So we know what you’re thinking … you released all of these shiny new models at Salute, why aren’t they on the website yet ? So here’s what’s going on …
Firstly, we’d built up a bit of an order backlog over the last month or two (well, if truth be told we’ve had an order backlog ever since the 25th anniversary sale which we’ve never been able to clear). So to be fair to those people waiting for orders, we wanted to complete them before putting up the new items – after an order packing session last night this is almost done, there are only 3-4 left outstanding.
Secondly, some of the new items were rushed to be out in time for the show, and we haven’t quite got them ready for full release – we might have moulds and stock (well, what’s left after Saturday), but we don’t have decent photos of the new items for the website, we haven’t finished the stats to support the models in various sets of rules, etc. So we have a little bit of work to do to take the photos, generate stats etc.
And thirdly, we didn’t simply want to put up fifty new items to the website all at once and be swamped by subsequent flood of orders – having just cleared one backlog, we’d simply generate another. Frankly, Phil and I are knackered after Salute (it’s amazing how much work goes into preparing for one seven-hour show). So we’re going to release the new items gradually, one range at a time, over a couple of weeks or so in order to manage the demand. First will be the 6mm items – the Indonesian tanks and fighters – later this week.
So after weeks of preparation, late nights and long casting sessions Salute has come and gone for another year. Its always a busy day and again we didn’t get to see much of the show ourselves so have to resort to other people’s photo reports of the day to see what what was going on.
As ever we’re completely knackered. Fatally I sat down with the kids last night to watch some tele. Suddenly it was a quarter past midnight and we were all asleep in the lounge. After I got them off to bed I stupidly sat back downstairs. Once I’d woken up again at half three I finally made it to bed!
After having a couple of days off, we’ll get all of the new releases on the website to buy over the next few days.
Until then its time for a bit more sleep…..
Well, that’s it – the van is packed and ready to go, I’m just running off a last couple of bits and pieces off the printer but otherwise it’s an early night ready for a 7am start tomorrow. There’s been the odd hiccup (some combination of temperature and humidity means that the British spaceships I sprayed this afternoon look like they’ve been pebble-dashed !) but nothing we can’t survive.
We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible tomorrow – and for those that can’t make it for one reason of another, there will be many photo reports on the web I’m sure.
Three days to go …
Yesterday evening the Brigadieress and I raised the flag – the new Brigade flag that is (I have no idea what some of you were thinking …).
The old Brigade banner (below) was a home-made affair with a charm of its own, and has served us well for many years. However, it’s beginning to show its age and the time has come for it to be pensioned off into well-earned retirement.
Its replacement is a shiny new, 10-feet high feather flag from the Hampshire Flag Company (we’ll give them a plug because we’re very pleased with what they’ve done and the service we received). It should give you a chance of finding us across the vast acreage of the ExCel centre on Saturday.
Its just coming up to 1am and I find myself dremeling into the heads of Belgian ladies. Obvious really. What else would I be doing at this time.
I’ve one final mould to make for Salute and its the second one for the Bel;gian civilians. Unfortunately the heads aren’t a snug enough fit into the bodies to survive the vulcaniser without moving so each one has to be pinned in place. So I’m dremeling into the necks and heads of Belgian ladies.
Five days to Salute and counting … and both Phil and I are posting on the same day, so you can tell how busy it’s getting !!
So we spent all our money on some shiny new display cases for Celtos, all that remained was the small matter of moving all the figures from the old case to the new one. Simples. Unfortunately I don’t think I realised quite how long this exercise was going to take. There are 275 figures (give or take) in the Celtos range, many of which are painted to a very high standard, the rest aren’t. We decided that the unpainted ones should at least be displayed with a coat of primer rather than raw metal, so they couldn’t be moved straight from the old cases to the new ones, they have to be removed, taken away and sprayed, then brought back. But of course they’re no longer in the correct order, so each figure has to be identified first before being stuck in the right spot (hence a laptop with photos of all of the figures to ID them, and a spreadsheet for keeping track of where I’ve got to).
Ah yes, removing them from the old case … the old case was make of wood, and I have no idea what I stuck them in with – but I did a good job! The figures have to be levered out with a sharp knife, lots of brute force (and commensurate care with the painted ones) and then the splinters of wood that have come away with the base have to be removed. There have been several repair jobs where separate arms have come loose and have had to be pinned and glued, and some paint chips will have to be touched up.
I took over the dining room table for an evening for this exercise … three days later I’m still there, and the exasperated looks and comments from the ever-patient brigadieress are increasing by the day …
I’m sure it’ll all be worth it …
BTW, the Salute release list has been updated and tweaked again …
Eight days to Salute and counting …
We’ve been mounting the 2mm buildings on display blocks to show them off at Salute – these are the first batch.
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.
FINAL REMINDER – we need any Salute pre-orders by the end of the day PLEASE, otherwise we might not have time to do them.
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.
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.
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……
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.