At Brigade, Phil and I have pretty well-defined roles. I do the bulk of the sculpting and design work, handle admin, orders, the post etc while Phil has the vital task of making moulds, both vulcanised ones for the centrifuge and RTV rubber moulds for resin items, and doing all of our resin casting. We share the metal casting duties of an evening.
Last week, however, I finally dipped my toe into the murky waters of mould-making and resin casting – OK, I realise that in wargames manufacturing terms that’s about as newsworthy as ‘man makes cup of tea’, I’m not exactly breaking any new ground here. But I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve done, enough to want to share the results. So here they are:
No, it’s not some fancy cake mould ! It’s a 15mm SF colony base, or at least the first two parts of it (look carefully, there are two different modules in the four that make up this ring). During development I nicknamed it the Octo-Donut for want of a better name, but I’ll have to come up with something more snappy for the release. The final version will come with metal frames that fit between each part to hide the join, they’re still waiting to arrive from the printer. The modular design means that we’ll be able to provide plenty of options – straight corridors, T-junctions, labs, power modules, garages etc, but for the initial release these two pieces make an ideal self-contained base unit.
Look for a release as soon as the connecting frames arrive (due Friday) and can be thrown in a mould (hopefully not long after).
What this also means is that with a bit of luck I’ll be able to take over some of the resin moulding and casting duties from Phil and ease his workload a bit, which in turns means that we ought to be able to release many of the backed-up masters that we’ve not yet been able to get into production.
We haven’t had any previews for a while (see previous posts whinging about lack of time, sleep etc …). However, I’ve finally got around to cleaning up some new 15mm turret variants for the EuroFed vehicles and thought you’d all like a peak.
Gallieni Tank Destroyer
Juin AA Tank
Tassigny AA Vehicle
Tassigny with support turret
Glorie Self-propelled howitzer
No release date yet, but hopefully it won’t be too long …
About a hundred years ago (well earlier this year actually but it seems like a long time) we released the first of our “advanced buildings” in 15mm. Since then people have been nagging for the third one to made available. Well I’ve finally pulled my finger out and made the mould.
We’ll have some at SELWG this weekend. Not sure how many as it depends on the number I can cast before Sunday morning. We’ll also have the 15mm garage for sale as well.
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.
Surprisingly one of the more popular models in our 6mm Sci-fi building range is the humble garage, but up to now its not been available in 15mm. I’ve just finished the mould and made a couple of test castings so I thought that I’d share the results.
It and some others should be out in the next few weeks.
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.
And in case you think we’d forgotten all about them, the remastered British spaceships are also ready to be remoulded:
Following on from yesterday’s post, we have a few more 2mm bits and pieces – again, if you follow our blog regularly you’ll have seen these in master form but not as castings.
First up, three small coastal fortifications. The centre model may look like a small house inside a stone wall, because that’s in fact what it is – I visited the site last year and had no idea I was walking round a fort, from ground level it looks very unimposing (I was more interested in the various WW2 bunkers around it). However, it is Fort Vauville, a Vauban fort from the Seven Years War. If you want to stay there, it’s available to rent as a holiday home – and the beach on which it sits is fantastic, if a bit windy.
The two models at the back are more recognisable, being two variants of Martello Tower, of which almost fifty survive around the coast of south-east England and in many other places around the world.
The three forts should be available in a month or so.
Finally (for today) we have two non-military coastal models – a small lighthouse and a daymark (a lighthouse without a light, effectively).
A big box of new 3D prints arrived at Brigade Towers yesterday, so we’ll be previewing more new stuff next week.
Phil and I have finally cleared the recent mini-tsunami of orders, so we’re hopefully back to normal again – which should mean more time to post here (and, before anyone asks, I’ll be back to prepping the new British spaceship masters for moulding).
Amongst the flurry of casting, Phil did find time to pop a few models in moulds. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll have seen most of these before, but only in master form – this is the first view of the castings. We’ll have a new 2mm release at the end of this week and the models below will follow over the next month or so.
Firstly we have two railway sets, one of various English railway buildings including platforms, two small stations, water tower, signal box, and two engine sheds. And to base all of this around, obviously a pack of track is needed.
The next couple of models are to support our recently released Mediterranean village. There is a large church (very large, much bigger than any of the English ones) and a small (but very exclusive) hotel with it’s own grounds including a pond and summerhouse.
We’ll have more previews tomorrow.
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).
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).
There’s been a shortage of activity here on the blog for a few days.
It’s not that we haven’t been busy – just the opposite, in fact. We’ve been hit (in the nicest possible sense) by a bunch of large orders all at once, including two for new retailers (of which more anon). This is great, because it replenishes the Brigade coffers and allows us to spend more on developing new models, buying moulds, upgrading the stand etc. But the downside is that it doesn’t leave us enough time to actually do all of these things (remember, Phil and I both have full time jobs as well as Brigade). Every evening we spend at the workshop casting orders is an evening we don’t get to spend cleaning masters, making moulds etc. The price of success I suppose ! However, we’re getting close to clearing the orders which means we can get back to the task of releasing new models (such as the much-delayed British spaceships).
In the meantime, here’s something I made earlier … a Chain Home radar installation in 1/1000th scale, including transmitter and receiver towers and assorted buildings. These will be released through the Shapeways store since it would be utterly impossible to cast the lattice towers in metal !
And to go with them, a WW2 airfield set – based on a small airfield with blister hangars for 1-2 fighters, Nissen huts and various other buildings (including a couple of pillboxes). These will be metal castings in the 2mm range.
And finally, still on the same WW2 airfield theme, a larger hangar based on a T2 type.