We Have Normality

Anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem.

I love the English weather. In the space of 48 hours we’ve gone from sub-zero temperatures and mounds of snow to ten degrees and watery sunshine – and this being England, it has of course rained a bit as well (which fortunately has washed away the slush).

I’ve been beavering away at the workshop and have shifted a good chunk of the order backlog which built up while I was snowbound – another solid day’s work tomorrow and it’ll be cleared completely.

Phil was also snowed in for a few days so has been ploughing through moulds like there’s no tomorrow – so in celebration of our hard work, here’s some new stuff.

In 6mm we have more options for other Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible mercenary units. The Lightning Division get the M9A16 Calliope version of the combat car, while the Waldheim Dragoons finally come to 6mm in the form of the M2A2 and M2A5 tank and command versions of the Icarus blower tank.

HS6-1712a – M9A16 Calliope Car – £1.00
HS6-1911 – M2A2 Blower Tank – £1.50
HS6-1911a – M2A5 Command Tank – £1.50

Update – It’s Still Snow Joke !

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…

Snow Business

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.

Whisper it quietly…

Don’t say it too loudly or the website gods might hear us, but I think I’ve fixed the shopping cart bug (woo-hoo !). It helps to have been a programmer in a past life…

So hopefully it’s all back to normal, please feel free to flood us with orders ! However, if anyone does encounter any residual issues, please let us know – I had to make fixes in several places so it’s possible there’s another example that I’ve missed. You might have to refresh your browser (F5 on a PC) to force the new shopping cart code to load.

I’ve spent far more time than I wanted to fixing this, so I’ll hold this week’s planned new releases back until early next week.

“Things don’t appear to be working at the moment. Please try again later.”

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…

A Belated Happy New Year!

Only four days late…

I returned to the workshop on Tuesday to tackle the medium-sized pile of orders that had built up over the Christmas holiday week. Fortunately it wasn’t too bad this year, following my last minute blitz to clear out the sale orders before I finished work (late) on the 22nd of December.

Although it’s a short 4-day week, we’re returning to normal with a new release planned for tomorrow. The moulds are all ready to go, but I need to get a move on to paint some sample models ready for photography – if this takes longer then the release might be delayed until the start of next week.

In the meantime, here’s a useful pair of somethings for the Imperial Skies players out there. One of the items in the kickstarter was a set of very useful laser cut counters, some for marking altitude and others for keeping track of command points. These sold out completely and there were no spare sets at all (I don’t even have a set of my own!).

We’ve recently had some new counters made so that anyone who missed out on the first offering can have their own sets. The originals were made from a special laminated two-colour plastic which was rather expensive so we haven’t used it again, instead these new versions are made from normal opaque acrylic, albeit in the same colours.

Set one consists of twenty altitude markers, ten HIGH and ten LOW, in red and black. The second set has twenty circular command point counters in blue. The counters are surface etched – this etching can quite easily be coloured using acrylic paint pens if you wish, and I’ll be writing an article on how to do this quite soon.

ISK-012 – Altitude Markers (x20) – £4.50
ISK-013 – Command Counters (x20) – £4.50

Last Update

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…

Merry Christmas!

More Than I Can Handle

The sale usually ends quietly, with the odd last day order, but most people generally get their orders sent in plenty of time.

Not this year.

I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and process the flurry (torrent!) of orders that arrived at the end of the sale. And I’m stuffed. With three days left until the Christmas holiday starts, I have (at a conservative estimate) four days work minimum to clear the remaining orders. If I work three 10-hour days at the workshop, everything goes to plan and I work at optimum pace, I might get the current order queue done by Friday. Of course, that assumes that our metal resupply appears very soon (I’ve burned through as much metal in the last four weeks as we’d usually use in almost three months, which is why I’ve been a bit caught out) – as mentioned yesterday, my current stocks will run out sometime Thursday.

This might seem like a bit of a ‘woe is me’ whinge, but there is an important message trying to get out, which is that any orders placed between now and Jan 1st will not be processed until the New Year. I have the full week off between Christmas and the New Year, so won’t be returning until Jan 2nd.

I will try to contact anyone whose orders are delayed on Friday, once I know where we are.

That’s All For Now, Folks!

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.

Communications Breakdown

As you will have seen from Phil’s post, we had a rather inconvenient internet failure last week. Apparently when our new router was installed earlier in the year, the engineer left the cable to the old one unterminated, which was causing lots of noise on the system and affecting the rest of the street and surrounding area. So last week they fixed the issue by essentially blocking us off, rather than tracing the real source of the problem – and then acting surprised when we complained about losing our service!

However, a new engineer visited yesterday, got straight to the root of the problem and, after a bit of rewiring (accompanied by a modicum of swearing) had us back online within an hour.

I’ve caught up with emails again, placed several urgent orders for packaging and other supplies, paid the bills, processed all the orders that have arrived in the meantime and we’re pretty much back to normal. I’m about 3-4 days behind on sale orders, or, putting a positive spin on things, most (not quite all) orders placed before the 28th have been posted.

I’ve also double checked all orders and issued refunds to three or four people that hadn’t had the sale discount deducted. I’ve also had a couple of orders with the incorrect shipping options selected, so in those cases we will need to issue invoices to cover the extra postage costs.

Onto something a bit more relevant that might actually interest some of you – here’s another of our new models to look forward to next year – or part of it at any rate. This is the hull master of the Neo-Soviet Mammont heavy tank, which is another 6mm model that I’ve scaled up to 15mm. It’s been restyled to match the other recent Neo-Soviet releases, and the hull will be in five parts – the main body of the hull plus four track units. As for the turret, that has already gone for moulding so I’ll show that off once we have castings. Phil delivered a master mould earlier this week, so if I have a bit of time I’ll photograph some of the new bits from that.