Spanish Skies

The sale is sailing serenely on – this morning I took another big batch of parcels to the post office, we’ve now shipped all orders up to and including December 8th (apart from the last one to arrive that day – no particular reason, I just ran out of time yesterday !). However, there was a big burst of orders on Sunday, prompted no doubt by the fast-approaching end of the sale next weekend, so that will slow me down a bit.

In the meantime, I’ve spent the odd hour or two working on further new releases – more Aeronef, following on from last week’s British smaller vessels. This time I have a pair of larger vessels – the first is a new version of the Chilean battleship Santiago. The old model (out of production for some time) was notable for it’s two huge quad gun turrets, so I’ve kept that aspect of the design, although it’s also been given two smaller light gun turrets.

The second new vessel is a Spanish fighter carrier. One of the aspects of the Spanish capital ships that I really like is the raised front-to-back walkway on both vessels, so I’ve taken this and enlarged it to make a narrow flight deck. Below this at main deck level is an aircraft handling area with an anti-aircraft turret at each corner. The fighter models on deck are British Fitton Scouts which I used for sizing purposes. It remains to be seen if the Spanish get their own aircraft design…

Aeronef Previews

First off, the latest sale update … we’ve shipped all but three orders from November, so I’m currently about four days behind – which isn’t too bad, it means I’m at least keeping up and not slipping any further. I’m hoping that we can repeat last year’s achievement of clearing everything before the Christmas holiday starts.

In between stints at the workshop I’ve been doing a little bit of design work. One of our goals for next year is to start replacing all of the cruisers and escorts for the major powers now that we’ve finished the capital ships (well nearly – the USA will get their new models first thing in January). We’ll start with the British, with the aim of having those ready for release at Salute in April. There are seven models to be replaced, and we’re also hoping to squeeze in a couple of new designs as well.

As you can see, I’ve based these new ones on the existing designs but with the addition of separate turrets on the larger vessels (which then gives us the option of offering an AA version of the Arethusa by swapping out the gun turrets for AA ones). And they’ll generally just be slightly better overall with more details and little touches like windows that are inset rather than proud of the surface.

Exeter heavy cruiser

Arethusa destroyer

Frigates (l-r) Steadfast, Cossack, Osprey, Cygnet

Orion Light Cruiser

Soviet Supercarrier

As an added bonus for Crisis on Saturday, I should have some small stocks of this beast – the brand new Neo-Soviet Ulyanovsk class super carrier. It now has the distinction of being the largest spaceship model in our range at over 110 mm long. It’s due for website release next weekend but I have enough advance stocks to allow me to bring a few along to the show – but it’s strictly first-come, first-served.

SFS-1221 – Ulyanovsk class Carrier – £12.00

Your Own Personal Crisis

Every so often we think to throw in a little curve-ball novelty item to keep you on your toes…

We have another new and upcoming model for preview today – it’s number one a new series of ‘Great Wargames Venues of the UK and Europe’ (which may well end up being a series of one model…). This is Waagnatie – Hangar 29, the venue for The Tin Soldiers of Antwerps’ Crisis show since it moved from the previous venue a few years ago. The Hangar is a former warehouse on the Scheldt in Antwerp’s dock area which has been turned into an event venue.

It seemed like a great idea when I started, then I had a good look at satellite images and photos of the venue and realised that it’s a lot bigger than I first thought ! The building is 240m long give or take, with 13 curved roof segments. To make matters even more fun, the building has a distinct kink in the middle where it follows the curve of the river bank. However, having started I had to finish it, so here’s the final model. It’ll be available for sale at Crisis next weekend, although you might have to be quick to our stand – I won’t have enough stock for everyone!

And while I have your attention, this is the FINAL REMINDER for Crisis orders – I’ll be at the workshop putting final touches to our stock tomorrow so any orders need to be with me by first thing

SSS-8118 – Hangar Waagnatie 29 – £10.00

Castles in the Air

For some time now we’ve wanted to produce some tiny castles for the Small Scale Scenery range. But it took a while to work out exactly what form they would take – a brief investigation showed that there was no such thing as a ‘generic’ castle, they’re all very different and generally built to suit the terrain around them. We could make one-piece models of specific historical castles, but there are so many to choose from and regardless of how many we made, we’d never be able to cover enough variations to please everyone.

So instead we’ve settled on making a series of castle components – we’ve designed a numbers of sets of walls, towers and gateways along with a couple of keeps. Hopefully that will give enough variations to produce a decent representation of most UK castles and some continental ones. The parts are all cast in our usual cream-coloured resin so should be easy to cut and modify (certainly easier than metal pieces !).

To give you an idea of what the pieces look like, I’ve put together a simple square castle with a keep; this was made on a 6″ square of acrylic, with the keep raised on a low motte made from foam card. It took no more than half an hour to assemble, and painting was a simple matter of spray (grey primer), wash (Citadel Nuln Oil) and drybrush (GW Longbeard Grey).

I’m still knocking the last gremlins out of the casting process (we’ve recently invested in some new pressure casting equipment which I’m still getting to grips with), but hopefully they will be available at Crisis in a couple of weeks.

Painted Japanese

One last post before the weekend – I’ve finished painting the new Japanese Aeronef and these are ready to go at Tabletop Gaming Live.

There are four new models – from left to right these are the new Shinano class dreadnought, and new versions of the Yamashiro and Yashima battleships, and the Ryujo fleet carrier. We have stocks of all of these models and fleet packs (the only thing I didn’t manage was to create a new fleet pack with the Shinano in – that will have to wait until they hit the website next week).

VAN-602 – Yashima class Battleship – £7.50
VAN-603 – Ryujo class Carrier – £9.00
VAN-615 – Yamashiro class Battleship – £8.00
VAN-617 – Shinano class Dreadnought – £8.00

10mm Research

The last of our new items for Tabletop Gaming Live are from our 10mm Sci-Fi buildings range. We’ve rescaled some more of our existing buildings, from the Research Base set, to this scale (I can’t remember if I rescaled the 15mm versions down or the 6mm ones up !). The first three buildings to appear in 10mm are the Accommodation Block, Small Garage Block and Utility Shed. Assuming sales on these are OK, we’ll do the other models in the set later.

Hardened Shelters

We have some more 2mm previews to follow on from the Hippodrome yesterday, although these are somewhat smaller and a lot further down the historical timeline.

In response to a customer request, we’ve produced two sets of Cold War Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS) of the type seen dispersed across military airfields all over the world. Both sets are of a size to accommodate a single fighter-bomber plus ground crew and equipment.

Type 1 are NATO designs, based on those at Leeuwarden Air Base in the Netherlands. These are simple reinforced concrete shelters which aren’t buried or covered over.

The second, larger type are based on a Czech design. These ones are covered in soil and grass to increase the level of protection – internally they’re probably the same size as the NATO ones, but the earth cover makes them appear larger from the outside.

Both sets are cast in resin and come in packs of six.

Although these are part of the 2mm range, they could equally be used as 6mm sheds or workshops – just a thought…

Counting Down to TTGL

So I’m back from my holiday and have cleared the order backlog, everything to the end of Sunday has shipped so things are officially Back To Normal on the mail-order turnaround front. I’ve turned my attention back to Tabletop Gaming Live, which is just five days away now. Although it’s very close, you still just about have time to get in pre-orders if there’s anything you’d like us to reserve for you – I’m casting tomorrow, so really need them by the end of today (Tuesday 25th).

As mentioned, because of holidays ‘n’ stuff we’ve not released anything new for a couple of weeks, instead holding some bits and pieces over to the show itself. We’ve already previewed the Japanese Aeronef – I’m just polishing off the painting on these and will take some better photos later.

We will have some new releases in the Small Scale Scenery range. The first of these is the largest model we’ve yet produced in the range – even bigger than the previous holder of this title, the Roman Amphitheatre. This is a model of a Roman Hippodrome, or racetrack, with the dimensions based on the remains of the one at Jerash in Jordan but with some details influenced by others around the world. It’s over 250mm (10″) long and 75mm wide, plenty big enough for a 2mm scale chariot. There’s no truth in the rumour that we’re about to launch a 2mm scale Ben Hur game, complete with tweezers to move the pieces !

Big in Japan

As mentioned, we’re looking to have some new releases at Tabletop Gaming Live, and these are the first of them. The Japanese Aeronef fleet is the penultimate one of the major powers to get an overhaul (the US are coming by the end of the year), with replacements for the Yamashiro and Yashima battleships and the Ryujo carrier. And as we have with the other fleets, I couldn’t resist adding an extra model, so we also have the Shinano dreadnought. The photo below is of my semi-painted prototypes, I’ll arrange for someone proper photos next week.