The Christmas sale is merrily sailing along (excuse the pun), and I’m going up to the local post office almost daily with piles of orders to be dispatched. It has ten days to run, so you still have plenty of time to make a saving (although be mindful of the last posting dates if you’re hoping to receive anything before Christmas). As things stand we’re pretty much up to date with orders – I have managed to clear the backlog so orders are being turned round pretty swiftly. We have a couple held up by a failed resin building mould that Phil is rapidly remaking, and we had run out of Imperial Skies turn rulers (again). However, new supplies of those were delivered today so they’ll be out the door in the next day or two, and are also back on the website.
We’ve had a cold spell here in the UK, so the workshop is, to say the least, a little nippy – this was the temperature inside the workshop when I switched on the machines the other day. I have a fan heater that keeps the casting room warm (if I don’t then the oil inside the air compressor motor is too viscous and it won’t run), but the main body of the workshop tends to resemble a walk-in freezer !
We’ve managed to stay on plan this year, so I’ve spent the majority of the last couple of weeks casting, packing and posting orders. I’ve also managed to find time to do some design work on new releases for next year and we have some interesting new bits lined up – there are new releases planned in the spaceships, Aeronef, Small Scale Scenery, 6mm and 15mm SF ranges for the first three months of next year. For now, here’s a preview of the hull of a new 15mm tank I’ve been working on…
We utilised the club’s Pegasus Bridge WW2 terrain boards, but replaced all of the Normandy houses with ones from our resin SF ranges. The game saw the Slammers, supported by the 101st Texians in their VTOLs, racing to take a bridge held by a combined force of the Stewart regiment, Waldheim Dragoons and some Terran Authority Starmarines.
Below is a selection of photos from the day – John has more of his own on the HS website.
As this is published, I’m just stuffing the last few bits in the car ready to drive to the EuroTunnel for the journey to Crisis in Antwerp. I’m pretty well stocked, with plenty of Aeronef, spaceships, Celtos figures, 6mm and 15mm tanks, tiny 2mm buildings etc. There was also the added bonus of three stray copies of the Imperial Skies rulebook, found in the bottom of a box where they shouldn’t have been (we thought we were completely out of stock), so I’ll have these on sale along with the turn rulers and dice.
We’re closing in on our final new releases of the year now, and today we have a new vehicle for our 15mm Mercenary Brigade force, the Shinigami (‘Death Spirit’) Combat Car. This vehicle was the precursor to the Mantra Armoured Cavalry Vehicle, and is in effect an extended Wizard hover jeep with armoured sides and two tribarrel gatling gun positions, one on either flank. The basic vehicle comes in four parts – resin hull with metal hatch and two tribarrel guns. Our existing combat car crew figures fit perfectly in the back as gunners.
I’ve had a bit of fun customising one with crew, stowage, a radio aerial made from a paperclip and a commander figure taken from our PacFed infantry command set, cut off at the waist and fitted to the open hatch.
Following on from our initial release of 6mm Hammer’s Slammers’ vehicles, we have some additional support vehicles released today. The one that gets nearest to the frontline is the mortar version of the A21 jeep, diminutive but with plenty of indirect firepower.
Further behind the lines you’ll find the cargo and ambulance variants of the M9 combat car. The cargo version in particular is also used by other mercenary units as a transport hauler or as a gun tractor towing anti-tank weapons.
The Lightning Division are a mechanized unit of brigade strength. They are veteran troops originally from Mittel Europa on Old Earth and – in the late 330s TW – they decided to upgrade the motive power sources and transmission systems of their vehicles.
The M2A7 Blower employed by the Lightning Division from 349TW onwards is based on the M2A4F version, the command tank used by Hammer’s Regiment. This is equipped with a 22cm, discarding-sabot rail-gun and the rear of the turret bulge mounts a small turret with a 1cm gatling rail-gun.
Infantry are carried in up-armoured M9 Command Car, the M9A14 Crew Car. This has frontal reinforcement compared to a standard Command Car and has two roof mounted 1cm gatling rail-gun turrets mounted offset so that they can both fire forwards and backwards with little impedance.
The Lightning Division also use the standard A21 hover jeep, and we have a pack available with four each of the tank, crew car and jeep, plus four sprues of infantry figures.
Lately we’ve very much been on a VSF theme, with the completion of the Imperial Skies Kickstarter, the release of the rules and the new models. And before that it was lots of 6mm SF, with new figures, buildings and vehicles which culminated with the release of the official Hammer’s Slammers models (of which there are still more to come). However, the rest of the ranges deserve some attention too, so it’s time for something different. Today we have a new 15mm model, a PacFed grav bike complete with rider. It’s a three-part metal model (bike, handlebars and foot rest) and come in packs of two.
We will of course have stocks of these at Blast-tastic! tomorrow. We have had to make some slight changes to what we’re bringing tomorrow – we’re unable to bring the full range of individual models with us for Aeronef, Spaceships and 6mm, although we do have some (including a good array of Aeronef capital ships) We also have a full line-up of fleet packs, army packs, company packs etc. See you in Bristol 🙂
Ah, what a day I had yesterday … while manoeuvring some boxes in the workshop, I managed to knock over one of the drawer units that we use to carry stock to shows … 48 drawers full of 1200+ Celtos figures scattered all over the floor 🙁 It took over an hour and a half to pick them all up and sort them back into the correct drawers. Add to that the rather oppressive heat we had yesterday, and you can safely say that I wasn’t a happy bunny ! In my rather grumpy mood I also forgot to pick up two small Aeronef masts which I needed to complete some new models, which means I couldn’t finish painting them, which means no new release today…
On the upside, our stocks of Imperial Skies rulebooks and the various laser-cut accessories are due in over the weekend – rulebook author Robin is driving over with a boot-full of boxes on Sunday morning. This means that the first batches of pledges will start shipping this week – we’ve already ordered in lots of extra boxes to pack them in.
Finally, some good and not-so-good news. The good news is that the Hammer’s Slammers 6mm models released last week have been selling very well, with plenty of Blower tanks and combat cars going out the door. The downside is that we’ve already run out of the skimmers and infantry that we ordered in from GZG, so I’ve had to temporarily take the army and mobile infantry packs off the website while we wait for a restock. The rest of the packs and models are still available however, and you can always order the skimmers and figures direct from GZG.
Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible is a set of rules that can be played in several scales; all of the photos in the book are of 25mm figures and vehicles, although judging from various blogs and posts on the net it seems to be more popular in 15mm. Ainsty Castings are the official licensed supplier of 15mm vehicles for the Slammers Regiment, with Ground Zero Games providing figures. However, it also gives an excellent game with 6mm figures and vehicles, with armoured battles benefiting from the space afforded by smaller scale models. So we’re very pleased to announce that we’ve teamed up with John Treadaway, co-author of the Crucible rulebook, and Ainsty Castings to create 6mm versions of the approved vehicle designs and bring the regiment to life in micro-scale.
These new models have all been created digitally and are cast in pewter. Our initial release is of the core vehicles needed for a Slammers detachment – the M2A4 blower tank and the M2A4F command variant, the M9A1 combat car and M9A4 command variant, and the A21 jeep.
The combat cars, like the Ainsty 15mm versions, are supplied with etched brass splinter screens plus separate tri-barrel powerguns.
Infantry, both on foot and on skimmers, are available from Ground Zero Games, although we have some stocks which we’re using to create army packs (for individual packs of figures you can contact GZG directly).
Future releases will include further variants of the M2 tank and M9 combat car as used by other mercenary units, plus the uparmoured variants used by the Slammers Regiment in their later days. We will also be releasing ambulance and cargo variants of the combat car, a mortar jeep and artillery hogs to complete the Slammers’ ToE.
My next detachment for The Crucible is one I’ve had to be a bit more inventive with. The Texian 101st Light Airborne is an infantry unit that is transported in VTOLs. My 10 TU detachment consists of four infantry elements each in an APC VTOL, plus two gunships. The 15mm version uses Old Crow models for the aircraft, but instead I substituted the nearest equivalents from our range. For the Panavia Raven gunship I used our Polish Orzel Bialy model, and for the Black Crow APC I used the British Hestia, which has a larger fuselage to carry the infantry.
After priming the VTOLs were basecoated in Army Painter Skeleton Bone, airbrushed with brown camouflage patches and them washed with GW Sepia. The underside was painted with Tamiya Sky, which is a rather greenier shade than I expected, but looks fine. Red and white stripe markings were painted on the Hestia tail and Orzel Bialy wings, then inter-war US aircraft decals from Dom’s Decals completed the Texas colours.
The flying stands, which were originally made for some WW2 gliders, are made from the circular base of some very old GW spaceship stands, which were drilled out to accept a length of 6mm perspex rod. The top end of the rod was drilled out and a 3mm magnet glued in, which then attached to another 3mm magnet in the base of each model (make sure the polarities match !).
My next Crucible detachment is the third that replicates a 15mm force – this time the Stewart Regiment. These use a combination of our British Apollo tanks and Artemis APCs, along with some co-opted Soviet Kunitsa tracked APCs (one with a mortar). What makes them slightly unusual is the addition of two Tyche towed anti-tank guns. We don’t make this model in 6mm, so instead I used two EuroFed CAC-41 guns.
The colour scheme in this case is very simple – after priming (in white this time), they were airbrushed with Vallejo desert sand, drybrushed with GW Terminatus Stone and washed with GW Sepia. I couldn’t find any suitable decals (the 15mm variants have Saltires as unit markings) so I hand-painted markings on one or two vehicles.
A quick word about primers. I always use Halfords automotive primer in one of its various colours (Red Oxide, grey or white) depending on the colour that’s going over the top of it. There are a number of spray paints aimed specifically at the wargaming/modelling market that purport to be coloured primers and can be supposedly be used straight onto bare models. This may be true on plastics, but in my experience using these on unprimed metal or resin doesn’t always work. On the occasions when I’ve tried this, the result has been paint that either rubs off easily with minimal handling, or in the worst case simply blistered and peeled off a set of metal Land Ironclads. So I always use a proper primer paint designed specifically for the purpose, and Halfords’ is the best that I’ve found. I realise this isn’t much help if you don’t live in the UK and can’t get hold of it, but the principle still applies, and wherever you live there should be an equivalent. It’s worth spending the money to buy a decent quality primer – Halfords is a bit more expensive (£8 for a large can, although that can holds twice as much paint as a normal spray can) but will spray 100+ models so compared to the money you’ve already spent on the models, the investment isn’t that steep.