Thunderbolt Dragoons

Following the belated delivery of our new casting kit, we’re finally able to put the Thunderbolt Division’s Dragoon half-tracks back into production. The Thunderbolts appears in the Hammer’s Slammers story The Warrior (and get a bit of a pasting from Slick des Grieux !) and use two different types of half-track – the Viking recce vehicle, which we released earlier in the year, and the much larger Dragoon, which takes on the functions of tank, APC and support vehicle.

The Dragoon has an unusual configuration of twin pairs of front wheels and two independant small track units either side for low ground pressure and maximum manoeuvrability. There are five turret variants with gun turrets, calliopes and missile launchers. We’ve remastered all of the turrets from the original 3D files, and remoulded the hull from the original master.

We’re also able to offer five different army packs from the Thunderbolt Division detachment list which can be found on the official Hammer’s Slammers website.

We’ll have stocks of the Dragoon and Viking at SELWG on Sunday – see you then !

HS15-1811 – Br59 Dragoon 2 T/ICV – £8.00
HS15-1812 – Br66 Tank Destroyer – £8.00
HS15-1813 – Br58SM Schlepper – £8.00
HS15-1814 – Br54/56 Dragoon 2 M/ICV – £8.00
HS15-1815 – Br57 Calliope – £8.00

HSD15-1801 – Thunderbolt Panzer Grenadier Detachment – £50.00
HSD15-1802 – Thunderbolt Panzer Detachment – £57.50
HSD15-1803 – Thunderbolt Support Detachment – £63.50
HSD15-1804 – Thunderbolt Infantry Detachment – £43.00
HSD15-1805 – Thunderbolt Recce Detachment – £44.50

HSDEC-181 – Thunderbolt Division Sheet 1 – £4.00
HSDEC-182 – Thunderbolt Division Sheet 2 – £4.00

6mm Crucible Detachments

Something we’ve been wanting to do for a little while is expand on our range of pre-made 6mm detachment packs for the Crucible, as we have with the 15mm Hammer’s Slammers range. This week we received some new backing cards for our blisters and I’ve been able to put together a number of detachment packs in time for the show this weekend.

These packs are a great way to get into the game, costing around £5-£12 each for a full detachment that matches the appropriate detachment sheet from the Crucible website.

We’ve revamped some of the old packs that didn’t match the detachment lists, so all of the ones for the Slammers regiment have been replaced by new ones with the correct contents. And of course as soon as I get time, we’ll add all of these to the website.

United We Stand

Another (yes, another !) new 15mm Hammers Slammers detachment fell off my painting table the other week. They almost happened by accident, but they were such a simple build and took very little time.

Strictly speaking it’s a troop, not a detachment – it’s only a half-sized unit. To create a full detachment, just add another identical troop. The United Defence Batteries are another of the specialist outfits from the Hammerverse, a unit tailored to perform one specific role but perform it well. The UDB are an elite air defence unit equipped with our new GS-1018 8-barreled rapid-firing calliopes (released last week) mounted on GEV chassis. That’s all they do – you hire the UDB to keep the skies above clear of enemy aircraft and artillery shells, and trust them to do that job perfectly. Of course, eight 2cm rapid fire powerguns will also make a mess of light armoured vehicles and infantry if you point them in the right direction ! They place a central role in the story Counting the Cost, which you can find in volume 2 of The Complete Hammer’s Slammers.

I wasn’t sure how to paint the UDB, so in the end I opted for a very simple dark grey scheme (German Panzer Grey) with green fabric skirts. The only colour was a couple of orange flashes on the side panels and the sensor blisters on the calliope turrets which I painted in blue. Decals were taken from the same Dom’s Decals vehicle names sheet as I used for the Foster’s Mercenaries names, and numbers were spares from our Heliodorus Regiment sheet. In the end the effect wasn’t as dark as I’d have liked – if I did them again I’d use a black base and drybrush it up with dark grey.

The UDB troop pack contains three GS-1108 Calliopes, one GS-1008 command vehicle (with optional radar instead of the rear turret) plus stowage packs.

HSD15-3301 – United Defence Batteries Calliope Troop – £32.00

Who Will Buy My Flaming Sword?

First things first – on Sunday I’ll be in Peterborough for the fourth edition of the Hereward show, catchily titled Hereward IV:A New Hope. I’ll have our latest releases and as much other stuff as I can carry, so that’s lots of Slammers, Yenpalo spaceships, British Nef etc. I’ll also have the full range of Crom’s Anvil figures which we carry at shows, including the new heroes, tribesmen and Simurgh Guards.

Back into production this week are this rather splendid collection of 15mm GEVs. The belong to the Flaming Sword of the Holy Brotherhood, a combined arms mercenary unit equipped with medium and heavy tank destroyers supported by infantry and heavy direct-fire mortars.

When they were previously available, the models used a common resin hull and separate metal or resin superstructures. We’ve modified the masters so that all of the versions now have unique one-piece resin hulls with just the turrets and guns to be attached. So the designs are the same, we’ve just made them much easier to assemble. While we were at it, we’ve remastered the all metal parts and made a new production mould for those. There’s also a new hull for the calliope carrier which was previously just stuck to the flatbed. So there are several good reasons why it’s taken a while to get them back into production!

The primary combat version is the GS-1199 Medium Tank Destroyer armed with a 9cm powergun. This is available with either a plain gun barrel or new one with a muzzle brake.

Infantry are carried in the GS-1107 APC with two small gun turrets carrying twin 2cm powerguns. The GS-1008 command version swaps a radar dish for the upper turret.

A fire support version can be equipped with an assortment of turrets – the FSHB’s main version is the GS-1141R with a pair of direct fire mortars, but other options include autocannon and a 5cm powergun turret.

The one new(ish) version is the GS-1018 Calliope vehicle with eight rapid fire 2cm powergun for air defence.

The Flaming Sword have a number of different detachments on their list, all of which are available as packs with vehicles, infantry, stowage, fireteam bases etc. This brings the number of pre-defined 15mm detachment packs to 31 now, giving you stacks of options for starting out in Hammer’s Slammers gaming.

HS15-2012 – GS-1199 Tank Destroyer – £8.00
HS15-2012a – GS-1199m Tank Destroyer – £8.00
HS15-2013 – GS-1107 APC – £8.00
HS15-2013a – GS-1108 Command Vehicle – £8.00
HS15-2014 – GS-1141R Mortar Carrier – £8.00
HS15-2014a – GS-1026 Light Support Vehicle – £8.00
HS15-2014b – GS-1186PG Heavy Support Vehicle – £8.00
HS15-2014c – GS-1188RG Heavy Support Vehicle – £8.00
HS15-2015 – GS-1018 Calliope – £8.00

HSD15-2001 – Recce Detachment – £35.00
HSD15-2002 – Strike Detachment – £60.00
HSD15-2003 – Heavy Detachment – £75.00
HSD15-2004 – Protection Detachment – £38.50

And before anyone else points it out … yes, they have the wrong unit markings (the FSHB badge looks a lot like that of the Apex Dragoons, and I mixed up my decals…).

Confrontation on Kalan

Last weekend the club to which Phil and I belong, Maidstone Wargames Society, ran an extended meeting. We took advantage of this to organise a large Hammer’s Slammers game with nine players and huge amounts of 15mm kit. There’s a report on the MWS website, but here are a few photos to whet your appetites.

Harris Blowers

Slammers detachments are like buses – you wait ages for one, then two turn up at once. After last week’s 111-wheel painting and assembly marathon with the unit of Foster’s Mercenaries, this one is a rather more straightforward build.

The Slammers regiment aren’t the only users of the M9 combat car; besides the Lightning Division and their fully enclosed crew cars, Harris Commando use the M9A3 variant. This is identical to the Slammers’ version except for the armament; the Harris cars have a heavy laser and two gatlings in place of the tribarrels.

I chose to put together an armoured detachment of three combat cars and three M9A10 cargo cars; one of these tows an anti-tank gun while the others each carry two infantry teams for a total of 10 TUs (the gun and towing vehicle count as a single TU). The plan was to also paint an extra cargo car and infantry so I could also reconfigure them into an Infantry Detachment – I painted the extra infantry, but forgot the additional cargo car ! I’ll have to go back and do that another day.

This was a simple and quick build – the cargo cars are one piece castings, while the combat cars have the three metal guns, crew figures plus of course the etched brass splinter screen. I attached the guns and crew (space is limited in the car’s interior so I don’t always put all three crew figures in) but left the screens off until the very end. All of the cars received stowage, jerricans, fuel drums, stowage boxes etc. The etched brass sheet for the screen also has a stowage basket so I attached one or two of those. I stuck an infantry figure with binoculars in the back of one cargo car after removing his base.

The vehicles were all primed with Halfords’ grey automotive primer, then drybrushed a lighter grey. I airbrushed orange-brown camouflage stripes, carefully drybrushed those pale orange and, apart from picking out the stowage and the odd detail here and there, that was just about it. Once the combat car crew and guns were painted I superglued the splinter screens on. They then received a brushed-on coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade. As with the Fosters vehicles we don’t yet have any official decals so I’d already printed up some onto decal paper. The decal paper is thicker than normal decal film and won’t take too well to heavily curved surfaces, but they seemed to be OK over the slight curve of the bow slope. After that, it was a final airbrushed coat of Tamiya Flat Clear.

The towed gun crew are fixed to one of our resin fireteam bases – I used a cutting tool in a Dremel to make holes for their bases then filled any gaps with PVA and sand. The gun isn’t glued down so it can be removed from the base when it’s being towed. The rest of the infantry were glued to M8 washers and the bases textured with PVA and sand. They were sprayed dark green over their primer coat, drybrushed and washed with Citadel Athonian Camoshade. Boots were painted brown, guns grey, faces in various flesh shades and webbing sand-brown, all washed in appropriate colours from the Citadel shades range. The bases were painted with Tamiya Flat Earth and drybrushed. I painted the fireteam bases in the same colours with a darker brown edge, then flocked with Citadel grass once everything had been varnished.

The two Harris packs are now available from the website if you feel like leading a detachment of blowers into battle.

HSD15-3201 – Harris Commando Armoured Detachment – £38.00
HSD15-3202 – Harris Commando Infantry Detachment – £31.50

Foster Home

I’ve been working on and off over the last few weeks on several new 15mm Mercenary units for Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible. Projects like these have to take lower priority to more important tasks such as filling orders (!) so I only get to work on them occasionally, but I’ve managed to find enough time to finish off the first of these units, a detachment of Foster’s Mercenaries.

If you aren’t familiar with the background to the Slammers stories (known as the Hammerverse), the idea is that the governments of struggling colonies on newly populated planets can’t always afford to keep their own standing army, so will hire in mercenary units to supplement their own troops when needed. Some of these mercenary forces, such as the titular Slammers Regiment, are self-contained all-arms units while others are specialists – infantry, artillery, armour, anti-aircraft etc. To quote The Crucible, “Foster’s unit operates as very effective air defence specialists” (p.60). They are equipped with the new Centurion Large Transport Vehicles, which are by no means front-line combat vehicles. They are variously configured in command, artillery, calliope and transport roles. Their only ground combat units are infantry which are deployed for self defence of the unit on operations.

I chose to make a 10 TU Artillery Detachment from the Foster’s detachment sheet with a pair each of C800 air defence calliopes and light artillery vehicles, plus two command and control vehicles and a large C404 transporter for three infantry TUs. By painting up some extra infantry and a further couple of calliope turrets I could then reconfigure the unit into either a Calliope or Infantry Support detachment if desired.

For infantry I dug into our selection of 15mm figures and found to my surprise some unreleased ones ! These are variants of our British infantry with berets instead of helmets. This become a doubly good idea as I’ve been able to photograph the finished figures and add them to the website. Colonel Foster’s infantry come in two types – a basic rifle squad and a tank hunter team. This is where I hit a minor snag, as we only have rifle and command sets with berets, so for now my detachment has rifle teams and no organic anti-tank capability. I’ll have to dig out the greenstuff and convert a set of heavy weapons figures with berets, and stick them in a mould !

The infantry were based on washers textured with PVA and sand. They were then base-coated in Khaki using a Plastic Soldier Company spray can, followed by a heavy dry-brush of Citadel Zamesi Desert and an Agrax Earthshade wash. After that I picked out webbing pouches (bone), guns (grey), faces (flesh) and boots (black) – usually using a single base colour followed by an appropriate wash from the Citadel Shades range, and maybe some highlighting, especially on hands and faces. This gives an effective looking finish without being too time-consuming. I went for mid-blue berets – I did consider red but didn’t like bright red ones, and dark red looks too much like paratroopers, so blue it was. I also painted up one of our Brigadier figures as the Colonel, with blue shoulder tabs and hat band to match his troops. Incidentally, I’ve also added the Brigadier figure to the website – previously he’s only been available as a giveaway.

So then onto the vehicles. The detachment has seven Centurions – one C202, five C800s and a C404. That’s a total of 52 pairs of wheels, not counting the spare wheel carried on the back of each vehicle. I’d already worked out from experience that assembling the vehicles and attaching the wheels before painting was a bad move, as it’s hard to paint the tyres without getting paint all over the chassis. So what I did was assemble the vehicles without any wheels, and assemble the wheels in their pairs.

Most of the vehicles were pretty straightforward to assemble; the four C800 combat vehicles (the artillery and calliopes) have separate turrets, and the rear turret ring was covered over with a blanking plate. I added tri-barrels to the artillery turrets and one had a crewman in the hatch. The C404 APC was given a hatch with a tri-barrel up front and again the rear hatch was blanked off. The odd two vehicles are the Command (C800) and Controller (C202) where I had to be a bit creative. I gave the command vehicle a radar in the front turret point and a couple of sets of aerials, while the controller got two radomes (from the CDSU infantry command pack). I also gave it a hatch with tribarrel, and stuck in an officer figure (The Brigadier) who had been cut off at the waist. All of the vehicles received a little bit of stowage, but not too much – I figured that huge vehicles like these would have plenty of internal space and wouldn’t have so much of a need to hang kit on the outside. So I added some jerricans (you wouldn’t keep flammable liquids inside if you could help it) plus a few odd boxes and left it at that.

Everything was then undercoated with Halfords grey primer. The wheels were sprayed black, while the vehicles were sprayed with Citadel Zandri Dust. The wheels have a tendency to roll around on their conical axles, so I made up a special jig to spray them on – this was simply an old wooden board with lots of 6mm holes drilled in it. The wheels were laid face down on a flat surface first to spray the back, then once that had dried I turned them over, placed the axles in the pre-drilled holes and sprayed the other side. With 26 holes I did them in two batches, spraying front and back with primer first, then black. I then made up 52 masks from 30x30mm pieces of laser-printer sticky label with a 1/2″ hole punched through the middle. The wheel hubs are 12mm across, so the mask covered the tyre while leaving the hub exposed, so I could spray the hubs with the same colour as the rest of the vehicles. Although the paint pulled up in a couple of places, the result was neater and quicker than hand painting them all. It would also have been an idea to drybrush the wheel hubs at this point before removing the mask (I didn’t, so had to spend a while tidying up the tyres after drybrushing the hubs). I drybrushed the vehicle hulls as well (Citadel Terminatus Stone), and then it was finally time to assemble the vehicles by supergluing in all the wheels before the final painting stages.

Windows were painted in silver then I used a Citadel blue glaze to colour them – this is one aspect I’m not 100% happy with on the finished vehicles, so it might need more experimentation. Then it was just a matter of going round and picking out details, stowage, rear lights, gun barrels, crew etc.

After all the painting was complete, everything got the usual (brush applied) coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade. After (at least) 24 hours drying I added decals. We don’t have any official Foster’s decals yet, so I made up some unit markings by drawing them out in CorelDraw and printing them onto decal paper using a laser printer (that’s the unit badge above, the red and black roundel). This is something I hadn’t tried before, so I was looking forward to seeing how it came out. The results were pretty good – the decals had to be cut out very carefully otherwise the white decal paper shows around the edges. The paper is also thicker than normal decal film so is best used on flattish surfaces – but the end result looks OK (although not quite as good as the official decal sets). The numbers came from a leftover Lightning Division decal sheet, while the tiny vehicle names (under the left hand driver’s window on each vehicle) are from Dom’s Decals British WW2 tank name sheet.

So that’s another Slammers detachment chalked up – and something a bit unusual with the huge Centurion support vehicles but no conventional front-line combat elements. Hopefully we’ll see them on a table for their first taste of combat soon…

HSD15-3101 – Foster’s Calliope Detachment – £80.00
HSD15-3102 – Foster’s Artillery Detachment – £90.00
HSD15-3103 – Foster’s Infantry Support Detachment – £80.00
SF15-160b – British Infantry in Berets (x10) – £3.75
SF15-162b – British Command in Berets (x5) – £2.00
SF15-166 – The Brigadier – £0.50

Back to Normal

Two weeks after coming back from my holiday, I’ve finally managed to get back on track with orders – everything that arrived before midday on Monday has been completed, packed and posted, and for the first time in several weeks I was able to go home with no outstanding orders left over. So that’s a little ‘yay’ for me at last 🙂

As a consequence I’ve had a couple of days catching up with new releases, getting painted versions ready for the website and preparing master castings for production moulds. Apropos of nothing else, I thought you might like a quick glance of what’s sitting on the painting table today…

These are some rather nifty 15mm GEVs that were part of the former Ainsty range. We’ve spent a little while getting these into shape – the original models used a common resin-cast hull with separate
superstructures for the different versions. We’ve had the superstructures reprinted and made new moulds of each hull version as single piece castings – the only separate pieces now are the turrets and gun barrels. The production moulds are now ready, so I’m just painting up a set ready to photograph and they should be on the website in 2-3 weeks.

These Aeronef dirigibles are new British models – the original plan was that they should have been released at the same time as our Ark Royal Dig Tender (you may have seen the smaller one lurking in photos back in April), but we had a slight hitch and in the usual pre-Salute pandemonium there simply wasn’t time to fix it. Anyway, they’re ready now and will be this Friday’s new release.

And spreading the love to the vaccheads as well, how about some new spaceships ? These splendid craft were designed by James at Beadspoke Designs (pay them a visit – they make all sorts of useful laser-cut acrylic markers and templates) and we thought they were great. They are going to be introduced to our range as replacements for the old Yenpalo fleet models which are looking a little dated.

You might see other stuff in the background – I’m also in the midst of painting some fresh detachments for Hammer’s Slammers, using many of our recently released new vehicles, and there’s even a new pack or two of 15mm figures coming from the ArmiesArmy archive.

Looking Forlorn

Firstly, another update on orders – I’ve almost caught up, everything up to the 29th of July is already packed and either sent or ready to go later this morning. I’m hoping today to finish everything from July and hopefully get stuck into the August orders, although I suspect that the burst that arrived yesterday will be too much to finish in one go.

So, onto another new release. Initially available at the Joy of Six, we’ve added our new 6mm Fasolini Infantry to the website. These come from the David Drake novel Forlorn Hope, which isn’t strictly part of the Hammer’s Slammers canon but shares a very similar background and technology level. We also have two versions of the unit’s diminutive tracked gun systems.

The infantry, expertly sculpted by Martin Baker, come in packs of 23 – 15 riflemen in three poses, 4 rocket launchers, two squad leaders and two personality figures, Colonel Fasolini and Lieutenant Waldstejn. These are all based on the original 15mm versions of these figures, also sculpted by Martin – the tiny 6mm Guido Fasolini even has a recognisable moustache.

The guns come in two parts, the tracked base and the gun mount with crewman. The original single barrelled gun from the book is designated the Oto Melara 410C, and quad 440C version is added as an upgrade option.

There are also two pre-defined company detachment packs, each with two guns (with different versions in the two packs), two heavy trucks and 34 infantry (four rifle teams and four rocket launcher teams each of four men, plus the two officer figures to allow the option of fielding either Colonel Fasolini and Lieutenant Waldstejn as leader).

HSD6-310 – Fasolini Company Detachment – £7.00
HSD6-310a – Fasolini Company Detachment (440C) – £7.00
HS6-360 – Fasolini Infantry (x23) – £2.75
HS6-316 – Oto Melara 410C Tracked Gun – £0.80
HS6-316a – Oto Melara 440C Tracked Gun – £0.80

Decal Update

We’ve just had a resupply of Hammer’s Slammer decals, filling in some of the codes we were short of. It now means we have full stocks of (amongst others) Zaporiskiye, Thunderbolt Division and West Riding Yeomanry, plus some of the myriad variants of the Slammers own codes that we were missing.

HSDEC-002c – Slammers Sheet C35
HSDEC-004b – Slammers Sheet E15
HSDEC-006a – Slammers Sheet G12
HSDEC-006b – Slammers Sheet G15
HSDEC-007c – Slammers Sheet H35
HSDEC-022 – West Riding Yeomanry Sheet 2
HSDEC-121 – Zaporoskiye Sheet 1
HSDEC-171 – Thunderbolt Division Sheet 1
HSDEC-172 – Thunderbolt Division Sheet 2