Whisper it quietly…

Don’t say it too loudly or the website gods might hear us, but I think I’ve fixed the shopping cart bug (woo-hoo !). It helps to have been a programmer in a past life…

So hopefully it’s all back to normal, please feel free to flood us with orders ! However, if anyone does encounter any residual issues, please let us know – I had to make fixes in several places so it’s possible there’s another example that I’ve missed. You might have to refresh your browser (F5 on a PC) to force the new shopping cart code to load.

I’ve spent far more time than I wanted to fixing this, so I’ll hold this week’s planned new releases back until early next week.

New Slammers

Notwithstanding the irritating website bug, today sees the slightly-later-than-planned release of the first of our promised new 15mm Hammer’s Slammers models. The uparmoured M2A4FUA command tank fills a gap in the Slammers’ TOE and allows later Slammers/Friesland Defence Force units to field the correct version of their command tank. Slammers logistic units get the M9A10 Cargo Car, an open flatbed version of the standard Combat Car which is also used by Harris’ Commando.

The Lightning Division also gets two new vehicles that allows them to field full detachments. Both are also based on the combat car hull, the M9A14 Crew Car being a variant of the command car with two roof mounted gatling turrets and room for an infantry team. The M9A16 Calliope Car pairs the cargo car chassis with an 8-barrel 2cm calliope system for anti-aircraft/anti-missile defence. The latter vehicle is also used by other mercenary units. With the release of these vehicles, the Lightning Division now also get two Detachment Packs which make up full units to match those on the LD Detachment Card. These packs include vehicles, infantry figures, stowage, infantry bases and other bits and pieces so that they are a complete force in a box for the Hammer’s Slammers:the Crucible rules system.

Finally, the M12 Tank Destroyer is used by both Broglie’s Legion and the Flaming Sword of the Holy Brotherhood. This is a large, low-slung blower-hulled vehicle with a fixed 15cm powergun.

We’ve also started to roll out new metal parts for some of the vehicles. All blower tank variants now get new castings for their main gun, tri-barrel and the mine clearance plates, and the rear hatch of the command car/crew car and top screen of the uparmoured combat car have also been replaced. Finally, we’ve cleaned up the masters and made new moulds for the Lightning Division and Waldheim Dragoon blower tank guns, Lightning Division gatling turrets and the crane from the E8 Wrecker.

HS15-111c – M2A4FUA Uparmoured Command Blower – £9.00
HS15-112b – M9A10 Cargo Car – £3.50
HS15-1712 – M9A14 Crew Car – £4.50
HS15-1712a – M9A16 Calliope Car – £5.00
HS15-2011 – M12 Tank Destroyer – £8.00

HSD15-1701 – Lightning Division Tank Detachment – £63.00
HSD15-1702 – Lightning Division Infantry Detachment – £34.00

“Things don’t appear to be working at the moment. Please try again later.”

Our website shopping cart system, which has been working fine for ages (since the last time a bunch of changes by PayPal broke it) has started playing up again. I’d been wondering why we’d had a very quiet (ie dead) weekend for orders, until a prospective customer very kindly let us know what had been happening. It appears that you can place one item in the shopping cart and everything is fine, but if you try to place any more in it then this rather helpful error message appears:

I’m guessing that once again PayPal have made some changes to their system, and hopefully (as they have in the past) the problems will suddenly resolve themselves in a day or two. In the meantime, if you want to place an order with us, you can send me an email and I’ll get back to you with a PayPal invoice (hopefully they still work !) as soon as I can.

*UPDATE* 19/01/2018 – hopefully this is fixed and we’re back to normal…

Show Business 2018

If you’re looking for this week’s new releases, they have been delayed by an unforeseen lack of Army Painter dip to finish off the painting … although I immediately ordered a new tin, it only arrived this morning so it’ll be a day or two before everything has dried and can be varnished. Come back Tuesday, they should be ready by then…

I’ve recently updated our list of shows for 2018 on the website; we’re attending the same ones as last year, with one exception, although we’re always on the lookout for new events to get to.

  • February 11th – ROBIN, Nottingham
  • February 25th – Cavalier, Tonbridge
  • April 14th – Salute, London
  • June 10th – Broadside
  • July 15th (date TBC) – The Joy of Six
  • Sept 2nd – Hereward
  • Oct 21st – SELWG
  • Nov 3rd (date TBC) – Crisis

The exception this year is that for family reasons we won’t be at Colours in Newbury; it falls on a significant birthday which I wouldn’t want to miss. I’m hoping that by letting the organisers know this far in advance, I can miss just this one and be back in 2019.

Victoria and Albert

So here we are, starting as we mean to go on with the first releases of 2018.

As promised, the British are the latest Aeronef fleet to start receiving upgrades (this was supposed to happen last year but the arrival of the Slammers Regiment delayed things a little). The first of the old models to be replaced is the Victoria class Heavy Battleship with its three large triple gun turrets and pair of carried E-8 torpedo boats. In keeping with our other new Aeronef, the new model has a resin hull and separate metal fittings including turrets, masts and funnels.

Accompanying the Victoria is the all-new Albert class Battleship, which shares a basic hull plan but exchanges the torpedo boats for an extra main turret. Phil had always planned to make this model when we released the original Victoria, and his grand design is now finally a reality.

The Victoria’s E-8 torpedo boats are now available separately in sets of three for £1.50. They have also been redesigned to the same standard as their parent craft.

And while we were at it, it made sense to redesign the other two British small craft since they can all share a mould. So the Stingray torpedo nef and Abingdon patrol nef have had a makeover too – both are also now sold in threes, although the price per model (£0.50) remains the same as before.

We’ve created a new fleet pack, the imaginatively-named British Fleet Pack #4 which contains a Victoria, an Albert and six escort vessels. And finally for this week, the British Torpedo Flotilla has been slightly changed – it now contains three Stingrays, three E-8s and a Cossack frigate as flotilla leader plus bases.

VANFP-106 – British Fleet Pack #4 – £22.00
VANFP-112 – British Torpedo Flotilla – £4.50

VAN-110 – Stingray class Torpedo Nef (x3) – £1.50
VAN-113 – Abingdon class Patrol Nef (x3) – £1.50
VAN-117 – Victoria class Heavy Battleship – £9.00
VAN-120 – Albert class Dreadnought – £9.00
VAN-121 – E-8 class Torpedo Nef (x3) – £1.50

This is only the start of the British Grand Fleet’s revamp – the other battleship and battlecruiser models are in the pipeline for the next couple of months, as is the Albion carrier, and there’s another brand new model to go along with them. Once they’re all been upgraded then we’ll move on to reorganising the contents of the various fleet packs.

A Belated Happy New Year!

Only four days late…

I returned to the workshop on Tuesday to tackle the medium-sized pile of orders that had built up over the Christmas holiday week. Fortunately it wasn’t too bad this year, following my last minute blitz to clear out the sale orders before I finished work (late) on the 22nd of December.

Although it’s a short 4-day week, we’re returning to normal with a new release planned for tomorrow. The moulds are all ready to go, but I need to get a move on to paint some sample models ready for photography – if this takes longer then the release might be delayed until the start of next week.

In the meantime, here’s a useful pair of somethings for the Imperial Skies players out there. One of the items in the kickstarter was a set of very useful laser cut counters, some for marking altitude and others for keeping track of command points. These sold out completely and there were no spare sets at all (I don’t even have a set of my own!).

We’ve recently had some new counters made so that anyone who missed out on the first offering can have their own sets. The originals were made from a special laminated two-colour plastic which was rather expensive so we haven’t used it again, instead these new versions are made from normal opaque acrylic, albeit in the same colours.

Set one consists of twenty altitude markers, ten HIGH and ten LOW, in red and black. The second set has twenty circular command point counters in blue. The counters are surface etched – this etching can quite easily be coloured using acrylic paint pens if you wish, and I’ll be writing an article on how to do this quite soon.

ISK-012 – Altitude Markers (x20) – £4.50
ISK-013 – Command Counters (x20) – £4.50

Last Update

We’ll, that’s it for 2017. I’m now off until January 2nd, so while the website will remain open for business, no orders will be processed until I return.

In a rather unexpected turn of events, I did in the end manage to clear every outstanding order (except for one, but that was down to a resin mould failing at just the wrong moment), including one that came in this afternoon. The metal delivery arrived in the nick of time this morning, which was a relief. There were several very large orders which were all for similar items (6mm Slammers and opposition) which I was able to do as one very big batch, saving a lot of time. And I was also very lucky that most of the post-sale orders have been straightforward, either things that were quick and easy to cast or that I already had in stock. Which is great, as it means that 2018 will start with a clean slate rather than a 2017 sale hangover as previous years often have.

The orders won’t be posted until after Christmas – there’s no point, as nothing will be delivered over the holiday so all they’d do is sit in a Royal Mail depot for several days. I’ll shift them all during next week.

Finally, while waiting for the metal delivery this morning I made some resin moulds for some of next year’s early releases. This is what went into them…

Merry Christmas!

More Than I Can Handle

The sale usually ends quietly, with the odd last day order, but most people generally get their orders sent in plenty of time.

Not this year.

I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and process the flurry (torrent!) of orders that arrived at the end of the sale. And I’m stuffed. With three days left until the Christmas holiday starts, I have (at a conservative estimate) four days work minimum to clear the remaining orders. If I work three 10-hour days at the workshop, everything goes to plan and I work at optimum pace, I might get the current order queue done by Friday. Of course, that assumes that our metal resupply appears very soon (I’ve burned through as much metal in the last four weeks as we’d usually use in almost three months, which is why I’ve been a bit caught out) – as mentioned yesterday, my current stocks will run out sometime Thursday.

This might seem like a bit of a ‘woe is me’ whinge, but there is an important message trying to get out, which is that any orders placed between now and Jan 1st will not be processed until the New Year. I have the full week off between Christmas and the New Year, so won’t be returning until Jan 2nd.

I will try to contact anyone whose orders are delayed on Friday, once I know where we are.

That’s All For Now, Folks!

So the Christmas sale is all over for another year; I pulled the plug at 7am on Monday, allowing a small flurry of last minute orders to sneak under the line earlier that morning.

Assuming all goes to plan, I should just about get all sale orders shipped by the end of this week, although I will be hard pushed to get to any others that arrive between now and Friday. Everything up to December 11th has already gone (apart from one which is waiting on a restock of etched brass parts) and there’s another pile of parcels which I’ll take to the post office later this morning. The one possible fly in the ointment is that I’m obviously burning through metal supplies much faster than usual, and although I ordered more last week, I don’t know when that will arrive – if it doesn’t get here by Thursday then I will run out, and production will simply have to stop until it does turn up.

Thoughts are already turning to the start of next year and the first 2018 releases. Unusually, we’re ahead of the game as far as new models go; we have everything planned from now until March, design work is all finished and we have most of the masters in hand. One of the early releases will be a batch of 15mm Slammers models, filling in a few gaps and increasing the options available to both Hammer’s regiment and other forces. Below you can see a couple of new variants of the standard M9 combat car; on the left is the M9A14 crew car used by the Lightning Division, which is essentially a modified command car with a pair of gatling turrets on the roof.

On the right is the M9A10 cargo car, an open backed flatbed GEV transport. Some units use a variant (the M9A16) fitted with a calliope turret mounting eight 2cm powerguns for air defence – we’ll release this at the same time, I just didn’t have a photo of one assembled. This photo was taken just before the masters went into a mould, so I might be able to sneak out a couple of castings by the end of the week.