Imperial Update #3 – The Akashi Flies !

The good news is that Phil has managed to get enough good castings of the Akashi to fulfill all the pledges for Japanese fleet packs, so there are now no obstacles to finishing the shipping of Imperial Skies.

The not-so-good news is that the mould is still too unreliable for normal use, so the Akashi will again have to be remastered (probably with some design tweaks) before the new version replaces the original on the website.

While he was doing this I packed up another bunch of parcels, and we can now say that …

69% of pledges have shipped

I’ve been working from the top of the list, so if your order number is 4086655 or less, then you have definitely shipped; if it’s above that, then there’s still a 60% chance it’s on the way. My kitchen has temporarily turned into a goods bay with all manner of boxes, parcels and packages – fortunately I got this all cleared out before the Brigadieress got wind of it ! We’re hoping that with a fair wind behind us, we should get everything cleared next week.

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I’ve also caught up with mail order again, after a very hectic week, so all orders up to 6pm Thursday
have been filled and posted. Today I’m at Colours at Newbury Racecourse, an excellent one-day show – hope to see you there !

Imperial Update #2 – The Baked Brigadier

During a rather hot, sweaty and muggy day yesterday, another large chunk of Imperial Skies pledges were packed up ready to be shipped off. I did my best not to perspire on the rulebooks! This means that…

51% of pledges have now shipped

The current state of play is:

  • If you are in North America, you should have received your book at least by now;
  • If you ordered just the rulebook or rulebook and turn ruler, your order will have shipped;
  • If you ordered a Japanese fleet pack, your order won’t have shipped yet (see below);
  • If you ordered a counter pack, you won’t have shipped yet (these are being sorted into packs and should start leaving today);
  • Any other combination … well, it’s 50:50 over whether or not you have shipped !

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Phil delivered the Lexington and mk.II Japanese cruiser production moulds on Tuesday, with mixed results. The Lexington is fine now and we very rapidly cast all of the models needed for pledges, so the first of those are in today’s batch of parcels. However the Japanese cruiser mould is very (very) unreliable. It took us an age to get out a small number of good castings, so we’ll have to work at it until we get enough (fortunately we don’t need too many). This might mean that the new versions of the Akashi and Yakumo don’t immediately go onto the website.

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We’re had a couple of enquiries about when it’ll be possible to buy the rulebook, accessories and new models for those that missed the Kickstarter. The answer is ‘not until all the pledges have shipped’. I’d love to have some on the stand at Colours on Saturday, but we don’t think it’s fair to those that supported the project for others to be able to buy the game until all of the original backers have their items. However, since the only remaining hurdle (Japanese cruisers notwithstanding) is simply getting everything in boxes and shipping them out, that won’t be too long.

Polyversal PacFed

In the recent Polyversal Kickstarter, one of the starter armies available featured our PacFed models. We’re going to have to cast several thousand PacFed models to fulfill our part of the pledges, and we had already decided that we’d need to create some new moulds to do this. And we figured that if we were making new moulds, it would be an ideal opportunity to update the designs to match the resculpted 15mm versions. This means that everyone who’s ordered our PacFed models in their pledge will get these lovely shiny new ones instead of the original versions. We’ll be doing the same with the Catroux as well – a major change to this model will be to get rid of the separate wheels and make the hull a 1-piece casting.

Now there seems to be a commonly held misconception that because a digital version of a model exists in one scale, it can be magically resized to another scale with a single keystroke, new 3D masters can then be printed and away you go to the casters. Not so.

Think about it – our 15mm vehicles have separate crew hatches. Would you really want that in a 6mm model ? So small parts like these have to be attached/welded to the model (in some cases it’s as easy to simply recreate the geometry from scratch). Our 15mm Wombat has three parts to the hull – two metal and one resin. Again, this makes no sense in 6mm, so they have to be joined together, which invariably creates duplicate or redundant points and faces, so these need to be cleaned up. Scaling some 15mm parts down to 6mm makes them too small – in particular this affects gun barrels which generally end up too thin to cast, or even if they do cast they would be too brittle so that they would bend or break. So gun barrels have to be made fatter, but that means they no longer fit their mounting point so that has to be remodelled. I also sometimes make whole pieces (turrets especially) slightly bigger in the Y-axis – it just looks better. Some pieces of detail have to be enlarged to that they will cast better, and I often make hull plates thicker or recessed details deeper.

The same is true of the reverse process – taking a 6mm design and scaling it up to 15mm. In this case models often have to be broken into pieces to cast, and some details scaled down as they simply would look oversized in 15mm. Gun barrels have to be removed from turrets and hatches opened up – and so on.

So after that brief rant, here’s the result of some of my work – I’ve been taking the 15mm versions of the Ocelot, Wombat and Catroux and converting them to 6mm, and I’ll also have to create a version of the Quoll, which doesn’t yet exist in 15mm (still working on that).

Wombat CGI

Ocelot CGI

Catroux CGI

Once the Polyversal KS has shipped, our plan is to finish the job and remodel the entire PacFed 6mm range to match the new 15mm versions and replace everything at one go – this is quite a task that will involve replacing lots of moulds, but one that should be worthwhile. It further benefit is that some of the vehicles that have yet to be made in 15mm (the Quoll, Koala, Tanami and Bilby) will also be made available in the larger scale.

Imperial Update #1 – First Post

I had a bit of a blitz on packing Imperial Skies pledges yesterday while Phil was fiddling with his moulds. A big pile of orders will be going to the post office this morning (it’s only a small local branch, so they’ve been pre-warned to expect them !). So far we’ve completed just over 30% of the pledges, and this doesn’t include those North American customers who will have received their books but are still waiting on models or other components. I’m hoping to get even more done at the start of next week – although there’s a planned power outage at the workshop all day Monday, so I may not get much done in the dark !

31% of pledges have shipped

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Phil brought the new Lexington master mould along and has cast tins to make the replacement production mould over the weekend, so that will hopefully allow us to ship pledges which need those. The last hurdle will be the Japanese cruisers – the mould for the new versions is not playing ball, with the side guns not casting properly. We will first try making a new one with the ships aligned differently to see if that cures the problem, or in the worst case we’ll have to modify the designs slightly, get new masters printed and try again – this will put a delay of potentially several weeks on things, so in this case we will ship pledges without the cruiser and send those on as soon as they are ready.

Trundling Down the Runway

Imperial Skies author Robin visited Brigade Towers yesterday (on a Sunday – how’s that for dedication?) and delivered all of the rulebooks, laser-cut counters and turn rulers for the pledges – so we’re ready to put packages together and start shipping them out 🙂

In fact Robin, Phil and I went as far as to pack up the first half-a-dozen boxes and envelopes and these will be posted on tomorrow (today being a bank holiday here).

The new Lexington master mould should be ready later this week, so everything is now in place to complete the Kickstarter.

If you’re visiting either the Hereward or Colours shows on the next two weekends then you have the option of picking up your rules and models at either of these events – just drop me a line and I’ll arrange it. If you do, then I’m sure we can also arrange an extra model or two in lieu of postage.

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Temporary Injunction

Ah, what a day I had yesterday … while manoeuvring some boxes in the workshop, I managed to knock over one of the drawer units that we use to carry stock to shows … 48 drawers full of 1200+ Celtos figures scattered all over the floor 🙁 It took over an hour and a half to pick them all up and sort them back into the correct drawers. Add to that the rather oppressive heat we had yesterday, and you can safely say that I wasn’t a happy bunny ! In my rather grumpy mood I also forgot to pick up two small Aeronef masts which I needed to complete some new models, which means I couldn’t finish painting them, which means no new release today…

On the upside, our stocks of Imperial Skies rulebooks and the various laser-cut accessories are due in over the weekend – rulebook author Robin is driving over with a boot-full of boxes on Sunday morning. This means that the first batches of pledges will start shipping this week – we’ve already ordered in lots of extra boxes to pack them in.

Imperial Skies LOGO

Finally, some good and not-so-good news. The good news is that the Hammer’s Slammers 6mm models released last week have been selling very well, with plenty of Blower tanks and combat cars going out the door. The downside is that we’ve already run out of the skimmers and infantry that we ordered in from GZG, so I’ve had to temporarily take the army and mobile infantry packs off the website while we wait for a restock. The rest of the packs and models are still available however, and you can always order the skimmers and figures direct from GZG.

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Show Time 2016

For us, the autumn show circuit starts soon. We have two shows coming up in the near future – Hereward Wargames Show in Peterborough on Sunday September 4th, and Colours at Newbury Racecourse on the following Saturday, the 10th.

Hereward Logo

As usual, we’re inviting pre-orders. I’m doing both of these as one-man shows, which means we’re slightly restricted in what we can bring – I don’t have room to take individual stock of 6mm, spaceships or Aeronef, although I do endeavour to have a good stock of starter and fleet packs for those ranges. So if there’s something specific you want to make sure of getting hold of, it’s best to order it in advance.

To make it easier to place show orders, you can select the Collect in Person option on our website when placing an order. You can then create your order as normal in the shopping cart, pay for it by PayPal or credit card, but without any postage charges. Alternatively, you can just e-mail us a list and pay by cash or card on the day.

A full list of shows that we’re attending can be found on our website.

The Slammer’s Regiment

Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible is a set of rules that can be played in several scales; all of the photos in the book are of 25mm figures and vehicles, although judging from various blogs and posts on the net it seems to be more popular in 15mm. Ainsty Castings are the official licensed supplier of 15mm vehicles for the Slammers Regiment, with Ground Zero Games providing figures. However, it also gives an excellent game with 6mm figures and vehicles, with armoured battles benefiting from the space afforded by smaller scale models. So we’re very pleased to announce that we’ve teamed up with John Treadaway, co-author of the Crucible rulebook, and Ainsty Castings to create 6mm versions of the approved vehicle designs and bring the regiment to life in micro-scale.

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These new models have all been created digitally and are cast in pewter. Our initial release is of the core vehicles needed for a Slammers detachment – the M2A4 blower tank and the M2A4F command variant, the M9A1 combat car and M9A4 command variant, and the A21 jeep.

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The combat cars, like the Ainsty 15mm versions, are supplied with etched brass splinter screens plus separate tri-barrel powerguns.

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Infantry, both on foot and on skimmers, are available from Ground Zero Games, although we have some stocks which we’re using to create army packs (for individual packs of figures you can contact GZG directly).

Future releases will include further variants of the M2 tank and M9 combat car as used by other mercenary units, plus the uparmoured variants used by the Slammers Regiment in their later days. We will also be releasing ambulance and cargo variants of the combat car, a mortar jeep and artillery hogs to complete the Slammers’ ToE.

HS-1600 – Hammer’s Slammer Army Pack – £25.00
HS-1601 – Tank Detachment – £11.00
HS-1602 – Combat Car Detachment – £7.50
HS-1603 – Mobile Infantry Detachment – £4.50
HS-1611 – M2A4 Blower Tank – £1.50
HS-1611a – M2A4F Command Tank – £1.50
HS-1612 – M9A1 Combat Car – £1.00
HS-1612a – M9A4 Command Car – £1.00
HS-1613 – A21 Jeep – £0.50