The final phase of our British Aeronef replacement programme is a new fighter carrier model. This is the Furious, a two-deck vessel which carries up to 18 fighters. The model is resin hulled with a separate full-length metal flight deck and other bits. The main hangar deck is visible from the end and sides, so we’re looking forward to seeing lots of aerial mini-dioramas of the interior.
The Furious carries two new types of fighter aircraft – the Fitton SE-32 Scout biplane fighter, and Thornton Aviation’s TA-7 2-seat pusher heavy fighter. Both new models will also be available at Salute.
The fourth new British Aeronef is the Ark Royal, an Airship tender. Based on a commercial merchant hull, this has a massive blimp hangar amidships and a decent light cruiser armament in two forward turrets.
Something missing from our Small Scale Range has always been bridges. We started to put this right last year with the Girder Bridges pack, and part of our Salute line-up this year should be this set of four stone bridges. Each is 40mm long (to match the girder bridges) but are simpler single-piece models with varying numbers of arches.
More Salute previews today – and the first confirmed releases (that is, nailed down with product codes, prices ‘n’ all). This is a series of small merchant starships – probably privately owned vessels, running errands and cargoes (and possibly fugitives) for anyone who stumps up the price of a full load of fuel. Think Traveller Free Traders or, most famously from large and small screen, the Millennium Falcon or the Serenity. There are five designs in all, each around 1″ long, or roughly 75 metres at the 1/3000th scale that we state for our spaceships range.
A new merchant convoy pack contains one each of the previous release of larger merchants (SFS-5010 to -5014) and two each of the new smaller vessels, plus bases.
Here are some more Small Scale Scenery previews, to prove that we have something other than new Hammer’s Slammers models at Salute this year!
Below are four new lighthouse models – I’ve attempted to find several different styles, so (l-r) we have Calais (Hauts-de-France), Kermorvan (Finistere, Brittany), Westerheversand (Schleswig-Holstein) and Beachy Head (Sussex). These will be metal castings, the French ones are two-piece while the others are single piece castings.
We’re hoping to get first castings of these soon, so we can show you painted versions.
A planned Salute addition to our Small Scale Scenery range is this fine edifice, the City Hall. It’s based loosely on Berlin’s Altes Stadhaus but I’ve played with the dimensions a bit so that it’s exactly 80mm square, and fits in nicely with the 40x40mm block size of our other City buildings. It’ll be a two piece resin casting with the domed tower as a separate piece (it’s seen here fitted to a base for casting which is why I can’t photograph it assembled).
The weather is still pretty grim here – we’ve had more snow with another bout forecast for this afternoon. I haven’t ventured to the workshop at all since Monday, although main roads are clear the back routes are still tricky to negotiate. So, if you have an outstanding order with us (anything placed since last Sunday) then there will be a bit of a delay. The forecast is for a bit of a thaw from Sunday – the temperatures should at least climb above freezing – so I’ll get back to the workshop on Monday and should have the backlog cleared in a couple of days.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to postpone this week’s new release until I’ve cleared the order queue. Phil has also been off work for part of this week as his office was closed, so he’s taken the chance to get ahead with mould production so we have more new stuff ready to release.
I haven’t been idle – apart from walking the dog in the snow (which she loved, as you can see) I’ve been painting some new bits – I’ve now finished all of our new releases for the next four weeks. And looking further ahead, Salute is now just six weeks away. As regular readers of our blog will know, we like to have lots of shiny new releases to tempt you with at the show (and to make our overseas customers envious). This year’s focus is firmly on 15mm Sci-Fi and in particular Hammer’s Slammers – if all goes well we could have as many as a dozen new vehicles in lots of variants. We’re working on some important vehicle types that feature in a number of the detachment lists with the aim of making it possible to create those detachments again. The design work for these is mostly done, and we already have the masters for many of them cleaned up and prepped for moulding (a couple have already been moulded in fact). And the hope is that we’ll get as many of these vehicles as possible available in 6mm as well.
It won’t be all Slammers though – there are half-a-dozen spaceship masters on my workbench, some Aeronef in the works and today I’m working on new 2mm scale buildings. Oh, and we’ve commissioned some new (and unusual) 28mm Great War figures – Dib Dib Dib!
Having waffled on about all the new stuff, it wouldn’t be fair to leave you without at least one or two pictures – so here we are…
We’ll, that’s it for 2017. I’m now off until January 2nd, so while the website will remain open for business, no orders will be processed until I return.
In a rather unexpected turn of events, I did in the end manage to clear every outstanding order (except for one, but that was down to a resin mould failing at just the wrong moment), including one that came in this afternoon. The metal delivery arrived in the nick of time this morning, which was a relief. There were several very large orders which were all for similar items (6mm Slammers and opposition) which I was able to do as one very big batch, saving a lot of time. And I was also very lucky that most of the post-sale orders have been straightforward, either things that were quick and easy to cast or that I already had in stock. Which is great, as it means that 2018 will start with a clean slate rather than a 2017 sale hangover as previous years often have.
The orders won’t be posted until after Christmas – there’s no point, as nothing will be delivered over the holiday so all they’d do is sit in a Royal Mail depot for several days. I’ll shift them all during next week.
Finally, while waiting for the metal delivery this morning I made some resin moulds for some of next year’s early releases. This is what went into them…
So the Christmas sale is all over for another year; I pulled the plug at 7am on Monday, allowing a small flurry of last minute orders to sneak under the line earlier that morning.
Assuming all goes to plan, I should just about get all sale orders shipped by the end of this week, although I will be hard pushed to get to any others that arrive between now and Friday. Everything up to December 11th has already gone (apart from one which is waiting on a restock of etched brass parts) and there’s another pile of parcels which I’ll take to the post office later this morning. The one possible fly in the ointment is that I’m obviously burning through metal supplies much faster than usual, and although I ordered more last week, I don’t know when that will arrive – if it doesn’t get here by Thursday then I will run out, and production will simply have to stop until it does turn up.
Thoughts are already turning to the start of next year and the first 2018 releases. Unusually, we’re ahead of the game as far as new models go; we have everything planned from now until March, design work is all finished and we have most of the masters in hand. One of the early releases will be a batch of 15mm Slammers models, filling in a few gaps and increasing the options available to both Hammer’s regiment and other forces. Below you can see a couple of new variants of the standard M9 combat car; on the left is the M9A14 crew car used by the Lightning Division, which is essentially a modified command car with a pair of gatling turrets on the roof.
On the right is the M9A10 cargo car, an open backed flatbed GEV transport. Some units use a variant (the M9A16) fitted with a calliope turret mounting eight 2cm powerguns for air defence – we’ll release this at the same time, I just didn’t have a photo of one assembled. This photo was taken just before the masters went into a mould, so I might be able to sneak out a couple of castings by the end of the week.
The sale has gone off with a bang and a veritable Niagara of orders. I’m trying to keep up as best as I can, but at the moment I’m running a couple of days behind. All orders (with a couple of exceptions) to the end of Monday have been completed and I’m roughly halfway through Tuesday’s ones – although there’s been a slight hiccup with a minor broadband issue that prevented me doing today’s post in time, so they’ll have to go to the post office tomorrow instead. I generally tackle them in strict order of arrival, first-come-first-served, although if I get two orders for similar items then I’ll do those at the same time as it’s generally more efficient to do so.
Since we have no new releases during the sale, we like to post pictures of new items that you can look forward to in the New Year. A box of bits turned up from the printer at the end of last week and one of those was our first brand new item for the 15mm Hammer’s Slammers range. It’s an uparmoured version of the M2A4F command tank (designated the M2A4FUA). I’ve sat it on a standard blower hull for the photo since I didn’t have an uparmoured hull handy. The turret is a brand new 3D designed piece rather than a conversion of the existing command tank turret, and should be available sometime in January.
The French battleship fleet has recently had an upgrade with the arrival of the new Massena and Loire to go along with the Gloire and Charlemagne. This just left the carrier Les Arcs to be brought up to the new design standards.
And here she is – I am particularly pleased with the way this has come out. This is just the resin hull with metal deck and bridge – I haven’t yet added the array of funnels, masts and gun turrets to the model. To give you an idea of the look of the final assembled model, here’s a CGI image. It’s a lot bigger than the older model, slightly longer and much wider.
The new Les Arcs should be on the website in a week or two – I obviously need to assemble, paint and photograph this one, but the production moulds are all ready to go.