Status Update #2 – Back to the Grindstone

So the holiday is over, and it’s back to the workshop full-time. Although several visits were made to the workshop in an effort to keep things under control, the backlog of orders is still pretty substantial. There is also a pair of stock orders for two of our US stockists, Pico Armor and Scale Creep, so it’s safe to say that we’ll be kept busy…

At a rough guess we think we can clear all orders to the end of last Friday (July 3rd) by the end of this coming week, but any that arrived this weekend or later are probably going to run over to the following week. Until we can clear everything, there’s going to be a delay of 7-10 days in shipping out any new orders.

Because of this we’ve obviously had no new releases – which is a shame as we have some good ones lined up. We still have a large batch of 15mm models (something like 17 vehicles and guns) which were originally intended for Salute, but remain unreleased since we haven’t had time to generate any initial stock.

Off to the grindstone…

Status Update – Things Are a Bit Slow…

Just time for a quick Sunday night update…

My holiday seems unfortunately to have coincided with a spike in orders which means that things are a bit slow at the moment. Turn round time on orders is currently in the order of 10-14 days – hopefully we’ll get this cleared and everything back to normal in the next week or two once I return to the workshop full-time.

As we don’t hold much ready stock, most of the time we cast to order, and process orders on a strict ‘first-in, first-out’ basis. However, when we get a backlog of orders like this we switch to a slightly different method of handling them. Instead of working in date order, we group orders by type so that we’re working on similar orders – ie, we’ll deal with all the spaceship orders, then the Aeronef orders etc. Although this is slightly less fair (some orders will end up being turned round in two days, others in two weeks) it is more efficient overall so we get things cleared more quickly.

Small Scale Arnhem

Continuing our mini-series of blog posts featuring other people’s use of our Small Scale Scenery range, this week we’re very pleased to be able to show Charles Rowntree’s superb Arnhem scenery.

Holiday Time – Not

Today I shouldn’t be here – The Brigadieress and I should be on a plane to France, or Spain, so somewhere else warm. But, like everyone else, we’re not. However, although we can’t go anywhere, I’m still going to have a few days off over the next fortnight – the weather forecast is decent so we’ll have a barbecue in the garden or take the dog to the beach (and I have a feeling that I’m also being lined up for some decorating or DiY work).

The upshot is that for the next fortnight, although I will still be processing orders, it will be at a slower rate and there will be a longer turnaround than usual. I will also be a bit slower at responding to messages and enquiries too.

Road to Recovery

Today we have a couple of very useful 15mm accessory packs. The first is a conversion kit for creating engineering or recovery vehicles, consisting of a crane and a dozer blade (which can be one of three types). It also has a converter so that it will fit either of our standard turret ring sizes. We’ve made up several example vehicles showing what can be done with the pack.

The other pack contains one each of the three dozer blades.

We also sell a pack of two smaller cranes (from the Hammer’s Slammers E8 recovery vehicle). These have non-standard turret rings, so the pack now includes converter rings so that they will fit our standard small turret rings, and plates so that they can be fitted to a flat surface such as a truck bed.

SF15-932 – Small Cranes (x2) – £3.00
SF15-938 – Engineering Vehicle Conversion kit – £3.00
SF15-939 – Dozer Blades (x3) – £3.00

D-Day!

OK, so we’re a few days late …

Ian Maun has shown us some pictures of his 2mm D-Day diorama, and kindly allowed us to put the pictures on our blog. The following are Ian’s words on its construction:

The beach is sandpaper and the cliffs are layered cardboard and modelling clay, dry-brushed, with Woodlands Scenics grass-mats and trees.

The view is from the north, so the beach to the left is the eastern beach, and the beach to the right is the western. The eastern beach is still under bombardment from HMS Warspite (the Eagle model), HMS Roberts (Navis) and a Landing Ship Tank (Rocket). Following Salerno, Warspite’s ‘X’ turret is still out of action. No troops have yet landed. Shells are exploding and there are shell craters on the beach and in the fields. The town hotel is burning. The town buildings are a mixture of Langton and Brigade models.

The central beach is the main focus of action with troops and armour landing. The troops are Irregular Miniatures 2mm, as are most of the armour and other vehicles. The LCAs are mainly by Shapeways, and the LCTs are Irregular Miniatures and some unknown makes. Their blue and white camouflage has had black added to it sharpen the contrast. The beach defences include posts, Y-shaped defences with a Teller mine and ‘Czech defences’, six-sided Xs made from steel girders, or, in this case, Plastruct rod! The beach is covered in barbed wire (made from coiled 5amp fusewire), behind which are machine gunners
The Pointe du Hoc is under attack from American Rangers from the east, with landing craft and a rocket- firing LCA. The troops have ropes going up the cliffs, and have secured the nearer part of the Pointe, despite the barbed wire defences. Although I’ve copied the layout of the guns on the cliffs, I’ve not taken away the guns themselves, unlike the Germans! The village is made from Brigade models, and the gliders are Irregular Miniatures. The battery in the middle is a mixture of makes. German tanks can be seen on the road. There are many German troops in the field. Field Grey paint camouflaged them too well, so that has been lightened.

On the western beach, armour is coming ashore and troops are making their way to the narrow ‘draw’ on the right.

At sea is the second wave of the invasion, with a large number of LCIs, as well as other landing craft and landing ships, laden with troops and armour. Troop transports are standing off.

Escorts of the Rising Sun

This week our Aeronef redesign program sees new versions of several Japanese vessels, plus the addition of two new models. The Mikasa patrol nef, Nagatsaki destroyer and Akitsushima heavy cruiser models have all been replaced by new designs.

In addition we have two new models, the Atago class torpedo cruiser and Shirataka class torpedo destroyer. These carry the larger long range aerial torpedoes unique to the Japanese fleet.

These models replace the older ones in fleet packs, and there’s also a new Heavy Torpedo flotilla pack available with two Atagos and four Shirataka plus flying stands.

VAN-601 – Mikasa class Patrol nef – £1.00
VAN-606 – Nagatsaki class Destroyer – £2.00
VAN-616 – Akitsushima class Heavy Cruiser – £4.00
VAN-619 – Atago class Torpedo Cruiser – £3.25
VAN-620 – Shirataka class Torpedo Destroyer – £2.00

VANFP-615 – Japanese Heavy Torpedo Squadron – £14.00

German Transfer

You can file this in the ‘why didn’t I think of it before’ category.

The background for the recently released Turkish Sultan Selim battlecruiser mentioned its German roots, and how the Turks converted it and then built more of the same design.

So what if we go back to the original Teutonic battlecruiser, replace the round turrets with more Germanic square ones ? Hey presto, we get the SMS Goeben (which is the name of one of the real Moltke class battlecruisers that the Germans transferred to the Ottoman Empire in August 1914). It’s exactly the same model as the Sultan Selim, just with German turrets instead (the turret pins on the round turrets are slightly larger so you’ll need a steady hand to centre the German turrets on the rings, and the rearmost turret is a very tight squeeze against the superstructure).

VAN-328 – Goeben class Battlecruiser – £7.00

And then there were none…

Sadly, but inevitably, our show calendar for 2020 has been completely wiped out. The last scheduled event, Colours at Newbury racecourse in September, has (quite understandably) been called off by the organisers. At this point we might as well cancel the rest of 2020 and pretend it never happened.

So we’ll see you in 2021…

Postage Increase to USA – Advanced Warning

The Royal Mail have recently given notice of an increase in their prices to the USA; it’s a result of the decision by the US Postal Service to increase the prices they charge other postal services to deliver overseas mail within the US (it’s known as the ‘last mile’ delivery). The result is that Royal Mail prices to the USA are increasing by about 50% starting on July 1st – as examples, the cost of a 500g parcel (probably the most common size we send) is going up from £9.81 to £14.88, while a 2kg package goes from £18.97 to £29.41. You can read more about it on the Royal Mail website if you wish.

As much as we’d like to, we can’t afford to absorb this, so we’re going to have to create a special shipping category for orders to the USA. Where previously US orders would pay £4.30 + 14% of order value, this will now go to £4.30 + 20% of order value. We’ll probably introduce this a couple of days beforehand, because there’s always a lag between orders being placed and when we get to send them.

We may start using couriers more often, for parcels in the 1.5kg – 2kg range it could be cheaper to use Fedex or UPS.

Please note that this only affects orders from the USA; prices to the UK, Europe and the rest of the world are unaffected.