We’ve just had back these pictures of some new 15mm tank crew that are being sculpted for us. There are five different torsos, with three different head variants (bone-dome helmet, beret and Soviet-style soft padded helmet). With a bit of judicious chopping and swapping we’ll have three different packs of crew.
All of our new 15mm vehicle models will have separate hatches, so there will be no excuse for not putting tank commanders in them, a perfect target for snipers !
Since I had the house to myself at the weekend I spent a large part of Saturday casting resin stock in preparation for Salute in April. Oh yes I know how to live.
In amongst the pile of moulds were a couple of as yet un-released 6mm scenic items. I’ve not finished all of the moulds for the models yet but I thought I’d offer them up for a quick preview.
More details (and better pictures) in a couple of weeks. Currently aiming for a release at Salute.
Well its not actually the first casting since it took a few spins to debug the mould. But its the first decent casting from the master mould of the new 15mm PacFed Minigwal fast attack vehicle.
I need to make a couple of production moulds before we release it but at the moment we’re scarily on target for a February release for the next two of the PacFed tanks.
This weekend we’re releasing more models in our remarkably popular 2mm buildings range. This time we have a pack of 16 sets of terraced houses; there are four different types with some minor variations.
VLI-8012 – 2mm Terraced Houses (x16) – £6.00
In addition, we have these:
No, not silver torpedoes ! They are in fact poplar trees. I’ve seem some excellent 2mm trees make from pipe cleaners (bump chenille) and round-headed drawing pins (check out the galleries in the 2mm Wargaming group on Facebook), but poplar trees are slightly tricker – but they look very distinctive in rural and farming areas.
VLI-8013 – 2mm Poplar Trees (x36) – £2.50
Just to show what can be done with them, I started by basing some on a short length (1″) of 1x4mm plastic strip. I drilled five 1mm holes with a pin vise and superglued the poplars in place (as you can see, they come on a variety of sizes – height and girth).
After a quick spray undercoat, I painted the trunks brown and the foliage dark green followed by a quick drybrush of a lighter colours. This brings out the texture and they already look pretty good, and would be perfectly usable in this state.
Then I coated them in PVA and dipped them in a dark flock – Woodland Scenics fine turf
Not bad for about 10 mins work (excluding drying time)
At the very end of our Twelve days of Christmas blog series, we previewed some early work-in-progress shots of the British Royal Navy spaceships. I’ve been working on these for the last 2-3 weeks, and the initial batch are pretty much finished and ready for prototyping now, so we thought we’d show you how they’ve developed.
Some of the detailing has altered (the engines in particular) and there’s more in the way of very small detail greeblies to come. The very large (light blue) turrets will be separate parts, the smaller mounts (green) will be cast as part of the hulls. Other than the battleship, all of the hulls will be one piece.
Churchill class Battleship
Inflexible class Battlecruiser
County class Heavy Cruiser and Town class Light Cruiser
Destroyer, Frigate and Corvette
There are still more models to be done – a dreadnought, carrier and fighters, plus maybe some other smaller craft.
Having written a rambling piece about the new unit bases for Celtos, I mentioned that we were already in the process of making resin cast bases, but neglected to show any pictures.
As you can see in the picture above, there are five types of base
- ten normal infantry figures on 25mm bases (this is the basic warband)
- ten infantry figures, one of which is on a large (40mm) base (warband with large hero leader)
- four 40mm bases (most cavalry or monsters on large bases)
- three 40mm bases (Fomorian Blood Reavers)
- plain base (for very large monsters, chariots etc)
The bases have been 3D modelled and printed so the slots for each base are precise and fit perfectly. In this next picture, the bases have been given a textured surface and then sprayed with primer – if we didn’t do this then the texture material would be pulled off by the mould.
The next task is making RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanising) rubber moulds for each base (multiple moulds of the more common bases). I make these three at a time, to avoid too much wastage of the rubber. The bases are lined up in mould formers (in this case, they are very cheap metal flan dishes from Asda !) ready to have the rubber poured over them. The scales and calculator are to work out the exact amount of rubber I need (it’s too expensive to mix too much and then throw it away), the calculations are scribbled somewhere on the newspaper !
Hopefully we should have some sample castings to show you soon.
We’ve been teasing for a few weeks, but at last we’ve put the first of the new PacFed 15mm vehicles on the website for purchase. The two initial models are the Cougar and Wombat.
SFS-701 Cougar Grav Tank – £9.50
SFS-703 Wombat APC – £8.00
The Ocelot light tank and Minigwal recce vehicle will follow soon – this is going to be a good year for 15mm SF.
Our new PacFed vehicles are designated as grav tanks, so when I assembled some I wanted them to be hovering just above the table – not flying, but not sat on the surface either. I spent a little while think about how I would achieve this, and came up with a solution using one of our normal flying stands.
The first thing I did was to find the balance point of each hull – to do this I used a hexagonal pencil and balanced the model on it. It’s quite a delicate operation, but you should be able to make the model balance. Note how far along the hull the pencil is in relation the model – this is the model’s centre of gravity, and where you want to mount the base. When you do this, make sure the turret is on the model (which I forgot to do :-() – the weight of the turret, especially a large metal turret like the Cougar’s, can shift the balance point significantly.
The grav skirts for each vehicle have holes in the middle, in which the resin hulls sit. This means that if you turn each vehicle over you can get at the bottom of the hull. I drilled a hole about 6-8mm deep into the resin using a 5mm bit. Be careful not to go too deep, you don’t want to come out the top of the hull ! The sheet of bubble wrap stops the model slipping and protects the paint job from scratching.
I then took a normal plastic flying stand (clear or black, the choice is yours) and cut the post down very short (about 6mm/¼”). I then fixed this into the hole in the hull using some gloopy superglue (you could use an epoxy like Araldite, a contact adhesive such as Evo-Stick or even a hot-glue gun – anything with a bit of substance, but not a runny superglue).
If you’ve got the balance point right then the model should sit happily on the base while the glue dries – if you wanted to be safe then you could support the model until it’s set. To make a super-stable model you could put one of our base-weights in the base, but I haven’t done so.
And that’s it – you now have PacFed tanks that hover about a quarter of an inch off the table with no visible means of support !
On Saturday, we tried out a game of Ambush Alley Games’ Tomorrow’s War rules in 15mm using our buildings and vehicles and GZG figures.
We tried two scenarios, a pilot rescue mission (from the rulebook) and a more ad-hoc meeting encounter between two forces mismatched in both size and technology level. With a large number of players (starting with seven then adding another later) we were lucky to have an umpire experienced with AAG’s Force-on-Force ruleset who helped the game flow smoothly.
The rules worked well, they modelled the differences between units with different levels of technology and ability well, and most importantly we had a lot of fun.
What was notable is that it was the first time I’d managed to get my Neu Celle 15mm buidings on a table, albeit in a 90% finished state, and it also marked the combat debuts of the PacFed Wombat APC and Neo-Soviet Laska tankette. It has to be said that the PacFed vehicle fared rather better than it’s Soviet counter-part, which was turned into pile of smoking wreckage by a three-man Power Armour team armed with a missile launcher and chain gun.
So when can you buy these models ? We’ve had them on the table, and you’ll be able to soon – the first two PacFed vehicles, the Cougar MBT and Wombat APC, will be available this coming weekend – we’ll announce it here, on our mailing list and on as many other lists and news-sites as we can find as soon as they’re ready.
UPDATE 17/01/2012 – there are more photos on the Maidstone Wargames Society website
The German vehicles we previewed the other day are the first of our new wave of 15mm items that will replace existing older models. One of the aims is to scale-up the 15mm range – the older models were made at 1/120th scale, but the newer ones are 1/100th scale, which seems to be the accepted scale for 15mm figures. I took the opportunity the other to take a couple of comparison photos of the old and new models next to each other to make it clear what this means.
Although the scale increase is only 20%, the effect is more dramatic when applied to all three dimensions – each model is almost 70% larger in total volume, and we’ve also extensively redesigned the models with much more detail and improved styling. Overall, we feel they look much, much better than the old designs – see (and tell us) what you think.