Stock Update

A few things have moved in and out of stock lately; the very good news is that both the Imperial Skies rulebook and the Hammer’s Slammers rulebook are available again.

We’ve worn through a few resin moulds lately, so you might find that some 6mm buildings could briefly go out of stock while we remould them and then come back again.

Supplies of some Hammer’s Slammers decal sheets is low, especially the vehicle numbers. We’re hoping to place a restock order soon, which could well include decals for some new forces.

We’re out of some sizes of the Land Ironclads bases, so we can’t supply any of the army packs currently; we’ll get those back in stock as soon as possible. If you want to buy any of the packs without the bases then get in touch and we’ll work out a reduced price for you.

And finally … we’re low on some dice colours; we may not restock all of them, we don’t sell huge amounts of dice and stock turnover is low so it’s likely that we’ll reduce the number of colours that we carry.

3 … 2 … 1 … We Have Normality.

I repeat: we have normality. Anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem.

According to my Google timeline, I spent >55 hours at the workshop last week, plus another ten yesterday. I’m knackered. But the upshot is that we’re back up to date with orders, and hopefully from now on we should be back to our normal turnaround time.

While I’ve been wrestling with the backlog, Phil has been busy making moulds so we have at least five week’s worth of new releases lined up and ready to go, with as many again (possibly more) masters sitting waiting to be cleaned up for moulding. As we mentioned in the previous post, a number of these are 15mm Sci-Fi, and I’m hoping to get some of these on the website at the end of this week – exactly what that comprises depends on how well I get on with producing stock this week. It’ll be one of these (click on them for larger versions) …

Status Update #2 – Back to the Grindstone

So the holiday is over, and it’s back to the workshop full-time. Although several visits were made to the workshop in an effort to keep things under control, the backlog of orders is still pretty substantial. There is also a pair of stock orders for two of our US stockists, Pico Armor and Scale Creep, so it’s safe to say that we’ll be kept busy…

At a rough guess we think we can clear all orders to the end of last Friday (July 3rd) by the end of this coming week, but any that arrived this weekend or later are probably going to run over to the following week. Until we can clear everything, there’s going to be a delay of 7-10 days in shipping out any new orders.

Because of this we’ve obviously had no new releases – which is a shame as we have some good ones lined up. We still have a large batch of 15mm models (something like 17 vehicles and guns) which were originally intended for Salute, but remain unreleased since we haven’t had time to generate any initial stock.

Off to the grindstone…

Status Update – Things Are a Bit Slow…

Just time for a quick Sunday night update…

My holiday seems unfortunately to have coincided with a spike in orders which means that things are a bit slow at the moment. Turn round time on orders is currently in the order of 10-14 days – hopefully we’ll get this cleared and everything back to normal in the next week or two once I return to the workshop full-time.

As we don’t hold much ready stock, most of the time we cast to order, and process orders on a strict ‘first-in, first-out’ basis. However, when we get a backlog of orders like this we switch to a slightly different method of handling them. Instead of working in date order, we group orders by type so that we’re working on similar orders – ie, we’ll deal with all the spaceship orders, then the Aeronef orders etc. Although this is slightly less fair (some orders will end up being turned round in two days, others in two weeks) it is more efficient overall so we get things cleared more quickly.

Holiday Time – Not

Today I shouldn’t be here – The Brigadieress and I should be on a plane to France, or Spain, so somewhere else warm. But, like everyone else, we’re not. However, although we can’t go anywhere, I’m still going to have a few days off over the next fortnight – the weather forecast is decent so we’ll have a barbecue in the garden or take the dog to the beach (and I have a feeling that I’m also being lined up for some decorating or DiY work).

The upshot is that for the next fortnight, although I will still be processing orders, it will be at a slower rate and there will be a longer turnaround than usual. I will also be a bit slower at responding to messages and enquiries too.

Postage Increase to USA – Advanced Warning

The Royal Mail have recently given notice of an increase in their prices to the USA; it’s a result of the decision by the US Postal Service to increase the prices they charge other postal services to deliver overseas mail within the US (it’s known as the ‘last mile’ delivery). The result is that Royal Mail prices to the USA are increasing by about 50% starting on July 1st – as examples, the cost of a 500g parcel (probably the most common size we send) is going up from £9.81 to £14.88, while a 2kg package goes from £18.97 to £29.41. You can read more about it on the Royal Mail website if you wish.

As much as we’d like to, we can’t afford to absorb this, so we’re going to have to create a special shipping category for orders to the USA. Where previously US orders would pay £4.30 + 14% of order value, this will now go to £4.30 + 20% of order value. We’ll probably introduce this a couple of days beforehand, because there’s always a lag between orders being placed and when we get to send them.

We may start using couriers more often, for parcels in the 1.5kg – 2kg range it could be cheaper to use Fedex or UPS.

Please note that this only affects orders from the USA; prices to the UK, Europe and the rest of the world are unaffected.

Lifting and Shifting

We’re still very busy with orders currently – which is great, keep ’em coming! We’re turning them round as fast as possible, usually within 2-3 days, but then you’re in the hands of the various postal services. UK post is generally fine, some first class mail can take longer than usual (2-3 days) but the majority is still getting there next day. Overseas is a different matter. Mail to Europe seems to be about 7-14 days, so slightly longer than usual, but not excessively so. It’s a different matter further afield, however; to the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which are our most common destinations, 4-5 weeks is the norm, and 8-9 weeks is not uncommon (a customer has just told us of one package that arrived yesterday having been posted on March 30th). Everything is arriving, just late – we haven’t yet had to claim for a missing package this year. Patience is the key…

Next we have some show news; not unexpectedly, our next two planned shows, Joy of Six and Hereward, have been cancelled for this year. Neither are being rescheduled, so the next editions of both will be in 2021.

Onto some new releases. Because of workload I’ve been adjusting our release schedule a bit – I have a big batch of 15mm models (the last of our Salute lineup) that I’d like to get out, but I don’t seem to be able to find any time to build up stock in advance of releasing them. So instead we have some more 2mm items in the Small Scale Scenery range, stock of which is rather easier to manage!

First up is the largest piece, a railway turntable with a six-bay engine shed. It all comes cast as a single resin piece with the exception of the rotating track in the centre, which is metal.

Sticking on the track, we have these tiny railway cranes which come four to a pack.

And finally, more cranes but this time of the dockyard variety. Again there are four in a pack, two each of two types. I’ve made a mini layout with one of our resin jetty pieces and some dock warehouses.

SSS-8148 – Dockside Cranes (x4) – £2.00
SSS-8149 – Railway Cranes (x4) – £1.50
SSS-8158 – Railway Turntable – £3.00

Delays, delays…

First, a status update – after last weeks flood of orders for the new 6mm monorail, we’re a bit behind on those. All other orders up to Thursday shipped out this morning, plus a good number of ones including monorails, so we’re able to keep up with anything non-train related. And all of the other casting for the outstanding ones has been done, so as soon as we can get monorails cast, those orders will ship too. The problem (besides us massively underestimating the demand for them) is that resin casting is inherently slow – because there’s a 30-40 minute wait for resin to cure, there’s only so many that can be produced in a day, even with multiple moulds. It didn’t help that the first set of moulds has already been worn out (the life on resin moulds is surprisingly short, it can be as few as 25-30 castings) so we’ve already had to make new sets and will probably have to do so again next week. We’ve temporarily taken the monorail off the website until we catch up, which will be in a week or so.

However, since we’re on top of all the other orders, we think it’s safe to put out another couple of new models this week. We have two new Squadron Commander fighters ready to go – the first is for the Polish spacefleet, of which nothing has been seen until now. It’s a rather retro design called the Rokita, which is a Polish folk devil.

The second is a new model for the British – again it’s a slightly retro design called the Valkyrie, with a twin boom tail reminiscent of 1950’s fighters such as the Vampire and Venom (hence our choice of a ‘V’ name too).


Both are available singly, or in flights of 4.

Both models are initially discounted by 7.5%, and for each sale we’ll also donate the same amount to HEROES, a charity set up to help frontline NHS staff as they battle the Covid-19 outbreak. This will run until June 5th. So far we’ve raised over £150 from the sales of our new releases, so thanks to goes everyone who’s contributed.

SCR-103 – Valkyrie – £2.50 £2.31
SCP-103 – Valkyrie Flight – £9.00 £8.32
SCR-1301 – Rokita – £2.50 £2.31
SCR-1301 – Rokita Flight – £9.00 £8.32

Business Not As Usual

It’s OK, we haven’t got it 🙂

However, the response to the release of the 6mm monorail last week was completely unprecedented. Although we had produced what we thought was plenty of stock in advance, this was all gone in no time at all and we’re looking at a mountain of outstanding orders.

So the upshot is that there might be a bit of a delay (a few days) in getting all of this weekend’s orders out, especially if you’ve ordered any monorail pieces. We’ll be making some extra sets of moulds to allow us to cast more quickly, but there’s still a finite limit to how many resin pieces we can cast at a time.

We were planning another small release today (there they are below) and another major one at the end of the week, but they will go on hold until we get the backlog cleared. It’ll be quiet on the blog this week…

One final update – so far we’ve collected and donated £135 to the HEROES charity from funds raised through the sale of our recent new releases, and we still have several more weeks to go. So a big Thank You needs to go out to everyone who’s contributed to this total in any way.

No Show #4 and #5

So it was rather inevitable, but the Milton Hundred club have had to postpone their show, Broadside, planned for June 14th. They are hoping to reschedule it for later in the year, but at the moment the venue is completely closed, so it’s impossible for them to make any plans until they can confirm a date. Here’s hoping that they can make something work.

More of a surprise was the news this weekend that the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp have decided to cancel Crisis in November. However, with an event of that size they need to start planning and booking certain aspects of the show now, which is impossible in the current climate. With no certainty about when things will start to unlock, and with many of the attending clubs and traders coming from other countries and needing to make travel plans, they’ve understandably pulled the plug early.

The next show in our 2020 calendar is the Joy of Six in Sheffield; that’s currently still on, or at least it hasn’t been cancelled yet.