That’s Better !

Regular followers of the blog will be well aware of the issues we’ve had with our British spaceships – from all the build-up to release at Salute, followed by the crashing disappointment when the initial castings of the capital ships turned out to be nowhere near good enough, and our decision to suspend the release until we’d fixed the problems.

As Phil pointed out last week, we’ve had the models reprinted, I’ve been through the tedious business of cleaning up the prints and prepping them for moulding and Phil made the mould. We tried it last week and, to the relief of us both, all went well and all of the parts came out much better then before. The main reason for this is that we’ve taken all of the larger models (heavy cruiser upwards) and split them laterally. We also remodelled the battleship/carrier engine block, which had some design issues that made it a poor caster. The older versions of the ships were cast in one piece, and frankly they were too large lumps of metal to cast properly – we had pitting and incompletely filled parts all over the shop. The thinner parts have cast much better, and we are so much happier. It does mean that the models have to be assembled (only two halves, top and bottom, plus the engine for the battleship) but this shouldn’t be beyond most modellers.

We’re still aiming for a September release for the initial batch of ten models (these three plus a light cruiser and six escort-sized vessels), followed by the dreadnought and carrier soon after.

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Radio Waves

A recent addition to our Shapeways Shop is this transmitter tower model. The design is very loosely based on the Crystal Palace TV mast in south London, although much scaled down (at 1/300th scale the real thing would be 72cm tall !). Our model stands almost 6.5″ tall on the tabletop, so would make an ideal communications antenna for a small sci-fi community, or even a small modern day TV mast. It would also be ideal as a full-scale TV mast with 2mm models, where it scales out at 500ft tall.

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The model sells for just under 7€ in white nylon, or 8€ in black – a pretty reasonable price for such a model, we think.

Back in the Gunk Tank

It’s been a busy few days – and unfortunately not with Brigade stuff, my real job seems to be hitting milestones almost daily which has meant late nights in the office and little time to progress with new models. Frustratingly, I have yet to have time to do anything with the first batch of castings from the mould that got us so excited last week.

However, we have just taken delivery of a new batch of 3D printed models – these have already gone into the gunk tank for cleaning (the gunk tank being the family-sized jar of cleaning fluid that sits on the shelf in my office at home). This contains a number of new releases that we’re targeting for SELWG this year, of which more will be seen when we get the models out of the tank and photograph them.

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Back again !

I’m back from sunnier climes, after a 10-hour race across France to make our scheduled train crossing !

Full of ideas for new models, there are some lovely buildings in the region which are crying out to be part of our 2mm range. I’ve returned with 200+ photos and several books, now I just need to make some free time …

I’ve gone straight back into Brigade mode – there was a parcel of new prints waiting for me on my return, so this has been ripped open and I’ve been busily prepping them for moulding. In the photo below we have some large detached English houses (top left) and English town buildings (top right) – town hall, library, large school, hospital, clock tower etc. The bottom row is the start of range of Normandy buildings – several churches, a mairie and a set of rural/small village buildings.

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And in case you think we’d forgotten all about them, the remastered British spaceships are also ready to be remoulded:

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Shapeways Special Offer

News just in – Shapeways are having a sale on their White, Strong and Flexible material (a rough-finish white nylon). From now until August 6th, you can get 10% off using the code rah1v.

Chain Home

So if you fancy our recent Chain Home WW2 radar set, some 15mm Moisture Collectors or 6mm Power Pylons, or any of our plethora of WW2 Normandy houses, now’s the time to buy.

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More Power

Last week’s delivery of models included our Victorian power station, based on the Lots Road station in Chelsea, central London (although scaled down). It looks even more impressive now we have it in our hands, and larger than we thought – which means that it might end up as a resin model with metal components. The final set will include an assortment of sheds and workshops along with cranes, coal barges and a tugboat (most power stations of the time were located by rivers, presumably to make supplying them with coal easier).

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New in the Shapeways Shop

It was mail call time this week at Brigade Towers, which is always exciting. Yet another package landed containing a plethora of models, some of which were test prints for items in the Shapeways Shop. Clicking on any of the model pictures below will take you straight to the relevant page in the shop.

First up, and my favourite of this batch, is a set depicting a WW2 Chain Home radar installation. As well as the four receiver and transmitter towers you get the transmitter and receiver blocks with protective blast walls, a generator bunker, Nissen huts and accommodation block. All of this is modelled to 1/1000th scale so will fit perfectly with 2mm or 1/1200th or larger scale aircraft – I’ll be using mine with 1/600th aircraft once it’s painted.

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Staying in the same scale and with the aerial theme, the second and third sets are variations on our existing airship mooring mast. The first one has the same mast but with a set of huts similar to those formerly found at RAF Cardington (the mast is long gone but the concrete base of the mast is still clearly visible from the air, and the winch hut is still in place).

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Cardington Mooring mast location

The second variant has the same mooring mast with a two-storey building at the base – very much like the ones found around the Empire, in Canada and India.

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Last but not least, something we made by customer request; these are scaled up versions of our 15mm Moisture Collectors, designed for 25/28mm models (the Tau Firewarrior was the only SF figure of this scale I had to hand – he’s just there to show you how big they are !). They are sold as a set of six, but if you’d like to order a different number, contact us and we’ll set it up so you can buy the right amount.

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Enter the Shaman

Today’s preview is of a rather nice new light tank, the Shaman. This model has been designed by Kirk Alderfer and Zac Braham and as a combat role is intended for supporting coup-de-main forces inserted by VTOL, parachute or orbital drop (just like the US M551 Sheridan light tank, from which the idea of the Shaman was drawn).

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We should have it available in 15mm initially, then 6mm later. There’s no definite release date for the Shaman just yet, as it takes its place in our long (and ever-increasing) development queue, but we’re hopeful that we may be able to get it out in few weeks (we haven’t ordered a print yet as it’s not cost effective to order models one at a time).

In the Cage

If you watch the news and see anything of the western forces in Afghanistan, you’ve probably noticed that a number of the military vehicles are driving around looking like they’ve been enclosed in a metal cage.

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This type of protection, variously know as bar armour, slat armour, grid armour, cage armour and probably a few other terms as well, is the modern development of the wire mesh skirts sported by Wehrmacht tanks during WW2. It’s designed to detonate shaped-charged warheads at a distance from the main hull and prevent the armour being penetrated.

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We were approached by a customer (David Buckle, let’s give him full credit for the idea) who wondered if it would be possible to create 15mm scale bar armour using 3D printing techniques which could be fitted to his SF vehicles. We had a tinker and, although it’s not quite possible to make something that’s absolutely in-scale (the bars are too thin at 1/100th scale), we’ve managed to come up with something that we think is pretty convincing.

Initially we’ve made a set that comprises two long and two short pieces in Shapeway’s White, Strong, Flexible material. This is easy enough to cut and can be adapted to fit most vehicle types, and can be attached with superglue.

Shapeways – Bar Armour Single Set
Shapeways – Bar Armour Four Sets

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I also had a play-around and created a cage specifically designed to fit one of our vehicles – a Lynx APC. This fits snugly round the model and fits the shape precisely, with a gap at the back for the infantry access doors. If anyone is interested in specific cages for any of our other vehicles, let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with.

Shapeways – Lynx Bar Armour Cage

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I haven’t put the prices above because they are set in dollars and can fluctuate based on the exchange rate, and also the exact choice of material (it comes unpolished in black or white, or polished in white only). As I write this post a single set of armour is around £4.75, four sets together is roughly £16.00 and the Lynx cage is £4.00 in WSF polished.

You can order directly from Shapeways; however their shipping costs can be steep for small orders (US$9.50 fixed cost for any order). You can order these or anything else from our Shapeways shop directly from us – we’ll place one big order and spread the shipping costs. That’ll way will be cheaper, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer for your items.

Quick previews

Not one, but two parcels have arrived at Brigade Towers lately, bearing more prints of new models – lots of them. 2mm buildings, 15mm SF vehicles, spaceships and a few odds and ends as well.

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It’s going to take me a little while to work through all of them, clean them up and make them ready for moulding (including a dip in the infamous gunk tank), but we thought we’d tempt you with a few previews.

Firstly a 2mm model of St Mawes Castle in Cornwall, a 16th C. castle built by Henry VIII. I made it only because I spotted it in the background of a photo taken by the Brigadieress’ father and decided I wanted to investigate a bit further. It was used in some capacity in just about every war fought by Britain up to and including WW2, so it’s usable in many eras of wargame.

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This is a slightly unusual new item – bar armour, as seen fitted to various vehicles in Afghanistan. I’ve build two models, one set with four flat sheets of armour which can be cut and adapted to fit whatever vehicle you like, and another specifically designed to fit our new German Lynx APC. I have to give credit for suggesting the idea to customer David Buckle. We won’t be casting this in metal, instead it’ll be available as a print-on-demand item in our Shapeways store.

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Spaceships next – reprints of the British capital ships, plus the impressive looking Dreadnought (which makes the Pommerania look small !) and enough prints of the British fighters to immediately make production moulds.

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Lastly, some 15mm previews. The package contained quite a few models – three new hulls and around a dozen turrets. Here you can see a comparison between the new Garibaldi heavy tank hull and the Montsabert (the Garibaldi is a big beast), followed by the British Artemis APC and, probably my favourite from this set, the all new Gallieni tank destroyer.

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