City Expansion

Today we’re adding two new packs to our range of Small Scale Scenery European City Buildings. The first set is two straight blocks with features at one end that allow them to be used as the ends of terraces. The buildings in the basic straight block pack have blank end walls, but these have doors and windows at the end plus a slope to the roof.

The second set consists of four inner curved blocks that when used together would make up the outside of a circular plaza. They have the same overall dimensions as the normal corner pieces (40x40mm).

I’ve painted these in an alternative colour scheme to the previous sets, going for a pale stone with grey slate roofs. This would have nothing to do with my discovery that I’d run out of grey spray paint… I’ll be adding some to the sets of city blocks that I made up recently as my city increases in size.

SSS-8098 – City Block Inner Curves – £7.50
SSS-8099 – City Block End Terraces – £2.50

The Listening Wind

The very first models released in our Small Scale Scenery range (way back in 2011) were two types of acoustic mirror; a pair of round ‘listening ears’ and a larger sound wall. Both are Great War era structures designed to detect approaching enemy aircraft by the sound of their engines. They also work in Victorian SF games as an analogue for radars in games of Aeronef or Imperial Skies – they make an ideal objective for bombing raids.

Being one of the earliest items to be released, we’d got to the stage where we needed a new mould. So at the same time as doing this we’ve taken the opportunity to add a couple of different types of smaller mirror to the Listening Ears set, and you now get six in the pack.

SSS-8001 – Acoustic Mirror – £1.50
SSS-8002 – Listening Ears (pack of 6) – £3.00

I’m now back from my holiday, which was a very enjoyable break (apart from the local insect life taking a shine to me and deciding I made a tasty movable feast – by the end of the week you could play dot-to-dot with the bites on my legs and ankles, and the resultant drawing would probably resemble a new class of Yenpalo cruiser !). I have been busily ploughing through the order backlog, and hopefully I should have everything cleared by the end of Monday, then we’ll be back to normal service again.

Building a City

Our newly released City Block buildings from the Small Scale Scenery range seem to have struck a chord with many people. We’re looking forward to seeing what you’re able to do with the models – especially the one customer who bought over forty sets!

In the meantime, here are a few I made earlier. I based them on two sandwiched rectangles of plasticard, one 5mm larger than the other, to create a road and pavement around each block. In the central courtyards I added flock, trees and bushes, and in one case a car park. Next to one block I created a park with a statue made from a 6mm figure on a plinth of square plastic rod.

The paint job is quite simple – a grey basecoat followed by a lighter drybrush then a black wash. The roofs are terracotta red with a brown wash. I didn’t attempt to paint the windows, there are literally thousands of them, I just let the wash pick them out.

The idea is that the blocks can be rearranged into different layouts, and I can also add further blocks with parks, churches, shopping areas etc on the same footprint.

View from a Bridge

A distinct gap in our Small Scale Scenery range is the lack of bridges – it’s no good having roads and railways if you’re stopped dead at the first small watercourse !

So today we’re taking the first (but not last) steps in rectifying this with the release of a pack of four girder bridges. Good for the 19th century onwards (the world’s first iron bridge – in Ironbridge, Shropshire – was erected in 1779), these will serve for both road and rail traffic. Each bridge is 40mm long and the roadbed is 7mm wide, and they come in three pieces – the base and two sides. If you wanted to make longer or wider bridges then you could attach the sides to a plasticard base.

SSS-8097 – Girder Bridges (x4) – £4.00

City of Dreams

It’s Friday, so it’s new release time again. We try and vary our new releases across the different ranges, and today the wheel has stopped on our Small Scale Scenery range, and what we hope should be some very useful City Apartment Blocks. Many European city centres are built, at least partially, on a block system. The best example I can find to illustrate this is Barcelona’s appropriately named Eixample district – the photo below shows the layout of the city perfectly.

Photo taken from Wikipedia - licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

The blocks of apartments generally have shops or offices on the ground floor with 4-6 levels of apartments above that. They surround a central courtyard which can be a garden space, parking or can sometimes be partially filled with smaller buildings and sheds.

For this initial release we’ve created three sets – a pack of four corners, another of four straight blocks, and a third consisting of two T-pieces and two straight pieces with an archway into the courtyard area, all with flat-topped mansard roofs (although there are one or two areas with flat roofs for variety). All are 1-piece resin castings. Each piece is slightly different so that the look of the blocks is varied. The blocks are built on a 40mm footprint – each corner is 40x40mm with the depth of the apartments set at 20mm. This means that a pack of four corners will create a block 80x80mm, with a central 40x40mm courtyard. Adding straight pieces means that the blocks can be extended in 40mm increments. For gaming purposes, this works perfectly with rules that use 40mm frontages for figure bases (such as Land Ironclads).

If all goes well with these, there’s certainly plenty of scope to add more variety in terms of frontage detail, different roof types, varied number of floors etc.

SSS-8094 – City Block Corners – £7.50
SSS-8095 – City Block Straights – £5.00
SSS-8096 – City Block Ts and Arches – £6.50

Dock of the Bay

We’ve been quite on the blog for a week or so – I’ve been busy with orders (including another large restock for one of our retailers) and other stuff, and also had a couple of days off with the long-suffering Brigadieress. I’ve also been painting these next items – it’s taken a while (I’ve been mentioning these on and off to various customers at shows for the past couple of years) but today we’ve added several new sets of Dockyard Buildings to our Small Scale Scenery range. These were supposed to have been released last Friday (which would have neatly coincided with the 350th anniversary of the Battle of the Medway) but we’re a little late, delayed by preparations for Broadside, the weather (guess who left some painted models outside to dry and got caught out by a sudden rain-shower …) and a desire to paint and present these properly, which took longer than I expected to finish (Anchor Wharf in particular has a lot of windows).

However, we’re there now and we think it’s well worth the wait. The buildings are in the main based on prototypes at Chatham Dockyard in Kent, which at the turn of the 20th Century was one of Britain’s main naval dockyards for construction and repair.

The larger buildings are all resin, with the smaller buildings set cast in metal. The metal buildings set includes various manufacturing centres such as a sawmill, smithery, galvanising shed and pumphouse along with administrative buildings and general purpose sheds. If you didn’t want to use them specifically as dockyard buildings then they would still make great general-purpose factories and warehouses.

The Titan Crane is a 3D-printed piece, available from our Shapeways shop. It’s priced in dollars (since that’s the way that Shapeways do things) so the price in Europe will depend on the current exchange rate when you order.

SSS-8085 – Slip Cover #3 – £4.00
SSS-8086 – Slip Cover #4/5/6 – £4.00
SSS-8087 – Mast Sheds and Smithery – £5.00
SSS-8088 – Anchor Wharf – £6.00
SSS-8090 – Dockyard Buildings – £9.00
SSS-8093 – Waterline Dry Dock – £4.00

SHP-108 – Titan Crane – US$13.00

Viva España !

So, as we mentioned last week, the Salute releases are all up on the website and it’s now time for something completely new. Today we have a collection of new releases with a Spanish flavour, partially taken from my Menorquin holiday last summer.

Menorca is an island with a damn sight more military history than I expected, being dotted with fortifications and castles all around the rocky coastline. There are seventeen small towers of varying designs around the coast, primarily on the eastern side of the island. These are mostly different types of Martello Tower, cylindrical or conical in design with one or two guns mounted on the roof. The first item this week is a set of three different versions of these towers – the Torre de Fornells, a well-preserved large tower on the northern Fornells peninsular; the Castillo de Sant Nicolau in Ciutadella on the far west coast, an unusual octagonal castle built by the Spanish; and the Torre Son Ganxo, a smaller and more conventional Martello design. Incidentally, if you follow some of the links and notice that the positioning of some doors seems to differ slightly from our models, it’s because new doors have been opened at ground level on the towers for easier access. When in use 200 or so years ago, access to some of the towers was by ladder to a door on the first floor.

Next up is another design from Menorca, the Castell de San Antonio. This remains of this castle are located in Fornells, very close to the Tower. It was built in the C.17th to defend against pirates, but its very low elevation right on the harbour front made it vulnerable to fire from ships and it ended up being partially demolished in 1782. Despite its rather undistinguished military career, I’ve chosen to make it as a perfect example of a four-pointed star fort design which can be used to stand in for other castles around the world.

We’re now moving down in size to some very small fortifications built by the Spanish in Cuba during the War of Independence in that country and the Spanish-American War. There were many of these dotted around the island of various designs, and our pack has four different models. They’re of a similar design to American Civil War blockhouses so would serve a dual purpose there too.

Finally for this week we’re staying on Cuba with a model of a church. This has two towers and would serve in other locales around the world, notably various European Mediterranean and South American countries.

SSS-8081 – Castell de San Antonio – £3.00
SSS-8082 – Menorca Towers – £2.50
SSS-8083 – Cuban Church – £1.00
SSS-8084 – Spanish Blockhouses – £1.00

2mm Wonders

One of the best things about selling our models is seeing what people do with them, the way they’re painted and used in either games or modelling projects. We’ve recently been sent some photos of two diverse scenic models made using our Small Scale Scenery range and we thought it would be great to show them off.

The first is a Roman town by Pas Capetta in Australia. He’s used a combination of our Roman buildings (metal and resin) and the Hadrian’s Wall and Roman Fort packs to create a superb walled town. They’ve been coloured using artists paint markers rather than conventional brush paints, and some of the trees are rather cleverly made from offcuts of an artificial Christmas tree.

Ian Maun on the other hand is putting together a large English coastal diorama, starting with the town of Market Hampton, which will sit slightly inland from the harbour. The whole piece is being made in sections which should all eventually fit together to form a single large terrain area. In case anyone was wondering, the castle isn’t ours – it’s from Langton Miniatures.

Dockyard Extension

As mentioned before Salute, I’ve been working on extending the number of buildings available in our upcoming Dockyard building set. Mostly based on Chatham dockyard with one or two extras, I have a few 3D previews of the additions here. The buildings (Smithery, Pump house and Galvanising Shed) are all Chatham ones:

While this is a dry dock with caisson (it’s modelled as a waterline piece, eg full of water) which is based on the dimensions of the Chatham ones but with some slightly differing detail:

Finally, my favourite; this is a Titan Crane, one of the giant cantilever cranes which can still be seen in places such as Glasgow and Clydebank. It will be released as a 3D print as making it in resin or metal would be tricky to say the least! It stands an impressive (for 2mm) 46mm tall:

Expect a release hopefully in early June.

Last Minute Additions

Phil’s just emailed me to say he’s remade the mould for our long out-of-production Kerberos spacestation, so we’ll have several examples of that for sale tomorrow. The Kerberos is a three-spoked ring station which is a single-piece resin casting, and he tells me that the new ones he’s had out of the mould so far have been flash free. The basic version is unarmed, but it’s crying out to be upgraded with turrets from our spaceship accessory range (or, if you’re feeling creative, some of the many separate turret packs in our Aeronef range, some of which would pass for SF turrets). We don’t have a new painted example, so you’ll have to make do with this photo from the archives…

SFS-6003 – Kerberos Spacestation – £11.50

As well as that, I’ve managed to create some stock of this new castle for the Small Scale Scenery range. It’s the Castillo de San Antonio, the remains of which are in Fornells, Menorca. The castle was built around 1637-62 but demolished in 1782 – all that’s left of the site now is ruins. As a castle it wasn’t very successful, it’s sited at sea level so ships found it very easy to engage. It might seem like an odd subject to choose, but I found some excellent period scale plans to work from and it’s also a brilliant example of a four-pointed star fort which could stand in for similar works all over the world.

SSS-8081 – Castillo de San Antonio – £3.00

Right, I’m off to the workshop to pack up the van, then it’s up to London to set up the stand – see you tomorrow !