get them all primed (shown above) and I always use Humbrol enamel for this, usually in a colour close to the final finished colour. I assumed the jeeps were delivered to the East Indies with an olive drab finish and not repainted by the KNIL, whereas the Type 93 got a (slightly shiny) khaki undercoat since I didn’t have any of the brown I’d normally use in enamel. The jeeps come with solid windscreens and I debated replacing these with plasticard frames but in the end left the solid windscreens in place, mainly because I didn’t have any KNIL driver figures that I could use.

The next phase (above) was to get the basic paint schemes done and the Type 93 required a different approach to the jeeps. To match my other Japanese WW2 vehicles I painted the basic three-tone camouflage pattern on the Type 93 in the light brown/dark brown/dark green scheme carried by these vehicles (I’d got about four colour plates in a book I could use for guidance). Tyres were painted black and the machine gun painted gunmetal, while the chassis was painted in a dark brown that would be matched by the colour of the wash that I’d use to shade/weather the vehicle. With the exception of the brown for the chassis, all of these colours were acrylic.

Since the jeeps were going to be overall olive drab I used a different approach. The chassis and wheels were painted in a black brown shade, since they’d be drybrushed later with dark earth and a sand shade to weather and highlight them. The interior of the jeeps’ bodies were painted in an olive drab/black mix, since I find it easier to apply the shade colour first in these areas and then finish off with the olive drab top layer. The outside of the jeeps’ bodies were painted in olive drab and the windscreens in Luftwaffe uniform blue (I frequently use grey for solid windows, but it didn’t look right in this case so I went with this blue-grey shade).

After that it was just a case of applying the final colours (shown above). The Type 93 got a black/brown enamel wash to shade/mucky it, with some shading lines getting touched up where required. It then got a sandy coloured drybrush to pick out the detail (mainly rivets). The wash has darkened it quite a lot, but it fits in with my other Japanese vehicles well. The jeeps either had an olive drab highlight or olive/black shading, depending on whether it was the interior or exterior getting painted. Wheels were drybrushed with dark earth and then an earth/white highlight added over the top. Seats were painted in Vallejo leather brown. I changed the way I painted the windscreens, adding three progressively lighter blue-grey shades in a diagonal band across the screen – normally I’d just paint a lighter patch towards the bottom and left- or right-hand edge of a glass panel for an enclosed vehicle. I was quite happy with how the windscreens turned out this time though!

With the days getting shorter in the UK, I ended up taking most of the in-progress pictures in the evening. Once I’d got them varnished though I had a go at getting a couple of pictures with some figures and scenery in daylight. The Type 93 is shown with some Japanese infantry and a Type 89 medium tank in support (above).

The two jeeps (above) are shown with some Early War Miniatures KNIL infantry, an M3 scout car and a Marmon Herrington armoured car (both types used in small numbers by KNIL forces in 1941/42).

So, how would I rate the BPM models? I think they’re very nice models, easy to tidy up and they paint up well. They’ve got a really good range of models in scales from 6mm up to 28mm and ranging from WW1 to modern periods. Order turn around was pretty quick and I had the models about a week after I ordered them (and remember that includes the time to print them). Would I order some more? Already done, one Christmas present sorted! I just hope my wife’s as pleased with them as I’ve been!

39 comments

  1. I think you may have just raised the already high bar set by your painting with those windshields! Permit me to also voice my gratitude for the step-by-step rundown, as I would never have worked up the guts to order the Butler models on my own, having previously suffered a major bout of anguish and disappointment at the hands of a non-Shapeways maker of printed models. Definitely a format you should adhere to for all future non-gaming posts!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Veroo, glad you liked it and nice to hear from you! πŸ™‚ Hope things are OK with you! I thought it was worth doing this step-by-step approach, so I’ll keep that in mind whenever I tend to do things slightly differently. The pictures on the BPM site are of 15mm models, so larger scale models will tend to suffer less from any printing resolution issues (and these will always be more evident on sloping surfaces at very shallow angles to the horizontal).
      And as an aside for you, I see that Early War Miniatures are now also producing figures and equipment for the Franc-Thai conflict!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Same here.
    You did a great job on the armoured car even though I will probably never see the Japanese as a war winning force (and I’m quite Japanophil myself).
    I love how what you did with the windowscreens of the jeeps!
    Considering I have a bit of experience with 3d-printing services right now, I’m somewhat astonished that you actually have to clean them yourself, because my sellers always would ship my orders wash-ready. But I digress some models would have to be cleaned of support-rests or I would even have to let them fully dry in the sun.
    And before I forget: 倧ζ—₯ζœ¬δΈ‡ζ­³οΌ

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Anthony! πŸ™‚ Well, OK, I say thanks but I’m assuming that last comment in Japanese script is not obscene! BPM do let you know that you may have to remove at least some of the support material yourself and it didn’t take long. From what I’ve worked out (and I’m a bit thick regarding 3-D printing) these models don’t need to cure under UV light and I just primed them once I’d cleaned off the supports.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I actually know a few perverted Japanese phrases, but this is none. But I digress, some what argue this particular slogan might be “problematic” due to events almost 80 years ago. “Dai Nippon Banzai !” I should have actually written “Dai Nippon Banzai yo.” (the “yo” γ‚ˆ translates roughly to the exclamation mark in that sentence structure) It means roughly Great Japan (like Bigger Japan not great, ie: Greater German Reich) be praised or Long live the Japanese Empire and was the slogan of the Empire around WW2.
        Regarding to the 3d-prints – well the ones I ordered should be cured, but some sellers are a bit sloppy to get out their product early leading them to still be “sticky” which requires additional UV-curationn in form of the sun for example haha.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I actually surprised myself and managed to get Google to translate what you’d written! πŸ™‚ And I think it maybe pays to try and find out about which process 3-D printers are using – I’ve had problems with Shapeways fine detail material in the past and only recently found out that they advise cleaning the models with acetone to remove any residue (whereas their grainy white nylon material is absolutely fine)!

          Liked by 3 people

          • There are 2 right now I think, one is the string-thingy and the other photo-resin (which I prefer) as the former has quite a lot of artifacts which makes it mostly usuable for buildings I think.
            Cleaning with acetone? I would actually fear for the resin to break down, as I usually only put that killerstuff on metal minis. 😑

            Liked by 2 people

  3. Really nice write-up, I have absolutely no experience with 3D printed…well anything to be honest, it’s an area I am very wary about, having seen some 3D printed scenery on Ebay (barrels) that were truly awful! I guess the moral here is to order from a recognised manufacturer like the ones you received as they appear of much higher quality, and I don’t think it hurts to have them in the hands of a top notch modeller such as yourself either!

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Roger, although I think if I was a “top notch modeller” I’d be able to sculpt greenstuff at least half as well as you do! πŸ™‚ With the BPM models I saw a couple I wanted that weren’t available anywhere else and the prices were reasonable so I gave it a go and was pleased that I did!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Pete! πŸ™‚ I’m sorely tempted to get another Type 93, since the Japanese used to couple two back-to-back to make a mini armoured train to patrol railway lines. I’m really pleased with how the jeeps’ windscreens turned out and will be trying that approach again, although it appears I only have one model left in the pile that has solid windows!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Excellent work on these vehicles and I think they match your current collection really well. I enjoyed reading about the process behind them as well. It is interesting to see how historical painting is similar and different to the way that I paint, if you know what I mean πŸ™‚ I hope December affords you a bit more painting time as well!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Jeff! πŸ™‚ I think we probably all have our own ways of painting stuff but still have a lot in common with each other! Not sure how much I’ll get painted for what’s left of the year, but I’m maybe going to try for some quick wins if I can!

      Liked by 2 people

      • For sure! I think that historical painters have strict color schemes they use and I tend to be that way with LOTR and Fallout minis as I like to match the movie/video game where I can. The Warhammers, as a counter-example, are more of a sandbox for painters and if you want to paint something pink or neon green, nobody is going to stop you where as the Japanese did not wear any neon colored uniforms that I can remember πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  5. That was a great post, John, really enjoyed seeing how you work.
    I don’t think I’d have the patience with 3D prints if they came with the supports like these; it’s my least favourite part of the hobby, prep, and yet probably the most important – I just want to get on with the painting, lol!
    Looking forward to more of the same, great work.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Justin! πŸ™‚ To be honest, it didn’t take long to remove the supports and I’ve spent much more time cleaning up and fixing resin and metal models that had casting/moulding faults that shouldn’t really have been there. And, as I said above, BPM do let you know on their site that supports might still be attached and show you how to remove them!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I think that the 20mm print definition is about the same as the 15mm, John, so they appear a bit smoother. Lovely finish on the models! I’m saving my support struts as they came in handy for a ruined bridge model.

    Regards, Chris.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Chris! πŸ™‚ I thought you’d approve! I have treated myself and have a T-28 in my next order! Good idea using the support bits for a ruined bridge – maybe best buy yourself a few more models so you’ve got enough bits for a decent-sized bridge! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Nice work on these John. I definitely like the Type 93 and what you did with it. Fantastic camo scheme, well executed. Making me long to get back into vehicles, especially for Nomonhan, but that will happen eventually. Love what you did on the windshields on the Jeeps. Or windscreens. Take your pick! Enjoyed the post greatly!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Mark, glad you liked it! πŸ™‚ I was really pleased at being able to get a Type 93! I had my box of assembled and primed tanks out the other day and was thinking I need to get on with with BT-7s to go with my T-26s so that I can try them all out against my Type 89s and Type 95s sometime!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pat! πŸ™‚ I don’t think the Japanese used armoured cars all that much. They didn’t have the modern designs that many other armies had and didn’t deploy them in a reconnaissance role (preferring tankettes instead for that). The Type 93 shown here seems to have been primarily intended to be used as an armoured railway patrol vehicle, used principally in China and Manchuria.

      Liked by 1 person

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