I wanted to write this piece and publish it for the New Year, but that just didn’t happen … It’s part review of last year, part preview of the year to come with a bit of waffle in between.
2014 – the Year of Mass Production
Last year you will doubtless have noticed a quantum leap in our rate of new releases, and also hopefully a similar improvement in our turn-around time on orders. There’s a very good reason for this, which is that I’ve finally gone full-time, and I’m now attempting to make a living from Brigade. Phil is still in a ‘proper’ job but remains responsible for all of our metal mould-making, and the fact that I’ve taken some of his other workloads means that he can concentrate on this and turn out moulds at a much higher rate.
Last year we released 205 new codes – which is a figure that came as a surprise even to us, we didn’t realise it was quite so many ! More than half of these were in the 15mm SF range as we made huge strides in our plan to replace all of the older models with new, 3D printed masters at a consistent 1/100th scale. However, we also had significant releases in our Spaceships range, the Small Scale Scenery range continued to grow, we released our first 3D printed Aeronef model and, although there wasn’t much in the way of 6mm vehicles, we did add to the very popular buildings range with more desert buildings plus some more advanced structures.
Obviously we’re hoping to build strongly on this with another wave of new releases this year, and we thought we’d take a look at this a range at a time.
15mm Science Fiction
After 125 new codes in 2014, 15mm won’t be hogging quite so much of the limelight this year although we still expect to release a lot of new models. Of our 6mm armies, four currently have little or no availability in 15mm, but we plan to release core models for each of these over the year. The American Republic will be first, with the existing Curtiss and Kochte models being replaced plus additional vehicles. The Poles and Indonesians will make their 15mm debut and the old Chinese models will finally be phased out and replaced – the CDSU in particular will be getting a major makeover away from the current designs.
The existing armies will be steadily rounded out with additional models, and in fact you can expect to see the first of these later this week. We also plan to introduce a comprehensive range of infantry figures with a full range of command and support figures in addition to the front line grunts – Martin Baker sent us photos of the first prototype figure last week. More buildings and scenery items are in development as well.
The resculpting of the 15mm range has left us with a bit of a 6mm dilemma – should we do the same in 6mm and scale down all of these lovely new releases, replacing the existing models ? To do so would be a massive undertaking, replacing something in the order of 150 vehicles – possibly more. For the moment, what we will be doing is bringing out some of the new models that don’t exist in 6mm, such as the Gallieni tank destroyer, Raeside and Dundas utility vehicles and the whole of the Mercenary force. We are also looking at possibly replacing a selected few of the more popular models, such as the PacFed army, with new sculpts.
The building ranges will continue to expand with new releases in both the desert and advanced types, plus some completely new and different models.
This year’s main event in the spaceships range will see the overdue arrival of a Neo-Soviet fleet. These, like the British and Indonesians, will be 3D modelled and printed – we’d love to give you a preview but development is still at an early stage.
There will be other releases to round and expand out existing fleets. Additionally, we’ll be resculpting and replacing a few older models whose moulds have started to deteriorate – the first of these will be the Chinese Shanzi class fleet carrier, the original master for which is now around 20 years old !
Having released our first 3D sculpted Nef, the Charlemagne, we’ll be doing the same with selected older Nef models as we are with the spaceships and replacing them with new sculpts in new moulds. A new fleet may well hove into view too – rumours abound that Aeronef have been spotted over the Iberian peninsula.
We have plans to go off-world too, hopefully this year.
Small Scale Scenery
This range, initially intended only as a bit of an add-on the the Aeronef and Land Ironclads ranges, has been far more successful than we ever dared hope. This year we plan on adding more sets of buildings for new locations, starting with ACW buildings later this month. We also want to expand our coastal fortifications selection, with three different styles of ACW fort accompanying the houses.
The Great War Belgians will finally be getting some much-needed artillery, Phil has been on research trips to the Belgian Army Museum to make sure we get the details right. The cyclists will also be getting ‘on their bikes’ with mounted figures on two wheels.
The newly launched 10mm scenery range will be expanded, there are several other buildings waiting to be released in the next couple of months. We currently don’t expect to move into figures/vehicles in 10mm yet – although that might be one for the future, we have no plans to do so in 2015.
The ‘C’ word … Celtos. The new rules are rapidly approaching vapourware status, but believe us, we are still slowly ploughing forward with them. We are committed to getting the new rules into print and have invested heavily in new sculpts, many of which already have production moulds lined up ready to spin. But we want to have new rules ready for these figures rather then shoe-horning them into the existing set, so the figures won’t see the light of day until then. So the only news is … no news, at least for now. But some of the new figures are really cool so, trust us, the wait will be worthwhile…