Although we’ve had a bit of a cold snap lately, during the day yesterday it was warm enough in the sunshine to work outside. I took advantage by firing up the airbrush and putting some paint on our new 6mm PacFed models. I have a game or two of Horizon Wars lined up at Maidstone Wargames Society this weekend, so I thought I’d put together a new force for the occasion. I haven’t worked out a proper force composition yet, so I’ve just painted up 2-3 of each new model and can work out exactly what to use later.
The paint scheme is really simple, echoing my 15mm TAS force. Over a grey primer, I airbrushed Vallejo French Blue followed by camouflage stripes of Light Sea Blue. Everything was drybrushed with Citadel Etherium Blue, and then washed with Drakenhof Nightshade. Where possible I like using a wash that matches the main colour of a model, it avoids the dark or muddy effect that can come from using a black or brown wash colour. And apart from needing to add a few small spot details, that’s it.
We’re really pleased with the way that the new PacFed models have come out compared to the originals. Phil is still working away at production moulds for the last ones, although we won’t be making them available until we’ve completed our share of the Polyversal pledges.
A recent release from Osprey Games is the Rogue Stars rulebook. Rather than attempt my own description of how they work, here’s a quote directly from the Osprey website:
Rogue Stars is a character-based science fiction skirmish wargame, where players command crews of bounty hunters, space pirates, merchants, prospectors, smugglers, mercenary outfits, planetary police and other such shady factions from the fringes of galactic civilisation. Crews can vary in size, typically from four to six, and the character and crew creation systems allow for practically any concept to be built. Detailed environmental rules that include options for flora, fauna, gravity, dangerous terrain and atmosphere, and scenario design rules that ensure that missions are varied and demand adaptation and cunning on the parts of the combatants, make practically any encounter possible. Run contraband tech to rebel fighters on an ocean world while hunted by an alien kill-team or hunt down a research vessel and fight zero-gravity boarding actions in the cold depths of space – whatever you can imagine, you can do.
The rules are mainly intended for 28mm figures, but there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t be played with 15mm ones, which is what I intend to do. Some of our figure packs, such as the Human Mercenaries or Alien Bounty Hunters, are perfectly suited to creating a Rogue Stars force, or you can go special forces with our SAS, Spetsnaz or Royal Marine packs. Just about any of our normal infantry figures would make a planetary militia group, or create a team of escaped convicts using our Penal Troopers.
After a minor hiccup with our order, we finally have stocks of the rulebook which we’re selling at slightly less than the RRP.
Back in the days of the Imperial Skies Kickstarter, we decided to remake two Japanese cruiser models, the Akashi and Yakumo, since the original moulds were in need of replacement. For some reason these two models seemed to be cursed – the first designs wouldn’t cast reliably (we managed to get enough out for the Kickstarter pledges but it took an awful lot of miscasts to produce them), then we managed to damage one of the replacement masters before moulding so it had to be reprinted again, and then the second set of designs wouldn’t cast reliably either !
However, after a third (or possibly fourth – I’ve lost count) iteration we finally have a reliable working production mould for the two models and everyone else can at last purchase the two new redesigned versions. The overall layout of the models hasn’t changed, but the detail has been improved and the Yakumo has gained separate turrets rather than the original cast-on ones. The two new designs will also appear in fleet packs from now on.
VAN-604 – Yakumo class Heavy Cruiser – £3.50 VAN-605 – Akashi class Light Cruser – £3.00
So … I mentioned a few days ago that we weren’t able to get hold of any stocks of clear flying stands for the time being. As an alternative we have brought in some rather spiffing white stands, which are exactly the same as the clear ones, just, well, not clear !
Hadrian’s Wall marks what was the northern limit of the Roman Empire, spanning England from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth. It runs for 73 miles and was built to keep the Picts in check. Much of the base of the wall is still in existence, although in the Middle Ages it was used as an easy source of building materials so none of the upperworks remains.
Today’s new release in our Small Scale Scenery range is a pack containing a roughly half-mile section of the wall. It consists of 15 50mm-long sections, which works out at 750m in total at 1/1000th scale (so only 146 packs would be needed to model the entire wall…). One of the sections has a gated mile-castle while two others have watchtowers built in. The wall had 80 milecastles, roughly one Roman mile apart as the name suggests, with two watchtowers in between each one.
Since none of the remaining wall above 10 feet remains, the exact design of the upper wall and towers isn’t known. I’ve looked at several different reconstructions and have gone with a simple pitched roof design. Every five miles were a series of larger forts, which will form part of a later release.
Of course, at such a small scale this model would have potentially many other uses, such as creating the perimeter of a walled town.
I feel like we’re fighting a constant stream of niggling problems at the moment. PayPal are rolling out updates to their shopping cart software which keep breaking (if only temporarily) our website in minor but irritating ways – firstly there was the issue with shipping costs, which was then followed by the (fortunately brief) problem with VAT calculations. Touching as much wood as I can find, I think I’ve solved (or worked around) both of these.
The Brigade printer (barely two years old) has been playing up and the black heads are constantly clogging, which is costing a fortune in ink for head cleaning – to the extent that a new printer might be cheaper than the ink cartridges I keep buying. The last gasp is a third-party head cleaning kit, so wish me luck with that …
The latest one ? Back in early November I noticed we were getting low on flying stands and put in an order to get us through the sale. We received a partial order before Christmas (most of the black stands but no clear) and we’ve now been told that the manufacturer’s injection moulding machine is out of action and it could be weeks or even months before we get any more of either type. This is a pretty critical item to run out of, since they are supplied in all Aeronef fleet, flotilla and starter packs.
So at the moment we’re limited to just black bases. However, as an alternative they’re offered us white flying stands so we’ve ordered a big batch of those and will be using them as replacements in Aeronef fleet packs as soon as they arrive.
On the plus side, yesterday I cleared the order backlog and everything up until the end of this weekend has been cast up, packed and will be sent later today (woo-hoo !). And Phil has been churning out moulds like there’s no tomorrow, so the new release list is looking good 🙂
Last year we released our 15mm Habitation Dome, which has proved to be a very popular model. So once again, in response to demand (especially from New Zealand !) we’ve hit the magic ‘shrink’ button and created a 6mm version.
The self-contained unit consists of an octagonal base building which houses power, air and water recycling plus storage facilities. The main airlock is located at the front of this section. The spherical main section (technically a truncated icosahedron) provides complete living quarters for up to four occupants, or can be used for workshops, laboratories or as a command and control centre.
Unlike its bigger cousin, the 6mm version is a single piece resin casting, so putting together your 6mm moonbase is a piece of cake.
As a New Year comes around, our Neo-Soviet spacefleet receive a boost in the form of three new vessels. The Slava-class Missile Cruiser is fitted with two missile pods each carrying four 18K64-series missiles and a decent gun battery to back them up.
The Yerevan-class heavy destroyer is an attempt to bring long range firepower to escort units, by fitting a capital ship class turret at the expense of pretty much any other weaponry.
The Burun-class missile corvette carries the same 18K64 missiles as the Slava, and little else – it’s virtually a fire-and-forget ship.
SFS-1222 – Slava class Missile Cruiser – £2.50 SFS-1231 – Yerevan class Heavy Destroyer – £1.25 SFS-1250 – Burun class Missile Corvette – £0.75
And … whisper it very quietly, in case the website hears, but it’s quite possible that I’ve fixed the recent shipping and VAT calculation bugs in the shopping cart system. Fingers crossed !
We showed some renders of the Ridgway combat walker a while ago. This is a contribution to the Polyversal project, and is a model that, initially at least, will only be available to Kickstarter backers (it’s likely to go on general sale eventually but not for at least a year).
The initial version was a single piece hull casting with separate weapons – as you can see, the castings weren’t great with flash round the legs and the detail on the leg joints wasn’t as good as it should be. There’s also some roughness under the cockpit as well – all-in-all, not what we had hoped for.
So I went back to the drawing board and redesigned the model to have separate legs. This meant that the legs could be printed sideways, so the detail on the joints was better (orientation of a model is a very important thing to think about with 3D prints) and they’d sit better in the mould.
I’ve assembled a sample set, although I haven’t had time to paint them yet – hopefully I’ll get them done soon after Christmas. Phil has now made the production mould, so we’ll start casting models for Polyversal backers in the New Year.
Collins Epic Wargames have had some CGI art done of the Ridgway as well, created from our original files – we think it looks pretty good:
So that’s pretty much it for the year. We’ve managed to ship out all the sale orders (the UK ones went on Wednesday to catch the last post and the overseas ones on Thursday), plus any other orders that arrived after the sale up to Tuesday – if you placed an order after that, I’m afraid we won’t get to it until the New Year now.
We have one small release to round off the year – two sets of alien beasties, hunter and prey. The hunters are the nasty looking Furoraptors, bipedal carnivores with big teeth and an appetite for anything that moves (and a willingness to go after it, however big it might be).
On the prey side are the docile Shomix, quadruped herd animals that roam the plains of Eta Odin IV, spending much of their time running and hiding from the Furoraptors ! They’re also hunted for food with bow and spear by the native Tolero.
Both come in packs of four, with two poses for the ‘raptors and one for the Shomix. SF15-010 – Furoraptors (x4) – £2.50 SF15-011 – Shomix (x4) – £2.50