So today we’re releasing the first of the new 15mm Desert Raider figures. Seven packs are available including riflemen and support weapons, command figures, tripod-mounted tri-barrel teams, snipers and the impressive Lizard Riders.
We will have stocks of the new figures at SELWG, although the hoped-for new vehicles to accompany them won’t quite be ready. And unfortunately we’ll be short of one Brigadier (and more importantly, one car down) on Sunday so that may affect what we’re able to bring. It’s more likely that we’ll drop some of the display models – the display cases look good but take up a lot of room in the car and a lot of extra stock can be fitted into the same space. So the stand may look slightly different with fewer display models, but we’ll still have as much stock as possible.
The following packs are available on the website today:
And finally, here’s a teaser of their upcoming rides – we’re planning as many as a dozen variants of these dune-buggy-style vehicles in 4×4, 6×4 and half-track configurations, with armament options including AA guns and missiles. With a bit of luck we’ll have them at Salute.
SELWG is just 11 days away now, so we’re ramping up production for the show. As I feared, there’s a lot to do in stocking up the last 18 months’ worth of new releases so I’m still not 100% sure if we’ll manage to get everything finished.
One thing we will definitely have is these chaps – the 15mm Desert Raider figures are lined up and ready to go, Phil finished the production moulds a couple of weeks back and I’ve painted some samples. We’re still finalising the exact pack contents but hopefully a list will go up before the show. They will also be next week’s Friday release for those that can’t get to SELWG. There’s also an outside possibility that they’ll have some brand new transport to ride around in, but we’d rather not promise anything just yet in case that doesn’t happen.
This week we’re updating one of our oldest designs, the Pomerania Superdreadnought. It’s always been a very popular model, but has been in and out of production at various times and has had several updates over its 25+ year history. The original version came out before the dawn of time (ie sometime in the 1990s) and was cast in metal – we collectively shuddered to remember casting that on our old centrifuge… At that point it was known as the Ben Gurion, when our spaceships were still sold under the Semitic Federation banner. It was then renamed the Pomerania when we revamped the range and Phil created a new resin hull which made casting and assembly much more straightforward.
Wind forward a few (maybe 16-17 ?) years and 3D printing is finally beginning to make its mark. The Pomerania was one of the first models we decided to redesign as a digital sculpt, and we set about printing it and popping it in a mould. We gave it some hefty cheek-mounted guns to match other ships in the German fleet as well. The first iteration did not fare well…
Nevertheless, we ploughed on and fixed the issues, releasing the new version (now back to all-metal construction again) in April 2013.
Since then we’ve moved further forward in our experience and abilities with both 3D printing and resin casting. The metal Pomerania hulls have always been a pain to cast cleanly, so we’ve flipped again to another new version which goes back to a resin hull with metal bridge, weapons and fins. The resin hull means fewer parts to assemble and it’s easier to base up, being much lighter. We’ve restored the two side fins on the rear hull section – I can’t remember why they disappeared from the mark.II, but they were a feature of the original.
So here we are – the Pomerania III. The model is available on its own, or as the flagship of the German Fleet Pack along with 9 other supporting vessels.
So, as mentioned, we’re off to SELWG in just over two weeks in the new Lee Valley venue. It’ll be a new experience, our first show for 18 months and the first under COVID protocols. The venue’s safety guidance is here – we’ll also be providing hand sanitiser on the stand and asking you not to open boxes, or handle items more than necessary unless you wish to purchase them.
Of course we have 18 months’ worth of additional new releases to fit on the stand – trying to get stock cast up of all of this has been quite the exercise, and we’re not sure we’re going to get it all finished. Fortunately we resisted the temptation over lockdown to dive into our show stocks and use them to fulfil orders, so we’re well stocked up otherwise (although it’s all a bit dusty…). We’re not yet certain exactly what we can fit in yet, so you may have to take us as you find us…
The current stock plan is as follows:
Imperial Skies – full stock of fleet packs plus a selection of battleships in blisters
Celtos – full range of figures plus unit packs
Spaceships – full range of fleet packs and individual models (spaceships have been very popular this year so we wanted to bring the whole range)
15mm SF – full range of individual models and figures
6mm SF – army packs, selection of company packs, building packs – no individual models
Hammer’s Slammers – selection of 15mm and 6mm detachment packs, full range of individual models and figures
Squadron Commander – blister packs, no individual models
Small Scale Scenery – full range
Great War 28mm – full range
Magpie Miniatures – full range
1/700 Coastal Forts – full range
We won’t be bringing anything from the Land Ironclads, Iron Stars or 10mm SF ranges unless pre-ordered.
If you want to be certain of getting a particular item, or require large numbers of a single item, we are as always happy to take pre-orders. You can either send us an email with your order and pay on the day, or alternatively you can place an order via the website (using the Collect in Person shipping option to avoid shipping charges) and pay in advance. We’ll be taking cash and credit cards on the day.
Progress is slower than we hoped on the South American Imperial Skies project, but the next of the fleets to get a makeover is the largest of the countries, Brazil. It has a total of 12 different models in the fleet, including four brand new ones, ranging from the Timbira class Torpedo Sloop at the smaller end of the scale up to the imposing Rei Andreas class battleship.
The new ships are the aforementioned Rei Andreas and Timbira, the Amazonas Light Armoured Cruiser and the Japura destroyer. The Brazilians also get a second fleet pack and a torpedo flotilla pack. Most of the ships are metal, with the exception of the resin-hulled Sao Paolo and Rei Andreas.
I’ve experimented with the painting on these, both in choice of colours and paints. Rather than the usual white or grey superstructures, black hulls etc, I’ve used muted versions of the flag colours – so green superstructures and yellow turrets. These don’t look too outlandish, and almost create a sort of camouflage scheme from above. I also decided to try painting them with Citadel Contrast paints. Over a Grey Seer spray basecoat (white was too light) I painted the hulls Basilicanum grey, the turrets Nazdreg Yellow, Militarum Green for the superstructures and Skeleton Horde for the decks. Normal paints were used to finish off the guns, masts, windows and other bits. It’s given a good enough result for the tabletop and was fairly quick, although you still have to be quite neat and avoid painting over the wrong areas.
VAN-801 – Sao Paulo Class Battlecruiser – £6.50 VAN-802 – Minas Gerais Class Heavy Cruiser – £3.50 VAN-803 – Gustavo Sampaio Class Light Cruiser – £2.00 VAN-804 – Barroso Class Patrol Sloop – £0.50 VAN-805 – Pernambuco class Frigate – £1.00 VAN-806 – Júlio de Noronha class Cruiser – £3.00 VAN-807 – Tamandare class Torpedo Cruiser – £2.00 VAN-808 – Paraná class Frigate – £1.00 VAN-809 – Rei Andreas class Battleship- £8.00 VAN-810 – Japura class Destroyer – £1.50 VAN-811 – Timbira class Torpedo Sloop- £0.50 VAN-812 – Amazonas class Light Armoured Cruiser- £2.50
Next will be the Argentine fleet – all of the production moulds are in place, we just have to paint up the samples for the website. Beyond that, Uruguay is looking good, there are a pair of rather cool looking pre-production battlecruisers on my painting desk…
Dammit … this post was scheduled for Thursday but didn’t appear due to a technical glitch (I’m not sure why, and probably never will be). So ignore the bit about penultimate, as it’s appearing out of sequence !
Our penultimate offering in this week of historical fortifications is Star Castle, built in 1593 on the island of St Mary’s for the defence of the Scilly Isles. It was built in response to the armada and fears of another Spanish invasion. The Isles are an archipelago of 145 islands and islets off the coast of Cornwall, with only the largest five being inhabited. They are the southernmost parts of the UK. The castle is in the shape of an eight-pointed star with a central garrison building. Later it was garrisoned by troops from the Corps of Invalids.
The castle is now a four-star hotel, should you feel the urge to visit.
We round off Fort Week with the most modern of the new releases, Fort St Benedict in Kraków. Although now part of Poland, the fort was built by the Austro-Hungarians in the mid-19th century as part of the Kraków fortress. It takes its name from the nearby church, and is the only surviving fortress of the three built in Podgórze.
As we reach the mid-point of Fort Week, I’ve run out of alliterative titles so I’m now resorting to puns. This is Fort Paté, a Vauban fortification on an islet in the Gironde estuary in France built at the end of the 17th century. Along with Fort Médoc and the citadel of Blaye, it defended the approaches to the city of Bordeaux. It had a garrison of 20 men, but we can’t find any info’ about how many cannon it had.
Our second offering for fort week is this collection of defensive towers from Malta. Known as the Lascaris Towers, they were built in the 17th Century by the Order of St John.
Our set consists of two small watchtowers and a larger artillery tower, of which there are several examples of both on the island. It also has the much larger Saint Agatha’s Tower, which is a bastioned watchtower painted an unusual pinkish-red colour.