Mixed Signals

A belated Happy New Year to you all – I’ve been at the workshop this week clearing the orders that had built up while I’d been on my Christmas break, and I’m pleased to say that it’s pretty much all done.

This means that we can return to the normal Friday business of new releases. At the end of last year we suffered a slight technical hitch that meant that we had to replace a number of 3D printed masters, which in turn knocked our release schedule out a bit. So our releases for the start of this year aren’t necessarily those we’d originally planned – but since we never publish our schedule, no-one but us is affected by that ! But rest assured, behind the scenes here at Brigade, minor panic has ensued…

Today we have some 19th Century oddities in the form of some semaphore towers. Before the advent of wireless or telephones, semaphore towers were used to transmit messages over long distances, far faster than runners or even mounted messengers could manage. There were several systems, but one very common one was the Chappe system which used two wooden arms mounted on a crossbar – the angles of the three components resulted in the following alphabet:

Our four models come from different parts of the world – the Chatley Heath tower was part of the London-Portsmouth line, while we also have models from France, Malta and India. Each model is supplied with a random signal arm (we have the letters ‘B’, ‘R’, ‘I’, ‘G’, ‘A’, ‘D’ and ‘E’ available) but scratchbuilding others from plastic strip should be a straightforward task.

SSS-8124 – Chatley Heath Tower – £1.25
SSS-8125 – Chappe Tower – £0.75
SSS-8126 – Maltese Tower – £1.00
SSS-8127 – Indian Tower – £1.50

White Lightning

One of the Hammer’s Slammers outfits that has benefited from our slew of releases over the last six months or so has been the Lightning Division. This unit started out equipped with tracked armour, but around 340TW they began the process of upgrading them with more advanced blower tanks. I’ve already painted up a pair of detachments of the latter, but with the release of the new Fauchard APC and Falchion light tank I wanted to add some of the older tracked elements.

I also fancied painting a different colour scheme to the blue/yellow/grey of the blowers. I had a simple snow camouflage in mind, white stripes over a grey base. The plan was to utilise Blu-tack masking, spraying the models grey first then masking off stripes with adhesive putty before spraying white. But when the day came, I couldn’t find any Blu-tack! Instead I had to improvise, and instead resorted to tearing up strips of sticky labels (just plain address labels taken from the printer). These had just enough tack to stick to the models for long enough to spray the white camouflage coat, and didn’t pull up any paint when I removed them. For an emergency measure, I was pretty pleased with the results in the end.

The rest of the painting was fairly straightforward – I picked out some of the stowage in brighter colours for a bit of contrast, painted the crew, guns and tracks, then I was just about there. The vehicles got there usual cost of Army Painter strong tone Quickshade, and were left to dry overnight (I sit them on greaseproof paper so they don’t stick) before varnishing with Tamiya Flat Clear. Unfortunately I was low on stocks of Lightning Division decals, so markings will have to wait a little while…

If anyone has read the December 2018 issue of Miniature Wargames magazine, you’ll see both of my Lightning Division forces – tracked and blower – in action. You can also read about how badly it went for most of them, and my legendary awful dice rolling…

Merry Christmas!

One final update before we shut down the centrifuge for the Christmas holiday. We’ve managed to clear almost all of the sale orders, which at one point didn’t look very likely, but a week of long days (and evenings) means that we won’t be returning after the new year to a pile of unfinished ones. Frustratingly, there were two we weren’t able to get shipped; one needs a couple of items from another manufacturer that we’ve run out of, while the other needs a 15mm building, the mould for which split at the most inconvenient time and we just haven’t been able to make a new one. We’ve also sorted out all post-sale orders that reached us by the end of last Friday (21st). All remaining UK-bound parcels were posted on Saturday, so with a bit of luck they might arrive on Christmas Eve. There are a few overseas ones left to send that will go to the post office on Monday, so while they’ll only sit there for a couple of days, at least they are in the system. I will be at the workshop Monday morning to try and clear a couple of orders that have arrived over the weekend, but even if I do they won’t get posted until later in the week.

Phil and I are now taking a break until the New Year; the website remains open for orders, but nothing will be processed until the melting pot gets powered up again on January 2nd. Have a great Christmas holiday everyone, we’ll be back in 2019 with lots of exciting new models.

That’s all – finally!

So the sale is over for another year – we’ve finally disabled the code, a bit later than planned (we’ve had a few extra orders today, obviously we’ll honour the sale discount on those). There were also some annoying issues with an update to the WordPress editor that stopped us posting this morning :-/

The response to the last few days of the sale was unexpected to say the least – the value of the orders placed between Friday and Sunday was more than we took in the whole of October ! This means that we may have difficulty clearing the entire queue before we break for Christmas. We will do our best, but some of the orders that arrived towards the back end of Sunday may not quite make it out until the New Year. We’ll keep you all updated…

Spanish Skies

The sale is sailing serenely on – this morning I took another big batch of parcels to the post office, we’ve now shipped all orders up to and including December 8th (apart from the last one to arrive that day – no particular reason, I just ran out of time yesterday !). However, there was a big burst of orders on Sunday, prompted no doubt by the fast-approaching end of the sale next weekend, so that will slow me down a bit.

In the meantime, I’ve spent the odd hour or two working on further new releases – more Aeronef, following on from last week’s British smaller vessels. This time I have a pair of larger vessels – the first is a new version of the Chilean battleship Santiago. The old model (out of production for some time) was notable for it’s two huge quad gun turrets, so I’ve kept that aspect of the design, although it’s also been given two smaller light gun turrets.

The second new vessel is a Spanish fighter carrier. One of the aspects of the Spanish capital ships that I really like is the raised front-to-back walkway on both vessels, so I’ve taken this and enlarged it to make a narrow flight deck. Below this at main deck level is an aircraft handling area with an anti-aircraft turret at each corner. The fighter models on deck are British Fitton Scouts which I used for sizing purposes. It remains to be seen if the Spanish get their own aircraft design…