For Queen and Country.

You can’t have missed the recent previews for the new build British 15mm vehicles – my brief painting guide gathered an awful lot of hits. Now the production moulds are ready, we’ve added them to the website and they’re available for purchase.

British Release

There’s also the option of a turret bunker with the Apollo turret to defend Her Majesty’s territories.

SF15-101 – Apollo Hover Tank – £8.00
SF15-103 – Artemis MICV – £8.00
B15-1002a – British Turret Bunker – £9.00

Big Beasts

Had a bit of fun yesterday (in between assembling another batch of thirty vehicle crew…), putting together some more new 15mm vehicle castings. The German Woden family weren’t part of our old range – I always intended them to be but never quite got round to making the masters. However, as the remodelled range grows bigger and bigger I’ve taken the chance to upscale some of my favourite 6mm models. These three tanks are pretty big beasts and would dominate any battlefield. We’re looking at a release in the next month or so.

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Fire Broadside !

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Our next event is our ‘home’ show, Milton Hundred’s Broadside in Sittingbourne, in just under two week’s time. We’re gradually filling the gaps in our levels of stock after a couple of busy months of mail order sales and we’re hoping to have plenty of stock of everything. However, if there’s anything that you really want to make sure of getting hold of, especially from our recent releases, you have a couple of options. You can either email us with list of requirements and pay on the day (10% off if your order is £50 or over), or you can use the ‘Collect in Person’ shipping option and place the order and pay on our website.

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The Definition of Tedium

If you’ve been looking closely at some of our new vehicle previews and releases, you might have spotted that a few of them have crew figures in. All of our vehicles have been designed with separate hatches in anticipation of the day when we released our own crew figures. That day is coming ever closer – we’re looking at a release in a few weeks’ time.

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The figures were commissioned as separate heads and bodies – five different torsos and three types of head gear. We cast these pieces, and then the heads need to be attached to the necks of the torsos to make the complete figures. Sounds simple, except there are three moulds (one per head gear type) and thirty figures in a mould – a total of ninety figures to be assembled. So one-hundred and eighty parts to be inspected, mould lines cleaned up, holes drilled in necks, heads glued in, and green stuff putty to fill any gaps. I’m doing them in batches of thirty, one mould at a time, I’m not sure I have the patience to do all ninety at once !

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We’re currently aiming for a mid-June release, assuming I haven’t tired of gluing little heads on little necks by then !

Behind the Mask

With the arrival of the new 15mm British vehicles, I needed to paint some ready for release (next week, in case you were wondering). I thought I’d try out a technique I’d read about (notably on the Hammer’s Slammers site) but had yet to give a go to. This involves using Blu-tack (other brands of ‘reusable putty-like pressure-sensitive adhesive’ are available) to mask off camouflage patterns for spraying.

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I started by assembling two Apollo tanks and two Artemis APCs and undercoating with Halford’s grey automotive primer. After this had dried (about an hour in the sun) the vehicles were then base-coated with Plastic Soldier’s ‘Russian Uniform’ from a spray can and left to dry. It was a reasonably warm day so the paint was touch dry within five minutes and pretty well set in an hour.

I then set to work with the Blu-tack – just a simple diagonal stripe pattern was what I was after, nothing fancy for my first attempt. I found (after the first couple of vehicles) that the best way was to roll out a sausage of Blu-tack and then flatten it with a thumb to make an irregular shape. I was working outdoors on a glass-top table on a warm day, so the Blu-tack was nice and soft and the glass table was perfect for rolling/flattening it out. I did the vehicles in one piece, with the turrets on. I made sure to push the Blu-tack down into the corners between turret and hull, and wrapped small pieces of Blu-tack right around the gun barrels so they were masked properly.

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Then it was indoors to the airbrush. I sprayed the exposed parts of the models with Vallejo Model Air Black-Green, making sure I hadn’t missed anything (under the bottom of the gun barrels is a favourite spot to miss). At this point things aren’t looking all that promising, but bear with me …

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I peeled the Blu-tack off straightaway, as soon as the paint was touch-dry (which was almost immediately – I was unmasking the first vehicle as soon as I finished spraying the last one). If you leave it any longer you run the risk, however slight, of the paint cracking as the mask is removed. Et voila – two-tone camouflaged tanks. The effect was that of a soft-edge mask, different from using something like masking tape, and I think very effective, much different from what you’d get with a paintbrush.

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The models were then highlighted and detailed using a mix of Tamiya and Citadel paints before getting a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone shade applied with a brush (I don’t hold with the idea of dunking your models in the tin !). This is another process that has you saying to yourself ‘what have I done …’ as the models look terrible with the thick, gunky high-gloss finish …

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… but a coat of Flat Varnish later and all is fine. Incidentally, I don’t know about anyone else but I find that the Army Painter ‘Anti-Shine’ varnish doesn’t agree with their dip at all on large items such as vehicles. I almost wept when the finish on a batch of Ainsty Blower Tanks crazed as soon as the AP varnish hit the dip. Oddly enough it works OK on figures, it just doesn’t like large flat surfaces. This wasn’t a one-off occurrence that I would put down to temperature/humidity/atmospherics, it’s happened every time I ‘ve tried it. So be warned. Instead I use Tamiya XF-86 Flat Clear, slightly diluted (only about 10%) and blown through my airbrush. The AP dip provides a really tough protective coat so the surface only needs to be dulled down.

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I suppose you could recycle the Blu-tack and use it again but it’s gunky and covered in paint, so I didn’t bother. I bought my Blu-tack in a 99p shop and used about half a pack for four vehicles, so I think 12p per model is a price worth paying. I’ll definitely be using this technique again.

New EuroFed Vehicles

Back in October we previewed a number of new 15mm EuroFed vehicles; most of these have now been released, although a couple have been stuck in development for a little while. Today we’re releasing three more of them, the EuroFed Tassigny command and AA vehicles and the Juin AA tank. All three were held up by the unavailability of the mould for the radars, but now that’s online we’re also adding the radars themselves to the 15mm accessories range for scratchbuilders and converters. The Juin quad AA turret is also a further option for the EuroFed Turret Bunker.

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We’ve also taken the opportunity to add more items to the accessories range – these are the rectangular and round hatches which are supplied with most vehicles, but should be of help to scratchbuilders.

SF15-401c – Juin AA Tank – £8.00
SF15-403c – Tassigny Command Vehicle – £8.00
SF15-403d – Tassigny AA Vehicle – £8.00
SF15-907 – Radars and aerials (four of each) – £2.50
SF15-908 – Round hatches (x12) – £1.25
SF15-909 – Rectangular hatches (x12) – £1.25
B15-1002d – EuroFed Turret Bunker – £9.00

New 15mm Previews

The sun is shining again, so I’m out in the palatial gardens here at Brigade Towers doing some more resin casting. I’m trying out some new moulds and today we’re previewing an upcoming release from these. You’ve already seen the Artemis APC (we previewed it in the run-up to Salute, and we even had a few pre-release samples for sale on the day), but we’ve only shown the Apollo hover tank as a digital image before now. The design is based upon our original 15mm model (which in turn was itself based on the 6mm model), but this new version is quite a bit bigger (76mm long) with much improved detailing.

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The models are due for release in a couple of weeks time – we just need to finish off the production moulds and paint up some sample models.

Power-packed

Today’s new release comes in the form of a 4-chimney late C.19th power station. The design is based on that of the Lots Road power station in Chelsea, although we’ve reduced the dimensions a bit to make it a more manageable size (for a 2mm building, it’s still pretty impressive). The main building is resin, with metal chimneys and a collection of sheds and workshops plus barges, cranes and a tug-boat to keep the station supplied with coal.

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Have fun painting it, there are 300 or so windows …

SSS-8030 – Power Station – £7.50

As a rather sad footnote, I regretfully have to report that a snail was harmed during the creation of these photos … I inadvertently trod on one while taking these outside on the deck. The noise of a cracking snail shell is one of most ‘ick’ sounds around … 🙁

Eastern Promise

After some delay (caused entirely by my inability to get a sample set painted) we can, with much fanfare, finally announce the availability of the first of our 15mm Neo-Soviets.

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We have the Bizon MBT with two turret options, Kunitsa APC and mortar carrier and the Laska tankette up on the website now. All vehicles can choose from three support turret options (tri-barrel gatling, twin missile or sensor turret). The Bizon also has the option of side-skirts (available separately) and there is also a pack of fuel tanks and stowage boxes. The support turrets (gatling, missile and sensor) are available in add-on packs for customising these and other vehicles.

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SF15-1201 – Bizon MBT – £8.50
SF15-1201a – Bizon Support Tank – £8.50
SF15-1201b – Bizon Side-skirts – £1.50
SF15-1203 – Kunitsa APC – £8.00
SF15-1203a – Kunitsa Mortar Carrier – £8.00
SF15-1209 – Laska Tankette – £4.00
SF15-1250 – Fuel tanks and stowage boxes (x3) – £1.25
SF15-1251 – Gatling support turrets (x3) – £1.50
SF15-1252 – Missile support turrets (x3) – £1.50
SF15-1253 – Sensor turrets (x3) – £1.50
SF15-1002l – Neo-Soviet Turret Bunker – £9.00

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