Posts Tagged '2009'

Paper Miniature – Sand Gecko (Paper Dunebuggy)

This was another project from late last year a paper Dunebuggy. I was working on it while I was sick so the progress was slow but I did get it finished. It was a much tougher project than I initially thought it would be and took a significant amount of time to complete. In the end the Sand Gecko was born, although with much trial and error.

The reason I started this project was that Jim over at One Monk Miniatures put out a very nice card tank. It was simple to construct had some really great texturing and a wide variety of colour schemes. If you need a paper tank for wargamming even as a proxy until your real metal/resin one turns up. I’d recommend heading over and grabbing the Wolverine. I found 95% print out to be a slightly better sizing but thats more my own personal taste.

Under Defiance or pretty much any generic Sci-fi wargamming rules I needed a more diverse range of vechiles than just a tank and troopers. I checked over what Jim had planned for the future of Terra-force and no dunebuggy was listed as a potential build (no point in doubling up). I had also been thinking about designing a paper dunebuggy for a long time but hadn’t been able to come up with any viable way to attach the wheels to an angled chassis.

First up came the design phase in the past I’d always tried to design papercraft items in blender/3d max. Those two programs always seemed to me to be massive overkill in terms of features and functionality for rather simple meshes that are required for paper models. After looking over a few options I decided to simply use sketchup as it was something I had used extensively for another project and I was most familiar with the interface at the time.

I had some problems initially with sketchup locating some of the more advanced options and sometimes the lack of fine increment control can be annoying but overall it turned out to be a great tool to use for designing the model and I’ll probably stick with it for all future models. With the design process I go through the scale of the object in sketchup is unimportant but the size and proportions of the objects on the model had to be correct. Also with grouping you can easily scale things up and down in sketchup if needed and once I was happy with the design I scaled it down to what I thought would be good size. After a few aborted designs I ended up with the below (This is exploded into parts):

I solved the Wheel to body issue by using a full length axle which interlocks with the body the wheels then attach to this. The mesh was exported as a Google earth file and imported to pepakura for unfolding layout and printing. Initially this was done at a 1:1 scale and the below was constructed, version 1:

A few problems became apparent with this model during assembly;

  1. It seemed a little on the big size when compared to the wolverine tank or a marine.
  2. The half round axles were an absolute nightmare to build.
  3. I’d forgotten to build an internal liner for the driver/passenger area.
  4. the single card thickness roll cage was to flimsy.

Most were minor issues and I doubled up the rollcage and eyeballed an internal liner while building version 1. The half round axle really worried me as it was a complete nightmare to build and very fiddly, additionally trying to build the axle at 15mm would have been near impossible.

Back to the drawing board, well sketchup. I thought a hexagon might be a better shape, easier to construct while not losing the perception of a round axle. The entire model was decreased in size to about 85% of the original and I duplicated the rollcage bars and drew in an internal liner. Version2 was born in all it’s glory (V1 Left, V2 Right):

I was much happier with the size but the axle although easier to build was still in the realm of annoyingly fiddly. I decided to try a square axle but mounted as a diamond shape so that a point was pointing upwards and forwards, again to give an illusion of roundness. I was also happy enough with the rest of the design that I decided to add the panel lines and detailing. Version 3 was born

I was very happy with the square axles, easy to assemble and they didn’t detract from the design at all, the panel lines were added in inkscape but this ended up being a partial waste of time as later I had to texture in Gimp and I ended up drawing/painting over all the inkscape work, it did however provide me with a design guide.

At about this point I thought I’m nearly finished just a few textures to slap down and I’m done…Boy was I wrong, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Onemonk I have no idea how he can texture so fast. He had the Wolverine textured in just 3 days, I ended up taking over 2 weeks on the dunebuggy. These were the issues I had to overcome during the process:

  1. Matching the Camo/Colours of the wolverine
  2. Matching the look (wear and tear) of the wolverine
  3. Developing my own texture style for tyres, seats, mud etc
  4. Putting it all together in a layered PDF
  5. Putting together the instructions
  6. Putting together the GSD file for Robocutters
  7. Doing a special 15mm version PDF/GSD

Most of the problems I had seemed to relate to workflow with a lot of double work occurring and finding free software to do what I needed to do. I completely underestimated how much work instructions are. Needless to say I learnt a lot solving the above issues and I was able to apply a lot of what I learnt to the dragonfly. I’m not going to detail all the problems and their solutions as that would make this post to big but some of the key points:

  1. Have good layer management in GIMP
  2. Save double backups while working, I lost a whole days work when GIMP crashed mid save corrupting my main working file.
  3. Don’t finish 1 piece and move to the next do everything on the model at once, ie colour everything, age/wear everything, add detail last
  4. Scribus didn’t generate layered PDF’s correctly, ie it would always print all layers no matter what was visible on the screen in the pdf, another onemonk forum user had the same issue (bug track). Although I don’t think the dev’s understand the problem and as far as I can tell it’s still pending repair.
  5. Instructions + GSD are almost as much work as texturing

Below are some final pictures of the Dunebuggy dubbed the Sand Gecko. For my first from scratch design with textures, I’m very happy with how it turned out. I learnt a lot during it’s development. The people over at one monk’s forum provided heaps of feedback and motivation to keep going. You can thank them all for the alternate rollbars and the racing versions 🙂 :

Files below as usual rename the odt files to .gsd. The PDF’s are layered so you can turn options on and off. The 15mm version is build-able (see above) but you’ll need tweezers, consider yourself warned :). The PDF’s are very big 20mb’s so best to do a save as rather than try and view in your web browser

Dunebuggy 30mm pdf

Dunebuggy 15mm pdf

Instructions Dunebuggy

DuneCut-page1 GSD

DuneCut-page2 GSD

Dunecut-15mm GSD

You can use the dunebuggy with Jims Terraforce marines or Slicks NCC Troopers. I did a test and a plastic/metal driver will also fit.
Terra Force Marines
NCC Troopers

Have fun….the bears are coming I promise 🙂

(This model is release under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported)

Mini Caramel Cups (Both versions)

Busy weekend for me with a friends birthday and Australia day coming up. This is a recipe I put together/modified last year, it’s a bit fiddly (the gluten free version is more so) to make but always a hit when served. Both the gluten free and regular recipe are below but the photo’s are from my latest batch of gluten free one’s. Feel free to sub my Potato and Rice flour mix for an off the shelf SF raising and plain gluten free flour. The gluten free version of the recipe below was assembled for a friend who’s also corn intolerant.

Ingredients (makes 24-26)


Regular Gluten Free
85grams Butter 85grams Butter
50grams Self raising flour 60grams Rice flour
50grams Plain flour 70grams Potato flour
115grams Brown sugar 140grams Brown sugar
55grams Desiccated shredded coconut 1/2 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
1/8 teaspoon Guar gum (optional)
  1. Preheat Oven to 180C
  2. Melt Butter in large mixing bowl in microwave

  3. Add the Brown sugar to the butter and mix in then add the Coconut and mix in.
  4. Add both plain and self raising flour (or Rice and Potatoe Flour with guar gum mixed through) and mix in well (ensure no lumps). The mix will be dryish but should stick together.
  5. Loosely spoon the above mix into the 24 depressions in a Mini Muffin Tin (grease tin if not non-stick or silicon) each depression should be filled neatly to the top.
  6. Grab something with a flat end which is round and approximately 25 mm across (potatoe peeler end or wooden spoon) and push this into the middle of each of the mini muffin pan depressions, rock the object as you push down to help compact the sides. The mix should compact on the bottom and push into the sides firmly but the top edge will be ragged and untidy. Using your fingers level of the mixture with the top of the mini muffin pan (this is fiddly and time consuming) to make a neat edge. If you can see the bottom of the tin through the bottom of any cup add a little mix to the bottom and compact softly. Aim for a cup thats 1.5 to 2mm thick.
  7. Place the Cups into the Oven for approximately 5mins and watch them. They will expand and slowly fill the muffin depression. When you see this grab them out of the oven and push the sides and base back down using the wrong end of a butter knife or your wooden tool, so they are back into shape. Place back into the oven and watch again repeat the above if they deform, they will take approximatly 15-20mins to cook. Keep this up until the shells turn a golden brown (The gluten free ones don’t brown very much) then remove from oven and using your knife end or wooden tool push shells back into shape for the last time. Leave to cool for at least 20mins.
  8. Carefully turn the muffin pan upside down and bang (Wooden spoon) or pop/lift (if using a silicon tray) the shells out of the muffin pan and leave upside down on another tray to cool fully. As they cool the cups will harden. If your making the gluten free one’s do not bang or jar the shells they are a very fragile it’s best to make them in silicon bakeware and simply lift them out when they are cool or fill them with caramel and then lift them out.

In the below picture you can see the mixture has been compacted in and is ready to go in the oven, the object in the top left of the picture is what I use to compact the mixture into the muffin pan, a short piece of 25mm dowl.

Fresh out of the oven and finishing off their cooling

Filling (Same for both)

Regular/Gluten Free
30grams Butter
40gramsGolden syrup

(ensure it doesn’t use any nasty gluten thickeners if it does sub in 30grams brown sugar)

1 tablespoon Brown sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Essence
395g Sweetened Condensed Milk ( 1 Tin

I make my caramel in the microwave in a large rice cooker but you could use a microwave safe bowl with high sides. A word of warning caramel gets very hot (hotter than boiling water 150-200C) and can easily cause 2nd degree burns if you drop any on yourself while cooking it or spooning it into the cups. I have a nice 20 cent sized burn scar on my left hand where I got careless one day and some dripped on me. Don’t let anyone (or pet) lick the bowl until it’s well cooled.

  1. Place Butter into your microwave safe bowl

  2. Melt the butter in the container then add Golden Syrup/Vanilla Essence and Brown Sugar, Stir in well and then microwave on high for 30secs and re-stir, the Syrup should have gone more fluid. (My microwave is small and low powered 800 watt max so adjust times or power settings as needed)

  3. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk and mix in well.
  4. Warning with the following steps you must watch when microwaving and if you see the mix boiling over stop microwave immediately and stir the mixture. You’ll see it coming up the sides of the bowl.

  5. Microwave mix on high for 1 min remove and stir. Microwave mix on high for 1 min remove and stir. Microwave mix on high for 1 min remove and stir. Microwave mix on high for 1 min remove and stir.
  6. Microwave mix on high for 30secs remove and stir. Microwave mix on high for 30secs remove and stir. Microwave mix on high for 30secs remove and stir.
  7. After the above it should be nearly thick enough if not microwave for another min and stir repeat until it thickens. The caramel when at the right stage will be just a little runnier than whipped cream. When you stir the mix it will take 15-20 secs to settle back to a level surface. You can’t over thicken the caramel but if it’s to runny the caramel will make a mess when people eat them.
  8. Once your happy with the consistency of the caramel grab your tray with your 22-26 cups on it and flip the cups up the correct way.
  9. Using a large teaspoon/small desert spoon, spoon the caramel into the cups each cup will take 1-2 spoonfuls. I usually fill each cup to almost full then come back and top them up with any left over caramel. The caramel will hopefully end up with a peak in the middle just above the level of the cup wall.
  10. Leave the cups with caramel in them to cool fully. 3-4 hours in the fridge works best, but if your pushed for time 1 hour int he fridge works.

Below is a picture of my Caramel after it’s thickened, you can clearly see the stirring marks in the surface.

My cups filled with caramel and ready for the fridge, prior to them being capped with chocolate and/or coconut

Topping (Same for both)

Regular/Gluten Free
75grams Milk cooking/normal chocolate
75grams Dark cooking/normal chocolate
Desiccated Coconut to Sprinkle (optional)

For the gluten free ones you’ll have to locate gluten free chocolate (not to hard). I’ve topped with cooking chocolate and regular chocolate. If you use regular chocolate melt it more carefully as it burns easier and it’ll take longer to re-set.

  1. Melt the Dark or Milk chocolate. I do this in the microwave in a small bowl with about 30grams of the chocolate each time 30-40 secs on high is all that’s needed. It’s better to under melt the chocolate, stir and then do another 5 seconds than over melt and burn the chocolate.

  2. Using a Teaspoon spread the dark/milk chocolate over the top of one of the cups so the caramel is completely covered. Then sprinkle the top with desiccated coconut (if wanted). Move to the next cup and repeat Once you have done 12 with dark/milk chocolate repeat for the other 12 with milk/dark chocolate. Or if you prefer do all the cups with one type of chocolate
  3. put them back into the fridge until the chocolate has set. Once set the caramel cups can be eaten straight away, refrigerated and saved for later or frozen for a short time and used later on.

I need to make these quick

Okay sometimes you just don’t have the time to make the cups if this is the case grab a shallow rectangular tin approximately 25cmx15cmx3cm (line with baking paper for quick removal). Push the base into the bottom of the pan extending it a little up the sides and bake, then spread the caramel on top allow to cool for bit then spread the chocolate on top, leave to cool in fridge, lift it out of the tin and cut into squares.

Enjoy 🙂

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Please Attribute to Sirrob01 with a link back to my blog

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