The Vietnam project has continued throughout the month of March. I’ve gotten even more figures from Gringo 40’s. I think I’m up to about 46 or so painted figures for the Marines, the Viet Cong and NVA. What’s nice is that several of my friends-David Sullivan, Dave Schueler, Bill Stewart, and perhaps others have joined in the army-building-and I think the pressure is off to paint up large quantities of figures. In fact, I would suggest there may not be an April order while I paint the fairly sizable order I granted myself with my tax return.
However, one of the areas I have felt the I’ve mentioned before, probably many times, the impetus for my Vietnam project is Mark Bowden’s book Hue 1968. The hard part is recreating the city-fight that was Hue. I’d seen some excellent buildings for Hue on The Miniatures Page and made some inquiries. It turns out there was an entire range of Hue buildings designed as STL files for 3D printing by a British designer whose company is called WOW. It was a Kickstarter project and the files could be licensed and printed for sale.
Unfortunately it wasn’t quite like making an order from 4Ground or Hovels. I don’t own a 3D printer, and I won’t. It’s just one of those new rabbit holes in the hobby that I cannot go down. I’m happy to paint and base and do research, but I just can’t do this.
But I will pay others to do so.
It turns out that a small shop in Virginia, Vulcan Printing, owned the license to the Vietnam buildings. Their name was passed along to me by WOW. I contacted them about doing the Hue Town Centre. They offered to print to 28mm all eight houses, all the walls, the large fortified church and the roads for $300. I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a lot of money to spend all at once on a big project. However, I want to be clear: never once did I believe it was over-priced at all, it was just a lot for me to spend on gaming all at once. I consulted with Lorri and she was okay with the purchase. I ordered and they thought they could have it printed and ship in a couple of weeks.
It took longer. The big East Coast snowstorm delayed supplies. There was an illness, a printer breakdown (there’s always a printer breakdown,) but eventually my order arrived in a big box. I was thrilled.
The houses are all two stories and come in separate pieces, with a third piece the roof. The roofs are all tile, many of them showing battle damage, and are quite nice. The building stories are also nice. some show damage. Some have broken windows. Some have open windows that were printed over and will need some work to be ready to paint. the photo is of the first and only building I’ve painted, but there will be many more.
I was excited to get started. I wanted to do a nice job. I don’t have a ton of buildings in my various collections and this was definitely something different for me. I could have painted them just white with red roofs and been done with it, but I was intrigued with the damage and weathering in the Osprey illustration.
I immediately grabbed the first building primed it white and then painted it an overall gray thinking I would dry brush more white paint over the top and that would weather the building. Wrong. printed buildings are printed with bands of plastic and the bands show, like geologic soil layers. After doing some research with how best to deal with the bands, I developed a plan of action I can easily live with. I sand with 100 grit sand paper, carefully blow the residue off, and paint the entire structure with Varathane polyurethane. The polyurethane dries quickly and fills in many of the spaces between the plastic bands. From there it’s prime and paint.
There’s nothing fancy about these buildings. Hue was a center of the French colonial government and it had many very sturdy buildings that could be amply defended by the NVA. These were painted white. I primed them white and then made sure to go over them with your basic el cheapo craft white. The next steps were related to weathering. I took some Ceramcoat Sand Dune, a useful tan/gray color, and dry brushed it around the base of the first floor, under the roof eaves of the top floor and around the doors and windows of both floors. I did the same to create some “in need of maintenance” areas on the main walls. Step three was some thinned Vallejo black wash.
I opted to paint the doors and window frames Ceramcoat Barn Red. Weathered those with a little dry brush with Vallejo Sky Grey.
Matt-coated them and bingo, they’re done.
Not perfect, but they’ll do.
I’ve moved on to building #2. Many of the buildings have their doors and windows covered by something that looks like it should be easy to cut through. Wrong. This is part of the printing process and they are hidden by a cover that has to be removed. I can only describe it as a horrendous pain in the ass. I broke a couple of X-acto blades, am wearing a couple of Band-Aids from sticking myself. The most useful tools were an old steak knife and an all-in-one tool. Savage stuff. But I do think I’ve learned something for the next building.
My goal is to finish one of these each week.