Holiday Time Again

I returned home from Sheffield where I’d been attending the Joy of Six last night, and after a brief night’s sleep, the Brigadieress and I were up and off to Dover to catch a ferry to France. By the time this is published we’ll probably be mid-channel, on our way to deepest Normandy for a week’s R&R. Although in theory the cottage has wi-fi and I will be able to read messages/emails, don’t expect any speedy turnaround on queries this week.

Obviously that means any orders will be delayed until I return – I am up-to-date to last Thursday, but anything that’s arrived since will not be dealt with until I get back to work on Tuesday 24th at the earliest (and the likelihood is that there will be a backlog that will probably take the week to clear) – so apologies if you were one of the minor deluge of orders that arrived over the weekend, but I’m afraid it’ll be next week before I can get to those.

As a bit of fun, I’ve left you with something new and appropriate – here’s a version of the flag of Normandy (this is the Nordic Cross variant apparently known as Flag of St Olaf) – now available from the website.

VANF-402 – Normandy Nordic Cross – £0.50

The Joy of Six, 2018

Coming up in the next month is our next show, the Joy of Six in Sheffield on Sunday July 15th. Run by Baccus Miniatures, the event (as its name suggests) is a 6mm scale-specific event covering all eras and genres from ancients to Sci-Fi.

We’ll be there with a cut-down trade stand, carrying our full range of 6mm SF miniatures, army packs, rules, buildings and figures. We’ll bring along the full Squadron Commander range of starfighters (since they’re also 6mm), our selection of 3D printed scenic items and the full Small Scale Scenery range.

As always, we’re happy to take orders (for any of our ranges, not just the ones mentioned above) either paid for on the day or in advance. We can take orders up until the Wednesday before the show (the 11th) although obviously sooner is better.

We’re aiming to have a decent selection of new 6mm items for the day – all the new Slammers vehicles ought to be ready by then, assuming we don’t have any more irritating delays 😕.

As well as those we should have some redesigned models from the ‘normal’ 6mm range, a selection of new buildings, hopefully some new infantry figures and maybe even something big, stompy and two-legged. News and previews of all of these over the next few weeks.

One further minor piece of housekeeping – I’m off for a short break, back again on Monday. I’m aiming to get all outstanding orders cleared today but any new orders will be delayed until the start of next week.

GDPR

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulations – although it could equally be the initials of some Cold War era Soviet bloc state ! The new regulations, which deal with handling of personal data, come into force today so that seems like a good time to quickly go through our position with regards to them.

Everyone in the UK has doubtless been flooded with emails from many companies reminding you of their privacy policy and asking you to opt back in to their mailing lists. We don’t currently have a mailing list (the Yahoo discussion list has fallen into disuse with the advent of other social media channels and will shortly be closed) so we don’t need to do that. If we do start up a new mailing list, this will be purely on an opt-in basis.

As far as storage and usage of personal data goes, we don’t have a customer database as such. We retain copies of all orders placed on the website or through the post – these will include your name, address and email address, and of course details of the items you’ve purchased. We don’t have anything related to payments, such as credit card details, since this is handled by PayPal and we don’t ever see these. If you’ve ever paid by cheque, this goes straight into the bank and we don’t record account numbers or branch codes or make copies of the cheques. We never sell or pass this information on to anyone, or use it to create marketing lists etc. We don’t send out unsolicited marketing emails or letters.

If you ever wish to see what information we have on you (it will literally just be copies of any orders you’ve placed), just drop us a line and we’d be happy to oblige. Our full privacy policy can be seen on our website and is linked from the bottom of each page.

The Start of the Deluge

So Salute is over, which is a relief in some ways – the last week or so got a bit manic. We had a good day, saying hello to many gaming friends from all over the country and beyond (it was great to finally meet a Swedish gamer who I’ve corresponded with for over 20 years), and of course also shifting a considerable quantity of resin and metal !

We do have a couple of post-show notices – I think there were two gentlemen who made large purchases and left a small item behind (both my fault – I put the items on the stand and obviously missed packing them into their respective bags at the end of the transactions). In both cases I spotted it almost immediately and tried to find them but they’d already disappeared into the crowd. So if you’re missing a) a Russian Aeronef torpedo group, or b) a pack of satellites, drop me an email and I’ll post them on, or find us at a subsequent show. Unfortunately I don’t have email addresses for you so can’t be proactive and contact you myself.

I’m a little behind with mail order, but should catch up by the end of the week – apologies if you’ve had to wait an extra couple of days, I was hoping to get away with no disruption but couldn’t quite manage it.

OK, onto the main business of the post – the first tranche of new releases from Salute is hitting the website this week. And the very first items are in the Small Scale Scenery range – the City Hall, stone bridges and four lighthouses.

Die Alte Stadthaus is based on Berlin’s old City Hall, but we’ve altered the overall dimensions a bit to make it an 80x80mm square which fits nicely with the sizes of our other City Block models. The real one is roughly that size but isn’t square. It’s a two-piece resin casting, with the domed tower as a separate part.

The pack of stone bridges are the same length (40mm) as the girder bridges, and come cast in metal in four different designs based on UK and European prototypes.

The four metal lighthouses are again based on real world models, two French and one each from Germany and the UK.

SSS-8107 – Alte Stadthaus – £10.00
SSS-8108 – Stone Bridges – £2.50
SSS-8109 – Phare de Calais – £2.00
SSS-8110 – Beachy Head Lighthouse – £1.50
SSS-8111 – Phare de Kermorvan – £1.25
SSS-8112 – Westerheversand Lighthouse – £1.50

Something Had To Give…

Some of you may have seen this rather unhappy photo I posted on our Facebook page last week, showing our centrifuge with its guts hanging out. The motor had packed up at the most inopportune moment, as these things tend to do. Fortunately, a) we have a spare at the workshop (a legacy of the last time the centrifuge chose to pack up) and b) I had my tools in the car, so I was able to replace the motor. It took the best part of six hours to get it up and running again, so I lost virtually a full day’s work in the run up to the biggest show of the year.

I’ve done my best to make up the time, but with effectively only two working days left until Salute (Friday is set-up day) it’s obvious that I’m not quite going to get everything done that I planned to. Something has to give, so I’ve made the decision that unless some sort of miracle happens and Thursday becomes 28 hours long, we will not be bringing the Land Ironclads range with us on Saturday. LI is a large range that needs quite a bit of restocking and I just don’t see that I’m going to have time. If you were planning to buy any Land Ironclads from us, send us an email before Thursday lunchtime and I’ll do my best to accommodate.

Today was my last full day of casting stock (I have a little more to do on Thursday) and I’m almost done with new releases, just a couple of bits left to cast plus replenishing existing 6mm stocks. I don’t think I’ve ever used as much resin as I have in the last month, Centurions are big beasts…

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…