White Lightning

One of the Hammer’s Slammers outfits that has benefited from our slew of releases over the last six months or so has been the Lightning Division. This unit started out equipped with tracked armour, but around 340TW they began the process of upgrading them with more advanced blower tanks. I’ve already painted up a pair of detachments of the latter, but with the release of the new Fauchard APC and Falchion light tank I wanted to add some of the older tracked elements.

I also fancied painting a different colour scheme to the blue/yellow/grey of the blowers. I had a simple snow camouflage in mind, white stripes over a grey base. The plan was to utilise Blu-tack masking, spraying the models grey first then masking off stripes with adhesive putty before spraying white. But when the day came, I couldn’t find any Blu-tack! Instead I had to improvise, and instead resorted to tearing up strips of sticky labels (just plain address labels taken from the printer). These had just enough tack to stick to the models for long enough to spray the white camouflage coat, and didn’t pull up any paint when I removed them. For an emergency measure, I was pretty pleased with the results in the end.

The rest of the painting was fairly straightforward – I picked out some of the stowage in brighter colours for a bit of contrast, painted the crew, guns and tracks, then I was just about there. The vehicles got there usual cost of Army Painter strong tone Quickshade, and were left to dry overnight (I sit them on greaseproof paper so they don’t stick) before varnishing with Tamiya Flat Clear. Unfortunately I was low on stocks of Lightning Division decals, so markings will have to wait a little while…

If anyone has read the December 2018 issue of Miniature Wargames magazine, you’ll see both of my Lightning Division forces – tracked and blower – in action. You can also read about how badly it went for most of them, and my legendary awful dice rolling…

Merry Christmas!

One final update before we shut down the centrifuge for the Christmas holiday. We’ve managed to clear almost all of the sale orders, which at one point didn’t look very likely, but a week of long days (and evenings) means that we won’t be returning after the new year to a pile of unfinished ones. Frustratingly, there were two we weren’t able to get shipped; one needs a couple of items from another manufacturer that we’ve run out of, while the other needs a 15mm building, the mould for which split at the most inconvenient time and we just haven’t been able to make a new one. We’ve also sorted out all post-sale orders that reached us by the end of last Friday (21st). All remaining UK-bound parcels were posted on Saturday, so with a bit of luck they might arrive on Christmas Eve. There are a few overseas ones left to send that will go to the post office on Monday, so while they’ll only sit there for a couple of days, at least they are in the system. I will be at the workshop Monday morning to try and clear a couple of orders that have arrived over the weekend, but even if I do they won’t get posted until later in the week.

Phil and I are now taking a break until the New Year; the website remains open for orders, but nothing will be processed until the melting pot gets powered up again on January 2nd. Have a great Christmas holiday everyone, we’ll be back in 2019 with lots of exciting new models.

That’s all – finally!

So the sale is over for another year – we’ve finally disabled the code, a bit later than planned (we’ve had a few extra orders today, obviously we’ll honour the sale discount on those). There were also some annoying issues with an update to the WordPress editor that stopped us posting this morning :-/

The response to the last few days of the sale was unexpected to say the least – the value of the orders placed between Friday and Sunday was more than we took in the whole of October ! This means that we may have difficulty clearing the entire queue before we break for Christmas. We will do our best, but some of the orders that arrived towards the back end of Sunday may not quite make it out until the New Year. We’ll keep you all updated…

Spanish Skies

The sale is sailing serenely on – this morning I took another big batch of parcels to the post office, we’ve now shipped all orders up to and including December 8th (apart from the last one to arrive that day – no particular reason, I just ran out of time yesterday !). However, there was a big burst of orders on Sunday, prompted no doubt by the fast-approaching end of the sale next weekend, so that will slow me down a bit.

In the meantime, I’ve spent the odd hour or two working on further new releases – more Aeronef, following on from last week’s British smaller vessels. This time I have a pair of larger vessels – the first is a new version of the Chilean battleship Santiago. The old model (out of production for some time) was notable for it’s two huge quad gun turrets, so I’ve kept that aspect of the design, although it’s also been given two smaller light gun turrets.

The second new vessel is a Spanish fighter carrier. One of the aspects of the Spanish capital ships that I really like is the raised front-to-back walkway on both vessels, so I’ve taken this and enlarged it to make a narrow flight deck. Below this at main deck level is an aircraft handling area with an anti-aircraft turret at each corner. The fighter models on deck are British Fitton Scouts which I used for sizing purposes. It remains to be seen if the Spanish get their own aircraft design…

Aeronef Previews

First off, the latest sale update … we’ve shipped all but three orders from November, so I’m currently about four days behind – which isn’t too bad, it means I’m at least keeping up and not slipping any further. I’m hoping that we can repeat last year’s achievement of clearing everything before the Christmas holiday starts.

In between stints at the workshop I’ve been doing a little bit of design work. One of our goals for next year is to start replacing all of the cruisers and escorts for the major powers now that we’ve finished the capital ships (well nearly – the USA will get their new models first thing in January). We’ll start with the British, with the aim of having those ready for release at Salute in April. There are seven models to be replaced, and we’re also hoping to squeeze in a couple of new designs as well.

As you can see, I’ve based these new ones on the existing designs but with the addition of separate turrets on the larger vessels (which then gives us the option of offering an AA version of the Arethusa by swapping out the gun turrets for AA ones). And they’ll generally just be slightly better overall with more details and little touches like windows that are inset rather than proud of the surface.

Exeter heavy cruiser

Arethusa destroyer

Frigates (l-r) Steadfast, Cossack, Osprey, Cygnet

Orion Light Cruiser