A Blast-tastic! Brucie Bonus

I’ve been busy casting resin stock for Blast-tastic! on Saturday, and it looks like we’re going to be able to bring along some as-yet unreleased models for sale on the day. I’ve managed to produce enough stock of several new models – the South African Ratel medium wheeled tank and Oliphant SP gun, support and anti-tank gun versions of the Polish Suwalska half-track and new variants of the EuroFed 4×4/6×6 wheeled utility vehicles, the Blaireau and Belette (these latter two will probably be on the website at the end of the week anyway). We won’t have a huge amount of stock, but then the 15mm range is now so big that we’re only able to carry 4-5 of any one vehicle to a show.

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As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also cast up stock of the former ArmiesArmy RUSK infantry to bring with us (although they aren’t yet on the website) and I’m also optimistic that we’ll get have of the Tolero and Yeti alien figures (I’ve managed to sort the moulds so they cast reliably, I just need to churn out a few).

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And finally, we should also have something big, 15mm and stompy for you too…

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New Desert Domes

The 6mm Desert Dome buildings released at Salute seem to have struck a chord with many gamers, so it was inevitable that we’d want to follow up with some more. I did a little bit of tinkering with my 3D design software to come up with five new buildings of various types, and the prints of these turned up earlier this week. I haven’t yet had time to fit them with doors and windows but you get the idea I’m sure. I’m hoping to be able to cast the large multi-dome one in the foreground in one piece.

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I’ve also been working at new 15mm vehicles – this is the Ratel medium tank for our South African force, scaled up from the 6mm original but with a heap of extra detail.

And lastly, here’s another new 15mm building – an upscale of the 6mm Plinth Dwelling. Which seems currently to be in use as a Chinese command post…

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Stockpiling

Normally Friday would be new release day here (although lately it’s been Mondays as well as we push out the Armies Army 15mm figures). Sadly, today we have nothing for you. It’s not that we don’t want to, or even that we don’t have anything – a quick count-up reveals that our new releases for the next four or five weeks are pretty much lined up and ready to go. It’s simply that we’ve been too busy ! As recently revealed, we have a new US stockist in Scale Creep Miniatures, and Mark sent us his initial stock order at the end of last week. This was to send the Brigade foundries into unprecedented overdrive, casting all manner of metal and resin items to ship off to the states.

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But not immediately, as our friends John and John at Pico Armor had sent us a restock order ready for Historicon just a few hours earlier, so we weren’t even able to start on Mark’s order until Tuesday. And in amongst this of course, we have to deal with normal website orders that arrive every day.

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As a result, Phil and I have done nothing this week apart from production casting, so the rather splendid new model that we had lined up to release today lies forlorn and unpainted on my workbench. We’ll just have to push the release schedule back a week, but hopefully we’ll be able to return to normal next Friday.

As a taster of things to come (although it’s not in the next few releases, it’s a bit further down the line), how about this ? It’s the Kirin Combat Walker, which will be part of our Mercenary Brigade force in 15mm (and hopefully 6mm as well down the line). This one was designed by Kirk Alderfer with input from Zac Braham, the pairing that designed the rest of the Mercenary vehicles. The arm mounts are designed to accept any of the weapons from the Sohei tank, while the shoulder points will take a number of items including missile pods, sensor pods, the standard Mercenary secondary gun and even a spotlight.

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Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

… which is why it’s taken a little bit longer to get all of our models into production. A combination of a failed temple mould (and a master destroyed trying to get it out of the mould !) and a leaky mould box (which is messy…) meant that a couple of models have been delayed slightly. The Pantheon mould has now been repaired and a replacement temple master has arrived, so it’s full steam ahead again. Below you can see the first casting of the Pantheon, the new master of the temple and, as a bonus, the diminutive Temple of Vesta, the reconstructed ruins of which are located in the forum in Rome.

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In the same box which brought the new temple were some considerably bigger offerings. Our new 6mm Desert Dome buildings have been strong sellers since they were released, and we’ve had a number of comments along the lines of “I’d like to see these in 15mm”. Ever willing to please, I’ve scaled up the three smaller models as you can see below. These are the basic structures without doors, windows and details – as a guide to size, the mat they are on has a 1cm grid, and the taller tower is around 12cm high. Although I’ll start mould-making straight away, it’ll take a little while to get all three ready – I simply don’t have enough Lego to make mould boxes for all three at one go !

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When in Rome…

Although we’re still steadily adding our Salute collection to the website, we’re already looking forward to releases after that. The Small Scale Scenery range is still proving to be very popular, and our next releases will be somewhat older than the models we’ve created up to now.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working hard on some Roman buildings. I have the first draft of some town buildings including insulae (apartments) and domus (villas) as well as shops and other buildings. This will be expanded to a full set of around 20 models when complete.

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I’ve also worked up some larger models – a temple and theatre, and a model of the Pantheon, the great temple in Rome built by Marcus Agrippa and reconstructed by Hadrian.

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Theatre

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The town buildings will be metal castings, the larger buildings resin. Expect to see them sometime in June.

Air Traffic Control

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Keen-eyed readers of John Treadaway’s column in the April issue of Miniature Wargames would have noticed a new model from us which has yet to be seen anywhere else – the 15mm Control Tower. This is a pretty huge new model (over 10″ tall – there are a few infantry by the door to give a sense of scale) which is part of the Colony Base set and is compatible with existing pieces in the range. Given the very limited time remaining before Salute on Saturday (and the fact that I ran out of resin earlier today …), we have only had time to cast a very small number of Control Towers for the show, so if you want one, get to us early !

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B15-319 – Control Tower – £40.00
B15-319a – Control Tower (single height) – £35.00

6mm Mercenaries

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I spent yesterday at the workshop stocking up on our new releases, including the 6mm Mercenaries. I’ve also painted a sample set (as you can see above) and we’re really pleased with the way these have come out.

We will have a number of packs available for the Mercenaries, so today we thought we’d detail the contents.

IC-1501 – Mercenary Army Pack – £35.00
Contains: 12 Sohei (9 with DS gun and 1 each with powergun, gatling and laser); 12 Shaman (9 standard and 3 Firefly); 8 Magnus APC; 4 Legion Rocket Launchers; 3 Wizard Jeep; 48 infantry
IC-1511 – Mercenary Light Tank Company – £8.75
Contains: 12 Shaman (9 standard and 3 Firefly);1 Wizard Jeep
IC-1512 – Mercenary Heavy Tank Company – £14.00
Contains: 12 Sohei (9 with DS gun and 1 each with powergun, gatling and laser); 1 Wizard Jeep
IC-1513 – Mercenary Infantry Company – £11.75
Contains: 8 Magnus APC; 1 Wizard Jeep; 48 infantry
IC-1511 – Mercenary Support Company – £8.75
Contains 4 Legion Rocket Launchers; 4 Warlock Support Tanks; 4 Ontos Tank Destroyers; 1 Wizard Jeep

Most of our Mercenary stock will be concentrated in packs on Saturday; we won’t have a great deal of individual models to sell. The new batch of moulds that we’ve used to produce these new releases are giving us a little bit of trouble – they seem to get hot very quickly and start flashing. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but when you’re trying to churn out lots and lots of models in a hurry it gets very frustrating.

Today is also your final, final chance to get in any pre-orders. I’m casting resin models today and tomorrow is the last day at the workshop casting metal – Friday will be spent packing the van and travelling up to the ExCel to start setting up the stand.

Desert Domes

Sneaking onto the Salute release list at the last minute are some new SF buildings. These are a new style, constructed of overlapping domes and cylinders – a move away from the Middle-eastern style of the existing desert models.

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Five models will be available on Saturday, exact stocks depend on how many more I can cast this week …

B300-401 – Large Domed Building – £2.50
B300-402 – Medium Cylindrical Building – £2.00
B300-403 – Small Cylindrical Building – £1.50
B300-404 – Small Multi-dome Dwelling – £1.00
B300-405 – Small Oval Dwelling – £1.00

Palmerston’s Follies

The postie came again yesterday, with what is the final batch of new masters for Salute. Such is our awesome efficiency (!) that these are already sitting in slowly curing rubber, ready for casting later this week. However, I swiftly photographed them before they were submerged in silicon for another Salute preview.

Palmerston’s Follies was the derogatory term applied, initially to forts around the Portsmouth area, but then to a swathe of forts built in the late C.19th. The term is taken from the First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Palmerston, during whose tenure the first installations were built (see here and here for more information). They were built in response to a supposed threat of French invasion which of course never came.

This new batch of models represents some of the defences around Portsmouth, in particular the four forts built in the Solent. Horse Sands and No Mans Land forts were the largest and nearly identical. Both were circular structures, around 200 feet in diameter. Initially the plans included five twin turrets on the roof but these were abandoned before construction began – but we’ve decided to make both the final version as built, and the proposed turreted design.

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Spithead was also circular although somewhat smaller, with only one gun deck.

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The last Solent fort was the rather oddly shaped St Helens fort. This was intended to be much larger but the sea bottom was found to be very unstable and unable to take the weight of the proposed design, so a much smaller fort was built instead with just three guns.

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As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also modelled Southsea Castle, which lies on the eastern Solent coast. The was originally built in 1544 as one of Henry VIII’s Device forts. It was heavily updated in 1814, with the whole north wall being moved 20-30 feet north which changed the layout completely. I’ve modelled both designs, as built (left) and after the reconstruction (right).

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I must thank Phillip Russell for his initial idea and help with plans and details of the Solent forts. All of the forts have been modified since construction, two are now luxury hotels and all sorts of extra buildings and towers have been added – it was quite a job working out what was original and what was added later, hopefully I have most of it right. St helens in particular was quite tricky to model as photographs of the upper surface are very hard to come by.

Another fine day …

In contrast to yesterday’s near gales, today was a bit calmer and warmer – so perfect weather for casting outdoors again. As well as casting for orders and Salute stock, I was able to try out some new moulds for both the 15mm Polish half-tracks and the Soviet spaceship carrier hull.

As always with new moulds, it takes two or three castings to work out all of the gremlins and find the bits that need particular attention to avoid air bubbles. The half-tracks in particular were troublesome, but the castings got progressively better as I went along and I ended the day with assembled versions of each of the three hull types. Most of the metal parts such as tracks, wheels, turrets and hatches are existing components so I was able to put some together – only the guns for the support version have yet to be moulded.

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The Soviet carrier looks pretty good – I only have one finished casting so far which has an air bubble or two, but it’s still pretty imposing. It has the same bridge and engines as the battleship, and is a ‘battle-carrier’ design with two heavy turrets at the front and the flight deck at the rear.

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I also photographed some castings of the new 15mm infantry while I was prepping them for production moulds. This is the first pack, eight pulse rifle-armed grunts.

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Finally, the new turret for the Shaman Firefly has arrived – here it is sitting on a hull, next to the existing version so you can see the differences.

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