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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…