A Fine Display

Nine days to Salute and counting …

One thing you will notice on our stand this year is that we’ve given it a bit of a facelift – we’re replacing all our old wooden display cases with shiny new clear acrylic ones, which are a massive improvement and make everything much, much easier to see. Although we intend to use them for the whole stand, they’re a bit pricey so we’re doing it in stages – first to be upgraded is the Celtos range, you can see the first of them below (I’d have got even further if I hadn’t brought the wrong set of figures home from the workshop last week …).

Also on their way are a set of clip-on spotlights which we’ll attach to the cases to make viewing even easier.

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FINAL REMINDER – we need any Salute pre-orders by the end of the day PLEASE, otherwise we might not have time to do them.

Plans for the weekend…….

Its just me (and the cat) in the house the weekend. No children!!!! Just time for me to play catch-up in the final couple of weeks before Salute. And my god I’m going to need the time. The list of jobs seems endless.

We’re having two full days of casting at the end of this week and I have a stack of new moulds to sprue and vent before then.

stack of moulds

We spent last night making the master castings for the new British spaceships. They all need checking, cleaning up and then popping into the vulcaniser. Then of course the moulds will go onto pile above and to wait their turn for venting.

british tins

Add to that trying to fit in making resin stock since we’ve pretty much got none left after our recent birthday celebrations, sticking heads on Belgian ladies (before popping them in a mould) and I also need to fit in a trip to the supermarket for my mother as well.

Since I’m not competing for television time with Scooby Doo and iCarly I’m also aiming to work my way through all of Yes Minister and Tales of the Gold Monkey over the weekend.

I can’t wait for Salute to be over……

All Quiet on the Western Front

We’ve been a bit quiet this week – that’s for a couple of reasons, firstly and mainly because we’re still working flat out trying to clear the order backlog caused by the anniversary sale weekend (two months’ worth of orders in two days !). We’ve also been doing a little bit of work on the website – I realised that whenever we have a bit of news like a release or other announcement, I’m effectively doing the work twice – once on the blog, and again on the website front page. So after a bit of googling followed by some HTML jiggery-pokery, WordPress setting changes, plugin installations and PHP coding, the front page of the main website has changed so that the news list is generated from the blog’s RSS feed. The RSS link on the front page now links to the blog’s feed as well. This means that a) I only have to make one post, and b) the website front page is more up-to-date and carries more stories. Go me !

The forum has also had an upgrade to the latest version of the PHPBB software. I was able to port over all of the old posts and topics, so we haven’t lost anything. From a user point of view it’s pretty much the same, but it’s easier for me to keep updated and also more secure. Go me again !

Now for something a bit more exciting … We’ve had lots of interest in the progress of the Royal Navy spaceships and this week we got back a prototype print of one of the ships – the Town class light cruiser. This was just a test to check the proportions, level of detail etc (no matter how long you stare at a 3D model on-screen, it never looks quite the same when you get a physical model in you hands). So it’s done in a lower-detail material than the final production print will be, and is missing the gun turrets (these will be printed separately and attached after the hull has been cleaned up). Anyway, overall we’re pretty pleased with it – the level of detail good, the panel detail has come out well and the ridged ‘skeleton’ looks excellent. The only changes we’ll make will be too the engines, which are too shallow and not well enough defined – other than that we’re good to go and will be ordering the production prints in the next few days.

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Are you sitting comfortably ? …

… then I’ll begin.

Many, many years ago, one fresh-faced spotty youth, at that time deeply immersed in the world of 6mm Moderns (WRG Modern Rules 1950-85) had a go at scratch-building a church from plasticard and DAS modelling clay. A second, equally fresh-faced and spotty friend saw the model and said ‘I can make a mould of that’ – so he did. Impressed by the results, FFSY#1 made some more buildings, FFSY#2 made more moulds and they sold the castings on the bring-and-buy table at the local wargames show (Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society open day – now known as Cavalier).

25th Anniversary

That’s the point at which Phil and I consider Brigade Models to have originated, all those years ago. It took a while to get the company started properly, initially selling our buildings through the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers, then making spaceships for the Society of Fantasy and Science-Fiction Wargamers (there’s a year scribed into the bottom of one of our early spaceships – 1996). Since then we’ve added to and then sold off the buildings range, added 6mm and 15mm vehicles, moved into Victorian science-fiction with Aeronef and then Land Ironclads, collaborated with other companies on a variety of games and scaled the heights of being able to purchase an entire established 28mm Fantasy range. We’ve gone from two members up to three and then back to two again. We started casting models over a gas stove on the kitchen worktop, moved up to a Tiranti benchtop centrifuge and nowadays proper industrial casting kit, each step funded from the proceeds of the previous stage.

And much to our amazement, looking back we find that it all started exactly 25 years ago. Cavalier is always held at the end of February, and using the Maidstone Wargames’ Society show game calendar and knowing what demo’ game we put on that year, we worked out that it must have been in 1988 that we put a bunch of our home-made 6mm buildings on the bring-and-buy stall and split the proceeds – around £25 in total !

So that must deserve a proper celebration. So here it is. For this weekend only, our Silver Anniversary weekend, we’re offering 25% off for 25 years. Everything* in the online shop is 25% from now until the end of Sunday (GMT – remember this if you live outside the UK !). You’ll only see this here – we aren’t posting it to any news sites or anywhere else (although feel free to spread the word via your own blogs if you wish). 25 years – 48 hours – 25%.

* – there are one or two exceptions, as in all of our sales – the 25% offer applies to everything we make, metal or resin models. Accessories, bases, dice, rulebooks and any models that we sell but don’t make ourselves are not covered. And postage is charged based on the pre-discount price, ‘cos the mean old Royal Mail refused to offer 25% off postage prices for us 🙁

Large scale Land Ironclad!

Occasionally here at Brigade Towers we’ve discussed the idea of upscaling some of our Land Ironclads models to a larger scale. Naturally these chats come to nothing for a plethora of reasons (mostly apathy it must be said).

Until now that is…..

Child number two, eldest son and heir has just turned ten and requested a birthday cake in the shape of a tank. Fantastic I thought. What sort of tank would a ten year old child like to have? Well obviously a Brigade Models Brunel war tractor of course.

Oddly enough the Brunel war tractor cake doesn’t seem to be commercially available (surely a massive gap in the confectionary market) so I had to make my own.

So after about three hours of cutting and icing she was finished.

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I’ll admit I did cheat and bought the cake since I didn’t have time to do the baking. I also decided that trying to add scale rivets to a cake was a little too much as well.

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In normal service British land ironclads would be painted either standard grey or a deep bronze green. However I decided to model mine in the “dress colours” as used on the vehicles that were involved in the celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

Brunel-1

And the most valuable lesson I learnt whilst making the cake? Don’t give in to your children and let them spend the evening baking cupcakes which means that you don’t start until nearly midnight. Making a cake until three in the morning is not particularly good idea. In fact its a very stupid idea.

And fortunately the small child seemed impressed with his cake. That’s lucky.

 

 

Elite: Dangerous

And now for something a little different……

If the picture below means anything to you then probably :-

– you’re in your forties

– you’re a little more round in the middle than you would like

– you owned a BBC Micro (or at least like me you had a father who bought one)

– you spent quite a bit of time playing arguably the best computer game ever – Elite

BBC Elite

And the reason for this nostalgic post? David Braben (one of the original creators of Elite along with Ian Bell) has a Kickstarter fundraiser running to enable a new version of this classic game to be produced.

The Kickstarter page is here and contains a lot of information about the game including gameplay videos, concept art and interviews. It currently has 11 days left to go and as I type still needs £313,062 to meet its target.

So what are you waiting for? If you want to re-live your youth then go and pledge some money. If you don’t want to re-live yours or you’re one of those disgustingly young people then pledge some money so I can re-live mine.

Elite Dangerous

 

 

It Was Christmas Eve, Babe, in the Gunk Tank*

* – with thanks (and apologies) to Kirsty Macoll and The Pogues.

We’ve shown you our Gunk Tank before – it’s where 3D printed models go to have the last vestiges of support wax and other associated by-products of the printing process stripped off of them. It’s nothing too sophisticated, just a glass jar (the largest one I could find) full of degreasing fluid. We just dump the models in there for 24 hours or so and it does a great job of cleaning the models and making them ready for moulding.

Our gunk tank has been very busy lately, cycling through lots of new models in preparation for a full-on barrage of new releases in 2013. Starting tomorrow, Christmas Day, we’ll be running our own Brigade ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ – a series of previews, one a day, of new stuff you can expect to see from us (mostly in the first part of the year). Don’t worry, I won’t be sitting blogging on Christmas Day, I’ll be enjoying my turkey with the Brigadieress and the rest of the family – through the wonders of WordPress scheduling we have the posts all lined up and written in advance, ready to be automatically published each morning. So check back when you have time, and enjoy the festive season 🙂

Movember

This blog is almost exclusively about wargames, shiny models etc – but today I’m going to beg your indulgence and highlight a good cause.

Movember is a charity aimed at raising funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer. The essential idea is that you don’t shave and instead grow a ‘tache for the month (hence Movember) and get yourself sponsored for looking like a pimp/spiv/wing commander (which is my aim).

My team is Headstrong (which is where I work to pay the bills – although Brigade is still growing, it doesn’t yet cover the mortgage) and this is me (I will try to find a decent progress-so-far photo soon).

It’s a bit of a laugh (it helps to be in a team rather than doing it solo) and hopefully we’re doing some good at the same time. And if anyone wants to donate a pound or two to help us along, so much the better.

Back to normal programming tomorrow – the PacFed tanks are coming out of there degreasing bath in a little while so I’ll be able to photograph them.

Never Look a Gift Horse …

Firstly, it would seem from the number of hits we got yesterday and the day before that our new 15mm models have attracted some interest ! Tuesday was the most hits we’ve ever had in a day, mostly looking at our news of progress (at last !) and the PacFed 15mm designs (the prints for which are due to arrive tomorrow, so expect a post on those as soon as I rip open the box !).

Anyway, onto the main point of this post. Christmas is a-coming, so I’m sure everyone is thinking of what they can get for that special wargamer in their lives. Well, we’ve tried to make that difficult decision a little easier with the launch of our Brigade Models Gift Vouchers. These are backed by PayPal, and can be e-mailed or printed and sent to the recipient. They are available in a variety of denominations from £5 up to £500.

Sample Gift Voucher

We’ll probably try to come up with something a bit exciting looking pretty soon, the default PayPal gift voucher is a bit dull …