Service Update

We’re still ploughing on amid the lockdown, orders are up a little on what we’d usually expect this time of year so you’re all obviously keeping busy hobby-wise. As previously mentioned, we’re trying to limit our trips to the post office and workshop so there could be a 3-4 day lag between orders being received and sent out, but we are keeping up with demand currently. And of course it’s Easter next weekend, so we’ll be off for four days anyway.

One thing that has come to our attention is the suspension of Royal Mail services to certain parts of the world – there’s a full list on their website here.

Of the countries currently under suspension, the only one we would expect to receive orders from is New Zealand – we have a number of regular customers in the land of the long white cloud. Currently there are no Royal Mail or Parcelforce services, some couriers aren’t shipping there and those that do are either eye-wateringly expensive or slow (14 day+) economy services (and still not cheap). So if we do receive any orders from there, we’ll contact you about options. We can either hang onto the order until services resume, or we can investigate available couriers, but we might need to make an additional charge depending on how much these cost.

Another show update, which is not unexpected, is that Broadside has been postponed – the Milton Hundred club are hoping to reschedule for later in the year, possibly in the weekend vacated by SELWG, but as the venue in which the show is held is currently closed, nothing can be finalised for some time.

Tomorrow we’ll be starting a 3-day streak of new releases in the Small Scale Scenery range. Like all our releases over the next few weeks, they will all be discounted for the first three weeks following release, and each for each purchase we’ll be making a small donation to the HEROES fund for NHS workers. And yes, we’ll probably remind you of this in every post we make during that time and we make no apologies for it.

Deutsche Dirigible

Our second new release of this week is related to the first; this is the German Schleswig-Holstein class battleship, a huge steel-framed dirigible. A number of Schleswigs were sold to the Ottoman Aerial Navy, which promptly converted them into the Abdül Aziz class.

This replaces the old Schleswig model – the new version is a single piece resin casting.

The Schleswig is discounted by 7.5% (64p), and for each sale we’ll also donate the same amount to HEROES, a fund set up to help frontline NHS staff as they battle the Covid-19 outbreak. This will run until April 24th.

VAN-310 – Schleswig-Holstein class Dig Battleship – £8.50 £7.86

Ottoman Flagship

So, here we have it – the first of this year’s not-Salute releases. As an opener, we have the might of the Ottoman Air Fleet – the Abdül Aziz class Dig Battleship. This model replaces the older design of the same vessel.

The Aziz is large semi-rigid airship with an armoured superstructure. The main armament consists of two huge circular turrets, with an impressive secondary battery in the superstructure and the lower gondola.

As mentioned earlier this week, all of our new releases which had originally been intended for Salute will be discounted for the first three weeks of sale by 7.5%; in addition, the same amount will be donated to HEROES, a fund set up to help frontline NHS staff as they battle the Covid-19 outbreak. So the Abdul Aziz will be discounted by 68p, and for each sale we’ll donate the same amount to HEROES – this will run until April 24th.

VAN-2001 – Abdül Aziz class Dig Battleship – £9.00 £8.32

We Can Be Heroes

Regular Brigade watchers will know that we like to go all out each year for Salute, with an array of releases across our various ranges. This year was no different, with loads of shiny new models ready to roll. But, thanks to circumstances beyond everyone’s control, it’s not to be this time. We were all dressed up, but there’s nowhere to go.

So we’re going to roll the releases out onto the website over the next few weeks, with most weeks featuring two or even three items or sets of items. We had also hit on the idea of running a promotion for each one, with 15% off the new models for the first three weeks after release; that’s the same discount level we normally offer during our Christmas sale. But then we had a rethink and thought better of it.

Instead, we’re only going to offer you half the discount – 7.5% – off the new releases; the other 7.5% we’ve decided to give to HEROES, an organisation set up to support NHS workers. We have no idea what this will amount to – sales of new items are impossible to predict, some fly off the shelves immediately while others are slow burners (and some just don’t sell!). Even if we just donate a tenner, it’s something – but we hope we can do far better than that.

The releases will start later this week; with each one we’ll let you know how long it’ll be on offer, and warn you when they’re about to expire.

As a treat, and to get you in the mood, here’s one of the greatest songs ever written…

Federation Fighters

This week we have four new sets of fleet scale fighters in our spaceship range; two South African and two PacFed. If we can be entirely candid for a moment, there as much for our benefit as yours, since both the old Petrel and Sea Wasp were tricky to cast so these new moulds will make life easier for us 🙂

The South Africans get a new version of the Petrel and a new model, the Hamerkop, a larger version of which has already appeared in the Squadron Commander range.

The Pacific Federation meanwhile gets an updated Sea Wasp, plus the new, diminutive Weta light interceptor.

We’ve crammed a lot of detail into these tiny (<10mm long) models - here's a closeup of the Petrel (these are metal castings, not 3D prints).

Each pack contains 12 individual fighter models – we now cast them on sprues as it makes handling easier (for you and us). The carrier packs of both factions have been updated so they now carry a mix of the new models. The fighter stands aren’t included but are available separately.

SFS-660 – Petrel class Fighter (x12) – £1.50
SFS-661 – Hamerkop class Heavy Interceptor (x12) – £1.50
SFS-760 – Sea Wasp class Attack Fighter (x12) – £1.50
SFS-761 – Weta class Light Interceptor (x12) – £1.50

Still Standing #2

After further measures were announced by Boris Johnson yesterday evening, we thought we’d post a further update.

The Brigade workshop is pretty isolated, being situated on a farm. There are usually only a handful of other people working there in different units, none of whom are close to us, and we both get there by car so don’t need to interact with anyone else. Tony is the only one who will be working there, Phil only needs to pop in occasionally and will do this out of hours. Based on this, we feel it’s safe to keep the workshop up and running without endangering either ourselves or anyone else. However, we will be reducing the frequency of visits to the workshop to a minimum to process outstanding orders.

Post Offices remain open, so we will still be able to send orders. But we will be reducing our post runs to once or twice a week.

All of this, combined with some understandable lag in the postal service as they deal with a number of staff being absent, means that it may take a little longer for your orders to get to you. We will get them out as fast as we can, but please be patient if it’s a little slower than normal.

On a lighter note…

We recently highlighted the Brigada Independência, an elite Hammer’s Slammers unit. They have unique dual-feed infantry support weapons, and we’ve made those available on the Cobra’s own page on the website.

HS15-753e – Dual-Feed Support Teams (x2) – £3.50

Shoreham by the Sea

Right, the release schedule has been rewritten (mostly I just threw it all up in the air and noted where it landed) and we’re starting today with something from the early age of commercial air travel.

We had a request for some Civilian Airfield buildings in the Small Scale Scenery to go alongside the existing military ones. The oldest licensed civilian airfield in the UK, dating from 1910, is Shoreham. It has a very distinctive 1930s art deco terminal building which has starred in a number of films (search for it and you’ll find pictures of it dressed up in swastikas!).

Before WW2 the airport itself consisted of three buildings – the terminal building, a large 2-arch hangar and a small shed (presumably used as workshops). This photo shows the layout perfectly (I would include the photo here but I couldn’t find any copyright information so I’ve linked to it instead).

During the War the airfield was used by the RAF and was home to various aircraft including Lysanders, Spitfires, Hurricanes and Defiants. The main hanger was badly damaged in one Luftwaffe attack, losing the outer skin, but the framework survived and it was restored post-war.

Since 1945 the airfield has expanded and has a number of additional hangars and light industrial units, but the original three buildings are still there.

Our set consists of the three 1930s buildings cast in resin.

SSS-8157 – 1930s Civilian Airport – £4.00

No Show #3

Well, it was probably inevitable, but Salute is off 🙁

Not an easy decision for the organisers, but inevitable in the current situation. It’s not a good year for shows, that’s already three gone of our planned nine events. And not great for small companies like us, as Salute represents a sizeable chunk of our show income for the year. But the Warlords deserve credit for calling it off sooner rather than leaving it to the last minute, and they’ve also rolled everyone’s stand fees over to the 2021 event (already booked in for 17th April). At least we haven’t incurred any other losses – we’re close enough that we don’t need to use hotels, and we hadn’t yet hired a van. There are other companies that will have taken more of a hit than us, and not just the smaller ones.

And we’d got all these new releases lined up, pretty much ready to go ! So expect to see lots of shiny new stuff from us in the next few weeks, across most of the ranges. Although first I will have to go away and rewrite the release schedule to fit them all in somehow…

Still Standing

We’ve had several enquiries about whether or not we’re still open and able to ship orders, given the current COVID-19 situation – the answer to that is an emphatic yes. All the while we have supplies of metal and resin (we’re currently good for a couple of months) we can continue to produce models, and as long as the post offices and postal service are running then we can ship them.

The workshop is isolated and only really accessed by one person (Tony) on a day to day basis, so there is no reason to shut that down for the moment. Obviously the one thing that will bring us to a halt is if he develops any symptoms and needs to stop working – but we’ll update the website in that event.

As things stand, Salute is still going ahead at ExCel in just under five weeks, and we’re continuing to stock up and get lots of new models ready for release at the show. That may change depending on new government advice or instructions – we suggest you keep an eye on the Warlords’ website for updates (and of course we’ll post any relevant news here).

For the moment, it’s business as usual.

One further bright spot – we’ve just received a box of Imperial Skies rulebooks, so that’s available from the website again.

New German Escorts

Today it’s the turn of the Kaiser’s aerial navy to get an upgrade. All of our German Aeronef destroyers, frigates and patrol craft are being replaced, and we’ve taken the opportunity to sneak in a new model as well.

The Seydlitz winged Dig Gunboat has been beefed up with a larger fuselage, while the larger Brandenburg dig destroyer comes in two variants with different gondolas.

The new model is the Frauenlob class AA destroyer, equipped with three triple AA turrets amidships – seen below next to the new Karlsruhe destroyer leader model.

The VA-7 and SA-15 have been reclassified as frigates, and the DA-19 torpedo frigate also gets an upgrade.

At the bottom end of the size scale, the TA-127 torpedo Nef and BA-97 patrol Nef now come in strips of three models (at the same price per model).

There are three flotilla packs available – escort, dig escort and torpedo – all containing the new models.

VANFP-311 – German Escort Flotilla – £9.00
VANFP-312 – German Torpedo Squadron – £4.50
VANFP-313 – German Dig Escort Flotilla – £10.00
VAN-302 – Seydlitz class Dig Gunboat – £1.25
VAN-304 – VA-7 class Frigate – £1.00
VAN-305 – SA-15 class Frigate – £1.00
VAN-308 – TA-127 class Torpedo Nef (x3) – £1.50
VAN-309 – Brandenburg class Dig Destroyer – £2.75
VAN-311 – Karlsruhe class Destroyer – £2.00
VAN-313 – BA-97 Patrol Nef (x3) – £1.50
VAN-315 – DA-19 class Torpedo Frigate – £1.00
VAN-327 – Frauenlob class AA Destroyer – £2.25

And in case anyone missed it yesterday, we’re back up and running after a two day hiatus for machinery repairs.