Realistic 3D-printed Dutch farm

Recently a friend 3d-printed for me a couple of lovely Dutch farm models from edition 2 of the World at War range of STL files designed by Najewitz Modellbau.

Now, I don’t know that much about Dutch architecture, living half a world away from the Netherlands. But from my occasional trips to see my extended family over there, these models in my opinion certainly appear to have captured the general look and feel of rural Holland.

The roof and top floor can come off, but there is no interior detail apart from some rudimentary rafters (which my friend had trouble printing anyway, so I ended up snapping off the remnants).

Although my wargaming (what little I get to play, anyway!) is done with 28mm figures, I asked my friend to print out these buildings at a size that was designed for 20mm miniatures. This is because I prefer my wargaming buildings to have a smaller footprint. I think 28mm figures still look fine against them on the tabletop.

I painted the brick areas with a dull red undercoat, then rubbed in DIY plaster filler paste with my finger. I immediately rubbed this off again with a sponge, leaving the filler sitting in the cracks between the bricks. It was a simple (albeit somewhat messy) process.

Choosing colours for the shutters and woodwork was fun. I settled on a green and red colour scheme, which to me looks suitably Dutch.

I was really pleased with how the brickwork came out, as you can see in this pic of the barn with a Dutch Landsverk armoured car idling outside.

Here we see a couple of German paratroopers patrolling past the farmhouse. The model includes shutters and the ornate ironwork on the gable.

I must say that since my first encounter with 3D printing back in 2015, the opportunities now presented to wargamers by this process have become endless. Gone are the days when we see the same few resin buildings decorating everyone’s tables!

Many thanks to my friend who printed these models for me: Scott Bowman, owner of probably the only pharmacy in the world that has a wargaming section!

WW2 French anti-tank gun and tractor

The latest additions to my WW2 colonial French army are the Canon de 47 mm Semi-Automatique Mle1937 and Laffly S20TL truck, both made by Warlord Games.

Before the development of the 47mm anti-tank gun, French artillery had used the venerable 75mm Mle1897 field gun in an anti-tank role. But they really needed a more specialised gun that would be ready to fire very quickly, with a good traverse to follow its targets, and that would also be small and lightweight enough to be hidden and moved easily by its crew.

The development of the 47mm anti-tank gun offered them all of these features. The traverse and elevation as well as the speed and precision at which the gun could be aimed were excellent. These features, combined with its outstanding accuracy, offered a gun able to engage and penetrate all German tanks at 1,000 meters.

The 47mm antitank gun was easier for the crew to move alone than a 75mm field gun, and was even able to fire from its towed/moving configuration.

The tow vehicle for my gun is the rather ugly Laffly S20TL (TL being short for “tracteur, châssis long”). This particular model of the Laffly truck was intended primarily to transport men of the light mechanised dragoon regiments. I would probably have been more correct to have a Laffly W15T, which was the low-profile version specially built for towing the 47mm anti-tank gun.

Laffly trucks were characterised by the excellent off-road capabilities and specific trench-crossing features provided by extra rollers at the front and underneath the chassis, uncommon for military vehicles at that time.

I have painted my models to represent (very loosely) the 1st Artillery Regiment of the Free French Army, who had seven 47mm anti-tank guns at the Battle of Bir Hakeim in May-June 1942. Unfortunately for me, the gunners supplied by Warlord Games for their 47mm anti-tank gun are in European theatre uniforms – but they will just have to suffice for now!

Info from:

May 1940: somewhere in the Netherlands

A German 38(t) tank crunches over a purple objective marker on a canal bridge. On the right, a tiddly Dutch Carden-Loyd tankette nervously awaits the oncoming menace.

This is a scene from my first game using Iron Fist Publishing’s Battlegroup rules, which I played recently. My Dutch forces had their first outing, and in true ‘newly-painted’ tradition, lost the battle against Scott’s Germans (who I think broke the tradition as they were also newly painted!).

Pride of my force was this Landsverk armoured car, a beautiful model made by Dutch company May ’40 Miniatures. Sadly, it blew up part-way through the battle. But now that it has had its baptism of fire, perhaps it will do better next time!

Here are my Dutch Marines in their distinctive dark blue tunics man the hedge-line. They didn’t play a huge part in the battle, other than their support fire keeping the Germans’ heads down.

In the foreground sits a Böhler 47mm anti-tank gun. This performed quite well during the game, scoring a direct hit on Scott’s Sd Kfz 222 armoured car.

The game stats for this gun and other oddities in my Dutch force aren’t in the core Battlegroup rules. But fortunately an article in Dispatches magazine features everything you need to know to field this less well-known army.

Here’s my opponent Scott discussing a point of the rules with our mate Herman, who popped in for a look-see. This pic also gives you another good look at the Landsverk and some of my Dutch infantry.

Scott made the fantastic terrain board with its realistic canal in a week. He also 3D-printed two of the bridges, and provided many of the buildings, which I supplemented with my windmill, brick roads and cardboard Dutch village.

I also provided the third bridge. But as you can see, I need to make some abutments for it to sit properly instead of the brickwork hanging out over the water!

Unfortunately I didn’t get many photos of Scott’s German forces, nor did I capture the most ‘fun’ pieces on the board, our two mortars. One of Scott’s mortar’s wilder shots actually took out some of his own troops.

Overall, it was a fun game and a great evening out. Hopefully it marks the start of some more regular gaming in the future.

My latest article in Wargames Illustrated

I’ve been lucky enough to have another article published in ‘Wargames Illustrated’. I submitted a piece for their ‘Quick Fire’ series, and was chuffed to see it appear in Issue 397 (January 2021).

In the short article I describe how when photographing miniatures, there’s a real thrill when every now and then one of the pictures unexpectedly stands out from the rest.

The article is accompanied by some examples of what I call my ‘serendipitous photographs’ – pictures that I think came out particularly well, despite no extra effort on my part.

The limitations of a hard-copy magazine mean the published pictures are quite small. So, for anyone who may be interested, here they are full-size (click on the pics to expand).

I liked the way that the trees in my garden accidently came out looking like a castle on a hill overshadowing this unit of Landsknechts. (Warlord Games)

There’s more info on this unit in my old posting:

This is probably my favourite photo – a recreation of Philippoteaux’s famous painting of the Battle of Fontenoy. (Crann Tara and Minden Miniatures)

There’s more info on the original painting and my diorama version in this posting on my blog:

British and French third-rate ships-of-the-line battle it out, as a Spanish brig circles warily. This photo was taken with a simple hand-painted sky background, and sitting on the paper sea that comes with the Warlord ‘Black Seas’ starter set. (Warlord Games)

You can find out more about these models in this old posting:

A battalion of French light infantry marches forward in the moonlight. (Front Rank)

This is a really old picture. I recall I added in the ‘moon’ using a graphics programme, as the lighting of this photo came out by chance looking just like moonlight (well, I thought so anyway!).

There’s more info on this unit in this old posting:

Māori warriors from the colonial New Zealand Wars perform a fierce haka (war-dance) in the face of the enemy. (Empress Miniatures)

There’s more info on this unit here:

A pre-war colonial French column of Panhard armoured cars arrives in an oasis village. (Mad Bob Miniatures)

Below is the same picture, but with some special effects to make it into an old-fashioned snapshot. 

You can read more about these models here:

May ’40 Fallschirmjäger in Holland

For my latest painting project I have returned to World War 2, or the 1940 invasion of the Netherlands to be exact. I have previously built up a Dutch force, which is significant to me because my Dad served in the Dutch army in 1940.

May ’40 Miniatures have recently completed a Kickstarter range of 28mm metal Fallschirmjäger (paratrooper) figures. These are specifically designed to be the foe for their existing WW2 Dutch range.

The sculpting and animation of these figures is simply superb. For example, just look at those men running their machine-guns forward!

I don’t intend to build a full German wargaming force. But I thought I would still get some of these figures, mainly so so that the Dutch arrayed in my display cabinet have an enemy to look as though they are fighting.

Painting these paratroops was one of those jobs where you have t start from scratch so far as your own knowledge of their uniforms and equipment goes. I had never painted WW2 Germans before, and knew next to nothing about them. So off I went to my library and the internet.

I must say I was quite amazed at how difficult this research was, considering how recently WW2 took place. There are many conflicting sources on topics as basic as the colours of the helmets and smocks. Even Napoleonic uniforms seems to be easier to research!

Anyway, as I had heard the German paratroops were nick-named the ‘Green Devils’, I decided that my figures’ helmets and smocks would be done in shades of grey-green, with Luftwaffe blue trousers.

As an aside, why do so many armies include ‘devils’ in their midst – Green Devils, Black Devils, Red Devils, etc … and were these nicknames really bestowed by their enemies, or were they actually self-generated in a sense of hubris?!

Over the last year I have really taken to using Citadel Contrast paints. These give an automatic shade and highlight in a single coat, which results in figures that look great from wargaming distance.

As you can see from the photos (especially if you enlarge them), they can look a bit blotchy from close-up compared to the fine finish of more traditional painting methods. But I really like the overall effect. And it is so quick!

And for those who want the exact recipe for my painting:

Undercoat: Wraithbone spray.

Smock: Basilicanum grey with hint of Militarum green.

Trousers: Space Wolves grey with hint of Basilicanum grey.

Helmet: GW arctic grey ( the only non-Contrast paint I used) with a hint of Militarum green.

Weapons: Basilicanum grey with Gore Grunta Fur wooden parts.

Straps and belts: Wyldwood.

Boots: Black Templar.

Flesh: Guilliman Flesh (this really has to be my favourite Contrast paint – it is almost miraculous what it does to faces and hands!)

I finished everything off with a coat of Army Painter’s Quick Shade (strong tone), followed by a Vallejo matt varnish.

Going Dutch with Printable Scenery

I’ve just finished painting a couple of houses from Printable Scenery, who are based just around the corner from me in Paraparaumu, New Zealand.

These models are normally supplied as STL files, but not having a 3D-printer myself, I got them pre-printed. They’re sized to fit with my 28mm figures.

The buildings both come apart so that you can gain access to each story. They fit securely back together again, with a lug on each corner to line up.

Although these particular models were designed with Normandy in mind (I think), I decided to give them a Dutch look to go with my WW2 Dutch army and my 17th century Dutch pirates.

My efforts wouldn’t fool any student of Dutch architecture. But to my mind they convey the general look, especially when combined with some of my other (Hovels) buildings that are definitely Dutch.

So here we have Landsverk armoured car (made by May ’40 Miniatures) trundling down a city street somewhere in the Netherlands during WW2.

And here we have a couple of Dutch privateers from a few centuries earlier having a discussion outside one of the houses.

The two things I did to give a Dutch look to this building were to paint the walls as rough brickwork, and to add a typical Dutch design to the window shutters and door. The brickwork wasn’t entirely successful, as the house is actually modelled with stone walls. But from tabletop distance, they look enough like bricks.

The interiors are filled with lots of detail, including stairs, rugs, paintings and furniture.

I painted the interior walls with several different shades of dry-brushing, which added to the modelled-in shabby look of the peeling plaster. Easy-peasy to do!

The second building shows its brickwork where the plaster is peeling away. Again, my painting of the bricks is not too realistic close-up, but the effect comes together from a distance.

This atmospheric shot shows a bit more of the wonderful interior detail of these models.

As you can see, I have used a fairly slap-dash approach to my paining, which I think gives a nice shabby-chic impression.

And this time the fireplace was actually modelled as bricks, so it looks right even from close-up!

Motorised Foreign Legion security patrol in 1930s Morocco


Based in dispersed forts in the southern wilderness of Morocco and Algeria during the 1930s, the French Foreign Legion’s motorised companies ‘maintained an efficient net of surveillance over the tribal inhabitants of hundreds of thousands of square miles of some of the most arid and dangerous country on earth.

‘Patrols were very long and hazardous, being isolated with a few vehicles many hundreds of miles from help for months at a time.’


I recently bought some Mad Bob Miniatures resin models depicting the Panhard armoured cars and trucks that would’ve been used on these long-distance patrols.


I’ve painted them in the distinctive camouflage pattern used in the desert. However, I must admit that my yellow lines are a bit too hard-edged compared to the spray-painted lines on the real vehicles.

I’ve depicted the armoured car’s crew wearing their working dress of blue mécanicien denim, which made them look like any French factory worker. 


The ungainly tall Panhard 165 TOE (Théâtres d’Opérations Extérieurs, or Foreign Theaters of Operation) offered reasonable speed, light-weight armored protection and good off-road performance. It was armed with a short-barreled 37mm gun and a machine gun.

They were designed for use in North Africa, where the first of them saw action against Moroccan insurgents.

That experience led to a modified version, the 175 AMD, with a strengthened suspension and an added station for a rearward-facing driver. These also went to North Africa. During the Second World War, they were in action against the Allies in Morocco and Syria and then the Axis powers in Tunisia.

The 165/175’s most striking visual characteristics were its uneven road-wheels, the rear pair being massive, supported by leaf springs. 


During the Rif War in Morocco, France experimented with combined armoured columns and aviation. A troop carrier was required to quickly transport infantry units to the front of the column whenever the highly mobile and evasive rebel troops were spotted. To simplify maintenance and lower costs, Panhard proposed an adaptation of their 175 chassis.

The resulting Panhard 179 shared its mechanical elements with the Panhard 175. The rear was completely rebuilt as a compartment with doors at the rear and sides. Above the main armored box was a sloped roof with hatches for ventilation. A MAC 31 or FM 24/29 7.5 mm machine gun was placed at the right of the top structure.

It carried ‘in considerable discomfort’ an NCO commander, driver, machine gunner and seven riflemen, with two light machine guns. The soldiers were seated on back-to-back benches facing each wall. ‘Ergonomics was then an unknown science, and men’s physical wellbeing was not given a high priority in this early experiment with mechanised infantry in a desert environment.’

And imagine the sheer heat of driving in an enclosed metal box across the baking desert!


While I was painting these models, I had in mind a small self-contained armoured column on an extended long-distance desert patrol. However, I don’t have (yet!) a tribal enemy for them to fight. So they will probably end up fighting in WW2 battles instead.

I’m a bit hazy about French vehicle markings. After selecting a door-badge for the two 179s, I later found out that the charging horseman insignia was actually used by a reconnaissance unit back in France – but it looks good, and that suits me!


PS: Quoted text in this posting comes from books and magazine articles by renowned Foreign Legion expert, Martin Windrow.

On Parade! My WW2 Dutch army


Over the last year I’ve been gradually parading each army in my wargaming collection for inspection to take stock of what I’ve got. In this posting in my On Parade! series, it is the turn of my WW2 Dutch. You can click on each picture to inspect them more closely.  

I’ve got sufficient models to field a small mixed force of the Dutch army as it was when the Germans invaded the Netherlands in  May 1940.


My 28mm Dutch infantry are all produced by May ’40 Miniatures. They wear green M.1927 steel helmets, and the grey uniform that had changed little over the previous twenty years. 

On the right is a machine gun team. The light machine-gun squads had a M.20 Lewis light machine-gun operated by a gunner and assistant gunner.

The Dutch infantry in 1940 consisted mainly of conscripts, with only a small number of career officers and NCOs. Squads were commanded by sergeants, and had 9-12 men armed with Steyr rifles. I have sufficient figures for three squads of infantry.


Here’s my squad of the Korps Mariner, who were the only all-professional branch in the Dutch armed forces, and without any doubt the best the Dutch could field.

Marines wore a distinctive dark blue (blackish) uniform tunic or great coat, rather than the grey of the regular army, which gave them the nickname of the ‘Black Devils’.


On the left is an 81mm mortar. Like many armies, the Dutch introduced mortars based on the Stokes-Brandt principle. My force is actually quite lucky to have one, as the Dutch army were under-equipped with mortars, and had only two per battalion.

On the right is a three-man Schwarzlose M.08 machine gun team. The gun is complete with its hose and drain bucket. In May 1940 the Schwarzlose machine gun was quite outdated. Still, they proved to be highly reliable and robust, and the number of break-downs was extremely low.


On the left is a Böhler 47mm anti-tank gun. These guns would prove effective during the intensive fighting in 1940. It could easily penetrate the armour of all German tanks of that time, it had a low profile and it was easy to handle.

On the right is a Solothurn S18-1000 20mm anti-tank rifle. When it was first introduced its firepower was adequate against light tanks and other soft-skinned vehicles, but by 1940 it was insufficient to deal with newer and heavier tanks.


The Landsverk M.36 armoured car on the left was quite modern for its time. The 37mm gun was relatively heavy for an armoured car, and was better than that of a German Pz.III tank. Their only significant weakness was their poor armour. The Dutch armoured cars that served in the May war (about 35 were operational) would excel in the fighting.

On the right is a Carden-Loyd tankette. The crew comprised a driver and a machine-gunner, which allowed each to fully concentrate on his own task. Two small domes protected the crew’s heads. The Carden-Loyd was powered by a Model T Ford engine (true!) and had a road speed of 25 mph (40 km/h).

Tanks? Well, the Dutch army had none! Before the German invasion, the Dutch considered the introduction of powerful anti-tank guns as marking the end of the tank era. As the website War Over Holland says, this belief was “amazing for an army that had not seen anything of modern warfare and that got all of its ‘knowledge’ from papers or magazines.” Of course, they couldn’t have been more wrong, resulting in the Dutch being the only belligerent to have no tanks!


Here’s the crew of the Landsverk. They wear blue overalls over their grey shirts.

The chap in black standing drinking a cup of coffee is a hussar in leather tunic and trousers. Hopefully sometime in the future May ’40 Miniatures might produce a motorcycle for him!


There’s a personal reason why I have built a Dutch army. In September 1939 my father was conscripted into the Depot Battalion of the Medical Troops in Amsterdam (see my previous posting on this subject). In 1940 he was promoted to sergeant, a rank he had held for only one month when the Germans invaded on 10 May.


My Dad is the left-hand soldier of the middle row. What he experienced over those five days in May 1940, we don’t know. He never told us anything about it. My mother believes he was in Rotterdam, which was badly bombed, though as a conscript from the southern province of Limburg, it was also possible he was stationed there.

So my Dutch army includes a team of medics, in Dad’s honour.


Terrain for my Dutch army to fight over includes several modified Gungnir cardboard buildings, a MDF windmill by 4Ground, a bridge and back-gardens by Sarissa Precision, latex brick roads from Early War Miniatures, and plastic lamp-posts, power poles and brick walls from Rubicon.

That concludes the parades of the WW2 part of my collection. Next will come samurai! And don’t forget to visit my other On Parade! postings, in which I’m gradually doing inspection parades of every army in my wargaming collection.

On Parade! WW2 French colonial army


This posting from my On Parade! series, in which I’m slowly reviewing every figure in my wargaming collection, features my WW2 colonial French army. 

When I began researching which army to choose in my first foray into WW2 wargaming with 28mm figures, I was surprised to read about the amount of fighting that took place between the Allies and the Vichy French in North Africa and the Middle East. Often French were even  fighting French. Zut alors, there was my army choice – French who could fight on either side!

And what exotic troops I could take: the Foreign Legion, Moroccan Spahis, Senegalese Tirailleurs … along with weird and wonderful transports and armour.

So let’s review what I have in my colonial French army.


Starting with my infantry, here we see a squad of Foreign Legionnaires, made up of figures by Perry Miniatures. They more likely would have worn helmets in battle, but I couldn’t resist the famous white kepi! Another uniform feature of the legionnaires was the ‘cheche’ neck-scarf that my troops are all wearing.


Here’s another squad, including a prone machine gun crew. On the roof of the building are an officer and an artillery spotter.


The infantry are supported by a mortar and machine gun manned by Tirailleurs recruited from the French colony of Senegal.

On the right is the famous ‘Soixante-Quinze’, the nickname given to France’s 75mm quick-firing field artillery pieces.

All these figures and the gun are by Perry Miniatures.


To transport carry my legionnaires, I have two Berliet VUDB armoured personnel carriers by Mad Bob Miniatures.

As described by Martin Windrow in Military Modelling March 1981 (see, saving old those old MM magazines from my teenage years has paid off!), the VUDB  was ‘a four-wheel drive car bearing a strong resemblance to a hearse … guns could be mounted in any of four ports at front, back and sides. With a crew of three and a box of grenades, these underpowered but reliable old buses proved their worth many times over’.


Here’s the distinctive boxy shape of a White-Laffly AMD50 armoured car, in this model by Mad Bob Miniatures.

The turret had two guns, a 37mm gun at the front, and a machine gun at the rear.

These armoured cars were predominantly relegated to France’s overseas territories from 1937.


A Dodge Tanake by Perry Miniatures. These strange vehicles were converted Dodge 3-ton trucks with added armour.

They were armed with a 37mm gun, along with a coaxial light machine gun, as well as a second machine gun on an anti-aircraft stand at the rear left of the gun pit.


This Heath Robinson-ish contraption is a Conus auto-canon. I’ve manned it with a crew of Moroccan Spahis, recognisable by their distinctive red side-caps. The model is by Perry Miniatures.


The only tank in my force is this diminutive Renault R35 light tank, a resin model by Neucraft Models.

This was a relatively well-armoured infantry support tank, but slow (only 12mph) and lacking in good antitank-capacity, being fitted with only a low velocity short-barrelled 37mm gun.


Neucraft also supplied a second turret with this kit, so I can also use this model as a later type R35 with the long-barrelled SA38 37mm gun.


So that’s my colonial French force for WW2 (or inter-war) battles set in North Africa and the Middle East.

Don’t forget to visit my other On Parade! postings, in which I’m gradually doing inspection parades of every army in my wargaming collection.

WW2 Dutch village finished


My Dutch village is now complete. I’ll pack it away soon, to wait till I’ve painted up an enemy force from May ’40 Miniature’s forthcoming Fallschirmjäger (German paratroops) Kickstarter for my 1940 Dutch to fight.


The final addition was to make the canal. I simply sprayed some textured sandpaper dark green, then edged the banks with sand and flock. Simple and effective, especially with the addition of some random bits of fencing and a couple of boats.


The back gardens on the left are a Sarissa Precision product, which just happened to match the dimensions of two of my cardboard row houses. The only thing I had to adapt was to draw a little more crazy-paving to align the garden paths with the the back-doors of each house.

By the way, some people have asked why I use 1/72 scale buildings with 28mm figures. The answer is that I prefer my houses to have a small footprint, as they then don’t dominate the table as much. In any case, wargamers usually play with underscaled trees, rivers and hills, so also having smaller buildings makes sense.