ROBIN of Nottingham

Our first show of the year is coming up fast – ROBIN, held at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, is on Sunday 11th of February.

Hopefully this year will be a little warmer, as the heating failed last time ! As always, we are taking pre-orders for any of our ranges – you can either place an order and pay in advance using the collect in person option on the website, or just drop us an email with a list and pay on the day. Pre-orders need to be with us by Tuesday next week at the latest (Feb 6th) in order for us to have a chance of getting them ready.

Building a Harbour

Two new Small Scale Scenery items have arrived on the website allowing you to make a more extensive harbour layout. The first is a pack of four resin Jetties, two plain and two with buildings moulded on. The pieces are 5mm thick and have detailing all the way round so that they can be used as jetties or piers projecting from land or as stand-alone islands.

The second item is aimed at scratchbuilders and is a set of metal harbour front pieces that match the detailing and height around the edge of the jetties. The height of 5mm means that you can use standard thickness foam card to make the body of the dock and then edge it with the metal harbour front pieces.

SSS-8104 – Jetties (x4) – £8.00
SSS-8105 – Harbour Fronts – £4.00

Architectural Assortment

We’re moving down the scales from 15mm to 6mm SF for this week’s new release. We have a real assortment of 6mm buildings, one in each of four of the different styles that we currently make.

In the Desert Buildings range we have a medium-sized tower with three segments and roof-top aerials.

The Advanced Buildings range gets a new Industrial/Commercial unit, which is the first new model in this range since their initial release almost four years ago.

The Research Base gets the Large Garage unit that came out in 15mm last year.

And finally, the Moonbase gets a second structure, a landing pad.

We’ve had a bit of a reorganisation of the contents of our range of 6mm building packs to take account of these and other recent releases, and also try to normalise the prices of the packs which makes life easier at shows. There are one or two new packs as well – we’ve listed all of these below. You’ll also find that we’ve changed the prices of some existing buildings – down as well as up – although I haven’t attempted to list all of the changes here.

B300-110 – Medium Tower – £3.00
B300-210 – Industrial Unit – £3.00
B300-506 – Large Garage – £1.75
B300-602 – Landing Pad – £2.50

BP300-101 – Desert Dwellings Pack – £15.00
BP300-102 – Desert Town Buildings Pack – £15.00
BP300-103 – VTOL Airfield – £15.00
BP300-104 – Large Desert Dwellings – £15.00
BP300-105 – Desert Towers Pack – £17.50
BP300-106 – Desert Industrial Zone – £15.00
BP300-107 – Desert Walled Compounds – £15.00

BP300-201 – Advanced Buildings- £15.00
BP300-301 – Colony Bases- £5.00
BP300-401 – Desert Domes Pack #1 – £15.00
BP300-402 – Desert Domes Pack #2 – £15.00
BP300-501 – Research Base Set – £15.00
BP300-601 – Moonbase Set – £17.50

Getting Inked

When we recently released the new counter sets for Imperial Skies, I mentioned that I’d post about a simple method for colouring in the etched markings on those and the turn rulers. This technique was passed on to me by James at Beadspoke Designs, who do the acrylic cutting for us – I take no credit for it.

What I’ll do is take you through the marking of a turn ruler step-by-step. You’ll need the following items: your turn ruler, a POSCA acrylic paint pen (or similar) and (wait for it) a wooden clothes peg. POSCA pens can be bought in the UK in hobbycraft and other art shops, although mine came from eBay (I bought several sizes as I wasn’t sure what I would need). They aren’t expensive – I bought four for a tenner or so. You can choose your colour – I went for white on an orange set of rulers, but yellow would work just as well. Make sure you have a work surface that doesn’t matter if you get some paint on it – the pens can spatter splightly.

Peel off the backing sheet from the turn ruler (if it’s still on there) and then make sure it has no traces of finger grease or other contaminants. I gave it a quick clean with a kitchen wet-wipe, then dried it on kitchen roll.

Once it’s dry, give the pen a thorough shake, then test it on some scrap paper or card to make sure the paint is flowing. Then carefully ink in the ruler ID letter, the numbers and the lines that mark each point of movement. The lines may take a bit more effort to fill in as they’re etched a bit deeper. You should find that the paint adheres well to the rougher surface of the etched areas. You don’t need to be super-neat, but ensure that the etched areas are fully covered in paint, even if you go over the edges a bit – we’ll tidy this up later.

Now leave this for a few minutes until the paint is touch dry. In the meantime, dismantle your clothes peg – a quick twist will separate the two halves, and the spring can go in the recycling.

Once the paint is dry, we get on to the clever bit. Using the end of one half of the clothes peg, carefully rub away any paint that has gone over the edges of the etched areas. The soft wood won’t mark the shiny surface of the plastic but will remove any overspill, and the paint should stay in the recessed areas. If you get this right, you should be left with a neat set of etched markings on your turn ruler. If it isn’t quite perfect, just repaint and repeat.

It’s not a long process – I did a full set of five turn rulers in an hour, which included taking the photos and writing this up !

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