Polyversal Fulfilled

Great news – two large boxes landed on Collins Epic Wargames doorstep last week containing around 1600 vehicles and 1200 Power Armour. That means we’ve fulfilled the final part of our contribution to the Polyversal Kickstarter. Apparently we’re the first of the six miniatures companies involved to do so, but I’m sure the others aren’t far behind.

By way of celebration, here’s a photo of some new 15mm tanks in amongst the detritus of other new stuff. These are the Neo-Soviet Vombat and Bars, the former of which is already part of our 6mm range (although this is a modified new design). The latter is essentially the same vehicle but without the infantry-carrying compartment at the rear of the hull. Readers of Miniature Wargames may have seen some CGI previews in the Fantasy Facts column last month. More photos to come as I get them properly painted.

These Things Are Sent To Try Us

Yesterday the power went out at the workshop, mid-casting session, and didn’t come back for the rest of the day. Unfortunately this plunged me into pitch darkness and meant I wasn’t able to finish all the outstanding orders, which is a pain. Everything placed up to last Friday (Feb 3rd) has been packed and sent, but after that you’re now in the queue. With a bit of luck it will have been fixed today and I should be able to get back to casting tomorrow.

Sunday sees us (well, me) attending a new show – Red On Blue In Nottingham, or ROBIN for short. Given Nottingham’s position as the centre of UK wargaming’s Lead Belt, being the home of an awful lot of the major players (us excepted, of course) it’s surprising that there hasn’t mean a show held there in recent years. I’m heading up Saturday afternoon ready to set up Sunday morning first thing. I should have a decent stock of all of our new releases (assuming of course that I get power back tomorrow !). Because this is a solo show, I’ll have a full quota of army packs, starter packs, rulebooks etc, but no individual stock of 6mm, spaceships, Squadron Commander or Aeronef (although we have started carrying a selection of Aeronef capital ships) – I just don’t have the space or the will power to lift and shift that much stock. I will have individual 15mm vehicles and figure packs, Celtos and Magpie figures, Great War Belgians and the full 2mm range.

PacFed Progress

Although we’ve had a bit of a cold snap lately, during the day yesterday it was warm enough in the sunshine to work outside. I took advantage by firing up the airbrush and putting some paint on our new 6mm PacFed models. I have a game or two of Horizon Wars lined up at Maidstone Wargames Society this weekend, so I thought I’d put together a new force for the occasion. I haven’t worked out a proper force composition yet, so I’ve just painted up 2-3 of each new model and can work out exactly what to use later.

The paint scheme is really simple, echoing my 15mm TAS force. Over a grey primer, I airbrushed Vallejo French Blue followed by camouflage stripes of Light Sea Blue. Everything was drybrushed with Citadel Etherium Blue, and then washed with Drakenhof Nightshade. Where possible I like using a wash that matches the main colour of a model, it avoids the dark or muddy effect that can come from using a black or brown wash colour. And apart from needing to add a few small spot details, that’s it.

We’re really pleased with the way that the new PacFed models have come out compared to the originals. Phil is still working away at production moulds for the last ones, although we won’t be making them available until we’ve completed our share of the Polyversal pledges.

Ridgway Remake

We showed some renders of the Ridgway combat walker a while ago. This is a contribution to the Polyversal project, and is a model that, initially at least, will only be available to Kickstarter backers (it’s likely to go on general sale eventually but not for at least a year).

The initial version was a single piece hull casting with separate weapons – as you can see, the castings weren’t great with flash round the legs and the detail on the leg joints wasn’t as good as it should be. There’s also some roughness under the cockpit as well – all-in-all, not what we had hoped for.

So I went back to the drawing board and redesigned the model to have separate legs. This meant that the legs could be printed sideways, so the detail on the joints was better (orientation of a model is a very important thing to think about with 3D prints) and they’d sit better in the mould.

I’ve assembled a sample set, although I haven’t had time to paint them yet – hopefully I’ll get them done soon after Christmas. Phil has now made the production mould, so we’ll start casting models for Polyversal backers in the New Year.

Collins Epic Wargames have had some CGI art done of the Ridgway as well, created from our original files – we think it looks pretty good:

PacFed Upgrades

One of our most popular 15mm ranges is the PacFed (Pacific Federation), probably because of their futuristic look with the wide grav skirts and rail guns. The designs are based on their 6mm counterparts but with a rather different styling and much more detail (as befits some of the first 3D sculpts we made). We decided recently that we would upgrade the models in the Polyversal pledge to the standard of the 15mm designs and showed off the 3D models. Now we have the models in hand and we’ve started casting in anger to fulfil our part of the pledges.

We thought it might be interesting to show some side-by-side images of the old and new models for comparison. As you can see, we’ve kept them pretty much the same size and layout as the originals but otherwise they’ve had a commplete facelift. One lesson learnt from previous rescales has been to beef up the proportions of the guns otherwise they can be too spindly. In addition, I’ve also found it can be a good idea to increase the thickness of turrets as well, as a straight scaling from the 15mm models can leave them looking a bit thin. I’m sure it doesn’t need pointing out but, just in case, the old models are on the left of each picture 🙂

cougarcomp

komodocomp

ocelotcomp

quollcomp

We have now finished remodelling all of the PacFed range in 6mm, including a couple of 15mm vehicles that haven’t previously been available in 6mm (the Raeside and Dundas). We have masters of all of them which are just about to be committed to moulds (in fact I picked up a fresh batch of blank moulds from the manufacturers this morning) so there will be more photos once we’ve been able to cast the first masters.

SALE UPDATE

It’s all hands to the pump here right now – the Black Friday offer seems to have kicked the sale into overdrive (it was going well enough anyway). I’ve been trying to turn round orders as fast as possible to avoid any sort of backlog building up, but this weekend’s flood of orders means that I’m now running about 4-5 days behind – so orders placed up to yesterday will hopefully be posted by the end of this week.

Normally I try to process orders in the sequence that they are received, so that everyone is treated fairly. However, as the first of the last posting dates starts to loom into view I will prioritise orders so that they have the best chance of arriving for Christmas. Essentially, this means I’ll try to make sure orders get posted in time for their respective dates.

Casting and counting

As well as normal orders we’re also steadily working our way through the large number of 6mm tanks needed for our part of the Polyversal Kickstarter.  We’re progressing nicely with them and the first parcel has just been dispatched.

Pictured below are the 150 Boyds needed.

boyd

The first 300 out of 750 Ratels.

ratel

And half of the 150 Curtiss heavy tanks.

curtiss

After that there are 1,000 Catroux wheeled tanks and 2,500 assorted PacFeds.

And there is also the small matter of 6,000 infantry in power armour……

 

General Ridgway

The M-65 Ridgway is a one-man American Republic combat walker which can be equipped with a variety of weaponry depending on the required role.

It’s also an additional contribution that we made towards the Polyversal Kickstarter – everyone who pledged at ‘Adjutant’ level or higher gets a free set of three models, one of each type. The original design was something I put together a couple of years’ ago, but with the benefit of more design experience I felt I could make it better. So I’ve sat down and redrafted the model, and this is the result (or almost – there are one or two more tweaks to make before it’s 100% finished).

The Ridgway will ship to all qualifying contributors with the rest of their pledges, won’t be made available for general sale until 12 months after that.

ridgway-1

ridgway-2

ridgway-3

Polyversal PacFed

In the recent Polyversal Kickstarter, one of the starter armies available featured our PacFed models. We’re going to have to cast several thousand PacFed models to fulfill our part of the pledges, and we had already decided that we’d need to create some new moulds to do this. And we figured that if we were making new moulds, it would be an ideal opportunity to update the designs to match the resculpted 15mm versions. This means that everyone who’s ordered our PacFed models in their pledge will get these lovely shiny new ones instead of the original versions. We’ll be doing the same with the Catroux as well – a major change to this model will be to get rid of the separate wheels and make the hull a 1-piece casting.

Now there seems to be a commonly held misconception that because a digital version of a model exists in one scale, it can be magically resized to another scale with a single keystroke, new 3D masters can then be printed and away you go to the casters. Not so.

Think about it – our 15mm vehicles have separate crew hatches. Would you really want that in a 6mm model ? So small parts like these have to be attached/welded to the model (in some cases it’s as easy to simply recreate the geometry from scratch). Our 15mm Wombat has three parts to the hull – two metal and one resin. Again, this makes no sense in 6mm, so they have to be joined together, which invariably creates duplicate or redundant points and faces, so these need to be cleaned up. Scaling some 15mm parts down to 6mm makes them too small – in particular this affects gun barrels which generally end up too thin to cast, or even if they do cast they would be too brittle so that they would bend or break. So gun barrels have to be made fatter, but that means they no longer fit their mounting point so that has to be remodelled. I also sometimes make whole pieces (turrets especially) slightly bigger in the Y-axis – it just looks better. Some pieces of detail have to be enlarged to that they will cast better, and I often make hull plates thicker or recessed details deeper.

The same is true of the reverse process – taking a 6mm design and scaling it up to 15mm. In this case models often have to be broken into pieces to cast, and some details scaled down as they simply would look oversized in 15mm. Gun barrels have to be removed from turrets and hatches opened up – and so on.

So after that brief rant, here’s the result of some of my work – I’ve been taking the 15mm versions of the Ocelot, Wombat and Catroux and converting them to 6mm, and I’ll also have to create a version of the Quoll, which doesn’t yet exist in 15mm (still working on that).

Wombat CGI

Ocelot CGI

Catroux CGI

Once the Polyversal KS has shipped, our plan is to finish the job and remodel the entire PacFed 6mm range to match the new 15mm versions and replace everything at one go – this is quite a task that will involve replacing lots of moulds, but one that should be worthwhile. It further benefit is that some of the vehicles that have yet to be made in 15mm (the Quoll, Koala, Tanami and Bilby) will also be made available in the larger scale.