With the recent release of the new German 15mm vehicles (and the impending re-release of the EuroFed models) I’ve been working hard lately at redesigning more of our 15mm range (and coming up with new stuff too).
First up, and just about finished is the South-African Rhino wheeled MBT. There are a few details still to be done, but mostly dull stuff like the attachment points for the main gun and wheels. It looks particularly intimidating in the low-down, front-on view. My next project is a 15mm version of the Wildebeest APC, which has not previously been available in this scale.
At Salute we were fortunate to be situated next to Keith Armstrong of Armies Army, and I recently participated in his successful Kickstarter project and picked up a number of his very nice 15mm near-future British infantry figures. This has inspired me to go off and update our British vehicles to give Keith’s figures some transport and armoured support. The Apollo is much more like its 6mm counterpart – I was never really happy with the turret of the old Apollo model, it was too tall and not wide enough, so this version corrects that.
The Artemis has had a much more thorough overhaul, making it bulkier and looking more like something that could carry a full squad of infantry. The turret has also been enlarged, with the same guns as the German Lynx APC showing their origin as fellow members of the ONESS.
Release date ? Don’t know yet. Our first task is to get the British spaceships reprinted and remoulded, and I should be ordering the new prints for those in the next few days. I’ll probably take the opportunity to order some 15mm vehicles at the same time. But the nature of things with our part-time business is that I can make 3D models much faster than we’re able to get them moulded and released, so there will always be a queue.
We thought we’d give you a quick look at some more 2mm buildings that we’ve been developing. We’ve taken to the rails (some would say we’ve gone off them) with a set of railway tracks and trackside buildings – stations, platforms, engine sheds, coaling stations etc.
The girder bridge is a one piece item and will be available in our 3D-printed Shapeways store. The rest of the models will be cast in pewter.
This close-up of a platform shows how much detail we’ve managed to build into the tracks themselves. Each track is 0.5mm across, and a sleeper is 3mm in length. A bit overscale, but it’s about as small as we could sensibly go.
The second set is a series of town shops – larger 3-4 story affairs that you can use to create your own bustling town centre.
As always, trying to photograph these models in their raw white state was a nightmare so I’ve tried them after a coat of grey primer, which is slightly better.
Several British spaceships were today spotted making their way towards the Brigade shipyards, ready for moulding. Most of the fleet were there, although the new Fisher-class dreadnoughts were conspicuous by their absence (the real reason ? I left the Fisher file out of the package I sent to the printers … :-(). We’ve also had to get the fighters reprinted (I got the scaling all wrong and they were far too large – not doing very well, am I ?).
But the rest of the fleet is looking good now that the prints have been cleaned up and the gun turrets attached. Let the mould-making commence !
(top to bottom) Heavy Cruiser, Battleship, Battlecruiser
Minesweeper, light cruiser and destroyers
This new release was supposed to appear on Sunday, but we didn’t get to test the mould in time. And we decided not to post it Monday, it didn’t seem to be the best day for it (this model has been out of production for so long that if we tried to release it on April 1st, no-one would believe us !).
So we’ve waited until today – hopefully it’s worth the delay ! The Pommerania is one of our largest and (when it was available) most popular spaceship models. Measuring a hefty 105mm long, the model has been redesigned as a 3D sculpt and, after a few misadventures, we’ve got it back into production. Click on the photos to go to the Pommerania page in our webshop.
The return of the Pommerania means that we can also restore the German Fleet Pack, so that’s now available again as well.
SFS-300 Pommerania class Dreadnought – £9.00
More cool previews today – these are the first new models for Squadron Commander for a while, and the first sculpted digitally.
The two models are the Pedang interceptor (top) and Kampak attack fighter (bottom) – the names mean ‘Sword’ and ‘Axe’ respectively.
We’re aiming for a Salute release alongside the Indonesian ground forces, for which these would make perfect air support elements.
* – “The Wings of The Motherland”; motto of the Indonesian Air Force
The new EuroFed vehicle prints have arrived – they’ve already been cleaned up, primed and I’ve handed them over to Phil for mould-making. However, I did remember to take some photos before they went. As we did with the Germans, I’ve taken comparisons between the old and new models to show the differences in both size and detailing.
We’ve been a bit quiet this week – that’s for a couple of reasons, firstly and mainly because we’re still working flat out trying to clear the order backlog caused by the anniversary sale weekend (two months’ worth of orders in two days !). We’ve also been doing a little bit of work on the website – I realised that whenever we have a bit of news like a release or other announcement, I’m effectively doing the work twice – once on the blog, and again on the website front page. So after a bit of googling followed by some HTML jiggery-pokery, WordPress setting changes, plugin installations and PHP coding, the front page of the main website has changed so that the news list is generated from the blog’s RSS feed. The RSS link on the front page now links to the blog’s feed as well. This means that a) I only have to make one post, and b) the website front page is more up-to-date and carries more stories. Go me !
The forum has also had an upgrade to the latest version of the PHPBB software. I was able to port over all of the old posts and topics, so we haven’t lost anything. From a user point of view it’s pretty much the same, but it’s easier for me to keep updated and also more secure. Go me again !
Now for something a bit more exciting … We’ve had lots of interest in the progress of the Royal Navy spaceships and this week we got back a prototype print of one of the ships – the Town class light cruiser. This was just a test to check the proportions, level of detail etc (no matter how long you stare at a 3D model on-screen, it never looks quite the same when you get a physical model in you hands). So it’s done in a lower-detail material than the final production print will be, and is missing the gun turrets (these will be printed separately and attached after the hull has been cleaned up). Anyway, overall we’re pretty pleased with it – the level of detail good, the panel detail has come out well and the ridged ‘skeleton’ looks excellent. The only changes we’ll make will be too the engines, which are too shallow and not well enough defined – other than that we’re good to go and will be ordering the production prints in the next few days.
We’ve added a couple of new bits to our Shapeways store recently, both to complement our 2mm buildings and fit in nicely with the Aeronef and Land Ironclad ranges.
First up is a gasholder (or gasometer). I’m not sure about other countries, but we have these all over the UK – as you come into Victoria train station in London there are several en-route next to the Thames, and another famous one is situated by the Oval cricket ground. Our model depicts two smallish ones, one full and the other about a third full.
The second model is of an airship mooring tower – based on real examples, scaled to be roughly the height of one of our Nef models on its flying stand. Painted in a red/white colour scheme, one or more of these would look great on a 2mm Aeronef landing field.
The lattice structure of models like these makes them ideal candidates for 3D printing, as they would be damn-near impossible to produce in resin or metal without making them a) in lots of pieces, or b) solid relief models, which just wouldn’t look as nice. If anyone is going to Salute and wants to get hold of either or both of these models, contact us in advance and we can order them in for you to avoid shipping charges.
Having written a rambling piece about the new unit bases for Celtos, I mentioned that we were already in the process of making resin cast bases, but neglected to show any pictures.
As you can see in the picture above, there are five types of base
- ten normal infantry figures on 25mm bases (this is the basic warband)
- ten infantry figures, one of which is on a large (40mm) base (warband with large hero leader)
- four 40mm bases (most cavalry or monsters on large bases)
- three 40mm bases (Fomorian Blood Reavers)
- plain base (for very large monsters, chariots etc)
The bases have been 3D modelled and printed so the slots for each base are precise and fit perfectly. In this next picture, the bases have been given a textured surface and then sprayed with primer – if we didn’t do this then the texture material would be pulled off by the mould.
The next task is making RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanising) rubber moulds for each base (multiple moulds of the more common bases). I make these three at a time, to avoid too much wastage of the rubber. The bases are lined up in mould formers (in this case, they are very cheap metal flan dishes from Asda !) ready to have the rubber poured over them. The scales and calculator are to work out the exact amount of rubber I need (it’s too expensive to mix too much and then throw it away), the calculations are scribbled somewhere on the newspaper !
Hopefully we should have some sample castings to show you soon.
The German vehicles we previewed the other day are the first of our new wave of 15mm items that will replace existing older models. One of the aims is to scale-up the 15mm range – the older models were made at 1/120th scale, but the newer ones are 1/100th scale, which seems to be the accepted scale for 15mm figures. I took the opportunity the other to take a couple of comparison photos of the old and new models next to each other to make it clear what this means.
Although the scale increase is only 20%, the effect is more dramatic when applied to all three dimensions – each model is almost 70% larger in total volume, and we’ve also extensively redesigned the models with much more detail and improved styling. Overall, we feel they look much, much better than the old designs – see (and tell us) what you think.