Friday, 1 November 2013

Tatra 815 trucks and tractors -

Recently I've been experimenting with using the Shapeways service - they will print out models for you in 3D, using various kinds of plastic.  You can either buy from people who have set up on-line "shops" with them, or upload a design yourself.  So I've been making up various models, using the free Google Sketchup software, and printing them out - since I now also have a "shop" there, anybody can order mu models from them, not just me (be aware that their postage charge is very steep if you are only ordering a few!).

Here are five different Tatra 815 variants that I have made in 1:300th scale (the bases are 30 mm square).  They have been printed out in the cheapest plastic that Shapeways offer, so the printed details are not as good as they could be - but I can't afford the more expensive plastics, because as a gamer I tend to need multiple examples of everything...

These 8 x 8 trucks entered full-scale production in 1983; the Czechoslovakian company Tatra has a history of innovative truck designs featuring a rigid tube skeleton with split axles for superlative off-road performance, making them idea for military duties.  The variant with the long cab (first two examples), the T-815 VT, is a dedicated artillery tractor.   The next two photos show the standard truck, a T-815 VVN, while the bottom example is a container carrier, the T-815 VPR.  Now hopefully, you will be able to click on the images to see expanded versions the pictures (although that will just reveal the sloppiness of the paint jobs as well as the lack of details "close up").  Fingers crossed for my first post with pictures...


  1. They don't look bad at all. Obviously, in a perfect world top quality plastic would be the way to go, but they look to scrub up well enough already. I doubt anyone'll notice any roughness from three feet away!

  2. Yeah, that's my thinking too.

    Now they are not any cheaper than metal, at the moment, even with the cheapest plastic, and metal is clearly better than the cheapest plastic, so there is no point in making models of things that are available in metals. But for things gamers will never need many of, and which are thus uneconomic to produce in metal because of the tooling costs with making the mould, plastic looks like the way to go. And the costs of plastic will surely come down in the future as the cost of suitable printers decrease.

    The other thing to notice here is I haven't bothered painting in the headlights and other little details (yet). My eyesight's definitely got worse over the past year, and I find it hard to focus like I used to when painting really small details. So if I am going to paint them up better, I will have to buy a decent magnifying glass set-up. which I haven't need in the past. In these examples you can see the window struts are very much not picked properly, for example...

    But I am actually too bothered by this? Not really. They look fine at gaming distance.