Sunday, 22 January 2023

German buildings for 18th/19th Century 3D printed

 In the last blog post I showed briefly that I was getting more "plastic" 3D printed terrain models on my table. I'm known as a great exponent of downloadable self printed card model buildings as being a more environmentally friendly and much cheaper alternative to lots of thick and heavy resin, and nothing has changed that. Except that now I'm on a new project and with Christmas coming up my kids asked me what old Dad wanted as a treat. So I realised it was now or never to go for some of the beautiful and authentic models I'd seen via Ebay and elsewhere. To be honest I'm a DIY modeller and cheapskate so they seemed too expensive to me just to buy for myself.  As a present though, and after convincing myself that with many years ahead they are hardly "single use plastic", I could indulge in a large village or mini-town.

This post is not so much a How-to-do it as just showing how I spent my spare time over the last week of 2022 and the first of 2023 and what it created.

I already had, unmade, a beautiful little Tyrol Chapel from warfayre on Ebay. Although 15mm it passes as a reasonable Austrian church along with the 12mm models my family got me from their Leipzig buildings series.  I was lucky to get a nice collection in one go. Since I am working on Bavaria and Austria in 1809 and not Leipzig 1813 I  was not too worried about historical accuracy in assembly or paintwork but they looked reasonably authentic to me.

Not shown but I did a lot of work first taking out floors or ceilings with a sharp modelling knife and small saw. This was so that I could get figures inside - the measurements were just right to get my 25-28mm wide infantry bases in.

For two buildings I fitted them on bases big enough to take the
 supplied walls, gates and fences, with enough room for a
few figure bases too

Ready for spray undercoat

I made a large base for the farm with recesses so that the buildings could be placed in the right configuration, or different buildings used later when I have more.

If you wanted to stick the roofs on as fixed models they are fine. But I wanted mine removable for figure insertion or when on fire, so I made some small cardboard lugs to stick under the roofs for easy location. Some I left with the tiny plastic corner nipples but they are not a great fit.

Generally undercoating everything with a dark grey spray paint

This is a "church" or large meeting house in 15mm
 not from the Leipzig series

These buildings are mainly plaster walls so I sprayed gently with
a light yellow/buff colour, not covering all the grey,
to create a weathered look

Keeping the roofs separate I sprayed them with a kind of terra cotta brown - Army Painter sprays are the most reliable in my opinion. They call this one Fur.

When dry it's time to move indoors and I'm using matchpots of acrylic/emulsion type paint to dry brush
a cream highlight on all the upper surfaces

That has the effect of creating unity across the buildings and will help them blend more naturally into the model landscape than if left just basic stark plain colours

I gave the chapel personal treatment with white not yellow
 and it's come out a little gem I think

More highlighting if necessary and working on the courtyard walls.
The one at left foreground has scratch built walls with "red' tiled top

That meeting house had lots of brick within a timbered
frame so was hard work with smaller brushes

PVA and sprinkled with generous coatings of my sawdust
 mixtures to make dirt farm yards, courtyards and roadways
 through the hamlets

Testing an arrangement on my table (where followers will recognise La Haye Sainte and Althorp buildings were placed in earlier games.) Still not finished.

They all needed the colour variations "lifting" with weeds and grass
 growing round the lower edges and baseboards

Happy with that now and a couple of matt varnish sprays to fix as much as possible

The next set of photos shows a selection of AB 18mm figures on location. Since mine is a representational game at one figure = 50 men then this is a large village in 12mm and I find it perfectly acceptable that it can be occupied by up to a couple of large brigades of infantry.

As I said some roofs do not fit as easily as others. Also, despite applying liquid plastic filler I could not completely get rid of the horizontal joins between wall sections.

I'm very satisfied with this. To my eye it's a good looking 18th century German village/farm set up, and practical for wargaming. I've made them versatile for lots of different configurations in the future.

I did not place the 15mm meeting house with them
 but it still looks good elsewhere 

As with so many 3D printed products these days you can buy these in about 4 different sizes. For some beautiful versions of the Leipzig buildings head over to Colin Ashton's great blog Carryings on up the Dale

And, lucky me, I'm getting more for my birthday very soon!


  1. Very impressive

  2. Very smart looking kit Chris and you have done the models proud. One poin, if I may, when I was painting some buildings a friend , who is an artist, took me out to look at some and he pointed out that buildings have mossy stain coming up from the base through rain splashing and rising damp. Roy

    1. Thanks for commenting Roy, always good to hear from you. You are right to some extent. My buildings are mass production jobs not museum quality, but in the past, and on 20mm card buildings it is often necessary to offset the pristine look, I have put damp stains coming from under window cills and added fine scale green scatter to roofs as tiles do attract moss. At 12mm I think artistic pedants can just keep further away from my table if it bothers them ;-)

  3. Chris thank you for sharing these pictures and your experience of these models. They look terrific but as you point out they are not inexpensive I suspect with time I will give in and get some but at the moment I think I shall just sit back and admire yours.Martin

    1. Yes Martin it is a luxury and with your modelling skills I'm sure scratch built look just as good. Thanks for your praise.

  4. Some seriously good real estate there Chris, so much wonderful stuff being produced today and the beauty of 3d printing is in the price, some real bargains to be had out there. You have done a really good job on your collection and it looks the business on the table, superb work!!

    1. Thanks so much for your praise Donnie. I'm afraid i can't agree on price as I've never seen any 3D printing bargains. It is a luxury price by my standards but worth it as I just can't simulate things like all the brickwork and the lovely carved detail in arches and window surrounds in such a small scale by cheaper means.

  5. Lovely work there Chris and a nice set of buildings. I too struggle with what to get for Xmas and Birthdays, although this invariable means books as I'm pretty much terrained out!

    1. I'm sure you'll think of something you need Steve!.....I've got a lot more "Hussarette" paintings on the schedule this year.....

  6. These look truly tremendous Chris. I really like the way you’ve approached the painting and uniformity of look for the town and village. I’ve actually been considering using 15mm buildings and their footprint for some 28mm games but it’s just in the very early contemplative stage. I don’t know if it will have legs if truth be told. These are quite inspirational Chris and I’m mightily impressed.

    1. So chuffed to be able to impress YOU Carlo. Charles Grant showed the way 50 years ago, with his buildings at a scale smaller than the figures to give the impression of a larger settlement than the scale footprint would normally suggest. If you look at my blog posts on my 18th century games the buildings are 20mm or smaller with 28mm figures and look OK I think. Colin's blog linked in the text does the same. You can safely go one figure size down with the terrain. Go for it mate! She'll be right cobber....


    2. Ha ha thanks Chris. Do you remember those excellent buildings from John Rays AMG collection where the footprint was smaller and the buildings taller and interchangeable. Very good. I’m going to paint my 1809 buildings this weekend that have long been waiting a lick of paint inspired by your total completion on this.

    3. Yes Carlo, I do. It was a very clever idea though I don't think they could be altered to take figures inside. Folks can see examples of Brian Rigelsford's models on Phil Olley's blog Well I'm sure we will enjoy seeing what you get up to with your buildings.

  7. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for sharing your update on Napoleonic buildings. I agree that the foot print of 12mm buildings suit 18mm ABs nicely. I have a collection of Bavarian resin models from JB (I think) that work well. So far as I can see, no longer available, sadly. And I do have the little Austrian church you've painted up, albeit in 12mm it is a tad small - suitable for the Santon at Austerlitz perhaps. All the best.
    Paul B

    1. Thanks Paul, yes the buildings of yours I have seen are lovely, and no doubt we will find ways to combine 12 -15mm on various battlefields in the future together.

  8. They are great 3d models and your painting and basing Chris have created wonderful tabletop scenes.

  9. Lovely work, Chris. Like you, I'm usually inclined to cheap or free and environmentally friendly card or paper buildings - but you can't look a gift house (sic) in the mouth, can you? ;-)



    1. Thanks David, glad you see it my way for these special circumstances

  10. Those are incredible! Great work on the painting too!