We have two new releases for you today in the spaceships range. The first is a re-mastered CDSU Shanzi (Mountain) class super-carrier. This replaces the old (very old, almost 20-years-old) master which was due an honourable retirement. The new model has a resin main hull with metal deck and other fittings. Compare the photo above of the new model with the old one below – we hope you’ll agree that this new version is a much improved sculpt, while still retaining the same overall design.
The second new model, the German Maas destroyer leader (seen escorting the Shanzi above), is a master that’s been kicking around for a while but which we’ve finally got into a mould. The Mass-class vessels are assigned one or two per flotilla to provide long-range firepower.
SFS-510 – Shanzi class Carrier – £9.00 SFS-331 – Mass class Destroyer Leader – £1.75
We seem to have had a bit of a glitch overnight – this blog, the forums and the website front page, which are all PHP-driven, were throwing an ‘Internal Server Error’. The rest of the website was unaffected, but without the main page it probably looked like the whole thing was fried. However, everything seems to be back to normal, so carry on as you were…
I’d already started painting an SAC force when John told me about his plans for the Sulewesi, so I ordered a few extra infantry, added the scout cars and created a force of three 10-element detachments.
I decided to kit the vehicles out with plenty of accessories – crew in open hatches, lots of stowage including external fuel tanks and pintel machine guns. I created a command Rhino using aerials and a spare radome from a PacFed AA tank.
After undercoating, the models were airbrushed using Tamiya paints – Deck Tan with Nato Green stripes. They were then drybrushed overall using one of the new Citadel dry paints, Terminatus Stone.
It was at this point that the project stalled for a month as other things (notably our Christmas sale) took higher priority. I picked from where I’d left off in January by painting the details – crew, stowage, weapons, lights and vision blocks. The very tedious task of painting the 70+ wheels of the 14 vehicles was left until last to avoid scuffing the paint. Lights were painted with a simple jewel technique, highlighting the bottom and adding a white dot to the top corner, followed by by an ink wash.
Once painted, the next process is the Army Painter Strong Tone dip. In preparation I stuck all of the vehicles to scraps of foam card using PVA. These were glued to the bottom of the hull to lift the wheels off the ground, ensuring that the dip wouldn’t pool at the bottom of the wheels and stick them to the board. Turrets were removed and put on greaseproof paper, again to ensure they didn’t stick. The dip was applied using a brush and given 24 hours+ to set.
The final step with the vehicles was to airbrush a clear flat coat over the high-gloss dip – again this was Tamiya, XF-86 Flat Clear. My experience with Army Painter’s own spray can varnish isn’t good, it seems to react with their own dip on large flat areas and crazes.
So there we have it – four tanks, two 6×6 heavy APCs, four smaller 4×4 APCs and four scout cars.
The infantry were individually based on coins – one eurocent coins for single figures, 2p coins for heavy weapons and 1p coins for the cavalry. You could always use equivalent washers (15, 25 and 20mm respectively) if you can’t get hold of the right size coins . I painted up enough of our resin bases for the whole force so they could move as teams, including some base types that haven’t been released yet (but will be soon).
After undercoating with Halfords’ primer, the figures were basecoated in Tamiya Buff – to save time I managed to get hold of a spray can and did the whole lot at one go. I then came up with a very simple colour scheme that consisted of just five other colours per figure
green for the shoulder and thigh pads, helmet and backpack
dark grey for the weapons
dark brown for the boots
a lighter brown for the bedding roll under the backpack
a dark flesh for the face and hands (I used two shades for different troops for variety)
Bases were painted Tamiya Matt Earth and drybrushed with Terminatus Stone. This was then followed by a coat of Army Painter and a matt clear top coat (from the Army Painter spray can this time, as it works OK on smaller areas such as figures – work that one out !), with the final touch of some GW flock. The resin fireteam bases were painted to match.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any ‘in progress’ shots of the infantry, so here’s are a finished fireteam:
The force saw action at the weekend – so look out for (a lot of) photos of the Sulewesis on the table soon.
We have four new 15mm vehicles available today, all tanks and on the lighter side.
Firstly, there are the last two of Kirk and Zac’s Mercenary Brigade vehicles, the Legion Missile System and Warlock Support Tank. The Legion is equipped with a heavy, 18-round support missile pod for heavy indirect firepower, while the Warlock has a smaller turret with twin powerguns and two 9-round anti-tank missile pods. Both are mounted on the versatile Shaman chassis. Both turrets can also be fitted to the Turret Bunker installation.
The German Baldur is a much lighter recce tank with an asymmetric turret carrying an autocannon and 4 anti-tank missiles. A dedicated tank-hunter variant carries a second missile pod in place of the autocannon.
Platoon Packs are also available for the Legion, Warlock and Baldur tank. These have three tanks plus crew and accessories, all for less than the cost of the three individual tanks.
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…
Towards the end of last year, someone e-mailed asking us which of our building ranges, 6mm or 15mm, would be most suitable for 10mm figures. My answer was that, to be honest, neither were ideal, being too small and too large respectively. Then someone else asked pretty much the same question, and another, and another, all within a few days of each other. We suspect it might have been linked the release of a range of 10mm models by another company, who knows …
Anyway, we figured that there might be enough interest out there in making some 10mm versions of a few of our buildings. One of the beauties of 3D digital sculpting is the ease with which models can be resized. It’s not as simple as you might think- there’s more to it than just making models bigger or smaller – but it’s a darn sight simpler than it would be with hand-sculpted masters. To cut a meandering long story short, over the past couple of months I’ve taken a dozen of our Desert SF buildings, resized them to 10mm and moulded them. And today is the day that the first batch hit the website for release.
Initially we have six codes, it would have been more but the stresses of getting all of the sale orders out hit my mould production schedule quite hard. More will follow in the near future.
Something new to get us rolling in the New Year is the Strike Legion Tactical Rules Compendium. This is an amalgamation and update of the existing Strike Legion rulebook plus the first three supplements, The Genome Gambit, Clockwork Armies and Skunk Works. It includes new features and updated rules mechanics, all in one softback volume.
We’re out of stock of the original Strike Legion rulebook as this has been replaced by the Compendium. Our remaining stocks of the other supplements have been discounted to clear them out, so if you have the original book then this is a last chance to pick up the add-ons at a bargain price.
After an extended Xmas and New Year break, we’re back to what passes for normal service here at Brigade Towers. The sale ended with a flood of orders with lots of people taking advantage of the discount, so at the moment our main focus is getting these filled and in the post. I did a long day in the workshop yesterday casting metal parts and will do the same tomorrow, while today was spent casting resin (frustratingly, I ran out of resin with four pieces to go, so they will have to wait for new supplies later in the week 🙁 ). Our plan is to have all of the orders filled and shipped by the end of this week, and we’re on track for that.
It does mean that our planned new release schedule will be put back slightly, we have moulds ready for a number of new items but at the moment we simply don’t have time to paint and photograph samples and get them on the website. But we can promise new items in 15mm, 2mm, spaceships and a new range in the first month of the year.
In the meantime, here’s a little teaser of a one of the new 2mm items, ACW aficionados ought to be able to identify it (there would have been more, but the impending lack of resin meant that I couldn’t get test castings out of a couple of other new moulds …).