Probably our least exciting post of the year, but it has to be done … 🙂
We’ve had the Royal Mail’s last recommended posting dates for Christmas this year; I’ve listed them below, something to bear in mind if you’re buying presents and want them to arrive in time for December 25th. Also bear in mind that I can’t always dispatch orders on the day they arrive, especially at this time of year when we’re busy with the sale. As you can see, you still have plenty of time.
UK (First Class mail) – Thursday December 20th
France/Belgium/Eire/Luxembourg – Tuesday December 18th
Western/Central Europe (airmail) – Monday December 17th
Canada/USA/Czech Rep/Poland/Italy – Friday December 14th
Greece/Turkey/Australia/NZ – Monday December 10th
Cyprus/Malta/Asia/Far East/Eastern Europe – Friday December 7th
Talking of the sale, I’m doing reasonably well – I have caught up a bit. All but a handful of orders up to last Thursday (22nd) have been sent, and several after that date (mostly orders for just rulebooks, which don’t need any casting and can be sent immediately). I have three huge orders to do that will occupy all of my time today, but by the end of this week I hope to have the backlog down to manageable proportions.
Now to see who reads all the way down this far … thanks ! Here’s a preview of a new Hammer’s Slammers tank destroyer, the Silverback. Readers of Miniature Wargames will have seen this already in the review section, but it’ll be new to the rest of you. I have masters for the 15mm and 6mm (hi David !) versions and production moulds for the 15mm hull have already been made, I’m just waiting on Phil to make the master mould for the metal parts. It’ll be one of our first releases of 2019 and might even squeeze in the back end of this year. It’s a bit of a monster, equal in size to a Slammer’s M2 blower tank and carrying the largest gun (25cm powergun) of any vehicle in the Crucible.
Our corner of the UK has been hit a couple of times by what for us is quite heavy falls of snow (5″-6″ or so). In comparison to (say) North America or Scandinavia it’s probably only a piddling amount, but here it’s a once-in-a-decade event and so has brought travel to a halt because we’re just not equipped for it. I was able to get to the workshop on Monday to cast and fill orders, and yesterday walked them to the post office (although they told me that there would be no more collections until today at the earliest, so as far as I know they’re still sitting in the corner of the depot). The cold snap is due to last until the end of the week, with more snow forecast, so I’ll have to see how the weather unfolds over the next few days. The Brigade workshop is on a farm in the middle of the Kent countryside and my journey is via minor country roads, some of which aren’t even wide enough for two cars to pass, so can easily be made impassable by a bit of snow. If there are any delays in shipping orders then obviously we’ll post news on the blog and our various social media accounts. It’s also likely to delay our next planned release – there’s no point putting new items on the website if I can’t get to the workshop to produce them !
On another topic, one oversight from last Friday’s EuroFed spaceship release was not to take photos of the underside of the two carriers, showing the position of the fighters. The pictures below should hopefully rectify this. I had trouble taking clear photos (the fact that the fighters are the same colour as the carriers doesn’t help !) so I’ve mixed in some CG images of the 3D models to help.
Our website shopping cart system, which has been working fine for ages (since the last time a bunch of changes by PayPal broke it) has started playing up again. I’d been wondering why we’d had a very quiet (ie dead) weekend for orders, until a prospective customer very kindly let us know what had been happening. It appears that you can place one item in the shopping cart and everything is fine, but if you try to place any more in it then this rather helpful error message appears:
I’m guessing that once again PayPal have made some changes to their system, and hopefully (as they have in the past) the problems will suddenly resolve themselves in a day or two. In the meantime, if you want to place an order with us, you can send me an email and I’ll get back to you with a PayPal invoice (hopefully they still work !) as soon as I can.
*UPDATE* 19/01/2018 – hopefully this is fixed and we’re back to normal…
This will be of interest to UK customers – Shapeways have lowered their shipping rates to the UK. I’m not sure if it’s the same to other regions, it’s worth checking their website. This could make it a bit more affordable to pickup some of the 3D printed items from our Shapeways store.
It has been quiet on the blog of late, mainly because the Brigade elves are feverishly busy casting and packing the Xmas sale orders and getting them into the post. I had planned a couple of modelling articles, some previews of new products for next year, but it just hasn’t worked out …
We have managed a suitably festive cake review (well, we have to keep our strength up somehow !) – it’s the latest incarnation of Mr Kipling’s Festive Bakewells.
Finally, a reminder – the last posting dates for anywhere overseas are long past, but UK first class post can still be sent up to the 20th, which is this Saturday. So if you get your UK orders in by 9am Friday morning (the 19th) I will do my utmost to get them in the post on Saturday and to you by Christmas (no promises, mind, but we will try).
It’s that time of year already – it’s rather crept up on us, due in part to the unseasonally mild weather which doesn’t feel much like November !
Straight from the Royal Mail’s website, these are the last recommended posting dates for Christmas delivery this year (earliest first – overseas dates are all for airmail services):
BFPO (operational units) – 28th November
Far East, New Zealand – 3th December
Australia – 4th December
Africa, Caribbean, Central & South America, Middle East – 5th December
Eastern Europe, Greece – 8th December
Canada, Poland – 9th December
USA, BFPO (static units) – 12th December
Western Europe – 13th December
First Class UK – 20th December
And we obviously need a few days notice to make sure we can prepare your order in time to meet these dates. So orders for anywhere other than Europe, the USA and Canada need to be with us by this coming Sunday (the 30th); ones for other overseas destinations (anywhere in Europe, plus North America) by Sunday 7th; and UK orders by Sunday 13th for us to have the best chance of fulfilling them in time. Obviously we’ll do our best to accommodate any that arrive after these dates and we will do our best to ship everything as fast as we can over this busy period.
Don’t forget that we offer PayPal Gift Vouchers in various denominations which make great Xmas gifts, especially if you have a better half who doesn’t know exactly what to get you 🙂
We recently got wind of a change to the Royal Mail’s list of restricted items that can’t be sent through the post – (wait for it) water-based paints. According to the Royal Mail website, no more than four pots can be sent in a single parcel, each no larger than 150ml.
(the snippet below is taken from the Pendraken website)
We don’t sell paints, so this doesn’t affect us from a business point of view, but we do buy them, and it will affect us as gamers because it’ll inevitably lead to increases in the cost of shipping.
Apparently it’s to ‘protect other items in the mail’. Fair enough, but this doesn’t sit consistently with the ability to ship a litre of alcohol in a glass bottle – surely there’s far more chance of that breaking and making your credit card bill smell of whisky, than there is a plastic pot of Ultramarine blue leaking its copious contents all over the bank statements and birthday cards ?
Leon Pengilley of Pendraken Miniatures has started a petition to get RM to lift (or at least modify) this ban. We’ve signed it, we think every other gamer should too.
It’s getting close to the last posting dates for Christmas again. You can find the official last posting dates on the Royal Mail website. However, to give us a chance to get your order ready, we will need a few days notice, so the last dates to get orders to us are:
Australia, Eastern Europe : Sunday 1st December
Canada, France, Greece, Poland : Sunday 8th December
USA, Western Europe (except France, Greece, Poland) : Wednesday 11th December
UK : Wednesday 18th December
If your order is anything other than a small one (> £20) or has any resin items included, please try to give us a few days extra. Obviously, if you can then please give us more notice if at all possible.
This is probably a good time to post a reminder about our Gift Vouchers. These are backed by PayPal and can be used like cash on anything on our website – they are also valid during our sale periods.
Shapeways are currently offering free European shipping until midnight on Wednesday 27th. We know that shipping costs are a major bugbear for some potential Shapeways customers, so here’s your chance to avoid them. There are a couple of caveats; shipping must be to UK, Netherlands or German addresses, and the order has to be 60€ (roughly £50) or more. That said, we have noticed in the past that Shapeways often have similar offers in the USA at the same time (we just don’t get the e-mails since it doesn’t affect us), so North American customers may want to check the Shapeways website.
We will be placing an order of our own, so if anyone wants to order one or two items from the Brigade Shapeways shop, less than the minimum amount, then let us know by the end of Tuesday 26th. You can piggyback on our order and will only have to pay the cost of getting the model from us to you (which is less than Shapeways shipping would be).
Our dear old friends the Royal Mail are at it again. Back in April they introduced a completely new price structure for UK packages with two new categories, small and large package, replacing the old parcel category. They also reviewed (ie increased) prices for overseas packages.
After a while with the new system we’ve been able to take stock of how this has affected us. The good news is that most of the inland parcels we send are still either large letters or small packages, so there’s no need for us to change our UK prices at all.
The main change for overseas parcels is that the minimum price for the smallest package has gone up again; we’ve had a few very small orders where the cost of the postage has been such that the total value of the order (goods plus shipping) has barely covered the postage costs, so we have ended up making very little if anything on those orders. So we’ve increased the minimum cost for an order by £1 for all overseas orders (Europe and elsewhere) BUT at the same time we have also decreased the percentage component of the shipping charge. The overall effect of this is to make very small orders quite expensive to ship (a couple of packs of flight stands or fighters, for example, is going to cost more in postage than the stands are worth – this is unfortunate, but it reflects the actual costs to us). But large orders won’t be a great deal more expensive, if at all (very large orders will actually see their shipping charges drop).
A further change we’re going to make is to introduce additional shipping charges for large/heavy items which don’t fit well in our percentage-based system. In particular this is aimed at the Celtos books, which weigh a ridiculous amount (the rulebook is getting on for a kilo !) and always leave us out of pocket on shipping costs. So these will now attract a higher percentage rate than other items. We show the cost of shipping on each item’s individual page on the website so it should all be very clear, but to emphasis this, any item that we categorise as heavy will have a weight symbol (below) shown next to it.
One advantage of having implemented this is that we can also do the reverse for lighter items that we can justify charging less in shipping. These include small-scale aeronef and spaceship fighters, Land Ironclads contraptions etc. These will have a feather symbol shown on their page to signify that the postage charges are lower.
So that’s it for now – hopefully these changes will keep our shipping charges reasonably accurate (until the next set of Royal Mail updates !).