Rookie contest entry and 327 free models

Discussion in 'Armory & Military' started by Matthias, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Matthias

    Matthias New Member

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    Great group you guys have going! I’m a recent returnee to paper modeling after finding Modelik’s flower class corvettes while collecting info and reading in support of a Lego scale model (ldraw – “virtual” lego) that I’m working on. I spent the better part of my childhood making things out of paper (and the odd plastic brick), but I’m enjoying my renaissance.

    A ship guy at heart, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity (excuse?) to build some armour. Two weeks is pretty short notice though, and there was a bunch of paid work that had to come first… So, small and tidy, and hopefully something a little different – how about a Russian TM-1-180 rail mount naval gun in 1/144?

    Somewhere in the depths of my hard drive I have an install of an older real-time-strategy genre WWII computer game called “Blitzkrieg” developed by Nival in Russia. The game has a relatively strong following online and is quite open to “modding” – the modification of the original game by the users to extend/enhance gameplay. Nival supports this, and has released several free tools and resource packs. For us, this means that we have open access to the unit models used in the game – 327 of them!

    The models tend to be relatively low polygon count, ideal for 1/72 and smaller paper versions, which I suppose makes them ideal for gaming, through I find the size attractive for a 1 or 2 evening project, and it’s fun to have a handful of “vroomable” models kicking around the desk! The textures supplied are very low res, at 256 square maximum. They do looks pretty nice printed out though, and are easy candidates for a simple repaint. Here are a few examples, each one showing that I’ve picked up another trick with Pepakura (check out the heavy dotted fold lines on the Sherman! - ignore the messy desk):

    [​IMG]

    The resource pack containing the files is available at Blitzkrieg Portal - “Blitzkrieg Resource Kit”. Be warned that it’s a big download at 316 MB and it unzips to a massive ~5GB of which we can discard 99.5%.

    To open/view the files you’ll need “Tanks Version 2” available on the same page a little further down. The unit meshes and textures are stored in path “units/Technics” in the install directory. The textures in the kit are *.tga files, though if you are working from an original install of the game, you’ll need Nvidea’s DDS plugin for your graphics program to allow you to open the DDS format textures used there and save them as bitmaps.

    [​IMG]

    In Tanks, you’ll need to open both the mesh (*.mod file) and an associated texture. Most models have at least 4 textures covering summer and winter colours and damaged versions of the same. Some models also have alternate *.mods covering deployed positions, or minor variations. Export the mesh as a Wavefront *.obj file using the tools menu, making sure to select “combined meshes”

    In Pepakura , open the *.obj you created. I’ve been opening the texture (*.dds on my system) in an editor and scaling it up to 512x512 to soften the pixilation a bit. Even if you skip that step, you’ll need to convert the *.tga files to *.bmp.

    [​IMG]

    Apply the texture using Pepakura’s “3DModelWindow/Set Texture…” menu dropdown. Unfold the model and make any changes to the cutting points needed to clean up the build. I’ve taken to setting all lines as small as possible and only displaying those that are 90 degrees or sharper. Scale isn’t perfect, but 0.068 seems like a good starting point for 1/72 once printed.

    [​IMG]

    Build photos to follow…

    Matthias
  2. Matthias

    Matthias New Member

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    TM-1-180 cont...

    The TM-1-180 was a rail artillery piece that that mounted an 18cm gun in a turret capable of 360 degree fire, unlike the heavy guns that required the carriage itself to be aimed. I believe that they were intended for coastal defence, although the list of munitions suggests that they saw broader use. A restored unit
    is displayed in Moscow at Victory Park.

    My build is 1/144 scale, printed on 60lb Georgia Pacific coverstock, glued using Aleene’s and a tiny bit of CA. 100% paper. After seeing the tools (and rwgauger’s beautiful desk) you guys use, it seems like I have some catching up to do! First on the list is some punches…

    Start with the truss that supports the turret. When I remember on time, I’ve been trying to colour the edges and tabs using Faber-Castell brush-pens in gray tones. On thin edges, as long as the value is close, it doesn’t seem to matter much if there is no colour.

    [​IMG]

    I want the turret to be posable, so the mount gets a friction-fit sleeve to support the platform.

    [​IMG]

    Coming along nicely, the gunshield, internals and barrel go on smoothly. The extra cylinder is one of the 8 legs that brace the carriage when deployed. I’m thinking I’ll model it “dug-in”, but in any case, they’ll get added last.

    [​IMG]

    Adding details to the bogies.

    [​IMG]

    Matthias
  3. eatcrow2

    eatcrow2 Member

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    Matthias...

    Fantastic work!!!! Looking forward to seeing updates..
  4. Matthias

    Matthias New Member

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    TM-1-180 cont...

    See what I mean about the punches? Not only is this really bad for your knife blades, but it doesn’t make round circles either.

    [​IMG]

    I lost a wheel. I lose things all the time… This might not be the best hobby for me!

    [​IMG]

    Railings are rolled tissue, coloured black and CA stiffened. Works better than I thought, and while over-scale, fits the styling of the computer-game models very well. The originals were just 2d rectangles on edge – something that paper wouldn’t support very well…

    [​IMG]

    Or maybe it might have worked? For this ladder I cut the rungs out, leaving them attached to the card. After laying the uprights over top and CAing the works, the ladder can be removed. Faster than the tube method, but the rails and posts are separate layers. It looks great for a ladder, but maybe the rolled tubes are nicer for railings?

    [​IMG]

    Matthias
  5. Matthias

    Matthias New Member

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    TM-1-180 cont...

    Two support cars for the rail gun almost finished. On the Victory Park display, both ends have munitions conveyors, but the Blitzkrieg version only has one on the smaller one. I photos I’ve seen, it looks like usually a platform and ramp were built next to the gun and ammunition stored in a bunker off track. I like the way the two ends are differentiated in this little model. One of the cars has a neat chimney that bends around the rear platform and is very distinctive in old photos.

    [​IMG]

    Mocked up. I still need to build pivots/attachment points for the truss and clean up a few bits.

    [​IMG]

    With a (Canadian) quarter for scale.

    [​IMG]

    I didn’t quite get rifling detail in the end of the barrel on this one (wink) but I’m happy with the results so far!

    [​IMG]

    If I can, I’m going to finish up an armoured engine and tender and throw together a little diorama. I hope some of you guys brave the big download and can make use of some of the models!

    Matthias
  6. barry

    barry Active Member

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    armour

    Superb job any chance of a few more tips on pepakura
  7. Matthias

    Matthias New Member

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    TM-1-180 cont...

    Home stretch... and just in time?

    Really pleased with these RR tracks. Almost makes me want to make trains instead of ships :smile: The tracks and baseplate were printed from a screencap I took in Blitzkrieg's map editor utility. After figuring out the ladder, I figured these would be snap, and after a couple false starts, they went quickly using two #11 blades stacked to cut this strips between the ties. Nip one end and fold back/tear out the extra, then colour the edges and lay the rails (stacked blades again). I fussed with knife-cutting the ties out of the supporting card cleanly for a few inches without shearing them before I remembered that I had scissors! Scissors work mouch nicer.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I made a little "Koz'ma Minin" Armoured engine and tender to push the artillery car around. I doubt very much that you'd ever leave an engine parked next to a deployed gun, and I have no evidence that this type of engine was used to run the artillery trains (multiple guns were connected). It's the model that the game uses though, and it does look pretty cool!

    No build updates for the engine and tender - more of the same anyways...

    Matthias
  8. Matthias

    Matthias New Member

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    TM-1-180 Finished!

    Fun project, and good encouragement for tackling all those tiny pieces in the corvette - thanks for the inspiration to get something finished for a change! The final model is 26 cm long including the baseplate - 100% paper!

    [​IMG]

    Is a little computer touch up allowed? :smile: Camera on a tripod, dark room, barbeque lighter lit close to the muzzle (but not too close) for dramatic lighting. Airbrushed (computer graphics) muzzle flash added after, with a transparent layer of the naturally lit model superimposed for some "moonlit" backlighting of the harsh shadows.

    [​IMG]

    Matthias
  9. Matthias

    Matthias New Member

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    TM-1-180 Finished!

    I toyed with the idea of making the legs deployed on one side and folded on the other but thought better of it - they fold assymetrically and I thought they looked interesting. No articulation at this scale I'm afraid. I shaved the ends down so that they look a little better than just sitting on top of the ground.

    [​IMG]

    Hard to see but the little black chimney starts on the other side of the hitch (looks like a little coal burning stove, but probably something related to the support machinery inside the car) and wraps around under the rear platform before bending up.

    [​IMG]

    The conveyor isn't quite long enough to reach the rear platform, but not bad for a computer game model!

    [​IMG]

    I like the coal - tri-tone black felt tip coloured tissue crumpled and glued into the bin, with a few dabs of CA to make glinty spots.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for reading along!

    Matthias
  10. rwguess

    rwguess Member

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    love what you are doing!
    that rail gun is awesome

    i need help i am stupid

    can you provide a direct link

    to the resource kit i cant locate it on the website

    thanks

    robert
  11. Willja67

    Willja67 Member

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    Real cool stuff!
  12. rwguess

    rwguess Member

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  13. NOBI

    NOBI Active Member

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    Execellent work...look forward to see in 1/48 or 1/35...anybody can provide me a resource of those mesh? 360 MB for my snail modem is look impossible. I would like to see Tiger in 1/35 scale from this game's model.
  14. Matthias

    Matthias New Member

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    Thanks guys, it was fun.

    Nobi, I think you'd be dissapointed with these meshes on a larger scale. 1/72 is ok for a fast build, and any smaller gets a little tough. I think probably if I keep up with these I'll switch to something a little smaller, maybe 1/100 and use doubled edges and butt joints intead of tabs.

    The Panzer VI model, for example uses 378 triangles, most of which are in the barrels. The texture file as supplied is only 128 pixels square! Here are some screenshots form pepakura and "Tanks" showing the "desert" scheme.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure that the meshes are good enough to justify throwing too much extra work at them in "upgrades". Starting from scratch with a decent 3-view would probably be more satisfactory in the end.

    Matthias
  15. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

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    NOBI, a man of your 'calibre' (geddit??!! Joke!!) could surely knock up a decent Tiger in ten minutes!! OK, maybe a couple of days, but I'm sure it would look a lot better at 1:35 than these simple meshes. However, this is excellent stuff for smaller scale models!

    I recall in the 1960's and 70's a chap advertising simple paper models of all sorts of afvs, I think, to 1:150 scale. They were printed on olive or sand or grey paper, and were tricky little so-and-so's to assemble. but they looked great, AND, they were cheap as chips! Anyone remember them? I'll try and find a name and address.

    I think these low-poy models will do the same job. That rail gun looks great!

    Tim P
  16. NOBI

    NOBI Active Member

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    Hi Mathiass,

    you said before that texture of mesh is low resolution but i not think it is very low detail until i saw tiger's texture from your post...i agree with you that 1/72 or 1/144 is best for that mesh. but can you please send me that mesh with texture to me? i really want to see it closely and play around with it a little. my email is kumpeerapong@hotmail.com thank you very much in advance

    @Tim : totally agree :p
  17. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

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    Hi Matthias,

    which 99.5% of the download can we discard? I just did the download/extract thing and my HD is groaning a bit!

    Thanks! (I might just go out and buy the game; MORE distractions!!)

    Tim P
  18. Matthias

    Matthias New Member

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    You can wipe all but the "technics" directory under units. You'll find that each model (in sub-folders divided by country/force, vehicle type, and unit name) is self-contained. Within each folder only bits you actually need for the unit model are the *.mod file and the textures. I think if you leave it unpacked but ditch all but the technics folder you can get it down to about 300MB (still a lot, but there are 300+ units). If you rezip that folder you should be something like 65MB. If you are patient, or have good search and destroy skill, you can wipe out the larger files (that we don't need) in each sub-folder and the whole set shrinks dramatically.

    It's not a bad game if you can find it. North American distribution was pretty sparse. Version II is out now, but the jury is still out on whether it is an improvement - the graphics are a little nicer (same units though) but the game play has changed a bit. Both games are a little more "strategic" than typical RTS games. They've changed the format for the model files in BKII though and as of yet haven't released decoding tools, which is too bad as the game egine has changed and _all_ of the buildings, bridges etc are now 3D - the original was a 2d game with 3d units.

    Matthias
  19. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

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    Thanks Matthias, I'll do a file cull when I get home. I've spent meny an evening getting thoroughly whipped playing Combat Mission, but in that game the models are hard-coded; you can only change the bitmaps for in-game modding.

    The thread about Flight Simulator Design Studio should give the same sort of functionality, as I believe 'Milkshake' and G-Max can be used the same way with some other games.

    Back to work,

    Tim P
  20. dre

    dre New Member

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    looks great!