The Army Marches On!

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Denizens of the Facebook 15mm SF Group may have noticed a post yesterday by Keith of ArmiesArmy, explaining that he’s taken his infantry figures off the website because they have been moved to a new home. We’re very pleased to announce that their new home is right here, at Brigade Models. As Keith himself explained, the effort needed to run ArmiesArmy was becoming too great and impacting severely on his free time. He very kindly offered us first refusal and, well, we didn’t refuse ! Keith will keep his excellent range of vehicles and continue to expand those, and we wish him all the best with that. He came down to Brigade Towers yesterday and dropped off all of the moulds and masters, and we tried one or two to make sure they fitted our casting machine (which they do perfectly).

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We were both already fans of Keith’s figures – I supported his initial Kickstarter campaign and already have a couple of forces that use them. So to have the opportunity to add them to our 15mm range was too good to pass up, and the timing was perfect as we were looking to add figures to our growing range of vehicles and scenery. It also helps that Keith uses the same sculptor (Martin Baker) as we do, so his figures match our new armoured infantry figures.

Keith also let us have a number of unreleased greens which we will be adding to the ranges in due course, and we have a number of ideas for further additions.

There will be a slight delay in getting the models onto our website. With Salute just around the corner we’re both flat out making moulds and producing stock, so what we don’t want to do is suddenly dump a large number of new products on the website and be inundated with orders when we have yet to work out which mould is which, what the contents of each pack are etc. Instead they’ll go up on our website a week or so after the show. We will try to take some stock to Salute, but starting from zero it would take a couple of days to completely stock up all of the packs and we just don’t have that time – so instead we’ll take a selection of the most popular packs.

New Fireteam Base Options

As my 15mm armies grow, I’m finding that I need new infantry basing options for different forces. So today we’re adding several new types to our range of Fireteam Bases. If you haven’t come across these before, they’re a range of resin sabot bases that allow you to use individually based figures in teams for rules that require infantry to move together (and you can also remove casualties if needed).

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The three new bases all take two figures – two are 45mm square bases for pairs of cavalry figures, grav bikes or similar – the difference is the size of figure base they accomodate. The other is a half-size base for command, heavy weapon or sniper teams, dismounted vehicle crew etc. We also have stocks of M10 washers to fit the cavalry base. Above you can see SF15-920 (left) and SF15-922 – since we don’t yet have any cavalry or grav bike models, I’ve put some infantry figures in there.

SF15-920 – Two-man Grav Bike base – £0.50
SF15-921 – Two-man Cavalry base – £0.50
SF15-922 – Two-man Half-base – £0.40
SF15-918 – M10 (20mm) washer (x25) – £1.00

Another fine day …

In contrast to yesterday’s near gales, today was a bit calmer and warmer – so perfect weather for casting outdoors again. As well as casting for orders and Salute stock, I was able to try out some new moulds for both the 15mm Polish half-tracks and the Soviet spaceship carrier hull.

As always with new moulds, it takes two or three castings to work out all of the gremlins and find the bits that need particular attention to avoid air bubbles. The half-tracks in particular were troublesome, but the castings got progressively better as I went along and I ended the day with assembled versions of each of the three hull types. Most of the metal parts such as tracks, wheels, turrets and hatches are existing components so I was able to put some together – only the guns for the support version have yet to be moulded.

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The Soviet carrier looks pretty good – I only have one finished casting so far which has an air bubble or two, but it’s still pretty imposing. It has the same bridge and engines as the battleship, and is a ‘battle-carrier’ design with two heavy turrets at the front and the flight deck at the rear.

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I also photographed some castings of the new 15mm infantry while I was prepping them for production moulds. This is the first pack, eight pulse rifle-armed grunts.

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Finally, the new turret for the Shaman Firefly has arrived – here it is sitting on a hull, next to the existing version so you can see the differences.

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One Month and Counting …

I like days like today – it’s a brisk spring day, not too cold, so I can do some resin casting outside (but not so warm that the resin sets too fast, which can be a problem in the summer). The cat’s basking in the sunshine on the deck and the bantams are ruining the lawn looking for worms while I create ever more stock in advance of Salute – which is now exactly one month away.

So to the point of today’s post, which is more Salute previews. This time we have some new 15mm vehicles, more scale-ups from the 6mm range. Our range of 80+ models encompasses grav, GEV, blowers, wheeled and tracked vehicles – and now half-tracks. We’ve created 15mm versions of our Polish Suwalski range of half-tracks, which have a very Eastern-European feel to them (mixed with a bit of Wehrmacht). Like their 6mm cousins, the Poles use a lot of German weapons and technology and the vehicles are mainly equipped with similar turrets to the Lynx APC.

This is the basic APC with a twin MG turret, roof hatches so the infantry can fire from cover and a rear exit door.

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Secondly, here’s a turreted version with an autocannon. The back of the hull is sloped and carries a spare wheel.

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Alternatively, this can also carry a missile turret

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The final version is the fire support model, which has a built up superstructure over the troop compartment and is armed with either a light infantry support howitzer or an long-barrelled anti-tank gun (note that the AT gun isn’t properly fitted into the model, I didn’t want to force it in too tight and damage the master !).

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For heavier firepower, the Poles use the Maczek medium tank. This is a German Thor hull with a new turret, fitted with the same 9.5cm DS gun as the British Apollo but with Polish sights.

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As if that wasn’t enough – here’s another gem. This is an up-gunned version of the popular Mercenary Shaman tank. I’ve given it the DS gun from the Sohei, extended the turret bustle by doing away with the stowage rack and added an extra sensor bubble where the remote gun mount was. It’s known as the Shaman Firefly … This is a photo of the first master on a painted hull, but unfortunately this is a duff print (the back of the turret has sunk a bit) so we’re waiting on a new copy before it can be moulded.

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Relative Size

Over the weekend I had a couple of requests for size comparison photos of some of our models – one for a shot comparing our new 15mm AmRep tanks with their 6mm counterparts, the other relating to the size of our new 15mm infantry compared to our tank crew and Power Armour. It has occurred to me that it might be handy to share these photos here on the blog, so here they are.

The first shot is of the new 15mm AmRep tanks, (from l-to-r) the Kochte, Oldmann and Curtiss. In front of them are a selection of 6mm tanks.

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The next two shots are comparisons of the Kochte and Curtiss with their 6mm equivalents.

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And finally, a shot of three of our new infantry figures, two tank crew and two Power Armour figures.

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PBI

Salute 2015 is now about five-and-a-half weeks away. Loads of time, aeons. That said, the show edition of Miniature Wargames has just dropped through the letterbox which reminds us that we’re getting ever closer. We’ve been planning our show releases since before Xmas, although as always we’ll be panicking up to the last minute I’m sure ! It’s time to start previewing them, which we’ll do over the coming 3-4 weeks.

The first batch of masters has arrived ready for moulding – and we have to admit to being quite excited by them. Although we have a few packs of figures in our 15mm range (some lovely PF aliens and bounty hunters, our Power Armour and some very useful tank crew) we don’t have any straightforward, ground-pounder infantry. So we’ve got together with Martin Baker and he’s sculpted us some really excellent figures, based around some 3D designed and printed weapons. These are straight out of the package that came in the post this morning, and will be off for moulding tomorrow so I haven’t had long to get them photographed. Click on the photos for larger versions if you’d like to see more.

As you can see we have a number of infantry poses, plus command, support weapons (SAW, grenade launcher and rocket launcher), snipers and heavy weapons crewmen. The gunners will be paired up with tripod mounted versions of our pintel weapons (unfortunately I didn’t have any to hand when I took the photos). They will be sold in packs of eight figures (or equivalent), although we haven’t finalised the exact contents just yet. Having these available will also allow us to create platoon packs of APCs with crew and infantry and we’ll also create complete army packs of tanks, APCs, infantry and support vehicles.

American Republic Armour

After Tuesday’s minor ‘leaving all the orders at the workshop’ FUBAR, we’re back to normal, Friday 13th notwithstanding ! Everything has been safely retrieved and sent – although you may detect a faint whiff of burning when you open your parcel, it seems that someone lit a large bonfire in the farmyard opposite the workshop and the smell has permeated everything !

Onto more mundane matters, and this week’s new releases. One of the forces in our 6mm range that has never really been properly represented in 15mm (apart from a couple of odd tanks) is the American Republic. As you’ll have seen on this blog recently, we’ve got round to rectifying this at last with seven brand new vehicles and variants.

The largest is a new sculpt of the Curtiss heavy tank. This was the very first digitally sculpted model that we released and since then we’ve learnt a lot about the design and production processes, so we thought it was time to give the Curtiss a makeover. This new model has a newly-designed metal turret and gun, rather than the resin one of the original, and improved detailing on the hull.

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The slightly smaller cousin of the Curtiss is the Kochte MBT. This again was previously available in 15mm, but we’ve replaced the original with a new 3D sculpt – the overall profile of the tank is the same but the detailing is completely different.

The AmRep’s standard infantry fighting vehicle is the Baumann. This carries two crew and six infantry, and is equipped with a light autocannon and missile pod. Infantry dismount through a rear ramp and can engage the enemy through the firing ports on each side. Also available are an AA variant with gatling and missiles, and a heavy anti-tank-missile carrier.

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Finally, the smallest of the new vehicles is the Oldmann light tank. This is a two-man recce vehicle with a light autocannon – heavier fire support is available from a missile carrier with the same 16-round turret as the Baumann.

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All are available singly, and the Curtiss, Kochte and Oldmann are also available in discounted Platoon Packs of three vehicles, stowage and crew.

SF15-202 – Curtiss Heavy Tank – £9.00
SF15-203 – Baumann MICV – £8.00
SF15-203a – Baumann AA – £8.00
SF15-203b – Baumann w/missile turret – £8.00
SF15-206 – Oldmann Light Tank – £5.00
SF15-206a – Oldmann w/missile turret – £5.00
SF15-208 – Kochte MBT – £8.00
PP15-202 – Curtiss Platoon Pack – £26.00
PP15-206 – Oldmann Platoon Pack – £14.00
PP15-208 – Kochte Platoon Pack – £23.00

If you’re outside the EU, remember that you don’t need to pay VAT – so the price you pay is only 5/6ths of that shown above, which should go some way towards offsetting the postage costs.

Gruntz Activation Cards

Yesterday was a workshop day, doing metal casting for orders (and stock, we’re already slowly gearing up to Salute – at the moment this just involves doing a few extra castings every time we spin a mould and keeping them to one side for the show). I did have a bit of a brain-fade and managed to leave all of the finished orders behind – so apologies if you placed an order over the weekend or Monday, it’s all done and packaged up, but rather annoyingly sitting in a box at the workshop which I won’t return to until tomorrow 🙁

GRZ-004Today has been spent casting resin items, again a mixture of orders and stock which we’ll put aside for Salute (including this week’s new releases for Friday). However, I did get a nice little surprise in the post this morning – a number of sets of Gruntz activation cards which we’d ordered from Robin a little while ago. So in between bouts of pouring resin, I’ve quickly added them to the website.

According to Robin, “The cards make a game of Gruntz more dynamic, allowing for alternating activation of units using a random determination. It works well for getting more than 2 players into a game of Gruntz because the random nature of unit activation can involve all players, rather than waiting for the traditional I-GO-U-GO turn sequence.

The main Gruntz 15mm SCI-FI rulebook includes rules for using normal playing cards, however the same rules can be used with these cards which also add some interesting chaotic battlefield bonus effects.“.

The cards are in a small format to reduce clutter on the table and are a very useful addition to the Gruntz game.

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GRZ-004 – Gruntz Activation Cards – £9.00

Yanks and their Tanks

Do you remember the postie turning up last week with, amongst other things, some new 15mm American Republic SF vehicles ? We haven’t wasted any time with these and they’ve already been cleaned up and moulded.

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Since the plastic masters are very difficult to photograph and the details hard to see, here’s a second look at a first set of assembled castings in a coat of primer (I’d used red primer as it will be the base colour in their camouflage scheme, which is why it’s already been drybrushed). As soon as this post has been finished I’ll be off with the airbrush to do the next colours.

And here they all are, swathed in blutack as a mask for the camouflage (regular followers will have seen this before, but here’s a link about Blutack masking).

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(Thanks to Zac Braham for the title of this post, he used it when posting the AmRep masters on TMP and I liked it so much I thought I’d use it here !).

Slamming Maidstone

A couple of weeks ago Maidstone Wargames Society had the privilege of hosting a 15mm Hammer’s Slammers game run by John Treadaway, co-author of the rules. The game pitted my recently painted Sulewesi National Army who were fighting alongside two detachments of Terran Authority Starmarines (fielding their Komodo heavy tanks for the first time), against the Slammers themselves in uparmoured Blower tanks plus detachments of the Stewart regiment and the West Riding Yeomanry.

John has written an AAR of the game which appears on the Slammers’ site alongside a number of photos. There are more photos by Mike Proudlock on the Maidstone site. Below are a selection of the ones I took, mostly from my perspective as the Sulewesi commander so viewed from the (victorious, it has to be said) end of the table.