Gaolhouse Rock

This week we have a first – since we switched to digital sculpts and 3D printing, Tony has done all of the design work on our new releases. But this week it’s Phil’s turn – these are his first two 3D sculpts to see the light of day.

He may also be making some sort of statement about working at Brigade (!), with 1/1000th scale models of a Workhouse and Gaol for our ever-expanding Small Scale Scenery range.

The workhouse is a rather unusual three-winged design in a hexagonal outer wall, based on the long-demolished one in Abingdon, Berkshire.

The Gaol is also from Abingdon, with a similar three-wing design but a different layout to the grounds. The building is still standing, although it’s been converted to luxury flats – the original walls have gone so Phil has had to create these himself, based on those around Maidstone prison.

SSS-8162 – Gaol – £3.00
SSS-8163 – Workhouse – £3.00

Luxury Travel in the Skies

Today we take to the skies in unprecedented aerial luxury, with the release of three flying passenger liners. We have newly designed versions of the Majestic, Stirling Castle and Kaiserin Elizabeth class ships, all with resin hulls and metal parts. The largest, the Majestic, even has a small swimming pool on the afterdeck surrounded by sun loungers, for passengers who wish to swim in the sky!

And representing the more grimy, utilitarian face of merchant shipping, we also have a new version of the French Rochefort heavy merchant, featuring a deck festooned with cranes and cargo hatches.

VAN-5001 – Majestic class Passenger Liner – £8.50
VAN-5006 – Kaiserin Elisabeth class Liner – £4.00
VAN-5009 – Rochefort class Heavy Merchant – £8.00
VAN-5010 – Stirling Castle class Liner – £5.00

Calling Europe…

It’s January 2021, which means that things have finally, finally ended on the Brexit front (until the next thing…). So we’ve been through the website and we think it now works correctly for EU customers – you’re no longer charged VAT (which is the main thing). So, having previously advised EU customers not to place orders until we’d checked it all works, we think you’re now safe to go again.

This means that orders placed to EU addresses will no longer be charged VAT on goods or shipping by us – so all our models (and the shipping) will be 1/6th cheaper. And following the last-minute EU-UK trade deal, you should not have to pay import tariffs or duties either. However, you may have to pay import VAT at your local rate (as you would for an order from any other non-EU country, say the USA). In the UK this sometimes seems to be a bit random – some parcels get caught, others don’t and it can depend on the value of the order. We suggest you contact your local postal or customs office as we can’t give definitive advice for other countries.

(Nothing But) Flowers

Carnivorous Carnations, Terrifying Tulips or Violent Violets – take your pick. We’re not sure what variety these are, just run from them !

Four killer plants, two-part models cast in metal – you’ll find them in the 15mm Sci-fi figures range, but they’re big enough to use with 28mm figures if you wish (as you can see, they tower over one of our 15mm civilian mechanics).

SF15-013 – Carnivorous Plants (x4) – £4.00

Material World

A while ago we invested in a new bit of kit, a pressure casting vessel – basically a big cast metal bucket with a lid that can be bolted down. If you haven’t come across one before, the idea is that you put resin castings in it before they cure, bolt the lid down and put them under pressure via an air compressor. Many companies produce resin castings use them – we felt a bit left out and had to have one! They improve the quality of resin castings by either removing or at least considerably shrinking any air bubbles. It’s not perfect – you can still get the odd air bubble, and depending on the shape of a model we might need to cut channels for air to escape from, but it’s an order of magnitude better than simple gravity-fed drop castings.

Not only has it improved the quality of our existing models as we remould them, but it’s allowed us to cast things we wouldn’t have attempted previously. We’ve been remaking some of our models that were metal castings into resin parts – in particular larger pieces. We’ve taken a number of multi-part spaceships that were tricky to assemble, and converted them to single piece resin hulls instead (still with separate metal turrets and other bits). This includes several British capital ships and the Neo-Soviet Voroshilov battleship, thus saving you lots of filing and filling to fit the hull halves together. Being much lighter, they’re also easier to base now.

Bulwark, Churchill and Voroshilov resin hulls

We’ve also converted a number of the larger buildings in the Small Scale Scenery range, including some of the Industrial and Dockyard buildings, the English Civic Buildings and the large church. They’re easier to cast for us, and easier to clean up and handle for you – everyone’s a winner!

Comparison of resin and metal Civic Buildings set.

There are still a few more to be done – we have masters for more British spaceships (the Colossus battleship and Fearless assault ship are next) which will be phased in during the first part of next year.

Merry Christmas

After one of the most ‘interesting’ years anyone can remember, we’d like to wish everyone a very happy, and above all safe, Christmas. Eat, drink and be merry, and if you have a chance to slap some paint on a few tanks, figures or spaceships, so much the better.

We’ll be back with our first release of 2021 on New Year’s Day.

Phil and Tony
The Brigadiers.

Service and EU Shipping Update

After a last minute blitz on orders, we’ve shipped out everything that arrived before 4pm yesterday. Obviously it’s Christmas, and the postal service seems to be in a bit of a mess currently, so they might take a while to arrive, but they are at least on their way.

The Brigade workshop is now shut until next year – we’ve sent all the worker elves home, they’ll be back on January 4th, all being well. We should still be able to answer emails and queries, although response times might be a bit longer.

We have recently found out that the Royal Mail have suspended services to the EU because of the ongoing disruption to travel caused by the new coronavirus strain here in the UK. And internal parcel services have been overwhelmed by a combination of a huge surge in demand as everyone does their shopping online, and coronavirus restrictions. So if you are expecting for a delivery, please be prepared for a bit of a wait…

Because of this, and the impending end of the Brexit transition period, we’re recommending that EU customers do not place any orders until the New Year. If you place an order before January 1st, we’ll still have to charge you UK VAT; but we won’t be able to send your order until after January 1st, so in theory you could be liable for import VAT as well, which means you could be taxed twice. One piece of good news is that, as this is being written, a trade deal is looking likely so at least the spectre of additional duty should be avoided.

The B Word

Every so often we get to publish a post on such thrilling topics as VAT, shipping rates or last posting dates for Christmas (just in case you were wondering – you’re too late now). Today we tackle everyone’s favourite, Brexit – and we’ll keep it brief, we have no more desire to write a long-winded post than you have to read one. But we want to reassure any of our European customers who may be concerned about ordering from us after January 1st.

Firstly, this only really affects customers in the EU – so if you live in a country outside the EU, including the UK, feel free to stop here.

As we write, ten days from the end of the year, we’re still none the wiser about whether or not there will be a trade deal in place on January 1st – but that probably won’t affect things for us either way. The UK government has published plenty of guidance for business-to-business transactions with EU companies post Brexit, but not much we can find for companies like us that ship directly to EU customers – so what follows is how we understand things.

Currently, EU customers pay VAT on orders from us at the standard UK rate of 20%. As of January 1st, this will no longer be charged, so everything will get 1/6th cheaper. As far as we know shipping rates will remain the same as well, and you’ll no longer be charged VAT on shipping either. So far, so good.

However, you may be liable for import duty and taxes when the package arrives in your country. We can’t estimate how much these will be as they vary from country to country even in the EU, but VAT is likely to be at your local rate. You may also have to pay a processing fee. Most countries have a minimum order value before charges are applied (in the UK it’s £15) and not every parcel gets caught, it can depend on how busy or diligent your customs service are – it’s quite hit and miss here, and the smaller the order, the greater the chance of it slipping through the net.

From our point of view we will have to fill in a customs declaration for each order stating the contents and their value. The value we put is for the contents, we don’t include shipping, and during a sale we would enter the discounted value (ie what you actually paid, not the full price). Some countries will charge different rates on different types of item, so if we can help by describing the contents in a certain way (eg ‘Toys and Games’ or ‘Gaming Miniatures’) then let us know and we’ll do what we can. However, please do not ask us to understate the value of your order – we will always enter the correct value on the form.

So, in summary

  • you’ll no longer pay UK VAT on items or shipping
  • Shipping rates and shipping times shouldn’t be affected (unless there’s some initial short-term disruption)
  • You may be liable for import VAT and/or duty, but this will probably be similar to what you’d have paid in VAT directly to us before Brexit
  • Smaller orders may not be liable at all
  • If you’re lucky, you might not have to pay anything, in which case our models will be cheaper than before Brexit 🙂

OK, that’ll do – if we can help any further then please ask, and if anyone has a better understanding of the process (quite likely!) then let us know and we’ll update this post.

From Russia With Love

We’ve made it – our final new release of the year, and the last leg in our epic quest to redesign/resculpt the Aeronef models of the six major powers. Today sees the release of the Russian cruiser and escort forces, with six redesigns and two brand new models. You can see all of the new models below, along with the two smaller vessels released last week.

The two new craft are the Kronshtadt Heavy Cruiser, an enormous beast the size of a small battleship with new twin turrets. The other vessel is the Burnyi destroyer, fitted with a forward barbette and torpedo tubes.

There’s a new Fleet pack with a Poltava Dreadnought, an Admiral Nakhimov battlecruiser plus escorts, and a new Russian Escort Flotilla pack with eight destroyers (although I’m afraid we still have no flying stands so the packs are without these for the the moment).

The small Russian barbettes have been redesigned and are available in packs of 12, as is the new cruiser turret on the Kronshtadt. There are even some new flags, the Imperial flag and Naval Jack.

VANFP-502 – Russian Fleet Pack #2 – £21.50
VANFP-513 – Russian Escort Flotilla – 10.00

VAN-501 – Petrapavlovsk Class Cruiser – £2.50
VAN-502 – Archangelsk Class Dig Cruiser – £3.50
VAN-504 – Dobrovolets class Destroyer – £1.00
VAN-505 – Derskyi Heavy Destroyer – £3.50
VAN-507 – Smolensk class Seaplane Tender – £2.50
VAN-511 – Strashchni class Destroyer – £1.75
VAN-516 – Kronshtadt – £4.50
VAN-517 – Burnyi – £1.75

VANF-503 – Russian Imperial Flag – £0.50
VANF-504 – Russian Naval Jack – £0.50

VAN-7051 – Russian Single Barbette (x12) – £1.50
VAN-7052 – Russian Twin Barbette (x12) – £1.50
VAN-7057 – Russian Twin Cruiser Turret (x12) – £1.50

Having finished with the major powers, we’re off in a completely new direction with Aeronef in 2021. News of this coming soon…

That’s it for new releases this year – next Friday is of course Christmas day, and we have better things to do then, as we’re sure you all do!